Category Archives: Science Fiction & Fantasy Novels

ISOLATION 14

They keep calling me Mr. Hartford. “My name is Donovan,” I say, but can’t be sure I’ve been heard. I’m cold, and I want to tell them that, too, but I can’t, or I don’t try. Someone is holding my … Continue reading

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WE ARE MAKING THIS UP AS WE GO ALONG

Very few writers really know what they are doing until they’ve done it.  —Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird As someone whose full time job is to teach people how to write, and predominantly how to write fiction, I have always had … Continue reading

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PANTSING MY WAY THROUGH AN OUTLINE

In an effort to dispel the ongoing nonsense “battle” between pantsers—authors who get an idea and start writing “by the seat of their pants”—and plotters—authors who write detailed outlines to which they slavishly adhere throughout the writing process—I’d like to show you … Continue reading

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TIMES NEW ROMAN 12, THE ONLY FONT YOU’LL EVER NEED

Times New Roman was created by Stanley Morrison, a type designer, and Victor Lardent, a draftsman, in 1932 for the prestigious Times of London, which had the font “tested by the highest ophthalmic authority” after following the recommendations of the British … Continue reading

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SOME THOUGHTS ON HORROR

All fiction is shared experience. Authors reach out to some unknown other people, across time and distance, and say: “I felt this.” We look to horror in the same way we look to all genres of fiction, to experience what … Continue reading

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RANDOM LESSONS FROM RANDOM BOOKS

Just a couple weeks ago I said again that writers should always be reading, that we can learn more from reading the work of others than we can in most courses or books on writing. This is true—if we’re actively reading. I love … Continue reading

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CONFRONTING THE WEIRD

It’s been a weird year, what with this weird virus making our normal lives weird. It’s weird that kids can’t go to school and their parents can’t go to bars. We had this weird president that made weird decisions, or … Continue reading

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BOOKS FOR FANTASY AUTHORS XXVI: STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE

From time to time I’ll recommend—not review, mind you, but recommend, and yes, there is a difference—books that I think fantasy (and science fiction and horror and all other) authors should have on their shelves. Some may be new and … Continue reading

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REVISION SEARCH PATTERNS

When someone or something is missing, authorities will set up a search pattern or search grid in an effort to systematically comb an area for that missing person or thing, clues to their whereabouts, and so on. You can and … Continue reading

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CHARACTERS SHOULD “MENACE” THEMSELVES

I’ve been reading Steven James’s book Story Trumps Structure, and that, combined with ongoing work with editing clients, has got me thinking about story structure, plot, and the driver behind all of those things: character motivation. James starts his book by … Continue reading

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