14 Lessons for Writers from 3 Classic Foreign Films

Photo credit: popturfdotcom via VisualHunt / CC BY

Film is a universal art form. Those of us who write novels can learn a lot from the storytelling techniques of filmmakers, especially masters like Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, and François Truffaut. Their films defied Hollywood norms and yet found a global audience. (more…)

Paula Munier’s “Guide to Beginnings”: Why the Opening Can Make or Break Your Novel

writersguidetobeginnings-cindyfazzipicBook Review—“The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings: How to Craft Story Openings that Sell” by Paula Munier, published by Writer’s Digest Books, 2016

The image of an open door graces the cover of Paula Munier’s latest writing book. It’s an invitation to learn and keep an open mind. It also reminds me of the proverbial door being slammed in a novelist’s face. “Competition is fierce—and that’s why your words must be fierce as well,” says Munier. (more…)

Romance Writers Report: The Art of Choosing the Perfect Book Title

The May 2015 edition of Romance Writers Report, the monthly magazine for members of the Romance Writers of America, published an article I wrote about how to choose the perfect title for your book. It described my experience choosing a title for my debut romance novella, “In His Corner,” published by Lyrical Press (April 2015).

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5 Ways to Optimize Your Writing Even When You’re Not Writing

Makena Beach photo by Cindy Fazzi

Hitting the beach can be good for your writing. (Makena Beach, Maui, July 2014. Photo by Cindy Fazzi.)

Many successful authors—from Ernest Hemingway to Khaled Hosseini—have imparted the same advice: Write every day. But when summer or Christmas rolls around, even the most diligent writer has to take a break for a few days or weeks. If you feel guilty and resentful when you’re not writing, learn how to optimize your downtime. (more…)

4 Lessons for Writers from Akira Kurosawa’s “Rashomon”

RashomonPic-CindyFazzi

In “Rashomon,” the 1950 classic film by Akira Kurosawa, viewers can be certain of three things: A samurai is dead, his wife has been sexually assaulted, and a bandit is the main suspect. Everything else about the film is open to discussion. Every viewer is entitled to his or her own conclusion. (more…)

5 Reasons Why Writers Should Watch Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”

LaDolceVita
A quick Google search will show you that “La Dolce Vita,” which means “the sweet life,” is a popular name for Italian restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops. The term has taken on a life of its own ever since Federico Fellini’s film of the same title was released in 1960. (more…)

Best-Selling Author Bret Lott’s Advice to Writers: Build Your “House of Rejection”

"Desert" (Original artwork by Nina Fazzi)

“Desert” by Nina Fazzi

I met Bret Lott, the best-selling author of Jewel, in 2006 when I attended a writing workshop as part of the Writers at Work Conference in Salt Lake City. (more…)

Best-Selling Author Sara Gruen’s Advice to Writers: Keep Your Writing Time Sacred

"Parasols," original artwork by Nina Fazzi

“Parasols” by Nina Fazzi.

Like millions of readers worldwide, I fell in love with Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants. So when she graced an online discussion forum sponsored by a group I belong to, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask her a question on behalf of all aspiring writers. (more…)

5 Lessons for Writers from François Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows”

the-400-blowsFrançois Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows” is a staple of film courses, the frontrunner in the French New Wave Cinema. Not surprisingly, I watched it in class when I was in college. Our analysis now escapes me, but I remember getting teary-eyed while watching it. The 12-year-old protagonist, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), is one of the most unforgettable characters ever created in film. He has stayed with me for decades. (more…)

Debut Author Alex Myers: Don’t Be Afraid to Set a Draft Aside

Alex Myers' Revolutionary

Alex Myers admits he’s lucky—he wrote a novel, got an agent, and published his book successfully. But he adds: “I was persistent, patient, and flexible. That might have helped.” (more…)