Dec 26, 2013

MERRY WORDS

I have a great time with my life and I wanna share it... I love 
living I think that's infectious. It's something that you can't fake - Will Smith






You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart - Steve Jobs







Do one thing every day that scares you - The Big Kahuna final monologue








Merry Christmas. And may these words motivate you, and me, to commit to turn our dreams into our realities.

Dec 23, 2013

POSTING YOUR WAY TO SUCCESSFUL WRITING

There are dozens of reasons to open a blog.

A very good one is that posting is an excellent writing exercise and a unique laboratory for learning the craft.

Some writers use their blog to build an audience, some just wish to better their written communication skills through daily practice. The majority of people start a post without a clear idea of what they want to say and only afterwards choose a title. By the way, choosing the title can be more time consuming and nail biting than completing the whole post.

It's good advice to jot down a post first thing in the morning, just to warm up a bit, leaving longer and more complex tasks for later, when hopefully they will appear less scary and more approachable.

Even a short comment on a fellow writer p
ost helps to ease the way towards the blank page awaiting to be filled with the famous 1000 words we set as a daily goal.

To those (like me) who want to write a book, but lack the courage to get started, the short, contained length of a blog post can help remind us that even "War and Peace" and "The Brother Karamazov" are nothing more than a sum of chapters. 
Chapters come from paragraphs, paragraphs come from phrases, phrases come from words. Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevskyj did start from a single word to create their novels. They probably took notes on the subjects they meant to write about. They wrote short stories, a few chapters, then a first draft.

Write every day,  be free: play with vocaboulary, mix the language, turn the task into a game of reinventing yourself. Write as an eminent professor presenting literary essays, set up a bohemian artist degrading the modern society. 
If you let the words flow, you'll find it's easier than it seems.

Writing daily and freely will transform your writing into a richer and more versatile tool for you to express yourself and your stories. 
Your fantasy will take you where your mind wanders, and sure enough you'll have a better day after enjoying a dress up party with yourself. 
It's a way of loving yourself, spending time with your subconscious, knowing yourself better. 

Why not trying it right now? Write freely, be yourself, or as whoever you wish to be (with) right now!






Dec 19, 2013

I'VE GOT THE HOMERS

Every writer has at some point experienced the sensation of standing in front of an empty page, unable to fill it with one, any, simple, single, word. The dreadful WRITER'S BLOCK.

Thinking of it, you  could probably remember being 7 or 8 years old the first time you felt that inexplicable, seizing emptiness, the vacuum brain. 
When it happens to me, I like to say: "I'VE GOT THE HOMERS":




The pure, untouched snow-white page is attractive to our imagination but the options on how to fill it are so many that fear and panic can seize and stall our creativity.


Books and movies often show a lover trying to express his feelings on a letter, starting with "My dear Madeleine" and then throwing the paper in the basket, again and again.

Or a writer starting on a new project, holding his head in his hands. 
How about a young copywriter, thinking of a new commercial, all night long?
 No words seem good enough for the big task ahead. Anger rises and self-confidence decreases with each passing minute, coffee after coffee.

The SOLUTION?  Start from something simple, a docile and not scary content.

START WRITING something, ANYTHING, as it comes, without worrying about the editing and the spelling.
There will be time for cutting, reviewing and shuffling your first draft later.
There can be no editing and proof reading without a first draft, right?

For a moment, put aside the structure and the programming and just let the words flow from the pen to the paper, let your fingers fly on the keyboard or, why not, tell your story out loud, in a voice recorder. 


The ideas and dreams you had in the last few months and diligently scribbled on some forgotten post-it or phone note is a great start for your conscience flow.

If you are anything like me, you already have a file on your computer desktop containing some thirty beginnings, first pages that you jotted down sure to be about to create the next American Novel and then never read or continued again. 

Time to dust some virtual spiderwebs... I'll follow my own advice right now.






Have a good novel!

Dec 15, 2013

FALLING IN LOVE

inspired by "Innamoramento e amore" - 
a book by Francesco Alberoni (1998)


FALLING IN LOVE is a wonderful unique experience that can be described as a succession of eternal instants.
Every moment feels like for ever, lovers say YES to each other again and again.
When in love, future and past disappear, time exists only in the PRESENT tense.

