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Showing posts from September, 2016

Influence vs "Rip-off"

Have you ever heard the phrase "you are what you eat?" Or that you're equal to the sum of your parts? As a writer and a storyteller, you learn by consuming stories. The tools you have to craft those stories are themselves crafted from every story you've ever consumed.

Naturally, many writers and storytellers ask themselves how far they can push inspiration and homage so as not to be seen as thieves or plagiarists.

It's a fair question, but I think it's one that far too much attention is paid to. We consist almost wholly of the stories we're told. Whether these are films, movies, or even just the stories you're exposed to by your friends and family, you're soaking in content and learning how it works. They form part of your experience and they impact you in a way they impact no one else. What I might find interesting about one story might be completely different for you.

That's the part you need to embrace.

There is nothing wrong with taking s…

Building a Frankenstein's Monster of Craft

I get asked a lot about what books and videos I've used in the past to hone my craft. And that list always gets updated. I'm constantly reading books on craft full of writing advice. The important thing about books on craft is that you need to take what works for you and discard the rest. You're assembling a Frankenstein's Monster of writing advice that works for you and helps you get to the point where you can write publishable prose.

Sometimes, you don't have all the right bits and bobs, or the stitching between the parts is bad and the jigsaw doesn't fit together.

I have a few core parts, though, the heart and the mind of the monster, that make up my personal philosophy on craft. Here are those core parts. See if they are interchangeable with the monster you're building. If they are, perfect. If they're not, cast them aside, employ a new grave digger, and look for new body parts.

Here are the body parts I used in my experiments. But I'm always l…