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Fiction by Paolo Bacigalupi

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Posted on Mar 6, 2008 in Blog, Writing | 1 comment

Bitterness Abated

The work on the book continues. I have not scrapped it.

One of the things that has always troubled me with writing is the need to both be creative and also to differentiate between good and bad paths to follow. The eternal editor/creator conundrum. It’s easy to say that when you’re creating, you should put the editor in a box and ship the bastard around the world, and only let him come visit for copyediting… But I don’t think that works.

Even when you’re in creative mode, you still need to be making choices, aiming toward something, plotting and gunning for something… and that editorial hat, or at least that hat of crafty scheming is necessary to get you there– To say, “umm, you’re deep in cliche here”, “let’s not do something boring here,” “kick it up a notch, eh?” etc.

When the editor gets completely exiled, you end up with a lot of words and not much gleam, either in ideas or prose, so you need… if not an editorial voice, at least a striving and demanding voice to be around. But the trick is to leash it and make it work for you. And I think the way you do that is not to use the editor to tell you what sucks, but to help guide you to what is cool, and to wave a flag for you when you need to go hunting for something better/cooler/more exciting. If you’re in a scene, and you’re thinking, “Christ, what a load of cliches,” the first thing to do is set aside the self-denigration, and the second thing to do is to focus on the much more pleasurable and interesting question of “what’s the coolest thing I can do with this? Let’s play here to make it better.”

It puts an optimistic spin on the realization that something’s not working, and by extension that keeps me working instead of throwing up my hands in despair.

1 Comment

  1. OK, so let me get this straight- the Paolo Bacigalupi we met in Thailand was Paolo Bacigalupi the editor, not to be confused with Paolo Bacigalupi the writer?

    Darn, art is sooo confusing!