Why World-Building Sucks

It’s all Tolkien’s fault, of course. He created races, maps, languages, poems, art… and then decided he better whip up a little story around them.

And everybody’s been trying to do the same since.

It almost seems like new fantasy writers think they have to build a giant background history and world for their characters to walk through like little figurines. How else are you gonna punch your weight in the big leagues of fantasy/sci-fi, right? Gotta outdo the old professor himself.

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Say Goodbye to Your Straightjac-… erm, Genre

One of my all time musical heroes is Mike Patton. I’ll never forget an interview of his where the interviewer (either genuinely confused about his subject, or willfully dismissive of the fact that he had one of the most eclectic performers in rock history sitting in front of him) asked Mike to specify his genre.

Mike looked at the interviewer with utter contempt, and responded: “That’s your job.”

Amen, brother Mike.

Artists (good ones, anyway) do not consciously seek to fall into a classification. They simply create. They leave others to the job of classifying things.

Asking artists to classify themselves is ludicrous. It’s asking an artist to be a librarian. Continue reading Say Goodbye to Your Straightjac-… erm, Genre

For the Fledgling Writer

“Oh, You’re a Writer?”

If you’ve ever introduced yourself as “a writer” to anyone, you know what comes next. We’ve all heard it. “Oh, I tried to write something once! I got about twenty pages in and trashed it.” Everyone on the planet, it seems, has dreamed of writing the next bestseller, and has even pursued it for a whole ten minutes.

My response to this is generally something in between blank astonishment and inarticulate rage.

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