Signs you are a writer – what is true and what is not

Surfing the web you can come across a zillion of posts listing the telltale signs you are a writer. These posts can be entertaining, no doubt about that. But they’re often based on myths, stereotypes, and little more. For example don’t worry if you didn’t start reading and writing before other children of your age. Or if your spelling abilities are still next to non existent. Many great writers have managed to succeed despite these problems, and some others way more difficult as well. Just think of W. B. Yeats and Jeanne Betancourt who had to work around their dyslexia. Think…

Continue reading

Photography and writing — how you can use the universal language of creativity to improve your art

Wow, this time around I managed to write a title that’s almost as long as a post. I know they say to keep it short and sweet, but I wanted to make my title as descriptive as possible. So to hell with SEO and crawlers. A post should be written for readers, not for digital spiders of the web. Some days ago I was on Twitter doing some research for a story I’m writing. Well… to be honest, in reality I was loafing about, I was wasting time, postponing, putting things off. You get the idea. This even if some time…

Continue reading

Creative writing advice – never explain too much

In chess they say you have to follow just three rules to play like a Grandmaster.  You have to play carefully, carefully, carefully. Something similar holds true when it comes to creative writing advice. Only, it’s something you have to avoid doing rather than the other way around. Namely, you should never explain too much. Yes, you read it right. Never, ever, explain too much. At first blush, this might look like a fairly banal mistake. Yet it isn’t only beginning writers who tend to explain too much. Now and then also more experienced writers make this mistake. Writers who…

Continue reading

How to use stereotypes in books – writing myths debunked

Stereotypes in books… Shouldn’t they be like the kiss of death for the story you want to tell? Well, not necessarily. First of all, let’s consider what a stereotype is according to the Oxford Dictionary: a widely held but fixed and oversimplified idea of a particular type of person, group of people, or thing. In this definition the adjectives “fixed” and “oversimplified” are the ones that make any serious beginning writer consider stereotypes in books with diffidence, to say the least. Besides, in the past, some psychologists believed stereotypes were used exclusively by people particularly rigid, repressed, and authoritarian–the exact opposite…

Continue reading

How to become a writer, really?

If you want to become a writer, all the rules in the world and all the books about style and usage can help you only so much. In fact, at a certain point you must come to terms with the fact that there’s no other way than actually trying to do what you want to do most. I want to become a writer… It’s a simple concept, isn’t it? Yet, have you ever noticed how the simplest concepts often are among the most difficult ones to put into practice? Because the simpler they are, the more pervasive they can be.…

Continue reading

Word choice and vocabulary for creative writing

I’ve already written a post on word choice, but here I look at it from a different point of view. No writer can overlook word choice and vocabulary. Words have immense power. Indeed, they’re so powerful that their absence is even more remarkable. Just consider the following couple of quotes: In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. Martin Luther King, Jr.   “When will you learn that there isn’t a word for everything?” ― Nicole Krauss, The History of Love A simple principle When we read a novel we…

Continue reading

How to write a story: two essential tools

Frog with butterfly - How to write a story, two essential tools - Peter Rey

Nowadays, the number of books which promise to teach you how to write a story, and that you can find both in real stores and surfing the web, is staggering. Yet it keeps growing  by the minute. But while it’s important to know the rules of grammar and composition and storytelling in general, I believe that once you’ve got to grips with the basics of writing, any additional how-to book offers you ever diminishing benefits. Sure, someone will say that I’ve just stated the obvious, and that reading a slew of how-to books is necessary exactly because any new book or blog…

Continue reading

Writing tips – about productivity

Often beginning writers face a common problem. They have a limited amount of time they can devote to their writing. As a result, it’s essential for them to maximize the use of such time. I mean, it’s pretty useless to read about writing tips if then you don’t even get to sit down at your desk and actually write something—anything.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions Writers can waste their time in many ways. But today I’m going to focus on one which is particularly subtle, and consequently insidious. I’m referring to the way in which beginning…

Continue reading