Every month, I examine some aspect of fiction—character development, plot, story structure, etc.—and offer advice and tips to help you work through the problems in your novel.
I have adapted many of the concepts you’ll see here from proven techniques used in modern psychotherapy. Hence: Fiction Therapy.
If you have a specific concern about your novel, send an email to jim [at] thefictiontherapist.com and I’ll do my best to help.
I recently reviewed a debut novel, The Valley at the Centre of the World. In it, the author, Malachy Tallack, describes life in a rural village on the island of Shetland. And he tries to do that in an accurate and honest way.
The problem is that not a whole lot happens in a remote village. The inhabitants go about their daily, seasonal and yearly rhythm. Strangers might arrive, but they’re usually looking for peace and quiet. Others might leave, but villagers are used to that too as people, mostly the younger generation, go off to pursue opportunities in the city. Even deaths in these aging communities happen regularly enough that there’s a certain routine to them too.
When nothing happens, nothing changes. And novels—stories in general—are all about change. There is (nearly) always a moment of self-realization for the (usually) main character.
And yet Tallack makes his story work.
How? [Read more…]