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January 5, 1938

Posted on 2005.12.26 at 19:55
Blogging about my writing hobby yesterday got me thinking about writing. I dug out my unfinished science fiction novel and read a few pages that I only vaguely remember writing. Writing about a catastrophe that has destroyed photosynthesis, I wrote, "Whole forests stood sere and brown in midsummer."

The thing I find most striking is that my writing in the novel is nothing like the writing in this blog. Of course, the reason for that is that writing for publication is different than writing for yourself (which is what I'm doing here, even though it's possible in theory that somebody else might eventually read this). When you're writing for a science fiction magazine, your descriptions have to be more colorful, and your vocabulary more expansive.

Here's a sample from Campbell's "The Brain Stealers of Mars", copied out of the December 1936 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories: "They reached the top of one of the long rolling sand dunes and the country was spread out below them. It looked exactly as it had been from the last dune that they had struggled up, just as utterly barren, utterly bleak, and unendingly red. Like an iron planet, badly neglected and rusted."

That's the sort of writing style you need if you want to write for the science fiction magazines, and I'm afraid I haven't mastered it yet. If all the writing I do is in the blog, I doubt I ever will.

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