Chuck Wendig’s personal writing rules

Last week I finished reading Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig. I knew of Wendig’s work after coming across his blog earlier this year, but this is the first of his novels I’ve read. I’d actually gone into the bookshop to look for a copy of Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey, which they didn’t have, spotted Blackbirds on the shelf and decided it was about time to give it a shot (and not knowing what I’ll go home with is one reason why I still prefer physical bookshops when given the choice).

What did I think? Well I’m not much of one to review books, but I will say it was very enjoyable. It’s a fast-based pulpy affair about a young woman, a drifter, who can foresee when people will die. Considering I was looking for the acclaimed Sandman Slim (I ended up buying it through the iBookstore) which is also an urban fantasy with pulp crime sensibilities, then this was a more than satisfactory purchase.

If you like your urban fantasy fast-paced with pulp stylings then I recommend Blackbirds. (And Sandman Slim if you’ve yet to read that.) I’ll certainly be buying the sequel.

But Blackbirds isn’t the main reason I started writing this post. I actually wanted to recommend a link for writers. As I said, I first knew of Wendig through his blog, and his blog is chock full of advice for writers. Here are 25 of his personal rules for writing. You might not agree with all of them, I don’t, but that’s where the word “personal” comes in. However, I suspect you will find at least one nugget of gold relevant to you.

5. Aim Big, Write Small
Writers need goals. I don’t mean one goal. I mean a nearly endless and evolving series of goals — you don’t just say, “I’m going to write a novel.” Because, duh. That’s bare minimum shit. You want to have a career planned out. This isn’t a short game. It’s a long con. Look as far down the line as you can — to retirement, to cremation, to the time when nano-bots resurrect you to write one more bestselling holo-vid. That way, you can always course correct to try to move yourself further toward those goals. But — but! — whereas your career is a long-con, each story really is the short game. You want to keep your head in that story. You want to treat it like it’s everything, like everything hangs on this one project. (In part because it may.) To put it differently, have the larger path plotted out — but focus on each step upon that path as if it is your last.

25 Of My Personal Rules For Writing And Telling Stories
Blackbirds on Amazon
Sandman Slim on Amazon

The Earth Invasion Budget Cuts – a short story


[EDIT: The entire story can now be read in this post, below the “Read More” cut]

A friend and I, having watched a sci-fi film where the aliens’ decision to invade Earth was highly questionable, began imagining the conversations that must have occurred between the aliens before the start of the movie.

I thought it was a fun idea for a short story, so here it is. I’ve released it online for those of you with ebook readers or phone apps. It’s titled The Earth Invasion Budget Cuts and you can download it at Smashwords by clicking the logo below.

Smashwords

Or, if you have a kindle you can download it direct from Amazon.

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