Want to know what D.D. Johnston’s favourite book was when he was a kid? Probably not. But he’s going to use it to illustrate a rule of storytelling that holds for almost every genre of writing.
EM Forster’s classic distinction between story and plot, and why truth really is stranger than fiction:
Happiness is great, unless you’re writing a story. For a plot to exist, there has to be some conflict. And conflict arises when characters with objectives encounter impediments. This video introduces an exercise to help writers focus on conflict, objectives, and impediments.
Words are precious! Here are some thoughts on editing and trying to be grateful for every word you can cut.
There are a few words that you should treat with the utmost suspicion: just, really, quite, literally, very. Mark Twain advised, ‘Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.’ As for ‘literally’, its misuse often results in absurdity.