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In my experience, I have found that there are three things a new writer needs to get started:

1. Pen and Paper

There is very little a writer needs to get started. All you really need is a pen and paper and a willingness to begin. Having a writing space that is yours can help you feel comfortable and relaxed and can be beneficial, but not essential. A writer should be able to write anywhere. There should be no barrier

2. A Time to Write.

This is the hardest step. Finding the time to write amongst all the other tasks we have can be almost impossible … yes almost. Work, family, chores, friends—you name it and it will demand your attention—but don’t be sidetracked. Prioritise your schedule and pick a time to write and stick to it. One word at a time, that’s all it will take to achieve your dream.

3. A strict Deadline.

Writing is all about deadlines, so get used to it. Without a deadline, you will lack the motivation to strive. Set a word limit or a chapter completion date and work towards it. Find a writing buddy or friend that will hold you accountable and you’ll find yourself working to not let them down. Some days words will come and other days they won’t, but a looming deadline will almost certainly motivate you to get it done.

These are my three basic writing tips for success. So grab your pen and paper, find a time to write and beat deadlines. 123, it’s as easy as ABC.

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Zorro

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The Curse of Capistrano, a 1919 story by Johnston McCulley, is the first work to feature which fictional character?

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It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

 

The Book Thief is by far the best book I have ever read.

Yes, bold statement, but true. And yes, in the grand scheme of it all, I am only a small reader in a worldwide pool of voracious readers, and have yet to even scratch the surface of the number of great books out there in Literature Land. But to date, it is ranked as my number one by a very long way.

It was the writing that captured my attention. When she looked up, the sky was crouching; … the words fell like injuries from his mouth; Her feet scolded the floor; Air breathed up her pyjama sleeves. They would each greet me like their last true friend, with bones like smoke, and their souls trailing behind.

Marcus Zusak, an Australian writer, gives a master class on how to write prose that is poetic, a narrative that is insightful, and he weaves a storyline that is every bit heart-wrenching from what we’d expect from a book based around Nazi Germany war times. However, hemmed beautifully amongst the dark veil that shrouds the story, Zusak brings light, and it shines wonderfully to lift our spirits, to guide us steadily, and to help us to the end of a truly captivating story.

Of course, there are interesting characters that you learn to love and some that you learn to hate, and a narrator, without giving it away, is simply to die for. These characters create a platform that teaches us the many layers and the varying colours of the human soul.

Liesel Meminger, the book thief, is the main character. Her brother dies on their journey to live with foster parents in a small country town in Germany, and she is alone to start a new life with nothing more than a book she stole at his burial. Through her life with her new family and friends, Rudi Steiner and a Jewish stowaway named Max Vandenburg, we learn about friendships and hardships, love and death, and about courage and hope in the midst of destiny, cruelty and adversity.

The Book Thief is masterful and eloquent. It is crafted with intelligence and saturated with creative genius. The story has power and the words are like dancing musical notes, blending wonderfully to create art that easily moves you. I was captured, touched, and provoked to feel—driven to tears and laughter within a single sentence.

If you’re a reader, then I urge you to absorb yourself in the narrative. If you’re a writer, then I beg you to take note of the style and technique and applaud the effort it has taken to create such a masterpiece. I highly recommend reading this book.

 

Rating: 5 out of 5

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‘Hey, Dad,’ the boy said.

‘Hi,’ his father said, standing from his chair to embrace his son.

His father was a tall man, solid, with hands as big as baseball mitts—hands that had picked up his little boy and thrown him a million miles into the air, watching the tyke laugh and flail with glee before catching him. The boy smiled, remembering, and the man smiled too, perhaps with the same memory surfacing in his mind. There was safety and security in his father’s arms, a love expressed through action, and that had made up for all the absent days, the boy reflected.

His father’s smile was easy and his expression genuine, yet his hazel eyes were deep and serious and watchful as though every movement came under scrutiny, and maybe it did. His voice could command a room, if required to do so, and those large hands had been known to silence a disrespectful few, if also required to do so. He was old fashioned, moulded from old fashioned values and a man true to his word. This earned him the respect he required but it was his kindness and integrity to do right that made him a good leader and a hero in the boy’s eyes.

Excerpt (novel) – The Wish List – Grant Ackermann

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Which book, first published in 1605, has sold more than 300 million copies worldwide?

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It wasn’t until my third blood nose that Mum decided, with temper at boiling point, to go and speak to Johnny Lindell’s parents. She dragged me by the arm, the tissue paper still plugged into my nostril and hanging from my nose, and marched up the road in a lengthy stride and charging demeanour, which would have frightened even the biggest herd of on-coming stampeding buffalo, to the Lindell’s place. I jogged to keep up, matching my two or three steps to Mum’s one, and I knew that Mum meant business. I had never seen her this fired up before.

Afternoon had not yet settled to dusk, and the sky flared deep oranges and pinks from the lowering sun. We reached the small brick house with our cheeks flushed and our faces glistening with sweat. Rubbish and toys lay scattered across the front yard. The tall, tangled grass desperately needed a mow and graffiti marked the dirty white walls of the front of the house in a colourful tag of scribbles and letters. A window was open and we could hear heavy-metal music and voices from within. Mum pulled back the mesh of wire that served as a front screen and banged on the door. Specks of brown paint floated to the floor, settling with others that had already made the journey down from where the paint curled back and flaked away from the corroding wooden door in protest.

Excerpt (novel) – Insane Truth – Grant Ackermann

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