Gene Wolfe

26 Nov

Because I consistently use this blog as a sort of scrapbook, journal thingie, when I read a really fine interview with Gene Wolfe, I instantly knew I’d want to put it here.

And I will. I’m just going to link to it. It’s amazing. Affectionate and smart and really, really fine.

But the gem I wanted to scrapbook here are Gene Wolfe’s top five pieces of writing advice. Gene Wolfe is a master, so when he says something, I listen. I’m pleased to note that on the whole, I obey all five of these anyway. I’ve come to them by way of instinct, and they are what feels right.

Except for the “get up early to write”. Which, let’s be honest, I should probably start doing.


1.) Get up early and write.
2.) Read what you’re trying to write, for Godsakes! (Don’t read enormous fantasy series if you’re trying to write short stories.)
3.) Remember that it is characterizing that puts your story heads and shoulders over the others in the slush pile.
4.) You do not characterize by telling the reader about the character. You do it by showing the character thinking, speaking and acting in a characteristic way. You simply show it and shut up.
5.)Do not start a story unless you have an ending in mind. You can change the story’s ending if you wish, but you should always have a destination.

I like the picture of Gene Wolfe at the top of the interview. If there’s a God and he’s waiting after I die, I’d rather like him to look like Gene Wolfe, more and more as Gene ages.

(OR Brian Jacques. I could get on with any god who sounds like that gleeful laughing Liverpoolian.)

(where was I?)

(oh right, going off to get some work done.)

Love & Jambalaya

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Posted by on November 26, 2010 in Uncategorized


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