May 16, 2004

No, the burly detective intoned, refusing to agree

Ray Girvan has pointed out to me a web site devoted to a guide to writing (primarily science fiction writing) that lists a whole bunch of features of bad novel-writing that a fiction writer should strive not to emulate: the Burly Detective Syndrome; Countersinking; Hand Waving; Card Tricks in the Dark; the Info Dump (including its variants the "As you know, Bob" and the "I've Suffered for my Art and Now It's Your Turn"); and so on. (As Ray notes, Dan Brown engages in all of these practices, frequently.) The site comes to you from the Turkey City Workshop in Austin, Texas. To find it at its rather unguessable URL, click here.

[And for an antidote (thanks to Arnold Zwicky for this), see John Rechy on why three of the most-cited Rules of Fiction -- Show Don't Tell, Write What You Know, and (not given in my previous post) Always Have a Sympathetic Character for the Reader to Relate to, are poisonous nonsense and you should utterly ignore them when you write. The choice of which advice to take is yours.] Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at May 16, 2004 04:55 PM