Literature, Reading

Starting a Blog – What You Should Know and Why Do It

Do you have a special interest? Do you believe there is something you know and love that other people would love to know, too? Are you the kind of person who likes sharing their beliefs with the world? Then you should start a blog! I am speaking from my own experience, but the truth is that having a blog is really fun, and you feel that you are truly making a contribution. At the same time, it feels really good to put your thoughts down, and when you get feedback from those who read you, you realize that there is a great reward you have never thought about.

Why start a blog? I have millions of reasons to tell you about, but I will try to be short and to the point. A blog is a personal space that you care sharing with others. It holds your thoughts, your opinions, and – why not? – your knowledge on a certain subject. It is extremely satisfying on a personal level and it puts you in contact with people who have the same interests as you.

 

So, how do you start? I kind of learned the things I know now partly from friends, and partly on my own, so I will try to put them down here for you, so you can find it easy to do it, too. First things first, starting with a platform usually makes things easier; the most popular is WordPress, you may have heard about it, but there are others, too. Things are easy when working with a platform, because you are given many tools that you do not have to be tech savvy to use.

 

But enough with the technical stuff. I want to tell you more about how to write and what to write. As I said, a blog is a personal space, so I highly recommend you to turn to yourself and have a talk about what you like. Are you a fan of a certain movie or celebrity? Are you handy with knitting needles? Is politics what interests you? Then you already have a theme for your blog!

Now, what do you want to transmit to those reading you? Do you want to keep them up to date with news and such? Do you have particular knowledge on a subject and you want to let others know about it? Do you have an opinion you want to share? This is what your blog post should be about!

 

There are not really that many important things to know about starting a blog, so these, I think, are the basics. I hope you feel more motivated now to start your own blog and begin your blogging career!

 

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Literature, Reading

How to Get Started If You Want to Try Writing Fan Fiction

I have read plenty of great fan fiction in my life, and I have written some pieces myself, just because I loved some TV shows so much that I wanted the characters to live more through my writing. A lot of people love writing fan fiction. It is a creative endeavor that even has helped a few become consecrated writers. I am not one to reach for the stars, but I do think that writing fan fiction is a fun activity that will help you deal with the blue feelings after the last episode of the last season of your favorite TV show or anime aired, with no hopes of coming back. Here are my thoughts on how to start if you want to try your hand at writing fan fiction.

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Canon and not-canon

Whatever happens in a TV show, a movie or an anime, as written by the original creators, is called the canon. It may sound grand, and it may be so, because it is what made you fall in love with the characters and the story line in the first place. Do you have an idea about what you wanted the characters to do at a certain point? Maybe you like to go a bit on the dark side, and have Frodo never return the ring, or make Spiderman kind of a baddie. The best part is that you can do everything you want in your fan fiction. Just don’t scream at the screen when others will comment badly on what you have just written.

 

In-character versus out-of-character

You can verge off from the canon at any point, but keep in mind a simple thing that will make your fan fiction successful. Try keeping the characters “in-character”. I know I mentioned a few strange things just before, but as long as you manage to convince your readers that the characters could do that thing or that thing because something that had happened and it is not mentioned in the canon, you have no reason to hesitate.

There are fan fiction writers out there who guard themselves against the proverbial rotten egg throwing – virtually speaking – by mentioning ahead that the characters will be a little out of character. Nonetheless, strive to make them believable and your fan fiction will be read.

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A compelling story line

What I talked about are mostly technicalities, but I believe them to be the most important ones, so I now I will go right for the bread and butter of any good enough to read fan fiction: a compelling story line. Think of it in advance; what you want the characters to do, where and when and how. Write this outline on paper and think your fan fiction piece in advance. I personally hate it when fan fiction writers come with a great idea, they write one chapter and then they leave it to gather dust. I know most readers literally hate this kind of writers, so don’t be one of them. Be the one that people will love to read and you will be rewarded with some really great comments.

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Literature, Reading

The best books I’ve read this year

Though I am a passionate reader, making time to read a great book these days has proven to be a challenge for me. It is hard to make time to find an intriguing story and even more difficult to find some quiet corner in which to read it. Luckily, I still manage to steal some patches of time in which I can pamper myself with a good novel.

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Quite recently, I have stumbled upon Paula McLain’s book, Circling the Sun. It is actually a biographical novel recounting the life of Beryl Markham, the first female aviator that managed to cross the Atlantic from East to West (Abingdon, England to New York) in 1936. It is with this event that the book begins, although the story narrates her life from her childhood until adult years. What got me interested in this title is that Beryl Markham’s life is intimately tied to that of another woman who lived in Kenya in the beginning of the 20th century, Karen Blixen. Blixen herself is well-known for her book Out of Africa that was made into the famous Hollywood movie starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

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From the pages of the book, we find out that not only the two women were intimate friends, but they also loved the same man, the eternal wanderer – Dennis Finch Hatton. However, the novel is much more than a biographical attempt, it is a wonderful story that lets you into the intimate life of Beryl, her thoughts, her attempt to adapt to society after having spent her child years and adolescence amongst the Kipsigis tribe and into the wilderness and her struggle to overcome the void that her mother left when she abandoned her when she was only 4 years old. The pages of the novel are filled with fantastic descriptions of the Kenyan land, the society that was just beginning to form in the colony and the relations established between its inhabitants. Paula McLain manages to keep you hooked with not only a great story, but with her talent to bring her characters alive and transport you in a fascinating period.

If you read the author’s note on the story and on the reasons for which she decided to dig into the existence of this exceptional, yet unknown woman, you will find that Beryl herself wrote an autobiography entitled West With the Wind that passed unnoticed at that time, but that Hemingway qualified as an exceptional piece of writing. Therefore, this is on my book list for this year, as I would like to see things through her eyes, but also go back in those times and places through her narrative once more.

As I was fascinated with her writing style, I think that after reading Beryl Markham’s book, I will purchase Paula McLain’s debut novel, The Paris wife, centered on Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson. I can’t wait to see what Parisian landscapes and fantastic characters this amazing author has in store for me.

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