Author Topic: SF LEXICON for Fiction Writing That Is Lost In Space...  (Read 335 times)

Offline Odd John

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SF LEXICON for Fiction Writing That Is Lost In Space...
« on: March 07, 2021, 06:44:25 PM »
Here's another great link, TURKEY CITY LEXICON, an SF lexicon for fiction writing that is Lost In Space. Actually, it is useful for ALL genres. Enjoy!

https://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/18/turkey-city-lexicon-a-primer-for-sf-workshops/



Here's an excerpt:


Show, not Tell
A cardinal principle of effective writing. The reader should be allowed to react naturally to the evidence presented in the story, not instructed in how to react by the author. Specific incidents and carefully observed details will render auctorial lectures unnecessary. For instance, instead of telling the reader “She had a bad childhood, an unhappy childhood,” a specific incident — involving, say, a locked closet and two jars of honey — should be shown. Rigid adherence to show-don’t-tell can become absurd. Minor matters are sometimes best gotten out of the way in a swift, straightforward fashion.


Signal from Fred
A comic form of the “Dischism” in which the author’s subconscious, alarmed by the poor quality of the work, makes unwitting critical comments: “This doesn’t make sense.” “This is really boring.” “This sounds like a bad movie.” (Attr. Damon Knight)


Squid in the Mouth
The failure of an author to realize that his/her own weird assumptions and personal in-jokes are simply not shared by the world-at-large. Instead of applauding the wit or insight of the author’s remarks, the world-at-large will stare in vague shock and alarm at such a writer, as if he or she had a live squid in the mouth. Since SF writers as a breed are generally quite loony, and in fact make this a stock in trade, “squid in the mouth” doubles as a term of grudging praise, describing the essential, irreducible, divinely unpredictable lunacy of the true SF writer. (Attr. James P Blaylock)


Squid on the Mantelpiece
Chekhov said that if there are dueling pistols over the mantelpiece in the first act, they should be fired in the third. In other words, a plot element should be deployed in a timely fashion and with proper dramatic emphasis. However, in SF plotting the MacGuffins are often so overwhelming that they cause conventional plot structures to collapse. It’s hard to properly dramatize, say, the domestic effects of Dad’s bank overdraft when a giant writhing kraken is levelling the city. This mismatch between the conventional dramatic proprieties and SF’s extreme, grotesque, or visionary thematics is known as the “squid on the mantelpiece.”
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Offline Miss Plum

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Re: SF LEXICON for Fiction Writing That Is Lost In Space...
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2021, 02:39:32 AM »
omg this stuff is great! Reminds me of the classic "Evil Overlord."

Offline Odd John

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Re: SF LEXICON for Fiction Writing That Is Lost In Space...
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2021, 08:56:53 AM »
Glad you like it!   ;D
My inferiority complex masks my superiority complex. It's very convenient.

       - John