Writing by reading

12 fair kindms


I’m going to give writers some advice, which I mostly try not to do because everyone-is-an-individual-and-we’re-all-different and, well, reasons.

Giving people “rules” or some distillation of a pithy saying never works, anyway. Any one of us can come up with a bajillion exceptions in the time it takes to scroll down to the comments.


Instead, I’m going to recommend that you head down to a used book store or the local library or onto the internet and get yourself a copy of this book:

Twelve Fair Kingdoms (Book One of the Ozark Fantasy Trilogy)  by Suzette Haden Elgin.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t like fantasy. If you really can’t bear the thought of plunking down the two bucks or whatever for it, just stand in the aisle of the bookstore and read the first chapter.


Because Chapter One is an info-dump —– but an info-dump done right. Done perfectly, even.

It’s rambling, and discursive and filled with tangents and digressions. (It’s also tender-funny and distinctive of voice.)

But, more to the point, it is brilliantly gripping and entirely enchanting, and the author manages to give the reader an enormous amount of data about the characters, a grounding in the magic system AND the situation/quest that is to come.

In one chapter.

This – all this – without giving anything away and still managing to hook you in so well that you literally cannot put it down.

If I could do that, even once, I’d die a happy woman.



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