I talk about--and think about--craft a lot. An enormous amount, really. And as I can only speak for myself, in my case, it's not a search for the magic get-published button. I've got that, after all. What it is for me, actually, is an attempt to break away from the magic get-published button. To move away from what I do by rote, automatically, and into a wider space. To hone the craft that makes the most of my talent, in other words.
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.
It doesn't matter. Because of what she does right.
But here's another secret. The more things you can learn to do right, the more people will like your work.
I got characters for free. I earned pathos next. Grounding detail. Then I learned how to plot. Theme after that. Then voice. Started selling stories about then. What's that, six?
Worldbuilding... um... still working on that one. Sentences too. Getting better at sentences. Worldbuilding. Heck. This is complicated by the fact that "you can't cut one clean." Like a cobweb, every thread affects the shape of every other thread. Cut one, they all shiver.
Ideally, you do them all well.
Doesn't mean I can't dream.
Progress notes for 15 August 2005:
New Words: 1,631
Total Words: 38,288 / 44250
Mammalian Assistance: Marlowe came and was huggy cat for a bit. I am persona non grata to the dogges because yesterday was toenail day, and I did poorly. Three bleeders. One on the Dane that would not quit. kit_kindred is a hero of the revolution, as he handled most of the deck swabbing.
Stimulants: Seltzer, Rumpleminz
Exercise: none today. Previously, walking and gothercise
Mail: nomail, unless you count a Locus
Today's words Word don't know: entangler, surplusing, Siddhartha, branes, mistressed, consciousnesses, burdenless
Words I'm surprised Word do know: illation
Tyop du jour: n/a
Darling du jour: If we can't be trained, we can be broken.
Books in progress, but not at all quickly: Richard Overy, Russia's War: A History of the Soviet War Effort, 1941-1945; David Riggs, The World of Christopher Marlowe; David Crystal, Pronouncing Shakespeare; Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Pashazade
Books read: China Mieville, Iron Council; Peter Watts, Blindsight; Jaroslav Pelikan, Whose Bible Is It?; Constance Brown Kuriyama, Christopher Marlowe: A Renaissance Life
Interesting research tidbits of the day: n/a
Mean things: Sneaking up on Vincent figuring out just what Angelo did. Bad Angelo. No biscuit.
Other writing-related work: I should probably read this slush.
Fear Death By Fanfic. Just gorgeous. via rutemple