The third fundamental pillar of writing

And so I come to the third and final pillar of writing; the plot. There are essentially two ways to tackle the plot.  You can either write the plot out beforehand, or you can go with the flow.  Each option has it’s advantages, and depending on the sort of writer you are, it will help the writing flow.

The first option, is to write the plot first.  This can be achieved in a couple of ways, either to write it out completely, or chapter by chapter.  Having the entire plot set out in front of you, can look intimidating, especially if you are prone to veer of track once in a while.  However, the plot is just the basic framework which the story can be guided around.  The beauty of writing, is that you do not have to stick to the plot, it is entirely up to you.

Be warned though, veer too far from what you are trying to say, can cause plot holes to appear later on.  Sometimes they are easy to fix, others could potentially lead to re-writing half the story.  If you veer away, be mindful that you are able to bring it back again.  These moments of inspiration need not be feared, as they can turn the story in surprising ways.

Chapter by chapter plotting allows for a sense of freedom that would not otherwise be found using the complete method.  A feeling of excitement can be had when about to start a new chapter. Writing without a plot is more risky than with one.  You are far more likely to wander off the beaten path and yet, as I have already discussed, these can lead to some wonderful gems.  Characters that do something surprising, or where new secrets are revealed can hook the reader into wanting more.

Like characters and the world, if you plan on writing a plot, make sure you spend some time on it.  Write down a list of characters appearing in a chapter.  Write down a paragraph, at least, of what you’d like to happen in that chapter.  Then answer these questions; what are the implications for the story and how does this move the story on? They may sound similar, but they are subtly different.  For example, an implication would be that the story moves to a different place.  In doing so, it brings the characters to the place where you want the action to take place.

All three pillars, characters, the world and the plot, put together will help create the best story you can write.

The second fundamental pillar of writing

For my second post, I thought I’d talk about one of the three most important aspects of writing; the world. Like characters, worlds need to be formed and shaped into something believable.  It can be as nonsensical as you wish it to be, just so long as it feels right for your characters.  Anything that can be dreamt of, can be used.

From an alternate reality that is different in only one point to ours, to the bizarre, anything is up for use.  If something happens in your world, you must know what the consequences will be.  I believe that it is this that pushes most writers to use the ‘modern day’ world.  We all know what would happen if someone were kidnapped or murdered.  But what if the consequences were different?

Perhaps kidnapping someone could gain you access to a secret society.  Falling in love could be seen as being alien and punishable by public humiliation.  Or perhaps it is something less prosaic than that, what if, we discover that we are not on Earth after all but some other planet, light years away from ours? And who said that the characters have to be human?  By changing the species, you would change their entire world and how they interact with it.

Cows could be the dominant species, demanding that we milk them three times a day on punishment of death.  What would be the point of cities and nations if we were unable to advance beyond the Milking age? Whatever world you chose, spend time fleshing it out.  Don’t be afraid to get things wrong.  You are the creator and only you know what it right and what isn’t.  All you have to do is make it and convince others it is true.

The first post!

And so here it is, the first post to my brand new website.  What could I possibly say in this post which could help others the most?


One of the fundamental pillars of writing, is characters.

Before you even start your story, you need to consider each and every character you wish to have, even if your story is one page long.  As a writer, you need to understand what the character looks like, what they like, what they hate, what their family is, what their political affiliations are, what religion they are, what is their job; basically, how do they fit in the world?

You need to know each character like you know your best friends.  That way, you can write about them with an authenticity that you would not normally be able to achieve.  You know these people so well, that they rarely surprise you.  Of course, it is up to you to decide whether you want them to do something out of the ordinary.  But, without knowing what that ‘ordinary’ is, how can they be different?

Your characters need to feel and sound real.  They also need to be different from each other, as well as you.  At some point, you will notice that they begin to sound like mildly alternate versions of yourself.  Sure, one or two could have some of your traits in them, but not all.  If they all sound the same and act the same, it is time to take a step back and look at things again.

Observation of the people around you (not necessarily your family, friends and work colleagues), will help you to understand the multitude of characteristics that are out there.  Don’t be afraid to watch others, just don’t make it too obvious!  For some reason, many people do not like to be stared at.