Quick Tips #4: Dialogue

Dialogue is one of the trickiest things to get right. It requires a good ear, and the ability to make speech sound natural even though it is probably the most carefully constructed, "artificial" component of any fictional work. What I mean: Counterintuitively, dialogue in fiction should not mimic everyday speech. Humans say a lot of…

Quick Tips #3: Show, don’t tell

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” This quote by Chekhov may be familiar to some of you. It encapsulates perfectly one of the rules of good fiction writing: Show, don’t tell. Consider the following: The man was very nervous. He tried not to cry. He…

Dandelion Clocks

I'm delighted to announce that my short story "Dandelion Clocks" has won the 2021 NZSA Graeme Lay Short Story competition. In his announcement on Facebook today, Graeme said: Themes of childhood loss and the possibility of renewal make this beautifully observed and sensitively written story difficult to forget. Thank you, Graeme, and congratulations to the…

Our Father

I wrote this story ten years ago, after my father-in-law (at the time) died. I wanted to somehow make sense of my profound feelings at having witnessed his death. It was published in Takahē magazine (a literary journal) in 2013. Today, on Father's Day, I remember Carl Bosselmann, and everyone who has lost a father.…