Writers’ Tools: Scene-by-Scene

As NaNoWriMo drains words from me like a gigantic novel leech, I have to take that tried-and-tested piece of November advice and silence my inner editor. The emphasis of Nano has always been word count above all else, with the idea that we can fix all in the edit - in a similar way that film-makers "fix it in post". If you're an intricate plotter, you probably start any new project, novel or screenplay or other, with a thick wedge of notes and an exact play-by-play of how your finished project is going to look. If, however, you're like me, you probably start with broad brushstrokes and then fill in the finer details as you go on. You may have a beginning, a middle and an end but how exactly those are going to fit together may be a complete mystery. I hold an interesting position in that I am both a screenwriter and a novelist. Screenwriting tends to be much more heavy-handed...
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Writers’ Tools: Story Forge

I have been meaning to write this post for a long time, as evidenced by the fact that the first photo I took for it was while I was still planning my wedding and I'm been married almost seventeen months! Back in March 2012, I saw this cool Kickstarter project on my Twitter timeline (back when one's Twitter timeline wasn't chock-full of Kickstarter, Indiegogo and the like). I was immediately intrigued and backed it, making it the best $25 I've ever spent on my writing. What is Story Forge? What may at first look like tarot cards for maximum upheaval in your life are in fact prompts for the fiction writer's imagination. Using the suggested layouts in the accompanying booklet, you can pick a plot, design a dramatic decision or concoct captivating characters. The deck is nominally divided into five suits - Destiny, Wealth, Will, Emotion and Identity - but this has never greatly affected the outcomes for me. You can read more...
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Writers’ Tools: Tactile Spreadsheet

While waiting for various co-written projects to make their way back to my inbox and anxiously querying literary agents, I have decided to distract myself by remembering to update my blog. (I apologise in advance if this makes as much sense as monkeys attempting Shakespeare - I am full of lurgy) The contents of this post will be obvious to many of you. Writers love index cards. They love that they come in lots of different colours and can be written on with a variety of coloured pens. They love them so much that they peruse stationary shops looking for the perfect bulldog clips to safely secure them. However, beating out a plot is only one way to utilise those tantalisingly blank rectangles. I am going to present a more complicated system that some of you may seize as vital to screenplay composition, and which others will love because it adds another few hours of procrastination before actually having to write the damn...
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