World Fantasy Convention 2023, Pt 2: Writing “Do’s” With Adam Troy-Castro, Usman Malik, More

4 11 2023

With Ted Chiang, Phillip Dunlop, and a really good article by Annie Dillard.

The first panel I attended was Friday’s “The Worst Advice I Ever Received”. Translating the negative definitions were a little tricky, but here is what the panelists said THAT YOU SHOULD DO AND IS QUITE OKAY TO DO:

Adam Troy-Castro: “‘Said-Bookisms’ are OK. Use them.” (‘Said-Bookisms’ are when a character dialogue has ‘explained’ or ‘stated’ or any description of intention versus physicality. I use them sometimes to reinforce physicality, but maybe I’ll use them more).

Usman Malik: Quoting Annie Dillard’s article Write Till You Drop “You were made and sent here to give voice to your astonishment.”

Phillip Dunlop: “Never listen to your own advice.” (I phrase that often as “You got your own ass lost in the woods. To get out, get a Ranger.”)

Ted Chiang: “Writing for a living limits you.” (Meaning having to rely on writing to pay your bills urges you to write what is financially practical and stop experimenting.)

All: “Tax pros are worth the money.”

AT-C: “Do not listen to people who tell you to stop trying.”

UM: “What is ‘success’, anyway? Anyone can make salable art.”

PD: “Know your objective. Know your audience.”

AT-C: “Publishers, answer your emails.”

UM: “You can use slurs, as long as they are necessary to the plot.”

All: “There are no limits. Write your style.”

AT-C: “Editors and editorial staff are your friends. Be nice to them. Bring donuts.”



3 responses

4 11 2023
Alan Breakstone

Thank you for this. I love that Dillard quote.

5 11 2023

The whole article is great!

7 11 2023
Alan Breakstone

Indeed it is. Thanks!

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