Dean Wesley Smith Gave Me an Attitude Adjustment

I’m a big fan of Dean Wesley Smith‘s blog about publishing and writing. he has an excellent series up called Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing, but it’s more than that. It’s about killing the idiotic myths that get in the way of new writers… well, more specifically, some of the idiotic myths that  get in my way as a new writer. The most recent entry is all about this last point, because all of these obstacles boil down to fear.

There are some other things in his blog I didn’t really get, most specifically about his admonition to not rewrite–well, he does say there are some authors for whom rewriting works, but for a newbie he recommends against it–and working in creative voice. I understood these things on a superficial level, but didn’t understand the why, until very recently.

How I finally got it: Read more of this post

Themes as Little Darlings that May Have to Be Killed

Clarifications up front for terms as I use them in this post:

  • "Plot" refers to the story as an identifiable structure, a sequence of events from beginning to conclusion. This is the sort of thing that can be summarized or outlined, as in, "Prota Gonist leaves his house in the morning to go to work. He winds up fighting traffic, avoiding potential accidents, and overcoming similar obstacles on the way. When he gets there, his boss warns him about his lateness, and Prota Gonist quits at the end of the day. When he gets home, he puts a For Sale sign on his car and takes a job (previously offered) at a greengrocer’s next door to his house."
  • "Theme" refers to messages or meanings within a story. For example, "Wasted time, aggravation, and danger can outweigh the extra money you get from a job."
  • "Little Darlings" is a writer’s term (I forget who coined it, King maybe?) for things in a work that the writer has fallen in love with and cannot bear to destroy, no matter how bad it may be for the work as a whole.