The best writing advice ever

By John C Wright here.

Yes I know he’s referring to reading, but it applies just as well to writing.  The only fundamental rule I’d say is that of “good”: Write the best you can, read the best stuff you can get your hands on.

The problem with the video is twofold: first, I know personally police officers and military men who play D&D and read SF and like comic books — so the theory that only unheroic folk like heroic entertainment is a weak generalization; second, the unspoken assumption behind the message seems to be that I the reader should only read, like, and identify with ‘heroes’ who look and act like me the reader–so in other words, I should only admire myself and protagonists like me, overweight yet cantankerous obscure midlist science fiction authors. It is a theory fit only for narcissism and political correctness.


Does this mean I cannot read and enjoy the Iliad, because I am not a bronze-age warrior-aristocrat? I cannot read and enjoy Milton’s Paradise Lost because I am not the naked and prelapsarian father of the human race, nor yet an immortal fallen angel made of imperishable quintessential substance? I cannot read the Gospel because I am not a saint, nor can I read the Analects of Confucius because I am not a sage, nor can I read the Bhagavad Gita, because I am not a bronze-age warrior-aristocrat?

Does this mean I cannot read any science fiction of any kind whatsoever? Because I am not an invading Martian, nor a moon-traveler, nor a time-traveler, nor the inventor of an aerial ironclad heavier-than-air ship, nor a member of the Eighteenth Race of Man from Neptune, nor a positronic robot programmed never to harm a human being, nor an immortal citizen of Diaspar the City at the End of Time, nor a false messiah raised by Martians, nor a grunt in the Mobile Infantry, nor a Psychohistorian, nor a book-burning fireman, nor an employee of Fireball, nor a Journeyman of the Order of Mystic Mathematicians and Other Seekers of the Ineffable Flame, nor am I any of the incarnations of the Eternal Champion, nor am I a diplomat for the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne, and I am not the sole survivor of the Mount Pleasant Massacre hunting through the stars for the five Demon Princes who slew my family and my world, and I am certainly not an apprentice of the Order of Seekers of Truth and Penance in exile for the crime of mercy when I aided the suicide of the only woman I ever loved.

Political Correctness is the mental disease of not being able to imagine that people have or need imagination.


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