Sunday, February 19, 2023

Write Fiction From Non-Fiction

How many times have you said or heard, "You just can't make this stuff up."? Per Urban Dictionary, the idiom is: an expression said in response to an an unbelievable fact or piece of news. 

But it's also, literally, true. A novelist just can't make make stuff up, because, as Rachel Khong related: "All fiction is born out of some alchemy of observation, imagination, and personal experience."

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

A Secret of Short-Story Writing

O. Henry, the famous short story writer, had a secret for writing short stories, which can apply to writing - in general. O. Henry's secret was writing to entertain William Sydney Porter. O. Henry reportedly shared:
I'll give you the sole secret of short-story writing, and here it is: Rule 1. Write stories that please yourself. There is no rule 2. [...] If you can't write a story that pleases yourself, you will never please the public. But in writing the story forget the public.
And Harlan Ellison, the New Wave writer, agreed with O. Henry in that one should write stories that are self-entertaining, because if you can't write a story that amuses yourself, you may never wow the public. Ellison reportedly advised:
Write for the most intelligent, wittiest, wisest audience in the universe: write to please [i.e., engage] yourself.