Book Tag

I got the idea for this Book Tag from Kevin Hurtak’s blog and thought it might be interesting to get to know me a little better. Also it seemed like fun, so here goes.


E-Book or Physical Book?

Definitely physical. HOWEVER, since I have no space to put my books (those currently owned as well as those I hope to own), I have to concede and tolerate using ebooks. I’m not happy about it though.


Paperback or Hardback?

I have a few hardbacks, but I really like paperbacks. Especially the ones that are no bigger than 4×7 inches. Pocket-sized books. You can take them with you wherever you like.


Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

Online to be honest. I have a really hard time trying to read the spines from books. Also, since I’m a short guy, craning my neck back to get a vague glimpse of books packed tightly in shelves that are 6 and 7 feet high gives me a headache. Not to mention they are always so tightly packed (crammed, to be more precise) that is impossible to take them out and flip through them. I’m not even going into how hard it is to put them back. On the other hand, you can’t meet and chat to people in an online store.


Trilogies or Series?

A few years back, I would have said series. Now it’s more standalones. Don’t get me wrong, I recently finished reading a scifi series (finished, because the next book comes out in 2019, I think, so bummer). It’s hard for me to take the leap of faith any more. I blame writing for this. It has ruined reading for me in so many ways. I can’t read a book without trying to edit it. It sucks! So for the most part the order is standalones, trilogies, and at the very end, series. But the distance between standalones and trilogies is vast.


Heroes or Villains?

I don’t care really. I do enjoy reading the occasional villain who actually wins, but it all comes down to whether or not the character is well developed. By well developed, I mean realistic. That’s why I have loved reading A Song Of Ice And Fire (Game of Thrones); the characters behave in a realistic way. And because Martin realises there are more bad things happening in life than good. Thus, his characters end up missing their heads. But no preference whatsoever.


A book you want everyone to read?

Disclaimer: shameless plug follows *clears throat* MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE…
Seriously, though, for writers, I think Self-Editing for Fiction Writers is a book everyone should read. As for readers, this question is impossible to answer. One person likes one genre, the other likes a different. Scifi lovers, read Altered Carbon (the whole trilogy – each book is pretty much stand-alone). And my book. Horror fans, read It. And my book and my short stories.


Recommend an underrated book?

Before I started writing, I was introduced to R. Scott Bakker’s fantasy work. If you like dark fantasy, settings and scenarios that are based on real history, and you like or don’t mind reading philosophy, I suggest you read The Second Apocalypse series (yeah, I know I said I don’t read series, but that was before I started writing. Back then I devoured them).


The last book you bought?

The one I’m currently reading, Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn


Weirdest thing you’ve used as a bookmark?

Cable. Really thin one. No, you may not ask for more details on that.

Used Books: Yes or No?

No. I like the book I’m holding to be in pristine condition. Mintier than mint. My heart sinks a little when I get a paperback that has even the slightest (I mean negligible) sign of frayed corners. Of course that doesn’t mean that the book stays as pristine once in my possession. I’m a bit weird in this: I can’t stand having a book with bent or frayed corners (I protect my books like treasure), but I also can’t stand reading a book where the spine hasn’t been popped wide open. I know it’s weird. When I open the book and place it on a table I want to see the pages stay flat. I can’t stand having pages rising. It literally drives me nuts. So I make sure I open the spine as wide as it takes, without destroying it. I told you I’m weird.

Top three favourite genres?

Cyberpunk, Horror, Fantasy.


Borrow or Buy?

Buy. Look at my answers for Used Books: Yes or No for a more detailed explanation. I want to have a mint-condition book in my hands. Not to mention that it helps the writer 😉


Characters or Plot?

Characters interesting enough to drive the plot forward through their actions. If that’s not possible because the genre tropes don’t allow that, then plot. The key element for me is plot.

Long or Short Books?

I’ve read books that were over 1000 pages long and I’ve read books that barely reached 150. I have liked and hated books on both ends of the length spectrum. What I don’t like are books that end up showing me things and events that are completely unrelated to the main plot, or are not interesting enough to make up for the lack of relation to the plot. A very well-known fantasy writer comes to mind with his highly acclaimed fantasy trilogy that so far features only two books (hint: I’ll probably be eighty by the time he releases book 3), but I will not name him. The prose in book 1 was perfect. I mean, exquisite prose. BUT, the stuff that happened from a few chapters before the middle all the way to a couple of chapters before the end were a waste of paper. They were completely unrelated to the plot, in my humble opinion they didn’t develop the character at all, and as such they should have been deleted.


