On the Obligations of the Reader

I enjoyed this thoughtful post from Nina Zumel (@MultoGhost) about that tricky dance writers and readers engage in. When does hand holding go too far? What to leave unwritten?

Multo (Ghost)

Adapted from some ramblings of mine on Twitter.

I recently came across the essay “Let Me Tell You,” by author Cecilia Tan. It’s a response to the old writing dictum “show, don’t tell,” and in the process of arguing against it (specifically in the SF/Fantasy genres), the essay also takes a shot at the myth of “universality” that underlies the dictums of writing “quality” (read: literary) fiction.

I highly recommend the essay to you. But in addition to what it says to writers/readers of SF/Fantasy, it crystallized some other thoughts of my own – a reader, not a writer, and not generally an SF/Fantasy reader either – about the obligations of the reader.

NewImage

Clumsy exposition (“as you know…”) is one of my pet peeves. And I’ve noticed that I sometimes prefer reading works from an X writer to those of an X-American or otherwise hyphenated writer (X-British…

View original post 646 more words

Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Description—The Good the Bad and the Just Please STOP

Great post from Kristen Lamb about making your descriptions work for you.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Odin The Ridiculously Handsome Cat Odin The Ridiculously Handsome Cat

In the last post, we talked about revisions and how often when we are making those next passes through we need to flesh, cut or refine our description. Can we be really honest about our description? Is it truly remarkable or just filling space? Are we weaving a spell that captures readers or are we boring them into a coma?

Okay, okay, do you have a point?

For those who never use description or very sparse description? Don’t fret. Description (or lack thereof) is a component of an author’s voice.

But obviously all writers will use some kind of description. We have to in order to draw readers into the world we are creating. If we don’t give them anything to sink their teeth into, they will wander off in search of something else.

So whether you are heavy or light on the description, here are…

View original post 1,883 more words

Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

The Ghost Stories that Haunt Me

Hi all,
Thought you might like this post by Nzumel at Multoghost. I want to head to the library right now and revisit these classic authors!

Multo (Ghost)

Fulk nerra assailed by the phantoms of his victims jpg Blog

I joined a “Classic Ghost Stories” interest group recently (It’s called “The Classic Ghost Story Tradition” on Facebook, if you’re interested); the group focuses on “classic” ghost stories, those from the mostly British tradition written around the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Authors from this tradition include M.R. James, E.F. Benson, Sheridan Le Fanu, Robert Aickman. Rudyard Kipling and Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a few of these, too.

I’ve enjoyed the discussions, and gotten a few good recommendations. But I realized that while I very much like the authors and the stories that tend to come up, they aren’t the stories that have struck me the most, in my reading.

It’s got me thinking about what I like in a good ghost story.

They don’t have to be scary (though a little frisson is nice: just one scene, or even just a single image that makes me gasp…

View original post 1,171 more words

Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

The Writer’s Guide to a Meaningful Reference Library

For all you writers out there, check out Kristen Lamb’s resource list (as well as the comments). Happy reading, everyone!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 11.23.10 AM

Whether you are just now entertaining the idea of writing a book or have been writing for a while, all authors need certain tools if our goal is to publish and make money with our work. Now, if your goal is to simply create a piece of literature that “says something deep and probing” about society or life or is esoteric and selling the book doesn’t matter? Then that is a noble goal and I wish you the very best.

There are works that have broken all the rules and come to be known (usually much later) as classics. I will, however, respectfully point out that the majority of those who follow this blog want to write commercially and make a decent living, so my list is geared toward a certain group of authors.

What this means is that anything can go in writing. Rules are not to be a…

View original post 966 more words

Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment