Over the past few months, I’ve read some books about talent, and more specifically the age-old debate about whether it is possible to grow it. Some of the books I read are: Grit, by Angela Duckworth, Talent is Overrated, by Geoff Covlin, The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle. Deliberate practice According to these books, it’s apparent that talent can be grown by resorting to deliberate practice. However, there’s nothing new about this, and I’ve already covered the topic.Nonetheless, when they describe deliberate practice, they say it’s a particular type of practice — extenuating and far from … [Read more...] about Is Reading Overrated for New Writers? An Unexpected Effect of Research on Deliberate Practice
How to have great ideas? First start having a lot of ideas. Everyday discoveries The first is a trick I sometimes use to come up with new ideas when I feel stuck: I begin writing about an average Joe, or Jane. I put him into the first situation I happen to think, no matter how everyday it may seem. Then I simply let him do whatever he wants. During this exercise you don't need to come up with flawless prose. You just need to write well enough to be able to reread your story at a later time and understand what's going on. This trick is so simple it seems hoax. And yet it can work … [Read more...] about Three Simple Tips on How to Have Great Ideas
The first line of your story is important not only for your readers. The first line of your story is especially important also for you, the writer — especially if you are a pantster. I'm saying this because first phrases, can have a unique way to set the tone and the direction of your stories. After all, if I wrote: "The biplane was doomed." — which of the following phrases would you find more pertinent? 1) The roaring engine was on fire.2) The ice cream was slowly melting in its cup, like forgotten baggage. Of course, number one is the easiest choice here. However, this doesn't rule … [Read more...] about Why the First Line of Your Story Isn’t Important Only for Your Readers
One piece of advice beginning writers often get is about the necessity for them of always telling the truth. Unfortunately, that piece of advice is pretty useless. To start with, absolute and objective truth is unknowable. In addition, even if a writer is working on a story in which she recounts the truth from her point of view, this doesn't mean she must at all times put on the page all she knows. Indeed, there are at least a couple of good reasons for exercising some restraint. Modelling truth A story is a condensed and organized form of the reality it tries to depict -- no … [Read more...] about Telling the Truth — What Does It Really Mean in Fiction?