Quotes by: Nancy Kress

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Nancy Kress
Kress (center), with Delia Sherman (left) and Ellen Datlow in 2007
Born Nancy Anne Koningisor
(1948-01-20) January 20, 1948 (age 68)
Buffalo, New York, US
Pen name Anna Kendall
Occupation Fiction writer
Nationality American
Period 1976–present
Genre
Science fiction Fantasy (as Kendall)[1]
Spouse
Michael Joseph Kress (1973-1984) Marcos Donnelly (1988-1994) Charles Sheffield (1998–2002, his death) Jack Skillingstead (2011–present)[1]
Website
sff.net/people/nankress

Words change over time. 'Condescending,' for instance, was once a good thing to be. It meant that a person was willing to interact politely with people of lower social ranks. In Jane Austen's world, a lady praised for her condescension was receiving a sincere compliment.
Nancy Kress
Every story makes a promise to the reader. Actually, two promises, one emotional and one intellectual, since the function of stories is to make us both feel and think.
Nancy Kress
Pace, like everything else in writing, involves a trade-off. If you're not offering the reader a lot of action to keep her interested, you must offer something else in its stead. Slow pace is ideal for complex character development, detailed description, and nuances of style.
Nancy Kress
Conflict drives fiction; no one wants to read a four-hundred-page novel in which everything rolls along smoothly.
Nancy Kress
A true epilogue is removed from the story in time or space. That's the reason it is called an 'Epilogue'; the label serves to alert the reader that the story itself is over, but we are going to now see a distant result or consequence of that story.
Nancy Kress
In fiction, a reaction shot is a brief portrayal of how your character reacts to something that someone else has done. In contrast to more direct character building, your guy doesn't initiate the sequence; he completes it. Exactly how he completes it can tell readers a lot about him.
Nancy Kress
How many times have you opened a book, read the first few sentences and made a snap decision about whether to buy it? When it's your book that's coming under this casual-but-critical scrutiny, you want the reader to be instantly hooked. The way to accomplish this is to create compelling opening sentences.
Nancy Kress
Questions that require answers are what keep readers going - and the place to start raising those questions is with your very first sentence.
Nancy Kress
The most-asked question when someone describes a novel, movie or short story to a friend probably is, 'How does it end?' Endings carry tremendous weight with readers; if they don't like the ending, chances are they'll say they didn't like the work. Failed endings are also the most common problems editors have with submitted works.
Nancy Kress
All writers, in all viewpoints, must choose which information and scenes will be presented, and in which order. In that sense, the author is always represented as a point of view in a work of fiction. His hand can always be detected by the discerning.
Nancy Kress
The parallels between a stage and a book are compelling. You, like all authors, create 'characters' in a 'setting' who speak 'dialogue' encased in 'scenes.' Most importantly, you - like the playwright - have an 'audience.'
Nancy Kress
A brief short story may require only a few paragraphs after the climax. On the other hand, in his massive novel 'The World According to Garp,' John Irving's denouement consisted of 10 separate sections, each devoted to an individual character's fate and each almost a story in itself.
Nancy Kress
The reader is going to imprint on the characters he sees first. He is going to expect to see these people often, to have them figure largely into the story, possibly to care about them. Usually, this will be the protagonist.
Nancy Kress
Novels have much more space than short stories, which gives you more leeway with the number of characters you can include. Even 'furniture' characters can be described and given speaking parts to develop background or atmosphere.
Nancy Kress
The process, not the results, have to be the reason a writer writes. Otherwise, creating a four-hundred-page novel is just too daunting a task.
Nancy Kress
When a story is flying along, and I'm so into it that my 'real' world goes away, it can feel magical. I cease to be, my desk and computer ceases to be, and I am my character in his world. Psychologists call this a 'flow state,' and it's better than publication, money, awards, fame.
Nancy Kress
If you're writing a thriller, mystery, Western or adventure-driven book, you'd better keep things moving rapidly for the reader. Quick pacing is vital in certain genres. It hooks readers, creates tension, deepens the drama, and speeds things along.
Nancy Kress
A stereotype may be negative or positive, but even positive stereotypes present two problems: They are cliches, and they present a human being as far more simple and uniform than any human being actually is.
Nancy Kress
Your opening should give the reader a person to focus on. In a short story, this person should turn up almost immediately; he should be integral to the story's main action; he should be an individual, not just a type. In a novel, the main character may take longer to appear: Anna Karenina doesn't show up in her own novel until chapter eighteen.
Nancy Kress
Slipstream fiction is usually defined as fiction with a contemporary setting in which story elements are mimetic (that is, seem real) - except for one or two eerie strangenesses. Unlike outright fantasy, these are not explained or integrated into an alternate-reality setting.
Nancy Kress
Readers want to see, hear, feel, smell the action of your story, even if that action is just two people having a quiet conversation.
Nancy Kress
Before the scene, before the paragraph, even before the sentence, comes the word. Individual words and phrases are the building blocks of fiction, the genes that generate everything else. Use the right words, and your fiction can blossom. The French have a phrase for it - le mot juste - the exact right word in the exact right position.
Nancy Kress
For the professional writer, stories must be presented as a series of individual scenes, each one dramatized with dialogue and telling descriptions of who is present and what they're all doing.
Nancy Kress
Surreal fiction is a sophisticated art form. Events happen divorced from conventional logic, as events in a dream may happen. But unlike dreams, everything in the story contributes to an overall coherent point, impression or emotion.
Nancy Kress
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