INDEX

 

AN INDEX TO FANTASY AUTHOR’S HANDBOOK

 

First, chronologically…

 

June 2009

June 15, 2009 Who is Philip Athans?

I should probably update this—my autobiography.

* * *

July 2009

July 7, 2009 I Spent My Bonus On Books

In which I encourage everyone to spend too much money on books.

* * *

July 14, 2009 Galen Blinked His Elbow

Advice for writers that should not be ignored.

* * *

July 21, 2009 But it Just Isn’t a Rule

It’s okay to use and or but at the beginning of a sentence. There, I said it.

* * *

July 28, 2009 Annihilation by Any Other Name

Share my joy and horror at being translated into other languages.

* * *

August 2009

August 4, 2009 Hi Conan, It’s Me, Phil

My love letter to the legendary barbarian.

* * *

August 11, 2009 Save the Bullshit Excuses

If you’re gonna write, write!

* * *

August 18, 2009 My Dog Ate It, 21st Century Style

Don’t tell me your hard drive crashed. Just don’t.

* * *

August 25, 2009 The Foresooth File

Didst thou ever attempt to write foresoothy dialog, and know not how to begin?

* * *

September 2009

September 1, 2009 Books for Fantasy Authors I: Medieval Wordbook

I recommend you find a copy of this excellent reference book by Madeline Pelner Cosman.

* * *

September 8, 2009 Born at the Right Time

A love letter to my wife, and Star Trek.

* * *

September 15, 2009 Vignette: An unpublished space opera story in two parts. . . .

The first part of an original SF story by yours truly.

* * *

September 22, 2009 Vignette: Part Two

The conclusion of this entertaining tale of interstellar derring-do.

* * *

September 29, 2009 Books for Fantasy Authors II: Payback

Why you must buy and read this fascinating book by Margaret Atwood.

* * *

October 2009

October 6, 2009 Live Long and Prosper, Authors

Musings on why SF authors seem to live so long.

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October 13, 2009 Wordstock 2009

A convention report on this great Portland, Oregon book fair.

* * *

October 20, 2009 Snippets from the First Draft

Bits of the work-in-progress that became The Guide to Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction.

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October 27, 2009 King of the Capital

Some commonsense advice on when to use capital letters.

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November 2009

November 3, 2009 E-books Will Save and/or Destroy the World

My take on the e-book revolution in the wake of Macmillan vs. Amazon.

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November 11, 2009 Books for Fantasy Authors III: My Ten Favorite Fantasy Novels

A look at my desert-island books, if the desert island is the lair of a hungry dragon.

* * *

November 18, 2009 A Prisoner of the Prisoner

My experiences experiencing the classic BBC series The Prisoner for the first time.

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November 24, 2009 What I’m Thankful For, 2009

In honor of Thanksgiving.

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December 2009

December 1, 2009 Relieved, But Nervous

Share my struggles with PFDSD (Post First Draft Stress Disorder).

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December 8, 2009 Horror Isn’t Fantasy. There, I Said It

I dissect the BookScan best sellers list and shatter some false trends.

* * *

December 15, 2009 Dizes Dager

A very early work by Philip Athans, unearthed in the garage.

* * *

December 22, 2009 Judging by its Cover

I reveal the cover art and design for The Guide to Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction.

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December 29, 2009 Resolutions, 2010

I make some promises for the year ahead.

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January 2010

January 5, 2010 Write For Your Audience

On writing for various age groups.

* * *

January 12, 2010 Cross & Mix Genres

Fantasy-romance, fantasy-horror, fantasy-?

* * *

January 19, 2010 Books for Fantasy Authors IV: World Builder’s Handbook

In which I recommend an obscure, long-lost role-playing game product to any and every author of science fiction.

* * *

January 26, 2010 Excuse Me, Number One, I Have to Go Number Two

Not just about why you don’t need to show your characters going to the bathroom, but yeah, that’s part of it.

* * *

February 2010

February 2, 2010 The Five Misconceptions

I try to bring a little reality to the e-book debate.

* * *

February 9, 2010 Galley Slave

The joys and hardships of reading a galley, and how they got that name.

* * *

February 16, 2010 Books for Fantasy Authors V: My Ten Favorite Science Fiction Novels

My desert island books, if the desert island is surrounded by the methane seas of Titan.

* * *

February 23, 2010 Phil’s Mailbag

My reply to a letter from a young fan.

