I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Five things I've learned about writing

I had a 12 hour drive back from World Fantasy and spent a good chunk of that time thinking about writing; not just my immediate projects, but larger lessons I've drawn from my experience to date. Much of this has been prompted by my dinner with fellow Odyssey grads. I'm returning to Odyssey next year as a lecturer, speaking on the subject of style, and I was trying to work out things I would say on the subject but kept spinning out into larger issues. So, in the spirit of the "five things few people know about me" posts I did back in February, I'm going to do a series called "Five things I've Learned About Writing." I'll flesh out all these topics in the coming weeks, and may refine or alter my list. But, right now, five things I think I know about writing that I don't think I fully understood when I went to Odyssey ten years ago would be:

1. Stories are made out of scenes. Scenes are made out of nouns.
2. The best way to write a good story is to first write a bad story.
3. Momentum matters!
4. Embrace your demons.
5. You never write alone.

Some of this probably seems pretty obvious, especially #1. But, I'm constantly discovering really simple things about writing that just shock me that I didn't figure them out years ago.

More soon. Right now, I must get another chapter of Dragon Forge behind me. Because of #3.


Gardner said...


I enjoyed seeing you at World Fantasy and look forward to the "more soon" part of this post!

I'm *really* enjoying Bitterwood. I think I mentioned the thematic similarity of our prologues. Even more amazing is the similarity of style. (At least I think so.) Every Bitterwood chapter I read inspires me to go sell!

Gotta start querying for real...


James Maxey said...

Thanks, Gardner. Good seeing you again as well. Best of luck with your own writing. Funny you should mention style... since I'm about to do a post on that very subject.