Filip

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The Greatest Works of Russian Literature Everyone Should Read

There are certain books that are always on lists of “books you must read” and the like, and these books are generally two things: Old and complex. …

On Not Becoming My Father

A father, a son, and their secret superpowers.<p>“You want to be a doctor, too?” the patient asks me, pushing up his left shirtsleeve the way my father has instructed him to do. He is an older man with jowls and a silvery crewcut, wearing a short-sleeved shirt and a necktie, and he is pinned to a …

5 Story Formulas That Make People Cry

Someone once gave me this writing advice.All writing must elicit an emotional response in your reader.His advice pertained to copywriting and sales …

More on Constructing Compelling Characters

Chinatown is replete with compelling charactersAs has been suggested in previous posts, <b>compelling characters</b> are the lifeblood of any story.Learning …

Creative Writing

Great Advice From 25 Writing Manuals by Famous Authors

There are countless books that purport to teach you how to write. Many of them are good. Some of them are not quite as good. This is the usual way of …

Writing

The Boundary

<i>Audio:</i> Jhumpa Lahiri reads.<p>Every Saturday, a new family comes to stay. Some arrive early in the morning, from afar, ready to begin their vacation. Others don’t turn up until sunset, in bad moods, maybe having lost their way. It’s easy to get lost in these hills; the roads are poorly …

Swimwear

Dying: An Introduction

The story of a poet who tries to end her life written by a poet who did, Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” (Harper & Row) was first published under a pseudonym in England in 1963, one month before she committed suicide. We have had to wait almost a decade for its publication in the United States, but …

Literature

Stefan Merrill Block on his new novel 'Oliver Loving,' which follows the fallout of a tragedy in a small West Texas town

If you're a Texan, or a student of the American West, you'll probably recognize the name of Oliver Loving, one of the 19th-century cattle drivers who inspired Larry McMurtry's novel "Lonesome Dove." Loving and his partner Charles Goodnight are still hailed as legends in the Lone Star State for …

I Copied the Routines of Famous Writers and It Sucked

Did Balzac really drink 50 cups of coffee a day? Does Murakami actually wake up at 4 AM? For a week, I tried to live like famous writers. It went poorly.<p>“For me writing is like breathing,” the poet Pablo Neruda told the <i>Paris Review</i> in 1971. “I could not live without breathing and I could not live …

Literature

Zadie Smith: ‘I have a very messy and chaotic mind’

Zadie Smith’s second collection of essays, <i>Feel Free</i>, could be described as a tour through her enthusiasms punctuated with diversions. She writes with equal fervour about Jay-Z’s rapping, which “pours right into your ear like water from a tap”, as about Edward St Aubyn’s “rich, acerbic comedy”. Her …

Books

He Said / She Said — The Problem with the Word “Said” in Dialogue

At some point in my writing life, the word “said” began to annoy me, and it’s only grown worse over the years. While it’s arguably a necessary word …

Webs of Fiction

I lost myself in a book recently. I read the book each day; I was entirely absorbed in the story. I eventually found my way out of it, 1,368 pages …

Great Books
Creative Writing

Top 10 conspiracy theories in fiction

Stories that appear to buy into hidden plots, from Franz Kafka to Thomas Pynchon, have an insistent appeal for readers looking to find out ‘what really happened’<p>While writing my third novel, UnAmerican Activities, I watched a lot of conspiracy theory videos on YouTube. The book is a series of …

Literature

Tim Knox: The Magic Formula for Great Story Ideas

<b>By Tim Knox</b>Is there a magic formula you can use to consistently come up with great story ideas for your books? I’m not sure there’s much magic to it, …

Game of Thrones

Reading Through Grief: 5 Books on Death and Mortality

I read a lot when I’m working on a big writing project, but I read strategically. I avoid books and authors too close to what I’m trying to do for …

Books

The best documentaries on YouTube about your favourite writers

Haven’t you always wanted to enter the mind behind your favourite novel? Writers are shy, reclusive and drink nervewracking amounts of coffee – they’re not easy to get to know. If you have designs on becoming one, you may want an insight on their process, their obsessions and how they sculpt their …

Chapter Length Matters. Here's Why

Stop us if you’ve experienced this before: the clock strikes 8pm and you realize that you really need to pick up your drycleaning. But you’re right …

Writing

Reading by the Numbers: When Big Data Meets Literature

The history of literary criticism is filled with would-be revolutionaries. But few have issued as radical a cry as Franco Moretti, the professor famous for urging his colleagues to stop reading books.<p>Most literary criticism is grounded in close reading, with scholars poring over individual texts to …

Humanities

The 28 Best Books on Writing

An Editor's Advice to Writers<p>For both established and prospective authors alike, the publishing house can seem like a jungle. Luckily, Betsy Lerner is here to lead a safari, citing her vast collection of experiences as an editor as her field guide. <i>The Forest for the Trees</i> motivates writers by …

Writing

Sometimes Depression Means Not Feeling Anything At All

Not happy. Not sad. Just nothing.<p>I never realized how little I knew about depression until I became depressed. I didn't know, for instance, how depression can snatch away your sex drive, leaving you feeling newly—and involuntarily—asexual. I didn't know that depression attacks your attention span, …

Nonreligious

How childhood trauma changes our hormones, and thus our mental health, into adulthood

Exposure to traumatic experiences in childhood can have a negative impact on the development of the brain when it’s most vulnerable. Cases of …

What is the Narrative Arc? A Guide to Storytelling Through Story Structure

Has anyone ever told you that your narrative arc was too weak? Too complex? Or not complex enough?Universal to both fiction and nonfiction, the …

Creative Writing
Literature

'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet. Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks alarmed by a race for human attention<p>Justin Rosenstein had tweaked his laptop’s operating system to block Reddit, banned …

New Jersey

Evan Williams: Why Online Publishing Is Ready for a Makeover

The founder of Medium and co-founder of Twitter, describes at the Inc. Vision 2020 conference how he plans to merge social media and publishing.

Evan Williams

RebelMouse’s new Discovery tool helps publishers find the right people to promote their stories

Social media startup RebelMouse has created a new tool for publishers — Rebel Discovery, which helps those publishers identify the social media accounts that they should be sharing stories with for maximum impact.<p>Founder and CEO Paul Berry said that when you publish a story, there are probably many …

Startups

Storytelling Snobs Don't Realize How Powerful Content Marketing Can Be

Two years ago, I sat next to a fellow journalist at dinner. He worked on a ‘serious’ newspaper and was horrified I was wasting my journalistic skills. I had decided to reinvent myself in this explosive world of ‘content’, helping brands tell their stories.<p>“Really?” he said. “I know things are bad …

Marketing