Writing Tips by Charlie Jane Anders: Why You Must Read Her

I am a big fan of io9.com, as anyone who reads this blog is probably aware. Whether it’s your morning spoilers, weekly comic reviews, or commentary on the latest science fiction and fantasy books and movies, I can’t get enough. One thing I don’t like about io9.com is that articles about writing science fiction and fantasy are few and far between. I know there are sites other than io9.com that cover this topic (more about this later today), but it’s a shame io9.com doesn’t do more of it. Because Charlie Jane Anders (@charliejane) writes some great articles.

Her latest article on io9.com is “How Not to Be a Clever Writer.” Anders offers writers great tips on how not to trip themselves up by trying to be too witty, clever, or slick. As she points out, such efforts often detract from your writing. Readers will tell when you are trying too hard. And anything that takes a reader outside of your story is bad news.

But don’t stop with that one article. Click on the hyperlinks to read other articles by Anders. These include “8 Unstoppable Rules For Writing Killer Short Stories” and “How to Write a Sincere First Draft of Your Science Fiction or Fantasy Epic” (keep that one bookmarked for this year’s NaNoWriMo).

But the article that is at the top of my “must read” list right now is “I Wrote 100 Terrible Short Stories that I’m Glad You’ll Never Read.” In this article, Anders talks about her first efforts at writing science fiction and fantasy. She committed to cranking out short story after short story, but quickly learned that her writing was rather amateurish. But she learned how to identify those errors, and she got better. I love this article because I’m a beginner, stumbling through my first attempts at science fiction and fantasy short stories. I’m also committing to writing more of them. Like Anders, I dream of publication, but I’m far more likely to simply learn and improve. And in the end, that’s probably more important (and far from simple, actually).

So go: read, learn, and improve. And keep checking back with io9.com. And, heck, in addition to her tips, you get some great science fiction artwork with every article as a bonus.