The concept of falling in love is associated, mostly in Western cultures, with obstacles.
LOVE IS IMPOSSIBLE, LOVE IS PROIHIBITED.
The lovers find pleasure in the struggling dilemma of being consumed by an impossible love. 
This idea is reflected in Western fiction, from kids fairy tales (Cinderella) to classics (Romeo&Juliet) to contemporary YA mainstream (Twilight).

LOVE WITHOUT OBSTACLES IS considered BORING, dull, uninteresting, uneventful.
Daily life is represented by disappointment. There are so many things to do, most of which are imposed by others and urgent. External pressures come first and what we really want to do is just a dream: "It would be so nice if..."
Days become years, time is tinted with opacity and mediocrity. “”Normal” life is not happiness, it's merely hanging in there.
Falling in love breaks the routine like a blinding light, a mortal danger. Falling in love sets free real desires, brings them back to life. 
Accepting the change means opening up to a different existence, without any warranty of success.
Time and space are suspended, the lovers live in a state of GRACE, abandoned to the wonderful gift of each other.
Falling in love prevails over rationality, it can not be helped. The lovers surrender every certainty and resource they possess.


After the initial, liberating period, most people start to find these feelings too unsettling. They come to miss the serene dull life. They find no peace until the extreme feelings are tamed. 
In ordinary life we invoke ecstasy, in extraordinary moments we seek tranquillity. And so an exciting parenthesis of falling in love becomes again boring, dull, love.

Except in fiction, where stories end at the "and they lived happily ever after".
As Alfred Hitchcock said: "Drama is life with the dull parts cut out of it".




Dec 11, 2013

WRITE OR DIE and other tricks

It's so easy to get distracted while attempting to write something.
Whether it is a Christmas carol, a short story for a contest, or the sequel for "War and Peace",
every writer knows how hard it is to shut the world out and focus on the task at hand.

Take me, for example. I got the idea for this post at 6.30 am.
I rushed out of bed, run to the computer, switched it on.
By the time coffe was ready I had checked gmail, hotmail, facebook, the weather, the blog stats and (sadly) my bank account.
After a few phone calls I realized it was time to meet my friend for coffee and suddenly it was lunchtime.

To be sure not to let anything distract me for the rest of the day, I checked my e-mail again, I found some good advice and writing prompts from The Write Practice  and Writer's Digest, I spent one hour on Goodreads

Browsing other writers blogs I found links to Write or Die, a fabulous software that threatens to delete all your precious sweated words if you get distracted from your writing.
It's up to you to set the number of words you wish to write and the time limit. 
Then you pick the gentle, startle or KAMIKAZE mode and off you go, writing away.

Now, I'm not a lover of paying for online software, well I'm not really a lover of PAYING in general.
I read there are free versions of Write or Die, if you know some please post the link in the comments so we can KAMIKAZE all together tomorrow and then tell us how we did.

Anyway, by the time I found Write or Die a friend came by with his wife and we had tea and some serious psycho conversations. And guess what? It was dinner time and then the phone rang... and... yes. Finally I sat down and wrote this post. It is now 11.03pm. I definitely need discipline in my life if I want to succeed. And yes. I'm not referring to the blog post only.

At this time of the day it's nice to relax, writing becomes a way to let out what we have collected during the busy hours, so we can go to bed relieved and with an empty mind. 
Resist the temptation to check facebook (again) and don't worry about spelling right now. There will be plenty of time to check Word Reference tomorrow. 

And if the lovely granny who lives across from you is half deaf and won't stop screaming to the cat (every reference is purely casual) shut her out and get into RAINYMOOD.COM (it works! Just remember: the sound of rain might decrease your bladder capacity!)





Dec 5, 2013

LITTLE BLESSINGS - inspired by "The sweetness of life" by Francoise Heritier

According to "The sweetness of life" by Francoise Heritier, an average European male is likely to reach the age of 85.
That's 31025 days to grow up and then grow old. Still, sometimes we feel as life is passing by too fast.

