He got up and sat on the edge of the bedstead with his back to the window. “It’s better not to sleep at all,” he decided. There was a cold damp draught from the window, however; without getting up he drew the blanket over him and wrapped himself in it. He was not thinking of anything and did not want to think. But one image rose after another, incoherent scraps of thought without beginning or end passed through his mind. He sank into drowsiness. Perhaps the cold, or the dampness, or the dark, or the wind that howled under the window and tossed the trees roused a sort of persistent craving for the fantastic. He kept dwelling on images of flowers, he fancied a charming flower garden, a bright, warm, almost hot day, a holiday—Trinity day. A fine, sumptuous country cottage in the English taste overgrown with fragrant flowers, with flower beds going round the house; the porch, wreathed in climbers, was surrounded with beds of roses. A light, cool staircase, carpeted with rich rugs, was decorated with rare plants in china pots. He noticed particularly in the windows nosegays of tender, white, heavily fragrant narcissus bending over their bright, green, thick long stalks. He was reluctant to move away from them, but he went up the stairs and came into a large, high drawing-room and again everywhere—at the windows, the doors on to the balcony, and on the balcony itself—were flowers. The floors were strewn with freshly-cut fragrant hay, the windows were open, a fresh, cool, light air came into the room. The birds were chirruping under the window, and in the middle of the room, on a table covered with a white satin shroud, stood a coffin. The coffin was covered with white silk and edged with a thick white frill; wreaths of flowers surrounded it on all sides. Among the flowers lay a girl in a white muslin dress, with her arms crossed and pressed on her bosom, as though carved out of marble. But her loose fair hair was wet; there was a wreath of roses on her head. The stern and already rigid profile of her face looked as though chiselled of marble too, and the smile on her pale lips was full of an immense unchildish misery and sorrowful appeal. Svidrigaïlov knew that girl; there was no holy image, no burning candle beside the coffin; no sound of prayers: the girl had drowned herself. She was only fourteen, but her heart was broken. And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair, unheeded and brutally disregarded, on a dark night in the cold and wet while the wind howled

The Blog

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    Guest post by Mark Gottlieb So you are a hopeful writer looking to become a published author and your novel is getting rejected right and left, but maybe the problem isn’t the plot or characters or ideas. Maybe you’re just submitting at the wrong time. Is there a wrong and right time to submit? Yes. […]

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    Everyone tells you to write scenes. To show, not tell. But what if that was … bad advice? Or at least limiting advice, because virtually every great book in history uses summary and “telling” in at least a few places in the book. And surprisingly, some books use summary for MOST of the book. And […]

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    May 2, 2022

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    Smell is the best sense to use in your writing. Yes: it’s better than sound, better than sight, better than touch. There’s something about smell that bypasses all of the normal roadblocks in our brain and goes straight to memory and animal instincts. It’s primitive. It’s elemental. If you want to really immerse a reader […]

    January 21, 2022

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    Nothing can ruin a book faster than bad dialogue. It makes readers roll their eyes and give up on your book. Fantastic dialogue, on the other hand, reveals character, gives us a sense of place, provides tension and emotion, and helps move the plot forward. To help you out with writing dialogue, I’m going to […]

    January 19, 2022

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    If there’s one essential element to make your fiction more entertaining, it’s writing better dialogue. Dialogue entertains readers, delights agents, and thrills publishers. If you have fantastic dialogue, it will cover a multitude of narrative sins. I’d recommend bookmarking this post so you could come back to it (because I’m about to download a massive […]

    December 22, 2021

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  • 30 Dialogue Exercises to Light Up Your Fiction image of tag icon

    If you want practice writing some dialogue, these exercises will stretch your creative writing muscles. More importantly, you’ll learn techniques that you can apply to all your future dialogue writing. If you want to see examples of dialogue, please visit my post on 50 Examples of Dialogue Writing. Otherwise, please read on and make sure […]

    December 22, 2021

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    It’s easy to hate dream sequences in a novel. I mean, how many bad dreams sequences have you read? I’ve read a ton, and that’s why for so long I was resistant to teach other writers how to use dreams, and refused to use them in my fiction. But after continuing to see dreams in […]

    November 9, 2021

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  • How to Write a Non-Chronological Plot image of tag icon

    Stories are chronological. One event happens after another. However, this does not mean that stories have to be told chronologically. Engaging novels often contain scenes which are presented in a different order than they occur in time. Plots using this technique are called non-chronological or non-linear. Sometimes they are described as disjointed or fractured narratives. […]

    October 18, 2021

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