• Writing

    Writing Short Stories

    Needless to say, writing a good short story is not as simple as sitting down at your desk and slapping a few words down on the page. Just like long-form fiction, short fiction has structure, requires a plot, needs well-developed characters, it needs to have something to say, and, of course, it has a limited word count. Wikipedia defines a short story as being 7,500 words or less. A lot of writing competitions define a short story as 10,000 words or less.When I started writing short stories, I struggled to find the best way to write them. I’d come up with a plot, I’d create some great characters, I’d start…

  • Writing

    High Concept: What does it mean?

    I recently found myself engaged in a conversation with a fellow writer about the meaning of the term ‘high concept’.In the course of our conversation, it occurred to me that very few people understand exactly what high concept means. It is a confusing term, but it’s one that writers, especially those who are aspiring to be professional writers, need to understand.If you’re an aspiring screenwriter you will almost certainly have heard this term somewhere on your screenwriting journey. If you’re a prose writer it’s possible that you’ve never heard this term. The term ‘high concept’ applies not only to screenwriters, but to playwrights, and prose writers.So, what exactly does ‘high…

  • Writing

    Loglines

    As a film producer, people are always pitching me their script ideas. As I sit there listening to them, or reading their email, I soon realise that they don't actually know or understand the difference between a tag line and a logline. In the scriptwriting business, it's essential to know how to write a logline. In the novel and short story business, not so much. However, even if you are in the novel or short story business, you should know how to sum up your concept in one single, succinct sentence. Doing so helps you to clearly define and understand your plot, and it's a good thing to have should…

  • Writing

    Creating Characters

    One of the hardest things to do when crafting a story, any kind of story, is to create convincing characters. If a story sucks or is rejected by a publisher or producer, nine times out of ten it’s because the writer did not spend enough time developing the characters. Or the actual story!And there is nothing worse than reading a story in which a character behaves in an uncharacteristic way – unless, of course, their uncharacteristic behavior is occurring because of an integral plot point. I have read umpteen books and screenplays where a character has done something totally out of character and jolted me from the narrative. No doubt…

  • Writing

    The Four Themes in Writing

    Many years ago when I was a student at RMIT University, my short story class received an impromptu invitation to join another class so that we could hear their guest speaker. We had no idea who the guest speaker was but dutifully made our way along the corridor to the next classroom. When we turned into the room, it was already crowded with students sitting on chairs, desks, and any other available space. We squeezed into the room and found space where we could, mostly standing around the walls. Then the guest speaker arrived and to our great surprise it the award-winning Australian author Garry Disher. Garry Disher has published…