Everything You Need to Know to be a Fiction Writer

Jeff VanderMeer • December 8th, 2010 @ 5:34 pm • Uncategorized

It’s all under the cut…

WORK HARD. PUT IN THE TIME. STOP GRIPING. IGNORE WHAT ANYONE ELSE IS DOING. READ A LOT. USE WHATEVER SCRAP OF TALENT GENETICS AND ENVIRONMENT GAVE YOU. DON’T STIFLE YOUR IMAGINATION. QUIT IF IT’S TOO TOUGH. WHO CARES IF YOU FAIL. THERE ARE PLENTY OF OTHERS OUT THERE.

THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS.

THAT IS ALL.

36 Responses to “Everything You Need to Know to be a Fiction Writer”

  1. Natania Barron says:

    Truthier words have ne’er been spoken. Those who do not heed these words shall be consumed by an irate cephalopod.

  2. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    YES

  3. Fabio says:

    THIS. IS. IT. Thank you, Jeff!!

  4. Florin Pîtea says:

    Umm… Revise. Write the kind of book you would like to read. Make a second reading rewarding. ;)

  5. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    NO. NO. “WORK HARD. PUT IN THE TIME. STOP GRIPING. IGNORE WHAT ANYONE ELSE IS DOING. READ A LOT. USE WHATEVER SCRAP OF TALENT GENETICS AND ENVIRONMENT GAVE YOU. DON’T STIFLE YOUR IMAGINATION. QUIT IF IT’S TOO TOUGH. WHO CARES IF YOU FAIL. THERE ARE PLENTY OF OTHERS OUT THERE. THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS.”

    FULL STOP.

  6. Terry Weyna says:

    Truer words were never written.

  7. Josep says:

    Oh yes.

  8. Nadine says:

    I CARE IF I FAIL.

    I WILL NOT FAIL.

    THANK YOU FOR THE ALLCAPS. EMPHASIS /WIN/.

  9. Sensawunda says:

    It’s the last five lines that are the most inspiring.

  10. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Sensawunda: Kind of you to come here when I think our movie tastes are diametrically opposed. ;)

  11. Andrew Doull says:

    I seem to be missing the bit when you explain why its all worth it.

  12. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHY…QUIT.

  13. Nick Mamatas says:

    YOU FORGOT “REPLACE YOUR KEYBOARD BEFORE CAPSLOCK GETS STUCK PERMANENTLY.”

  14. Nin Harris says:

    Quitting = Death.

    Griping = Congenital/Reflex.

    Also, I love it when you do capslock. ;)

  15. Jacques Barcia says:

    No. Shortcuts. !.

  16. jeff vandermeer says:

    NIN.
    NICK.
    I CAN’T STOP SHOUTING.
    FULL STOP.
    (CAN’T STOP)

  17. John R. Fultz says:

    You da man, Jeff…

  18. Gary Gibson says:

    THIS IS GREAT. IT’S LIKE PRIMAL SCREAM THERAPY, BUT WITH TYPING.

  19. Anne Lyle says:

    I would expand that 4th point to:

    BE AWARE OF WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING – THEN IGNORE IT.

    Because if you don’t know your own genre, you’re going to look like an idiot when the time comes to market your book.

  20. jeff vandermeer says:

    PROB W/ PITHY *AND* SKIMMING EQUALS MISINTERP. “READ READ READ…*IGNORE* WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING–THEIR PETTY ENTANGLEMENTS, SUCCESS, FAILURE…OH YOU GET THE PICTURE.

    GARY: AIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE!

  21. Paul Smith says:

    Quitting is my business (and business is good).

  22. Sensawunda says:

    ED is one of the only blogs I get excited about when I see a new post is up. I’d never quit reading over something as petty as movie tastes.

  23. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    That’s cool. It’d probably be pretty funny to do a conversation about movies, though: “Ecstatic Days and Sensawunda Go to the Movies: Bloodshed.”

  24. Sensawunda says:

    John Lennon’s zombie corpse would write an album about the aftermath.

  25. J M McDermott says:

    I’ve given up trying to be a writer. I’m trying my hand at trapeze artist, instead.

  26. Paul Riddell says:

    “WHO CARES IF YOU FAIL.”

    And then there’s the corrolary “THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH WRITING NONFICTION IF YOU CAN’T HACK FICTION. OR NOT WRITING AT ALL.”

  27. Ennis Drake says:

    KEEYAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!

    (yeah)

    Wait, what are we yelling about?

    No shortcuts? Sh@#t.

  28. Jonathan Wood says:

    I think you’re probably right, because I’m managing without the ability to spellcheck myself or have more than a vague understanding of what commas are for.

  29. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    YOU WILL BE SPELLCHECKED AND COMMAS INSERTED. SINCERELY, THE TSA.

  30. how to get published « Filling the Well says:

    [...] Everything you Need to Know to Be a Fiction Writer, by Jeff VanderMeer [...]

  31. Michelle Reid says:

    I agree with you except for the, QUIT IF IT’S TOO TOUGH. To be successful you need the challeneges…

    Take it from a writer with a learning disability that cause it to be Tougher than for the average Joe…

    Keep on you can succeed if you believe… Thanks for sharing. Michelle

  32. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Yes, my point exactly. Too literal a reading.

  33. Co tam w fantastyce słychać? (6 XI – 12 XII 2010) | Zaginiona Biblioteka says:

    [...] Lake, Guy Gavriel Kay, Ellen Datlow, Ted Chiang i Paolo Bacigalupi. Oprócz tego Jeff VanderMeer pisze o wszystkim, co powinniśmy wiedzieć, aby stać się pisarzem. Felix Gilman zaś prezentuje [...]

  34. Everything you need to know… « Work In Progress says:

    [...] He encapsulates much of the received wisdom shared by other authors: Everything you need to know to be a fiction writer… [...]

  35. Mark Teppo says:

    Got up at 4.30 AM today because I couldn’t stop thinking about the epic fail that has me in its clutches re: my latest project. Saw this while catching up on my reading, and feel much . . . more confident . . . about bludgeoning said project.

    Happy Holidays, sir. Thank you, as always.

  36. Thursday various « occasional fish says:

    [...] finally, Jeff VanderMeer on Everything You Need to Know to be a Fiction Writer. books, computers, games, mail, movies, science, science fiction, tv, various, writing, zombies [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>