Past tense versus present tense (tip 56) Reply

Any sensible person would probably accept that the past tense and the present tense are equally good and which is best will depend on the piece of writing and the author. After all, one needn’t look far for fine novels in the present tense: think Cormac McCarthy, J.M. Coetzee, Hilary Mantel, and many others. But D.D. Johnston is not a sensible person. In this video, he argues for the superiority of the past tense.

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Choosing your point of view: when to write in the first person (tip 40) Reply

Many of us begin writing in the first person, often without considering whether it’s the best point of view for our story. So here’s a link to a test that can help decide whether first person is right for you. And here, in the video below, you’ll find D.D. Johnston’s reflections on meeting Richard Ford, and on when writing in the first person is and isn’t a good idea.

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Writing in the second person and an introduction to point of view (tip 39) Reply

Writers have three choices when it comes to point of view (the perspective from which a story is told). The vast majority of stories are told in the first person or the third person, and as we’ll see in future videos, these options come with multiple complexities, variations, and pitfalls. But in this video we take a look at the rarest option: the second person.

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Filtering devices: avoiding repetition in the first person (tip 36) Reply

Some writers worry about repeating ‘I’ when writing in the first person. Here’s some advice on avoiding repetition through cutting out filtering devices and telling the story through external concrete detail. Thanks to Veronica Charyton for suggesting this topic.
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The topics we’ll be covering in 2015 Reply

online writing tips logoWant to know the sort of thing we’ll be covering in 2015? Well, our posts will be grouped into the 25 topics listed below. We won’t be doing these strictly in order, but selecting from the topics menu on the right will bring up the videos we’ve done so far in any chosen category (thus far, we haven’t done any, so save yourself a click!).

  1. Getting started
  2. Writing as communication
  3. Selecting your material
  4. Story and plot
  5. Elements of style
  6. Specific concrete detail
  7. Tense and Point of View
  8. Dialogue
  9. Characterisation
  10. Setting
  11. Description
  12. Story time and narrative time
  13. Common problems
  14. Pet hates
  15. Metaphor
  16. Subject and theme
  17. Endings
  18. Entertaining your readers
  19. Short fiction
  20. Novel writing – mastering the narrative
  21. Advanced stylistics
  22. Editing
  23. Grammar
  24. Punctuation
  25. Getting published