Six impossible things

Posts Tagged Da Rulez

Advice you want vs. advice you need

For a variety of reasons, I thought today I’d do a rant on writing rules. OK, mostly it was because I haven’t done one for a while and I was in the mood for ranting. I started off by googling “fiction writing rules,” just to see what […]

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Show and tell redux

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” -W. Somerset Maugham I’ve had at least four questions from people in the last week or two about that hoary old piece of advice “show, don’t tell.” So even though I just […]

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Show vs. Tell

“Show, don’t tell” is one of the two most misunderstood and misapplied pieces of writing advice that are commonly given to new writers (the other being “write what you know,” but that’s a different post.) It’s most commonly trotted out in relation to characterization, where “show” generally […]

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To preach or not to preach

Around about twenty years back, I had the privilege of being at a convention where Judith Merril was appearing, and I made sure to go to every panel she was on. There weren’t a lot (she wasn’t in the best of health at the time), but when […]

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Getting from the Beginning to the Middle

For a certain kind of writer, the opening of a story is easy and fun – you get to allude to mysterious events and drop ominous clues. And then comes the middle, where all the stuff you’ve been alluding to has to start showing up and actually […]

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Rules? What Rules?

Recently, a fan came up to me, enthusiastically waving Thirteenth Child. “This book blew me away!” he said. “It breaks all the rules! How did you do that?” Naturally, I looked him straight in the eye and said, “What rules?” What most would-be-writers mean when they’re talking about […]

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The Value of Perversity

Teresa Nielsen Hayden, one of my many editor friends, once claimed that writers are like otters. Apparently, if you are trying to train animals, the normal method is to provide praise and rewards when they do something you would like them to do; the theory is that […]

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Da Rulez

Recently, I got an email from a reader asking about the relationship between a writer’s success and/or fame and that writer’s ability to disregard the rules of writing and still have their books be considered great. The two sides of the argument seemed to be 1) once […]

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So you want to write a book…

It being the new year — and the first year of a new decade — I went poking around the web and noticed a bunch of websites for people’s New Year’s Resolutions. A little further investigation revealed that “write a book” is, in some form or another, […]

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So, What About All These Rules, Then?

For some reason, I keep running into writers — mostly those who aren’t yet published, but sometimes ones who are — who seem to have gotten the impression that there is some sort of checklist that editors work through before they’ll buy a book. I ran into […]

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