One of my former Writers Bureau students, Alan Dale, asked if he could interview me for his new blog. I was delighted to be asked and to support Alan as he starts on his blogging journey. Here’s a short extract from the interview:
Perhaps we could start by looking at a few aspects of short story writing, as this is an area where you’ve had considerable success. One of the most helpful comments that a fellow member of Woking Writers’ Circle made about a story of mine was “in a few deft strokes, he painted a picture of X.”
This was an sudden flash of revelation for me, because it illuminated a comment in Iain Pattison’s excellent WB course companion, “Cracking The Short Story.”
Iain explains that long, detailed passages of characterisation are unnecessary and slow the pace of a short story. My problem was always striking the correct balance, between excessively overblown description and sketchiness that bordered on the non-existent. How do you see this balance and how do you know when you’ve achieved the right compromise?
A. I always find it useful to make a few notes about my characters – in terms of both physical traits and personality traits. It’s good to know your characters well. But it doesn’t mean you then need to use all these in the story. Weave a few in here and there so that you’re creating an image of the character while you’re also pushing on with the story.
If you’d like to read more of the interview and to support Alan as he starts out, click here.