•Julia Wertz has a new page from The Infinite Wait up on her site, and it’s amazing. Go read the whole thing. (Julia Wertz)
- Never open a book with the weather.
- Avoid prologues.
- Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
- Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said.”
- Keep your exclamation points under control!
- Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
- Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
- Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
- Same for places and things.
- Leave out the parts readers tend to skip.
The trouble with the Litfic vs Genre idea is that what looks like a reasonable distinction of varieties of fiction always hides a value judgment: Lit superior, Genre inferior. Sticking in a middle category of Good Bad Books is no help. You might just as well make another one, Bad Good Books, which everybody could fill at their whim — mine would contain a whole lot of Booker Prize winners and, yes, definitely, The Death of Virgil — but it’s just a parlor game…
SPURGEON: You mentioned the artist Sean Phillips and how long you’ve been working together. How is it working with him now as opposed to at the beginning of the creative relationship, when there was perhaps a feeling-out process? Is it different when you have a long relationship with an artist? Is there a shorthand, or a greater sense of comfort, or can you write more to him? How is it working on something like this with someone with whom you’re that comfortable?
BRUBAKER: It’s like any long-term relationship. Sean and I have been working together 12 or 13 years pretty steadily.
SPURGEON: Wow. Okay.
BRUBAKER: We’ve had breaks, but mostly I’ve done 10 or 12 comics a year with Sean for a decade now. It’s weird. Every now and then I look at my bookshelf and I see all these books we’ve done together and I flip through them and I’m like, “Wow, that was amazing.” Whenever anyone asks me if Sean’s available for anything, I’m like, “Shut up!” I jealously hoard Sean, but I also probably take him for granted half the time. [laughs]