Showing category "Writing" (Show all posts)

Structure and Outlines pt 2

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, August 25, 2013, In : Writing 

I have recently starting something that I am calling the Fairy Tale Project (FTP). I am working out the most productive way for me to outline and to write to an outline by doing plot breakdowns of old versions of fairy tales and then rewriting them. I've found it really easy to write using these plot breakdowns. The breakdown is basically a list of plot points, similar to what I was using for the story I was writing in February. In this case, however, I’m seeing which of those plot points a...


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Structure and Outlines pt 1

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, August 18, 2013, In : Writing 

On several different occasions I have talked about different methods of outlining. I have been looking for a way that would work for me for some time now, because, while I enjoy the discovery of pantsing, it takes much longer for me to finish a story that way. Often enough, I end up killing a pantsed story during the rewrites. (I have the… habit?… of complicating my stories, of adding so many layers that, by the time I’m done, the original story is almost impossible to discern. I’m wo...


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Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap Up

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, August 5, 2013, In : Writing 

So, everyone is doing their wrap-up posts for Camp NaNoWriMo, and I’m no exception. We all want to share our experiences and get other people interested in taking a shot at NaNoWriMo proper when it starts in November. First, a quick up-date and then the Three Keys to a Great NaNoWriMo Experience. 


I finished the month with a little over 55,000 words on my NaNo project and over 80,000 total for the month which is more words in one month than I think I’ve ever done before, especially as pr...


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Writing Advice, Rules, and Guidelines

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, June 10, 2013, In : Writing 

Any writer with any interest in the craft of writing eventually winds up with a veritable library of writing guides, style manuals, and how-to books along with a media-player full of podcasts and an RSS reader full of articles by writers. These sources offer advice on any and every aspect of writing; from story development to marketing and everything in between. We wind up with thousands of books, articles, and multimedia discussions on pretty much every topic related at all tangentially to t...


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Ideas & Imagination

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Thursday, May 23, 2013, In : Writing 

I was talking to a friend the other day and he made a comment about how (un)inspiring country life was and how, as a writer, he needed vibrant stimulation! I suggested that vibrant stimulation was great for the generation of ideas but that constant stimulation was hell on the actual writing process. He reminded me that, without the ideas, there is no writing, which is true enough, but not the whole story, just as the supposed tedium of country life and the supposed vibrancy of city life isn...


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Plotting and Outlining

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, March 4, 2013, In : Writing 

I had planned to write a post about plotting about a month ago and just talk about the different methods I’ve seen discussed and where you can find more information on them. I went through this thing last year where I was really into outlining and trying to learn as much as possible about it. I’d been trying to deal with the Wayfarer edits and was hopelessly stuck and hoped that by learning more about outlining I might be able to make one for Wayfarer that would show me the way forward. I...


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Genre & Dialect

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, In : Writing 

‘Write what you know’ is one of the most cited rules of writing. Most people take it to mean that you should only write about those things you have some experience of. That idea has been soundly refuted by a number of good authors. 

What it really means is, if you want to write about something, or, write within a particular genre, you need to find out as much about it as you can before starting the story.

You need to immerse yourself in the topic to such an extent that when you come to wr...


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Point Of View

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, February 20, 2012, In : Writing 

Point-of-view is one of the most important tools in any writer’s toolbox. Used well, POV provides an intimate connection with the main character. Used badly, it dilutes the impact of the story.

Take the time to study any best-selling novel and you’ll find that the writer has limited the POV as tightly as possible. This is because the fewer the POV characters, the more likely the reader is to make that emotional connection with your character that will keep them turning the page. 

The fewe...


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Painting With Words

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Wednesday, February 1, 2012, In : Writing 

I was teaching a class the other day and had my students checking their definitions of the words on a vocabulary list by looking them up in the dictionary. One of the words was ‘debt’. I was surprised to find that the primary definition provided by the Webster’s American English Dictionary (New Edition) was ‘sin’, the secondary being ‘something owed’. 

I wondered if this particular take on debt was a particularly American understanding, or whether someone with extreme fundamenta...


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Important Things to Know About Submitting Work

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, January 8, 2012, In : Writing 

In my last post I commented on all the books and classes available to teach you what you need to know to have a professional looking manuscript and how to write a great cover letter; another thing they all mention, which should, really, go without having to be said, is to be polite. In an article in the May 2010 issue of The Writer (I know, I'm a year and a half behind on my reading, that's what happens when you take uni courses), Liz Scheier, a former editor at Penguin and Random House, talk...


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The Two-Point approach to Better Writing

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, December 11, 2011, In : Writing 
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of books out there talking about the craft of writing. They cover everything, from coming up with ideas to crafting the perfect cover letter, from structuring a plot to developing well-rounded characters. There are classes at every level taught by everything from professional writers to professors. There is so much information available that there is no excuse for unprofessional-looking manuscripts or badly drafted stories. Handing in such work shows disresp...
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Doubts and Progress

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, October 2, 2011, In : Writing 
I hit a wall early last week. I sat down at my computer to start work on Wayfarer and couldn't remember why I was bothering. I wasn't sure where I was going with it, or why I was where I was, or what the point of it all was. 

At least some of that was due to external factors, but another part was the fact that I had never sat down and worked out an outline of the new section, nor really thought about where it fitted within the larger context of the novel. I'd had an idea that seemed perfect fo...
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Importance of a schedule

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, September 25, 2011, In : Writing 
Last week I set myself a writing schedule rather than doing it all off the cuff as I had been. It worked quite well. The current section of Wayfarer is now at almost 15,000 words and Yukihime, the short story I've been working on, has undergone a complete rewrite and is almost finished. It is about 2500 words long at present though a further 2000 words await editing. 

The schedule has been hard to maintain at times, especially in the face of work and study demands, and a few sacrifices have ha...
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Meet the scribbler


I'm a writer, editor, indie publisher, and dedicated Magic Spreadsheet user. Originally from Adelaide, Australia, I've been living in Japan since 1995. I've had a life-long interest in writing and in speculative fiction. My first book was published in mid-2014.
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