…I’m not going to discuss the importance of goals today. Instead, I’m going to discuss how worthless they are.
Archive for the ‘The Craft of Writing’ Category
What are the secrets to Clarion West’s success? How did it get to be one of the world’s premiere training grounds for authors of speculative fiction? Most likely that’s happened because of you. Here’s how.
We do need, not more, but a deeper relationship with what we have. Not knowledge, or not just knowledge, but understanding. That’s what writers give us.
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.
When I told people at ConCarolinas that I’d gone from writing 2k to 10k per day, I got a huge response. Everyone wanted to know how I’d done it, and I finally got so sick of telling the same story over and over again that I decided to write it down here.
Last winter, we had a huge response to the three online courses we offered. Writers from all over the world applied; only fourteen were admitted to each course. Using the latest technology, we were able to interact with each other in live class meetings and exchange homework and critiques.
The logistics of slush piles demand ruthlessness, and stories that don’t intrigue the reader early on won’t get a second chance later. So, you’ve got your hook. It’s dramatic, it’s ingenious, and it’s free of typos. Your first two pages have been polished to near oblivion. Now what?
If I’m unsure about a story, I put it on probation, and take another look 6 months later before I either lock it up, set it free, or possibly keep it on probation.
Few reference books are as fun to roam around in as thesauri. They demonstrate the marvelous connections possible with language.
A “mainstream” short story can be about anything: a mood, a character, a setting, even a flashy writing style. A genre (SF or fantasy) short story is about an idea. The fictional elements (character, plot, setting, etc) are only there to dramatize the idea. Here are the rules for the SF (or Fantasy) short story.