How criticism destroys enjoyment and how get past it

When I was teaching screenwriting at Pepperdine, I used to warn my students that their friends were going to stop watching TV with them, and wouldn’t go out to the movies with them anymore.

They’d give me the look.

Then four or six weeks later, one or another would raise her hand and say, “My friends won’t watch TV with me anymore,” or “My friends don’t want me to go to the movies with them anymore.”


Because once they were aware of basic story structure (person has a problem, problem assaults person, personal assaults problem, triggering insight, person transforms, handles problem), they saw that essential structure in every good story and complained when the structure was violated in a clumsy story. So in the after-show conversations, they were able to point out why they felt dissatisfied … Read More 

10 novels that have stayed with me

1984 Brave New World Starship Troopers Les Miserables War Of The Worlds Rebirth/The Chrysalids by John Wyndham 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Contact The Butterfly Kid

Not necessarily the top ten, or even the best ten, just the ten that popped into my head while thinking of the list.

If I had to list authors:

Heinlein Jack Vance Terry Pratchett Spider Robinson John Varley Joanna Russ Harlan Ellison Fred Pohl Zenna Henderson Arthur C. Clarke

I think the list of authors is more interesting because it speaks to a body of work that is uniformly excellent.