Learn the Land of Fiction by Reading Every Day
I’ll start this post with one of my favorite quotes on the craft of fiction:
“If you don’t have the time to read,
you don’t have the time (or tools) to write.”
–Stephen King, On Writing
This quote came in King’s section on his two great commandments for every writer: read a lot and write a lot. The writing part makes sense, of course: regular writing will improve your skills as a storyteller. However, too many novelists seem to think that the second of King’s commandments is more of a suggestion, and they rarely spend any serious amount of time reading novel-length fiction.
The big problem with this? These novelists’ stories usually fall prey to some of the most common issues we editors find in manuscripts. For example: Continue reading
Don’t Get Caught in the Trap of Writing for the Market
I recently had the opportunity to speak by phone with the publisher/owner of an indie publisher that specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. During the course of our call, he mentioned something that got my mental gears cranking. To paraphrase, he stated that he cannot believe the number of sci-fi/fantasy manuscript submissions he receives from authors who clearly have no understanding of either genre.
After hearing this and then bringing our call to a close, my mind went to a quote by Stephen King in his book, On Writing:
“What’s … wrong is the deliberate turning toward some genre or type of fiction in order to make money. It’s morally wonky…. Also, brothers and sisters, it doesn’t work.”
Now I can’t say for sure why all these authors were submitting to this sci-fi/fantasy publisher, but the fact that they have no understanding of these genres leads me to believe that at least some of them chose these fiction categories because they saw market potential, especially given the extraordinary number of recent and current Hollywood movies that feature these sorts of stories.