Category Archives: Theory and Discussion

Character Development and Voice

To develop fully rounded and unique characters, take time early on to develop a profile of them. Continue reading

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Choosing and Managing a Point of View in Narrative Fiction

Point of view (POV) is one of the most basic underlying features of story construction, as it determines what you can show the reader and how the content will be framed. While you may be able to change POV characters … Continue reading

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The Mark of a Good Writer

You’ll find plenty of opinions about what makes good writing, but there are as many opinions as there are readers, and they range from technical critiques to personal raves, with many being a mix of the two. You probably won’t … Continue reading

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How Real is Real Enough?

Realism is critical for good fiction writing, but speculative fiction demands some nonrealism, too. How do you find the right balance of realistic and nonrealistic features, and how do you make them work together harmoniously? Continue reading

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True Literature or Not True Literature, That is the Wrong Question

Human beings enjoy a good story. Most people like some variety in the types of stories they engage with, and some people will read or watch pretty much anything. You would think that publishers would recognize this, but in book publishing, there is a long-standing and seemingly impenetrable divide between literary fiction and so-called genre (“popular”) fiction in general, and speculative fiction in particular. But is this distinction useful? Continue reading

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Don’t Look Down

In many disciplines, if you follow a specific set of instructions, then you should get the intended outcome, whatever that may be. But following rules does not significantly improve art, except incidentally. Art is not art merely because it has technical merit. In fact, some of the best art busts all the rules and gets away with it. If Tom Thompson or Vincent van Gogh had decided to do what a good painter is “supposed” to do, we might never have known their names. Continue reading

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The Art of Appreciation

I’ve been thinking a lot about why people make art and what they hope to achieve by doing so. That of course leads me to wonder how people judge art, how it affects them, and why it has the impact it does. I haven’t come up with any specific answers, but it boils down to one question: what makes good art? Continue reading

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