Loose ends and the hope of things to come

Stories may be lifelike, but not like life. After all they require a selectiveness about what to tell and what to withhold. That decision is fundamental to narrative success. When you’re writing a piece of fiction, or for that matter a poem, the notion of form is metaphorical. You can choose to work within a... Continue Reading →

The long con

The success of the Conservatives in the UK’s general election could be seen as a triumph of spin, or its last dying thrash. The future will depend on how well the progressive parties understand their failure, and how a more compelling and realistic narrative of the last forty years could better serve them. The UK... Continue Reading →

The Fall, the visual and the verbal

Writers and filmmakers are mostly bound by a common love of storytelling, but watching The Fall as it reached the conclusion of its second series on BBC2 last week brought home the ways the skills required in verbal and visual media temptingly coincide and yet diverge. The Fall was by and large one of the... Continue Reading →

Bonds, myths, and keeping it real

It says something about the respective self-images of our cultures that the American superhero archetype is a cross between a high school football jock and Francis of Assisi (in tights), while here in Britain we favour a near-psychopath and compulsive womaniser (in a tux, as our American cousins would have it). The myth of James... Continue Reading →

Stories, cheating, ending

The US spy drama Homeland chugs on, probably losing viewers even as the story picks up, but you could say that it’s getting what it deserves since it cheated so comprehensively in the first few episodes, all for the sake of a dramatic twist. In the first few episodes we saw our heroine Carrie apparently... Continue Reading →

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