Posts Tagged "writing"


What do you do when you want to be writing dialogue that’s fresh? Writing dialogue cheatsheet to find fresh angles on your characters Posts with writing dialogue tips always say more or less the same things about grammar or writing dialogue for two characters as opposed to three characters. In this post I’m going to give you some alternative and unusual sources of inspiration for writing dialogue in fiction. First let’s recap on...

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Best first paragraphs set up the masters’ novels Hammett, Chandler, and Simenon with 3 great ways to start a book If you have a lot of time to waste, you never judge a book by its cover. But don’t try telling me you don’t judge it by its first paragraph. What makes a great first paragraph? And which are the best novel first paragraphs? We all have favorites first paragraphs, some of which have become clichéd –– as happens to...

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Memories turn into nightmares, until writing makes them something to be proud of While working on my second Palestinian crime novel, A Grave in Gaza, I sometimes wept as I wrote. I used to think that meant I was a damned good writer. Far be it from me to dispute that self-assessment, but now I know it was my trauma, collected over a decade of monthly visits to Gaza, seeping onto the page. It was a kind of trauma writing therapy, but I...

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Writing the truth by turning to fiction, instead of journalism Journalism is fiction. Don’t believe me? Open a newsmagazine and you’ll be expected to believe that a given Hollywood star is actually a nice man, that you can drive everywhere and not get fat provided you lay off fruit, and that the latest development in the Middle East gives hope that things there will get better: well, of course, he isn’t, you...

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How Hammett’s classic ‘The Maltese Falcon’ showed me what kind of writer to be As an undergraduate I studied English literature at Oxford University and I read all I could find of the sort of literary criticism which made novels seem like East German economic analysis. Three years later, I hadn’t learned a thing, except that it was fine to have a room you could take a girl to without having to sneak past your...

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