Saturday, March 25, 2017

Series vs Standalone

And now let's return to Charlie Jane Anders (author of All The Birds in the Sky) and #4 of her "10 Writing "Rules" We Wish More Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Would Break"...

 

4) Fantasy novels have to be series instead of standalones

We love a good epic trilogy (or decalogy) as much as the next fantasy addict. But sometimes a nice done-in-one story is also exceedingly welcome. And this is one area where science fiction seems to have a slight advantage over fantasy — both genres have tons of sprawling series, but science fiction at least sometimes spawns one-off novels. And there’s something to be said for getting a satisfying story in one volume, without a cliffhanger or any loose ends afterwards. And sometimes, characters can actually be developed more fully if the author doesn’t have to hold anything back for future books. A character who gets a full arc in one book can be a richer character.

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Ok, didn't want to cheat by leaving this one out, but I'm sure I'll stay a follower of this "rule". Why? Too much stuff in my head and too many ideas from the babbling bunch of characters lounging on my sofa to ever fit into one book lol Besides: I'm an avid reader of series as I get to stick with familiar characters - guess I simply have a problem with saying "Good Bye" and letting go...

My inner teenager agrees!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

May I dump some info on you, pretty please?


Here comes #3 of Charlie Jane Anders'  "10 Writing "Rules" We Wish More Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Would Break"...

3) Avoid infodumps

 






Like its cousin,
show don’t tell,”
this injunction can be a
great idea but can also
get you into trouble.

Sometimes an infodump
can be a horrendous load
of backstory or technical
schematics, rammed down
your poor reader’s throat.



But at other times, authors can go to huge, insane lengths to avoid
having to come out and explain something. Like having contrived
conversations, or weird “teachable moments” to convey a basic bit
of worldbuilding to the reader, with the effect that the story grinds
to a halt.
We posted a collection of 20 well-done infodumps a while back,
just to prove it can be done well.
(I kept Charlie Jane Anders' links for reference)







Saturday, March 4, 2017

Give me my Prologue back!!!

Welcome back! Let's return to Charlie Jane Anders (author of All The Birds in the Sky) and #2 of her "10 Writing "Rules" We Wish More Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Would Break"...

2) No prologues

This is one I’ve been hearing for years — some agents and editors say they stop reading immediately if they see that a book has a prologue. But prologues have their uses, especially if you want to set a mood or establish some crucial backstory before you start introducing your main characters. Like most of the other things on this list, prologues can be done well, or they can be done horrendously. Luckily, we don’t have to reach far to think of an example of prologues done well — George R.R. Martin starts every one of the Song of Ice and Fire books with one, and it’s clear why these prologues are there. They help set up the conflicts of each book, via the experiences of a throw-away character. (Literally, in fact.)

And you may have noticed that whenever literary writers tackle science fiction or fantasy, they include tons of infodumps? Maybe this is one of those instances where they’re not as familiar with the genre conventions, and thus fall into habits that many “real” SF and fantasy authors would avoid — but in this instance, they may just be right. Sometimes you just have to explain something, as painlessly as you can.