Sophie King: Romance comes in many forms and sizes …

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

By Sophie King (and others)

When I first started writing novels (long before I was published), I didn’t intend to write romance. I simply wanted to write a story. In fact, I’d been writing stories ever since I’d picked up a pencil at the age of two. But this time, I wanted to write one that ended up on a bookshelf.

At the same time, I was earning my living as a magazine journalist. My job consisted of interviewing famous celebrities including Julie Walters at the start of her career. I also wrote about Barbara Cartland : the ‘Queen’ of romantic fiction at the time. But although I admired her (not least for her insistence on reading journalists’ copy and taking out all apostrophes that were not of the possessive variety!), I knew I didn’t want to write like her.

Pink lace love affairs were not my thing…..

Yes. That’s right. In those days, I thought romantic fiction consisted of froth and underwear; satin quilts and cupid bow lips. How wrong I was!

Back to my first novel, which I entitled ‘Amersham Wives’, partly because we lived in the area at the time. My characters consisted of a bored housewife who swapped places with an exhausted journalist. Before I knew it, the journalist fell in love with the housewife’s husband; and the housewife fell in love with the journalist’s editor.

Before I knew it, I had a romance on my hands. But it didn’t get published (although it did get me an agent and some nice ‘not quite for us’ letters from publishers). I then went onto write one book a year for the next ten years. Two got to editorial conferences, which is when editors sit round a table and discuss manuscripts which have potential.

But to my disappointment, it turned out that the other editors – apart from the one championing my cause – had manuscripts with similar romance themes. I later found out that this was a very common reason for rejections.

My experience made me wonder what a writer had to do, in order to be different. I was beginning to realise that you couldn’t have a story without love. But you had to inject other elements as well, in order to make that love story have a unique selling point all of its own.

Enter The School Run. I wrote this under my Sophie King name on my agent’s advice because I used my real name (Jane Bidder) for my journalism. The School Run was about seven characters , all involved in the same school route. Two were friends who shared a run. Another was a teacher. A fourth was a single dad. The fifth was a much older mother. A sixth was a stepmother….and so on.

The important part was that each one of them had experienced a different type of love. This included love between friends; between parents and child; between characters who were alive but still loved the dead; and between children and pets.

It became, for a while, a best-seller. After that, I wrote four more books: all in the same kind of school run territory with mothers and neighbours and lovers and teachers. I then changed publishers and wrote under the same kind of books under the name Janey Fraser, including ‘AFTER THE HONEYMOON’ which was published by Arrow this year and was shortlisted for a Festival of Romance award.

But my lesson in love had not finished. My first marriage had ended between my Sophie King and Janey Fraser books and I took a job as a writer in residence of a high security male prison. Yes – I WAS scared at first but then I found that words could be a great leveller. Once I started to help men write their life stories and poems and short stories and novels, I stopped thinking about the headline crimes that had put them there.

Instead, I began thinking about love behind bars.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t fall for a criminal – although there are some staff in prisons who do just that. But I did realise how important love is in places where you might not expect to find it. Many of ‘my’ men wrote about broken relationships because it’s not easy to keep a marriage going when one half is Inside. Several wrote about love for their children. And a few wrote about their remorse for their victims and the loved ones which had consequently been left behind.

All this gave me another idea for a different kind of romance. GUILTY tells the story of a middle aged solicitor who has just got married again. He offers to take some drunken guests home but picks up a mobile phone call from his stepson as he is driving. There is a terrible accident and his beautiful passenger dies. Simon is then sent to prison where he is haunted by the voice of the dead victim who acts as his guide.. The reader doesn’t know until the end if the voice is his guilty conscience or a real ghost.

But at the heart of the novel is a love story: that between Simon and his wife Claire on the outside. GUILTY is told from two viewpoints: his and hers. Can their marriage survive, even when Simon is eventually released?

One reviewer, who gave it five stars, said it was a ‘modern love story which could happen to anyone making a split-second wrong decision’.

That’s very true. But already, another kind of love story had come into my head. THE WITNESS, a follow up to GUILTY, tells the tale of a woman who witnesses a young couple ‘making out’ in the park. She walks on, not wanting to intrude. But then a policeman knocks on her door. The man in question was a drugs dealer. The girl was under age. My woman is the only witness. If she doesn’t take the stand, the dealer will strike again. But if she does, her past will come out under cross-examining and her ‘respectable’ life – not to mention her marriage – will disintegrate.

