Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

The Craft of Writing

Very good advice —

From Scott Lynch, hattip from Martha Wells.

Now, Lynch, as you may know is the author of THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA, which I liked quite a bit. It’s an involved, complicated coming-of-age politics-heavy story that was close to too dark for me, but never went over that line. Kind of like Brent Weeks that way, if that gives you an idea.

I enjoyed Lynch’s second book, too, but it ended with the protagonists painted thoroughly into a corner, so I suggest you may not want to read that one until the third is out (this year sometime).

Anyway!

Lynch says:

… there’s always a tiny minority I can spot by the nature of the questions they ask and the statements they fixate on. They’re not interested in hearing about hard work, study, or self-improvement. Their eyes glaze over when I talk about concepts like effort or practice. They want nothing to do with developing actual skills … They just want me to tell them how to duck under that imaginary velvet rope.

So, advice about getting published, obviously.

It doesn’t fucking exist, this shortcut. This magic steam-catapult to perceived stardom. This underground railroad for misunderstood slacker geniuses. It’s just not there!

Ah, those misunderstood slacker geniuses! I don’t know that I’ve met too many, actually, but isn’t that a wonderful phrase? The whole post is fun, not that the misunderstood slacker geniuses are likely to read it, much less think it applies to them, I guess, but the rest of us can totally read this and enjoy rolling our eyes.

And Martha Wells adds:

… if you knew someone who said they wanted to be a doctor, but they didn’t know they had to go to medical school first, that would be weird, right? Or if they knew being a doctor involved curing people, but they didn’t know what the process was for doing that? Or if they rented an office and got a stethoscope and a lab coat, and thought that was all they needed? That wouldn’t be rational. Especially as all the information about the process for becoming a doctor is readily available online. It’s kind of like that for publishing.

Which, yeah, exactly. Of course the good thing about publishing is that you don’t have to pay some school a boatload of money for the training, it’s all do-it-yourself to the max.

I was just talking to a student about this the other day — she had this assignment — and one of the questions was about what kind of degree you need to be a professional writer, and of course the answer is: None in particular. The more specific answer is: But if you don’t know anything about anything, good luck with that.

Of course you don’t need a degree to learn stuff these days, you just have to be interested in how stuff works in the world, right?

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