- It isn't about the goblins. I first gave this advice elsewhere, but its an important one for fantasy writers. Fantasy creates a distance that you can use to explore things, play with ideas, and comment on the "real" world. Use it. Writing about goblins for their own sakes is boring. Writing about them because they behave the way we suspect we might secretly quite like to is far more fun.
- Have fun, and be funny. This might sound strange coming from an occasional purveyor of quite violent urban fantasy, or from the person who gave the above advice. The thing is, I think that my writing improved out of sight the day I decided to start making fun of things, because it was what I really enjoyed doing. If you have the same urge to try comedy, do it.
- Invite real criticism. There is a danger sometimes of not reacting to criticism well. I know I don't (in fact, it is only the cost issues that prevent me from putting together a suitable robot army to deal with critics. All donations welcome). The trouble is, it's easy (especially online) to fall into a situation where everyone says "yay, it's brilliant!". So you think your work is brilliant. And then you send it to an editor.
- Publication is not the goal. For some reason, people see that moment of publication as success. As an end point. It isn't. It's a start. Look beyond it, to growth and sales and eventual world domination (did I mention my robot army?)
- Did I also mention that you should have fun? I think that one is worth repeating. So many people get into this really intense "I will write and write, and do millions of writing exercises, and be incredibly serious until I succeed" mode where they have to get their words done each day, and they have to submit to so many editors. Relax a little. Remember that even with all this perseverance, the odds are not in your favour. It might seem unfair, but you can do all of this for years and not come out of it as a success story. Now, if you're being incredibly serious about it all, that is heartbreaking. You've spent years doing things you don't like, for nothing. Or you could do things you do like, enjoy the process, and probably end up writing better things anyway.
Thursday, 15 July 2010
This is for the peevish penman blogfest, and represents some random scraps of advice about writing that I think are important, but probably aren't.