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The Four Reasons To Use Dramatic Irony In Your Story →

When we teach our Writers Write course, we find that people are often unsure about using dramatic irony.

Dramatic Irony - What is it?

Dramatic irony is a story-telling device. It is when you give your reader plot information that the main character doesn’t have until later on in the story. Sometimes you want to keep all the characters in the dark about a major plot point that will only be revealed in the climax.

The Ironic Statement

When using dramatic irony, it should tie in with your theme. The characters must make a statement in the story, through dialogue or action, which throws the absurdity, danger, or emotion of the scene into relief. The dialogue will usually have a changed or opposite meaning. Similarly, the action will be misconstrued in some way, or cause a complication.

Here are the four reasons why you would use dramatic irony in a story, together with four examples, and their ironic statements. 

by Anthony Ehlers for Writers Write

— 3 days ago with 102 notes
#The Four Reasons To Use Dramatic Irony In Your Story  #Writing Advice  #Lit  #Anthony Ehlers  #Writers Write 
The Inconsolable Writer - From Distraction to Inspiration in Four Easy Steps →

As creative people, we seek out perfection—a story we want to tell, a sculpture we want to fashion, a photograph we want to take. Tennessee Williams called it inconsolability. That’s a word I like. 

We are restless, itchy, even a bit frustrated at times. It’s the stone in a shoe. The grain of sand that makes a pearl. This is often how a good story, film, or piece of music is formed. 

How can getting distracted help you?

— 1 week ago with 48 notes
#The Inconsolable Writer - From Distraction to Inspiration in Four Easy Steps  #Anthony Ehlers  #Writing Advice  #Lit  #Writers Write 
Is it important to have an author platform? →

Any author needs to have an author platform. It generates sales, it creates awareness, and it builds relationships for future sales. It also gives you credibility and establishes you as a serious writer. 

It is not only for authors who wish to self-publish. Authors who publish traditionally are also required to have an online presence. Social media interaction and blogging are large parts of the publicity strategy for the publisher. eBooks and eReaders have played a huge role in this. 

For any aspiring author it is something you need to establish as soon as possible. Your online presence is where you will direct publishers in your query letters and how you will reach readers if you wish to self-publish. Basically you want to build your following before you publish.

How do you start?

— 1 week ago with 48 notes
#Is it important to have an author platform?  #Mia Botha  #Writers Write  #Writing Advice 
How to write an irresistible book blurb in five easy steps →

Your blurb will be an important part of your marketing. It is vital to get a reader’s attention. To write a good blurb, you have to make it short. Cut out sub-plots. Add tension to make it dramatic. Try not to mention more than two character’s names, and promise your audience a read they won’t forget.

I’ve come up with this easy acronym to help you create a blurb. I call it SCOPE. Follow these five steps and see if it works for you.

Possible Solution
Emotional Promise

  1. Setting: All stories involve characters who are in a certain setting at a certain time. 
  2. Conflict: A good story places these characters in a situation where they have to act or react. A good way to start this part of your blurb is with the words: But, However, Until
  3. Objective: What do your characters need to do?
  4. Possible Solution: Offer the reader hope here. Show them how the protagonist can overcome. Give them a reason to pick up the book. Use the word ‘If’ here.
  5. Emotional Promise: Tell them how the book will make them feel. This sets the mood for your reader.

I saw The Edge of Tomorrow today, and I decided to write a blurb using this formula.


  1. London. The near future. Aliens have invaded Earth and colonised Europe. Major William Cage is a PR expert for the US Army, which is working with the British to prevent the invaders from crossing the English Channel. Battle after battle is lost until an unexpected victory gives humanity hope.
  2. But the enemy is invincible. A planned push into Europe fails and Cage finds himself in a war he has no way to fight, and he is killed. However, he wakes up, rebooted back a day every time he dies.
  3. He lives through hellish day after day, until he finds another soldier, Sergeant Rita Vrataski, who understands what he can do to fight the enemy. Cage and Vrataski have to take the fight to the aliens, learning more after each repeated encounter.
  4. If they succeed, they will destroy the enemy, and save Earth.
  5. This thrilling action-packed science fiction war story will show you how heroes are made and wars can be won. Against the odds.

SCOPE will work for any blurb. Why don’t you try it?

by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

© Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy How to write a query letter in 12 easy steps and How to write a one-page synopsis

— 1 week ago with 1294 notes
#How to write an irresistible book blurb in five easy steps  #writing tips  #writing advice  #Amanda Patterson  #Writers Write 
What Makes a Great Horror Story? 
As a genre, horror has the incredible power to move people to extreme emotion. Why? Because it taps into our collective fear, shame and unconscious impulses. Our earliest mythic creations like Beowulf or even Red Riding Hood stem from horror. From Stephen King to Alfred Hitchcock, horror can be a great challenge for a writer.
Here are seven amazing ideas that will help you find your perfect horror story.

