Six impossible things

Posts Tagged basic writing

Raw Material

Anyone who hangs out with professional writers for very long will eventually hear one of them say “I couldn’t get away with that in a novel” or “If I put that in a story, nobody would believe it,” and they’ll probably hear it sooner rather than later. […]

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Being professional before you are

This week, my walking buddy told me about an incident involving a mutual friend, who is a major tech consultant-type. Seems some gentleman who wanted advice on his algorithm offered to pay for two hours of critique/consulting time at a not-unreasonable-but-on-the-low-side rate. So the consultant-type agreed, took a look […]

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Five W’s and…

Back in high school, I took one semester of journalism. As is pretty typical for a beginning journalism class, it concentrated on drilling into us the importance of the classic “five W’s and one H” – the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How – that we were […]

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Every story needs to open with a hook, or so says conventional writing wisdom. Conventional writing wisdom, unfortunately, seldom goes on to address the obvious question: Just what is a hook, anyway? And how do you write one? There are three things everybody seems to agree upon […]

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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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Meddling or editing?

Patricia, what is the dividing line between editing and meddling? The retitling of one of the Harry Potter books comes to mind.- Gene Wirchenko There are a lot of flip answers I could give to this question, because it’s based on a fundamental misconception about the publishing process:  […]

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Character motivation

I’ve been getting a lot of good questions lately, and I really appreciate it. However, even though Gene’s question about editing and meddling came first, I’m going to save it for next week, on the grounds that it’s about the business end, and I’ve been talking a […]

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An Illusion of Reality

Fiction is an illusion. It’s a made-up tale of something that never happened…and it’s the author’s job to get the reader to accept that illusion for the length of the story, however long the story is. This basic unifying principle tends to get lost a lot, because […]

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Estimated taxes

It’s June 13 and in the U.S., the first set of estimated tax payments for 2012 are due at the end of the week. And if you’re making money from your writing, and you have to pay U.S. income taxes, you need to be aware of this. […]

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Lost Gold

One of the things I inherited from my mother was her collection of writing textbooks. Most of them date from the 1940s and 1950s; a few are as recent as the 1970s. It’s fascinating to look at them, especially in light of my own far more recent […]

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