Improve your editing skills – 5 easy tips

Last updated: 13th August, 2017There was a time I hated editing. There was a time I thought all the fun was in ferrying my ideas into reality, in writing them on paper for the first time around. I thought the thrill of discovery, and that strange feeling I experienced—of tapping into some mysterious sort of alternate reality—was all I cared about. But then, blunt and irreverent, time barged in as it always does. And much to my chagrin it showed me I was mistaken. In short, it happened the most obvious thing in the world. I began rereading some of the stories I had written. In particular, I began rereading them months after I had written them. A change of perspective The results weren’t exactly flattering. Indeed, in many cases I discovered my stories, that had seemed so damn fantastic to me on the day of completion, now presented a long…

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How to write badly – when fiction turns into friction

Last updated: 22nd May, 2017The road to hell is paved with good intentions. You don’t need to be a true faithful to have heard this proverb. Of course, it’s a generalization, and like all generalizations it has its limits. But I think it’s particularly appropriate when applied to the world of creative writing, where ideas and good intentions seem to be everywhere, but then actual writing ferries into existence only a small sliver of them all. So, here is this list of one-liners about how to write badly. At the very least they’re all wrong, and in many cases they’re also incredibly counterproductive.

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Describing characters in fiction – literary techniques

Last updated: 3rd February, 2017In a previous post about memorable characters in fiction I wrote that writers must offer their readers many occasions to get to know the characters populating their stories. In fact, just as in real life the more we know about someone the more intense our feelings can grow for that person, the same happens in a novel. However, given that any work of literature, even the lengthiest one, is always an heavily edited and condensed version of reality, we must choose with care which scenes to include in our stories and which are instead better left out. For example, if in our book we describe Ms. Jones going through an endless series of only relatively trivial incidents, we can rest assured our readers will put down our book and find something better to do. Of course, if we really want to write some experimental book full…

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How to use adjectives in creative writing

Last updated: 7th December, 2016In writing in general, but particularly in creative writing, no part of grammar can be overlooked. But it’s also true that no part of grammar should be worshipped either. Endless choices Fact is, how we write depends on the content of our story, on the style we choose to tell it, on what the aim of our telling is, and a million of other things. For example, in a novel, to describe the route someone must follow, we may resort to descriptions relating to the colors and the smells of the landscape. We may also describe the feelings of the character. Instead, in a street guide we would most likely heavily rely on words related to the concepts of distance and direction. I mean, if we tried to explain to someone how to reach a certain place, but we did so using exclusively words related to…

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How to write descriptive passages – the iceberg metaphor

Last updated: 3rd October, 2016 If not well organized, descriptive passages are often at risk of turning into info dumps, so killing the pace of your novel and putting your readers to sleep. To avoid such an unfortunate outcome and produce instead well organized descriptive passages, you need to know perfectly well what you’re describing. Both in narrative terms and in terms of factual knowledge. This is why you have to ask yourself many different questions about the story you want to write. Questions about your main characters as well as the secondary ones; questions about the setting; questions about the story arc, and so on. Then you have to come up with just as many answers. If your answers are rich of details and quite articulated, good. But this is not so essential. In fact, the type of answers you need relates strictly to the type of type of writer…

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Precise writing – how and when to use adverbs to write better

Last updated: 17th September, 2016How the indiscriminate use of adverbs in creative writing can undermine precise writing, and how to avoid this. Precise writing is writing in which you as an author manage to put down on paper all your thoughts so that there’s (ideally) no discrepancy between what you want to write and what you actually write. Sure, seen from a distance, this transferring process might seem quite straightforward, but as any author knows only too well, precise writing isn’t always such a natural process. In fact, while it is relatively easy to write a page after the other just letting the words flow from your pen into the world, it is much more difficult to do so while writing compelling prose. If then you also set limits to the amount of your output, the task of transferring your thoughts on the page can turn into a harrowing experience.…

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How to find the best freelance book editor – a no no list

how to hire a book editor

Last updated: 7th October, 2016Editing your novel, possibly resorting to a professional freelance book editor, is a step of paramount importance in the process leading up to the publishing of your book. In fact, even the most powerful scene falls flat on its face if it’s riddled with typos, grammar mistakes, and whatnot. The reason for this is simple. Any glitch in the flow of the words on the page is like a tear in the virtual reality the reader is experiencing. And too many tears of this kind make the fabric of virtual reality simply too flimsy to keep the readers inside it. Editing a book – an act of balance The editing process is a particularly delicate and complex one. In fact, while generating new ideas to turn into books, and then actually writing your first drafts, as a writer you have full control over what you do, during…

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