The Rigours of Writing…

Some things bear repeating…this was an early blog of mine

Postcard from a Pigeon


Writing is about communicating, but what you wish to communicate, will determine how it’s written.

For example, if you’re a historian, writing a history of World War One, you won’t start with a blow by blow account of the violent  death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo. No, you’re more likely to start with an account of the shifting complex of treaties and alliances that led the world to war and the decade of global political assassinations, leading up to that one event.

As a journalist, you’d lead with the assassination and address the questions of ‘who, why, what, where, when and how?’, in the first four paragraphs. The background to the story, and its aftermath, might fill the latter paragraphs as ‘background.’

As a writer, you’d go straight for the action, contrasting the pomp and ceremony of an Imperial Archduke’s visit with the sweaty, fear…

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6 thoughts on “The Rigours of Writing…

  1. “Character can dictate a story and in the writing, it is the author who carries the burden, as well as the reins, of control.”

    I loved this article all the way around, and you connected the dots with your Chicago friend (thank you).

    I see debates pop up on writing blogs between character and plot driven writing. For me, the characters are like horses and the author, as you put it, has the reins. The best ride is going to come from an author who is light with his hands, and can utilize his legs and stays centered. You guide a horse. It is a thousand pound animal that can go off like a bolt of lightning without any warning, or not. It is a living, breathing entity.

    A plot driven stories is like an author driving a car. There is a vehicle moving and it has speed and direction. It might even prove entertaining to watch for a time, but the author and his audience are the only living entities in the room. The vehicle is just a vehicle. At best, it could pop a tire or run out of gas.

    Of course, it is just my thinking; but I love my characters.

    • I really do believe characters are prime movers in a story but they must have something to do and something must happen to them, plot and character. Tanya, you can analyse my writing better than me. The third entity in this scenario is the writer

      • You can’t train a horse, if it is just standing still. As a former equestrian (amateur in the extreme), I had to encourage movement by applying pressure to teach my beautiful, four year old gelding any new tricks. He was a spirited boy, so it didn’t take much; but the analogy applies to what you added. I would often ride him out alone and find obstacles to challenge him with. If he refused (stopped), I had to turn him in circles (move him), until he relented. Those were our best and most entertaining rides. Movement – the something to do – is critical. Characters and writers stagnate without it.

        I learn a lot from your writing and your journey, Dermott. Thanks for continuing to share!

      • So I’ve been doing two blogging courses, simultaneously and one of those is everyday inspirations. Yesterday, the task set was to find a guest blogger or collaborator for a blog on my site. Are you up for it? I’d like to do something like an autopsy of a short story.

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