An SF Writer’s PledgeOctober 18, 2010
An SF Writer’s Pledge
I am a writer of Speculative Fiction. I do hereby pledge to uphold the principles of the art and craft of this genre.
As an SF Writer, I believe that…
- The genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror are legitimate genres in literature.
- Speculative Fiction has the unique ability to bring writer and reader into a new reality and, by this act, offer insight into our own world.
- There are some stories and truths that are best expressed, or are only expressed, through SF and its subgenres.
As an SF Writer, I shall…
- Write. Not just think about writing or talk about writing. I shall actually sit down and write words, whether on screen or paper.
- Read both other authors and nonfiction.
- Strive to create well-crafted stories: stories that are exciting, that raise questions, and that are worth the time the reader spent reading them.
- Do my utmost to create real, believable characters with individual wants, motivations, and desires. This principle holds for human and non-human characters alike.
- Retain a sense of awe and wonder when dealing with the Universe, and communicate those feelings as best I can.
- Accept that every rule has its exception, but acknowledge that rules tend to have a reason for being.
- Persist. Even if I have to concede some losses, that will not stop me from trying again.
- Keep, above all, the story’s integrity.
As an SF Writer, I shall NOT…
- Use dragons, elves, dwarves, and aliens in ways that have been seen a million times before.
- Blatantly plagiarize.
- Include gratuitous violence, swearing, or sex for shock value or for the mere sake of including them.
- Assign a single, dominating trait to any one character, race, or species.
- Have horses gallop all day long, for days on end, with no breaks for food, water, or rest.
- Break the rules I have established for my world, unless I have a very good, well-rationalized reason.
- Make characters act contrary to their established natures in order to further the plot.
- Defy linguistic and cultural conventions, whether fictional or not, unless I have a very good, well-rationalized reason.
- Protect my characters from the consequences of their actions, or offer them an easy way out through the use of magic, technology, hitherto unknown physics, the supernatural, etc.
- Compare myself to, or attempt to replicate the works of, J.R.R. Tolkien.
In short, I shall strive to ensure that my contributions to the field of Speculative Fiction are the best that my abilities will allow.