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Showing results for tags 'writing advice'.
Found 8 results
Based on Real People
Drew Payne posted a blog entry in Words, Words and Words“I gave you good script,” Ma to Alan Cocktail Sticks, a play by Alan Bennett The writer Alan Bennett has been very open about how much he is inspired by real-life events. He has written plays and film scripts all inspired by real-life events; he has written several volumes of autobiographical essays, and every year or so he publishes extracts from his diary. I’ve seen and read all of them and enjoyed them so much. In his autobiographical play Cocktail Sticks, about his relationship with his parents, the character of Ma (based on his mother) says, “I gave you good script,” meaning he has used so many of the actual things she said in his writing. I cannot class myself in the same writing league as Alan Bennett, but I take so much inspiration from real-life events. That inspiration seems to fall into three different types. The first is when I want to write about events or attitudes that have made me angry or upset. This is when I use fiction to explore how I feel about a subject or when I want to write about attitudes in order to expose the negative/destructive nature of them. My short story I Always Knew is an example of this. It was the height of the Jimmy Savile scandal and I heard an elderly journalist on the radio saying that he’d always known about Savile’s crimes. My anger led me to explore that attitude, those people who are always “wise” after a tragedy, in this story. Secondly, I can find inspiration in news headlines and real events. Sometimes it a headline and a short news item that inspires my imagination. I don’t do anymore research, instead I let my imagination dwell on those sparse descriptions or even single event and then I fill out the events and with characters I’ve created. Without researching the events any further I can make sure I am not using the people and their tragedy for my own fiction, that my story is a complete work of fiction. A Family Christmas is an example of me using this type of inspiration. There was a mass shooting in America, on Christmas Eve, the year before I wrote this story. I learnt no more about that tragedy but my imagination filled in the blanks and I created a story that explored a theme that leapt out at me from this tragedy. I don’t always search out stories of death and tragedy, all kinds of things in the media can set my imagination off running. I read an interview with the actor Russell Tovey where he said a throwaway comment, but that comment set my imagination off. The result was the story That One Big Role. I have also been researching historical events for a series of stories. These take a lot more research and less of my imagination filling in the blanks, though some of that is still needed. With these stories I want to examine a historical event from a fictional character’s point of view, find the human story inside the facts. These stories do take a lot of work, but I don’t want to stop writing them, the research is fascinating. The Trial of the Century is the first one in this style I wrote. Thirdly, I find inspiration from my own life. It can either be just one small factor that I then spin off into a whole story, or else it can form a larger part of a story, or else I fictionalise something that happened to me as a way to explore what and why that thing happened. Boxing Day 1975 is a short story of mine that was inspired by one event from my life. When I was a young child, on Boxing Day, together with my family I watched the big film on television that evening, One Million Years BC. That was the only part I took into the story, it is certainly not based on my own family but I do vividly remember how my family all sat down together to watch the same television film. I met my first boyfriend in 1987 but our relationship did not last. Our break-up was different, difficult and not that conventional. I used that break-up scene, almost word-for-word from real life, as the opening scene of my story Out of the Valley. I used this story to explore obsessive love and not being able to let go of an ex-lover, none of which was my reaction to the end of that relationship, though this story did go through many rewrites over the years with the wish-fulfilment ending being quickly dropped. Then there are those real-life encounters that play on my mind and imagination and form the bases of some of my stories. Jonathan Roven Is Lost (a story in my collection Case Studies in Modern Life) is a story that started off in that way. Through my job, I saw the effect dementia has on the partners of those people with it. My blog here gives a much fuller picture of how that story was created. For me, there isn’t just one way that I find inspiration, but I guess that is the same for so for many writers, but using inspiration and facts from real life is very important to me, I want my stories to have that taste of authenticity. I don’t use overheard dialog in my writing, like many writers do, because the few times I’ve heard anything decent I’ve forgotten the actual words by the time I get home. But I do use real people in my writing or people’s attitudes and beliefs. I don’t use direct copies of people; I don’t feel