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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Callum Leemkuil
    July 30, 2013 @ 6:11 am

    do you think there's anything to be said for basically structureless pieces of writing, like Naked Lunch, or surrealist automatic writing, or to some extent Gravity's Rainbow? It seems to me that with these the author foregoes structure and just lets the shape of the writing appear on its own.


  2. Josh Marsfelder
    July 30, 2013 @ 9:34 am

    Wonderful essay, Phil. This is actually very similar to the way I approach writing myself, especially Vaka Rangi. You've done a great job of articulating how that mental process works.


  3. Pen Name Pending
    July 30, 2013 @ 10:14 am

    Scrivener! Scrivener is great! Although it is better if you begin writing on it; I imported my novel from Word and had to divide the chapters up into scenes, but those scenes had not been predetermined, and so it does not have the same simple structure as the book I began writing for fun on Scrivener.


  4. Bob Dillon
    July 30, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

    Totally not relevant to this post, but did everyone else know that Springhill has been relased on dvd?


  5. elvwood
    July 30, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

    Looks interesting – I might experiment with it for my current writing project, since I'm only about 2k words in and that's divided into only three scenes.


  6. Jack Graham
    July 30, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

    I just type shit that pops into my head. It shows, I guess.


  7. Josh Marsfelder
    July 30, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

    That's called Gonzo Journalism and is just as valid an approach to writing 🙂


  8. Pen Name Pending
    July 30, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

    It's very helpful especially if you are using it as you are writing (as I said), because you can set a target word count for each scene and it tracks your progress. You also get to clump the scenes into chapters, and the chapters into parts if you want. It also has built-in notecards and outlines, which helps if you might want to write things out of order.


  9. William Silvia
    July 30, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

    Brilliant article, and I completely agree with every bit of it. Writing is like sculpting, in a way. A lot of times you find yourself with a brilliant idea, but you're using much more clay (many more words, in the literal sense) than you ever had any intention of budgeting, and need to cut, and trim, and mold it into a different shape. Except that I'm rubbish at sculpting, and I imagine I'm slightly less rubbish when it comes to shaping words.


  10. brownstudy
    July 30, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

    Thank you so much for this post — I've always wanted a peek behind the curtain. It reminded me, for whatever reason, of two bits of fiction-writing advice.

    1. Reminded me of Alan Moore's advice to the effect of: think about what kind of footprint or impression you want to leave in the reader's brain after they finish reading the story. So that all aspects of the story should point toward making that effect. "Doctor Who has returned to television" is a hell of a giant footprint to leave in a reader's brain.

    2. Samuel R. Delany in his book "About Writing" contends that plot is what you remember in retrospect. But for the writer writing, the process is more about structure: I just finished a slow passage with two people, I now need a fast passage with lots of people. Or: The last chapter took place in the past, the next chapter needs to take place in the present. Your description of the Rose post reminded me of this.

    With both fiction and non-fiction writing, I sometimes think in terms of oscillating between foreground and background, or thinking of the sentences and paragraphs as mosaic tile, such that the final work accrues rather than plops out fully formed.


  11. Jack Graham
    July 31, 2013 @ 12:11 am

    Kind of you to say so, but I think I'm a little too uptight to be Dr (Who) Gonzo.


  12. BerserkRL
    August 3, 2013 @ 6:21 am

    “Doctor Who has returned to television"

    Another way to put it might be: "My imaginary friend came back."


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