quinta-feira, 23 de abril de 2009

Escrevendo Ficção Científica - Vários autores

On the Writing of Speculative Fiction - ROBERT A. HEINLEIN

(...There are at least two principal ways to write speculative fiction--write about people, or write about gadgets. There are other ways; consider Stapledon's Last and First Men, recall S. Fowler Wright's The World Below. But the gadget story and the human-interest story comprise most of the field. Most science fiction stories are a mixture of the two types, but we will speak as if they were distinct--at which point I will chuck the gadget story aside, dust off my hands, and confine myself to the human-interest story, that being the sort of story I myself write. I have nothing against the gadget story--I read it and enjoy it--it's just not my pidgin. I am told that this is a how-to-do-it symposium; I'll stick to what I know how to do...)


(Most stories deal with people, and one of the surefire activities of people is that of talking and of making conversation. It follows that in most stories there is dialog. Sometimes stories are largely dialog; my own stories almost always are. For that reason, when I think of the art of writing (which isn't often, I must admit) I tend to think of dialog.
In the Romantic period of literature in the first part of the nineteenth century, the style of dialog tended to be elaborate and adorned. Authors used their full vocabulary and had their characters speak ornately.
I remember when I was very young and first read Charles Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby. How I loved the conversation. The funny passages were very funny to me, though I had trouble with John Browdie's thick Yorkshire accent (something his beloved Matilda, brought up under similar conditions, lacked, for some reason). What I loved even more, though, was the ornamentation-the way everyone "spoke like a book."...)

You and Your Characters - JAMES PATRICK KELLY

(Once I admitted to myself that I had the raging hunger to write, I gobbled up every book on the subject I could find. I still have most of them; I've just gathered fourteen and stacked them beside my computer monitor for inspiration. Each has a chapter on characterization. If you're looking for technical jargon, have I got some used books for you!
It seems that there are all kinds of characters: developing characters, static characters, round characters, fiat characters, cardboard characters (oh, are there cardboard characters!), viewpoint characters, sympathetic characters, unsympathetic characters, stock characters, confidantes, foils, spear carriers, narrators, protagonists, antagonists. But that's not all; characters can play many roles. There are fiat, sympathetic, static confidantes, like the unnamed first-person narrator in H. G. Wells's "The Time Machine." Or developing, fiat, unsympathetic antagonists, like HAL in 2001, A Space Odyssey. Still with me?...)

Seeing Your Way to Better Stories - STANLEY SCHMIDT

(The first time I met Kelly Freas, the renowned science fiction artist, he had lust published a series of posters to promote interest in and support for the space program. The entire series was displayed on walls throughout the house, and Kelly was asking all the guests at a party which posters they thought most effective. He found a fascinating pattern in the results. "Verbally oriented" people always picked the one showing a moon rocket, three ghostly sailing ships, and the phrase, "Suppose Isabella had said no..." "Visually oriented" people always picked the one with no words, just a picture of a rocket "hatching" from an Earthlike egg.

Writers, by the nature of their work, tend to be "verbally oriented." But they would do well to realize that many of their readers are less so. Most readers do not pick up a novel or short story to admire the author's cleverness in turning a phrase, but to experience vicariously something they cannot experience directly. Your job as a writer is to make your reader forget that he or she is reading and give him or her the illusion of being in the story, seeing and hearing and smelling and feeling what's happening to your characters.
Hence the oft-repeated dictum: "Show, don't tell."...)

Turtles All the Way Down - JANE YOLEN

(The famous philosopher Will James had just finished giving a lecture on the solar system in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when he was approached by an elderly admirer. She was shaking her head and her umbrella and looking very stern.
"Mr. James," she admonished him, "I am shocked by your notion that we live on a ball rotating around the sun. That is patently absurd. "Politely, James waited, inclining his head toward her.
"We live on a crust of earth on the back of a giant turtle," the Grande dame announced.
James, ever gentle, asked, "If your.., um... theory is correct, Madame, what does this turtle stand upon?"
"The first turtle stands on the back of a second far larger turtle, of course," the old woman replied. James lifted his hand. "Ah, Madame, but what does this second turtle stand upon?"
The dowager’s eyes were bright. She laughed triumphantly, "It’s no use, Mr. James--it’s turtles all the way down!"
And so it is with writing fantasy--)

Learning to Write Comedy or Why It's Impossible and How to Do It - CONNIE WILLIS

(Writing comedy is a real pain, made more painful by two persistent myths. The first is that writing comedy is a hoot, something people do for fun when they've written too much serious stuff, and that the main problem is to stop laughing so hard you can't type. While reading comedy may be an amusing experience, writing it is the same pain in the neck as any other kind of writing, only more so. It's a lot like ballet--on stage it's all pink tulle and graceful lifts, but in practice it's mostly sweat, corns, and ripped ligaments. Ditto comedy, especially the corn part.

The second myth (which apparently everybody believes) is that comedy can't be analyzed, that looking at it too closely kills it. This ridiculous notion seems to have evolved from the deadly results of attempting to explain a joke, though it does not take into account the fact that the reason the joke had to be explained in the first place was that it wasn't funny.

Wherever these myths came from, they're just not true. The Marx Brothers, those supposedly spontaneous crazies, used to write the scripts for their movies and then take them on the road to try out the humor on an audience, revise and rework the routines, polish up the jokes, and look for dead spots. It didn't kill their comedy, did it?...)

Good Writing Is Not Enough - STANLEY SCHMIDT

(Only a month after it appeared in Analog in mid-December 1985, S. C. Sykes's short story "Rockabye Baby" was well on its way to nomination for a Nebula, one of the two most prestigious awards in science fiction. It also had been picked up for a "Best of the Year" anthology, and was doing quite nicely in Ahalog's own annual reader poll. Another story attracting much favorable comment in that poll (it was our readers' favorite short story of the forty-two we published last year) and elsewhere was Stephen L. Burns's "A Touch Beyond" (January 1985). "A Touch Beyond'' was a first sale; "Rockabye Baby," a second. Editors do buy, and successfully publish, stories from new writers.
Yet, a magazine like Analog receives so many submissions that it has room for only one or two percent of them. Many stories are rejected not because of anything conspicuously wrong with them, but simply because nothing sufficiently special about them makes them stand out from ninety-eight percent of the competition.
What makes stories like "Rockabye Baby" and "A Touch Beyond'' stand out? How can you make your stories do the same? The key words are imagination, discipline--and the first word in "science fiction.")

The Creation of Imaginary Worlds - POUL ANDERSON.

(This is an infinitely marvelous and beautiful universe which we are privileged to inhabit. Look inward to the molecules of life and the heart of the atom, or outward to moon, sun, planets, stars, the Orion Nebula where new suns and worlds are coming into being even as you watch, the Andromeda Nebula which is actually a whole sister galaxy: it is all the same cosmos, and every part of it is part of us. The elements of our flesh, blood, bones, and breath were forged out of hydrogen in stars long vanished. The gold in a wedding ring, the uranium burning behind many a triumphantly ordinary flick of an electric light switch, came out of those gigantic upheavals we call supernovas. It is thought that inertia itself, that most fundamental property of matter, would be meaningless--nonexistent--were there no stellar background to define space, time, and motion. Man is not an accident of chaos; nor is he the sum and only significance of creation. We belong here...)

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