What genre of book should I write?

For some writers writing comes extremely easy. Like breathing. They are blessed humans who can write a first draft that is often also a final draft. Then they can have a Martini, or party all night long. After that, the following morning they start afresh on a new novel that, again, will be finished in no time. It seems impossible, but this is how they have it. For example George Simenon was able to come up with eighty pages a day. He could write a novel in a couple of weeks. Eleven days, to be precise. However, for the overwhelming…

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The essential three types of conflict in a story

In a story we often can find three types of conflict the protagonist has to delve with. These types of conflicts can be external, internal, and interpersonal. If your protagonist is riding a motorbike on a highway to chase a rapist on the run, that’s a pretty straightforward example of external conflict, or struggle. In fact, in this case the traffic, the high speed itself, the maneuvers the rapist may try to ram our protagonist’s bike off the road, are all external problems. Instead if your protagonist must come to terms with a traumatic episode of her life she’s been…

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Concise writing in fiction

Concise writing in fiction can be an important asset, but when it comes to creative writing, what really means when we say a text is concise? If we look it up, the definition of the online Oxford dictionary for concise reads like this: giving a lot of information clearly and in a few words; brief but comprehensive. At first blush it seems this definition presents a problematic aspect. In fact how can a piece of writing be brief and yet comprehensive? How can it give a lot of information in just a few words? The simple answer to these questions…

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The most intriguing characteristics of a novel

Last week I wrote a post about the secret recipe for a bestseller. A recipe which, for a series of reasons, I don’t believe it can be found. Instead, in this post I’m going to list the features a book must possess to intrigue me. It’s not a secret recipe, far from it. It’s just me babbling about my likes and dislikes. A sort of case study on my reading habits. Unwilling heroes with a North Star Unwilling or reluctant heroes. You can call them like you wish. But for me this is how heroes should be to have a…

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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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Why I cannot live without books

Books make up an important part of my life. This is not just because I write. In fact, well before I ever tried to write anything, I was an avid reader. One of those people capable of staying at home on New Year’s Eve to finish a book they have just started reading. Because it seems promising. And the thrill of knowing how it all ends is as irresistible as Ulysses’ sirens’ song. In particular, I remember a New Year’s Eve of almost thirty years ago. The book I had just started was Red Dragon by Tomas Harris. And–you know…

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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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