sexta-feira, 23 de janeiro de 2009

Writing popular fiction - Dean R. Koontz


A NOTE TO THE READER

This book can be valuable to the new writer. It provides insights into category fiction, offers suggestions not to be found elsewhere, and ought to save you time and rejection slips on the way to a sound, professional writing career. I will be pleased to hear from anyone who, having read the book, feels he's gained from it. However, spare me letters that say:

—"You forgot to mention theme!" I didn't forget. I neglected it on purpose. The theme, the "meaning" of a story, is not something you can sit down and plan out ahead of time. Or, anyhow, it shouldn't be. Theme should grow from your characters and your plot, naturally, almost subconsciously. If you sit down to deliver a Great Message to the reader, above all else, then you are an essayist, not a novelist.

—"Some of these writers whose books you recommend are not really that terribly good." I know. For the most part, I've tried to point you to the best people in each field. But, occasionally, a mediocre writer achieves such stunning success that he must be mentioned in the discussion of his genre. If, out of the hundreds of books I recommend, I steer you to a couple of bums, please realize that you can learn something from those bums, if only the taste of a large part of that genre's readership.

-"You list seven science fiction plot types, but I have found an eighth!" Okay. But it may be the only one of its kind; and with enough thought and enough familiarity with the field-Western, suspense, science fiction or whatever—you probably will find it fits into my list just fine.
—"You don't show us how to make writing easy!" I know I don't. It's hard work, and it's frustrating, and it's lonely. I'm writing this to inform you, not deceive you. So set to work, and good luck!

CONTENTS
1 Hammer, Nails, and Wood
2 Science Fiction and Fantasy
3 Suspense
4 Mysteries
5 Gothic- Romance
6 Westerns
7 Erotica
8 The Most Important Chapter in This Book



CHAPTER TWO - Science Fiction and Fantasy

Rayguns, helpless maidens stranded on alien planets, bug-eyed monsters, invasions of the Earth by wicked creatures, arch-fiends bent on the destruction of the race, super heroes—if you believe this is what science fiction is about, you either stopped reading it circa 1930, or have formed your opinion from motion pictures and television programs.

The science fiction stories of the 1930's and 1940's were often ludicrous, but they have long ago given way to the same sophistication of theme, background, characters, and style found in other genres.

The film medium has rarely done justice to the field—notable exceptions being 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Village of the Damned, and THX-1138. Before trying to write science fiction, read it (a truism applicable to each category of fiction, because each has its special requirements). When you read the work of Poul Anderson, John Brunner, Arthur Clarke, Harlan Ellison, Robert Heinlein, Barry Malzberg, Samuel R. Delany, Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Silverberg, and Roger Zelazny, you'll discover that the rayguns have been packed in mothballs; the helpless maidens have taken to women's liberation; the heroes, once flawless, are now quite human.

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