Friday, January 27, 2012

Don't

Two lists of what I guess you could call anti-advice for aspiring (science-fiction) writers, one from Nick Mamatas, the other from Charlie Jane Anders at io9.  I suggest you pay particular attention to #2, 5 and 10 in the first, and #3, 9 and 10 in the second.

Genre writers are often urged to show character through their actions.  By what they do rather than by what they think and feel. Working on the new draft of Evening's Empires, I'm reminded all over again that it's what they choose not to do that's also important.

3 Comments:

Blogger Nader said...

Thanks for the post.

I like both lists a lot - as much for their spirit as for the specific bits of advice they give, which are a modest, if much-needed, corrective to the torrent of worse-than-useless commandments inflicted on aspiring authors. I particularly like Charlie's #1-3 - I definitely think we should feel freer about third-person omnisicent and info-dumps (it seems to me a matter of sheer snobbery that we don't) - which also goes for Mamatas' #2 ("show, don't tell").

One has to wonder if the people doling out such little bits of triteness actually read books at all (let alone write them).

January 27, 2012 7:10 PM  
Blogger Ken Houghton said...

Was afraid for a moment you were endorsing the "post nude photos of yourself" item.

January 28, 2012 3:56 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

I'm sure Paul still regrets the youthful indiscretion of appearing in the "SF Authors Gone Wild" series of adult videos.

January 30, 2012 8:45 AM  

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