Browsing All posts tagged under »writing fiction«

Philosophy of Writing – 5 – Get Your Hopes Down

December 9, 2011 by


This series takes an unpopular approach to editing fiction. It’s been said by smart, successful people in the industry that the biggest difference between an unpublished author and a published one is a finished manuscript — so amateur authors had best not spend their time worrying about perfecting their first drafts, and just get it […]

Philosophy of Writing – 4 – Transitions

October 10, 2011 by


I have a troubling habit. When I write I’m often consumed by the need to get from one narrative location to the next through recital of banal happenstance. I invent scenes to fill the gap between coordinates on my character’s path. The only reason these passages exist is because I feel like I can’t cheat […]

The Perfect Words, Chosen

August 16, 2011 by


These deceptively simple words convey this narrator’s personality, his turn of phrase, his outlook on life, even his hobbies. I think the narrator here is Nash himself, given his age at the time the poem was written and the various literary and publishing references (SHRDLU, for example). Notice also Nash’s attention to rhythm and rhyme. […]

Philosophy of Writing – 3 – Word Salad

July 27, 2011 by


I first heard the term “word salad” in a symbolic logic course. My professor used it to describe a certain type of philosophical discourse: the imprecise, the grandiloquent, and most importantly, the self-defeating or the meaningless. It’s the kind of philosophy that gets parodied — the kind that makes people think my BA is in […]

Philosophy of Writing – 2 – Voice & Stanislavski’s “Systems”

July 21, 2011 by


This is Constantin Stanislavski. If you’ve ever taken an acting class, you’ve studied him. He’s best remembered for his contributions to drama theory: attempts to create training for actors that will help them portray emotion realistically. Stanislavski’s system was at first based on the principle of “Emotional Memory”, the idea that an actor must prepare […]