What Makes a Great Horror Story? 

As a genre, horror has the incredible power to move people to extreme emotion. Why? Because it taps into our collective fear, shame and unconscious impulses. Our earliest mythic creations like Beowulf or even Red Riding Hood stem from horror. From Stephen King to Alfred Hitchcock, horror can be a great challenge for a writer.

Here are seven amazing ideas that will help you find your perfect horror story.

— 2 weeks ago with 153 notes
#Seven Spine-Chilling Ways to Write an Unforgettable Horror Story  #Writing Advice  #Anthony Ehlers  #Writers Write 
52 Wednesdays - Mia Botha’s Top 15 Posts →

Mia Botha writes:

It’s my blogging birthday. This is officially the 52nd post on writing that I have written for you and Writers Write. I would like to thank you for reading every week and for your thoughtful comments and wonderful feedback. 

Here is a list of the 15 posts that you liked most. It seems that booze, murder and sex are still popular topics. Happy reading. 

  1. Six things alcohol has taught me about writing: Alcohol has taught me many things, the most unexpected lessons were about writing. 
  2. Confessions of a serial killer: Questions you should ask yourself before you decide to kill a character.
  3. How the senses make stories seem real: Learn how to engage your reader’s emotions by engaging their senses. 
  4. What are the rules of write club?: Learn the rules of fiction and then break them.
  5. Five things to do before NaNoWriMo starts: Writing 50 000 words in one month is no laughing matter. Make sure you are prepared.
  6. Read like a writer: The best way to learn about writing is to read. Here are a few questions that will get you thinking about the writing process while you read. 
  7. How to make your characters shockingly real: Sometimes a hero can be too perfect. 
  8. Six things to consider before you cross your genres: Crossing genres is very popular, but you should ask yourself a few questions before you cross over. 
  9. Sex scenes - Part 2: How does your hero react on a sexual level? These six archetypes will help you ask the right questions to figure it out. 
  10. Sex scenes - Part 1: What should you think about before writing a sex scene?
  11. Who is your literary family?: A family you get to choose. Who’s your daddy?
  12. One habit every writer must have: A day at the traffic department teaches me an expected writing lesson. 
  13. Writer’s block and the fine art of procrastination: Procrastination is still my greatest talent and a necessary part of the process for me. 
  14. Getting un-stuck: There are good days and then there are bad days and then there are blank page days. How to get going again. 
  15. Why do I write romance?: I get asked this question a lot. Call it my pet hate. 

My favourite post was The Worst Case Scenario Expert - mainly because I am one. Read it and see if you can relate.

— 2 weeks ago with 67 notes
#52 Wednesdays - Mia Botha’s Top 15 Posts  #Mia Botha  #Writing Advice 
15 Questions Authors Should Ask Characters →

How well do you know your character? 

We spend a lot of time creating characters. We think about names, where they live, who they love, whether or not they have a phobia or a personality disorder. We decide to place our characters in conflict with an antagonist in order to write a novel. We plan an inciting moment, and plot our scenes, but how much do we really know about the psychological motivations of our important characters?

Here are 15 questions you should be able to answer about these characters in your novel.

— 2 weeks ago with 205 notes
#15 Questions Authors Should Ask Characters  #Writing Advice  #Amanda Patterson  #Writers Write 
The Top 10 Writing Posts for June 2014 →

These were the Writers Write posts you enjoyed most in June 2014.

  1. How to make your characters shockingly real - Create characters, not caricatures
  2. Seven Extremely Good Reasons to Write the Ending First - Excellent advice
  3. 30 Famous Authors On Writing in Plain Language - Write to communicate
  4. What Your Handwriting Says About You - Does anyone still write by hand?
  5. The Most Annoying Writing Mistakes - Mistakes that make us cringe
  6. The Remarkable Writing Tools of Eight Famous Authors - How writers write
  7. Autopsies for Writers - What have your writing failures taught you?
  8. Literary Terminology - Excellent resource for writers
  9. Three reasons why you need a sidekick in your novel - A sidekick is not a friend
  10. Viewpoint Part One - Get Real: Viewpoint is your voice - Unravelling viewpoint

Previous Posts

— 3 weeks ago with 278 notes
#The Top 10 Writing Posts for June 2014  #Writers Write  #Writing Advice 
The Battle of the Backstory →

Backstory is anything and everything that happens before your short story or novel opens. Because we need to know our characters’ histories, we think the reader needs to know it too.

Here’s a secret—readers don’t care

They want action, they want forward movement. Decide how little backstory you can get away with. Make sure you include only important background information. Then see if you can thread it through the story using the following story-telling techniques.