What do we do with our time? Let's see:

- 8 hours of sleep (my friends who recently turned moms would love to)

- 3 hours eating (including grocery shopping and loading the dishwasher. Unless you are Italian, then 4 hours will be just enough to get started on the appetizers)

-  2 hours dedicated to personal care (showering and grooming)

- 3 hours to get places, clean the house, fix the daily troubles (including kids)

- 6 hours working (at least! Unless you are writer, in which case, 2 hours is pushing it)

- 1 hour to socialize and attend meetings, share gossip, shovel coffees

This would leave 1 hour and 30 minutes a day to enjoy the little blessings of life (a bit more if you are not working).

What do I want to do in this 1 hour and 30 minutes? Not much. I would like to feel, more than do. To be aware, more than busy. 

I would like to remember to thank God (in a broad, unspecific, nonreligious way) for being alive and smart, not too pretty and, hopefully, healthy.

This prayer is quite surprising, to myself mostly. Let's see why.

Beside being alive, that is a universal wish, I'm thankful for my reasoning abilities, more than my looks and my social skills. I suppose that is because I've always enjoyed mental adventures and animated philosophical  disquisitions, therefore when I witness other people failing to express themselves in various subjects or languages I feel quite proud and blessed.

I'm also thankful of not being a beauty, so that I can enjoy the freedom that comes from not attracting excessive, undesired attention. I regard the gift of anonymity when I wish to be invisible (that is pretty often, having been born a solitary creature).

Last but not least, I've always been physically weak, with a tendency to dramatization, hypochondria and a delirious array of psychosomatic conditions. My life has been a long list of inexplicable sorrows that do not match my average, if not perfect, upbringing and life events.

So while Francoise Heritier throws herself in a (too long) list of little blessings to remind us of the sweetness of life, I let my mind wander to the significance of the original title, "Le sel de la vie" which literally translates "The salt of life". 

I like this title better, because what makes life worthy is the taste, more than the sugar coat. 



Dec 2, 2013

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Nov 29, 2013

INCENDIARY by CHRIS CLEAVE

IncendiaryIncendiary by Chris Cleave
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Chris Cleave is a (unmistakably) British author with a unique, captivating, powerful style.

His plots are unforgettable, well built, as close to reality as the improbability of his subjects will allow. The same can be said for his characters and for his setting of choice, London.

I first fell in love with "Little Bee", his second novel, that accompanied me on a journey straight back to the years when I used to work in the British Social Services.

I shivered all the way through "Incendiary", his first success, a page-turner that combines an harsh, not-so-far-from-reality, apocalyptic scenario with a crude, unlikely hero, a woman who has poor resources but is smart enough to recognize herself as the product of an unhealthy society in a sick world.

Next on the to-read list is "Gold", Cleave's third and recently published novel, promising more strong feelings and reflections based on the story of a famous athlete dealing with her daughter's deadly sickness. I particularly enjoyed the interview to Chris Cleave available on his Goodreads page.

My rating for "Incendiary" is 5 out of 5 stars.
The author, Chris Cleave, goes straight up into my top 3 British author, together with Nick Hornby and Jonathan Coe.

View all my reviews

Nov 17, 2013

SISTERLAND BY CURTIS SITTENFELD

SisterlandSisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twin sisters with psychic powers who grow up to be as different from each other as possible?

An incoming disaster hovering over the whole town forcing old feelings to surface and sides to be taken?

These are the main ingredients for a book that will ignite your reflections long after you finished reading it.

Add two modern couples facing the problems of mixed race parenthood and you have the perfect book to get lost in.

A personal note: for the first time in my life I identified with the grown up mother of two rather than her hippy-ish immature sister.
A trick of the talented Curtis Sittenfeld or the first signs of my long lost biological clock?

My rating: 5/5 stars

View all my reviews

Oct 25, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER - JUNOT DIAZ

This Is How You Lose HerThis Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The cruel nudity of language and descriptions of "This is how you lose her" is the well known signature style of Junot Diaz.
Dominican people are described from insiders in unadorned fashion and unforgettable details.
The struggle of moving from a warm country to a cold city will make you shiver while you rush through the pages and fall in love with far from perfect 'negros'.
Their love and loss remind us we are not alone in this struggle through life, comfort us with the clarity that someone has it worse than us, inspire us to believe in second chances.
Beginner writers will particularly appreciate the Lead character being an inspiring writer himself.

