Story ideas, where do you get them?

In a way, it seems the problem of the origins tickles our consciousness as a species on countless levels. And, given how fascinating it is such a subject, understandably so. Usually, writers aren’t asked to tackle cosmic questions. Rather, they are asked over and over other kinds of ‘cosmic’ questions. Questions pertaining to the genesis of new ideas and stories. Where do you get your ideas from? How does an idea bloom into your mind? To such questions writers often come up with a lot of different answers. Some more articulated than others. Some more serious and thorough than others.…

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The secret recipe for a great novel? Does it even exist?

What is the secret recipe for a great novel? And the secret recipe for a bestseller? Above all, do these recipes even exist? Questions like these are of interest to writers and readers alike. In fact, while writers are always on the lookout for new ways to make their stories more and more compelling, and sellable, readers are forever sifting through the oceanic offer of books they have at their disposal to zero in on those with just the right features to turn an otherwise normal reading session into a deeply rewarding experience. As a result, at first blush for…

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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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Why do writers write. Or rather, why do I write?

Money. We all know it can’t buy happiness. But, as Groucho Marx said, “it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.” And that’s something. Or not? In any case, on one thing we can all agree. If someone wants to become filthy rich and do that real fast, writing is not the way to go. Indeed, this should be immediately apparent if we stop a second and think about the time and effort even a single book requires. Besides, according to the Nielsen Book research for 2015 only a very small number of books (500) sold on average more…

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What is serendipity and how it relates to creative writing

When you find valuable or agreeable things you weren’t looking for, that’s a case of serendipity. Serendipity has always played a major role in science. For example, in the discovery of penicillin, made by Alexander Fleming in 1928. In fact, as the story goes, Fleming was sorting through many different petri dishes containing cultures of dangerous bacteria. So doing, he noticed that on one dish was happening something unexpected. The colonies of bacteria spread all over the dish but for one small area where a mold was growing. Besides, the area all around the mold was free of bacteria. Of…

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Healthy minds: how writers can stay healthy and keep writing

Writing can be a deeply rewarding activity. It can also be terribly stressful. Just have a look at these quotes: We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect–Anaïs Nin One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple–Jack Kerouac I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within–Gustave Flaubert A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God–Sidney Sheldon As a matter of fact,…

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Horror books and video games, not your usual link

Richard Burns Rally is a sim racing game that was released in 2004. Back then Richard Burns, who won the World Rally Championships in 2001, helped the programmers to recreate as accurately as possible the way actual cars behave on the road. Now, fourteen years later Richard Burns Rally is still considered among the best rally simulators. This is so true that there are several communities of modders around the world who actively keep adding new material to the original game. They model new cars, design new stages, and fine tune new setups for the cars. Mostly for free. rallysimfans…

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A book is a map of meanings – but a map is not the territory

In his short story On exactitude In Science, Jorge Luis Borge says that a map is not the territory, and should never be. This is one of those statements you could dismiss as utterly banal and therefore not worth of any pondering. But also that of gravity seems a banal concept, doesn’t it? After all we have all a basic and instinctual understanding of it. You know what I mean. Keep away from unprotected high places. Press benches are fine but don’t overdo them if you don’t want to get squashed under a barbell… We have this basic understanding because we…

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Power vocabulary – choosing the right word

At times, choosing the right word can look like a daunting task. Especially if we consider the sheer amount of words that even a measly dictionary can provide us with. Yet there’s a way we can improve our ability to write in a more effective and engaging manner. And it’s not based on rules or long lists. Rather, it’s based on the natural curiosity for the basic principles of writing that any self-respecting writer generally possesses. Choosing the right word is a matter of economy First of all, we should look at novels like extended and coherent chunks of the…

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