comfortable if readers can easily identify the person who was the inspiration for a character. So often I combine different things from different people—the attitude from one person, the clothes style from another and the physical appearance from another. But what really fascinates me are people’s attitudes and beliefs and how they affect their lives and how people’s personalities react in different situations. For me, I find inspiration in so many different ways, so many different things can spark and inspire my imagination, but in the end it is my imagination that forms the story from whatever the inspiration is, though I always work to create authenticity in my fiction. I hope my stories bear that out. I do remember one of the classic things my mother said, though I have never found the right story to use it in. I was in my early teens and had just come home from school one afternoon and my mother was unpacking her shopping. “I won’t buy anymore lemonade, all you lot ever do is drink it,” my mother said. “What should we do with it, wash in it?” I said. “You know what I mean,” she told me. And I did. Happy reading Drew
Jonathan Roven is Lost (The True Story)
Drew Payne posted a blog entry in Words, Words and WordsJonathan Roven is Lost is a story I am proud of. It concerns a subject that I have rarely seen written about, namely how a gay couple manages when one of them develops Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m also proud of the journey this story has taken. Originally, it was just 900 words long, with a different ending. It was written as a flash fiction story (stories under 1,000-words long) to a prompt of Losing Your Lover. So often do I find a left-field response to subjects. It was first published on the Gay Flash Fiction website. Unfortunately, it has been deleted from that site since then, but other stories of mine are still available there. The original version can be found here. As always, I had that rush of excitement whenever I have something published, the excitement of knowing I am communicating with people I’ll never meet. Then something strange happened. The site’s editor emailed me because he had received a complaint. An American lawyer, called Jonathan Roven, had demanded that my story be taken down or changed. It seemed the real-life Jonathan Roven didn’t like having a fictional character named after him or sharing his name, or he didn’t like my character called Jonathan Roven, or all three. The editor wasn’t happy; he argued that there are probably lots of real-life Mr Darcys out there, and they aren’t writing to Jane Austen’s estate, demanding her character’s name is changed. I did a Google search on fictional characters with real people’s names, and I also looked up Jonathan Roven. The first page of links was all to the same American lawyer, except for a link to my story, which was surprising and interesting. My other Google search returned some interesting results. I’ve included the links below. Under American law, it seems, calling a fictional character by the same name as a real person alone is not libel. Jonathan Roven would have had to prove that the fictional character was based on him, with more similarities than just names, and that the fictional character had harmed his character and/or reputation. In my story, the fictional character is a 60-year-old gay man with Alzheimer’s Disease; I don’t even name his profession. Also, in America, winning a libel case where you say a fictional character libelled you seems to be very difficult. Now, I’m a nurse and not a lawyer, and this is just what I learnt from an online search. When I first created the character, he was to have been called Jonathan Raven, but I made a typo and called him Jonathan Roven, which I liked the sound of, so it stayed. I’m British, and the Gay Flash Fiction website isn’t run for profit; it’s much more a labour of love. Neither of us could afford to fight a court case, so we quickly agreed to change the title character’s name. Therefore, we changed it to Jonathan Raven is Lost, well in the version on the Gay Flash Fiction website anyway. But it left a sour taste in my mouth and created an unpleasant memory. What had so upset the man that he wanted my story changed or removed? Was it because the character who shared his name was gay and/or had Alzheimer’s Disease (and I’m not sure which one it would be), or was it because he’d lost the top billing of having all his results on the first page of a Google search? I’ve since posted the original version of the story, under its original title, on my old blog and on the GA website, where it can still be read, and I’ve heard nothing from the real Jonathan Roven. In these locations, I have no intention of changing the title or the story or the character’s name. When I was selecting stories for my published collection Case Studies in Modern Life, I naturally chose Jonathan Roven is Lost. It is such a good example of my writing, but it is also about a subject I feel strongly about. Many of the patients I nurse in my job have Alzheimer’s Disease, and I have seen what it does to lives and relationships. Like many of the stories in this collection, I workshopped it at my Writer’s Group. I received amazing feedback, and people advised me to open the story up because there was more to