Friday, January 30, 2009

For authors: Advise from veterans

At SF Signal.

A few that caught my eye & probably apply to other endeavors too:

Robert Silverberg: A story makes quick money, & another gets collected in anthologies. Later is tougher to write & sell, but brings you money rest of your life. Former brings money one time only - when it is sold.

Mike Resnick: Believe in your product. And be flexible about both the channels that will put it in the hands of consumers & the target consumers.

Ben Bova: Go for "clarity and simplicity of style". "you've got to be able to take the most complicated things happening in the world and write it so that they can understand it."

John C Wright: "Talent is mostly sweat". He also has an interesting critique of Heinlein.

Marc Gascoigne: "GET IT DOWN, CHANGE IT LATER." Sacred words for many a programmer too, when used with a bit of brains.

Patricia Briggs: I actually liked it in a context slightly different from her. What does it take to create things? "work" - sweat. "play" - creativity. And use of competitive products to gain insight.

Alan Dean Foster: "be careful never to make your hero/heroine too powerful or too omnipotent" because "no one sympathizes with superman".

Kristine Kathryn Rusch: "going deep into the story, and not being afraid of the topics I brought up."

Matt Hughes:

  1. Be "minimalist": "the in-born human ability to take a few details (picking the right details is the author's job) and turn them into a complete picture. The more the reader puts in, I think, the greater the identification with the story."
  2. "At the heart of every story is a conflict. The conflict has a starting point. That's the thing to put on the first page".