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Writing Problems: Avoiding the Info Dump by Rebecca Seaton

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  Writing Problems: Avoiding the Info Dump by Rebecca Seaton   An info dump? Sounds painful?! An info dump is the ‘dumping’ of a large chunk or chunks of information in a text. Why should this be avoided? By its nature, the info dump is clunky. This can put readers off as it’s dense and tedious to read. Unless you’re Tolkien, it isn’t generally very entertaining. I believe there are parallels with how God works with us. Although I would sometimes like to know more of God’s plan for my life, I have to accept His timing. While this can be frustrating, imagine what would happen if God revealed everything to us at once! Similarly, the author, who is essentially playing God with their reader, needs to reveal their world over time. We also don’t want to insult the reader by over explaining what they could easily pick up if threaded through the text.                                                                                                      A map is a guide but can also all

Imagine That!

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  I saw the discarded bag in the park. It lay on its side, empty apart from a water bottle. I recognised the bag’s logo: ‘Deliveroo’. I’ve never seen a Deliveroo bag out and about without a delivery driver before.  Where was the driver? Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a trainer-clad foot sticking out from behind a tree. I hurried over to offer assistance, and – oh hang on, no, that’s not what happened. Let me pick up the story again: Where was the driver? I looked around and, at the bottom of the hill, saw a group of people hurrying away, glancing furtively over their shoulders. They must have kidnapped the driver. I pulled out my phone to call 999, and – oh hang on, no, that’s not what happened. Where was the driver? I took a closer look at the bottle inside the otherwise empty bag. Was it a clue? What could it mean? Perhaps the driver had managed to scrawl a note as he was dragged away, and stuff the note in the bottle, hoping that someone would find it. And I’d found

The Editing Process

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  Are you a work in progress? I certainly am. The older I get, the more aware I am of various typos in my life. Life typos , if you like. I intend to unite , and instead I untie . This is great if you like an anagram, or even an atomic typo (where the wrong word is still a real word, and therefore unlikely to be noticed by a spellchecker). It is not so great if you are aiming at perfection. My fumbled good life intentions have led to many errors over the years. Some life typos are spontaneous and true mistakes. Some are habitual; the result of muscle memory and repetition. I may or may not notice these. Some might be the consequence of tiredness or sloppiness. They are in my thought life and actions and words. When I do notice life typos, they distract me and I get annoyed by their mere presence. I get angry at my temper. Edgy with my impatience. On good days, amused at the irony as well. The problem is how I perceive my imperfections . Like many recovering perfectio

And Rest... by Natasha Woodcraft

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If you’re reading this post on 20th June, then I’m probably on my way to, or at, a writer’s retreat (The ‘Writing Kingdom Stories’ retreat Joy Margetts has mentioned in her posts.) I’d already started writing this blog when I noticed Andrew Chamberlain’s interesting Facebook post on carving out time for writing, and the guilt surrounding that, when we have so many other demands on our time. I feel the tension too. I tend to find myself prioritising the immediate, the paid and the needed. How do we justify and protect our writing time?   It can be even harder to carve out time to rest. Everyone thinks rest is a good idea. Very few people I’ve met are good at practising it. Some writers seem to throw books out at an alarmingly rapid rate. It makes me wonder whether rest is something we’re prioritising even less than writing? Because for me, rest is part of the writing process. But it can be especially hard when you get the, ‘So, when is your next book out?’ comments, when you’ve decided

Dogs, Details, Disaster and Delight

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                                                                       Lizzie aged 11 weeks I’ve always been a dog person although I haven’t owned one for over ten years. The heartbreak moments as we said goodbye to Boadicea (Rottweiler) and Caesar (cross Rottie/German Shepherd) have stayed with us for that long, so we never considered another dog. Yes, we dabbled disastrously with guinea-pigs for a year and were only too glad to donate the expensive cages and paraphernalia to the admirable young lady who agreed to take on Midnight and Sunset. Never again! You may wonder what has this got to do with writing? I’ve discovered this month that detail is important, hence the irrelevant details of my life. I have known of course details should be a consideration but I just glossed over that because I am a straight-to-the point writer. Oh yes, we got a puppy. Detail in our writing gives a focus point for the reader to engage with us, and makes our writing grounded in real life. For exampl

Are You Sitting Comfortably? - Meryl McKean

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      Are you sitting comfortably? Those words are connected in my memory to a story time on the radio when I was a child (maybe I’m showing my age here)! When my children were young the bedtime routine would include reading a story or a chapter of a book: a relaxing way of unwinding and preparing for sleep – hopefully. Story reading can create such an atmosphere of comfort and togetherness.        A story has the power to transport us from our own world into another, we get to see the world through the eyes of another. We can leave behind our own issues and safely lose ourselves in someone else’s’ story.      After a long day at work that I often find myself dreaming of comfort: maybe sitting down with a cup of tea and a good book in a favourite spot or watching a TV show or eating a delicious meal. I realise, though, that when it comes to writing it is often discomfort that serves to move me forward. Life flies by and it can be all too easy to get used to producing the same sort

Turmoil and Trust

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 Turmoil and Trust   The roses had never looked better. Their colour and scent rejoiced in the warm air. And then the wind came roaring off the sea and up the estuary, making the silver birch trunks lean away from it, as it  snatched at the leaves, pulling and tugging and tormenting.... and reminding me.    Sometimes we can actually do very little. We write a story/poem/chapter/treatise/report, and then out it goes, into the hands of an agent/publisher/reader, and/or into the mind of someone who cannot know the effort each word has cost, someone who may or may not understand the heart and soul we have poured into it. Or if they do know/guess the effort, or can empathise with the effort, they won’t remember it for long, because this is the generation that doesn’t linger. It’s the generation that moves on.   I suppose that is the way it has always been. And yet… each person in each generation has to find God for himself/herself/themselves. God doesn’t change, but the human perspective of