On Writing Science Fiction: The Editors Strike Back

A worthy read for authors regardless of genre

On Writing Science Fiction is about writing science fiction only as a topic, not as a focus. Somewhere in the book is a money-line about the book teaching writing first, fiction writing second and writing science fiction last.

Quite true and accurate! This book is a gem for anyone who wants to write. Don’t worry about the genre aspect, it’s a great study.

On Writing Science Fiction: The Editors Strike Back

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William Noble’s “Make That Scene”

Helpful, Informative and packed with …

Although not a Writers’ Digest book (my edition is published by Erikson), it reads like one. Like all Writers’ Digest books, this is a good primer+ for writers on the road to authorhood. There were some definite takeaways, some things I stopped to consider (I’m happy when a book makes me think. It means it’s teaching and I’m learning). Noble does a good job with examples (it seems all these Writers’ Digest type books pull from the same sources for examples).

It’s a good afternoon read for working writers, a good week long read for those starting the path. Both will find the exercises worthy, helpful and informative.

 
The book has the sense of being based on a undergrad or advanced placement class Noble taught. There’s a few blocks where he writes about discussions with students in a classroom setting. One nice element was Noble sharing where his suggestions weren’t used and the writing worked better for it.


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Paul Darcy Boles’ “StoryCrafting”

Paul Darcy Boles’ “StoryCrafting” offers a good toolbox for writers at any point in their career

StoryCrafting is (so far) one of the best all-around books I’ve read on the art of writing. For one thing, Boles spends a great deal of the book on revision/revising and gets into specifics; things to look for, things to be aware of, what not to do, what to definitely do, … Lots of books talk about revision/revising while not offering much about the mechanics of doing so (my opinion). Boles also provides ample insight on subjects like POV, Character, Plot, Scene, … It’s truly an good toolbox for anyone learning their craft.

The best part of this is that Boles demonstrates his process while honoring yours. He makes suggestions for your process and in the end, if something’s working for you and you know it’s working for you, don’t change it. Figure out why/how it’s working and make it better.

Sage words, that.


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Revision

Pesky commas, Da Vinci’s pockets and more

Do you revise? Do you get something down once then go over it again? And again and again? And again?

No, scratch that last “And again?” It’s too much.

No, it’s good. It adds emphasis. It demonstrates emotional commitment on the part of the author.

Oy!

I know musicians revise their compositions and painters revise their paintings. There’s a story that Da Vinci carried the Mona Lisa with him where ever he went and took it out from time to time to change something.

I can’t imagine him carrying around his painting supplies and, in the middle of a papal audience, adding an eyelash here or removing a birthmark there.


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Janet Burroway’s “Writing Fiction”

A Gift to Writers Throughout Their Careers

Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction has been on my bookshelf for (estimating) 20+ years. I picked up a used copy back when I made my first pass at fiction writing not realizing I’d plucked a diamond from a trash pile. My writing coach, Rich Marcello, suggested I give it a read.

The title sounded familiar when Rich suggested it. I’d added the book to my collection and hadn’t touched it since I put it on my shelf. This is one of those “When the student is ready, the teacher will be there” things. I wouldn’t have appreciated Writing Fiction 20+ years ago. Rich suggested Writing Fiction about a year ago and I’ve just completed my first read.

I’m a fairly fast reader.

I will be doing second, third and probably through fifth readings (if I live long enough).

There’s that much to learn (for me) in this book.


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