My personal preference is for what I’ve called third-order answers. A lot of mysteries have an obvious culprit, and then a character who is, if you know your narrative conventions, the obvious alternative to the obvious culprit. I like mysteries that go one step further.
Archive for the ‘Tips for Beginners’ Category
The way to become a published writer is to write (and to submit what you write). Seems obvious, yet so many would-be writers produce that one story or novel and then rework it endlessly, or submit a story or three, get rejected once (or a hundred times), and decide to give up.
I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite ways of finding inspiration — some of them obvious, some of them less so. But it’s always good to have reminders, and if you haven’t used a few of these sources of inspiration in awhile (or ever), give them a go.
…I firmly believe that the joy found at the heart of reading is the same joy found at the heart of writing: it is the joy of discovery.
…I’m not going to discuss the importance of goals today. Instead, I’m going to discuss how worthless they are.
You don’t have to be a fanatic to use Twitter; it doesn’t have to take over your life. Just get an account, use your real name, start following some people, and post some things. You don’t have to do it all at once, but you should do it. If you follow a publisher, a lot of times the publisher will follow you back.
One of the first published novelists I got to know told me that it was really awkward to be friends with a writer whose stuff you don’t like.
Buying into a personal mythology of hierarchical status can harm your career. It’s one thing to expect respect for your work and experience. It’s quite another to expect demonstrations of your status or to make pronouncements like “I will not attend any conventions at which I am not a guest of honor.”
A good story should always be raising questions — not asking them directly, but instead forcing the reader to ask them. “Wait, what’s that weird symbol they keep seeing on the walls? What was that sound? Something’s up with that top hat-wearing fox that keeps following them, too.
Let’s talk about self-promotion and how it feels icky.
Yes, self-promotion is awkward to do the first time. Yes, it is very easy to do badly. But–it is incredibly important to your career. Someone asked, “Isn’t it enough to write a good story?”