Category Archives: Uncategorised

The Rise of the Arrogant Artist

Have you noticed that a lot of the most successful people seem self-centred? A little arrogant, perhaps? Obnoxious, even. Is there something we humble, peaceful, generous, gentle arty types can learn from this..?  When I meet successful writers, they often seem to have an unshakeable belief that they are right. ‘Here’s my art,’ they say.… Read More »

An Inspiring Message and a Secret to Writing Success

Serious writers write every day. They make it a priority and force it in to their day. The general rule for professionals is 2000 words a day, every day. You might feel that is not possible because you have work, a family and commitments and so forth. Fair enough, but how are you addressing this… Read More »

Morality in Stories

From Little Red Riding Hood to Breaking Bad, the finest stories ever written have a moral argument at their roots. Understanding the morality in your story will help you: Create relevant, well-motivated characters. Define the core conflicts. Unify your story around a clear theme. Define the subtext that gives your story its ultimate meaning and… Read More »

The Shape of Water – Story Analysis

The Shape of Water (directed by Guillermo del Toro and written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor) won the Oscar for Best Picture, but not Best Screenplay. What went on there, then?! In story theory terms, let’s look at what it did well, and then see what might have been improved. Firstly, then the main… Read More »

A Writer’s Game…

I can’t paint, but I invented a painting in my mind, because I wanted to see if I could put a narrative into a static image. My picture idea features a city park in glorious summer sunshine. There’s a playground. Children clamber and run. An open space. Jumpers for goalposts. Kids throw bread for ducks… Read More »

The Top Ten Tips for Writing Stories that Grip

Over time, I have been fortunate to work with some famous people who have made their money from stories (for details, see the In Conversation With… section of The Story Book). From the insights of these luminaries, from my own experiences getting published, from my work as a story consultant, from working on films and from… Read More »

Antagonism – Connecting With Your Dark Side…

If there’s one thing novice writers get wrong more than anything else, it’s the bad side of their story. Why? Because we are good people. We don’t like or relate to the murderers, the dastardly and the manipulative psychopaths that we end up writing about. I would go further: as writers, we are probably even… Read More »