Six impossible things


Plotting in bits and pieces

There are a myriad of books out there on how to construct a plot. Most of them, so far as I can tell, seem to take one of two approaches: either they focus on the main character as the driver of the plot, or they focus on […]

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Writing scenes

A lot of writing books lately seem to focus on scenes – what they are, how they work, and of course how to write great ones. Most of the books I’ve read urge writers to start by deciding on the point of the scene, or the characters’ […]

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Originality, Fanfiction, and a Few Other Things

Originality is something that is prized in modern-day fiction, at the very same time it is proclaimed to be impossible. You can find innumerable web pages and writing books that tell you solemnly that “there is nothing new under the sun,” that “there are no more original […]

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Taxes again and again

It’s tax time again, and as seems to be the case every year, I have writer friends who are cussing and moaning about their taxes, other friends who can’t bear to look at it until 11:59 on April 15, and even a few who habitually ignore the […]

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Simple vs. easy

As some of you may know, I knit. (My current project is a heavily cabled cape [scroll down a bit for the pattern picture] and it’s my first time doing complex cables. I’m about halfway through and having a blast.) Every so often, I take one of […]

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The Fun Part

Writing isn’t any fun. At least, that is the impression I often get from listening to earnest young would-be and beginning writers discussing their work. There are all these decisions you have to make and things to pay attention to, from word choice to plot twists. It […]

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Where it happens

Setting is one of the things that seems to get short shrift in a lot of beginner stories/novels. Even writers who are devotees of the Tolkien School of Background and Appendices tend to focus on the history and politics part of worldbuilding, and occasionally on various aspects […]

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Different folks

One of the first challenges a new writer faces is that of showing characters who are different from the writer in a convincing and realistic manner. Everybody knows this if they think about writing at all; most beginner-advice books talk about it. And most make one of […]

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Walk first

A while back, I was talking with a would-be writer who started off with all sorts of sensible questions about writing characters and plotting and so on. Then I looked at some samples of her writing, and realized that the particular writer was trying to get ahead […]

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Saying no

These days, a career in writing has innumerable options. Even if you limit yourself to fiction, there’s screenwriting, playwriting, comics and graphic novels, short fiction, novels, and that’s all before you even get to the Internet and ebook side of things. And it’s not just a matter of deciding for yourself […]

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