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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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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How do you get creative writing ideas?

Write a new post or perish trying. Today I feel like perishing. I want to write interesting things about creative writing and the creative process, but all I can think of are boxes full of sand. Boxes full of sand? And what are they for? That’s a good question. And the answer is I don’t know for sure. But I have the strong feeling they are like ideas. I mean on those rare occasions they are delivered, so to speak, right to my door. Perfectly formed new ideas. They look like a gift from heaven. But are they really such…

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Micro-tension – the secret ingredient of great fiction

There are many books devoted to creative writing. So many that if an aspiring author decided to read them all before ever putting pen to paper, he would die and be reborn a disturbingly high number of times before he could actually write a single word. Maybe–just maybe–if you firmly believe in reincarnation this is not necessarily a big deal. But for all other aspiring writers it undoubtedly is. Luckily, though creative writing is a complex and extremely nuanced subject, it also offers a notable perk. That’s to say you can try any technique, any style, any suggestion without having…

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Famous writers’ quotes about writing

Quotes are interesting. Quotes are fashionable. Famous writers’ quotes about writing are even cooler. But quotes are also prone to misinterpretation. Especially because they are often used without appropriate context. This may look like a minor detail. But it’s not. In fact, for example, if you know about writing techniques and what it means to tell the truth in creative writing, you can have decidedly different takes on the following Mark Twain’s quote than you would if you hadn’t any special interest about writing. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything–Mark Twain In one case you…

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Horror books and video games, not your usual link

Richard Burns Rally is a sim racing game that was released in 2004. Back then Richard Burns, who won the World Rally Championships in 2001, helped the programmers to recreate as accurately as possible the way actual cars behave on the road. Now, fourteen years later Richard Burns Rally is still considered among the best rally simulators. This is so true that there are several communities of modders around the world who actively keep adding new material to the original game. They model new cars, design new stages, and fine tune new setups for the cars. Mostly for free. rallysimfans…

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A book is a map of meanings – but a map is not the territory

In his short story On exactitude In Science, Jorge Luis Borge says that a map is not the territory, and should never be. This is one of those statements you could dismiss as utterly banal and therefore not worth of any pondering. But also that of gravity seems a banal concept, doesn’t it? After all we have all a basic and instinctual understanding of it. You know what I mean. Keep away from unprotected high places. Press benches are fine but don’t overdo them if you don’t want to get squashed under a barbell… We have this basic understanding because we…

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How the electric chair metaphor can help you tighten your creative writing

I’m a fervent advocate of scientific research. So much so indeed that I think we can’t have such a thing like too much science or too much knowledge. However, unfortunately, we can have something like too much technology. In fact, while science simply uncovers and explains the principles that make our universe tick, and is therefore neutral, technology isn’t necessarily always a good thing. This holds true even if, in principle, the dichotomy between basic and applied science is bogus. For example, while science explains what electricity is and how and why it works in such a way and not…

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Too many books to read and too little time to read them – a blessing in disguise?

Too many books to read and too little time to read them. This is one of my my constant problems. And even though I know perfectly well this is a typical first-world problem, I can’t help but to get frustrated about the way my list of to-read books keeps growing faster and faster. So fast indeed that even if I were a sort of octoculis lectorem (this is a word I just made up) and had eight independent pairs of eyes, I would be nonetheless unable to close the gap between my literary wants and my actual reading count. Luckily…

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