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Tag Archives: james tiptree jr
On Writing: Chekhov’s Gun Store
One of playwright Anton Chekhov’s most quoted maxims is this: If in Act I you have a pistol hanging on the wall, then it must fire in the last act. If you establish an expectation in the reader, particularly a … Continue reading
Posted in Writing Tagged anton chekhov, chekhov's gun, james tiptree jr, plotting, the women men don't see, writing endings 1 Comment
To Write Short Stories, Read Short Stories
I find that when I read short stories, more short stories of my own come to me and I believe Delany when he says that you can’t write anything better than the best stuff you’re reading. Here’s ten of my most accessible favorites, mostly speculative fiction, but with a few lit writers in there as well.
Foreshadowing and Establishing Conflict
Somehow that first moment of embarrassment, that moment of being in “the strange toilet” encapsulates so much of what that story is about and how alien the sexes can be to each other as well as how strange their container, the norms that make them up, which constitute the walls of “the can” itself, are. Look at how the center of his masculinity is framed visually: the gray zipper edge of his jeans around his pale exposed pecker. There is so much going on in that first paragraph, including sensory details like the twitch of his insides, the blare of a giggle, the pattern and threat of a zipper, that it’s worth copying out, pulling apart sentence by sentence to figure out how it’s working. Continue reading
5 Things To Do In Your First 3 Paragraphs
Display your command of language. It’s worthwhile for a writer to think about poetry, and all its devices like assonance and alliteration, metaphor and allusion, internal rhythm, even meter. Save scraps of speech that you like, stud those paragraphs with wonderful things and spend with wild abandon from your store, because this is the make or break moment, when your reader decides whether or not to continue. You cannot lavish enough attention on your reader in the form of these paragraphs. Continue reading
Posted in Writing Tagged beginnings, book lists, carol emshwiller, james tiptree jr, kelly link, kindle, paragraphs, reading, teaching, thomas m. disch, writing, writing exercises 25 Comments