Working Out What Works

Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

My CFT post this week is Story Analysis – Why Bother? I doubt if there’s an English Literature student who HASN’T thought that at some point!

I look at why story analysis benefits writers, how I do this with flash fiction (yes, it can be done), and look at differing types of analysis.

For example, you can look at whether your story works in terms of structure. You can look at whether the sentence length is appropriate given your type of story. You can look to see if your tale is following the Three Act structure.

Story analysis is a useful tool. Hope you enjoy.

Image Credit:  Pixabay

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What do you most enjoy writing – dialogue or description?

I must admit I adore writing dialogue but I have to watch I don’t overdo this. Mind, writing flash fiction with its tight word count helps a lot there!

I can understand the appeal of writing plays given dialogue has to be a prominent part of them.

When I’ve finished a standard length short story (1500 words or so), one of my editing processes is to ensure the balance of dialogue to description is (a) right and (b) specifically right for that story. Some of my longer tales genuinely need a lot of dialogue. The rule is to cut out anything which doesn’t move the story onwards in some way.

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My CFT post this week looks at story analysis and discusses why it is worth doing by writers (both for their own work and on their own favourite authors). I also look at whether you can over-analyse and share how I analyse my flash fiction (yes, it can be done!). Link up on Friday.

Making progress on the novel, an idea I have for a non-fiction book, and, of course, I’m drafting flash fiction too. Hope to get some of that edited and submitted soon. Never short of things to work on but that’s how I like it!

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

As part of my CFT post on Story Analysis this week, I look at how I do this for flash fiction. It can be done!

The most important part of any story though, regardless of its length, is getting that idea out of your head and down on to paper or screen though!

I use story analysis to review my stories thoroughly once the first draft and basic edit (typos and grammatical errors – there is always at least one!) are done.

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One of my favourite word games used to be Word Association. (These days it’s Scrabble on the phone, though the ads are annoying! I’ve also just got into Countdown as an app. No. Have not yet made a 9 letter word. I’m working on it!).

I still use Word Association sometimes as a brainstorming exercise. It can be a great way to find links (and as a result story ideas). Be prepared to dig deep though. Your first reactions to a word will be to come up with the obvious links. It’ll be what comes after you’ve used all those up that will be interesting.

For example:-

Bell = ring = clanger = Jo drops a clanger. Who is Jo? What was the clanger? What were the consequences?


You get the idea. Have fun and play with words like this. It will boost ideas and since when has that been a bad thing?!

What writing task do you dread doing most?

I suppose if I’ve got one, it is the line by line edit for typos and grammatical errors. The thing that keeps me going there is the thought that all of this will vastly improve my story or book.

I think of this task as a bit like dusting. Nobody will notice when you have done it but when you haven’t, that’s another matter! (I loathe dusting… no surprises there).

It helps to focus on getting your MSS as near perfection as it is possible for us mere mortals to do. In a way you don’t want people to notice it. Your work should read seamlessly and well. If it is any small comfort, I learned a long time ago that something which appears to be an easy read is the same something the author slogged their guts over to achieve that. It’s also taken them a long time to get to that level of experience to know it needs doing, IS worth doing etc!

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Fairytales With Bite – Working Out How Things Work

My CFT post Story Analysis – Why Bother? looks at why story analysis works and why it is useful for writers.  But how do your characters work out if things are working the way they should be?

Usually your characters take a while to work out when things are going wrong (and this is particularly true if someone is a traitor to a group of characters.  It takes time to figure out something is not right and then deduce who the guilty party is).

I suppose it is a reflection of human nature that characters often have to realise something is wrong (as opposed to knowing things are going well).  But therein lies the drama and conflict and without all of that, there is no story.

Interesting lines of thought to follow for stories are when characters are put in situation where they are in a different culture and have to adjust their thinking.  How easy is it for them to do that?  Do they manage to blend in with their new surroundings or do they stick out?

But there you have a character who has to got to work out how things work in their new environment.  Also work out what the consequences are for if/when your character gets this wrong.  Is the new situation they’re in welcoming to strangers or not?  Increase the tensions and the pressures on your characters to get this right to ratchett up the stakes the character has to “play for” to achieve whatever goal has been set as the story aim.

This World and Others –

My Favourite Things About Stories

Where do I start with this one?  Well, here goes:-

1.  Stories take you into another world.  Sometimes that world is this one but we see it in a light we’ve not considered before.

2.  Stories show you a wide range of characters, some of whom you’ll love.  Others you’ll love to hate of course but all of them draw  you in and make you feel something!

3.  Stories, when they convey messages/morals, do this subtly.  The writers rightly don’t want to lose their audiences by preaching.  Subtlety generally works better in any case.  It is better that the reader works out what the message/moral is and have their own lightbulb moment. The message hits home all the better for the reader working it out for themselves.

4.  Stories entertain.  In what is a mad world, the escapism element shouldn’t be despised.

5.  Stories can show you different aspects of history and culture from around the world.  (I find it fascinating how so many of our beloved fairytales go back such as long time and there are many cultures which have very similar versions to the ones we know).




















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