Dave highly recommends Hal Duncan's Vellum: Vellum is one of those books. It's so good that after I finished it, at 2 AM after a long day, I couldn't fall asleep. I felt so challenged by this book, as a reader and a writer, that I simply couldn't let it go that easily. And now, four days later, I still haven't digested it fully. Sold! Can't wait to read this...
Speaking of Hal Duncan, I really liked what he had to say on the whole self-indulgence issue, and not just because he used the words "poncy git": The critic may well be right. The book may be deeply flawed, it's aesthetic balance way off, because the writer's just plain failed to pull off what they were trying to do. But the word "self-indulgent" doesn't communicate that any more than calling the writer a poncy git does. And as an accusation of a lack of self-awareness on the author's part, of selfishness and unfounded pride even, it's about as personal as that sort of name-calling.(Though it didn't hurt.)
Great writing post from Elizabeth Bear, a snippet: Here's what I think about talent. It's true: some people have more than others. And I suspect if one is going to make it as a writer, one walks in with a free card. One thing you can do coming out of the gate. One aspect of the tremendous interwoven craft of writing that you're naturally good at. It may be worldbuilding or plot or voice or language or structure or theme. Something you do right, from day one.
Here's a secret. Once you reach a certain level of competence, books and stories sell because of what you do right, not because of what you don't do wrong. You want to talk about what J.K. Rowling does wrong? We can talk all week.
Patrick Samphire bravely attempts the impossible: explaining cricket.
This is one of the stupidest things I've ever seen. Using Cameron Diaz and Angelina Jolie as examples of women getting lovelier with age is ridiculous. Why not throw in some Holly Hunter or Annette Bening or Frances McDormand action?
Alan DeNiro is a very smart man: It’s a “profession” that is largely abandonware now. Sure (to continue the imperfect metaphor), it’s fun to download the emulators for systems gone by–the gameplay’s still solid–and yet always there’s a melancholy that goes with the nostalgia. Different models for different times. (I remember buying Zork in K-mart.)
And yet with each passing year living in the old professional-writer model, the more energy that one expends in pretending that the genre pie is larger than it actually is. And expending that energy kind of becomes a hobby in of itself. From my perspective it’s a pretty crappy hobby. I’m not being anti-money per se, but rather pro-reality (no pun intended, seriously).