Posts Tagged quotable

And some of us blog about reading it – Fantasy Writing Resources

There’s this quote from George Bernard Shaw

‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.’ 

A nasty sentiment, but so succinct that it’s insidious. Anyhow, I apply that to myself – I like to write (notice this is a blog, duh) and definitely love to read (refer again to blog).  Writing fiction? That would be awesome, but I don’t feel inspired to. I’d like to.

Maybe my third career will be writing fiction, assuming that a decent amount of inspiration strikes me. I don’t have the patience for teaching.  For now, I am thinking “those who can, write. Those who can’t write, read. Those who don’t write but think it would be cool to write … blog about reading about writing”

Heh.  Here’s a really nice reference post of many resources for writing fantasy

some links which may come in handy for …fantasy writers

via Fantasy Writing Resources « About Writing – The Personal Blog of Pace J Miller.

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Definition of stress

Well, here’s my fav definition of stress, in the form of a prose poem formatted by a tense individual at UC Berkeley

Definition of Stress

The confusion created when
one’s mind overrides the
body’s desire to beat or choke
the living Read the rest of this entry »


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CHECK IT OUT GHOSTPIGS – Adventures in Editing

I love this advice on making it past the first editorial cut.  Opening paragraphs, and opening pages, are fun to critique.

In short, start with a bang, start with the Ghostpigs.  

Example from a novel – starting with Robin McKinley’s Dragonhaven: so far I am sad to say there are no GHOSTPIGS in sight.  For the first couple of pages the boy whines about doing homework… only faint hints about past conflict.

Robin, bring on the Ghostpigs!

I’m not a mean person, I’m not rejecting for fun. I want to find awesome stories because frankly, it sucks to read bad ones all day. Finding the readable jewel is a rush, and fun. However harsh I may seem, I actually don’t want to crush spirits under my pointy literary heel. That being said.

But holy shit guys, what the hell is going on with opening paragraphs?

I swear to god, in every workshop I’ve ever known, they’ve said: you have to make your opening paragraph awesome because editors will kick it if it doesn’t grab them right away….

And if you want to hold back your awesome, then wouldn’t it make more sense to start with something at least stylistically interesting, so that by the time the ghostpigs are shredding on diamond-crusted twelve-necked bone-guitars, at least people are like: I trust something supersweet is on its way because this author can clearly write. I cannot begin to understand the logic that says: BORING STUFF UP FRONT, AWESOME TO THE BACK.

There’s a lot more to the article – read it via Rules for Anchorites – Adventures in Editing.

Here are a pair of constructive (less-funny) posts about opening paragraphs:

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Plot Coupons – What you need to know

You have to know about plot coupons.  This is the exact way to describe the magic rock that occupies one of the teams in Joe Abercrombie’s second book, Before they are Hanged I am not using Abercrombie as a negative example – instead his is a brilliant play on the conventions of the plot coupon convention.

To summarize, in case you’re averse to further click-throughs, a plot coupon is the magic whatsit that our team of heroes must obtain in order to advance the plot  defeat the bad guys, by trekking across the landscape.  It’s a device used all over the place in fantasy – especially in the weakest examples where it’s just an excuse to churn out more pages for the readership… or as a substitute for a stronger plotline.

[A Plot Coupon story is] the kind of story where the protagonist(s) is told to go and collect a bunch of objects. It’s a very good way into a world, because it takes you all over, looking for things. Often, early on, someone will say something like, “A thousand years ago, Estragon The Dark Clown, for reasons that will never be adequately explained in this book or its many sequels, placed his power in The Funny Hat of Doom, The Big Red Nose of Darkness, the Wig of Desmond, and the Revolving Bow Tie of Light. It has been written, that only when these four objects come together will a Saviour arise to save Clowntown. You, Beppo, you must take this map (helpfully printed in the front of the book for easy reference) and nip around the book obtaining these four things (each the object of veneration by a different culture, each guarded by very different groups of people) at great cost to yourself and to the supporting cast, and then you must bring them back here.”

I am sure I could quote some devastating examples from Edding’s Belgariad, but that’s too easy.  Do take the time to read what Neil Gaiman has to say about plot coupons, though. I laughed myself silly with recognition the first time I read his post.

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