tell. I returned to it and started to re-shape it. The rewrites took the story from 800 to 11,000-words long, and as I rewrote it, so much more of the story came out. I introduced new characters; the narrator’s best friend, their neighbour, Jonathan’s sister, and his social worker, plus a nurse called Lilly. So much of the plot expanded, and I found there was so much more to tell. Other writers talk about stories and characters taking on “a life of their own”. I’ve never really experienced that. I’m a great planner of stories, and I always know where my stories are going. As I re-wrote this story, I found myself thinking about it more and more, planning it out in my mind. I found there was so much more to write, so much more of these characters’ stories to tell. I am also proud that I was able to write a story about Alzheimer’s Disease from an original perspective and also realistically look at how to manage if your partner does develop it. This story isn’t a road map for how to manage life with a partner with Alzheimer’s Disease, but it does provide advice from my experience. I also have Steve, one of the other members of my writer’s group, Newham Writers Workshop, to thank for his suggestion about a change to the story’s ending. His suggestion created a much more poignant ending to the story, highlighting the emotional cost Jonathan Roven’s Alzheimer’s Disease has taken on his partner. This story was originally written as a flash fiction story about losing a lover but in an unusual way. Since then, it has grown into much more. It is now about two men’s tragic journey and is very typical of the subjects I write about. The inspiration for this story occurred back in the late 1990s. I was working in my first District Nursing job and looking after an elderly couple. She had severe dementia, and he was her main carer, but he was also her second husband. Due to her dementia, she had forgotten his name and called him by the name of her first husband. The pain on his face every time she did this was heart breaking. I have never forgotten his expression, though he carried on caring for her. Happy reading. Drew When Fiction & Reality Collide Could I Be Liable for Libel in Fiction? “Libel in general is when somebody claims that a statement of fact made about him or her harmed his or his character” Law & Order' Faces Libel Suit A Writer's Guide to Defamation and Invasion of Privacy Defamation in Fiction—What’s in a Name?
Never Write in the Dark
Drew Payne posted a blog entry in Words, Words and WordsWriting is a very solitary activity; we sit there on our own, writing away on our computer or laptop, or even doing it “old school” via paper and pen, pouring out our stories and preserving our characters there in the written word. But how do we know that what we are writing is any good? We can ask our family and loved ones, but will they give us the feedback we need? They are our loved ones and so often they want the best for us and may not give us the feedback we require, or they may not be able to handle what we are writing about, especially if it doesn’t fit their image of us. As a teenager I wrote poetry, like so many teenagers. I wrote a poem about loneliness. It was bitter, angry and dark. “Nothing kills you faster than loneliness,” was its last line. My mother read the poem and said it was “Nice.” As writers we can get so absorbed in our own writing, get so far into our characters’ heads that we can miss the obvious. We may have failed to introduce our characters, not given them a distinctive enough voice; we may have left huge plot holes; we may have overused one particular word literally. Because we are so close to our writing, we can’t see these mistakes. We also need to know that our writing is readable and engaging, and that cannot always be achieved by rereading on our own. Good and honest feedback will always make our writing better. Writers’ groups have provided me with this; they have been a wonderful source of feedback and support. I’ve learnt so much just from meeting with other members. The first writers’ group I went to was when I was eighteen. The Old Swan Writers were based in the Old Swan district of Liverpool and it was one long bus ride away from my then home. Those bus rides gave me plenty of time to think and read. But that writers’ group told me and showed me I could write. This group of adults showed me I could create a story and characters, plot it out and write it down on paper. It was an amazing revelation. There I received feedback without any agenda. They weren’t pulling me down because they thought I was getting above myself by wanting to be a writer or else telling me polite things because that was what they thought I wanted to hear, both of which had happened before. (Unfortunately, after an extensive Google search, I cannot find any mention of the Old Swan Writers. Like all good things, they seem to have ended) When I moved to London, I stopped attending any writers’ group, not because London is short of them but because I led a very gypsy lifestyle in those early years. I changed jobs frequently and I often moved home. I only really started to settle down when I started my nurse training, and that didn’t leave me much time to write anything that wasn’t related to my studies. I seriously came back to writing