Getting a bead on Stanley Schmidt

Getting a bead on Stan.

Stanley is the Editor of Analog Magazine.

As you may or may not know, I have been reading some of Stanley Schmidt’s work in order to get a feel for what he might like in a Sci-Fi story.   My theory is that all things being equal, learning about the man’s interest and style of writing could help me to tailor my stories toward something he has an interest in.

The biggest thing I have learned about Stanley is that he is really just looking for a good story.  My assumption is that there are a lot of those, so I need to hedge my chances by writing in a style and maybe even including content that will catch his fancy.

Here is what I have learned so far:

1) Stanley like music. He includes it as a trait of the Kyyra (Alien race) it in his book “The Sins of the Fathers”. Reading online about Stanley and Analog showed me that Analog magazine employees have also formed an informal band.

2) Stan loves to end a chapter with a hook or cliffhanger for the next chapter.

3) He does a lot of telling in his writing.  I am basing this on “The Sins of the fathers” which was written in 1975, so his writing style may have changed a bit since then.  But it’s good to know that he probably doesn’t consider telling ( as opposed to showing) as much of a mortal sin as some fiction aficionados do.

I had recently read Issac Asimov’s “Foundation” prior to reading Stan’s book. It could just be the temporal proximity of the two rattling around in my brain, but it seems that Stan’s writing style is very similar to Asimov. It made me think that  Asimov may be a mentor of sorts for him. There is also mention of a “Foundation “ in ‘Sins of the fathers” which seemed an awful lot like Stanley’s way of tipping his hat to Asimov.

4) Stanley has a degree of inefficiency in his writing. I think we all do, but the one sentence I really keyed off of was when he used a phrase that was something to the effect of  “He changed the subject”, then went on to show the changing of subject in the dialogue.  If you show the action happening, you really don’t need to tell about it beforehand.

What I gathered from this is that Stanley should be pretty forgiving if I inadvertently do something like that.

I am sure there is a lot more to learn about this man, but I am probably better off just working on perfecting the stories I have to tell, and not worrying so much about tailoring my stories to please one editor.


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