Balancing interior & empirical experience (tip 61) Reply

Some writers can become trapped in their protagonist’s minds. Everything is heavily filtered through the protagonist’s consciousness, to the extent that we can lose our bearings in the external world. In this video, we consider how JM Coetzee finds the right balance between interior and empirical experience.

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Dialogue tags editing exercise to accompany writing tip 33 Reply

Dialogue tags exercise imageAfter watching Writing Tip 33, you might want to have a go at this writing exercise. Just click on the image to open the exercise and then clean up the dialogue tags to improve the excerpt. For comparison, the published version follows further down the document. As always, please let us know how you get on.

Concrete versus abstract description (tip 30) Reply

Concrete description is sensory description; it is the stuff we can touch, see, smell, hear, and taste. Abstract descriptions have no weight or texture. They are ideas, conditions, qualities, abstractions that float around in the ether. When and how should writers use these different types of description?

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Choosing relevant detail: writing, specificity, & Dan-Brown-isms 4

In our last video we discussed using specific details to make a story convincing. But specific details are not just there to make the story a bit more believable; they’re also the primary means through which the story, and all its emotion, is conveyed. So the details in your story can’t be any old details – unless you’re Dan Brown, the king of irrelevant details. Assuming you’re not Dan Brown, how do you make sure you choose the right details?

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Tell, don’t show Reply

One simple rule can sort even a serious ‘show, don’t tell’ obsession: so long as you’re dealing with objective facts, tell us those facts as simply and clearly as possible. You only need to make an effort to show rather than tell when you’re conveying subjective ideas.

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