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I have concluded that writing is like painting. You start with base colors and broad brush strokes -- that's your rough draft. It doesn't look anything like what the finished picture will, and it's not supposed to. The image exists in the artist's head. That stuff on the paper is just a placeholder.

Now you look at the layout and make adjustments. More contrast. Less color. You check the negative space and select your lighting. You're revising now, shifting elements around until they meet your approval. Some artists do this in subsequent concept sketches, others paint on top of previous layers. The method doesn't matter; only the process.

Finally you go back and add detail. The delicate shading along the lower edge of a snowflake. The highlights in the dragon's iris. All those intricate touches that breathe life into your creation and make the audience quaver in astonishment -- That's polishing. It's just as important as the first two steps. The problem is that it cannot be done properly until after the larger elements have been arranged.

As a beginning writer I often tried to polish too early. It cost me a lot of time.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 17th, 2011 11:10 pm (UTC)
March 18, 2011 Links and Plugs
User charlesatan referenced to your post from March 18, 2011 Links and Plugs saying: [...] y Fulda on Metaphors [...]
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 18th, 2011 08:06 am (UTC)
Thank you!

In all fairness, that win may have less to do with skill than with strategy. The story was specifically targeted to the contest, which gave it an edge over work of equal or better quality that didn't quite match what the judges were looking for.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )




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Nancy Fulda is a 2012 Hugo and Nebula Nominee, a Phobos Award winner and a Vera Hinckley Mayhew Award recipient. She is the first (and so far only) female recipient of the Jim Baen Memorial Award. Her fiction has appeared in a number of professional venues.

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