Skin Game by Jim Butcher scared me

And it wasn’t scary because of horror content either. I picked it up on Friday and only put it down to sleep for a spell (I even tried resting it on the trolley handle at woolies), and page by page my fear grew. By the time I set it down on Saturday afternoon I was terrified.

Terrified because suddenly my own writing didn’t look so hot. It’s not as though my writing is plagued by purple prose, poor characterisation, or saggy plot (once I’m done at least; I worked on defining the characters for a few hours again tonight). I’m not even worried about ramping up tension, something I have tried to emulate since first reading authors like Jim, & Matthew Reilly. What it did hammer home were the two things that I need to do better:


Back-and-forth battles.

Jim writes conflicts where you simply cannot-for-the-life-of-you think how the guy is going to survive the next five minutes, and there are never any get-out-of-jail-free-cards. Nobody comes to the rescue. Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden uses his smarts to beat giant bear-monsters and fallen angels simultaneously, whilst tricking warlocks into beating themselves so he don’t have to.

Long story short: every fight scene I’m writing is about to get a whole lot more complicated.

What do you most admire about your favourite author’s work?

Best regards,


About D.R.Sylvester

A Clinical Research Associate by day (google it), writer by night, D.R.Sylvester lives in Sydney, Australia with his patissiere wife and Siberian Wolf. His interests include travel, music (predominantly Metal), reading, & archery.
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