Archive | On Writing

Lots of Good News

Typing on LSD?So a couple of big things have been happening lately.

I sold another story to Daily Science Fiction, “They Fell Like Comets”.

Another story got rejected by DSF, but I got a personal note with the rejection. I didn’t know if they’d like it anyway. I’ve submitted it to another market that might be a better fit.

I joined the Science Fiction Writers of America as an associate member (not as a full active member … yet.)

Also, I’ve been taking an online class from Dean Wesley Smith on Plotting a Novel. The first week’s lessons blew my mind. It is exactly what I needed to get over the novel writing hump. (I’ve started 4 and finished zero)! It’s awesome to know that the struggles I’m going through are not unique to me but are common to many awesome writers who I really admire and who also were on this hump at one point in their careers.

Finally, I’ve been working on incorporating to cover my writing business and a number of small related side businesses that I do. I want to be a self-publisher, and so I needed to get serious about the business side of things. Even though I’m a lawyer by training, I was a human rights lawyer. I know nothing about corporations except what they forced me to learn for the bar exam. So this process has been fun and enlightening. I’m thinking of writing a few blog posts about the process to maybe help someone else out who’s looking at doing the same things.

Meanwhile, summer vacation is going very well. It’s been hard while traveling to stay on schedule with the writing. But I need to stop making excuses and crank out my new words of fiction every day.

Putting off writing

If I had written last night the pages I wrote today, how might the story have changed? What would the characters have gained or lost?

There is in the pauses a sort of serendipity.

What does it mean to be a great writer?

Is Piers Anthony a good writer? That’s how it all started. A friend and I were discussing one of our favorite authors, Piers Anthony. My friend pointed out that he is not a perfect writer. True, a comparison between Anthony and someone like Dostoevsky,  for instance, might not be particularly kind to Anthony.

So, is Piers Anthony an ideal writer? No. But it turns out that the question of whether a writer is good is actually a very complex one.

The works of Piers Anthony were very important to me at the time I read them. They were positive, witty, uplifting, and a little bit on the naughty side, but not so naughty as to be positively vulgar. Who doesn’t remember the classic Xanth stories with fondness? For me, The Blue Adept series was also very formative.

This conversation got me thinking about other authors whose writing might not be described as “good” but who were similarly influential in my life and in my art. John Christopher’s Tripod series comes to mind. I recently began reading these aloud to my children at night. Remembering the strong feelings evoked by The White Mountains and sharing that, now, with my children is amazing.

Returning to the question, is Piers Anthony a good writer. My answer is “Yes.” He did exactly what he set out to do and did it masterfully. Meanwhile, if everything was The Brothers Karamazov, we would all go mad.