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Nothing’s original, but character voice makes you stick around. Character voice is the most important aspect of any storytelling medium, in my opinion. I think writers need to focus on their voice and what makes their story stand out.
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I used to feel that the full story was swimming around in my head and I was simply netting it out of the water as I wrote it down, but now I take a much more in-control approach to my writing
To me, the point of writing is to benefit the reader in some way. Where I get my gears in a grind over literary fiction is when it seems to be written more for the glorification of the author than for the benefit of any reader.
Just like baking, it’s important to have all the ingredients and mix them well! Good storytelling shines through, I think, and the more you write, the better you become.
I’m a firm believer that fiction, especially sci-fi and humor, has a social responsibility. All of my works have some sort of commentary on everything from important social issues down to calling out common fictional tropes that need to be addressed.
Present-day mystery and alternative history require research; otherwise one trips over the sort of people who know stuff. And believe me, they will jump on you if you put a pinkie wrong.
Strong characters are a must. I don’t have to like the characters, but I have to have some point to relate to
If I could change anything from childhood, it would be to seek out more writer friends and communities. I spent a lot of time envisioning myself as a guy alone in a room, manufacturing the sublime out of nothing, and all that’s done is slow down my learning curve. Being part of a conversation and sharing more probably would have sped up the process.