Mermaid swimming inside a lightbulb on the forest floor

Writer’s review: Analysing Seanan McGuire’s Each to Each

In a 2009 interview, Ira Glass talked about what has come to be known as the taste gap: the difficult period early in anyone’s creative life when they know good fiction (or art, or whatever) when they see it, but they don’t yet know how to produce it, so everything they create disappoints them. “A lot of people never get past that phase,” Glass said. “They quit.”

Occasionally, I will read someone else’s short story and it will be so much the kind of thing I want to write but am not yet capable of that I have to spend a day or so talking myself out of quitting (hello there, anxiety). The latest of these is Seanan McGuire’s Little Mermaid-inspired story, Each to Each (recommended to me by a friend because I’ve been thinking about writing my own take on that particular problematic fairytale).

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Book cover: Stories of Your Life and Others, by Ted Chiang

Book review: Ted Chiang’s ‘Stories of Your Life and Others’ pt. 2

This is the sequel to last week’s post about all the ways Ted Chiang’s book blows my mind and makes me want to be a better writer.

I’m aware that what follows may come across as overly critical, so let me start by reiterating that I really enjoyed these stories. They intrigued and surprised me, and made me feel like I was wrestling with some incredible intellectual notions.

If I’ve written more about what didn’t work for me than what did, it’s only because those were the aspects I felt best able to get a grip on when it comes to analysing why they affected me the way I did and applying those lessons to my own writing.

Again, this review contains very minor and non-specific spoilers – unless you’re reading the book right now, you should be fine.

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Book cover: Stories of Your Life and Others, by Ted Chiang

Book review: Ted Chiang’s ‘Stories of Your Life and Others’ pt. 1

I said at the start of this blog that I might try the odd book review-type thing, so this is me trying one. It’s really about what I took away from this book as a writer, rather than a reader, but hopefully it will be helpful (or at least interesting) to readers and writers both.

Edited: Looking at this just post publication, I’ve realised what a wall of text it turned into. So I’m going to take a load off you (and *cough* off future me) and split it into two posts. Tune in next week for part two.

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