Pitfalls of Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy

Pitfalls of Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy

Vonda N. McIntyre

Language: English

Pages: 10

ISBN: 2:00204651

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Pitfalls of Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy

Vonda N. McIntyre

Language: English

Pages: 10

ISBN: 2:00204651

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


By popular demand: a chapbook collecting all the Pitfalls of Writing SF & Fantasy, including a new Pitfall, #14: "Everything's in the Right Place!"

The first 13 Pitfalls were previously published in Book View Cafe's anthology Brewing Fine Fiction.

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fiction. As Samuel R. Delany pointed out, in sf things can happen that are unlikely to happen in real life or in realistic (“mainstream”) fiction. Therefore, if you use “seem,” you should mean “seem.” As in, “This is what it looked like but this isn’t really what’s going on, so pay attention!” A perceptive reader will note “seem” or “appear” or “looked like,” perk up their ears, and wait for you to tell them what really is going on. If nothing other than the superficial action is going on, the

clutched an illusion. When I encounter this construction, I’m always left with the impression that the character (or more likely, the writer) has such refined sensibilities and lofty feelings that I, the lowly reader, can’t be expected to comprehend them... so why should the writer bother trying to describe them? And why should I bother trying to read them? Pitfall #11: Literal v. Figurative, or, “His Head Literally... Exploded!” “Figuratively” means that you are speaking

clutched an illusion. When I encounter this construction, I’m always left with the impression that the character (or more likely, the writer) has such refined sensibilities and lofty feelings that I, the lowly reader, can’t be expected to comprehend them... so why should the writer bother trying to describe them? And why should I bother trying to read them? Pitfall #11: Literal v. Figurative, or, “His Head Literally... Exploded!” “Figuratively” means that you are speaking

and yet writers and commentators will try to emphasize the focus of an event by calling it the “epicenter.” (Some experts approve of using “epicenter” this way. I’m holding out for using it only to refer to the place on the earth’s surface above the focus of an earthquake.) Enormity, problematic, and singular are other words commonly misused. If you don’t know what they mean, look them up. If you aren’t certain what a word means, look it up. Every so often, look up a word you think you know the

have that idea; I’m using it.) She looked down at the ground by her feet. I particularly like this one. It’s a threefer. You convey the same information with “She looked down,” “She looked at the ground,” and “She looked at her feet.” If she looks down and she doesn’t see either the ground or her feet, you may have some explaining to do. I was reading a novel the other day and encountered three overwritten and redundant phrases in one paragraph. This was one of the reasons I eventually gave up

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