Love interest nearly always weakens a mystery because it introduces a type of suspense that is antagonistic to the detective's struggle to solve a problem.
Tension is wonderful for making people laugh.
All romances end in tragedy. One of the key people in a romance becomes a monster sooner or later.
Plotting is like sex. Plotting is about desire and satisfaction, anticipation and release. You have to arouse your reader's desire to know what happens, to unravel the mystery, to see good triumph. You have to sustain it, keep it warm, feed it, just a little bit, not too much at a time, as your story goes on. That's called suspense. It can bring desire to a frenzy, in which case you are in a good position to bring off a wonderful climax.
The greatest rules of dramatic writing are conflict, conflict and conflict.
Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.
The essence of drama is that man cannot walk away from the consequences of his own deeds.
In a good play, everyone is in the right.
We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.
The story is not in the plot but in the telling.
Ursula K. LeGuin
Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
We exponents of horror do much better than those Method actors. We make the unbelievable believable. More often than not, they make the believable unbelievable.
Fundamentally, all writing is about the same thing; it's about dying, about the brief flicker of time we have here, and the frustration that it creates.
Don't mistake a good setup for a satisfying conclusion -- many beginning writers end their stories when the real story is just ready to begin.
When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that exalted, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.
George Bernard Shaw
I write plays because dialogue is the most respectable way of contradicting myself.
A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.
There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia.
Endless conflicts. Endless misunderstanding. All life is that. Great and little cannot understand one another.
A story isn't about a moment in time, a story is about the moment in time.
W. D. Wetherell
I could speculate, but it would be just speculation and the kind of thing that you would get in with a science fiction story. And if I was doing a science fiction story then I would come up with what can go wrong with this system.
...commenting about the future of book publishing technology
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One hundred years ago, as Europe emerged from the shadow of the Great War and began the considerable task of rebuilding, it was clear that the years 1914-18 had had a profound impact on the social fabric of the United Kingdom. With a generation of men conscripted and sent far away from home, the opportunities for women to step into areas of work formerly reserved for men had proliferated. Some became railway guards and ticket collectors. Some became bank cashiers and clerks. And yet more were asked to step into positions vacated by their absent bosses and company directors.
Audrey Heath and Alice May Spinks, then both in their mid-thirties, were two of those women. Secretaries at the literary agency Curtis Brown & Massie – the partnership founded when Canadian agent Hughes Massie joined up with Albert ‘Curtis’ Brown and his fledgling agency in 1905 – they had found themselves in the unusual position of running the agency while their employers were absent on war business. Here they had worked with some of the biggest names in the literary landscape – among them Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of the original Tarzanstories, and the American adventurer Jack London, whose work had been wrested away from its past representation by Hughes Massie. Keeping the agency afloat during the war years brought much professional pride to Audrey and Alice. The war brought heartbreak too, with Alice’s husband, Sydney Spinks, perishing in Flanders in 1917 and leaving her a single mother to their five-year-old daughter. Yet by the time of the armistice in 1918, the agency was in good health, poised to thrive again now that peace had returned.
As the many soldiers from the continent and further afield began to be repatriated to Britain in late 1918 and ‘19, however, it became clear that Audrey and Alice’s roles would have to change once more. Now that Albert ‘Curtis’ Brown and Hughes Massie had returned to their agency, Audrey and Alice were expected to step back from running the company to support their directors instead. Yet the years 1914-18 had taught both women an enormous amount about running a literary agency, negotiating contracts, dealing with writers and taking work out to market. Having become so engaged with the process, they were reluctant to return to their more prosaic duties and accept that they would not be at the forefront of literary agenting again. And so, rather than settle back into subservient roles assisting the returning menfolk, Audrey and Alice made a bold gambit; they would strike out on their own, founding a new literary agency where they could originate and represent a fresh stable of writers. In 1919, they departed Curtis Brown & Massie – and A.M. Heath, incorporated as A.M. Heath Ltd in 1921, was born.
First, find out what your hero wants. Then just follow him.