Without meaning to, I have strayed into the territory of psychological suspense with a love story. It’s also, I ought to say, partly based on a true experience.

Talking of true experiences, I have always wanted to write an historical novel, partly based on my grandmother’s life. She met her husband when visiting his brother who had been wounded in the First World War. My grandmother’s father was a doctor and had encouraged his daughter to ‘cheer up the patients’. It was love at first sight. After the war, my grandfather swept up his new bride and took her to Borneo where he had been working his way up in a rubber plantation.

Hooked? Five publishers in Germany were, when my agent took it to the Frankfurt Book Fair. The result is THE PEARLS, which is coming out in the UK next year but has already been a best seller in Germany and Italy. It’s a very different romance from my prison book and my Sophie King/Janey Frasers because it’s more of a literary novel with greater emphasis on setting and period features.

I also write lots of romantic fiction for women’s magazines and recently, a friend of mine (Linda Mitchelmore) and I published our own Kindle collection called CHRISTMAS LOVE STORIES (see below).

What tips do you have on writing romantic fiction, enquired one of my uni students only this morning. Most of the answers are in my new HOW TO WRITE ROMANTIC FICTION which has just been published by Constable & Robinson. But here are some tasters:

Always accept an invitation. It might take you into a new setting with fresh faces – and act as inspiration for a love story you didn’t know you had inside you

Don’t assume that a novel has to be a traditional love story from the word go. Write about a situation that excites you and you’ll find that romance creeps in without you realising.

Make your story different by including a male viewpoint. Heroes need a say too.

The villain is more interesting if he/she starts out good and then turns bad. Or vice versa.

You don’t need to spell out the nuts and bolts when it comes to the physical side. Some scenes are best written behind closed doors.

Look up the Romantic Novelists Association. Members include published and unpublished writers. The RNA holds lots of events, including an annual conference, where you can meet publishers and agents.

Paul Maunder: How to not write a novel about cycling

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

How to not write a novel about cycling

Perhaps it was the tapas, or the Spanish beer, but one night during a family holiday in Andalusia, I dreamt a whole novel. Fully-formed and ready to write. In almost twenty years of writing fiction this had never happened to me. Indeed I’d written off as delusional the idea that one could dream an idea for a novel.
I rushed downstairs to find a pen and paper, though I needn’t have bothered because the idea had lodged itself firmly in my mind. Even more surprising, this was a book with road racing at its heart. Two brothers are growing up in a Northern mining town during the eighties. The oldest is trapped and his resentment becomes channeled into football hooliganism. The younger brother makes a bid for freedom as a professional racing cyclist in France. I’m being a little coy with the full story because, well, novelists are a furtive bunch, but basically it’s Billy Elliott on bikes.

I was excited. The story seemed to have lots of opportunity for family conflict, it was clearly positioned in time and landscape and politics, and the contrast between cycling and football seemed interesting. And I knew a lot about cycling. I knew less about football violence, but that’s what Youtube is for.
Sitting down to write a book is much like training for a bike race. You have to commit to a routine, you have to put in the hours, you have to push through the hard bits. And the daily rituals are similar too. The first step is to put the coffee on. Then there’s a period of prevarication before you have to confront the fact that you’ve just got to get on with the bloody thing. Once you’ve started, hopefully, it will flow smoothly and if you’re lucky you’ll get a few words/miles under your belt before the brain softens and an injection of sugar, caffeine or red wine is required. That’s probably where the analogy ends.

I could picture my first scene. The hero of the story is sixteen and has just received some terrible exam results. He knows that his only way out of this small town is through bike racing. He gets changed and storms up onto the open moorland. The horizon opens up in front of him. The road glistens. He feels free and he rides and rides…

So, pot of coffee made, special writing mug warmed, Jelly Babies poised for the feedzone, I sharpened my pencil (yes I do write long-hand) and faced the empty page. But the air underneath my pencil seemed particularly dense. I couldn’t find the words to start. I sat there for some time, staring into space. Then I got up and began tidying the house. A writer tidying their house is a worrying sign.

