First blog…last rites.

So what’s a blog? A question to answer as we go along, maybe. Is it tone, is it format, is it regularity?…hmm. This one might be a blog or not, but, whatever it is, has its beginnings in a hodgepodge of thoughts, insights, ideas and general stuff collected in the interests of discovering some of the ins and outs of fiction writing.

With any luck it will have, as promised, some of the “art and craft” of story writing. Ars and techne in equal measure with maybe an extra bit of ars showing for fans of Sid James.

Not sure yet what the direction will be – if a hodgepodge can have a direction – but there should be some hints and tips among the waffle, largely culled from people of great insight, sometimes just things that have struck me along the way through my own learning journey. Anyway,  it’s the result of notes made for teaching and learning how to write. It deals largely in prose, largely in traditional forms, with maybe a few extras along the way.

Like most people who like writing I’ve been doing it from before I can properly remember, certainly at a time when I was too young, or at least not precocious enough to have opinions about narrative, turning points, focalisation, character arcs and the like. Like most people who keep their writing interests up, there was an ongoing need  to slap something down on paper (or  screen), some representation of the thoughts and ideas and the various worlds and characters that inhabit those minds with no great destiny or responsibility of their own and plenty of time to chuck away.

I’m lucky enough to have been both a learner and a teacher of creative writing. Learning shouldn’t stop. As a teacher, particularly, there was always learning to do. A teacher learns by delivering their recent thoughts to an audience that needs clarity and cogency. A teacher learns by rehearsing what they think they know and then having it challenged by learners. A teacher learns by sharing insights with a developing peer group.  So by reaching towards some personal development, buoyed by an odd success here and there, and by offering this out to students and seminar groups, there has often been a clear sense of improvement – enough at least to be handy to pass on.

In fact, being a teacher and student roles combine and this blog offers a bit of each, what the learner might be gaining from the teacher and what the teacher might want the learner to know.

So, having been introduced by new people to new ways of shaping story-thoughts, new ways of considering what literature was and what story could be I did end up with a mass of notes and some of them should find their way here. Hopefully there’ll be  insights of one sort or another with a few tips here and there, hoping to get a discussion going and help wherever possible to take people to the next stage for their – skills, knowledge and technique.


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