Final thoughts on Jack M. Bickham's The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes: at least half of this book didn't do much for me. Its take on POV is pretty basic, I don't need to hear about SMF again, or how writing dialogue in dialect is fraught with peril, and there are no fewer than three chapters of cheerleading. And some of his advice I plainly disagree with. (He thinks there's no problem in being 'obvious', which I think is just plain wrong. What to show and what to imply and how to do it is, IMO, is one of the areas of fiction writing that is the most difficult, takes the most art, and ultimately has the highest payoff.)
But the stuff on how scenes work, how the material between scenes works (what Bickham calls 'sequel') is worth the price of admission, in addition to his advice about character, dialogue, and how to start a story.
So, I'd recommend this book.
I'm not writing fiction right now. I need to read and think more about it before I go on. On deck is Nancy Kress's Beginning, Middles, and Ends, which I bought at Clarion but haven't read yet, and Silverberg's Science Fiction: 101. And I want to learn to read other people's fiction with more of an eye to how it's constructed, how successful writers achieve the effects they do. That's my project for the next two to four weeks.
== suisensha == referee
|Left radical is one of the radical forms of 'hand'. Right radical is 'bird', acting phonetically to express 'thrust/push'. Its original meaning was 'to push forward with the hand'. 'Infer' meaning is borrowed. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Push bird ahead with hand.'|