Oct 15, 2013

ADVENTURE PLOT



Plot patterns have been categorized differently by various authors.
Some recognize as little as three basic plot types, others list dozens of possible scenarios. 

Beside the quest, love, and revenge, a classic motive for a novel is ADVENTURE.

An adventure plot requires the Lead character to leave his/her comfortable routine to go seek something. The object of his research is usually not specific, as it would be in the quest, it's more a desire to find out what's out there waiting to be discovered and experienced. 

Being myself a follower of this philosophy, I lived more than half my life wandering aimlessly from country to country. The main incentive to pick the next stop is the absolute not-knowledge of its habits and inhabitants. 

I usually get stuck with some place in my head for no particular reason. Right now, I desperately want to go to Buenos Aires. Why there? I don't know anybody, I don't know anything about the town or its surroundings, I would feel lost and have to start from scratch. 
And that is exactly why I will probably be in Argentina by the end of the year. 

The impulse is irresistible, and it is a known psychological condition called DROMOMANIA.

As Michael Pallin says in his book "Around the world in 80 days":

"The compulsive urge to travel is a recognised psychical condition. It has its own word, dromomania, and I'm glad to say I suffer from it"


Send your Lead on a journey



Make your Lead character a dromomaniac setting out on a journey to experience a new life.
Your plot should include various encounters with interesting characters and circumstances.
Make sure the Lead learns something about him/herself and grows wiser thanks to the experience. 


Have a good novel!

Oct 11, 2013

HOW TO HANDLE YOUR FIRST DRAFT

NOTES ON WRITING BASED ON J.S. BELL 'WRITE GREAT FICTION: PLOT AND STRUCTURE' - by Lisa Agosti

Once you are finished writing the first draft of your novel you are faced with a new question: AND NOW WHAT?!

First of all, walk away. You need to detach yourself from your darling creature to be rational enough to judge its contents and edit it. After a few days, spent writing other projects (or more likely being lazy without feeling too bad about it), go back to it and review it, following these simple steps.

How to handle your first draft:

1. Let it cool.

2. Get mentally prepared, get pumped by telling yourself things that help your self-confidence and professional self. Print a hard copy of your novel.

3. Read it through, better if all in one go, in a quiet spot. Don't check the details, you want to get an overall impression, taking only a few notes. Mark the passages that will need editing and jot down whatever idea you will want to add. Focus your attention on some fundamental questions you will have to answer:

    • Is your Lead character a compelling, unique, growing, valid choice?
    • Is the Antagonist an interesting, well developed, believable choice?
    • Is the Conflict between them crucial and unavoidable?
    • Are the Scenes original, strong, of the right length?
    • Are the Minor characters colorful and purposeful?
4. If your first draft is worse than you expected, do not panic. Think of Hemingway, take a break of a few days, jotting down notes on the way.

5. Write the second draft. Some people like to write down everything anew, others cut and paste on the first draft. See what works best for you. Be prepared, great writing is A LOT of work.

6. Refine. Take a week break (yeay!) then read your completed second draft. Cut scenes, define characters, revise subplots. Be heartless in cutting the parts that don't fit in, even if you spent hours and days sweating on them.

7. Polish. Check every scene and every dialogue. Reading out loud may be a big help, as author Lisa Malabanan has wisely taught me. 

Good luck and have a good novel!

Oct 9, 2013

THE COMMITMENTPHOBIC MAN

This character has an immediate deep impact on the audience, he will immediately arise strong feelings, especially if the reader is a woman.

Why is that? Because every woman has met at least one commitmentphobic man. Most likely, she has dated him and loved him and had her heart crashed by him. The result is a complex combination of empathy and distrust that will win your audience right away. 

The commitmentphobic men (if you want to know more about the creators of the term and the subject, I strongly recommend the eye-opening book "He's scared, she's scared" by Steven Carter and Julia Sokol) is a person who is scared of long-term relationships, contracts or appointments.

