Six impossible things

Posts Tagged misconceptions


There is an old saying that goes something like: “You can have it fast, you can have it cheap, you can have it good. Pick any two.” Meaning that if you want it fast and cheap, it won’t be good; if you want it fast and good, […]

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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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Misunderstanding grammar

Once again, I have been driven to frothing at the mouth by a would-be writer-and-critiquer’s thick-headedness in regard to both the construction of the English language and the so-called rules he’s trying to apply, and you folks are going to have to put up with the resulting […]

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Selling the first one

The book business has been changing radically every couple of years for the entire time I’ve been in it, but one thing does seem to remain constant: lots of people still want to break in and sell their novels, and a sizeable number of these folks either […]

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One of the supposed truisms of writing is that a good plot must have conflict. And while this is, in fact, true, I’ve seen it misinterpreted so many times that I thought I’d talk about it a little. The problem always seems to come in the definition […]

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What Everybody Knows

On the very first day at Fourth Street Fantasy convention (which as of this posting, is still in session for another half-day or so), Elizabeth Bear mentioned running into a writing myth I’d never heard myself before: Women can’t ride stallions, because stallions get aggressive around women. […]

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Rewriting the past

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there” – L.P. Hartley  One of the tricky aspects of writing books set in any vaguely recognizable version of history is the inevitable clash between now and then, on pretty much every level. There are an enormous […]

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Mailbag #5

What first inspired you to write? I hate questions like this because they make so many assumptions about “inspiration.” But since you ask… Probably a combination of my mother, my father, and the family I grew up in. This tends not to be the answer people are […]

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As any devoted Heinlein fan knows, TANSTAAFL stands for There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. It’s one of those obvious truths about the world, like Murphy’s Law, that ought to go without saying, yet people seem to need to be reminded of it over […]

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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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