Ask a Writer

Tobias Buckell does an outstanding job answering a question on the Adventures of Sci-fi Publishing podcast. This is noteworthy for me because it made me remember how dangerous it is to jump to conclusions or go with your gut instinct. Beyond that, it helped make me think about the fun part of reading, and how authors can help this along.

In this case, the question is about how one goes about making reasonable equations or relationships between things when writing from an alien point of view. In other words, if you say “the boulder was the size of a truck” we all understand that. But an alien being may well not know what a truck is, so the alien rally can’t say that. So what’s a writer to do?

My gut instinct as I heard the question (while treading along on my treadmill) was to dismiss it out of hand. I mean, you just feel things out, you know? You put yourself in the point of view of the alien and you do your best, right? It’s a feel thing. An experience thing. In other words … what a damned silly question.

But it’s not a silly question at all. It’s a great question, and Toby gave an outstanding response that made me think both about my personal writing and about what it means about me that I jumped to such an unhealthy first response.

Hopefully it was just that I was getting tired. [grin].

It’s pretty deep in the podcast, and I don’t have a minute-point to note. But the whole thing is worth listening to.

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