Thursday, August 1, 2013

Author Interview – Jim Adam

at 1:30 AM

    What are your favorite books on writing? A great book is Stein on Writing by Sol Stein.  I also like Self-Editing for Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King.  Whoever picked the cover design for that book should be shot, because it looks like the book’s about copyediting, but it’s actually a solid book that focuses mostly on high-level issues.

    Where do you go for professional editing? I’ve been using The Editorial Department for four or five years now, through two novels and two non-fiction books.  I’ve worked with six of their editors, and I’ve never been disappointed.

    How do you feel about adverbs? Adverbs can be overused, but I feel the writing world has gone too far the opposite direction.  I saw some high-brow writer claiming that he’d removed every single adverb from one of his books.  When you do stuff like that, you are making yourself dispensable.  You can be replaced by a machine.  An artist is somebody who makes discriminating choices, including choices that sometimes violate the “rules.”  God created adverbs for a reason.

    Have you seen any bad advice given to writers? I wouldn’t call it advice, exactly, but I read someplace that Stephen King doesn’t write down his ideas.  He just keeps them in his head, under the theory that whatever he forgets must have been a weak idea.  That is blasphemy!

    Keeping track of your ideas is the same as leaving out milk and cookies for the elves.  Elves have feelings too, and if you treat them with disrespect, they won’t want to help you any more.

    Are there any online writer’s workshops that you recommend? If you write SF, fantasy, or horror, then Critters.org is the place you need to be.  It’s well run, and the “critter captain” has set a high standard for the critiques that people write.  In particular, glad-handing “this is the greatest thing ever” critiques will draw censure from on high.  I’ve seen some “vote for me” online communities where shallow, saccharine critiques/reviews are the norm.  When you’re trying to learn and get better, those sorts of critiques are worthless.  Critters.org is the real deal.

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