Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Venice masterclass snapshots: 4 hidden enablers for your story

Today’s re-blog is from awhile back but is fresh as a writer’s daisy :-)

After you read these writing tips do notice that this woman has three books about writing novels that are the best I’ve come across…

Nail Your Novel

hidden techniques for writersI’m just back from a few days in Venice teaching a writing masterclass (I know, it’s a hard life). In my lectures, one subject I found I returned to repeatedly was the hidden clues that make a novel work. Readers often don’t realise they are there, and that means they’re hard for a writer to spot.

Does that sound vague? Let’s have some examples.


Readers have a strong sense of whether surprises are fair. Sudden fatal coronaries, floods, falling trees and brake failures have to be used with careful judgement because they are convenient for the writer. They must be foreshadowed so that they seem inevitable and surprising but not arbitrary.

So if you wanted to warm the reader up for a car crash, you could plant a hint much earlier in the novel that one of your characters is often fined for speeding, or that it’s Christmas and…

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2 responses to “Venice masterclass snapshots: 4 hidden enablers for your story

  1. Roz Morris @Roz_Morris February 23, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    And another :) for that lovely comment about my books.


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