Five simple ways to avoid the awful information dump

— 3 weeks ago with 119 notes
#The Battle of the Backstory  #Writing Advice  #Anthony Ehlers  #Writers Write 
How using annoying abbreviations like WTF can improve your writing →

As a writer I hate social media slang. I cannot stand the omission of vowels and I detest weird abbreviations, but I have to confess there are times when only WTF or OMG will do.

Read more here

— 3 weeks ago with 33 notes
#Mia Botha  #writing advice  #writers write  #How using annoying abbreviations like WTF can improve your writing 
155 Words to Describe an Author's Tone →

What is tone?

Tone refers to an author’s use of words and writing style to convey his or her attitude towards a topic. Tone can be defined as what the author feels about the subject. What the reader feels is known as the mood.

Tip: Don’t confuse tone with voice. Voice can be explained as the author’s personality expressed in writing. Tone = Attitude. Voice = Personality.

Tone (attitude) and voice (personality) create a writing style. You may not be able to alter your personality but you can adjust your attitude. This gives you ways to create writing that affects your audience’s mood.

The mechanics

Tone is conveyed through diction (choice and use of words and phrases), viewpoint, syntax (grammar; how you put words and phrases together), and level of formality. It is the way you express yourself in speech or writing.

How do you find the correct tone?

You can usually find a tone by asking these three questions: 

  1. Why am I writing this?
  2. Who is my intended audience?
  3. What do I want the reader to learn, understand, or think about?

In formal writing, your tone should be clear, concise, confident, and courteous. The writing level should be sophisticated, but not pretentious.
In creative writing, your tone is more subjective, but you should always aim to communicate clearly. Genre sometimes determines the tone.

Here are 155 Words to Describe an Author’s Tone

by Amanda Patterson

— 1 month ago with 123 notes
#Amanda Patterson  #Writing Advice  #Education  #155 Words to Describe an Author's Tone  #LIT 
Viewpoint Part Four - Fish and Rain: Experimenting with Viewpoint →

“I think fish is nice, but then I think that rain is wet.” – Douglas Adams

Viewpoint is a great way to experiment with your voice as a writer, to find different techniques for story telling. Too often writers believe they must stick to one viewpoint technique in a novel. This is not true. It is a safe way to write—but it’s not always exciting.

Fluidity. Don’t think of viewpoints as inviolate silos, but rather as fluid brush strokes that can cross over into each other. You can use more than one in a single story or novel. Why not shake it up a bit?

  1. Second person. In this viewpoint, we almost force the reader to become the narrator, by referring to the subject with an object pronoun. I becomes You. The protagonist becomes not only the main character but anyone who identifies with him.
  2. Unreliable narrator. When you use this viewpoint, the reader must read between the lines to discover what is really going in in the story. Often the narrator is a fantasist, a liar, a manipulator or someone suffering from a psychological condition.
  3. Zero viewpoint. There is a point when we leave viewpoint behind and write objective biography or histories. Some stories use no attached viewpoints to create a fairtyale effect or news item-type tone in a story.

Filtering it. Think of a photographer playing with filters and cuts when you experiment with viewpoints.

  • What if you add in a sepia filter—tell a story that happened a long time ago? Time always changes the tone of viewpoint.
  • What if you cropped out the surroundings so we focus on only a screaming mouth? The person could be on a roller-coaster or being attacked by riot police. We don’t know. When you leave stuff out, your writing becomes highly subjective and intriguing—this is viewpoint at work.

Read Part One andPart Two and Part Three of our Viewpoint Miniseries. 

by Anthony Ehlers

— 1 month ago with 142 notes
#Viewpoint  #Writing Advice  #Anthony Ehlers  #Writers Write 
Writing is frustrating: Five ways to beat it →

Frustration is as much part of the writing process as the writing. Some days I feel like I am going crazy. Like bat-shit crazy.

I have mentioned before that I underwrite. I have been working so hard at learning to write longer that I seem to losing my ability to write short. I used to be able to write a short story with relative ease. I loved it. Now I write a short story and it’s well, blah. Stories that used to fit into a half-page now need explanations and back story and longer descriptions. In short, it feels like when I try to fix one thing I break the part that was working.

When frustration has me banging my head on the keyboard, what do I do?

  1. I’ll go for a walk, bake something or build a fort. I’ll do something that isn’t writing related for a while. Any creative outlet will work. 
  2. I’ll try a writing prompt and concentrate on something I am succeeding with. If your dialogue is all sparkly, write more of it. If you are rocking your descriptions, describe away.
  3. You could go to the gym. I won’t, but you could. 
  4. I’ll try changing something in the scene. Perhaps I’ll try a different viewpoint character or write the scene that comes after the one I am stuck on. 
  5. Read. I’ll go back to my old favourites and re-read the bits I love. Sentences that sing and words that create magic. Words that remind me why I want to do this.