* * *

March 2010

March 2, 2010 When You Die, Can I Have This?

My first impressions of my Sony Reader.

* * *

March 9, 2009 Publishing Business Conference & Expo: Day One

First in a series of reports on a major industry conference I attended in New York.

* * *

March 10, 2010 Publishing Business Conference & Expo: Day Two

Still in New York, still conferencing.

* * *

March 16, 2010 Advice for Authors from the Publishing Business Conference & Expo

Distilled insight on the present and future of publishing every author should read.

* * *

March 23, 2010 Don’t Be a Snobby Reader (Like Me) or How Andy Gibb Made Me Want to Read a Romance Novel

Heartfelt words of advice from someone trying not to be dismissive of other genres.

* * *

March 30, 2010 Review This

“Deleted scenes” from The Guide to Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction, in which I make known my opinion of critics.

* * *

April 2010

April 6, 2010 Sakura-Con 2010: Where My Nerdy Sisters At?

Another convention report, with a nod to my daughter and the other girls who flooded this Seattle anime convention. Yes, I said girls.

* * *

April 13, 2010 Show Me A Story

What editors mean when we tell you to SHOW don’t TELL.

* * *

April 20, 2010 Don’t Apologize for Having Fun

Loving tie-ins, sword & sorcery, and space opera means never having to say you’re sorry.

* * *

April 27, 2009 Books for Fantasy Authors VI: Take Joy

A must-read book by Jane Yolen for all writers of all genres.

* * *

May 2010

May 4, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews I: Mike Resnick

My interview with the most decorated SF/fantasy author of all time, and a really great guy.

* * *

May 11, 2010 Quotes in the Scriptorium

In which I use Paul Auster’s novel Travels in the Scriptorium as an example of when and why to break the accepted rules of grammar and usage.

* * *

May 18, 2009 Following Up

Touching back on some previous posts, including how badly I’m failing to hold to my New Year’s resolutions.

* * *

May 25, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews II: John Betancourt

I talk with the man behind Wildside Press about SF, fantasy, and publishing in general.

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June 2010

June 1, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews III: Paul S. Kemp

A candid chat with my friend and co-conspirator, The New York Times best-selling creator of Erevis Cale.

* * *

June 8, 2010 Sony Reader: The (Probably) Final Word

What more can I say about my poor beleaguered e-book device?

* * *

June 15, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Exercises I: About the Author

I challenge you to write your bio, with a little advice for good measure.

* * *

June 22, 2010 End of Part Two

Written just a few hours after being laid off from 15 years at Wizards of the Coast.

* * *

June 29, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews IV: Terry Brooks

Literally a living literary legend of the genre, Terry Brooks offers advice, wisdom, and humor.

* * *

July 2010

July 6, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews V: Chantelle Shaw

My interview with romance novelist Chantelle Shaw, on the similarities and differences of the genres in question.

* * *

July 13, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Exercises II: Cover Copy

The art and craft of cover copy, today’s homework assignment.

* * *

July 20, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews VI: Lou Anders

Pyr editor and anthologist Lou Anders talks fantasy, SF, and everything in between.

* * *

July 27, 2010 In Search of the First Paragraph

I break down the first paragraph of six of my favorite SF/F books.

* * *

August 2010

August 3, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews VII: Kevin J. Anderson

My conversation with best-selling author Kevin J. Anderson on worldbuilding, tie-ins, and more.

* * *

August 10, 2010 Chapter 1 Errata and Additional Material

A closer look at the first chapter of The Guide to Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction, fixing mistakes, and resurrecting edited text.

* * *

August 17, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Exercises III: A One-page Synopsis

Tough love on how to distill your book down to one page without cheating.

* * *

August 24, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews VIII: Ethan Ellenberg

Literary agent Ethan Ellenberg on the state of publishing, and advice for authors.

* * *

August 31, 2010 Disaster!

Feel my pain at losing a day’s writing to a mistake transferring a Word file from my laptop to my flash drive.

* * *

September 2010

September 7, 2010 National Buy a Book Day

The first in what I hope will be many annual events in support of authors, publishers, booksellers, and book stores.

* * *

September 14, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews IX: Brendan Deneen

I delve into the mind of a former movie producer, agent, and current editor on the state of the publishing business.

* * *

September 21, 2010 Step One Errata & Additional Material

What was cut, what I got wrong, and what I should have done differently in the first of the six “steps” from The Guide to Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction.

