Six impossible things

Posts Tagged process

Some uses for fanfiction

Fanfiction is a fascinating phenomenon. Yes, yes, I know that there’s still a huge argument going on between the people who think it’s all right to do and the people who consider it illegal, unethical, and unprofessional, but I think it’s a rather silly argument, on the […]

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The Towering Inferno meets Airport meets Meteor!

Disasters bring out the best in a lot of people. We see the pictures on TV or the web, and want to help; it’s a natural, human thing. Writers are human; we have those same reactions. We pull out our credit cards and donate to the Red […]

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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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Writing myths

There seem to be two basic myths about How Writers Work. The first is the painfully slow, unbelievably picky Brooding Poetic Genius typified by the Oscar Wilde remark about having a good day writing because he’d spent the morning removing a comma and the afternoon putting it […]

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November approaches, and with it comes National Novel Writing Month, a “writing event” that involves people all over the world trying to write a 50,000 word novel from scratch during the month of November. Along with NaNoWriMo comes, inevitably, a flock of earnest would-be writers asking whether […]

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Changing Characters

One of the things writers are urged to do, over and over, is to create characters who grow and change over the course of their adventures. Obviously, growth and change are not an absolute requirement; there are plenty of long-running series in which the characters are exactly the […]

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Deciding to be a Writer

One of the questions I get asked a lot is “how did you decide to be a writer?” And the short answer is, I didn’t. Oh, I’ve been writing since I started my first (unfinished, unpublishable) novel in seventh grade, but it was always about writing, not […]

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Standing on your Head in the Shower

There is no bad way to write a story.  No editor cares how you wrote it.  No editor, to my knowledge, has ever rejected a story on the grounds that the author did not have a plan, character sketches, maps, or time lines before writing the story.  […]

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Choice paralysis

Starting a completely new story is exciting. There aren’t any constraints to worry about:  no dangling plot threads that you have to tie up, no previously established background that you have to stay consistent with, no inconvenient mysteries or revelations that you’re stuck with. It’s a clean slate, […]

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Before the Beginning

Probably the most often-asked question writers get is “Where do you get your ideas?” Very few people ever ask “What do you do with your ideas once you have them?” though that seems to me to be the logical next step. It seems a good many people […]

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