October 15th 2012
And You Thought Writing Had Nothing to Do With Math
Except it does, in an odd way. Because most long form writing, be it fiction or nonfiction, is storytelling, and much of storytelling is problem solving. And what is one of the best ways to learn how to solve problems?
Think about it. Your heroine is trapped in the cellar of an old wineshop with thirteen brigands, nine zombies, and seven thieves all trying to break in and chop her into little pieces. How does she escape, with only three empty bottles and a barrel of unused corks to help her?
I don’t know. She’s your heroine.
And it’s not just a question of figuring out plots. Every word you write requires careful consideration. How much exposition will you need to describe how your heroine got herself into this fix in the first place? What sort of clues will your reader need so that, even though he doesn’t figure it out until after the heroine, he can still say – aha! Now I see it! How little description can you get away with? (As little as possible – it’s an action scene.) Do you need to describe the heroine’s emotions? The sweat trickling down her forehead? What the zombies smell like? Do you need to write the story in first person or third?
Every time you write, you have to solve the following equation – X=fP+iC+cS+rV, where X is the number of copies you hope to sell, fP is how fun the plot is, iC is how interesting the characters are, cS is how cool the setting is, and rV is how readable the voice you choose to write in is. Figure that equation out, and the world is yours!
And the best part is that, unlike math, there is no one right answer.
Filed under Uncategorized. You can also use to trackback.
Butler is the author of The Stoneways Trilogy from Tor Books: Reiffen's Choice, Queen Ferris, and The Magician's Daughter. Find out what Reiffen does with magic, and what magic does with him... Visit site.
- Diana Pharaoh Francis
- featured posts
- For Novelists
- Hard SF
- learning to write
- Mindy Klasky
- Not Remotely Writing Related
- our authors
- our books
- publicity and promotion
- publishing trends
- the business of writing
- women in SF
- writing humor
- writing life
- writing process
Browse our archives: