Skip to content

Chess and fiction

June 3, 2014

I started to write what I thought would be a short blog entry about a nuts-and-bolts topic last week.

I stopped when it got to 600 words and showed no signs of slowing down.

The topic was related to economy of prose. Go ahead and snicker, get it out of your system, I’ll wait.

Done? Good. Here’s what happened. I wrote a sentence in my WIP. As soon as I wrote it I went in and cut out a verb phrase as being an action the reader would understand in context without being overtly spelled out.

A simple enough on-the-fly edit, of the sort I do constantly. This time, though, I decided to be all mentor-y and to explain what I’d done and why…in what appears now to be a book-length format.

Which brings me to chess. Like chess, writing fiction has surprisingly few rules, and those rules can be easily explained…up until the moment you try to apply them.

Ancient Battle Chess board diagram from, used under Creative Commons license.

See? Simple.

Then the question shifts from “what’s the rule” to “but what do I do here.” And there’s rarely a simple way of explaining that, even though the decision-making process is often near-instantaneous. That’s why there are a zillion books on how to write (and how to play chess, for that matter). That’s also why things like critique groups and editors and beta readers matter so much. Unlike chess, writing doesn’t have opponents, or clear win/lose outcomes you can trace to a single bad move.

I will probably return to the original blog post at some point after I get the draft of the WIP done. With some cuts.

Ancient Battle Chess board diagram from, used under Creative Commons license.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 5, 2014 6:53 am

    In the back of my head, I heard “…I fought the blog, and…the blog won…”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Singing Stars & Shrieking Shadows

Stories and poetry of awe and horror, with reviews and commentary

Nicky Peacock - Author

Published author of YA and adult paranormal romance, horror, urban fantasy short stories, novellas and novels. On this site you'll find writing advice, information on my work, book reviews, author interviews and more...

Often Clueless, Always Shoeless

The Blog of Author Olivia Berrier


it's all just a matter of perspective...

Globe Drifting

Global issues, travel, photography & fashion. Drifting across the globe; the world is my oyster, my oyster through a lens.


Smile! You’re at the best site ever

Knite Writes

The Official Blog of Therin Knite

Buried Under Books

Tales of a former indie bookseller

Mary Robinette Kowal

The daily journal of a puppeteer and SF author.

Secret Hungers

What sates your hunger?

Words, Words, Words

Write, read, repeat.


~Weaving Words in her Web~

Daily (w)rite

Author Site for Damyanti Biswas

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

Eat, Sleep, Television

Watch as I amaze and astound with opinions about what TV shows I like!


ull new transflations -- Rosetta Stone hypothoses

%d bloggers like this: