With Sense8, the Wachowskis (the Matrix) and Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5) try to explore what happens if eight random people around the world get mind-linked. I think they failed. What they made instead was eight hours of watching paint dry on cardboard cutouts of characters.
Sometimes the metaphorical camera in a scene drifts away from the viewpoint character and focuses on somebody else. Not a problem for an omniscient viewpoint, but in limited third person, a drifting viewpoint is a smell of bad writing.
Ancillary Justice is the first part of a science fiction trilogy by Ann Leckie. I recently finished the first two books and am now eagerly awaiting the third installment. I like it enough that I decided to plug it to the internet at large.
A person who is in a situation where they can make a decision has agency. Characters in stories have agency when they are in a position to make choices that affect their story. Unfortunately, some characters in stories suffer from agency deficiency. Today, I’ll talk about this particular writing smell and how to fix it.
The title of this post refers to an old English rhyme for what brides should wear: ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue’. The rhyme itself is not meaningful for writing. However, it illustrates a need for contrast, which is important for writing.