From Charlie Jane Anders, the award-winning author of novels such as All the Birds in the Sky and The City in the Middle of the Night, this is one of the most practical guides to storytelling that you will ever read.
The world is on fire.
So tell your story.
Things are scary right now. We’re all being swept along by a tidal wave of history, and it’s easy to feel helpless. But we’re not helpless: we have minds, and imaginations, and the ability to visualize other worlds and valiant struggles. And writing can be an act of resistance that reminds us that other futures and other ways of living are possible.
Full of memoir, personal anecdote, and insight about how to flourish during the present emergency, Never Say You Can’t Survive is the perfect manual for creativity in unprecedented times.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Celebrated speculative fiction writer Anders (Victories Greater than Death) blends personal stories with practical genre fiction techniques in this earnest though overwrought manual for how "to write your way out of hard times." As she writes at the book's outset, "Putting any kind of story together makes you a god in your own private universe and grants you control over a whole world inside your own mind, even when the outside world feels like a constant torrent of awfulness." Originally published on Tor.com during the height of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, these concise essays on writing "as an act of self-preservation" lucidly describe storycraft fundamentals (characters, plotting, worldbuilding) in welcoming, conversational prose, interspersed with anecdotes of the author's growth from lonely first-grade daydreamer to multi-award-winning author. Anders shows keen trauma awareness, strategizing how writing practices can fit troubled times from "embrac uncertainty" to defining success realistically and developing adaptable emotional skills. Unfortunately, the book's lack of a cohesive through line undermines its authority: both intriguing and problematized elements such as the genre's overly Western idea of agency and sweeping statements on writers' motives are rarely explored deeply, and playful examples often get belabored, muddling the principles they illustrate. Budding genre writers questioning their voice's value will appreciate this overview, but quickly need more.