Janet Harriett is often an editor, sometimes a writer, and always a lover of all things penguin. She is the senior editor at Apex Publications and editor-for-hire specializing in science fiction, fantasy and horror.

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Recommended Reading: Nascence by Tobias Buckell

The full title is Nascence: 17 Failed Stories and What They Taught Me. As the subtitle suggests, these are selections from the Buckell catalog that didn't quite make it, and explanatory essays detailing exactly what went wrong. I haven't quite finished it, but I'm recommending it as a must-read for any writer, even though I'm only halfway through. Look for a full review when I'm done.

I'm finding the writing lessons incredibly useful. Even more than that, though, it's refreshing to see an author admit openly that he's written stories that failed. When I first started seriously writing fiction, one of the career narratives I ran into repeatedly from successful authors was "I began writing in utero and have sold every word I ever wrote," which basically told me that my career as a writer was hopeless since I'd put down even a single word of crap. It was more than a bit intimidating to think that I had doomed my career by jumping in before I was at the top of the learning curve.

I have since connected with successful authors who openly espouse the Million Words of Crap doctrine. Tobias Buckell goes further and shows what some of those words look like.

It's still a little intimidating just how good some of the failed stories are. As I read the book, I'm having to duct tape my Inner Critic to a chair in the corner of my brain to keep it from screaming "He fails better than you even write." (Note to any editors or slush readers who may get my submissions: my Inner Critic doesn't know what it's talking about)

Nascence is available as a downloadable ebook at Amazon and Nookbooks, or as an epub directly from the author.

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Reader Comments (1)

Dear Janet,
I strongly support your opinion! I do understand you and how you feel! I am a writer too (but not as professional as you are - I am just a freelancer in one of the custom essay writing services ), and I write about 25 essays per month. My major is History but I try to widen my knowledge to be able to write essays sand papers in different spheres. So I think that our minds are on parallel tracks! The writing style in this book is very strange..

January 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Helmer

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