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Productivity

A cluster of links about Atlanta Nights* at Making Light eventually led to one place which led to another and I ended up at James D. MacDonald's writing seminar over at the Absolute Write Water Cooler.

The thread is wonderful reading, concentrated advice on writing, plotting, manuscript layout, and other writing-related topics. It began in 2003. I'm only on page 12, so I don't know where it stops - if ever! I highly recommend it, if you're interested in any aspect of fiction publication, or writing advice in general, and haven't encountered it before.

It's intimidating to read of writers producing twelve pages of (unedited) prose a day in two hours. I remind myself frequently while reading it that two pages a day** is very normal for academic non-fiction productivity, from all the things I've read on the subject. And anyways, I'm engaged in a rather different writing task from novel-production right now. I have different hoops to jump through than 10-point Courier and Finding An Agent.

Fiction and non-fiction do have certain commonalities, however. Non-fiction needs a plot and characters just as much as fiction does, even if the characters are technologic devices and the plot is an argument built up over a long series of superficially-unrelated happenings.

* I don't normally give books - or a book excerpt in this case - the sort of clichéd review which says "I laughed so hard, I cried", but it was true of this one. Every fit of laughter - and they were frequent - triggered a bad case of coughing, left over from my cold. Eventually, I was so frustrated by the pain which amusement was causing me, I really did break down and cry - but they were tears of frustration with myself, not joy.

** Although lately, since I'm trying to finish and I know most of my material fairly well now, I've been producing three to five. I'm happy to report that, if word count alone were enough to finish a dissertation, I could have submitted this week!

Comments

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owlfish
Feb. 20th, 2005 05:16 am (UTC)
Re: Macdonald is wonderful
Thank you for pointing to the Doyle essay. Both it and the Macdonald thread use the term "taxonomy" rather freely. What kind of literature is there out there defining the constituents of such a taxonomy, or is the language currently being used as an analogy of classification rather than an actual classification?

Reading about literary taxonomies triggers my desire for pretty diagrams which visually explain such relationships.
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