Archive for March, 2012

Most of my posts on SpecTechnique have been about stuff you can do in fiction & language. But today I’m going to talk, for a chance, about something to avoid. And after you read this post, I hope you’ll avoid it too. Or at least think about it! In high school, I was asked to read Jane […]


I recently read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code for the lols and I thought I’d share some of its worst passages with you. Sophie looked equally intimidated as her eyes scanned the lobby. Does her face have 2 personalities? Pulling his driver’s cap down further, he effected as rough a facade as his cultured […]


The rules of timekeeping are supposed to be simple in fiction. Choose a tense when you start writing, and stick to that tense throughout — whether it’s past, present, or (god help us) future. Sometimes, though, cutting to the present tense in your past tense story can create some unusual & noteworthy effects.Today at SpecTechnique […]



The opposite of existence is not nonexistence, but insistence: that which does not exist, continues to insist, striving toward existence… When I miss a crucial ethical opportunity, and fail to make a move that could ‘change everything’, the very nonexistence of what I should have done will haunt me for ever: although what I did […]


The “Time Ratio” of an Action Scene or, J.G. Ballard vs Gu Long: FIGHT! On Friday at SpecTechnique we looked at Gu Long’s action writing and saw how he brought us into the POV of the spectators, forcing the reader to reconstruct Li Xun Huan’s impossibly fast dagger throw from the clues on the page. […]


Wuxia Action Timing or, Why Gu Long’s Writing Technique Shakes the Martial World This fight class will be swift and ruthless, when you’re done reading you’ll all be experts. All I want u to know about Wuxia right now is that it’s Chinese fiction featuring badasses in combat. I’ve been interested in it since I watched […]