Sometimes these work, sometimes they don’t, but I always try because you never know. What do you do when you are stuck?

by Mia Botha

— 1 month ago with 110 notes
#Writing is frustrating: Five ways to beat it  #Mia Botha  #Writing Advice  #Writers Write 
Seven Extremely Good Reasons to Write the Ending First →

If you are writing for fun, and if you don’t want any help, please write any way that works for you. I am not trying to convert you to writing with a plan. It truly does not matter to me how you write. However, if you are struggling to finish a book that makes sense, I would love you to carry on reading.

Why should you do it?

When I used to teach Writers Write regularly, one of the first things I asked students was: How does your story end? I did this for two reasons. Firstly, as much as some people love the idea of working with meandering storylines, it has been my experience that those writers seldom finish writing a coherent book. Secondly, most people who go to workshops or sign up for courses are truly looking for help, and I’ve learned that the best way to succeed in anything in life is to have a plan. Successful people will tell you that you need to know where you’re going before you begin.

Smell the roses

This does not mean that you can’t take time to smell the roses, or explore hidden paths along the way. It simply means that you always have a lifeline and when you get lost, it will be easier for you to find your way back again. Remember that readers like destinations. They love beginnings, middles, and endings. Why do you think fans are terrified that George R.R. Martin will die before he finishes A Song of Fire and Ice? They want to know how the story ends. 

Here are seven reasons why I suggest you write your ending first.

  1. If you know who the characters are at the end of the story, you will know how much you should reveal about them at the beginning. 
  2. You will be forced out of the ‘backstory hell’ that beginner writers inhabit and into the story the reader wants to read.
  3. Hindsight is an amazing thing. We all know how different life seems when we’re looking back. We can often tell where a problem began. We think about the ‘what ifs’ with the gift of hindsight. You can use this to your advantage in fiction writing.
  4. You will have something to work towards. Instead of aimlessly writing and hoping for the muse to show you the way, you will be able to pull the characters’ strings and write the words they need to get them from the beginning through the middle to the end.
  5. Plotting from the ending backwards saves you so much time because you will leave out stuff that isn’t meant to be there. You will not have to muddle through an overwritten first draft.
  6. Writing the end forces most of us out of our comfort zones. We have to confront the reality of what we are doing. It might not be as romantic as flailing around like a helpless maiden, but if you want writing to be your profession, it’s good to make the outcome visible. This is a way to show yourself that you are serious. The end gives you a goal to work towards.
  7. The ending is as important as the beginning. Good beginnings get people to read your first book. Great endings get readers to buy your second book.

There are a handful of famous authors, like Stephen King and George R.R. Martin, who say they don’t plot. I think they just don’t realise they are those rare authors – natural born storytellers, and that plotting is instinctive for them. I have interviewed many successfully published authors and I can revel that the majority of them do believe in plotting. They outline, in varying degrees, before they begin. And yes, most of them know what their ending will be. Why don’t you try it? What have you got to lose?

I truly hope this helps you write, and finish, your book.

by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy 10 (Amazingly Simple) Tips to Get You Back on The Writing Track and The Author’s Promise- two things every writer should do. You could also read The Top 10 Tips for Plotting and Finishing a Book.

— 1 month ago with 2944 notes
#Seven Extremely Good Reasons to Write the Ending First  #Amanda Patterson  #Writing Advice  #Plotting  #Writing Tips 
Viewpoint Part Three - True Meaning: Viewpoint is about judgement →

“I wanted you to see out of my eyes so many times.” Elizabeth Berg in Pull of the Moon.

When you’re writing from a character’s point of view, you are living that character on the page. You know what makes them tick—their religion, prejudices, fears, everything. You’re seeing the world from their eyes. Those eyes are the lens of viewpoint. Those eyes are the reader’s way into the story.

Be bold. Say you’re writing a story about a woman who discovers her husband is cheating. If you’re writing from the wife’s point of view, what will her side of the story be? In the next chapter, you have the husband’s take on things? What will he say? How can the viewpoint differ in his chapter?

Context is critical when using viewpoint in a story. A Christian male detective, for example, investigating the satanic murder of a young girl is going to have a very different viewpoint on the case than the victim’s grieving mother. The head of the satanic cult will have a different judgement than the first two.

Inside the frame. The narrator or character is our guide through a story. His point of view colours how we the stories, he influences how the reader experiences the story in dramatic or subtle ways. It creates emotion. It creates contrast and dynamic tension in your story. 

Remember you cannot understand the view without the point of view.

Join us for A View to a Skill - Viewpoint Made Easy - A Writers Write Workshop on 22 June 2014

Read Part One andPart Twoand watch out for Part Four of our Viewpoint Miniseries on next week’s blog. 

by Anthony Ehlers

— 1 month ago with 26 notes
#Viewpoint  #Writing Advice  #Anthony Ehlers  #writers write