Musing on Learning Your Craft

SCIENCE FICTION author Sarah Hoyt posts on a text on writing called The Art of War for Writers. And her take on it seems spot-on.

But I want to jump off from that to this: If you’re anything like me, and have any history at all of trying to break into the publishing game, you have a shelf — heck, several shelves — of fiction writing how-to texts. If you’re anything like me, you even have special edition sets of how-to texts, such as the one from Writers Digest Books on writing fantasy and science fiction.

I’m here to at least get you to think about throwing them away. Or taking them to Half Price Books or some-such. Or, at least (probably) half of them — the ones that purport to tell you how to write a story or novel to fit a particular market or market segment.


Because the market is in a state of flux. Entropy. Change. Chaos and opportunity abound. Nobody knows, and everybody thinks they know, what the market will look like tomorrow, next week, or next year. Truth be told, nobody ever did, they just faked it better in the old days.

No. What the future of the market looks like will have to wait until it gets here. But there is one thing for certain that the winners in it will all have in common: quality of story.

And THAT, grasshopper, is where you should concentrate your study: not seeking shortcuts to fame and fortune in sci-fi techno thriller murder horror mystery, but in honing your craft at telling good, compelling, and affecting stories.

And dump the rest as excess baggage.

Cross-posted at Musings of an Indie Writer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *