Friday, December 9, 2016

Write Like a Puppy

At this point in the Puppy of the Month Book Club, the Wright family has been the unseen pillar behind the works selected.  L. Jagi Lamplighter edited Nethereal, and it was her comparison of Brian Niemeier to Roger Zelazney on Twitter that led to the selection of Nine Princes in Amber. Of course, John C. Wright wrote this month's Swan Knight's Son.  And in last month's interview with Schuyler Hernstrom, Jon discovered how Wright influenced Hernstrom:

When I was 19 I took a creative writing course and it was a bit of a disaster. I don’t want to harp on this because everyone is different but I have gotten nothing out of any formal instruction or written advice anywhere with the exception of one article, a piece written by John C. Wright that had a few paragraphs and explained why they worked. The article was short, I got it for free somehow, and it was gold. Pure gold. With all the how-to books and everything no one had actually explained the sleight of hand, the actual craft, right there, right in front of your face. I found I was doing it, but reading the explanation made sure that I could continue doing it, and do it better.
After reading through Wright's blog at, I confirmed with Schuyler Hernstrom that the article was "John C. Wright's Patented One Session Lesson in the Mechanics of Fiction", also found in his Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth anthology. Rather than mar the excellent instruction with an amateur's thoughts, I will instead suggest that readers with an interest in the craft of writing follow the links to Wright's article.  

For those of our readers more interested in good books rather than how they were made, Jon's chapter by chapter read-through of Swan Knight's Son continues tomorrow.

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