Brandon Watson on being a Competent Critic

Brandon Watson is always worth reading; here he gives an extended meditation on what is required of a competent literary critic.Increasingly, however, I have come to think that one of the common characteristics, and perhaps the distinguishing feature, of incompetent criticism is not recognizing that skill is skill, that craft has the structure of craft. All skill or craft has goals in view; the whole point of skill is that it appropriately applies means to achieve goals and does so … [Read more...]

Watchman For Daybreak Watch

After a couple three weeks in which I didn't work on Watchman for Daybreak at all, I got some time to think about it yesterday. I'd been away from it for two reasons: it was a busy few weeks, and then I had a plot problem I had to get worked out. I need the main character to do something awful—but either it simply wasn't something he'd do, or if was something he'd do, then he wasn't the character I wanted him to be. But I think I've got it worked out, in a way that works as a story and won't s … [Read more...]

The Power of Primary Sources


There's a neat guest post at Sarah Hoyt's blog about the importance to budding writers of reading primary sources in other eras and places: it expands your horizons. She says,An aspiring writer ought to read history. Lots of it. Even if — perhaps especially if — he intends to write SF or fantasy and build societies of his own. And the most important thing he should read is primary source, which is to say, stuff that was actually written at the time. Jane’s letter to her Aunt Hortensia. Esm … [Read more...]