The Attack of the Anonymous Moron

By Holly Lisle

Some e-mail is good, some is bad, some is breathtakingly stupid. Here, for your amusement and edification, one of the latter……..

I read the main section and then followed the link to world building. I didn’t agree with any of it. Truthfully when I find a book that gives me that much of a look into the inner workings of the world the writer has created I put it down and never pick it up again to finish it.

Similarly I have found their statement on the use of magic in error. Most of my favorite books have had the use of magic all through them. Never once did they tell where the magic came from, or how the people came to use it. Even Tolkein had magic all through his book and you didn’t see any magical toilets and leaf blowers mentioned. That is just someone’s narrow view of how a book should be constructed. Believe me if I ever read a book like that I’d toss it before ever finishing it.

They said that for every magical use, there has to be a negative counter reaction somewhere. The wielder of that magic will always have to pay for its use…BUNK, BUNK, AND MORE BUNK. Absolutely not true. I think that whoever wrote that never really wrote a book and probably never ever read a good one. Good stories don’t need ecological details. Who cares if their trees breath argon instead of oxygen and are a brilliant blue? Unless it is directly related to a major event in the story it’s excess baggage and BORING!

I could care less if the small edible creatures are outnumbered 100 to one by the larger carnivorous creatures. They actually said that if that happens, its sloppy writing and bad form. Well I have news for them. If I were editing the piece with that particular mention- the whole mention would have been cut out.

What’s important is the story, and what makes the story? Characters, situations, and the events that move the character through those situations. Did I mention Scenery? Evolution? Ecology? Ecostructure? Or the number of smaller rodents v/s the number of bigger ones? Hell no.

Like Stephen King says in his book, “On Writing” that is just superflous ‘fill-in’ garbage that you don’t need. You don’t even need to go into detail explaining what the characters looked like for the reader to envision them. They (the readers) do have a brain and if you do all the thinking for them how are they interacting with the story? That is why we read isnt’ it? To feel like we are participating in the story? All that stuff about building worlds and ecology is the stuff that 99 % of readers skip over. It give a story an overstuffed feeling and when I find that sort of thing in a book everytime I have also found two dimentional characters and half baked plots. Yes there is a giving and taking, use and paying for it but it happens not in the magical aspects of the book, but in the writing of nonessential garbage like you mentioned in your piece on the main page.

There is no reason to think that in order to write well one must follow your dictates much less utilize any of the useless stuff like you are sugesting. Do we a readers need all that stuff to picture something in our head? Do we need to understand the innerworkings of their governmental systems and ecological systems to understand the characters? HELL NO.

A character, a situation, and a reaction from the character to the situation. That’s all you really need. Like a sentence, needs a subject, verb, and sometimes a completing thought. But mostly just subject and verb.

I started getting angry at the people that wrote such bull shit on this website and didn’t read any more, after two different articles that I STRENOUSLY disagreed with I didn’t read anymore of it. The first two articles (main section and link at the bottom of it) were crap. Just plain old everyday contrived crap, dressed up in fancy words to give it a good look. The content was still crap. The sad part is that who ever wrote this stuff is actually going to convince many young and struggling writers that they actually DO need follow the guidelines they’ve set forth and that’s the true crime.

Makes you wish you got my e-mail, doesn’t it?

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