|Me totally invading Brian Falkner's personal space|
I'm still recovering from inspiration overload I received at the recent CYA Conference. The day kicked off for me with a writing masterclass hosted by author Brian Falkner.
This master class ran for a few hours and was absolutely jammed packed with tips and advice on writing. I have about ten notebook pages filled. Here's just a tiny taste of what we enjoyed:
If you turn up every day at the same time, ready to work, and start writing without inspiration - then eventually your muse will turn up too.
As an exercise we were asked to share one observation about the person sitting next to us. Then we were asked to share one thing about ourselves. What was noticed was that we tend to make superficial descriptions of others, like the colour of their hair, or if they wore glasses, and we offer more personality descriptions of ourselves. So don't just decide your character is 5ft tall, short brown hair and freckles, instead tell us that they pick up any shiny objects they find on the ground, just like a magpie. This was summed up as shallow vs deep characterisation.
Conflict must come from the story and not be placed simply for more conflict. Obstacles must seem impossible to overcome. When faced with a dilemma, give your character two choices - each with their own dire consequences, or, make them think up a third option. Also, danger must always be immediate, not something coming slowly. Characters are avoiding an oncoming train, not a possible problem that may happen some time next year.
If you have trouble writing a full scene that includes a variety of writing techniques, try the following method:
- Start by writing the narration. Explain what happens in this scene, where your character moves and what he does.
- Go back through your paragraphs and insert description. Give the reader a sense of place and images for characters.
- Now go back through what you have and add dialogue and actions.
We also talked about narration, description, writing tips, point of views, dramatic irony, overlapping suspense lines and much, much more.
Brian Falkner has a great range of novels, and I've chosen to begin by reading Brainjack:
Check out the book trailer!