I got a chance yesterday to listen to clips from the National Emerging Writer Programme on writing.ie. http://www.writing.ie/resources/the-national-emerging-writer-programme-overview/
It’s the brainchild of writing.ie and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and features the advice and practical wisdom of writers Carlo Gébler, Sinead Moriarty and Declan Hughes.
The site breaks down three sets of 40-minute videos into short clips of say roughly three minutes or so, focusing on different aspects of writing under the sections of ‘Start Writing’, ‘Telling the Story’ and ‘Revising, Rewriting and Overcoming Obstacles’.
I listened to the clips covering the first two areas and the advice was very good. Each of the three writers have different methods. Sinead Moriarty plans her books like a military operation with detailed chapter-by-chapter breakdowns, while Declan Hughes’ style is more free flowing and organic.
I found lots of good tips, in particular, on character and conflict. I need to use that advice now I’ve started organising my first draft and beginning to rewrite. Carlo Gebler said the more you think about conflict the easier it will be to write. Declan Hughes talked about the necessity to have characters under stress and how they respond and behave under that stress. All three talked about the need for the main character(s) to grow and learn in the narrative.
Pace was another issue they discussed. Sinead and the others said every chapter must move the story along. No point having chapters you really like but don’t push the plot forward. This was something Laurence O’Bryan http://lpobryan.com/ has said on a number of occasions at the crime fiction group.
So, this morning, I went back over two chapters I really like, featuring two secondary characters, and put one of my main characters (a boy) into them. They are now relevant to the actual plot and move the story of the boy along.
I am looking forward to viewing the rest of the videos. They are a great resource for us aspiring writers. Big thanks to writing.ie for putting them out there.