"A thumping good read. "

"Couldn't put it down."

"Great stuff. Something you can really get your teeth into."

"Fantasy in the grand tradition of George R.R. Martin or Robert Jordan."


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Blog

You can check in on Words from Thin Air, my blog, for what scanty words of wisdom I may have to offer the writing world.

Workshop

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 Groups.

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)
Aidan Rogers
Alys Robinson (aka Alys Sterling)
Paula Stiles (Fraterfamilias)
Ann Wilkes (The Awesome Lavratt)

Write Fantasy

Writing genre 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 However, 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 own.

Resources 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

"The 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."

Broad Universe
"Broad 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 rules
  • 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
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