For the first time in my career as a writer I was blocked. It was as if my two great passions – cycling and writing – had met and taken an instant dislike to each other. I was stumped. Why? Cycling is full of stories – heroes, villains, suspense, great rivalries – it’s what the media thrive on. And yet I couldn’t tune into the frequency of this idea. I turned to the solace that all writers fall back on – reading. Surely there were other writers who had managed to pen a novel about cycle racing? All I needed was a clue, a lodestar to navigate by.
First I discounted all books that contained bicycles but weren’t about cycle racing. Bicycles are a cultural and technological artefact, rightly celebrated in books by HG Wells, Flannery O’Connor and many others. But it was the much more specific experience of being a racing cyclist that was proving beyond my novelistic powers. The field started to narrow.

I started with a giant of literature. Wearing a generously-sized American national team jersey but really riding for his Spanish trade team, Ernest Hemingway. During the years he spent in Europe Hemingway became well-acquainted with cycling, and in The Sun Also Rises, the narrator Jake Barnes comes across a bike race whilst staying in San Sebastian. “The next morning at five o’clock the race resumed with the last lap, San Sebastian-Bilbao. The bicycle riders drank much wine, and were burned and browned by the sun. They did not take the racing seriously except among themselves. They had raced among themselves so often that it did not make much difference who won. Especially in a foreign country. The money could be arranged. The Spaniards, they said, did not know how to pedal.”

This is really only a mention in passing, and has something of the tourist’s mild curiosity about it. The Sun Also Rises is a book about the disillusionment of a generation. At best Jake’s encounter with cycle racing is part of his exploration of European culture. At worst it’s incidental, and slightly indulgent of Hemingway. It is not central to the story. Unless you’re a fan, long stretches of description about a bike race are only going to be interesting for a couple of pages at most. Hemingway knew that. And here lies the crux of the problem. To hold the attention a novel has to have a lot at stake. Someone’s life must be on the line, physically or spiritually. Winning or losing a bike race simply isn’t enough. Cycling, like any other sport, can only ever be a background. Was there really no way to bring it front and centre?

I turned to Tim Krabbe, a Dutch novelist who was also an amateur road-racer. Amongst cyclists he is known for The Rider, which stands head and shoulders above any other book about cycle racing. But his 1984 novel, The Vanishing, and its feted film version, also has a cycling connection. The Vanishing tells the story of a sociopathic Frenchman who abducts a young woman at a motorway service station, then years later torments the boyfriend who is still trying to find her. In the novel the woman wears a yellow jersey. In the film, which Krabbe co-wrote, a detail is added that most viewers would not pick up on. As the boyfriend goes to the shop in the service station, leaving his girlfriend alone, a radio is broadcasting live coverage of the Tour de France. And as the commentator describes Bernard Hinault and Laurent Fignon battling it out for the yellow jersey, the Frenchman moves in on the girl. Two men using their wits to duel over this coveted prize. What a metaphorical flourish. So simple and so telling.

The Rider, however, is that rare creature – a novel about cycle racing, from the first to the last page. It tells the story of the one day Tour de Mont Aigoual, a semi-professional race in the Cevennes, South-West France. The narrator is a competitor, the novel an account of the race from his perspective, and as the kilometers tick away we are drawn into his psyche. He assesses his rivals, outlines possible strategies, shares his pain and his fears. We see the obsessive qualities of an elite cyclist, and some of the idiosyncrasies. The novel is true to cycle racing in that its structure and rhythms mirror the race itself. It is a cerebral novel, and that’s the point – it’s about how the mind and the body interact, but Krabbe, who in his youth was a distinguished chess player, seems to be saying that cycling is more mind than body.

“Lebusque is really only a body. In fact, he’s not a good racer. People are made up of two parts: a mind and a body. Of the two, the mind, of course, is the rider”.

The Rider is something of a hallowed work for cyclists, because it uses the unique ability of fiction to get inside its character’s head. No piece of journalism will ever access a rider’s deepest thoughts and motivations like this. But it also works as literature, and will endure because its meaning transcends its story, becomes universal; the examination of mind and body floats freely away from the hot tarmac of the Cevennes roads.
Paul Koechli, who coached Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinault at La Vie Claire, would no doubt approve. He considered cycling a game, played out in the minds of riders and their coaches, and was author to some of the more unorthodox tactical strategies seen in the modern peloton, not least the daft notion that on La Vie Claire everyone was a leader. Koechli formed a triangle with Hinault and Lemond, brilliantly told in Richard Moore’s book Slaying the Badger, and as such became a player in a version of the classic sporting story – the duel.
The duel is a perfect shape for a story, because there can only be one winner, even if the victory is moral rather than literal. In a duel the characters should be differentiated, light and dark. This is a rich seam for novels, particularly when there is an interesting, and often ambiguous, third character like Koechli to create a triangle. This is the structure that Chris Cleave used in his 2012 novel Gold, which tells the story of two woman sprinters on the British track team in the build-up to the London Olympics. The women are vying for the single spot on the Olympic team, and Cleave’s descriptions of training and racing sing like the velodrome boards. Yet ultimately what we engage with as readers is a deeper emotional journey for the two women and their families.

