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 also of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the editor-in-chief of French Elle, who found himself paralyzed apart from one eye as a result of a catastrophic stroke. And yet managed to write a touching book — The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

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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 ago I wrote an extremely erudite and effective post–I hope not too riddled with spelling mistakes and strange turn of phrases–about how to avoid procrastination. In any case, surfing and twitting away I came across a couple of interesting quotes. Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what…

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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 should know everything about creative writing advice and a lot more. I’m writing this because last week I read a novel from a relatively well known author. A novel that was well written, more than adequately edited, and perfectly formatted. Yet it made me cringe. Over and over again. The…

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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 of what any writer should aim to be. Indeed, at times stereotypes can make us blind to what is out there in the environment. But they can also enable us to respond rapidly to a wide array of situations we have already encountered. In addition, we should also note how…

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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. In a word, they can change forever your life. Maybe even capsize it.

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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 have certain expectations. We focus essentially on the the story and the various characters populating it. We expect to find problems, big problems to solve, and on and on. However, more often than not, as readers we don’t pay much attention to things like word choice, or the style in which the…

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