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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20 signs you are a writer

Maybe it’s Neil Gaiman’s statement that particularly resonates with you–“As far as I’m concerned, the entire reason for becoming a writer is not having to get up in the morning.” Or maybe you feel more in line with Dorothy Parker’s take–“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” In any case, shedding light on your desire to become a writer and what you’re actually doing to…

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Why do writers write. Or rather, why do I write?

Money. We all know it can’t buy happiness. But, as Groucho Marx said, “it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.” And that’s something. Or not? In any case, on one thing we can all agree. If someone wants to become filthy rich and do that real fast, writing is not the way to go. Indeed, this should be immediately apparent if we stop a second and think about the time and effort even a single book requires. Besides, according to the Nielsen Book research for 2015 only a very small number of books (500) sold on average more…

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What is serendipity and how it relates to creative writing

When you find valuable or agreeable things you weren’t looking for, that’s a case of serendipity. Serendipity has always played a major role in science. For example, in the discovery of penicillin, made by Alexander Fleming in 1928. In fact, as the story goes, Fleming was sorting through many different petri dishes containing cultures of dangerous bacteria. So doing, he noticed that on one dish was happening something unexpected. The colonies of bacteria spread all over the dish but for one small area where a mold was growing. Besides, the area all around the mold was free of bacteria. Of…

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Where do you get your ideas from? It’s quite a common question… but what about the answer?

Where do you get your ideas from? is probably one of those questions that writers are asked most often. Unfortunately it’s also a loaded question. In fact, it uncritically assumes that ideas are sort of objects completely formed and ready to be used—maybe like objects sitting neatly on a shelf somewhere in a magic shop, all happily waiting for a writer to come by and choose one. In reality ideas are made of the fuzziest substance in the universe: jumbles of often erratic human thoughts. So much so that even if you ever managed to find a magic shop with a…

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A truly indissoluble bound: writers and coffee–and what it means for literature

The link between writers and coffee has a long standing tradition. As detailed in Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, many among the most famous and accomplished writers in the world drink coffee, or used to, to fuel their creativity. Søren Kierkegaard, Voltaire, L. Frank Baum, Margaret Atwood, Honoré de Balzac. This is just a handful of names. The list could go on practically forever. Legend has it that Honoré De Balzac drank as much as 50 cups of coffee a day. Instead, Søren Kierkegaard used to pour into his coffee a staggering amount of sugar. This wasn’t exactly the most healthy of…

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Signs you are a writer – what is true and what is not

Surfing the web you can come across a zillion of posts listing the telltale signs you are a writer. These posts can be entertaining, no doubt about that. But they’re often based on myths, stereotypes, and little more. For example don’t worry if you didn’t start reading and writing before other children of your age. Or if your spelling abilities are still next to non existent. Many great writers have managed to succeed despite these problems, and some others way more difficult as well. Just think of W. B. Yeats and Jeanne Betancourt who had to work around their dyslexia. Think…

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The creative writing process – why it matters more then any grammar or stylistic rule

Rules can be helpful. But there are really too many of them. So much indeed that, once we have mastered the basic ones, to improve our style we’re better off concentrating on a more concrete creative writing process. Phantom limbs can be extremely painful. Even if, given that they are not there, they shouldn’t pose any problem to their… owners. I know this sounds paradoxical. But bear with me, please. In the 90s the treatment of such type of pain was extremely difficult, and led to no or negligible improvements. But then V. S. Ramachandran came up with a brilliant…

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The writing life – why I love writing

If 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…

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