We are this day in receipt of two trade paperback collections of essays, by asst’d authors, on how to write a particular subcategory of Our Beloved Genre.
Of the authors of the essays collected in the first volume, the one with the most substantial English-language commercial fiction credentials once sold a story to a Marty Greenberg/Mike Resnick anthology. The second volume is only slightly better in terms of its authors’ credentials.
The typography and interior design are dreadful. If you’re going to use seriously oversized type for your main text, and justify your columns, there must be hyphenated wordbreaks.
Only some of the advice is dubious or erroneous, but almost all of it is elementary: yup, the constant use of invincible power makes for dull storytelling. At best, it rises to heights like “When you’re worldbuilding, remember that governments always have factions,” or “In a society that has a commonly available technology that can knock down walls, military defense is not going to rely on castles.”
For reasons of tact, I’m not going to quote my favorite piece of bad advice found thus far.
Here are my own pieces of advice:
1. When you’re writing material like this, and you need to show how something should be done, take your examples from the works of well-regarded authors who aren’t you. This will make you look knowledgeable, and avoids potential embarrassment.
3. Hasn’t that cat been vacuumed enough?