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This Week on Writers Abroad, 20th April 2015
Category: Site News
Tags: Writers Abroad writing ex-pat writers anthology

The weather here changed dramatically from warm sunshine on Saturday to rain on Sunday. It's probably just as well that it wasnít fine all weekend, since I was attending an excellent writing workshop led by novelist Amanda Hodgkinson with our local writing group. It was concentrated but fun. Amanda also wrote the foreword to our last anthology, Foreign and Far Away.

Dianne has posted this weekís blog. A thoughtful piece about plotting and how she approaches it, given that she has restricted writing time. Some very useful tips, too.

The Monday Muses this week are courtesy of Alyson, with a great selection of prompts, most of them aimed at getting us started on our anthology 2015's theme of light.

The April Challenge is well underway. Jo has a 750-word story, Alyson has a fiction and a non-fiction piece and Glyn has got off the blocks with a poem for Kaleidoscope. Please give them the benefit of your critiques.

The Bragging Stool has filled up this week.

  • Glyn/John is in demand for poetry readings at literary festivals. His publisher Mosaique Press also wants to publish another chapbook of his poems.
  • Angelaís story ĎThe Cimmerian Clubí was performed live in Leeds by Liarsí League.
  • Rilla had an article in Danish about anti-immigration tendencies in Denmark published in an online newspaper.
  • One of Alysonís flash fiction stories was shortlisted in this monthís Writing Magazine.
  • And Jill has had two stories accepted by Alfie Dog Fiction website.

Congratulations to all Ė nice to see so much activity.

The Call for Submissions for our next anthology, Kaleidoscope, has been finalised. So please spread it around to ex-pat writers of your acquaintance wherever you can. Youíll find the final version on DropBox in the Anthology 2015 folder. But please remember NOT to cut and paste it, simply to copy the file to your own computer.

Glyn is also marshalling the reading groups in advance for the anthology submissions. If you are keen to be on the poetry group, please let him know (and also tell him if you want to do fiction, too). Otherwise, assume you will be on one of the fiction groups.

The next formal chat is on Sunday 26th April 11 am CET with Doreen in the chair. Apologies to Doreen/Jo please. I canít make it this time, unfortunately.

Thatís it. Let me know if Iíve missed anything. Have a good writing week.

Knowing Where I'm Going
Category: Writing
Tags: plot structure writing

I often lament about how long it takes me to get anything written during the short chunks of time I have available each day. Since my time is limited I need to make the best use I can of it. The one thing that Iíve found most helpful when Iím writing my first draft is to have the story plotted before I start writing. Then I have a map to keep me going in the direction I want to go.

I first thought about how important plotting was after reading How I Went From Writing 2000 Words A Day to 10,000 Words A Day by Rachel Aaron. The key point she came back to over and over was that you canít increase your writing output in a productive way without knowing where your story should be going. The lesson was invaluable to me.

Once I had decided that I would outline my plots before I started to write I needed to know how I should structure these plots. Iíve read a few books, blog posts and other instructional materials on outlining a plot and ended up with too many choices. Thereís the three act structure which consists of the set up, a conflict and a resolution to the problem and then thereís several plot structures that have varying numbers of points in the story arc. Most of these arcs include a set up, inciting incident, rising action, conflict and resolution. Often the theories are saying much the same thing but the whole thing does get a bit confusing.

The one that I find the easiest to remember and use is the Four Part Structure. Itís not radically different from any of the other theories Ė I just find it succinct and easy to grasp.

Below Iíve paraphrased the basics of Storyfix.comís explanation of the Four Part Structure:

The set up is exactly that. It sets up who the characters are and what the problem is.

The second part is the response. This is where the main character responds to the inciting incident in the first part of the story. Depending on the length of the story, there may be one or more attempts to solve the problem but the character isnít successful and itís not clear yet whether or not he will be.

The third part is the attack. The character finally figures out what needs to be done and attacks the problem in an effective manner. The problem still isnít solved but the character is on the right track.

The fourth part is the resolution. The character finally accomplishes what he needs to do to solve the problem.

Thatís just the basics of it. You can read the detailed explanation on Storyfixís website.

What plot structure do you use? Or do you plot before you write?

This Week April 13th 2015
Category: Site News

Iím going to start with apologies! That is, as this is a new kind of blog post for me, Iím afraid I might miss something or someone out. If so, Iím sorry.

In the spotlight this week we have Alyson Hilbourne, telling us about her work, what she likes writing and what she does in her spare time. Iíll join you in the coffee shop, Alyson, but the diving bit has to be in my imagination.

Paola has written an excellent blog post on Curiosity and Writing, inspired by what Ian McEwan said at a talk she attended at Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels. Curiosity is something that all writers have in common (and artists, too), I think, and I canít imagine it any other way.† Thank you for such as a great write-up, Paola.

The Monday Muse is not yet up, as I write, but no doubt Val will come up with something to get our teeth into, so donít forget to look in.

Nicola has committed to quite a lot in her Commitment Cabin, and I take my hat off to her. Itís a great idea to keep focused.

In Article Published, Rilla tells us of her success in writing an article in Danish Ė inspired Ė or indeed provoked Ė by the anti-immigration tone of posters she saw at the railway station when she arrived in Denmark. Her article was published both online and in the paper. Well done and congratulations, Rilla! †(You have inspired me to get on with writing in my mother-tongue, Norwegian, too Ė and get on with some translation work.)

The Call for Submission suggestion, for the WA Anthology 2015, Kaleidoscope, posted by Laura, is up under Call for Submissions, inspiring us all to pick up our pens.

I hope you all have a great week, and that the weather-forecast about a three month heat wave is right. Iím looking forward to sitting in the garden with my notebook, while the children play around me. My first item on my writing agenda is a possible flash fiction piece for the anthology.

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Monday, April 20, 2015
This Week on Writers Abroad, 20th April 2015
Recent Blog Posts
Knowing Where I'm Going
Posted by Dianne Ascroft

I often lament about how long it takes me to get anything written during the short chunks of time I have available each day. Since...Read More

Curiosity and Writing
Posted by Paola Fornari
Ian McEwan is perhaps my favourite writer. For me he has it all: original, thoroughly researched storylines that make you think, and impeccable writing....Read More
Six Words And Up
Posted by Vesna

How much detail should one put into a short story? Answer: as much detail as needed. Easier said than done.

Letís start with Hemmingwayís...Read More

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