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Writing, Luck, Ideas, Etc.
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The Sideshow points out two articles by sf/fantasy writer Charles Stros. Five rules for cold-bloodedly designing a fantasy series and Why I am able to write are both filled with shrewd observations and unpleasant truths that apply to writing for any genre.

Among many other things, Stross discusses the role of luck in writing careers and "stealing" from those who've gone before.

"However much you're stealing, make sure it doesn't look stolen. Genre publishing is a beauty show, and originality wins prizes (but not too much originality).

"All writers are periodically asked "where do you get your ideas?" Our dirty little secret is that ideas are cheap. You've got ideas. Your pet cat has probably got ideas. You can find ideas in the back-catalog of authors who died forty years ago, or you can go sit in a cave for forty days and nights and bring back ideas. Or you can slavishly ape Roger Zelazny's technique. What matters isn't the ideas, but what you do with them."

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