* * *

September 28, 2010 Books for Fantasy Authors VII: Born Standing Up

Find out what SF/fantasy authors can learn from Steve Martin’s memoir.

* * *

October 2010

October 5, 2010 Wanted: One Deadline, Any Condition

In which I bemoan my own ability to self-motivate.

* * *

October 12, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews X: Paul Park

Wisdom from the critically-acclaimed author of A Princess of Roumania.

* * *

October 19, 2010 Step Two Errata & Additional Material

“Deleted scenes” and clarifications from The Guide to Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction.

* * *

October 26, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Exercises IV: A Brief History of the Alpha Centauri System

Homework, with an email address for you to send it in for review.

* * *

November 2010

November 2, 2010 7° of National Novel Writing Month

I make a firm statement of purpose: I will write a 50,000 word novel in November.

* * *

November 9, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews XI: J.M. McDermott

I chat with one of the most original voices in fantasy… or any genre.

* * *

November 16, 2010 Step Three Errata & Additional Material  (Part 1)

More follow-ups to The Guide to Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction.

* * *

November 23, 2010 Step Three Errata & Additional Material (Part 2)

And still more follow-ups to The Guide to Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction.

* * *

November 30, 2010 NaNoWriMo: Fail

In which I admit defeat on that 50,000 word novel in November.

* * *

December 2010

December 7, 2010 Wait… What Happened?

Advice on what not to skip over in your story.

* * *

December 14, 2010 Books for Fantasy Authors VIII: The Eerie Silence

A brilliant review of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by Paul Davies.

* * *

December 21, 2010 Step Four Errata & Additional Material (Part One)

Expanded advice on worldbuilding.

* * *

December 28, 2010 Resolutions, 2011

A year-end wrap up and a look to the future.

* * *

January 2011

January 4, 2011 Books for Fantasy Authors IX: The Essentials

Some must-have books to have close at hand.

* * *

January 11, 2011 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews XII: Jess Lebow

A successful novelist and video game creator speaks out.

* * *

January 18, 2011 Step Four Errata & Additional Material (Part Two)

More “deleted scenes” and commentary on The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction.

* * *

January 25, 2011 The 2+3 Team: Organizing for Category-Agnostic Creative Development

Some business advice for creative studios.

* * *

February 2011

February 1, 2011 Successful vs. Successful

What does “success” mean to you?

* * *

February 8, 2011 Step Five Errata & Additional Material

More on the subjects of action and romance.

* * *

February 15, 2011 Books for Fantasy Authors X: Writing the Breakout Novel

I recommend agent Donald Maass’s exceptional book for all genres.

* * *

February 22, 2011 In The Rough

I look at my own rough draft and why it’s okay to just let it flow.

* * *

March 2011

March 1, 2011 Step Six Errata & Additional Material

Humor, anachronisms, and setting your own rules.

* * *

March 8, 2011 Heard You Missed Me, Comic Books, I’m Back

I started buying comic books on a regular basis again—and I still am!

* * *

March 15, 2011 Look Out, Wondercon, Here I Come!

I get ready for a bog convention in San Francisco.

* * *

March 22, 2011 Part III Errata & Additional Material

A little more on the professional life.

* * *

March 29, 2011 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews XIII: Peter D. Adkison

A chat with my former boss, Wizards of the Coast founder Peter Adkison.

* * *

April 2011

April 5, 2011 Wondercon 2011

My con report—it went well!

* * *

April 12, 2011 Part III Errata & Additional Material, Part Two

Tie-ins and other opportunities for genre writers.

* * *

April 19, 2011 Practice, Practice, Practice

If you want to write well, you have to write in the first place!

* * *

April 26, 2011 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews XIV: Jim Minz

I talk with the editor at Baen Books about military SF, urban fantasy, and so on.

* * *

May 2011

May 3, 2011 Don’t Grow Out of It

Why do people keep saying they used to read SF/fantasy?

* * *

May 10, 2011 I Only Thought I Was Done

Trials and tribulations on the way to a first draft.

* * *

May 17 2011 My 100th Post

Risking a tear in the time-space continuum, I blog about blogging.

* * *

May 24, 2011 The Publishing Business is Not Dying

Good news from the Association of American Publishers, especially for e-publishers.

* * *

May 31, 2011 Another Memorial Day

Musings on war in fantasy and SF… and reality.

