Tools of the craft, tricks of the trade, helpful reminders for you all*:
*Most of these are not restricted to any one genre or type of fiction.
Writing Links, Three Bags Full By: Alyx Dellamonica
Contains a number of useful links to other writers blogs. I commend it to your attention. I also recommend following Alyx’s blog as she tends to post a lot of good writing advice on a regular basis.
Writing Fight Scenes By: Will Hindmarch
Brings up a few interesting points about pacing and sentence structure that I hadn’t thought about. The article also contains links to further reading on fight scenes.
How to Write A Novel in Two Months By: Jeff Vandermeer
Interesting read, though I’m nowhere near being able to finish a novel in two months.
Nascence By: Tobias Buckell
I highly, highly recommend that you check this out. Buckell (one of my favourite authors) has put together an anthology of seventeen stories that he wrote before being published. This book is a gold mine; the stories alone coupled with Tobias’ explanations have taught me a lot about my own failed short stories.
Writerisms and Other Sins By: C.J. Cherryh
A list of helpful tips on sentence structure and grammar to help newbie writers avoid writing badly.
“For the first step you have to hunt and kill an elephant… Its all pretty easy after that…”
-Ryan North, creator of Dinosaur Comics
I caught those words on an episode of the Search Engine podcast, in the context of Ryan explaining how to successfully create a web comic. Now, the more I think of it, this is exactly what writing is about: you spend 99% of your time learning how to hunt the elephant, and maybe after years and years of struggle you actually catch one. *
*Note: I only use the elephant for illustrative value, its probably wiser (and easier) to write a novel.
I was listening to the excellent podcast, Writing Excuses, when one of the hosts dropped this excellent gem about worldbuilding:
Pick one unimportant thing in your story and explain the heck out of it, and pick one important thing in the story and don’t explain it at all.
Quote was attributed to author David Farland.
At first glance this seems counterintuitive, and I’m not sure that it can be applied to all stories, but it does posit an unfamiliar way to develop unique details for setting in a story. For example, check out this random game trailer:
This story could explain why water (the unimportant thing) is important, but leave the main event (the world-shattering apocalyptic event) unexplained. The story might develop around water being scarce and its impact on the characters rather than retreading overused post-apocalyptic scenery. Readers and aspiring writers, what do you think?
Added bonus: Here’s an excellent resource for second draft revision from C.J. Cherryh.