How to kill your protagonist… and survive

Writers enjoy a notable perk. When they write they’re like little gods. In their novels they can play with their characters’ lives. And indeed it’s a well known rule of thumbs the one suggesting that you throw at your protagonist all you can, to make their life as miserable as possible. However, it’s also well known that great power carries with it great responsibility. As a result, the simple fact you can do whatever you want doesn’t necessarily entail you should do it. For example, you can stuff your story with Deus ex machina devices. In this way any hole in…

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Famous writers’ quotes about writing

Quotes are interesting. Quotes are fashionable. Famous writers’ quotes about writing are even cooler. But quotes are also prone to misinterpretation. Especially because they are often used without appropriate context. This may look like a minor detail. But it’s not. In fact, for example, if you know about writing techniques and what it means to tell the truth in creative writing, you can have decidedly different takes on the following Mark Twain’s quote than you would if you hadn’t any special interest about writing. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything–Mark Twain In one case you…

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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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Too many books to read and too little time to read them – a blessing in disguise?

Too many books to read and too little time to read them. This is one of my my constant problems. And even though I know perfectly well this is a typical first-world problem, I can’t help but to get frustrated about the way my list of to-read books keeps growing faster and faster. So fast indeed that even if I were a sort of octoculis lectorem (this is a word I just made up) and had eight independent pairs of eyes, I would be nonetheless unable to close the gap between my literary wants and my actual reading count. Luckily…

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Addicted to books – my personal list of the best novels to read

Over the last three weeks, after moving, I’ve been busy doing small jobs around the house. Now that most of the tasks I had appointed myself with are ticked off, I’m pretty satisfied. Yet I’m also quite stressed out. The number one reason for this situation is simple. During this period I read next to nothing. And now, given I’m addicted to books, like a junkie who desperately needs to score, I’m experiencing the usual withdrawal symptoms. For example, I dream of books. Continuously. At night they appear in my dreams. No more pinups and bombshells for me. No more…

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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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…

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