New York Times Bestseller Tobias S. Buckell has published 45 short stories in various magazines and anthologies. But in the process of learning how to sell those 45, he wrote over 100 short stories that failed in a variety of ways while learning the craft.
In Nascence, he reprints 17 failed stories written from 1996-2004 and details some of the major failings of the stories that led him to abandon them, and what he learned from those failures moving forward.
Nascence isn’t just a look at how stories fail, but also a look the beginnings of Buckell’s fictional worlds and the stories he was trying to tell at the very start.
Praise for Nascence:
I found Nascence to have more impact upon me than, say, Stephen King’s On Writing. –Escape Pod
I’ve read a lot of books on how to write fiction and few have been as consistently useful as ‘Nascence’ was in explaining where stories can go wrong. Writers everywhere will find this a useful reference and even non-writers who like Buckell’s work will find the autobiographical story of how he came to be a successful author interesting. A very interesting concept for a collection that’s been produced very well. –SF Crowsnest
Tobias Buckell gives examples. Hard examples that tie directly to his advice. Instead of just saying “Write compelling characters” or “Make the reader give a damn” and then telling you why you should follow these rules, he shows you. He gives you a story that breaks the precise rule he is trying to help you avoid, and not only that, but it’s a legitimate example of making the mistake and not one conjured up just to show nascent writers what not to do. We see actual mistakes, not manufactured ones. –ProfessorBeej.com
You see, Buckell’s a good writer. A damn good writer. But, even with a few novels and award nominations under his belt, he’s still humble enough to admit and speak eloquently about his ‘failures’. But, as I’m sure Buckell examines in the collection, is it really a failure if it teaches you something that helps you succeed in the future? – A Dribble of Ink
As I read the book, I’m having to duct tape my Inner Critic to a chair in the corner of my brain to keep it from screaming “He fails better than you even write.” Janet Harriett
Buckell’s insights into why his own stories failed are golden for writers looking to improve. I’ve read a lot of books about the craft of writing, but no book on writing has ever helped me fix a broken story before I read Nascence. Not fixed in a vocabulary, grammar, or sentence structure sort of way, but fixed in a story-structuring way. –Michael Lorenson