after the millennium, when I started to find many avenues for my writing, not just fiction. It was also when I reconnected with a writers’ group, first online and then later in person. I’m now a member of my local writers’ group, Newham Writers Workshop, and they have been so helpful. I’ve had some very helpful feedback on my writing, how my plots and characters are working, how readable my writing is, how my descriptions work, how they paint a picture for the reader. I have also learnt so much about the craft of writing, subjects like “head-hopping”, “filter words”, distance and intimate view points and about using the “unreliable narrator”. I learnt about self-publishing from my writers’ group. But giving feedback to other writers has also helped me. We have a policy of always giving feedback that supports the writer in what they want to write. So there is no saying, “I don’t like this,” neither can you just say, “I liked this.” You have to explain why, what makes this a good piece of writing, where the writer could improve it, what does not work but why it does not work. I have also been exposed to some amazing writing there, listening to/reading other writers’ work has opened my eyes to how you can do things differently and stylistically. It has also shown me what my own personal style is; I like to write from a very intimate point of view of my characters, to get under their skin. The vast majority of my stories in Case Studies in Modern Life have benefited from the feedback from my writers’ group, in some cases I have completely rewritten them after getting some really thought-provoking feedback. My writers’ group has also shown me how inclusive my writing is. The previous two writers’ groups I joined (one online and one in person) were both LGBT groups. I wanted the support of other LGBT writers, it was a safe place and a safe idea, but good things can come to an end and both these groups closed for different reasons. I’m now a member of my local writers’ group and this is an open group. I’m the only openly gay man there and yet that has never been an issue. Now I am writing about gay issues and themes; the other writers there have understood my writing and have seen what I want to write about. It has shown me that my writing has a wide appeal and that is amazing and very reassuring. Newham Writers Workshop has been the last cog, though a very big one, in the machine that encouraged me to publish my collection of stories, and I’m very grateful for this. And then there is the social element. After each meeting, when meeting face-to-face, most of us go to a local pub for a drink. Talking with other writers about writing in general, or even life in general, is a breath of fresh air. It takes the solitude out of it all. And I’ve made some good friends there from very different backgrounds. It is nice to get out of my comfort zone. I would encourage any writer to join a writers’ group; no matter what your experience or level of writing, you can only benefit from good and honest feedback. Drew Case Studies in Modern Life (On Amazon) Case Studies in Modern Life (On Smashwords)
Terrible Writing Advice
Lamps posted a topic in The LoungeSo I found this youtube channel that has some pretty funny videos about writing tropes. I'm not an author but it's still interesting to watch and has some pretty decent advice for aspiring authors. Although the advice is given in a very sarcastic, yet funny, manner.
writing style Silly Grammar Rules
Carlos Hazday posted a topic in Writer's Circle's WritersI've decided to henceforth ignore the rule not to end sentences in a preposition. The person who thought that one up definitely had too much time on their hands. I don't care if it follows an old Latin mandate. My writing, my rules. Anyone else has a grammar pet peeve? Maybe I'll learn about something else to ignore.
how to Stuttering
Carlos Hazday posted a topic in Writer's Circle's WritersI'm having a difference of opinion with someone about how to write stuttering. Would love to see/hear how some of you handle it in your stories.
Where to start-Organizing
E.J. Roxx posted a topic in Writer's Circle's WritersI've been working on a series of short stories, one of which I've already start posting while the others are in the drafting phase, and I hope to get them published as a hole book. At the same time I have about 4 different idea, one for a series and three for full novels. I'm not the most productive person on the planet, and least of all organized. So having all these stories swarming around in my head is a little hard to keep track of yet alone write when I have some other story I would like to get started on. I don't have a one track mind and my brain likes to wonder and lose intrest( ADHD) so it makes it difficult to finish anything even if I have a six page out line of what I am working on. I was wondering if anyone had any experience being a writer with ADHD and an over active brain, would really like some tips on how to get things done, also about publishing as well, I know there are a few publishing websites for lgbt stories, but I still want to know someone who has done it.
Hand-Written Writing Advice from 14 Writers
Thorn Wilde posted a topic in Writer's Circle's Writers...Why am I not allowed to post pictures? *confused* Anyway, Clicky here!