Writing flash fiction is a terribly satisfying way to spend an hour or two. For your fleet-fingered effusions, I’ve collated all my Twitter flash fiction prompts into a handy ebook. You will find two sizes of the ebook for download, both with ample room for notes.
What’s the difference between a writing manifesto and a set of writing rules? It is difficult to draw a line, I admit. I could say that a writing manifesto can be applied to other areas of life, but clearly that would involve truncating my list, and I’m not going to do that. I will therefore wriggle out of this question by vaguely claiming that writing rules are (or ought to be) practical in nature, while the manifesto’s purpose is to incite, ignite and inspire.
I think for this reason that they should be written in Smith’s style – in a rush of inspiration, perhaps on the back of a napkin using a free leaky biro, in wonky handwriting & long after midnight when a little intoxicated by life, sleep deprivation and caffeine. And like Kerouac – wildly abbreviated, capitalised, random & ungrammatically jolting one out of linguistic ruts.
Embrace the contradictory advice of these manifestos. Print them out and keep them in your wallet, hang them on yr wall, write them out in yr notebooks, read them every morning, chant them like mantras; “visionary tics shivering in the chest “!
Plot holes are almost inevitable at some stage in any piece of longer writing, and in my experience, fixing them can be the most disheartening job of the writer. Print out this worksheet, pour yourself a drink and sit down to untangle those snags!
I have become completely enamoured of Tom Hanks’ new typewriter app. A little strange, considering I own my grandfather’s old typewriter and it never sees the light of day! I suppose all writers must harbour some nostalgia towards these outdated machines, and though it is difficult to decide whether the idea of such an app is utterly ludicrous, or somehow intellectually permissible, I’m unashamedly tapping away on mine, sipping whiskey and listening to ’50s film music. I even got a little carried (carriaged?) away and began curating a Pinterest board of women with typewriters.
Here are my thoughts on Hanx Writer, type(app)written:
I also discovered this lovely notebook in Tesco last week. It’s produced by Chronicle Books, who also make the One Line a Day journal I reviewed at the beginning of the year. Just like the app, there is something wonderfully incongruous about a notebook with typewriters on the cover, and the injunction to “write” rather than to “type”. The colourful pages certainly make me long to fill them up (longhand)…
This worksheet contains 3 pages of questions to help bring your fictional city to life.
I’ve always been fascinated by the way cities develop; how they evolve defences, infrastructure, boundaries, and districts. Where they’re built, what they’re built on, why they’re built where they’re built, who they’re built by… All these questions seem ripe for creating mystery.
Some cities are characters in themselves: Minas Tirith in Lord of the Rings, Gotham in the Batman series, and the amazing traction cities of the Mortal Engines series are a few that occur to me.
Of course, there is only a thin line between cities and other forms of settlements such as towns, fortresses, and city states, so the worksheet can be used to develop these also. I’ve tried to keep the questions general, and not make assumptions about genre, era, or race.