Writing Inspiration

Kurt Vonnegut on the Shape of Stories

This is a fantastic (and hilarious) lecture by Kurt Vonnegut explaining how story shapes work:

You can find out more and download an infographic with all the story shapes featured in the lecture here: https://io9.gizmodo.com/the-universal-shapes-of-stories-according-to-kurt-vonn-1526559996


Book Reviews

Review: Inside Story – The Power of the Transformational Arc

Inside Story by Dara Marks is a book that can help you to write stories with real emotional depth and impact. It’s aimed at screenwriters but the advice can be applied to any story of any length. The transformational arc refers to how your characters change over the course of a story. But it’s not… Continue reading Review: Inside Story – The Power of the Transformational Arc

Writing Inspiration

Stephen King: The Adverb is Not Your Friend

This great advice from Stephen King comes from his essential book On Writing. It’s filled with writing tips and insight into his life and writing process. If you haven’t read it – read it! This extract is about the dreaded adverb. One or two may be okay, but beware the adverb – it is not your friend… “Adverbs… Continue reading Stephen King: The Adverb is Not Your Friend

Writing Inspiration

Kurt Vonnegut: 8 Tips for Writing Short Stories

Here’s a video of great advice for short story writers – although you could easily apply these tips to novel writing too. If you take only one of these tips to heart, I would say the first is pretty important: don’t waste the time of a total stranger. Always ask yourself: why would anybody want to read this?

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.


Story Structure

The Heroine’s Journey: Return with the Elixir

Our heroine has reached the end of her journey and returns transformed. This stage is about the ascension of the new mother. The heroine is changed and so the world is changed. She can now start a new life, establish a new family or community. Jane Eyre Returns with the Elixir Jane returns to Thornfield… Continue reading The Heroine’s Journey: Return with the Elixir

Story Structure

The Heroine’s Journey: Resurrection

Our heroine has taken the Road Back to the Ordinary World and must now be resurrected. This stage is about purification and the purging of the past, and it takes us to the climax which requires another death. This is where the heroine must demonstrate what she has learnt. In the heroine’s journey this stage… Continue reading The Heroine’s Journey: Resurrection