Category: Storytelling

  • Falling and Diving in Illustration

    Falling and Diving in Illustration
  • Looking Out To Sea

    Looking Out To Sea

    In stories, if a character is looking out to sea they’re frequently experiencing epiphany. In art, too, there’s no shortage of characters gazing out to sea. The guy giving the sermon below clearly understands the epiphanic power of the ocean, especially in combination with the higher altitude of a clifftop.

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  • Resources For Teaching The Black Death

    Resources For Teaching The Black Death

    This list includes non-fiction, historical fiction (some based on true stories) as well as podcasts, TV shows and even a song. I’m including resources for all ages in this list. HOOKS Ring a Ring o Roses Nursery Rhyme Ring a Ring o Roses, or Ring Around the Rosie, may be about the 1665 Great Plague of London: the “rosie” being…

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  • Women Without A Voice: In Fiction And In Life

    Women Without A Voice: In Fiction And In Life

    For some characters, self-reliance and a refusal to silence their inner voices strengthen their public voices. For others, art provides a metaphorical expression of voice. Often characters recognise the dialogic nature of voice: their voices exist only in dialogues with other people. … They recover their voices because they recognise the power of language. … Regarding voice and silencing, Barbara…

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  • Tips For Men Writing Women

    Tips For Men Writing Women

    Can men write woman and femme-presenting characters? Men can, do and may. William Trevor did it well. Apart from an excess of crying, Larry McMurtry also did it well. Ian McEwan is also right up there. Content note: This is a gender binarist topic. Non-binary genders exist and continue to be invisibilised the vast majority of the time. This particular…

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  • Magical Times of Day

    Magical Times of Day

    Before we had clocks, humans paid more attention to the sky and environment. Read older classics such as the novels of Thomas Hardy and notice how characters make use of all their senses once the sun goes down. They couldn’t simply flick on a light. Even though candles have long been available, they were expensive. My own Northern Irish peasant…

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  • Writing Thumbnail Character Sketches

    Writing Thumbnail Character Sketches

    We see people and things not as they are, but as we are. Anthony de Mello Park: “What did he look like?” Girl: “Well, kind of plain.” Park: “In what way?” Girl: “Just……..ordinary.” Memories of Murder, Bong Joon-Ho (2003) Readers differ in the amount of description they need when reading a fictional character. I remember once writing a short story…

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  • Baseball Art and Storytelling

    Baseball Art and Storytelling

    Examples from sports illustrators and book covers

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  • Symbolism Of The Circle

    Symbolism Of The Circle

    Just as the ocean has both a depth and a surface, the circle has both a centre and a circumference. In this way, there are two aspects to its symbolism.

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  • Cryptobotany and Creepy Trees In Stories and Art

    Cryptobotany and Creepy Trees In Stories and Art

    With their roots reaching deep into the earth, trees encapsulate the tense relationship of history and modernity.

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  • Clouds In Art and Storytelling

    Clouds In Art and Storytelling

    “I like the clouds… the clouds that pass… there… there… the wonderful clouds!” Charles Baudelaire, the stranger “As a cloud crosses the sun, silence falls on London; and falls on the mind. Effort ceases. Time flaps on the mast. There we stop; there we stand. Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame. Where there is nothing, Peter…

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  • How To Write A Hate Sink Character

    How To Write A Hate Sink Character

    There are certain character traits which audiences universally dislike. When they appear in fiction, audiences understand ‘this is the character I’m supposed to hate’. This character is called the Hate Sink. I have previously explored how writers create unlikeable but sympathetic characters. There is a list of tricks which have been utilised by storytellers to make us empathise with characters…

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  • Domestic Abuse Addressed In Children’s Books

    Domestic Abuse Addressed In Children’s Books

    If you’re looking for children’s book which deal with domestic abuse, there are many examples at all reading levels across various genres. While young adult authors are well-known for their willingness to confront difficult subject matter head on, readers can also find domestic abuse addressed in picture books.

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  • Homelessness In Children’s Stories

    Homelessness In Children’s Stories

    Home-away-home. That’s the classic pattern of a children’s story. When we’re talking about stories in general, we might say the Odyssean Mythic pattern. A hero goes on a journey, meets a variety of opponents and allies along the way, then either returns home or finds a new one. Unfortunately, not all young people have a solid home base. Fortunately, there…

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  • Excess, Hyperbole and Pestilence In Illustration

    Excess, Hyperbole and Pestilence In Illustration

    We love stories of excess. examples of excess and visual hyperbole can be seen all across children’s literature. Literally any item can be turned into a visual gag by creating a large number of it.

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