Six impossible things


Best and worst advice

The other day, somebody asked me what the best and worst writing advice I’d ever gotten was. The best was easy: “Learn to type.” My mother was the first to give me that particular bit of writing advice, though I’ve seen it since coming from a variety […]

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Plot points

The other day somebody asked me what a plot point was, and I had to stop and think about it. As usual, when I have to stop and think about anything writing-related, I end up doing a blog post to clarify my thinking. “Plot points” are one […]

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As near as I can tell, “prewriting” is a trendy catch-all term for “everything a writer does before they actually sit down and start writing the story.” Even that definition is a little dicey, given how many writers go through a stage where they’re writing down bits […]

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My view of viewpoint

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about viewpoint, so I think I’ll devote this post to it, and maybe a few more if people seem interested. Viewpoint is one of those areas of writing where there seems to be a tremendous amount of confusion. A lot […]

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Weak and Strong?

One of the bits of advice that is often given to would-be writers is “Use strong verbs.” Apart from my usual allergy to rules and generalizations, one of the things that bothers me about this is that I’ve seldom seen anyone try to explain what it means, […]

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Composing a query

For some reason, I feel like talking about query letters again, possibly because I’ve recently been the recipient of a couple of queries that can only be described as dreadful. I begin with a couple of definitions: A query letter is a one-page business letter that presents […]

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The Parent Problem

Young adult fiction almost always features a protagonist who is a teenager or young adult for most of the story or series. This means that one of the largest problems YA authors face is the “Parent Problem,” that is, the problem of how to get their protagonists […]

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The World in the Story

There are other kinds of worldbuilding besides the deep-background variety I was talking about last post, to wit, the immediate-background sort and the in-story sort. The immediate-background worldbuilding, like deep worldbuilding, is stuff that not everyone needs to do in advance. It’s very similar to the deep-worldbuilding […]

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Deep worldbuilding

A couple of weeks ago, I finally figured out one of the several reasons I’ve been having so much difficulty booting up The New Thing. It’s because for my last eight to ten books, I haven’t had to do any deep worldbuilding, because all of them came […]

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The perils of a better idea

“A writer should always reserve the right to have a better idea.” – Lois McMaster Bujold This is an excellent philosophy and makes a great one-line quote, but the other day I ran across a story that showed the perils of applying even such an excellent piece […]

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  • Minicon 52
    Pat plans to attend Minicon 52, April 14 – 16, 2017, in Minneapolis, MN....