How to write beginnings –3 simple tips

plane ready to take off

The first pages of your novel are the most important ones. How to write beginnings is an art and a necessity. You must have read such claims, or variations of them, at least a million times. This is so for a simple reason: it’s true. In fact, as Les Edgerton says in Hooked, a tremendous number of possibly good and even brilliant novels and short stories never get read beyond the first few paragraphs or pages by agents and editors. If you are indies and don’t have to deal with agents and editors you could be tempted to think you are safe. But agents and…

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5 Novels to boost your creative writing skills

One very common piece of advice we can hear about how to improve our creative writing skills has to to with reading. In fact, extensive reading in the most disparate genres lay the foundations for any writer who is serious about his or her work. Indeed, reading helps a lot to develop a spontaneous feeling for the way good stories should be put together. But given that time is a precious resource, to maximize this illustrative effect we should try to focus our attention on the best books we can find around. This means those books that can be thought of…

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How to jump-start your creativity

Creativity can be a capricious companion. At times I don’t feel like writing anything at all. I mean, although my head has been buzzing with ideas all day long, as the time of my writing session gets nearer, it seems to me that my ideas dry up and vanish into thin air. Once upon a time, this used to piss me off.  But thanks to my stubbornness this is no longer the case. Freewriting, boredom, and creativity In fact, on such occasions I sit down at my desk and start pounding on my keyboard all the same. Only, as freewriting…

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How to put genre in fiction to good use

how to put genre in fiction to good use

We usually think of Genres as categories of literature based on a set of established conventions. However, this is true only in part. Fashions change, and so do even traditions. Likewise, also the defining characteristics of any given genre are far from being set in stone. For example, in the 1960s, the increasing numbers of female authors who wrote SF led to a shift of the focus of the stories, that is, more emotion and less physics. For sure, genres change because societies change, and the readers’ expectations too change in accordance. In a certain way we could say that genres embody…

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Editing programs—are they any good?

editing programs, are they any good?

I love reading. I love reading poignant, gripping stories. However, typos and banal grammar mistakes can spoil even the most well-devised story. Indeed, for me reading a book riddled with typos and grammar mistakes is like watching a movie peppered with an endless series of ads. It just spoils my experience. It’s not a matter of snobbishness on my part, or of being a grammar Nazi. Quite simply, when I read a book with a great story, I end up expecting that every other part of the book will be just as satisfying. Once upon a time, with traditional books, the publishing houses made…

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Power words–don’t feast on them

Nowadays it’s enough to surf the Internet to come across a staggering number of websites devoted to creative writing. In most cases a brief search of any of these websites will produce a post about how we all should use power words if we want to instantly improve our writing. This is just one of the innumerable tips about how to bring our prose to the next level. And, in general, it’s a sound piece of advice. After all, why to use walk over and over again when we can resort to amble, careen, flounder and so on? For sure, the  size…

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The Blade Itself – a review

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie - Peter Rey

Over the weekend I finished reading the The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie. This is the first book of  The First Law trilogy and, as it is often the case for Fantasy trilogies, it doesn’t have a conclusion–not even a minor one. As a matter of fact, The Blade Itself sets up the setting and introduces the main characters of the trilogy. But in it there’s almost no mention about what mission our heroes are supposed to embark on, or why. There are only vague hints, and suppositions. Considering what I’ve just said, this book doesn’t sound so interesting. Yet it managed to grab…

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Books and Movies — Three Reasons Why I Prefer Books

I read The Hobbit for the first time when I was a child. Tolkien‘s book immediately captured me, and made me fall in love with the fantasy genre. Some years ago I decided to reread it and gladly discovered that I still enjoyed it as thoroughly as I did on my first read. Indeed, great books and great wines are the same, they both age with grace. Of lately I’ve watched the third episode of Peter Jackson’s adaptation–The Battle of the Five Armies. Even though Jackson’s work is quite different from the novel, I enjoyed it as well. In particular, I found the special…

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Creative Writing — Story, Plot, and Vocabulary

When it comes to creative writing any theory is, to say the least, tricky. In fact, as soon as someone comes up with a definition, whatever that may be, we can be sure that a writer is bound to come along and write a story that proves that theory wrong. From story to plot However, this doesn’t mean we cannot draw any interesting conclusions about storytelling. For example, paraphrasing E.M. Forster, while a story is a narrative of events exclusively arranged in their time-sequence, a plot is also a narrative of events, but one in which the emphasis is falling on causality…

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