Six impossible things

Archive for the Writing Category

Development in Revision

When most people think about revising a manuscript, they think about one of two things:  polishing up the style, grammar, syntax, and so on, or making fixes where something was unclear, unexplained, or just missing. Revising does all of that, of course, but in addition, there’s almost […]

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Developing an idea, before and during

“Developing an idea” is one of those writing phrases that doesn’t have a precise definition. Ideas change and expand and twist throughout the entire writing process. The ways a writer goes about encouraging or discouraging these developments differ, depending on where in the process they are. Pre-writing […]

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The Cool Stuff

The coolness factor is possibly the best and most useful reason for doing worldbuilding in advance that I know of. A few minutes spent deciding whether the heroine’s adventure will be mostly lost in a jungle, shipwrecked on an island, trapped in a weird hotel, or hiding […]

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Why start with a world?

One of the things that constantly surprises me is the number of people who put a tremendous amount of pre-writing work into inventing characters and developing plot, but who never stop to consider their setting or world, apart from “They start in a city, then they go […]

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Characters and story

People are not easy. You can’t put them in a box within a few days of meeting them and expect them to think and act certain ways for certain reasons. Even the ones you’ve known best and longest can suddenly do something unexpected and unpredictable. Characters are […]

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Do Characters Really Need to be Flawed?

I spent last weekend mainly at Minicon 52 in Minneapolis, and generally had a wonderful time. There were a few eye-rolling moments (they’re still arguing about that? Really?) and lots of science geeking about recent discoveries (seven Earth-sized exoplanets in the Goldilocks zone of the TRAPPIST-1 system…which […]

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Learning to see

One of the experiences that is common to most long-time readers is that of running across a book that they loved when they first read it (usually ten or more years previously), settling down for an enjoyable re-read, and realizing that the book is horrible. It’s not […]

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Three things

One of the persistent questions writers get is “Where do you find the time?” This ignores two basic things: first, nobody finds or saves time, really. We all have 24 hours a day, which arrives one nanosecond at a time at the same pace (though how we […]

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Killing off characters

Like most readers, I really hate it when my favorite character dies, whether it’s in mid-story or right at the end (though the longer the character has been around, the more I’m invested and the more I hate losing them). But there are some stories that I […]

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Knowing What You Want To Do

The other day, I got a note from a gentleman who disliked one of my stories. The characters shouldn’t have been like this, the plot shouldn’t have gone like that, the structure didn’t make sense, the climax was unsatisfying. I ought to have done X and Y […]

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