I’m mentoring a graduate student in writing right now, and together she and I have put together a course on worldbuilding. In addition to having her read several SF/Fantasy novels that demonstrate various approaches to creating worlds or embedding magic systems in our own world, I have also assigned some reading in a couple of books on writing.
No, I didn’t assign her any readings in the Magical Words How-to — it always bothered me when my college professors did that; I believe it’s unethical. Instead, I assigned her several chapters in Melissa Scott’s Conceiving the Heavens: Creating the Science Fiction Novel and Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. But while I didn’t have her read the Magical Words book, it did occur to me as I was working on the syllabus just how many books on writing are out there. In our genre alone, [...]
Continue reading Learning to Write: The Limitations of Books About Writing
As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m teaching a short writing course at my daughters’ school. We had our second session this past Friday night, and, once again, I had my “students” do a couple of writing exercises in class. As I did last week, I did the exercises myself, right along with them, and found to my surprise that I loved the passages I wrote.
There was nothing terribly creative about the exercises I had the class do. Last week we worked on character development; this week we discussed point of view and voice. For the first exercise, I had the class write a scene in which the character they created during last week’s class meets the student him or herself (so when I wrote mine, I had the character I worked on the week before encounter me at a bus stop). I told them to write the [...]
Continue reading More Writing Exercises!
since feeling is first who pays any attention to the syntax of things will never wholly kiss you
– e.e. cummings
That has always been one of my favorite stanzas of poetry. Many years ago, a couple of years before I met my wife, cummings’ words helped me understand why I had to break up with a woman I was dating who was making me miserable. I wrote the lines in a small notebook of quotes — one that I still keep and even add to occasionally — along with a few other phrases that captured the angst of mid-twenties failed love. Eventually I grew up a little, moved on, built my life with Nancy, and my need for that little notebook lessened. It had been a while since I’d read through some of the older entries in the notebook, but a couple of weeks ago, while rummaging through my [...]
Continue reading “since feeling is first…”