Improve your editing skills – 5 easy tips

There 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 series of disturbing problems.

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Procrastination for writers – the urge to write and the high place phenomenon

To be a true writer you have to do just one thing. Yep, you guessed it right. You’ve got to write. You’ve got to write (almost) every day. If you write, you are a writer. Even if you never publish anything, or your marketing efforts are practically non existent, like in my case — but I promise I’m going to change that. The fact is, as a writer you should feel the urge to write. That almost physical necessity to give shape to your thoughts and feelings, arranging and rearranging words into ever new tapestries—no, I haven’t said travesties. It doesn’t matter if you also experience resistance, and have to fight a daily battle with procrastination. Writers are known to be quite eccentric, to say the least. So, if you have the desire to write, and your head is full of ideas, and yet you find yourself striving to sit…

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Vacations for writers — why they improve your creativity

First off, let’s make it clear: writers do not need any vacations. After all, theirs is a dream job. They get to do what they love precisely when they prefer to. And if this isn’t the definition of a dream job, I don’t know what else could be. Ok. Ok. I’m just kidding. In fact, a lot of writers, also the successful ones, have a day job. Because, you know, it helps pay the bills, and forces some kind of structure on their day, things like these. Secondly, writers too have families, and pretty much all the same social obligations each of us has. Yes, they learn to say “no” more often to be more productive, but still… Indeed, apart from those who sell in the millions, writers are just human beings. This means they are strange clusters of idiosyncrasies, fears, addictions, aspirations, noble intents, and bullshit. A lot of…

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The creative writing process – why it matters more then any grammar or stylistic rule

Rules can be helpful. But there are really too many of them. So much indeed that, once we have mastered the basic ones, to improve our style we’re better off concentrating on a more concrete creative writing process. Phantom limbs can be extremely painful. Even if, given that they are not there, they shouldn’t pose any problem to their… owners. I know this sounds paradoxical. But bear with me, please. In the 90s the treatment of such type of pain was extremely difficult, and led to no or negligible improvements. But then V. S. Ramachandran came up with a brilliant solution. A solution only requiring a five dollar mirror. In fact, in his opinion the brain was sort of locked and unable to disengage the phantom limb from an uncomfortable and painful position because, after all, the limb was missing. But using a mirror, Ramachandran managed to give the brain the…

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How to write badly – when fiction turns into friction

The 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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11 Myths about creative writing and writers

Myths have accompanied us as a species since the dawn of time. Even if it might seem strange, given that evolution hasn’t wiped them off our DNA pool, they must provide us with some kind of benefit. However, this doesn’t mean all myths are always and necessarily useful or constructive. For example, sometimes myths about writing grow out of stereotypes and biases. And tend to radicate with uncanny ease in the minds of people, even if at a closer look many of such myths are in stark contradiction the one with the other. Here I present a list of some of the most widespread myths about writing. And examine them in detail to shed a bit of light on what is true and what is not.

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How to write a lot every day – myths and facts

Many years ago, when I began to put pen to paper, I wrote using whatever I had at my disposal. Given that I was a happy owner of a Commodore Amiga, and I also was a sort of a geek, the program I chose to write my first stories was a Seka Assembler, an editor developed for programmers, not writers. Seka Assembler was rudimentary, but it was fast and had all the basic functions I needed. I used it to write several short stories and one long SF novel I’m sure I still have tucked away somewhere. It took me a couple of years to finally decide this writing thing really intrigued me, and consequently buy a proper word processor. Besides, during those first years I wrote without any kind of a routine. Some weeks I wrote for hours seven days out of seven, some others I didn’t write a…

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