They still matter
Today I am writing to you to talk about side characters, and how you can use them well in your fiction.
Do you remember when I used to write to you about cliches? I’d like to do that again, in part because it’s a lot of fun, in part because you seemed to enjoy it (and I crave positive feedback) and in part because I enjoy having a good bitch about things.
Not all cliches are lazy writing, they can actually be bloody useful when used properly (and sparingly), they are a good way to set audience expectations when you don’t have the time or space to dedicate to establishing something.
However, as I said above, this should be used sparingly and in specific circumstances, such as for low screen time side characters who serve a singular purpose and are there and gone again quickly. After all no one wants to spend ages establishing a character when they are only going to do what the creator needs them to then disappear.
Clichés become lazy writing when they are used for main or significant characters, places, plot points etc.
Previously I’ve focused my rants on specific topics, but today I want to cast a wider net, so where previously I did a blog about male characters, female characters etc today I want to touch on three clichés that affect characters as a whole.Continue reading “Cliches: Characters”
Today I wanted to write to you about Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill.
Heart-Shaped Box was published in 2007 and was Joe Hill’s first novel. It won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel.
Being a huge Stephen King fan, I was naturally drawn to this book by his son and I was not disappointed. Joe certainly shares his father’s skill for storytelling with well-crafted plots, believable characters and a firm grasp of what makes the horror genre great.Continue reading “Review: Heart-Shaped Box”
I’m feeling a little indulgent today and have decided to talk about one of my favourite writers, H.P. Lovecraft. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time you will already be aware that Lovecraft is one of my top three horror authors and was the inspiration behind a few of my own short stories.
Today I want to talk about some of my favourite stories, The colour out of space, the shadow over Innsmouth, the Call of Cthulhu, the Dunwich horror and the mountains of madness. I love all of these stories for their ability to build tension, create dramatic and loathsome settings and ultimately bring those things together and give a satisfying pay off at the end of the story.Continue reading “Classic Horror: Best Three Lovecraft Stories”
This has been something of a hot topic from the moment the idea began, and it is something I’ve touched on before in previous blogs. That being writing characters from different cultures, ethnicities and genders than yourself.
Just to be clear, before I start talking about this, I feel I should point out that I’m a thirty-three-year-old (at the time of writing), white, British female (so you know where I’m coming from), and my main point in this blog will be that I feel it is acceptable to write characters that you feel fit into your story, PROVIDED that it is done with compassion, respect, a veritable ton of research and clichés are avoided.
While we’re on the subject, I also think that writers should ask themselves if the story they are telling is their story to tell. If, for example, you are a white British female should your story be be about the experience of a young American black man? Quite probably not.
But back to characters.Continue reading “Horror Writing: Writing Characters that Are Different From Yourself”
I recently wrote to you about the clichés in the horror genre, it was fun to write and so I thought I might have a look at the clichés in another genre that I like to dabble in. That being Fantasy. Fantasy stories are full of clichés, so much so that it would take far longer than I have to discuss all of them (that and I’m sure you’d get bored are the first eighty).
So today, I want to discuss my top fantasy cliché, but as I am limiting the amount I’ll talk about I thought I’d talk about the biggest cliché in the genre (in my humble opinion) rather than any of my personal pet peeves (which can be obscure at times).Continue reading “Clichés: Fantasy”