Things to do on rainy days...
check in on Words from Thin Air, my
blog, for what scanty words of wisdom I may have to offer the
I am a
founder and moderator of the SFWA-recognized Other
Worlds Writers' Workshop, where members happily sharpen their claws on everybody else's
manuscripts in the interest of making them fit for publication.
Make my co-founder and me happy and go shopping on our site, or
join the workshop directly at Yahoo
Keep Up With Friends
These are links to sites and blogs of friends of mine in the SF field.
Check them out!
M.H. Bonham (Lachlei,
Prophecy of Swords, The King's Champion, and others)
Holly Ingraham (People's Names)
Barbara Karmazin (SF romances)
Bren MacDibble (assorted off-the-wall children's tales)
Alys Robinson (aka Alys Sterling)
Paula Stiles (Fraterfamilias)
Ann Wilkes (The Awesome
fiction is much more difficult than writing mainstream fiction,
which is based in settings that people can mostly recognize, if
not relate to (I, for instance, have no clue how the average New
Yorker gets through the day). Mainstream readers, however, will
share some basic knowledge about the everyday world of the
story. Fantasy ain't like that. SF is just as bad, but
constrained by the needs of "real" science to a large
extent. However, if you let yourself be straightjacketed into
only those things that science says are possible, you are
doomed. Doomed, I say! What mankind has learned about the
universe at large is a small drop in a large bucket, so trying
to jam everything into the "real" eliminates 99% of
the speculation that makes genre fiction interesting.
kinky curly clip extensions . visit site . poker online . automatic instagram likes
whatever you write, whether hard SF or fantasy, has to hang
together in believable fashion, whether you try to found it in
actual science of make it up 100% off the top of your head. That
last is rather hard, by the way, and I can't offhand think of
anybody who has actually done that: invented a world out of
whole cloth without using any of the principles of society as we
know it. History and society have certain immutable drivers
founded in basic survival, so unless your people/aliens don't
require any of the things that humans need to survive, you're
going to have to think about mundane things like what your
characters eat, where they live, how they move, how they
interact, what their economy is like, the goods they trade, the
climate they can handle and the materials that form their
dwellings, etc. etc. etc. In short, it needs to be a living,
breathing, lived-in world. Witness George Lucas and his
brilliant Star Wars universe with its beat-up speeders and
spacecraft that break down and its somewhat grubby denizens of
worlds with very real, if different, sorts of problems than our
for Writing Genre Fiction
If you are a
new writer, I can recommend the Seven Keys course taught by my
esteemed co-founder of Other Worlds, Holly Ingraham, a published
writer herself. It will sharpen your eye and introduce you to
writing both good and bad by real writers of yore. Then
check out some of these sites from major pros in the field.
Create a believable world before you drop your
brainchild in the laps of editors or fellow writers to critique.
Center for the Study
of Science Fiction
University of Kansas's site based on the work of James Gunn, which runs the Campbell
and Sturgeon awards in the field. Especially check out
Protocols of Science Fiction"
About why not everyone can make sense of SF, because the use of
language is as different from literary fiction as poetry is from
journalism. In short, why general writers can't be expected to critique us
worth beans beyond the raw basics.
Moonscape: Elizabeth Moon's Homepage
Yes, the writer. Has some excellent articles on writer's block and
depression. "In fact, if you wanted to make a cheery person with no
predisposition to depression depressed, you could stick him in front of a
typewriter or computer for hours a day--feed him a typical writer's diet
-forbid him to exercise, isolate him from friends, and convince him that
his personal worth depended on his "numbers.&quo; Make him live the writer's
life, in other words, and watch him sag."
Universe is an organization with the primary goal of promoting science
fiction, fantasy, and horror written by women. Anyone excited about that
project is welcome to join us. "
Pro Sites (descriptions by my good and
talented friend Holly Ingraham)
- Damon Knight on plot
- Vonda McIntyre on words and other things
- Joan Slonczewski
on the science in science fiction
- Roger MacBride Allen on writing mistakes
- Marian Zimmer Bradley
on what makes a "Ripping Good Yarn"
- "On Thud and Blunder": Poul Anderson on adventure stereotypes and mistakes. But please
notice that he is wrong about not using stallions as warhorses.
- C. J. Cherryh on why you can't write fiction by the English teacher
- Jane S. Fancher on
POV, once you get a little ways down the page
- The Beginning Melisa Michaels, on the basics for beginning writers
- C. J. Cherryh on Characters (strong vs. weak, well-drawn vs. poorly-drawn, and how to avoid the last)
- Vonda McIntyre on words and other things, then go down the page to "Pitfalls."
On the same page she has an Adobe PDF file on manuscript preparation that is a must-read.
- Bartleby gives on-line access to the major writer's reference books:
Strunk's Elements of Style and Roget's Thesaurus, among others.
- Dr. Suzette Haden Elgin, working in her double profession of scifi writer
and linguist, gives us the basics of creating a new language
- Jane Yolen on joy in writing, for those who don't want to suffer for their
art but still do great stuff