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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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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Use gamification to increase your daily word count

Some years ago, after I repeatedly found myself still playing at five o’clock in the morning, I had to wipe Skirim off my hard drive. And when the deinstallation program asked me if I wanted to keep my saved games I immediately clicked no. To prevent second thoughts from taking shape into my mind and persuade me the saved games were just harmless files. That I could keep them and be safe nonetheless. To this day, the same happens whenever I play chess. The game is so complex and compelling, and I find it so intriguing, I can’t just play…

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Original horror story prompts

In a previous post–Seeds of creativity–I said ideas are never a big problem for writers and creative people in general. But given that each one of us is unique in her way of thinking and looking at the world, in her way of understanding how things work, and in pretty much everything else, from time to time this uniqueness can also feel a bit suffocating. In fact, we tend to come up with ideas that feel like Xeroxed copies of previous ones we already wrote about. For example, if you are someone who feels strongly about hierarchies and power in corporate America…

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How handwriting can boost your creative productivity

When it comes to creative writing, deep down we all know that if literature giants like Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels),  Homer (Iliad, Odyssey), and Miguel de Cervantes (Don Quixote), wrote their masterpieces when electricity was still in the realm of science fiction, then there are no excuses for not being able to write just because our PCs aren’t perfectly up to date. In fact, a sheet of paper and a pencil. That’s all it takes to write. I mean, from a purely technical point of view. But time does fly, and times do change. As a result what was usual in the…

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Stress relief products for writers—cheap and effective!

Writing can be incredibly rewarding. Especially when we have just finished, really finished a work, and congratulating ourselves for the feat. Alas, writing can also be a grueling experience. I mean, there are days, at times even weeks, we seem utterly unable to find even the most basic word to convey the ideas floating about in our mind. From this perspective it’s no wonder Kurt Vonnegut said when he wrote he felt like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. It’s also no wonder that quotes like, There’s nothing to writing. You just open a vein and bleed…

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Is your writer’s block telling you something?

Usually you tend to consider the writer’s block like an obstacle that prevents you from putting down on page your ideas. Or even an obstacle that prevents you from having any fruitful ideas in the first place. In the first case, you can usually overcome your writer’s block in several different ways. Go for a walk. Have some coffe or a cappuccino. Do some sport, like running or cycling. Reduce distractions. Read a book. Listen to music. Try to stick to a routine. Force yourself to write anyway, no matter how shitty your writing is going to be. Cook a…

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Linguistics – how we relate to language

It has always fascinated me how we relate to language. We use it every day, constantly and quite skillfully. Yet we know little about how it works. Think of it. We yell at the dog to get him off the sofa. We pause a moment to make sure we have actually scared the damn thing away, then we resume our chatting on the phone with our friend. Later on, when our spouse gets home we say hello to him, or her, and ask about their day. Finally, we promptly adopt motherese to speak to our three year old daughter, who…

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Seeds of creativity – what really are great ideas?

If you believe great ideas come in a sudden flash and offer themselves complete down to the last detail you might be in for a shock. We cannot prevent birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from making nests on top of our heads. Similarly, bad thoughts sometimes appear in our mind, but we can choose whether we allow them to live there, to create a nest for themselves, and to breed evil deeds. I read this quote some days ago. I found it in Tolstoy’s Path of Life, but the quote itself is attributed to Martin…

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