In this video, I talk about the concepts of hard and soft sci-fi, the differences between them, and the importance of consistent style.
How Not to Write a Novel is one of my favourite books of writing advice. It contains 200 examples of common writing mistakes, written in a way that’s highly entertaining as well as containing really tips. Here’s me talking about why I like it.
I am trying something new. Instead of a written writing advice post, this is my first video on writing advice, covering the subject of prologues in fantasy novels.
This is my first video of this type, so I’m interested in feedback on how I could improve it, as well as ideas for other topics I could discuss.
The series/books I discuss in this video are:
The Lord of the Rings/The Fellowship of the Ring by J R R Tolkien
A Song of Ice and Fire/A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin
The Kingkiller Chronicle/The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling
My biggest problem with writing is not writer’s block, but new ideas. I will have a half-finished first draft that needs writing, or a second or third draft that needs edits, or a fanfic that’s half-posted with people in the comments saying they can’t wait for the next chapter, and a new, shiny idea will pop into my brain and go, “You’re writing me now.”
That idea sits in my brain, soaking up all the creativity energy, demanding to be written, taking up the space where I can think about writing things and crowding out all the other stories.
And I know I should be finishing the half-finished things, but this idea is just there and writing it feels easy. I can force out a couple of hundred words of the thing that I was supposed to be finishing, or I can blast out a couple of thousand words on the new thing with no apparent effort. And it all seems to go great until that idea is no longer so new and shiny. It’s become another half-written story and there’s another new idea jumping up and down in my brain going, “Me! Me! My turn!”
It’s very easy to have a hundred half-written first drafts with nothing ever finished. It takes discipline to force yourself to go, “Yes, I know that the new idea is shiny and exciting, and I will write a bit of it today, but I still need to dedicate some time to the other thing.”
One of the reasons I’m posting this now is because I’ve recently written several thousand words of a new and shiny idea, while the third Shadows of Tomorrow book is nearly finished, requiring edits on the last few chapters. It would be very easy to ignore the editing while I go write the new thing, but I’m putting this post out here as a commitment to myself that I will do the editing. If I just play with the new and shiny, nothing will ever get finished to the point of being read, so I will be getting this editing finished and I’m posting this publicly to try and hold myself accountable.