The writing life – why I love writing

why I love writingIf you write because you think it’s the quickest way to becoming a millionaire, think better.

In particular, you’re making two basic mistakes.

The make-a-living myth

The first is a simple matter of numbers.

To pay the bills and send their kids to school, most writers, even the moderately successful ones, have to balance their precious time between their art and an often mundane day job.

Of course, this doesn’t mean there are no authors able to accumulate a fortune with their books. We have all heard of people like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Nora Roberts, James Patterson, and all the others.

However, considering the number of all the authors, those who sell enough to live from their craft really are a minority.

This is so even if we don’t take into account the gazillion aspiring writers out there in the wild who write sporadically, read erratically, and rarely invest time to learn how to improve their style and their sales. Continue reading

Is daydreaming bad or good? What I discovered

daydreaming is badLife is complex and multilayered.

Indeed, any question worth asking rarely has a simple and straightforward answer.

For example, take the question about the actual usefulness of daydreaming and its supposed drawbacks.

Some facts

Daydreaming is a short-term detachment from one’s immediate surroundings. During these events people, while awake, tend to substitute their reality with a fantasy. In general, this is a pleasant fantasy, for example where aspirations and ambitions are fulfilled.

Psychologists say daydreaming is quite common. It happens to pretty much everybody and it happens repeatedly too.

Sex seems to be the only activity we undertake without indulging in daydreaming. It would be interesting to know if it is so because sex is often the subject of daydreaming–and not necessarily only among adolescents. But I’m daydreaming digressing… Continue reading

Reasons for writing – the story behind the story

reasons for writingI write fiction for many different reasons. About some of them, I’m pretty sure. About some others, less so.

But that’s fine. Because writers aren’t books. Writers are made of flesh and blood, and can be fickle creatures.

Indeed, they’re more like a perennial work in progress, a messy first draft, than a flawless published book.

And rightly so, I would say. Otherwise writers would be doomed to write the same book over and over again. Continue reading

Flashbacks in literature – how to make them effective

flashbacks in literatureThere are many examples of flashback in literature.

Some are skillfully pulled off. Some others totter on the brink of disaster, but manage to lead the reader back to the story before all is lost. Finally, some other flashbacks are like a knife in the hands of a butcher: they slaughter the story and leave it agonizing, bleeding to death.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that writing a strong and effective flashback is a herculean feat. In fact, this could merely mean that flashbacks tend to be overlooked by authors. Because they are considered “easy stuff”.

From a purely technical point of view they are right–it’s not at all that difficult to devise an effective flashback. However, to fully exploit the evocative powers of a flashback it is essential to follow some basic principles. Continue reading

How to write badly – when fiction turns into friction

how to write badlyThe road to hell is paved with good intentions.

You don’t need to be a true faithful to have heard this proverb.

Of course, it’s a generalization, and like all generalizations it has its limits.

But I think it’s particularly appropriate¬†when applied to the world of creative writing, where ideas and good intentions seem to be everywhere, but then actual writing ferries into existence only a small sliver of them all.

So, here is this list of one-liners about how to write badly. At the very least they’re all wrong, and in many cases they’re also incredibly counterproductive. Continue reading