Long or Short Chapters?

I don’t mind. Whatever works for the story and pacing.


Name the first three books you can think of

Bag of Bones (Stephen King), Game of Thrones (G. R. R. Martin), Altered Carbon (Richard K. Morgan).


Books that make you laugh or cry?

I don’t like reading comedy, and I also don’t like crying. So I’ll just say the same old thing: as long as it creates the necessary emotional connection, it’s fine.

Our World or Fictional Worlds?

As a tourist, a visitor of sorts, I wouldn’t mind fictional worlds.

Audio books: Yes or No?

I’ve only listened to one and I can safely say they’re not for me. I like taking notes on things that interest me during my read, so audio books are not ideal for me.

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

Of course! Who doesn’t? That’s why we have sayings like, don’t judge a book by its cover. It’s because people do it, and it’s perfectly all right to do it. Why should I be an exception to that? I said I’m weird, but not that weird.

A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

I quite enjoyed watching The Children of Men rather than reading it. Still, the book was good, but I think the movie was better. Much bleaker, which is what you want and expect in an apocalyptic book.

How about you? How would you answer these questions? Feel free to tell me in the comments or consider yourself tagged and do your own version of the post.

The importance of writing on a daily basis

Now that the excilaration, thrill and happiness of the previous (and so far only) publication eases, I found myself not knowing what to write here in the blog. So today I thought it might be a good idea to say a thing or two about the importance of daily routine in writing.
When in late March 2013 I took the “leap of faith” and started writing for the first time, I kept reading advice about how important it was for not only the professional writer but for the aspiring one to have and maintain a daily routine around writing. The people who advocated that said that it helped them to be in touch with the story or finish the story in time or not get bored by it etc etc.

I on the other hand advocated at the time that inspiration and, to a certain extent, willingness to sit down and write was not something that would come to the writer whenever he/she summoned it but when it chose to visit the writer. The phrase “I’m not your whore to summon me whenever you desire me” (unfortunatelly I can’t seem to remember who said that reffering to his/her muse but I think it was a Greek poet) was the phrase that kept coming to mind back then. I knew I had to write something each day to be in touch with the joy I got out of writing but I wouldn’t push myself to extremes to write a thousand words. I did however force myself for a time to write a very short story (flash story some would say it) of about 700-1000 words almost each day so I wouldn’t get rusty, IF and only IF I had an image to describe (I like coming up with stories derived from images or photos). I did this thinking that IF I ever manage to land a contract to publish my work, I would have deadlines to follow and it would be better if I were to have some practice on writing on a daily basis. Too many ifs were in my head at that time. Not many things can happen with ifs…

All this changed when I read Stephen King’s memoir/advice called “On Writing”. In it, King said that writers should write each day (weekends and holidays included) up to 2000 word and read as much as possible. He too mentions the reasons I wrote earlier but he also argued that one couldn’t aspire to be a writer without doing that. And for some reason, it was THEN that I decided I wanted to not only write for my pleasure, content on dreaming of being a published writer (at some point in the oh-so-distant-future) BUT I also had to make it happen. I don’t know what kicked in or what happened that moment when I read that line in that book but it was enough to shove me into a different mode. If one was to argue that book failed to teach me anything new, regarding techniques used to write decently, it certainly did NOT fail to motivate me. I don’t know how or why, I just know it did.

I’m glad it did.

Now I write each day 1500-2000 words each day, unless I have some editing to do for a rejected short story (they come in heaps). But, given that I’m not Stephen King nor will I ever be, I have found that working on a project day in, day out for longer than 1 month, I get bored and when that happens I can’t produce more than 300 words. It is then that I take a break and work on something else, usually a new short story or edit something else previously done. I do that for a week or maybe two. Then I’m back at the project I took a break
from. If for whatever reason I have to miss a day’s writing, the rest of the day turns sour, I’m grumpy and I feel guilty for not writing.

Does it work? So far, yes. Does it pay off? YES! Without a doubt, yes! Once I call it a day, I start reading for an hour or an hour and a half (in addition to my reading before I go to bed which is another hour or so). Have I seen improvement on my writing quality? Yes, but that is subjective. Rejections keep coming. I know, however, that it’s probably due to me being at the beginning of a very long and arduous road and due to me writing in a different language than my own.

Knowing that most people who decide to write have day jobs, families etc, I would add to Mr. King’s statement that it’s not important just how much one writes BUT it’s important that it happens on a daily basis, even if it’s for no more than 20 minutes.

I now firmly believe this road leads somewhere. Don’t know where yet.