Teresa Nielsen Hayden of Viable Paradise has a darn good collection of plot hints and work-arounds which is also quite amusing. It’s geared primarily for the sci-fi/fantasy writer, but is useful for anybody. For example, under the heading If I am Ever the Hero…. there’s this bit of wisdom:
5. When the Evil Overlord is hanging on the cliff by his fingers, I will not try to help him up. If time and means are available, I’ll kill him then and there.
Which I used, almost literally but quite unaware of this particular formulation of the rule, in Into the Wilderness. If you can call Billy Kirby an Evil Overlord, of course. And another one:
11. I will never assume that an enemy is dead unless the remains are available for examination, and will keep in mind the possibility of cloning technology or resurrection magic.
Which is a relevant to most historical fiction, as well (although without the cloning and magic, for the most part). It’s certainly worth puttering around Teresa’s many pages of suggestions. They sparked some ideas for me, and I also laughed a lot, particularly at the helpful hints for evil overloads, like this one: 10. I will not interrogate my enemies in the inner sanctum — a small hotel well outside my borders will work just as well.
Over at Absolute Write Jenna Glatzer has interviewed Victoria Strauss (who writes fantasy, and is very active in the sf world). Here’s Victoria’s answer to a loaded question:
Have you encountered any “genre prejudice?” That is, I hear that some genre writers feel they don’t get as much respect as those who write “literary fiction,” whatever that may mean. Do you think that “literary” and “fantasy” are mutually exclusive genres?
Yes, I do encounter genre prejudice. I think every genre writer does. Many people assume that genre writers are not “serious” writers, or that the fiction they produce is by definition inferior, or that it’s somehow easier to write than “real” literature. There are also the people who are surprised when I tell them I research my novels, because they think that with fantasy you can just “make it all up.” It’s irksome not just on a personal level, but because it closes off potential audiences. For instance, I think that anyone who enjoys historical novels would enjoy my latest book, in which history, culture, and tradition is as important as magic and adventure. But most mainstream readers never go into the sf/fantasy section of the bookstore.
Well, I read across genres and I’m always looking for a good historical. Off to Village Books to order The Burning Land.
Link via Elizabeth Bear by way of Sillybean.