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This Week on WA 30th October 2017
Category: Site News
Tags: Writers Abroad writing

I hope everyone is enjoying the last few days of October and a few Halloween treats before many of you settle down on Wednesday to the intense concentration of NaNoWritMo. Before you lose yourself in it, here’s a roundup of what’s happening at WA this week.

Monday Muse: Jo is mostly in ghoulish, gory mood this week as she gives us the bare bones with which to create new stories and poems.

Blog: Lesley has given us an insight into whatever happened to the iconic English telephone box and an intriguing marketing tactic for authors.

Bragging Stool: The stool is spinning wildly this week with everything that’s been happening.

Five of our members have been published in Ad Hoc. Congratulations to Sue, Crilly, Maggie, Laura and ? (I haven’t discovered who the fifth person is – please step up and take a bow if it’s you!). Jill has been busy – she has a story included in Kosta Olive Tree’s shortlist and a flash fiction in Ink Tears’ longlist. Bruce’s photo and epigram have been included in Maintenant II.

Nicola has released a Christmas novella and Vanessa’s French Collection will be released on 9th November.

November Challenges: Probably the biggest challenge for the coming month will be NaNoWriMo but Vanessa will post a November Challenge forum where we can add any others we discover.

WA Magazine: Jo has posted the Joomag link to the final version of Issue 7 on site under WA Publications. Please send Jo any comments so the magazine can be finalized by the end of the week.

Next Formal Meeting: The next formal meeting will be on Sunday, 26th November, 11am CET.

Poetry Project: The next meeting will be on Friday, 24th November, 3pm.

Good luck to those who are embarking on NaNoWriMo and happy writing to all of us this coming week.

After the Fact
Category: Writing
Tags: plotting ideas writing

I recently read What Is Forgiven by C.F. Yetmen, an historical novel set in the American sector of post-war Germany, and was completely captivated by the story. Since I write wartime fiction, I often read other books set during the Second World War. I choose them because I enjoy reading other books in the genre and also to see how other writers tackle the era. It occurred to me as I read Yetmen’s novel that I hadn’t read many books set in the immediate aftermath of the war. My focus has always been on the war itself.  

This observation set me thinking about story plots in general. As writers, we’re always trying to generate new ideas for plots that will keep readers engaged. Conflict is a central element required to create a successful plot so dramatic events or situations are obvious catalysts for our plotlines. For instance, we might set a story during a war or a natural disaster such as a fire, an earthquake or a tornado. Or we might create a situation where the main character is a victim of rape, or is in the midst of a divorce or is about to lose someone they love. These examples are all good ideas; any of these scenarios could produce a very strong plot.

But, if you want to create something a bit different, why not think a little further down the road and write about what happens next? What Is Forgiven is a gripping novel about characters who struggle to survive in a war-ravaged country and rebuild their lives. The war is over: there’s no fighting, no bombing, no large scale death and destruction. Yet the author creates a story full of tension and drama about characters dealing with the war’s aftermath.    

So, in order to create a plot that’s a bit different, imagine what happens after the event or situation you first thought of. Can you build a gripping story by examining what happens next? Using the example of a main character who is a rape victim, tell the story of how she rebuilds her life after the attack or how she sets out to get revenge against her attacker. The former scenario might produce a work of women’s fiction and the latter might be a crime novel. Of course the victim doesn’t have to be female either which would add another dimension to the story. Or, if you choose the scenario where a character loses someone they love, examine what direction their life takes after the bereavement. The path they take doesn’t have to be a traditional, obvious one. Think outside the box and create a vastly different new life for your character to the one they lived before. A character that takes a sharp turn in their life’s path will definitely give the writer lots of scope to create an engaging story.

If you start with a dramatic event such as a war or a natural disaster as a catalyst for your story, think about what happens after the event is over and find the drama within this to create your story. How does your character survive and how do they feel if they have lost everything in a war or disaster? Or maybe a particular loss frees them from someone or something they wanted to escape from. How does their life change in the face of this?

I’ve chosen ‘After the Fact’ as the title for this post as it sums up what I’m trying to say. The idiom refers to something that happens after a particular occurrence or event. It will remind you when you are plotting a story to think past the first dramatic scenario that runs through your head and see if something that happens further down the road in the character’s life might be a better place to start a story. 

This Week on Writers Abroad 24th July 2017
Category: Site News
Tags: Writers Abroad writing

Good morning, all. It may be the summer for those of us in the northern hemisphere but I see that Writers Abroad is as busy as ever. So, let’s see what we have happening this week:

Monday Muse: Angela has given us some diverse and thought-provoking prompts that include challenging situations to write about and intriguing images.

Blog: Chris N has discussed an issue that many of us grapple with: how to get in enough writing time and juggle our other responsibilities at the same time. She has struck a realistic balance between encouraging us to keep at it and understanding that we do our best in our own circumstances.

Bragging Stool: This forum is hopping this week.

Firstly, five of our members have had writing included in the current Ad Hoc. Congratulations to everyone!

And Laura has been busy. She has 3 flash fiction pieces accepted for the print publication, Flash and she has also had That Apple included in the online journal, Fictive Dream. Congratulations, Laura!

Reminders: Our formal meeting for July is this coming Sunday, 29th July, 11am CET. Jill is chairing. Also, don’t forget to consider where you want to be in your writing 5 years from now, and share this with our members in the Our Writing Vision thread.

Hope everyone has a productive writing week, within the confines of whatever they are juggling. I don’t think I’ll try to juggle our cows though – I might end up with a back injury…Happy writing, everyone.


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The House at Zaronza
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Out of Control
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, croft, members, and publications
The Duke's Shadow
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Foreign & Far Away
tagged: writers, abroad, amanda, hodkinson, books, charity, anthology, 2013...
Losing Control
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Conversations with S. Teri O'Type
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Break Out
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Deadly Pursuit
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The Calling
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Big Book of New Short Horror
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Tiger of Talmare
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