So the cycling novel has to be more than about cycling. It has to transcend the sport to be about human lives. Indeed if you think about cycling’s greatest stories, they correspond to recognizable story archetypes, and this is what makes them interesting. Usually they are tragedies. The young king whose insatiable ambition to conquer drags him into a spiral of moral corruption? Macbeth, or Lance Armstrong. The fragile hero who is the darling of his scene, but has a fatal flaw which brings him ultimately to a violent death? Gatsby, or Marco Pantani. What we find endlessly fascinating about cycling’s greatest stories is not that the heroes are superhuman but that they are human, with all the mess that entails.

Have any of these meanderings helped me with my own story? Well not quite. I still have writer’s block. My editor suggested I try another sport, tennis for example. I scowled at her. More helpful was the advice to make the cycling fit the story, rather than the other way round. The centre of my book, its heart, is the relationship between the two brothers and the conflict between duty to family and desire to escape. Cycling seemed to fit this story – after all, don’t we all feel free when we’re out on our bikes. But I was struggling because the research had been taking over. It doesn’t matter whether the boy is a puncheur or a grimpeur, or what kind of embrocation he uses, or whether he wears a casquette under his leather helmet. What matters is how he feels about his brother.

So now I have a plan. Story first, Campagnolo Super Record derailleurs later. But let’s not rush into anything. First, I need a pot of coffee. And the kitchen needs a good old tidy-up…

Tim Lott: Award-winning novelist and writing teacher joins the team.

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Tim_Lott_0073Have started, or want to start, writing a novel or memoir? Are you trying to finish a piece of fiction that is defeating you?  Writing at book length is a daunting prospect – both in terms of the skills required and the commitment necessary to keep going through tricky patches and ‘writer’s block’.

Now you can get individual, bespoke help with your work from award winning novelist and writing teacher Tim Lott.

Tim has successfully taught and mentored dozens of authors, including Ben McPherson whose novel, A Line of Blood, was published to acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic in 2015, and Rebecca Thornton, whose The Exclusives was published in 2016.

McPherson commented “I started out very cynical about the idea of mentoring (but) my novel is a much stronger novel for Tim’s involvement. I’m extremely grateful to him, and would recommend the experience highly. “

Thornton writes. “Without Tim’s words, I can safely say I would still be flailing around in piles of rejection slips. If you are looking for a mentor that will get you out of that, you must call him. But be prepared. He will challenge you.”

What authors Tim has help over the years say:

Kirsteen Tait, “Tim is a wise and encouraging teacher as well as a talented writer. He has the sense of humour so needed by those doomed to trying to write. It is always interesting working with him and he manages to make you feel supported, whatever is going badly.”

Paul Gould who has just been taken on by the Curtis Brown literary agency writes, “On my difficult journey to completing a first draft and starting on my second, Tim has been a merciful source of encouragement and guidance. I found Tim to be an exacting tutor (which is just what you want!). As a mentor, he is also nurturing, offering encouragement and – crucially – the insight of an experience published novelist:

In his own right Tim has published ten books over the last 20 years, won both the PEN/JR Ackerley for autobiography for his memoir The Scent of Dried Roses (now a Penguin Modern Classic) as well as the Whitbread (now the Costa) First Novel Award for White City Blue.

Tim spent three years teaching at the Faber Academy, and now teaches the Guardian Masterclass/University of East Anglia course on ‘How to Tell A Story’.

Tim is offering his services on a one-to-one mentoring basis, which means he will assess your work personally, and meet with you face to face to discuss how to move forward. He can come to your home, or you to his office in Kensington – or you can Skype. This can be offered either on a periodic basis – ten assessments and visits over the course of a year – or on a one-off basis where you will meet him for a day or half day and be taken, step by step, through the basic techniques of novel or memoir writing, as well as the best way to sell your work to publishers and agents.