Sex almost always disappoints me in novels. Everything can be said or done now, and that's what I often find: everything, a feeling of generality or dispersal. But in my experience, true sex is so particular, so peculiar to the person who yearns for it. Only he or she, and no one else, would desire so very much that very person under those circumstances. In fiction, I miss that sense of terrific specificity.
A good novel tells us the truth about its hero, but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.
G. K. Chesterton
It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.
In nearly all good fiction, the basic - all but inescapable - plot form is this: A central character wants something, goes after it despite opposition, perhaps including his own doubts, and so arrives at a win, lose, or draw.
People wonder why they don't achieve the success they crave.
I have a theory about that.
I think we all have an inbuilt level of expectation, something rooted deep inside of us. It's often subconscious - and not aligned to what we say to our conscious minds.
For instance, we may do all the things that self help books advise: make plans, set goals and visualize the future. But still, our circumstances never seem to change, we don't get any closer to what we think we really want.
No amount of conscious striving will get us any closer to our goals if our subconscious mind doesn't believe that change, growth and real progress and success are possible - and that we deserve it.
We have baseline expectations about the world that were planted in our brains a long time ago - usually by our parents or by the world we witnessed when growing up.
Seemingly inconsequential things like the way our parents and friends talk about life and how unfair it is - or how ordinary people are thwarted by authority - or how real success is only for the few - these things get suffused into our brains when we're maturing - often when we're at our most vulnerable.
I've lost count of the number of writers who tell me their parents - even their partners - never believed in their writing - that is was all just a waste of time and no good would come of it. And yes it's true that many artists experience years of self doubt about their own ability to achieve success in their chosen field. Largely because they weren't ever truly encouraged - and generally still aren't by society at large.
I believe all this will change as we move into the 21st century. More and more of us will become artists or have art based, creative careers - whether that's in the media, advertising, online, offline or whatever.
It's got to happen because that's where all the big money is exploding these days.
The times they are indeed a-changing.
Of course there will always be riches to be found in engineering, services, retailing, war, money, technology, and in the legal and medical worlds.
But surely this is the first time in history where entertainment of the masses is becoming a very, very big business - and there is sure to be an unprecedented need for writers, musicians and artists of all descriptions to satisfy the insatiable demand for leisure based 'distractions' for the modern consumer.
Could you be one of these artists?
What could possibly hold you back?
One word. Belief.
You need to let go of the 'ties that bind' - the limiting beliefs of your family, friends and partners and even sometimes your own peers.
As the saying goes, if you want to change the world, change first the man in the mirror. (One of the few things M Gandhi and M Jackson could agree on!)
You need to take a look at your subconscious beliefs and see if there's some kind of pre-existing plateau on which your expectations are based.
Where did those limiting beliefs come from? Are they real?
What could you do if you really believed, deep down, that anything was possible - for you?
One way to get a handle on this concept is to look at your life so far.
Have there been times when you felt some avenue of success could have gone further but didn't?
How did you react at the time? Did some personality trait of yours get in the way? Or did events just seem to close in on themselves and prevent real progress?
And importantly, can you trace that closing down of events back to you? Was it something you said or did?
If so - and, if you're honest with yourself, it's usually the case - were your reactions based on what you believed was possible - and what wasn't?
It's all about what you perceive to be real.
For instance, the people who tell us that the world is out to rip them off are very often, sure enough, those that are continually ripped off. You get what you focus on, my friend...
Changing your expectations about what is possible - and what you can achieve - can completely alter your outlook and your prospects.
You need the courage to let go of other people's ideas about how the world works. What's true for one person is rarely true for another.
I see the world as full of two types of people: problem solvers and problem creators.
The first type get ahead and are generally optimistic and fun people. Good company, inventive and a pleasure to be around. The second type try to drag everyone down to their level - where everything is difficult and where every path is thwart with peril. Where life is a depressing series of self fulfilling disappointments.
Our parents and friends and partners, through a misguided sense of overprotection, often fall into this second category. And we need to let go of that.
We need to understand that our world is not like theirs. Ours is a brave new world full of opportunity. A safer place, where there is room for specialization - a place where an artist can thrive.
As long as we expect that to be the case.
Release the ties that bind - and release your true potential!
Your Success is My Concern
Rob Parnell's Easy Way to Write
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.”