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Sophie Novak: Author, Bbp Participant
Member since August 13, 2013

Sophie Novak is an ultimate daydreamer and curious soul, who can be found either translating or reading at any time of day. She originally comes from the sunny heart of the Balkans, Macedonia, and currently lives in the UK. You can follow her blog and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


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See Sophie's other Write Practice activity outside of the forums
Paying Homage to Influential Writers

I’ve recently read the short story collection – Diaboliad by Mikhail Bulgakov. As with all of his writing, these stories revolve around the fantastical, written in the recognizable Bulgakov style. There’s one common thread in them, though – he’s always referring to a Russian writer, mainly a predecessor.

In the introduction, the English editor explains that it’s the Russian writer’s tradition to pay homage to your predecessors, those that shaped the national literature and your early development.

Jan 6
Christmas Writing Task: Research Family Stories

The year is almost gone. It’s holiday time for family gathering, food, drinks, and fun. I doubt that anyone is going to sneak out from the festivities and write (a solemn bow, if you do!).

Christmas revolves around family and, last but not least, the family table. In the heat of enjoyment and gratitude for being together, family members share stories. For me, this is the best part: the storytelling.

Dec 23
When Language Ornamentation Leads to Kitsch

As a writer, you are bound to be a language lover and enjoy the infinite combinations that produce a unique effect, striving for the occasional strike of reaching the near-magical. You continuously learn words, perhaps obsessively dive into etymologies, underline admired phrases by other authors, and practice weaving words in the quest of developing your own style.

It’s not unlikely that you also write down sentences and paragraphs by others and read them aloud, enjoying their delicious taste which sometimes feels as if they’ve come from another, unknown and better universe.

Dec 9
Write Naked

Do you write from personal experience? Or you rather get lost in imaginary worlds and alternate realities, full of superheroes and alien creatures?

Our imaginations are endless and should be exploited creatively as much as possible. And yet, the number one writing advice says: ‘Write what you know’. Does this suggest that only war veterans can write about wars, or that Jules Verne really went around the world in 80 days?

Honestly, I used to hate this epic instruction. It somehow suggested that everything anyone writes is utterly personal and resembles the writer’s soul. Which simply isn’t true.

Nov 25
Choose Your Form Wisely

It seems one of the most neglected considerations in writing is form. Everything else screams for more attention: chosen topic(s), subtheme(s), genre, characters, plot, voice, style. As for form itself, the decision usually goes along the lines of choosing whether to be a short story, a poem, a play or a novel. From there on, you’re supposedly not to think much about it, except how to structure the plot and cliff-hangers in the whole story.

Rather than following familiar schemes, you can experiment and find your own specific way. In this age of radical change, form can also be a widely explored phenomenon.

Nov 11
How Original Are You?

Everyone wants to be original. Fact. And yet how hard do you strive towards being original? How can you tell if you are or aren’t? Who’s the judge of your work?

These are questions that bother me daily and cloud over my work. It’s not easy to get through. You can rationalize: my work is unique, because nobody else can do it exactly like I did. This is true, and yet so many books look like copies of one another, old-fashioned themes, clichéd choice of phrases and sentences.

Is it enough? I personally don’t think it is.

Oct 28
Flash Fiction: The Shortest Shorts

Flash fiction has been the most widely growing fiction phenomenon in the 21st century, with its roots and great popularization in Canada and the US. The reason for the popularization of shorts is straightforward enough: people want fast bites in these dynamic and time-restrictive times.

What’s more important to pinpoint, though, is the superior nature of writing flash fiction. It’s condensed meaning in the shortest possible prose form. Microfiction is about lyrical writing. Just like in poetry, every word should have appropriate weight; bring that ‘magical’ element to the story.

Oct 14
Intertextuality As A Literary Device

Do you borrow phrases and concepts from other works in your own? If yes, then you’re using intertextuality, perhaps even without knowing it. Though it sounds intimidating at first, it’s quite a simple concept really:

Intertextuality denotes the way in which texts (any text, not just literature) gain meaning through their referencing or evocation of other texts.

Sept 30
Unveiling Haiku As A Modern Writing Phenomenon

Have you ever considered writing haiku? What can you gain from practicing this lovely craft?

Haiku or ‘exotic verse’, as some prefer to call it, dates back to 16th century Japan, though in the English-speaking world it has only been present for the last 130 years or so. It’s increasingly building up interest in the West, thus nowadays haiku is the most popular form of poetry on the web.

How to define it?

Sept 16
3 Tips To Write Modern Allegorical Novels

I recently finished reading the Nobel Prize winner José Saramago’s Death with Interruptions. It fascinated me in countless ways: the style uniqueness, easy flow, ideas represented, underlying themes, references. What’s so special about it? Well, it’s an allegorical story about what could happen if people suddenly stopped dying. Straight and simple, and yet complicated.

An allegory is a literary genre concerned about principals and ideas represented abstractly. So how do you go about it? Consider three basic steps towards writing one.

Sept 2
What Is Experimental Fiction About?

What is experimental fiction? And how can you incorporate lessons from the genre into your own writing?

Choosing among the multiple attempts to define it and trying to keep it short and simple, let’s just say that experimental fiction is about breaking the rules, skipping conventions, literary innovation, and uniqueness.

Innovation comes only by trying out new things – experimenting – since progress in any field is a result of reaching out to what was once considered impossible. In this sense, experimental fiction is truly revolutionary.

Aug 19
How Do You Build A Strong Character In Your Writing?

What’s the most important element in a piece of writing? Is it the plot, the characters, descriptions, dialogue, or the style? Obviously, you can’t single out only one. A powerful work succeeds in combining all of them in a unique mix producing a master creation.

A mundane theme can be saved by a great writing style; poor dialogue can be replaced with a fantastic storyline, and descriptions can be skipped altogether if it’s not your cup of tea. Undeveloped characters, however, are not to be hidden or overlooked by anything else. So, how do you build a strong character?

Aug 5
Ready Or Not, Here It Comes: NaNoWriMo

What if you can write a novel in 30 days? That’s right, you’ve guessed it, the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming up.

Regardless of all haters spreading their argumentative ‘against’ energy around the net like viruses, NaNoWriMo is a shoutout to all writers. It’s like a kick in the butt by your best friend in an attempt to throw reality in your face.

Any writing initiative should be encouraged, and when it’s accompanied by thousands of people who are thrown in the same boat with you, fighting the dragon, climbing the magic mountain, then even better.

Oct 15