November 12th, 2015


Writing Excuses 10.45: Q&A at the GenCon Writing Symposium with Kameron Hurley, James L. Sutter, and

Writing Excuses 10.45: Q&A at the GenCon Writing Symposium with Kameron Hurley, James L. Sutter, and Michael Underwood


Q&A Summary:
Q: Can you give a tip or tips on how to incorporate successfully characters or societies that are from less represented sexualities or genders or races in science fiction and fantasy when you're not from that group?
A: Look at history! I.e., research. Also, readers. Check out the alien next door. Does your world have the same prejudices? Listen.
Q: If you were an aspiring author trying to break-in right now, knowing what you know about the industry, what would you do/how would you do it?
A: Pay attention to the business, and work harder. Learn to break revision into tasks. Do everything you can to get paid for writing. It's harder than you think, and it's cooler, too. Don't depend on external validation. Keep writing.
Q: A) How do you avoid "Would you like to read my manuscript?" B) How do you critique that bad manuscript?
A: Say no. If you have to comment, try to understand where they are, and what can help them fix something and keep writing. Be honest.
Q: How much do you telegraph the plot twist before it happens?
A: Give the readers clues, but try to let them figure it out just before you reveal it.
Q: How can I, a non-writer, be the best support for a writer?
A: Be willing to read it. Give them a reader's responses. Just point to the problems, and let them fix it. Be willing to talk about plot problems and ideas. Ask why and help them get it on the page.
Q: How do you decide on the titles of your stories? Do you know the title at the beginning of your writing process, or does it come to you at some point later?
A: I let the editor or writing group do it. Strategic -- what genre, what else does Amazon already have, how can we code the key points? Sometimes it's the grain of sand that everything else accretes around. Unique, cool, but expresses what the story is.
Q: How do you know when you need to revise a second or third time or when you need to rewrite completely?
A: Trust your gut. Don't be lazy. Some writers plan on rewriting everything. Each draft is a rehearsal, and the latest draft is a performance, of the story. If you don't know how to fix it yet, be patient. Do the best you can do, but get it out there.
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[Dan] We have a writing prompt coming at us from James Sutter.
[James] Yeah. In honor of the recent Pluto missions, I'm going to say take a piece of real world astronomical phenomena, something like a tidally heated planet or a tidally locked planet and make it part of the setting of a story.
[Dan] Very cool. All right. So, this has been Writing Excuses. You are out of excuses. Now go write.
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