The classic stereotypical exemplar of commitmentphobic man is very approachable to start with, probably attractive and easygoing, sometimes even too straightforward in his chasing women as well as life opportunities. After an enthusiastic beginning of hopeful, steady, increasing progress, our Lead character reaches a point where he feels that the relationship/job/project is stable and safe. Right away, he starts panicking.

At this point, the partner/colleague/friend of the commitmentphobic (in literature known as "side kick") starts receiving mixed signals, ambivalent feelings of love and fear, approach and withdrawal. One day the most loving, caring, attentive partner turns into an elusive shadow barely answering his phone.

Creating a commitmentphobic character will ensure you the full attention of your readers. They will to through their personal experience and use your novel to find out the "cure". They want to know if there is a "technique", some way or "method" to fix the commitmentphobic and turn him into a perfect husband/worker/partner in crime. 

Is there such a "cure"? 
Wouldn't you like to find out already? That's why it's gonna be a bestseller!

Have a good novel!

Oct 5, 2013

TO PLOT OR NOT TO PLOT

Notes on writing based on J.S.Bell 'Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure' - by Lisa Agosti


Each one of us has its own preference when it comes to outline the plot of our novels. There is no single, inviolable way to lay a fictional foundation. 
Even among the fiction masters, there are two distinct categories: the "plotters" and the "no plotters".

"Plotters" like to outline their novel in a specific, detailed grid before setting off actually writing the story. The risk involved in choosing these methods is losing spontaneity and the freshness of the unplanned stream of consciousness.

"No plotters" on the other hand follow their characters lead, letting them wonder wherever they have to. The result is unknown to the author until the Muse allows the story to appear on paper. The risk involved in letting our minds wander is finding a few exhilarating gems lost in a sea of uncertainty and dullness.

Would you define yourself a "plotter" or a "no plotter"? Would you rather follow a map or a feeling?
Either way, try not to be extreme in your choice. 
Use your first spontaneous draft as an outline for a more controlled plot, or let your imagination fly even if it deviates from the predefined chapter scheme.
Any method will work so long as it is your method.

Ideas for "no plotters":
  1. Set as your goal a specific number of words you have to write every day (many writers choose 1000 words). Try to write first thing every morning, when dreams are still lingering, see if it suits you.
  2. Begin a new day by rereading what you wrote the day before (better in hard copy) and jot down your notes. Correcting yesterday's writing can be your starting point.
  3. Once a week, record your progress on a plot grid. This way you'll have a clear idea of your journey path.
Ideas for "plotters":
  1. If you like the index cards system, keep some blank post-it with you at all times, or download a software that simulates this widely used technique. This is a great way to harness occurring bursts of genius whenever they occur. Play around with your notes creating a visual index for your scenes.
  2. The headlights system compares writing to driving at night. You have an idea of the direction you are going but you can only see as far as your car's highlights. Keep in mind: you should have an idea of where you want to end up (final chapter), so you can better enjoy the ride!
  3. The narrative outline (or treatment) can run between 20 and 40+ pages. It is written in the present tense, includes some crucial bits of dialogue. You are trying to create a large canvas overview of the story.
  4. The David Morrell Method (author of "Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing"): keep a daily journal writing a letter to yourself, asking questions about your idea. WHY am I writing this? What is the book about? Why is the character behaving so and so?
  5. The Borg outline is a all-encompassing system defining the general first, then tweaking more and more the specifics. Start with an overall structure, then focus on each act, then on each chapter of each act. Write down biographies for each character to get to know them better.
To help you understand which category you fall into, choose your 10 favorite novels of all times. Are they plot driven or character driven?
It could very well be that if you read plot driven novels you are a "plotter" and if you prefer character driven stories you are a "no plotter".

Have a good novel!

Oct 3, 2013

KEEP IT COMPLEX

Notes on writing based on J.S. Bell 'Write Great Fiction: Plot and Structure' - by Lisa Agosti


How can we add complexity to our plot, so as to make it more captivating for our readers? How can we link and develop all items of the story, in a way that is both easy to understand yet not already heard of?


