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ORDER,ORDER, exclaimed the Leader of The House

ORDER, ORDER, exclaimed the Leader of The House

Originating in the 15th century, the exclamation point meant ‘Mark of Admiration.’ This has to be one of the most confusing and overused tools of grammar and for me, a ‘Mark of Frustration.’

Melbourne Writers Festival - Philippe Sands

Life is a privilege many take for granted.  Experiences shape, inspire,  emotionally move and motivate and this was what happened when we attended the Alan Missen Oration delivered by Philippe Sands, Professor of Law, QC, author and intellectual, at the Melbourne Writers Festival.

 

Cinematography of the mind

Why do writing experts always advise us to use the writing principle of show don’t tell?

I find that when I am reading a writer who uses show don’t tell I am absorbed and fully engaged with the story. Those stories are the ones I cannot put down.

The reason for this is the language is cinematic and active sentences prevail. There is more detail and description. I am not simply told something happened I am shown what happened and I am part of the action as a reader. Love that feeling.

Tension: a key building block in stories

A major building block in a good story is tension. Tension can be as simple as surprise at the way the writer has shaped a sentence, conjured an image or set up a series of events that create within the reader a curiosity that will not be satisfied until we find the answer to our initial question, why, what or how.

Tension is the key to engaging readers and to keep them turning the pages of your short story, novel or piece of non-fiction.  There is no reason to keep turning the pages if nothing is happening.

Lighting learning fires

 

                                Lighting fires

 

Fires burned in the hearts of students from Room 26 of Matipo School this week and it was exciting to witness. We were giving the stylecheck a trial run in the class to see if it could make writing more fun for students.

Their teacher arranged the 25 students into teams of two or three and asked them to write what they liked about Matipo School.

Writing winning stories

Alex Keegan says in his article writing winning stories that writing for competitions is a way to increase your output, and this is true. This is one positive outcome of not winning. Winning is a bonus!

And who of us doesn’t want to win? Yes, we all do!

Mastering the art of writing serial chapters

During a discussion with Suraya, she explained to me what the benefits are for writers that take part in the serials:
  • An ability to be concise
  • Improved research skills – very important
  • Skilled writing, because you become clear about what you want to say and know you have no room to waffle
  • An understanding of point of view and how to write from a character’s point of view
  • Understanding of tenses and how to keep it consistent
  • The skill of keeping a consistent point of view

Storytelling is a country’s backbone

Stories build nations, organisations and families. They shape our national character and reveal the heart of an organisation.

Stories surround us and those stories give our lives meaning.

Over the years, there has been a  lot of conjecture about whether the world will be taken over by machines; some have even suggested that the time will come when Artificial Intelligence runs the world and people will be redundant. This is the stuff of science fiction but there are those who believe that science fiction predicts the future. And there is evidence to support that.

Simplicity is the key to good reading

When writers start out, they frequently try to write in ways that will show off their skill with words. They employ a number of techniques such as unexplained twists at the end, or introduce new features that don’t really add anything to the story. This often leads to complicated story lines and characters who are portrayed in one way but behave in the opposite way.

For example, a writer may describe a character as reserved and then several pages on have him or her jumping about at a party showing off his or her karaoke skills. Reserved? Hmmm, not really.

Less is more

I know, as writers, we have heard this principle many times and in the early days I struggled to understand just what people meant by it. In time,I learnt to look out for long rambling sentences, saying the same in two or more different ways or using a word many times because I have just fallen in love with it.

I have come across several examples of this recently.

The writer of a book I have just finished clearly fell in love with the word ‘uxorious’. Sometimes writers use these words to show the rest of us how much she/he knows and how little we know.

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