Suraya Dewing's blog

Show Don't Tell

We have new writers joining us at The Story Mint and it is wonderful to see the variety of talent and approaches these writers take to their writing. Our role at The Story Mint is to encourage and guide with helpful feedback that comments on what they did well and how they can add value to what they have written.

Choosing tense and point of view

Before we finally decide a piece of writing is completed, it is important to look at how well the tense and point of view support the story. This applies equally to fiction and non-fiction. Sometimes it helps to experiment and see how each affects the way the story comes across.

Writing is a deliberate act

A writer has a lot to think about when writing a novel. The first thing to consider is how the reader will react to what we write. And the first thing to decide is whether or not what we write will find a reader. A writer without readers is like a horse without limbs…great body but no legs. If a writer has just one reader, all that changes and gives that writer’s work a purpose.

Writing with style

It is always a worthwhile exercise to study the work produced by other writers not just to be entertained but rather to examine how they use words. In fact, reading is now an exercise of studying why someone has used words a certain way and what they are trying to achieve with the way the words sit on the page.

In some ways, the appearances of the words artistically tell the story in the same way a portrait captures someone’s features.

Conflict: the heart of every good story

In her excellent book Story Structure and Architecture, Victoria Lynn Schmidt PhD points out that conflict keeps a story going and a reader engaged. Loosen off the tension arising from conflict and you loosen the thread that ties the reader to the story. So keep it coming, tightening the winch with every turn. Start slow and gradually wind it up until the reader is almost shouting at the character to do something to relieve the tension.

Writing Scenes in a story

With every newsletter we put out we include a list of writing tips. These usually include web sites and information I have picked up from various sources. They are always relevant and interesting but I was beginning to wonder if there was ever an end to the pithy advice people have for writers. Often the hints come from writers themselves who have done the hard yards and know that being a writer is far from glamourous. Alternatively, they come from observers who have studied the techniques of writing. Both points of view are valid.

Words are powerful

Words have enormous power and, by extension, writers also have great power. Every word we place on paper or in the ether using technology has the capacity to change hearts and to increasing understanding at a cerebral level.

An artist’s words have the power to move hearts, to console the broken and inspire them to mend and to broaden a reader’s experience of the world.

The value of writing serial chapters

The Story Mint now has a number of writers who are enjoying success as professional writers. Others are on the verge of achieving their dreams of becoming successful authors. Those who have been with The Story Mint for the last four years are discovering how exciting it can be to know within themselves that they write well. It is also very exciting to know what to look for as they write and to correct some writing habits that have held them back. Readers are keen to follow their work.

Soundscapes

I can often tell a new writer by the silence in their writing. I find it is something early stage writers forget about. I did.

Now a days, I pause as I’m writing and ask myself when did I last mention sound because it is a sense I am least conscious of.

However, I had a sharp reminder when one of my tutors, many years ago, wrote on a piece of my writing, “This reads like a silent movie.”

He was right but even in a silent movie the sound of the machine is clattering in the background or there is music, rarely absolute silence, as if the viewer was in a vacuum.

Budget versus comfort when travelling: impressions of Brazil

We were budget travellers. The team was most important and their accommodation was priority. Supporters had three choices of package – gold, silver and bronze. They paid all their expenses and many chose the more expensive gold and silver packages. Staff, volunteers, and some supporters took the bronze package.

This might sound like boring detail but I have a reason for telling you this.

Whichever package you chose determined what your impression of Sao Paulo was.

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