A.W. Rock – observations

Incidental happenings that don’t initially have any story structure often occur through character-led writing. This form of writing has been popular for some time now.

Some writers proclaim that character-led writing is the way a writer should start work. I think differently, for me the story is everything. In my book Soho Honey I planned a story that was initially based on fact and a character evolved who became the conduit through whom I could tell the story.

If you have a strong story, then interesting characters will naturally evolve.  Lack of a story produces a series of events rather than an engrossing tale.

Forming a strong story first is hard work because you can’t get away with characters giving you an escape route from a crisis in the narrative. Success in overcoming the challenge of writing an intriguing story with unexpected events and surprising twists is story-telling at its best as illustrated by Stephen King, Agatha Christie, Peter James and other authors who use story to involve their readers.

Allowing your characters to thrash around and build a story is much easier. That does not mean that great stories never come from character-led starts, but the story has not been the priority.

24.02.2017 | A.W. Rock


My publisher offered me the opportunity to write a short story for a competition with a maximum of 3,500 words.
I started writing it last weekend and thought that I had plenty of time to complete it.

But as happens so often when you think that something is going to be easy overconfidence kicks in and I underestimated the time it would take.

By Wednesday, when the story had to be submitted, I had only completed half of it and had written myself into a corner with a complex plot.

It is now Saturday, and I have written 2,500 words and am struggling to unpick the situation I have got my leading character into.

Although I’ve missed the deadline, we will put the story on the website as soon as I have finished it.

18.03.2017 | A.W. Rock


When I read I like to digest every sentence, explore the construction of sentences and consider the use of words to generate emotions. I like to read slowly and refer back frequently to pages I’ve already read to understand the challenges that the writer has gone through to express and explain himself or herself.

I turn the corners of pages over when I come to an interesting incident or description and later on I will read it again to see how the writer is using those moments to develop the story.

12.09.2017 | A.W. Rock


One should never judge people by first appearances. Recently I was invited to a lunch party – I don’t go out for dinner because if I eat a large meal in the evening I go to sleep. Anyway at that lunch party, which I arrived at, at 2pm and didn’t get to eat until 6pm, the first person I met stood up, all 6 feet 7 inches of him, to shake hands. He was dressed in black with a black beard and looked about 50 years old.

What? I wondered did this guy do for a living. Was he a bouncer? Was he a barrister? Was he a billionaire? Maybe he owned a vineyard and had won many awards for his superb vintages.

No he had worked for the local council for twenty-five years.

Fascinating, I thought to myself and started to switch off. But he had something about him that made me wonder how he could have retained the personality that he projected yet had worked in such a compromising situation for so long.

We got on well and I never did discover what had led him to do what he did.

When I was in my mother’s womb she forgot to give me the ability to make small talk so although I am curious about people in general they invariable leave me struggling to find anything controversial to discuss, and without argument, conflict and something worth talking about I revert to my default settings and go to sleep.

18.09.2017 | A.W. Rock

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