- People who think that free publication is the same as being published in a professional magazine. It’s not. Stop pretending that your free podcast fiction piece that nobody paid you for and is being put out on the net to about thirty people is the same as someone like Jason Sanford selling a piece to Interzone. It’s not remotely the same. It’s nice that you’re building yourself up and trying to get publication credits, but editors care about as much as I do about non-paying markets: none. It’s worth very little, especially when placed next to someone of equal skill who has sold to better markets. (For the record, I am editor of a small magazine, but we’re a paying market. We don’t pay much, hardly anything, but it’s better than free. Writers with talent deserve to be paid for their work. You wouldn’t work for Taco Bell for free would you?)
- Writers who say stupid things like “science fiction is dead” or “I write to the market.” Science fiction isn’t dead and you can’t technically write to the market unless you happen to be incredibly good at predicting the future. Trends change so damn rapidly these days that most people just get lucky when they hit on a big thing. Maybe a few writers are capable of writing fast enough to write to the market, but that’s still stupid. At least to me it is…
- Infodumps in short stories. It’s a short story; there isn’t time for that sort of thing.
- People who think they are better than you because they wrote a book. Nothing wrong with being humble. Seriously. Try it.
- People who think that science fiction is exactly the same as fantasy, based upon the terms’ standard definitions and common understandings. The categories are held to be generally distinct for a lot of reasons, but mostly for marketing purposes. Generally speaking science fiction is spaceships, technology, and science, while fantasy is dragons, wizards, and magic. That’s speaking generally. There’s certainly something to be said about the blending of genres, as discussed in the comment to one of my recent posts, but the two are still distinct genres for the most part.