Monthly Archives: February 2013

Where is the quest?

Sometimes a work of fiction doesn’t want to work, despite the writer’s best efforts and intentions. The world-building is proceeding apace, the descriptions are gelling, the dialogue is just flowing… but what about the story? This blog was called “Just Add Story” in part because that’s the part I have the most problem with when writing.

My current Work-In-Progress has a protagonist who doesn’t know he needs to do something. I’m discovering that that is a difficult place to write from. First he has to be convinced, in story, that there is a Noble Cause to commit his life to. And then he can Chase After It. But someone else needs to kick him along in the first part otherwise he’ll find a place to farm And That Will Be That.

I was reminded of the need for the hero to have a quest by Neil Gaiman. I started reading Stardust today. By the time I’m just 20% of the way in to the novel, the hero has a Quest and has set off to fulfil it.

I need to give my protagonist a quest to follow. And I need to give it to him earlier than I thought I would need to.


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Filed under Neil Gaiman, storytelling

The unexpected break

This is what you look like right now by Abstru...

This is what you look like right now by Abstruse Goose (Tell me I’m wrong) (Photo credit: dullhunk)

First of all, apologies to those who were wondering if this blog seemed in danger of being abandoned. It was always intended to be a low-volume blog so that if I had a week or more where I didn’t have anything to say, then I wouldn’t invent something pointless to say.

But what has happened is that I’ve been writing other things, non-fiction things and since this blog is about fiction writing, there hasn’t been much to say here. And just to make things just a little more interesting, I got a hardware upgrade at work. Instead of a powerful desktop computer, I now have a powerful laptop. Unfortunately, lugging two¬†laptops to and from work is not going to work. And I’m not sure I want to put my writing on the work lappy. Fortunately, I do have a secure place to put my work laptop overnight at work; it just means I have to plan ahead a bit more if I want to work from home.

So whilst I’m figuring out how to sort out these logistics, my fiction is taking a bit of a break.

I’m a little stuck, anyway. I think I need to find some inspiration to work on other parts of the story and come back to this big roadblock later. This could also mean writing more short stories that may or may not be in the same world.

Which segues nicely into this comic from AbstruseGoose about ideas.

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Filed under blogging, storytelling, writing

Review: To Kill A Mockingbird

I last read To Kill A Mockingbird in high school because it was part of the curriculum that term. Not only was that entirely too long ago for me, but it is remarkable what you remember. I remember the childrens’ game about Boo Radley. I remember the trial of a black man who should have been acquitted but wasn’t. But when you do have to read it in High School, there are a lot of things you don’t yet know about the world.

So I was surprised to find it lurking on my bookshelf a few weeks ago as I don’t have many books there that I haven’t read that copy of. Normally, new books go into the “To Be Read” pile. Sometimes they stay in that for years. On the other hand, it was good that I’d found it as the title was again a set-text, this time for a writing course.

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Filed under review, storytelling