Finding The Story

Mad Genius Club

We’ve all heard the old chestnut about the guy who finds a pile of manure and starts digging through it frantically to find a pony. Because with that much manure, there must be a pony in there.

This is kind of like what writers do, only our work is inside our heads and somewhat less odoriferous.

It’s been a long time since I talked about this, but I remembered the day before yesterday when someone left a comment on my blog saying “I have this splendid idea, but I can’t write it.”  And what he/she (I honestly don’t remember, because I suck with names) related was not a story, but a concept.

You can’t write a story from a concept any more than you can ride a pile of manure.  A good story has a concept.  It might or might not have a message.  Mind you it can have a…

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How to Write Ideas into Fiction

Read to Write Stories

Aliette de Bodard's story, "Immersion" appeared in Issue 69 of Clarksworld Magazine. Aliette de Bodard’s story, “Immersion” appeared in Issue 69 of Clarkesworld and won the Nebula and Locus prizes for Best Short Story.

When I was in an undergraduate fiction workshop, my teacher told us not to worry about what our stories were about. Focus on the characters and plot, he said, and the rest will sort itself out. This is often good advice—but not always. Some stories are about ideas, and the issue becomes not how to momentarily forget those ideas but, instead, how to attach them to the characters and plot so that they read as story rather than apart from it.

One genre that consistently tackles big ideas is science fiction. And one of the most interesting new science fiction writers is Aliette de Bodard, whose story, “Immersion,” appeared in Clarkesworld and won or was nominated for pretty much every award possible: Nebula, Locus, and Hugo Awards for Best Short Story. You can read…

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For The Times They Are A’Changing

According To Hoyt

Blame this on the head cold I’m almost over (truly) and the mild fever that accompanied it.  Blame it on the change of weather, that had me getting up in the middle of the night to close windows that had, sudden and inexplicably, become openings to the arctic.

Blame it on my dad giving me all the books of legends of the region that he could gather on short notice.  Yes, I also got books on the history of the City of Porto and surroundings, but when it comes to Fantasy it is easiest to dip into the legends.  And these legends are full of changing times and changing circumstances, of the tumultuous succession of Romans and Swabians, Moors and Christian crusaders, absolutist and parliamentary monarchists, republicans, French invaders and British liberators.

Most of the legends are just that, legends, though I suspect a lot of what the guys writing…

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