Quotes by: Nancy Kress

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You have considerable choice in how you end your fiction. For all stories, the basic rule is the same: Choose the type of ending that best suits what's gone before.
Nancy Kress
There are writers whose first drafts are so lean, so skimpy, that they must go back and add words, sentences, paragraphs to make their fiction intelligible or interesting. I don't know any of these writers.
Nancy Kress
As a writer, you must know what promise your story or novel makes. Your reader will know.
Nancy Kress
Overpopulated fiction can be so confusing that readers put the story down. Under-populated novels can seem claustrophobic or boring. You want the right number of characters for your particular work.
Nancy Kress
If your reader has been given a rousing opening, he will usually then sit still for at least some exposition. But be sure to follow that chunk of telling with one or more dramatized scenes. That's much more effective than being given section after section of telling.
Nancy Kress
The worldview implied by literary fiction is complex and ambiguous, trying to be faithful to the complexity and ambiguity of life.
Nancy Kress
All nonmimetic fiction is a balancing act between 'reality' and the obviously unreal, with no attempt by the author to make the latter seem like the former. Sometimes it's not an easy tightrope to walk. But when it succeeds, such fiction can brilliantly illuminate the human condition.
Nancy Kress
Even if your novel occurs in an unfamiliar setting in which all the customs and surroundings will seem strange to your reader, it's still better to start with action. The reason for this is simple. If the reader wanted an explanation of milieu, he would read nonfiction. He doesn't want information. He wants a story.
Nancy Kress
In one sense, every character you create will be yourself. You've never murdered, but your murderer's rage will be drawn from memories of your own extreme anger. Your love scenes will contain hints of your own past kisses and sweet moments.
Nancy Kress
Exposition has legitimate uses. It's the most efficient way to summarize background information, including necessary information about a character's history. It can set the stage well for a major dramatized event.
Nancy Kress
The truth is, you have about three paragraphs in a short story, three pages in a novel, to capture that editor's attention enough for her to finish your story.
Nancy Kress
You do not have to dramatize everything. In fact, you usually can't, not without ending up with a half-million-word novel.
Nancy Kress
Words that add no new information or aren't repeated for emphasis are just padding. A sentence may carry three or five or eight of them, each one as unnoticeable as an extra two ounces on your hips but collectively adding up to a large burden of fat.
Nancy Kress
The climax is the place where the opposing forces in your story finally clash. This is true whether those opposing forces are two armies or two values inside a character's soul.
Nancy Kress
Many novice writers try to avoid using 'said' by substituting synonyms: 'he uttered,' 'she murmured,' 'he questioned.' It's true that any word repeated too often becomes monotonous, but substitutions for 'said' can be worse than its repetition.
Nancy Kress
If you consistently write 'The sun set' rather than 'The sun sank slowly in the bright western sky,' your story will move three times as fast. Of course, there are times you want the longer version for atmosphere - but not many. Wordiness not only kills pace; it bores readers.
Nancy Kress
In general, fiction is divided into 'literary fiction' and 'commercial fiction.' Nobody can definitively say what separates one from the other, but that doesn't stop everybody (including me) from trying. Your book probably will be perceived as one or the other, and that will affect how it is read, packaged and marketed.
Nancy Kress
Readers want to visualize your story as they read it. The more exact words you give them, the more clearly they see it, smell it, hear it, taste it. Thus, a dog should be an 'Airedale,' not just a 'dog.' A taste should not be merely 'good' but 'creamy and sweet' or 'sharply salty' or 'buttery on the tongue.'
Nancy Kress
Should you create a protagonist based directly on yourself? The problem with this - and it is a very large problem - is that almost no one can view himself objectively on the page. As the writer, you're too close to your own complicated makeup.
Nancy Kress
For commercial books in a genre, readers' and editors' expectations may be fairly rigid. Some romance lines, for instance, issue fairly detailed writers' guidelines explaining exactly what must happen in a book they publish (and what must not).
Nancy Kress
Every drama requires a cast. The cast may be so huge, as in Leo Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenina,' that the author or editor provides a list of characters to keep them straight. Or it may be an intimate cast of two.
Nancy Kress
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