Nothing makes me want to race through a story more than an idea for a great plot twist! The best twists reframe the entire narrative and leave you spluttering in disbelief; Fight Club, Ender’s Game, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Birds Fall Down, and Murder on the Orient Express are a few that I always remember. Recently, I particularly enjoyed the twist at the end of the film, Transcendence.
I hope this 2-page worksheet will help you uncover the assumptions you, your readers or your characters make, and use them to construct a shattering éclaircissement. As the saying goes, “to assume makes an ass of u and me.” Good luck!
I’ve been enjoying listening to Arabella while I practice calligraphy; an old diversion which has recently taken on new force and form following my discovery of all the modern calligraphy resources that are now available online. I love the movement of this novel style, the way letters bounce and shrink in lively (if done right) harmony. Digital fonts have made even steven scripts somewhat superfluous and commonplace, I think, though no less impressive*. I have also been seduced by the knowledge that I am not limited to using India ink which has the indelible habit of getting everywhere. The smell of my little pots of gouache transport me back to primary school art classes. Not an unhappy association, and rather appropriate to my current novitiate.
While I am clearly a padawan of penmanship, I do have a few recommendations:
If you find that your ink looks spotty on the nib, take some time to try one of the methods outlined in Dr. Vitolo’s book for preparing a new nib. I had best success with toothpaste.
I know one’s instinct is to instantly order all the wonderful paraphernalia – nibs, inks, papers, pen holders, etc. – but I would urge against it. My advice is to break down the learning into sections. First, get a sense of how letters are formed, then practice with a pencil, and then a brush-tip marker. The worksheets from The Postman’s Knock break the process down very nicely.
Find calligraphic fonts that you like and practice their alphabets. You can begin by printing the letters out and tracing them.
Keep a reference of letter shapes you like.
P.S. Arabella is very enjoyable and makes me long to have a dog.
This is my favourite writing worksheet EVER! It’s easy to compare your efforts to that of great writers and sink into despair, but I recommend that you give yourself a break and find flaws in them instead. Inspired by a famous author who shall remain nameless, this worksheet is a permission slip for imperfection. Fill it out and refer to it in times of need.
Interesting character quirks are responsible for some of the most memorable characters in fiction, but I think new writers sometimes forget that a quirk doesn’t make a character. It’s a good place to start though! The first page of this worksheet gives you some questions to develop character from quirk. If your answers are thorough, you might even find the seeds for plot, setting and supporting characters.
The second page is my favourite, though there isn’t much to it. I recommend sticking it to the back page of your writing journal, to keep a list of character quirks you come across in real life. I’m sure that after a brief mental survey of your friends and family and some surreptitious people-watching, you’ll easily fill the whole sheet!
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