Showing posts with label new writers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new writers. Show all posts

Monday, April 22

How Robert J. Sawyer Writes A Novel

How Robert J. Sawyer Writes A Novel

I just came across this interview with Hugo and Nebula Award winner, Robert J. Sawyer.

How Robert Sawyer creates his characters

The characters almost always come out of the research I do. For instance, in Frameshift, Pierre Tardivel started out simply as a man at risk for a genetic disorder, but as I learned more about such things, his background, motivations, and thoughts grew more complex and subtle. I really do believe what Nobel laureate Ralph Bunche said: "If you want to get across an idea, wrap it up in a person."

Robert Sawyer's advice for aspiring science fiction authors:

As a business, science fiction is very similar to mystery. Both have healthy short-fiction marketplaces, dominated by Dell Magazines — the same people who publish Ellery Queen's and Hitchcock's also publish the top two science-fiction magazines, Analog and Asimov's. Both genres are series oriented: if you want to develop a character and write book after book about him, her — or it — you can. Both are convention-driven businesses: just as there are lots of mystery conventions, so, too, there are lots of science-fiction conventions. And both are research-driven genres. You can't write a really good mystery without doing lots of research; the same is true of science fiction. My advice for those wanting to break into science fiction is the same advice I'd give for those wanting to break into mystery: start with short fiction, then try to sell a novel. And, just as in mystery, I'd say the greenest pastures are in New York; don't be afraid to tackle the American market, and don't worry about your Canadian content — I've never had the slightest problem selling flagrantly Canadian work in the States.
Read the rest of Robert J. Sawyer's interview here: Fingerprints Interview of Robert Sawyer.

Credits: "From the December 1997 issue of Fingerprints, the newsletter of the Crime Writers of Canada. Interview conducted in November 1997 by Jim McBride."

Other articles you might like:

- Walter Benjamin's Advice To Writers
- 5 Rules For Writing A Murder Mystery: Keeping the Murderer Secret Until The End
- How To See Through Your Character's Eyes

Photo credit: "I am Chicago" by kevin dooley under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Wednesday, August 22

8 Ways To Become A Better Writer

8 Ways To Become A Better Writer

I love Dean Wesley Smith's articles, especially his advice to writers. Here's Dean's most recent advice to new authors, paraphrased.

1) Never stop writing, and never stop having fun.

2) Don't limit yourself: try both indie and traditional publishing.

3) You don't need an agent. Send your manuscript directly to the editor, even if the editor says she doesn't accept unagented material.

4) Hire an IP lawyer if you receive an offer from a publisher. An IP lawyer can explain the contract to you, tell you if there are any 'gottya' clauses, and help you negotiate with the publisher.

5) Be professional. When you  publish your own work yourself, make sure you're dong a professional job. (Indie Writers: 10 Things Not To Do)

6) Follow Heinlein's Rules of Writing. Figure out ways to give yourself more time to write. (How To Be A Writer)

7) Educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about writing and publishing. This takes time. Reading the following blogs helps:
- A Newbie's Guide to Publishing
- Dean Wesley Smith
- Kris Rusch
- The Passive Voice Blog
- Mystery Writing Is Murder (Elizabeth Craig also tweets links to great articles on writing)

8) Don't be discouraged. For most writers it will take years to learn how to be a good storyteller. Don't be impatient and don't ever give up.

To Dean's list I'd add this: Don't be shy about experimenting. If you are indie published and one of your titles isn't selling as much as you'd like--or even if it is!--experiment with different covers, different prices, different marketing strategies, but all the while keeping in mind that the best way to market your work is to publish a new book.

Other articles you might like:
- Pixar: 22 Ways To Tell A Great Story
- Penelope Trunk Discusses Time Management
- Fifty Shades of Grey - Oh My!

Photo credit: Ben Fredericson