  • Developing our theme will add depth to our story: 
    • what is the lesson, the value, the meta-message we want to share?
    • weave various subplots, like a tapestry, creating an amazing overall effect
    • introduce symbols and motifs in a natural way. Readers will love a layered story that unfolds at plural levels of depth
  • Write a longer novel:
    • To keep your readers hooked, consider each section of the long novel as an independent novelette with its beginning and its end. For example, Forrest Gump has different adventures that see him turning from ping pong champion to war hero. Still, consistent throughout is his love for Jenny
  • Practice writing parallel plots (two or more plot lines that run along the same forward path):
    • each plot has to work on its own
    • simultaneously, each plot has to interconnect and reach the climax at the same time
  • Playing with structure and style is a good way to reach complex plots:
    • try a nonlinear fashion, jumping back and forward in time. Facts are offered as jigsaw pieces that the reader collects one at the time until eventually the whole story reveals itself
  • Build a Lead character that changes and develops through the story:
    • Ensure a story line that makes your character grow (through suffering)
    • a powerful technique in complex plots  makes the character somehow come face to face with his 'earlier self' to highlight the mutation in progress. Dickens became a master of this technique when he created Mr Scrooge. Time to try your own Christmas Carol.
Have a good novel!


Sep 30, 2013

HOW TO OVERCOME A LAZY DAY

BY LISA AGOSTI


  1. have a lazy day. you deserve it.
  2. feel guilty and go back to writing
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1. have a lazy day. you still deserve it.
  2. make a list of all the things that you have been putting off for a while with the excuse of writing. For example here is my TO DO list:
  • call mom
  • iron party dress from music festival three months ago
  • clean bedroom tiles from last year's coffee spills
  • learn knitting before next Christmas so everyone will get cheap cute presents
  • read book on new magic diet that has been on your bedside table for the past 8 months ready to turn you into amazingly beautiful top model in time for next summer. well it's fall now so why should I bother. delete from list. eat a no calories gluten free lactose free rice crispy bar. sneak into the peanut butter jar
  • feel guilty and go back to writing being grateful for the excuse not to do anything on the bloody list
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1. have a lazy day. you still sure deserve it.
  2. feel guilty about people having a 9am-5pm job in a windowless office while you can have a lazy (well deserved) day in the sun
  3. write post for your blog and guest post for other blogs and imagine yourself copy writing stupid ads for useless websites for 2$ every 2000000 words
  4. go back to writing your novel feeling grateful and excited that you can write what you want when you want until money runs out (what money? add to TO DO list: call dad)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1. have a lazy day. by now you don't even feel guilty anymore.
  2. check pinterest pretending to be looking for inspiration.
  3. check facebook pretending to be looking for inspiration.
  4. check twitter pretending to be looking for inspiration.
  5. check peanut butter jar pretending... nah... who am I kidding?
  6. read a book you love
  7. feel inspired and revived
  8. go back to writing
have a good novel! 

Sep 29, 2013

GUEST POST @ EAT SLEEP WRITE

Get more visibility for your blog and find new writer friends with this great opportunity.
Send your posts to Adam and see yourself published the very next day.

I did. And here's the result: themeanwriter

Enjoy your weekend!
Lisa


Consider a book cover ad, post your chapters, 
blog about writing and broaden your readership.
Eat Sleep Write
Authors.Sharing.Conversations.
Twitter: @EatSleepWriting


Sep 26, 2013

BE MEAN TO YOUR LEAD

notes on writing based on J.S. Bell 'Write Great Fiction - Plot and Structure' - by Lisa Agosti

The fundamental rhythm of the novel is ARM, as in Action, Reaction, More Action.

To keep your readers interested through the middle section of your novel always check and make sure to:

  •  stretch the tension by slowing down the pace of the telling when you get to critical points of the story. The tension can be:
    • physical: the Lead Character is in danger of being killed
    • emotional: the Lead doubts are causing a psychological turmoil
  • raise the stakes by asking yourself periodically: who cares? Why should the readers care about flipping the page to find out more? The stakes can be:
    • plot stakes: this usually means a physical threat
    • character stakes: this usually refer to an emotional or moral trouble
    • social stakes: a country declaring war is a good example of how society can add to the Lead problems (ask Scarlett O'Hara)
Do you want your readers to be hooked all the way through your novel?