* * *

June 2011

June 7, 2011 Where Are All The Tie-in Novels?

I challenge the vide game business to TIE IN!

* * *

June 14, 2011 E3 2011: Bigger is . . . Bigger

My report on the massively massive Electronic Entertainment Expo in L.A.

* * *

June 21, 2011 The Hardest Part: Patience

Most of being a professional writer is waiting to hear back, and that sucks.

* * *

June 28, 2011 Legion: A Study in Inconsistency & Implausibility, Part One

I take the movie Legion to task in order to prove a point.

* * *

July 2011

July 5, 2011 Legion: A Study on Inconsistency & Implausibility, Part Two

Why motivation is so important.

* * *

July 12, 2011 Something About the Shuttle/Space Program

Thoughts on the end of an era, and the beginning of a new one.

* * *

July 19, 2011 How to Sell Your Fantasy & Science Fiction to Agents and Editors

I pimp my Writers Digest University “webinar.”

* * *

July 26, 2011 Miscellaneous Business

I needed to get some stuff cleaned up, so I did.

* * *

August 2011

August 2, 2011 Completely Broken

Read my scary thriller on the Kindle and Smashwords.

* * *

August 9, 2011 Self-Published E-books Are Losing Readers Due to Bad Editing

True? False? Find out what I think.

* * *

August 16, 2011 The National Buy A Book Day Foundation Needs You!

A call for help to get this organization off the ground.

* * *

August 23, 2011 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XV: Ari Marmell

I talk about fantasy, publishing, and all sorts of things with this exciting young author.

* * *

August 30, 2011 Work in Progress: The Haunting of Dragon’s Cliff

A look behind the scenes of the writing of the first book in the Arron of the Black Forest series.

* * *

September 2011

September 6, 2011 National Buy a Book Day is Here Again

On September 7, every year, buy a book!

* * *

September 13, 2011 10,500 Word for the Love of the Game

More behind the scenes of he writing of The Haunting of Dragon’s Cliff.

* * *

September 20, 2011 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XVI: Alan Dean Foster

I chat with one of my favorite authors, a true SF/fantasy legend.

* * *

September 27, 2011 The Haunting of Dragon’s Cliff

Announcing the release of The Haunting of Dragon’s Cliff!

* * *

October 2011

October 4, 2011 Beware of Typos Bearing Gifts

Mistakes are not a badge of honor.

* * *

October 11, 2011 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XVII: Donald Maass

I get the skinny from one of New York’s top agents.

* * *

October 18. 2011 The Loneliness of the Long Distance Author

Hey! I’m over here!

* * *

October 25, 2011 In Defense of Multiple Points of View

Who’s head are we in, and why?

* * *

November 2011

November 1, 2011 De-re-prioritizing Reading

An in-depth report in my reading OCD.

* * *

November 8, 2011 The Art & Science of the Title

A little bit about what to call it when you’re done.

* * *

November 15, 2011 Books for Fantasy Authors XI: The Red Hourglass

Don’t invent a monster without it.

* * *

November 22, 2011 What I’m Thankful For, 2011

The holiday tradition continues.

* * *

November 29, 2011 The Fathomless Abyss

A secret project revealed!

* * *

December 2011

December 6, 2011 Excerpts from the Fathomless Abyss

Teasers from the opening anthology.

* * *

December 13, 2011 NASA Future Forum

I spent a day with rocket scientists.

* * *

December 20, 2011 God Has a Sense of Humor (I Hope)

How to Start Your Own Religion… a Christmas miracle!

* * *

December 27, 2011 Resolutions 2012 (The Semi-coherent Rant Edition)

Watch me unravel online.

* * *

January 2012

January 3, 2012 Healthy Body/Healthy Mind

Don’t forget to take care of yourself.

* * *

January 10, 2011 Take a Day Off

And don’t forget to give yourself a little time off.

* * *

January 17, 2012 Flashes of Inspiration: Stealing From Your Own Experience

What your life can bring to your writing.

* * *

January 24, 2012 Books for Fantasy Authors XII: Last Breath (and Stranger Than Fiction)

What does death feel like?

* * *

January 31, 2012 Work in Progress: Devils of the Endless Deep

I did finish it… eventually

* * *

February 2012

February 7, 2012 25 Years After My First Sale(s)

Have I really been doing this, professionally, for that long?

