Novelty stores: 5 weird bookshops every book lover will adore

venice

Where do you get your fiction fix – the library? The local bookstore? Online? Well, it’s time to step it up a notch: sometimes the shop itself is as fascinating as the titles you’re there to purchase. Just look at Venice’s Libraria Acqua Alta, pictured above! Here’s five more weird bookshops from around the world that you’ll give your first editions to visit…
Read more

The ad man guide to firing up your creativity

admanwritingtips

You’ve been working like a Duracell bunny all week on five different ad campaigns. Your Art Director has made your concepts look like bad expressionism and your Creative Director is questioning your copywriting talents with phrases like “did you go out drinking last night?” and “Maybe it was cool in the Eighties”. When the weekend arrives it feels like you’ve jumped aboard a lifeboat.

For the next forty-eight hours, you want to forget work and write some fiction, but your brain is mush and your enthusiasm has done a runner. What do you do? It’s a tough one, but one great thing about working in advertising is that you have to hit deadlines. And to hit deadlines you need to fire up your muse. Here are five foolproof techniques, which I’ve used in the last decade to make my clients happy.

Read more

Writers who partied: The myth of the lonesome author destroyed

PartyWriters1

You’re probably familiar with the stereotype of the lonesome and reclusive author that hides from society while penning poignant works of genius–and yes, it’s actually quite common for writers to be introverted. But it’s also common for writers to be outgoing and social, wanting to be out and about in the world, mingling with the people and experiences that they write about. And then there are these writers–those that took “being social” to the next level.

Each of the writers on this list were known for their hard-partying ways–some partied sober, while others partied by experimenting with alcohol or drugs–but each of them smashed the stereotype of the lonesome writer into pieces. So let’s take a look at a few of literature’s top party animals.

Read more

The 15 laws of literary life every writer should know

15 laws of literary life every writer should know

If you’re not a writer, you probably have a certain perception of literary life. Take Hollywood. It just loves to portray the drink and drug addled escapades of wild writers like Hemingway, Hunter S. Thompson and Truman Capote. Sadly, or happily, depending upon your liver, the truth is a little more mundane. Here’s 15 universal truths, which I’ve unearthed from half a dozen years’ banging at keys and gazing at a flickering cursor.
Read more

The 19th century’s greatest writers as you’ve never seen them before. In colour.

colorizedwriterphotos1

When most of us picture the past we imagine it in black and white. Hardly surprising when you consider the history of colour photography. Although the first colour photograph was taken way back in 1861 by Thomas Sutton (the Englishman choose a tartan ribbon as his subject), it wasn’t until the 1970s that colour snaps became everyday. Consequently, colourizing photos is the only way we can get closer to our awesome ancestors.

Read more

Creating a convincing make-believe world is insanely difficult. These authors nailed it.

bestfictionalworlds

Whether you turn to fiction as an escape from the drudge and stress of daily life or whether you seek in it a thought-provoking exploration of human nature and the meaning of life, one of the main criteria you’re bound to have is credibility: however alien, ancient or arcane the fictional world, you, the reader, have got to be able to buy into it. If the make-believe world is in any way sketchy or inconsistent or anachronistic – if it flaunts or flashes its make-believe nature – then you’ll slip out of the reading reverie and likely close the book.

Read more

10 contemporary writers who’ll get you hooked on short stories

bestshortstorywriter4

The ten greatest short story writers of the twenty-first century? What, we scoff, only ten? After all, the century’s fourteen already – that’s enough time to compile a list twice as long as this one! However, we’re going to restrict ourselves to ten because we’re also interested in your input: which story writers have blown your mind since the big Y2K? Leave your comments below! And in the meantime, please, please, please check out these authors if you’re not already familiar with their works – they’re so good it hurts!

Read more

Folk of Genius: The 5 most unusual habits of Jack Kerouac

kerouac1

For many people today, The “father of the Beat Generation” Jack Kerouac epitomizes the romance of the open road and the passion of mad wanderings. He has become an icon of wanderlust, a role model for those that wish to emulate his life of spontaneity and perpetual restlessness, moving from one city to another, one woman to another.

In reality, Kerouac was an intensely complicated man, filled with contradictions. Let’s take a look at five unique habits of Kerouac that just might shatter some of your preconceived illusions about the mythical author.

Read more