Saturday 11 November 2023

Saturday Sample: Creative Writing Tip Sheets by Gill James, black coffee



Fifty-seven easy to use fact sheets that cover all that you need to know if you are relatively new to writing. Ideal too for the creative writing teacher.   
Gill James is an experienced writer and teacher. The Tip Sheets pass on information that she has acquired over twenty or so years.   

Get your copy here. Pay what you like. Suggested fee: £2.00  

Tip Sheet List

1.      Character – archetypes

2.      Characters, making them round and believable

3.      Dialogue – how it works

4.      Dialogue – setting it out.

5.      Editing your work

6.      Endings  - getting them right

7.      Feedback – giving and receiving it

8.      Formatting Fiction

9.      Getting your work out there

10.   Gifts

11.   Ideas: where to get them from

12.   Narrative balance

13.   Narrative Voices in Prose Fiction

14.   Networking and Finding Your Writing Tribe   

15.   Pace

16.   Planner or Panster? 

17.   Poetry Form Acrostic poems

18.   Poetry Form Ballad

19.   Poetry Form Blank Verse

20.   Poetry Form Elegy

21.   Poetry Form Free Verse 

22.   Poetry Form Haiku

23.   Poetry Form Limerick

24.   Poetry Form Ode

25.   Poetry Form Oulipo Poets

26.   Poetry Form Sonnet

27.   Poetry Form Triolet

28.   Poetry Form Villanelle 

29.   Poetry – Glossary of terms   

30.   Point of View in Prose

31.   Script – Radio play

32.   Script – Screen Play – formatting

33.   Script – Some extra elements   

34.   Script - Stage Play UK – formatting 

35.   Script -  Stage Play US -  formatting

36.   Script – which format 

37.   Self-publishing

38.   Showing not telling  

39.   Some organisations that might be helpful

40.   Story Structure: Amalgamated Theory – Finding Your Way Through

41.   Story Structure: Amalgamated Theory Campbell, Propp, Vogler

42.   Story Structure: Beat Sheets

43.   Story Structure: Christopher Booker’s Seven Basic Plots

44.   Story Structure: Christopher Vogler    

45.   Story structure: Four basic characters

46.   Story Structure: Joseph Campbell  

47.   Story Structure: Plots and Sub Plots

48.   Story Structure: Robert McKee

49.   Story Structure: The Three Act Structure 

50.   Story Structure: Vladimir Propp 

51.   Synopses – How to Write Great Ones

52.   Writing for Children - early fluent reader

53.   Writing for Children – emergent reader

54.   Writing for children  - fully fluent reader

55.   Writing for Children – picture books 

56.   Writing for Children – t(w)een reader 

57.   Writing for Children - which age group?

58.   Writing for Young Adults 

Character – archetypes

Several of the gurus who have come out with story theories have also suggested archetypes that are found in stories.  You may have started with four basic characters (see ‘Story structure: four basic characters): hero, enemy, friend and mentor but you may find looking at these characters useful.

Christopher Booker’s archetypes

Good old man

Innocent young girl

Rival or “shadow”


Dark Father

Dark Mother

Dark self

Joseph Campbell’s archetypes








Christopher Vogler’s archetypes  








Vladimir Propp’s archetypes 




False hero




Other fairy-tale familiars (as found by the brothers Grimm)

The Guileless Fool

The Meddlesome Fairy

The Wicked Crone

The Charming Prince

The Beautiful Damsel

As you will see, there is a lot of overlap between the different gurus. I haven’t gone into a lot of explanation here;   let them be what their name suggests. If you are really interested in archetypes you may like to look at Jung and also the work of Carol Pearson and Margaret Mark:     

Why work with archetypes?

They can give each of your characters a function within the story. It’s important to ask why characters are there at all and this may be especially important for minor characters.  And readers love archetypes, even if they can’t name them. They recognise them as familiar.

Your turn

Use a work in progress and see if you can fit one of these characters in or build up one that you already have to become one of them. Can you pinpoint the role of any other characters you have there?  Or maybe in something you’re currently reading?       


Get your copy here. Pay what you like. Suggested fee: £2.00   



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