The obligatory writer’s block post

You can start open battles in the streets of writing forums by claiming that writer’s block doesn’t exist. It’s not exactly that I’m going to do that…

Everyone who blogs about writing should discuss writer’s block sooner or later. Sometimes I blog about writing, so I’ve decided this includes me.

I’ve avoided writing about writer’s block until now because I haven’t known what to say, but today I sat down to write a blog post and drew a blank, so voila!

(Okay there was the post about solutions to fantasy writer’s block, but that doesn’t count.)

If you head to certain parts of the web, you’ll see writers arguing about whether writer’s block exists at all. The arguments tend to go something like this:

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A rant about the glorious agony of revising

If this post had a point I’d state it here. It doesn’t. It’s just me ranting about the revision I’m working on. But don’t worry, I love revising.

If you’ve been following the saga of my revision (on my blog, in my monthly updates, on Twitter, or through a psychic connection) you’ll know I shared my sixth draft with my wonderful critique partner, Anna Kaling.

She gave me great suggestions about how I could cut length (my draft is 156k and I want it down to 120k) and make the story more compelling.

This was the first time I’d shared a complete(ish) novel of mine with anyone. It was scary and thrilling.

Since getting Anna’s feedback I’ve been through a number of stages.

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Should you write for money or for art?

In the nether-reaches of the internet, shadowy figures argue whether authors who write for money are sellouts. These are their opinions.

If you push aside enough cobwebs, wander down enough dank corridors, and tiptoe through enough iron-bound doors you might find yourself in the nether-reaches of the web where shadowy figures debate the question of whether writing should be about money or art.

I confess I have no strong views on this matter, but that’s not an interesting way to approach a question, so for the purposes of this post let’s pretend I have all the strong views.

In case your socks got too wet and your candle burned out before you reached this nether-web, here are some of the arguments that may or may not be bandied about.

Against art: Writing only thinking about yourself is self-indulgent.

Against money: Trying to write what you think readers want is the best way to produce vanilla, derivative stories.

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How to explode with ideas for your sequel

I decided to write a sequel for my WIP, and in days I went from having no idea what it might be about to having dozens of ideas. Here’s how.

I try to avoid writing “how to” posts because I’m generally of the opinion that I know nothing about anything. This post is more “how I got lots of ideas for a sequel”.

(Sorry I deceived you with the title. I feel awful about it.)

I’ve always considered my work in progress to be a “stand-alone with series potential”. That is, the main story question is answered by the end of the book, and at least one of the main characters survives the climax to potentially appear in a subsequent book.

Rats, now I’ve let a spoiler slip. Well, what did you expect from me? I like happy endings and for people to get what they deserve.

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How not to use a thesaurus

Roget the thesaurus enjoys turning clear English into incomprehensible babble. Watch him mutilate a perfectly readable excerpt from my short story, The Emperor’s Cat.

I’d like you to meet my good friend, Roget. Roget enjoys long walks on the beach and messing with other people’s fiction. He’s also a thesaurus (which I suspect is some kind of dinosaur).

Good uses for Roget include remembering the perfect word that’s on the tip of your tongue and using your own vocabulary more effectively.

Bad uses for Roget include using other people’s vocabulary and looking up big words to insert into your magnum opus in an attempt to make yourself look smart.

Hint: it doesn’t.

Since doing things wrong is more fun than doing things right, that’s what I’m going to do here. Yes, it’s game. Here are the rules:

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