Category Archives: authors helping authors

FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION AS INVENTED HISTORY

Are we all writing historical fiction, but the history is invented? When I was working as the Forgotten Realms novel line editor at Wizards of the Coast, this idea became something of a mantra to me. When it comes to … Continue reading

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THE LONG AND WINDING READ

If you follow me on GoodReads you’ll know that I set up a Reading Challenge every year, and for most of the past few years I’ve actually managed to hit it. That challenge does not, of course, include the many books I … Continue reading

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ON “THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER”

Even if you aren’t writing hardboiled detective, crime, or mystery stories, I think pulp grandmaster Raymond Chandler’s 1950 introduction to “The Simple Art of Murder” is a must-read. Here he dissects the traditional mystery and really seems to be dismantling … Continue reading

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IN A LANGUAGE FAR, FAR AWAY

Some more from the old online worldbuilding course… If we begin with the basic concept that no one literally speaks English in either Westeros or in the galaxy far, far away in which Star Wars takes place then we have to assume … Continue reading

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WRITING IS(N’T NECESSARILY) REWRITING

In A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway told us that, “The only kind of writing is rewriting.” And from there, at least, came generations of similar advice from almost everyone who has ever written about writing—including me, at least sometimes. But like … Continue reading

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PRODUCE, PROTECT, OR DESTROY

This week, I’d like to mine some material from my now defunct online Worldbuilding course. This, on the subject of magic in fantasy, and to some extent, technology in science fiction… In both fantasy magic and science fiction technology, the … Continue reading

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AUTHORS ON EDITORS

It would not be entirely correct to say that, for some decades now, my “day job” has been as an editor. To say “day job” means that it’s significantly less important than my chosen vocation, writer, and is only there … Continue reading

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WHAT DO OUR READERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT US?

When I first started writing—seriously writing—and started getting published, the internet was still a mostly hidden thing used by scientists and a few first adopter types. There wasn’t yet anything like what we now know as “social media.” In those … Continue reading

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PLEASE STOP SHITTING ON GENRE FICTION

Imagine my surprise when I read “Beyond the Plot: Craft Tricks of Great Commercial Thrillers” by Cassidy Lucas at, of all places, Crime Reads. Short reviews of a few “acceptable” genre novels follow this nonsense: Deconstructing the craft of literary … Continue reading

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PIXAR’S 22 RULES OF STORYTELLING

I bet you’ve seen these before—at least a few of them quoted here over the years. The list is all over the internet. I found it at iO9. But this week I’d like to share all twenty-two of what Pixar storyboard … Continue reading

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