Six impossible things

Posts Tagged misconceptions

Ideas, and…

Science fiction is often described as “the literature of ideas,” as if no other kind of writing includes any, this in spite of the fact that the first question every professional writer, regardless of genre, gets thoroughly sick of is “Where do you get your ideas?” The […]

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Gaming and Writing

As some of you know, I did a lot of role-playing games in the late 70s and early 80s, some as a player character and some where I was the gamesmistress. Ever since, I’ve been running up against other writers with really strong feelings, pro and con, […]

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Leaving stuff out

The other day, I was looking over two different multi-book series, each of which is easily pushing a million words. Both are quite popular in their respective genres, but they are very different in their approach. Yet it could be argued that both writers make similar mistakes. […]

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Writing about Writing

Every so often, I get a request from someone to do a guest blog post or answer some questions for a survey article someone is writing. I almost always turn them down; it is hard enough keeping up with twice-weekly posting on my own blog without adding […]

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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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It’s not the same

There are a number of bits of wisdom that nonwriters frequently impart to writers, usually with the best of intentions. Some of them are useful and very true, like “You need to send that out, you know.” Other times…not so much. One of the not-so-much categories comes […]

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Eight million or so

“There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.” –The Naked City by Malvin Wald The thing about those eight million stories is, they’re all different from each other. And trying to make them be the same is a mistake. This […]

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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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What’s missing

Last week I got into another one of those discussions with a would-be writer who was convinced that before he ever sat down to write, he had to have the perfect idea – one with depth and resonance, something he found personally meaningful and inspiring, and above […]

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