Be mean to your Lead Character!
Train yourself  to think of deeper tribulation for your Lead. Get really mean.
Create a list of things that can go wrong for your poor character. 
Then sort the list from the least to the worse degree of trouble.

For example:
A young girl reads sits staring out of the window, longing for the return of her beloved Mr Lead, her lost soul mate lost in trouble. 

What is the worst possible thing that can happen to Mr Lead?


  • Mr Lead is trying to get back to his beloved, who he loves very much, but his evil twin who is also in love with her gets overly jealous and kills his very brother with a gun found in their father house. Mr Lead had never agreed with his family fondness for weapons, and for a good reason.
  • Mr Lead is trying to get back to his beloved, who he loves very much, but he get stuck on a smugglers boat that gets attacked by the pirates. Only survivor of the bunch, he tries to survive the waves for 54 days before reaching a famous shore where the overly welcoming locals turn him into a soft drunken loser.
  • Mr Lead is trying to get back to his beloved, who he loves very much, but he suffers from amnesia after being hit by a deadly virus that has killed half the European population and one third of the rest of the world. The young girl of his dreams goes across the Ocean to find him and be reunited with him once she finds out about his impossibility to remember her, but gets killed by the virus before getting there. Eventually he becomes a renown doctor who finds a cure for the virus but then dies of an heart attack when he's alone in his studio.
  • Mr Lead is not in love with his beloved because he's actually gay and commitmentphobic and was traumatized in his sick lonely childhood as an orphan and he dies alone and she kills herself, and so on and so on.
Can you be more mean? Bring it on! 
After all... tomorrow is another day.





Sep 25, 2013

ACT II: THE MIDDLE

Notes on writing - based on J.S.Bell 'Write Great Fiction: Plot and Structure' - by Lisa Agosti


After the first big opening of your novel, your readers are hooked on the story and wanting for more (hopefully). 
The second act of your book requires scenes that stretch the tension, raise the stakes, keep readers worried, and build toward Act III in a way that seems inevitable.

The first tool at hand to get to that is DEATH.
The most compelling fiction has death hovering over the Lead Character throughout the whole story. Death can be meant as:
  • physical death: the obvious one
  • psychological death: the Lead needs to find a reason to live or reach the desired object. If he can't succeed he's willing to die for it
  • professional death: the Lead risks to lose his identity related to his career and success
The second tool to write a compelling second act is to create a good OPPOSITION.
For beginners it is easier to create a villain that is human. If the Lead is fighting a corporation, pick a group leader to help readers identify with the characters. Don't forget: the villain has to be stronger than the Lead to make the fight more intriguing.

The third tool we can use is the ADHESIVE.
An adhesive is any strong relationship or circumstance that holds people together. Here are some tips to make the adhesive strong:
  • life and death: Lead fights to stay alive, Opposition wants Lead dead
  • professional duty: for example a cops gets assigned a case
  • moral duty: for example a mother looks for her missing child
  • obsession: the Lead is obsessed with finding the Holy Graal
  • physical constraint: as in 'The Shining' by Stephen King. We all know the story, but if you need a reminder:


Have a good novel!

Aug 11, 2013

FESTIVAL OF THE WRITTEN ARTS

Here we go!

The Festival Board of Directors, production team, volunteers and I are looking forward to welcoming you to the festival next week. The weather report is grand, the grounds are looking lovely (despite the lack of rain) and excitement is building on the Sunshine Coast for our annual gathering of Canadian writers and their readers.

You may have noticed a warning in the Festival brochure about Cowrie Street (the main downtown street in Sechelt) becoming one-way in June. That didn’t happen after all so you don’t have to worry about a different traffic pattern. The Sechelt Farmers & Artisans Market will be taking place on Cowrie Street on Saturday, August 17 from 9 am to 2 pm. You can still access our lower parking lot via Shorncliffe Avenue and we will have, once again, a drop-off and pick-up area. There is plenty of street parking and an acre of parking lot behind us, up the hill, at Chatelech Secondary School.  If you’re new to the Sunshine Coast, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you get your bearings. If you travel with a GPS, our physical address is 5511 Shorncliffe Avenue, Sechelt.

