Even if it’s better than creative accountancy, creative writing still needs rules | Creative Writing 101

Creative accounting can be defined as a process whereby accountants use their knowledge of accounting rules to manipulate the figures reported in the accounts of a businessSubtle but important differences With an extreme simplification, creative writing can be considered any writing in which authors make things up. It’s sort of like creative accountancy, but with three important differences. Firstly, your chances of becoming rich with creative writing are slim at best. Secondly, also your chances of ending up in a jail if you pursue a career in creative writing are pretty slim. Lastly, creative writing is aimed at a public…

Continue reading

Book covers – a picture is worth one thousand words… or not?

I’ve already written a post about book covers. In it I offer a detailed overview of the features effective book covers should possess. Instead, in this post, more than on the how you can come up with a great cover, I try to put the importance of a cover into a larger perspective. To point out why it is a good idea. But one that should not keep you up at night.. They say a picture is worth one thousand words. I get it. Of course I get it. But, there’s always a but. In fact, if a picture were…

Continue reading

The ideal reader – Myth or practical, sound advice?

You should write with an ideal reader in your mind. That seems a reasonable suggestion. But then, if you think about it, you realize that what seems reasonable is instead total bullshit. After all, you reason, if you’re writing a book in your preferred genre you’d be better off writing a book that you yourself would love to read. Certainly, you don’t need to go and find some ideal reader out there. After all you should know yourself pretty well, shouldn’t you? In any case, a lot better than any one else. That’s an understandable reaction. But things aren’t so…

Continue reading

Daily word quota revisited – be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods

Setting up a daily word quota you have to hit can be an effective way to beat procrastination and improve your productivity–of course, provided you’re not like Douglas Adams, who is often quoted saying, I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by. Famous quotes apart, some time ago I wrote about procrastination, and I must say I considered my daily word count the most important metric for productivity. However, lately I’ve been examining a bit more deeply my writing habits and I discovered that a fixed daily quota can be ultimately of detriment to…

Continue reading

The essential three types of conflict in a story

In a story we often can find three types of conflict the protagonist has to delve with. These types of conflicts can be external, internal, and interpersonal. If your protagonist is riding a motorbike on a highway to chase a rapist on the run, that’s a pretty straightforward example of external conflict, or struggle. In fact, in this case the traffic, the high speed itself, the maneuvers the rapist may try to ram our protagonist’s bike off the road, are all external problems. Instead if your protagonist must come to terms with a traumatic episode of her life she’s been…

Continue reading

Concise writing in fiction

Concise writing in fiction can be an important asset, but when it comes to creative writing, what really means when we say a text is concise? If we look it up, the definition of the online Oxford dictionary for concise reads like this: giving a lot of information clearly and in a few words; brief but comprehensive. At first blush it seems this definition presents a problematic aspect. In fact how can a piece of writing be brief and yet comprehensive? How can it give a lot of information in just a few words? The simple answer to these questions…

Continue reading

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,…

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading