I’ve written here before on the subject of intellectual curiosity, and extolled the virtue of reading outside of your chosen/favorite genre. Now here’s a question: Have you written anything but science fiction or fantasy lately? No? Try it!

Of course I’m not suggesting you set aside your fantasy/SF work-in-progress and set to work for the next six months on a mystery novel, but how about a short story? Taking another bit of my own advice and working toward my personal goal of writing more short stories, I’ve put together my own list of the stories I’ve been meaning to write, thinking about writing, and so on, but I’ve also added to that list some stuff I didn’t think I’d ever try. This has matched up well with another resolution of mine, which is to expand my consulting business and my life in general to include new projects, new ideas, fresh starts, and unexpected opportunities. I’m currently working on some “secret projects” including a book I’m finishing up that has some SF elements but is really more of a medical thriller. I’ve even been working through a proposal for a romantic comedy, believe it or not. I’m working with two consulting clients on non-fiction books on subjects I’m not personally an expert on myself—but I am an expert editor, and know how to write and work with writers, etc.

This sort of project has proven to be a godsend not just for my bank account but for my personal and professional development. It’s keeping me interested and fresh and I don’t think I’ve ever been in a position in my professional life where I’m simultaneously learning and teaching across a broader spectrum…

Read the rest in…

Editor and author Philip Athans offers hands on advice for authors of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and fiction in general in this collection of 58 revised and expanded essays from the first five years of his long-running weekly blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook.


—Philip Athans


Follow me on Twitter @PhilAthans

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Or contact me for editing, coaching, ghostwriting, and more at Athans & Associates Creative Consulting.


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, (https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/) is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
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  1. Though I’ve been working on fantasy and science fiction novels for the past 3 years, this past fall I decided to write some short stories within those genres, but also some creative non-fiction. Most recently I started writing some guides and other non-fiction pieces that I plan on self-publishing in the next few months. I think the more types of work you write, the better writer you become.

    I know in my own exploration into other genres has stretched me in ways I couldn’t anticipate and for that I am grateful. I would recommend it to anyone who is seeking to grow as a writer, regardless of whether or not they go on to love their new adopted genre (or determine they actually hate it!).

    Thanks for posting this. It validates many of my own feelings and inclinations on the subject.

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