Kirsteen Tait, puts it in a nutshell when she says, ‘Tim is a wise and encouraging teacher as well as a talented writer. He has the sense of humour so needed by those doomed to trying to write.”

Tim offers a variety of services to writer through The Oxford Editors:

  1. Manuscript assessment and personal tutoring with TimTim will assess your manuscript or what you have written so far, at a rate of £200 per 7,500 word (minimum fee £600) (plus VAT). He will mark up the manuscript with notes and write a brief report/summary on what has been written so far.
  2. Personal consultationTim can also meet you for either a morning (3 hours) or a day (6 hours) to talk to you about your manuscript and teach the craft of writing in general, including character, plot, dialogue, structure, voice, theme etc. He will brainstorm your book with you, helping to develop new ideas and ways forward.  If you meet in Oxford there will be extra travel fees for Tim, or you can meet at his London offices.The cost of this would be £900 for a half day, £1850 (plus VAT) for a full day plus the cost of any reading. Tim will include a reading of up to 7,500 words in the service, but for longer pieces, there will be a charge of £200 (+VAT) per additional 7,500 words.
  3. Manuscript assessment and single consultationTim will assess manuscripts at rate of £200 (plus VAT) per 7,500 words (minimum fee £600).  He will then spend an hour either on Skype or in person to discuss the work. This session will cost £500 (plus VAT).
  4. Mentoring over six-monthsTim would read and assess up to six submissions of up to 7,500 words each, and meet/Skype with student for an hour after each submission to discuss and come up with creative ways forward.The fee would be £2,500 (plus VAT).
  5. Mentoring over 12-months:Tim would read and assess up to ten submissions of up to 7,500 words each and meet/Skype with student for up to an hour after each submission to discuss.The fee would be £3,400 (plus VAT).

Places to work with Tim are limited but you can pay and book in advance to save a place.

Charlotte Green: On Writing and Motherhood

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

On Writing and Motherhood

In his essay Fires, Raymond Carver writes that, of everything, the greatest influences on his writing have been his children. Not because of who they are or what they meant to him, but because of the “unrelieved responsibility and permanent distraction” they have caused him over the years. In effect, they stopped him writing. If he was unable to sit down and write, they were most often the reason why. His essay continues, “I understood writers to be people who didn’t spend… every waking hour subject to the needs and caprices of their children. Sure, sure, there’ve been plenty of writers who have had far more serious impediments to their work, including imprisonment, blindness, the threat of torture or of death in one form or another. But knowing this was no consolation…. I could see nothing ahead but years more of this kind of responsibility and perplexity. Things would change some, but they were never really going to get better. I understood this, but could I live with it? At that moment I saw accommodations would have to be made. The sights would have to be lowered. “

A rather bleak sentiment for one of America’s best short story writers.

In July 2015 I became a new mum. Like Carver, all I had ever wanted to be was a writer and a parent and suddenly I was balancing both. Or rather, not balancing both. Being a parent is all consuming. As Carver said, children are an “unrelieved responsibility and permanent distraction”. For the first eight months of my daughter’s life I wrote nothing. Not a single word. No short stories, no writing exercises, not even a diary. Prior to maternity leave I had, rather naively, imagined my year ‘off’ as being blissfully filled with milky cuddles, reading stories, dressing my daughter up and of course there would be hours when she would sleep soundly and I would be able to rework the first draft of my novel and send it out to agents. Hah.

Eight months in and things are getting easier. I’m writing this for a start. But I can see Carver’s point. Things are unlikely to change much and I need to adjust my expectations, refocus my energies and ideas into something realistic. For Carver that was writing short stories. He could only snatch an hour at a time so he would use that hour to write a short story and the subsequent hours he found that week would be used for editing. And it worked. Raymond Carver is considered to be one of the best short story writers of the twentieth century. But it took hard work and dedication. He had to want it bad. To find the time between work and parenthood and to choose to write above everything else, that takes serious commitment.

One thing having my daughter has taught me is that I too want it bad. It’s not just about the escape, having a break from the responsibility of being a mother; it is about creating something that is uniquely mine. It is about achieving something for myself outside of growing a human (and then keeping it alive). Not only that, but in the years to come, when she is looking towards adulthood and thinking about her own life choices, I want her to respect mine, to know that she can achieve any goal she sets herself because she watched her own mother achieve hers.

