Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ask Unca Mike

Science fiction and fantasy writers are a group are extraordinarily generous with advice to new writers. A moment's thought, however, reveals that this is just encouraging talented young people to occupy the publishing niches and win the awards that would otherwise go to to us Old Hands. Ask Unca Mike is an attempt to rectify this deplorable situation.

Withholding Plot

 Miss Plotz writes: I began my novel by "setting the scene" and dropping clues as to the nature of the story for the reader to memorize.  This took roughly twenty pages. My writing group tells me that I should begin the plot earlier than I did. Are they right?

Quite the contrary.  You should put off beginning the plot for as long as possible.  Picture a reader who picks up your novel in a bookstore. She begins reading to see whether it's something she might want to buy. Twenty pages in, she has no idea. Nor does she at forty, sixty, a hundred. The hours fly by. The bookstore owner scowls and taps her wristwatch.  Your victim has no choice but to buy the book or be haunted forever by the possibility that somewhere down the line all this wasted effort will pay off.

You may have made an enemy -- but you've also sold a book.

If you have a question for Unca Mike you can post it below. Or write to AskUncaMike ("at" sign) I'll respond tho those I have the best answers for.

Ask Unca Mike appears here on Fridays.

Above: as always, I'm on the road again.  The Ask Unca Mike logo will return when I do.


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