The writer’s alphabet D-F

A to ZIf you’ve got as many questions as I have about the craft of creative writing, you’ll know how important it is to try out new things. The more you learn, the more it seems there is to learn. Every day, as they say, is a school day.

That’s what this alphabet is all about. It’s not a dictionary of answers, more a lexicon of suggestions. Some of them are my own, many are ideas I’ve picked up along the way from people far smarter than myself. If you like the sound of them, why not give them a try?

D is for Dialogue

Try avoiding fancy attribution like he blurted or he chuckled or he bellowed. Instead, limit yourself to the catch-all he said. If your dialogue’s any good and you’ve established the right context, your reader will know exactly what tone of voice your character’s using without you ramming it down their throat. Or why not throw caution to the wind and cut out the attribution altogether? If the dialogue is really fizzing, you don’t need anything else at all.

E is for Engine

All good stories need an engine. Something that keeps them driving forward. Your engine might be a quest, or a deadline, or a mystery to solve. It might be something else altogether. Try pouring all your energy into keeping that engine ticking. Better still, keep it roaring. Make sure every single scene adds fuel to the fire. Try revving it up until it’s ready to explode. Then try revving it some more.

F is for Folklore

Folklore is stories that survive not just for years, but for generations. Folklore has power. Folklore has resonance. Try dusting off those old myths and legends – not the Disney versions but the down-and-dirty originals. Can you find something in them that gives your modern prose an ancient edge? Why not give it a try?

Tomorrow: G, H & I

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