BC Ferries – schedules and reservations: www.bcferries.com
Sunshine Coast Transit information: http://www.transitbc.com/regions/sun/schedules/schedule.cfm

We continue to fine-tune our zero waste practices and encourage you to bring your own water bottles and coffee cups. We will have a good variety of food and beverages on site and you can pick up a list of local dining options at the Information Booth.

Please consider bringing a book to contribute to our Books for Bella Bella campaign in support of the Thistalalh Memorial Library in Bella Bella that was lost to fire in early July. Read more about it here: http://www.writersfestival.ca/newsletter.htm#bella.

The Sunshine Coast Arts Council’s annual Hackett Park Arts & Crafts Fair is onSaturday and Sunday, August 17 and 18 and the Eleven Equal Artists Power of Paint group exhibition is on at the Seaside Centre August 16, 17 and 18. Lots going on in Sechelt!
 http://www.suncoastarts.com/profiles/scartscouncil/craftfairs.html
www.elevenequalartists.com

We wish our friends at the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival a wonderful and successful festival. We wish you a smooth and safe trip whether you’re coming from down the road or from the other side of the country.

We leave you with one important fact: 7 Festival events are sold out. 15 are not!Information about  ticket availability is on our website at www.writersfestival.ca. Lots of room left. Spread the word. There's room for everyone!
 
 

Aug 2, 2013

CONSONANCE - a novel by Lisa Malabanan



Elle Martins is a gifted musician ready to start her first year at College. She is not alone. Elle has the security of her best friends and boyfriend nearby, attending the same University. Everything seems new and exciting, but the moment she joins a rock group, her life changes. The band becomes a favorite among the college crowd. Their performances are a hit thanks to Elle’s musical genius, and the band garners recognition from a major record label. Throughout the school year, Elle struggles over music, decisions, insecurities, and most of all, love. She is grateful for many amazing opportunities, yet the chance of a lifetime is within her grasp. Can she choose the ultimate dream or leave the people she loves behind? 

MY REVIEW:

Reading 'Consonance' is like listening to a wonderful orchestra playing your favorite song in a new unheard style. 
Lisa Malabanan is a great writer, her style is fresh, neat, catchy and delicious. 
The characters in 'Consonance' will grow on you to become real friends who will dearly be missed long after you finish the novel. You will be left waiting for more of these sweet, sexy, sassy teenagers approaching adulthood with an innocent eye and a burning enthusiasm. My rating is 5/5 stars. 
So kick off your shoes, put your feet up, smile gently and enjoy the concert.

You can contact Lisa Malabanan here
You can buy Consonance here

Jul 12, 2013

INFERNO by DAN BROWN

InfernoInferno by Dan Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dan Brown reconfirms his master ability to write best-selling page-turner fiction novels.
Actual and jaw dropping realities are included in this thoughts-inspiring story.
Meet Harvard Professor Robert Langdon as you would an old school friend, and let him take you with him through Florence, Venice to an unexpected destination.
Strongly recommended for wanna-be writers willing to learn suspense, characterization and mainstreaming techniques.


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Jul 6, 2013

WAR AND PEACE - by LEO TOLSTOY

War and PeaceWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Three months and many painful reading hours later I got to the end of this monumental masterpiece and I can proudly say "I did it!"

I was very sad to let go of Natasha Rostova, Princess Mary and their crew. I grew close to this crazy writing style, the weird nineteenth century Russian lifestyle and while I found it hard to go through the War section in book one I could barely read anything else without finding it shallow and useless to nurture my brain by the time I reached book two.

My advice? Get the book on your Kindle and read 1% a day. This will save you from getting stuck and will allow you to read other books at the same time. It makes it easier to survive the tough parts you are not enjoying, it makes it more exciting when you are in the middle of some gripping adventure and you are forced to wait until tomorrow to find out what happens next.

Tolstoy is the lion of the Russian literature, everybody should read it, especially wanna-be writers who are trying to find their own voice. Here's an author who definitely didn't fear putting down his thoughts and feelings.

Now I know why every famous author insists on reading the classics. On to the next one, Kafka here we go!


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