Use writing hooks to create terrific opening lines for your novel

The opening lines of your novel are of critical importance. In fact, it’s by reading them that readers decide whether to give your novel a shot or go instead looking for something else. Of course, a book shouldn’t be judged solely by its first few lines—and the same can be said about the cover, the title, and so on. But these days considering the amount of books that readers can choose from, and the hectic times in which we live, it’s normal for people to come up with shortcuts to try and find the brightest diamonds among the deluge–even if this means that sometimes they’re going to miss out on some of such diamonds, especially the most unconventional ones. Writing hooks: definition Simply put, a hook is a sentence or a group of sentences that appears at the beginning of your story and, ideally, it should entice perspective readers to keep…

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Best horror books–a review of West of Dead

West of Dead - cover

We all have a list of our preferred authors. So it’s quite natural that when we’re searching for something new to read we turn first to such authors. We already know and love their works, so chances are we’re going to enjoy the next book they’re going to publish. This is also why the lists of best horror books often cite over and over always the same names. They are, to some extent at least, a guarantee. However this relying so heavily on the already known and tested authors prevents us from discovering the new interesting ones. Authors who, if given a chance, could turn out to be just as good as the most famous ones. My kindle is like the belly of a whale More than two years ago I downloaded a book from an indie author I didn’t know. Though it’s not unusual for me to try new authors,…

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Write what you know–what does it really mean?

the call of the wild

Time is money, they say. But that’s a simplistic equation. Simplistic and outright wrong. In fact, unlike money, time is a resource we spend in any case, continuously. I mean, I’ve never seen the hands of a watch going backwards, remounting the stream of time like salmons do with rivers. Besides, my birthday’s cakes always sport an ever growing and depressingly larger number of candles. Indeed, we shouldn’t kid ourselves. Once childhood is gone, time really flies. So, given that we’re going to spend it in any case, we might at least try to optimize the way we make use of it. Today I want to take a closer look at the way aspirant writers should approach any manual on creative writing. In particular, I want to single out one of the most misunderstood pieces of advice that creative writing courses and manuals invariably present to throngs of aspirant writers, the write what you…

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5 Novels to boost your creative writing skills

One very common piece of advice we can hear about how to improve our creative writing skills has to to with reading. In fact, extensive reading in the most disparate genres lay the foundations for any writer who is serious about his or her work. Indeed, reading helps a lot to develop a spontaneous feeling for the way good stories should be put together. But given that time is a precious resource, to maximize this illustrative effect we should try to focus our attention on the best books we can find around. This means those books that can be thought of as real gold mines for us writers. Books so well written and engineered in each one of their components that we can read and reread them many times over, always learning new and interesting lessons about the art of creative writing. Luckily, nowadays books are everywhere, and chances are that any…

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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 my attention and to keep it from beginning to end. And it did so for a series of reasons.

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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 effects simply terrific. For sure the first scene, in which Smaug is playing havoc over Lake-town, is a treat from the visual and aural point of view. Indeed, over the last few years computer graphic has made possible the creation of settings and special effects that were unthinkable even only…

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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 his habitually slack attention.” For sure, popular fiction is often formulaic and presents somewhat stereotyped characters. On one hand this makes for a very easy read, but on the other hand it adds next to nothing to our baggage of experience as readers. However, I must also say that out of sheer…

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