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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Applied Inspiration — How to Ferry a Dream into Reality

sunset - inspiration for writers

In a previous post I wrote about inspiration. In short, I argued that inspiration is essential to kick-start the creative process and so come up with a really novel idea — a core around which we can build a fully formed project. Obviously, inspiration has an important role also in the everyday process of writing, but it isn’t at all as essential.  In fact, if we sit down at our desks and start writing, within minutes ideas are bound to flower into our mind. Besides, what we write while struggling for inspiration is virtually indistinguishable from what we write on…

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How to Make More Effective Resolutions

gorilla selfie - effective resolutions

Sure, we all have made many of them – especially New Year’s resolutions. And we all have forgotten about them by the end of the first week into the new year. Indeed, to me, New Year’s resolutions seem more like a ritual. We all have to make at least one, otherwise we don’t feel comfortable with ourselves. Besides, in this way, we have something to turn to when it comes to small talk. A waste of time? In any case, the sad truth seems to be that New Year’s resolutions don’t work. And in fact according to research 88% of…

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How reading can sculpt our mind

Lately I was reading an article about reading habits and cognition. In this article the researchers claimed that reading literary fiction can boost our cognitive performance a lot more than popular fiction can. They said that, “just as in real life, the worlds of literary fiction are replete with complicated individuals whose inner lives are rarely easily discerned but warrant exploration.” A literary continuum. In a quite caustic tone Ezra Pound wrote that “The secret of popular writing is never to put more on a given page than the common reader can lap off it with no strain whatsoever on…

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Inspiration–is it really so important for your novel?

two coffee cups and a pair of glasses making up a face - Inspiration--is it really so important for your novel? - Peter Rey

After having reread and revised it at least five times, I’ve just sent off my first short novel, Ruin, to my editor. If everything goes as it should, within weeks I should manage to publish it. I wrote the first draft of Ruin in about three weeks. The story came to me easily and I enjoyed writing it. Then, after a pause to let it settle, to put some distance between me and the world I had imagined, I began the revising process. Though I had already edited a conspicuous amount of works before, the very first day I realized…

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The traditional novel — one thousand years old and still alive

clock - traditional novel - Peter Rey

Writing has been invented more than 3000 years ago. The first novel ever written was written by a woman in the year 1007. Since then, millions and millions of novels have been written. Indeed, we can say that the traditional novel truly represents a millenarian form of art. Yet, over the last few years, I heard on more than one occasion someone say that the novel is dead. That no traditional novel can match the immersive power of computer games, of interactive novels, and adventures. For sure the advent of the digital era has made relatively easy the creation of…

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Writers who don’t read, an ossimoron?

a man and a book - writers who don't read - Peter Rey

Sure, writers who don’t read aren’t really that common, but they’re not so rare either. In any case, some time ago, I came across the “confessions” of a young writer. She said she didn’t read much. Almost nothing at all.  She explained that she did so not out of a sort of repulsion for books by other authors, but to keep her voice, her style, as personal as possible. In short, she didn’t want to get influenced by what she read. Now, this might seem an interesting position. After all, any serious writer works hard to develop a strong personal…

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