I think this is the first time since I started Fantasy Author’s Handbook that Christmas fell on a Tuesday. I’ve posted on other holidays before, but this one is different.

What makes it different? My wife insists I not work on Christmas. She’s fine with me working on, say, Halloween, but apparently working on Christmas is the worst thing anyone could ever do. Unless you work at a movie theater or a Chinese restaurant.

So this post is actually being written on Christmas Eve, which even then is relegated only to a small dollop of “light work.”

Last week I provided some practical writing advice regarding holidays and worldbuilding. I’ve extolled the virtues of taking time off in the past—no need to cover that territory again—so what to write this week?

The Christmas spirit has been dampened a bit all across the country because of recent events, and what feels like a continuing slide into a deeper malaise—economic, social, and otherwise. But this is a blog about writing. I’m not getting into all that, and besides, last year I promised to live in the future and work hard toward good goals rather than suffer over spilled milk.

To that end, I’m going to take this Christmas off, spend some time with my wife and kids over the next few days, then start 2013 working my ass off.

Whatever your spiritual inclinations, have a great whatever it is you celebrate, even if it’s just another day, and we’ll get back to talking about writing fantasy and science fiction next week.



—Philip Athans


About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, ( is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
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  1. Pingback: MY BICENTENNIAL (AFTER A FASHION) | Fantasy Author's Handbook

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