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Saturday, 31 August 2019

Previous Winners

2016 Han Kang - The Vegetarian
2017 David Grossman - A Horse Walks Into a Bar
2018 Olga Tokarczuk - Flights
2019 Jokha Alharthi - Celestial Bodies

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Mark Twain's Set of Rules

A tale shall accomplish something.

The episodes of a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help to develop it.

The personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.

The personages of the tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit sufficient excuse for being there.

When the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighbourhood of the subject in hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say.

When the author describes the character of a personage in his tale, the conduct and conversation of that personage shall justify said description.

When a personage talks like an uneducated loser, he shall not act like an Oxford graduate.

Crass stupidities shall not be played upon the reader by either the author or the people in the tale.

The personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausibly set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable.

The author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people and hate the bad ones.

The characters in a tale should be so clearly defined that the reader can tell beforehand what each will do in a given emergency.

A tale can be interesting, the characters believable - but the reader won't read enough of it to find out if the language of the story is awkward or unclear. To prevent this, Twain's Rules require that the author shall: SAY what he is proposing to say, not merely come near. USE the right word, not its second cousin. Eschew surplus matters. NOT omit necessary details. AVOID slovenliness of form. USE good grammar. EMPLOY a simple, straightforward style.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

On Vacation


Fictionesse Annual Leave:
from the 22nd September until the 28th 
Emails may not be replied to immediately. 

Thursday, 1 August 2019

How Are You Plotting?

Writing is a creative process and how every writer chooses to create, is individual to them. Likewise, with plotting, every writer plots at a level they are comfortable with.

Some just plot the bare essentials. They have a firm idea of the story they want to write and have a good memory to be able to memorize everything.

Others go into more detail. These writers prefer to figure everything out before they write the story.

How you plot will also depend on your level of experience. For the beginner, it’s recommended to plot thoroughly.

Before writing, think of every possible situation. Plot events thoroughly, plot scenes to the last detail and generally leave no questions unasked or unanswered. This way you will always know where you’re going.

Are You Using The ‘What If’ Technique When Plotting?

Your short story of 500, 2.000, 10.000 words or whatever word length you choose to write, will spring from a single idea - Perhaps a one-sentence idea.

So when you are still in that one sentence stage, using the ‘What If,’ technique is a good way of generating ideas to build on that initial story idea.

While you are in the plotting stage, experiment. Your aim should be to write the best story you can. Experiment to see what bits and pieces you can put together to write the best story ever.

So using ‘What If,’ ask yourself questions then answer them…

What if the character was like this?
What if this happened to him?
What if I placed him in this situation? How would he react?
What if I took this away from him?
What if his worst fear came true?
What if he doesn’t get what he wants? What will he do?
What if I placed this obstacle in his path? What will he do?

You’ll be surprised what you come up with, if you take the time to experiment.

(c) Nick Vernon

Besides his passion for writing, Nick Vernon runs an online gift site where you will find gift information, articles and readers’ funny stories. Visit Website