One of the most important rules for writers

With great power also comes great responsibility. This is quite a common saying–also thanks to its popularization by the creators of Spider-Man, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

In any case, this saying is so widespread also because it’s deeply true.

rules for writers

Not just rules for writers…

To realize this we don’t need to look for superheroes fighting against super villains always only one step away from destroying the world. We can just keep our eyes open during our everyday activities.

Take traffic officers, for example. In the overwhelming majority of the cases, they behave in a professional way, irrespective of the fact they have stopped us for a routine control or to give us a ticket. Continue reading

Photography and writing — how you can use the universal language of creativity to improve your art

Wow, this time around I managed to write a title that’s almost as long as a post. I know they say to keep it short and sweet, but I wanted to make my title as descriptive as possible. So to hell with SEO and crawlers. A post should be written for readers, not for digital spiders of the web.

Photography and writing

Arts in general, an not only photography and writing share the same basic principles

Some days ago I was on Twitter doing some research for a story I’m writing. Well… to be honest, in reality I was loafing about, I was wasting time, postponing, putting things off. You get the idea.

This even if some time ago I wrote an extremely erudite and effective post–I hope not too riddled with spelling mistakes and strange turn of phrases–about how to avoid procrastination.

In any case, surfing and twitting away I came across a couple of interesting quotes.

Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own — Bruce Lee

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see — Henry David Thoreau

Then, one of my friends called me on the phone, and we had a pleasant chat about his new camera–one of those that require you to learn a lot of technical stuff just to get a barely decent result.

All this got me thinking about the way photography and writing compare one to the other and the way a writer can learn about writing principles just looking at pictures. Continue reading

Why details are important – not only in literature

This is an idiotic post, going around like a drunkard. Probably I didn’t pay enough attention to details when I wrote it. And now it’s too late.

why details are important in literatureSome days ago a friend of mine told me about a new card he had subscribed to.

It was one of those cards that reward your shopping around giving you back a usually very small percentage of the amount you spent.

My friend was adamant this card was the best thing since sliced bread. And to make his point perfectly clear he told me that you even got a one percent discount on gas–of course provided you used the right coupons and gassed up your car only in the authorized gas stations.

Noticing the glint of fanatism in my friend’s eyes, I kept my mouth metaphorically shut, and limited myself to make only vage, uncommittal remarks.

But our conversation got me thinking. Continue reading

How to find the theme in your stories–and turn them into T-rexes

How to find the theme

How to find the theme in your stories? Just look under the surface…

That of theme is an essential concept in creative writing. In fact, it can give a work of fiction depth and resonance beyond belief.

However, it is important to make sure we know what a theme really is.

In particular we must pay attention not to confuse it with the subject of a story.

For example, in the Lord of the Rings Frodo must travel to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring, the only able to rule the other Rings of Power. We can therefore say that the battle for power is the subject of the story.

Instead, the main theme of The Lord of the Rings (or rather one of its main themes) has to do with the inherent ability power has to corrupt who wields it.

To make things clearer, just think of a book about the war. In such a case the war would be the subject of the book.

Instead, the take of the author on such a subject would be the theme. For example, some authors might decide to explore the theme of the inevitability of war, some others might focus on the loss and pain war causes, yet some others might decide to depict war like an opportunity–you get the idea.

Obviously, in a novel themes can be more than one. Besides, while some may be quite prominent, others might be only briefly touched upon. Continue reading

How to write a lot every day – myths and facts

clock - how to write a lot every dayMany years ago, when I began to put pen to paper, I wrote using whatever I had at my disposal.

Given that I was a happy owner of a Commodore Amiga, and I also was a sort of a geek, the program I chose to write my first stories was a Seka Assembler, an editor developed for programmers, not writers.

Seka Assembler was rudimentary, but it was fast and had all the basic functions I needed. I used it to write several short stories and one long SF novel I’m sure I still have tucked away somewhere.

It took me a couple of years to finally decide this writing thing really intrigued me, and consequently buy a proper word processor. Besides, during those first years I wrote without any kind of a routine.

Some weeks I wrote for hours seven days out of seven, some others I didn’t write a single word. Also, I didn’t pay much attention to how many words I wrote every day, or whether what I had just written was at least intelligible.

If I had the opportunity to do so, I just wrote whenever I felt like. Continue reading