The Horror! The Horror!


The Horror! The Horror! by Dario CirielloRepost

I’m not sure about Joseph Conrad—history does not tell—but I’m prepared to bet that a majority of writers out there whimper at the prospect of revising their work, especially if the revision involves structural rewriting. The thought of having to do something akin to removing, remodeling, and replacing several floors of a high-rise without the whole building collapsing is daunting, to say the least. To extend the analogy, what about all the plumbing, electrics and ductwork that run through the floors you’re refitting? How will changes on those floors affect the rest of the building? It’s enough to make you crazy.

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Roland Clarke Comment:

As I near what I hope is the end of the final revision of my first novel, your advise makes so much sense, Dario. I suspect that the process I have followed differs slightly but there was so much useful advise that I know it will make the next revision better. I just hope I’ve learnt enough in my early wanderings around the editing maze. Thanks


The Power of the Bow

The Spartans thought the bow was the weapon of cowards but to me it’s the weapon of a hunter, a person who uses stealth and oneness with their environment to track & combat more powerful creatures and more heavily armed foes that might be using swords. Perhaps the bow symbolises someone at one with nature so in their own way special.


There is a children’s movie just come out, Brave, with the heroine sporting a bow and arrow. Katnis, from the Hunger Games, was lethal with one. Legolas was extremely handsome even in the midst of a desperate fight for Helm’s Deep and never missed when he let fly.

It seems that a bow and arrow are integral ingredients in fantasy, even when the setting is modern enough for guns and technology. Bows were, of course, around before fantasy. Who can forget Robin Hood in the archery contest splitting his opponent’s arrow, which had pieced the center of the bull’s-eye? Classic.

And then there are the Samurai with their beautiful longbow, theYumi. They didn’t just shoot it with their distinctive technique, but held a philosophical discipline, kyūjutsu, akin to Tai Chi and other spiritual martial arts.

Even after the bow became outdated as an effective weapon it remained…

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Digging out the Motivation

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There’s blood hiding in the blizzard and the voices in my head are asking: Why is the protagonist acting so weird? Why is the heroine still friendly with her unfaithful ex?  What’s driving this group of diverse characters forwards and are they heading for a memorable climax or just oblivion?

I thought I had nearly finished my final edit of ‘Spiral of Hooves’ but then the niggling voices began. I’ve read a number of blogs recently that have led me to question whether I have made the motivation of each of my main characters clear.

In my head I know why my characters behave the way they do and why events unfold in a certain chronology, but will my readers understand what the words I have written mean?  It’s important that I ensure that the motivations are not so much overt but at least alluded to in the characters’ words and behaviour.

Deus ex machina

I may write mysteries but there’s a difference between hiding the clues within the telling of the story, and keeping them so secret that they’re invisible until they spring from the page like dei ex machina.

Hence the need for me, and of course other writers, to check on that motivation as objectively as possible.

Which on a linked tangent has led me to ask: why do I write?  Looking back over my fledgling career, I have always written so I could share the stories in my head.  However as for writing to earn thousands of pounds, that has never been an objective, although it would be nice to earn something in my retirement.

In addition writing helps me keep my MS at bay, helping me stay focused and occupied.  Yes there are days, like yesterday, when I struggle to get motivated to even leave my bed and write an email. Luckily that isn’t a problem every day, just some.

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On the editing front I have other areas to address before an agent gets to read anything. I also need to address the ‘how do I get published?’ question, but that’s a topic for another blog perhaps.

In my online search about ‘Motivation’, I have found the following links on Characterisation helpful:

Various articles on Characters:

Motivation and Motivational Issues:

Nailing Character Motivation:

Plus these Blogs have provided more food for ideas:

One writer’s character creation:

A motive in many ways:

Improving female characters: