Posts by Catherine Livingston

Great gatsby

Pillars of the earth

Swimsuit

Pan labyrinth

The postcard killers

Swimsuit – James Patterson

So I read the book, it was interesting in the first 10 chapters but then it got boring unfortunately. Basically a young model is kidnapped and beheaded followed by more murders, it entwines a sick society of rich people that enjoy watching people get raped and murdered on video. If the book ended properly, it would have been OK but the ending just plain sucks!

Tips For Writers From Kurt Vonnegut

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things-reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Tips For Writers From Erica Jong

“The hardest part is believing in yourself at the notebook stage. It is like believing in dreams in the morning.” – Erica Jong

Erica Jong–who in “Seducing the Demon” defined a writer as “someone who takes the universal whore of language and turns her into a virgin again”, and who created compelling female characters such as Isadora Wing and Fanny Hackabout-Jones–tells us that she writes to get her life down on paper so that it can never be extinguished. She also writes to keep from going mad.

Jong admonishes aspiring writers not to expect approval for telling the truth, reminding them of Dante, Voltaire, Cervantes, and Swift. Then she adds: “Few are the great spirits who did not at one time or another write in jail, in exile, in the madhouse, or at the foot of the gallows.”

Tips For Writers From John Grisham

John Grisham–a former lawyer best known for his legal thrillers–advices young writers to find their career, and adds that at first it won’t be writing. He explains that before you can be a writer you have to experience some things, see some of the world, go through things–love, heartbreak, and so on–, because you need to have something to say.

You also need to have something to fall back on. Once you’re secure in life and you have a regular paycheck, then you can think about becoming a serious writer. (This is basically “The Survival/Sacred Dance” theory.)

He goes on to say that at first you have to treat writing as a hobby; you write a page a day in your spare time. Grisham explains that he created spare time to write, although he had a full time job. He adds that he always tells young aspiring writers that if they’re not writing a page a day, then nothing is going to happen. But if they make sure to write a page a day it becomes a habit, and before long they have a lot of pages piled up.

Tips For Writers From Stephen King

“If you want to be a writer,” says Stephen King , “you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

King, who has written over 50 books, emphasizes that writers have to be well-read. He adds that he has no patience for people who tell him that they want to be writers but they can’t find the time to read. The answer is simple: if you don’t read, you can’t be a writer. You have to read just about everything. In addition, you also have to write in order to develop your own style.

When it comes to the reading part of it, King explained during a lecture at Yale that if you read enough, there’s this magic moment which will always come to you if you want to be a writer. It’s the moment when you put down some book and say: “This really sucks . . . I can do better than this . . . And this guy got published.” So go ahead, read all you can, and wait for that magical moment.

 

Writing Tips That Will Make You a Better Writer

Pay attention to punctuation, especially to the correct use of commas and periods. These two punctuation marks regulate the flow of your thoughts, and they can make your text confusing even if the words are clear.

Try not to edit while you’re creating your first draft. Creating and editing are two separate processes using different sides of the brain, and if you try doing both at once you’ll lose. Make a deal with your internal editor that it will get the chance to rip your piece to shreds; it will just need to wait some time.

A really nice trick is to switch off your monitor when you’re typing. You can’t edit what you can’t see.

In a sentence: write daily for 30 minutes minimum! It’s easy to notice the difference in a short time. Suddenly, ideas come to you and you think of other things to write. You experiment with styles and voices and words and the language becomes more familiar…

I sometimes write out 8 to 10 pages from the book of my favorite writer… in longhand. This helps me to get started and swing into the style I wish to write in.

Learn to take criticism and seek it out at every opportunity. Don’t get upset even if you think the criticism is harsh, don’t be offended even if you think it’s wrong, and always thank those who take the time to offer it.

Write as if you’re on deadline and have 500 words to make your point. Then do it again. And again

Sometimes I type in a large font to have the words and sentences bold before me.

Sometimes, in the middle of a document I will start a new topic on a fresh sheet to have that clean feeling. Then, I’ll cut and insert it into the larger document.

I wait until my paper is done before I examine my word usage and vocabulary choices. (And reading this column it has reminded me that no two words are ever exactly alike.) So at the end, I take time to examine my choice of words. I have a lot of fun selecting the exact words to pinpoint my thoughts or points.

To be a good writer is to start writing everyday. As Mark Twain said, “the secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

Try using new words. i.e avoid repeating words. this way we learn the usage of different words.
Do edit your previous articles.

Start with small paragraphs like writing an article for a Newspaper, and proceed from there.

YOU ARE what you read (and write!).

Use others writer’s sentences and paragraphs as models and then emulate the syntactic structure with your own content. I’ve learned more about grammar and punctuation that way.

Write the first draft spontaneously. Switch off your internal editor until it is time to review your first draft.