So in answer to Carver’s question: can I live with it? Yes, I can. I understand that accommodations will have to be made, but I don’t agree that my sights will have to be lowered. Perhaps deadlines extended and priorities adjusted, but for my daughter’s future respect, I will achieve every damn goal going. She maybe the reason I get up in the morning, but my own personal goals are the reason I make it through to the end of the day.

Charlotte Green: What is a story?

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

What is a story?

To tell a story, American short story writer Flannery O’Connor once wrote, is “to create life with words”. It takes a supreme talent to write a story that can recreate life, but is that really the goal of any story? Do people not immerse themselves in fiction for the sole purpose of escaping real life? And if that is the case, then what is a story?


If you ask anyone, writer or no, to tell you what a story is, they will know. Most people have been reading and telling stories since childhood. But if you ask someone to actually sit down and write one, the task can prove somewhat challenging. People become obsessed with plot and structure, characterization, and meaning. Do those things make up a story? Or are they the art of telling a story? If they are the techniques, then what is a story? And what differentiates a good story from its mediocre counterparts?


For the novice writer, early stories are often mongrel things. Combinations of sketch and essay, editorial and character study, case history and parable. They are often about problems rather than people. Abstract issues rather than concrete situations. Beginning writers are somehow possessed less by the story than by what O’Connor calls “unfleshed ideas and emotions”. They are so desperate to pass on to the world an idea or feeling – or even what they see as their own wisdom – that they fail to tell a story in the process.


So what is a story? Put simply, in a story something happens. There is a character and he is driven towards an action, usually by outside forces. The story is the showing of that action. It can be told through different mediums (short story, flash fiction, novel, novella, screenplay, or script) but the essence is always the same: there is a character or characters and they are forced to act. In other words, a story is a dramatic unit of literary art.


At their core, stories are about human existence, about real life, what Raymond Carver called “common place things”. In order to write about human experience, the writer must begin with the human element: the protagonists, in particular their senses. Fiction deals with reality through what can be seen, heard, smelt, tasted, and touched and it often takes at least three of these to make an object come to life. Take this sentence from Flaubert’s Madame Bovary where Emma plays the piano and Charles sits watching:


She struck the notes with aplomb and ran from top to bottom of the keyboard without a break. Thus shaken up, the old instrument, whose strings buzzed, could be heard at the other end of the village when the window was open, and often the bailiff’s clerk, passing along the highroad, bareheaded and in list slippers, stopped to listen, his sheet of paper in his hand.


At the start of this sentence we are with Emma at the piano “whose strings buzzed”. At the end we are across the village with a clerk in his list slippers. Given what happens to Emma by the end of the novel, the reader would be forgiven for wondering why these details are important. But Flaubert had to create a realistic and believable village for Emma to live in. For if the reader didn’t believe her surroundings, why would he believe her outcome? It is this level of detail that makes the village and thereafter her outcome believable. It is what makes the story believable.


Detail is essential. Ford Maddox Ford famously taught his students that a writer should not include a man in a story long enough to sell a newspaper, unless he appears with enough detail to make the reader see him. How does a writer achieve that? By writing what he sees. Learn to see – not just look – but really see the world. Writing fiction is not a matter of saying things to the reader, but of showing them the world as it really is.


That said, art is selective. A story should not be a piling up of details. Every detail must work hard to be there. It must be essential to the action of the story. Otherwise that story becomes cumbersome and suddenly the reader no longer believes.


It is this level of detail that turns a mediocre story into a good story. A truly excellent story, however, is one where the reader discovers something new each time he reads it. In order to achieve this, the story must operate on several levels. A meaning or several meanings must be incorporated into the story. They are not tagged onto the end, but embedded into the very heart of the story. By doing that morality and drama are combined. The characters illustrate the story’s meaning through their actions.


And so we have come full circle. If a story is a character driven to action and that action illustrates a moral or meaning. Then through that story the author has offered up the original idea they wished to impart on their reader. And if beliefs are the lights by which we see, then by simply detailing the world as it appears, the writer will be incorporating his morals into his writing. It is through the human eye that writers make judgements and by using his vision, a writer not only details the world as it appears to him, but makes moral judgements on what he sees. Those judgements become the morals embedded in any story.


It takes true talent to “create life with words”. But by writing only what we see and by practicing each and every day – that is to make art a habit – we can almost certainly come close.