Multitasking and monotasking – the essential difference

These days it seems you need to be multitasking away all the time if you are to truly consider yourself a citizen of the 21st century. Unfortunately, multitasking is the perfect way to carry out innumerable tasks at the same time with mediocre results at best. If what you’re trying to accomplish is something mundane or whose results are ultimately of small import, maybe multitasking can save you some time–maybe. But if you’re working at something that requires a lot of attention, multitasking is the best recipe to come up with sloppy results. Multitasking is also bad for your IQ and,…

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Story ideas, where do you get them?

In a way, it seems the problem of the origins tickles our consciousness as a species on countless levels. And, given how fascinating it is such a subject, understandably so. Usually, writers aren’t asked to tackle cosmic questions. Rather, they are asked over and over other kinds of ‘cosmic’ questions. Questions pertaining to the genesis of new ideas and stories. Where do you get your ideas from? How does an idea bloom into your mind? To such questions writers often come up with a lot of different answers. Some more articulated than others. Some more serious and thorough than others.…

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The most intriguing characteristics of a novel

Last week I wrote a post about the secret recipe for a bestseller. A recipe which, for a series of reasons, I don’t believe it can be found. Instead, in this post I’m going to list the features a book must possess to intrigue me. It’s not a secret recipe, far from it. It’s just me babbling about my likes and dislikes. A sort of case study on my reading habits. Unwilling heroes with a North Star Unwilling or reluctant heroes. You can call them like you wish. But for me this is how heroes should be to have a…

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New ideas

New ideas don’t always come to you in a bang. Often they fly through your interior landscape as quietly as a hot-air balloon. All you need to spot them is a willingness to turn your eyes to the heavens. Not sure horror writers can do the same though…        

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The secret recipe for a great novel? Does it even exist?

What is the secret recipe for a great novel? And the secret recipe for a bestseller? Above all, do these recipes even exist? Questions like these are of interest to writers and readers alike. In fact, while writers are always on the lookout for new ways to make their stories more and more compelling, and sellable, readers are forever sifting through the oceanic offer of books they have at their disposal to zero in on those with just the right features to turn an otherwise normal reading session into a deeply rewarding experience. As a result, at first blush for…

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Why I cannot live without books

Books make up an important part of my life. This is not just because I write. In fact, well before I ever tried to write anything, I was an avid reader. One of those people capable of staying at home on New Year’s Eve to finish a book they have just started reading. Because it seems promising. And the thrill of knowing how it all ends is as irresistible as Ulysses’ sirens’ song. In particular, I remember a New Year’s Eve of almost thirty years ago. The book I had just started was Red Dragon by Tomas Harris. And–you know…

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Literary devices: repetition in books

Have you ever noticed? The best novels imitate reality. They don’t try to photocopy it. In fact, reality is too thick and complex a tapestry, so made up of billions and billions of different threads, to be captured in its entirety. It’s a tapestry where each thread represents a different story–each going on at the same time all the others are also going on. Besides, as soon as we lean closer to a thread we discover it’s just as complex and vast as the whole tapestry. In a way, reality is a sort of fractal. To navigate reality and understand at…

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How to fight Amazon fake book reviews

Book reviews can be extremely useful. They can help us better choose our next book, to home in on the one that is most likely the best for us. Of course, this holds true provided it is the kind of book we like. You know, no matter how many stars a book has if it is about, say, Second World War and we read only romance. Even so, even when considering reviews of the types of books we like, in this digital era of ours we can run into a problem. In fact, although many reviews are genuine, and some…

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How to create awesome character names

I already wrote another post on character names. But I felt it wasn’t as complete as it could have been. So here is a sort of part two. Some authors don’t even start writing if they don’t know the name of their characters. Others write a full first draft or even more using working names. Then they finally come up with a name that is the natural result of their staying with the story for such a long time. The name reveals itself, we could say. Now, probably names aren’t among the most important aspects of a great novel–but many great…

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