* * *

February 14, 2012 To Swear or Not to Swear

. . . that is the question!

* * *

February 21, 2012 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XVIII: Mats Minnhagen

The Fathomless Abyss cover artist speaks.

* * *

February 28, 2012 Details, Details, Details

Pay attention!

* * *

March 2012

March 6, 2012 What Moves Your Villain: Excuse vs. Defense

Advice from a traffic court judge.

* * *

March 13, 2012 Depression and Writer’s Block

You are not alone.

* * *

March 20 Do I Have to Go to College?

No, but.…

* * *

March 27, 2012 Arron’s Lonely Blog

Go read the Arron of the Black Forest blog!

* * *

April 2012

April 3, 2012 Emerald City Comicon 2012

The most fun I’ve had at a convention in ages.

* * *

April 10, 2012 He Wouldn’t Do That

I complain about a complaint.

* * *

April 17, 2012 Updates, Secret Projects, and Miscellany

I get some loose ends tied up.

* * *

April 24, 2012 Prologue Books and Me

The skinny on one of my consulting clients.

* * *

May 2012

May 1, 2012 The Ten Years War

Looking back on R.A. Salvatore’s War of the Spider Queen

* * *

May 8, 2012 Books for Fantasy Authors XIII: Columbine

One of the scariest books I’ve ever read.

* * *

May 16, 2012 Complete Bibliography

But this page is better!

* * *

May 22, 2012 Devils of the Endless Writing Process

When you finally have to admit your outline is crap.

* * *

May 29, 2012 Professor Phil

I’m teaching a continuing ed. Class!

* * *

June 2012

June 5, 2012 A Day of Me3tings

My whirlwind trip to LA for E3.

* * *

June 12, 2012 Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012

The passing of a true master of the art.

* * *

June 19, 2012 Fall Into the Fathomless Abyss

Devils of the Endless Deep is finally for sale!

* * *

June 26, 2012 Basic Training

A few things every writer should know.

* * *

July 2012

July 3, 2012 Getting Started

How to START writing!

* * *

July 10, 2012 Help Me, J.T. McIntosh, Wherever You Are

Okay, I found them, stand down from APB!

* * *

July 17, On Vacation

I went to Vegas. The rest stays there.

* * *

July 24, 2012 Living Dialog

Advice for writing dialog that speaks.

* * *

July 31, 2012 Formula vs. Recipe

What is “formulaic” writing, really? And when is it a good thing?

* * *

August 2012

August 7, 2012 An Evil Genius, Bent on World Domination … But Why?

The three Ms for great villains: Motivation, Motivation, and Motivation.

* * *

August 14, 2012 Nirvana Gates and My Tendency to Avoid Groups

Thinking about what groups your characters belong to … if any.

* * *

August 21, 2012 Everything, All at Once

Prioritizing projects and deadlines.

* * *

August 28, 2012 Taking My Own Advice

Do what I say and I will, too.

* * *

September 2012

September 4 Buy a Book on Friday

Coming up on another National Buy a Book Day.

* * *

September 11, 2012 Another Buy a Book Day in the Books

Find out what I bought on National Buy a Book Day.

* * *

September 18, 2012 Taking My Own Advice, Step I

Trying to avoid spoilers. Not having much success.

* * *

September 25, 2012 At Play in the Fields of Fantasy

Have fun with fantasy, but don’t make fun of fantasy.

* * *

October 2012

October 2, 2012 Books for Fantasy Authors XIV: The Prince

I take a look at the seminal text by Machiavelli.

* * *

October 9, 2012 I’d Like to Thank My Parents, Ed Greenwood and Ayn Rand

What I was thinking with the Watercourse Trilogy.

* * *

October 16, 2012 The Name Game

How to name your characters.

* * *

October 23, 2012 “Now Go Home and Write!”

My trip to LA for the Writers Digest Conference West.

* * *

October 30, 2012 Ask, and You Shall Receive

I unveil ASK PHIL.

* * *

November 2012

November 6, 2012 Funny You Should Say That

Humor in SF and fantasy.

* * *

November 13, 2012 Character vs. Gimmick: A Tale of Two Short Stories

Learn from my mistakes and write better short stories!

* * *

November 20, 2012 What I’m Thankful For, 2012

We pause to say thanks.

* * *

November 27, 2012 How Not to Open a Short Story

More practical advice for short story writers.

* * *

December 2012

December 4, 2012 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XIX: Erin M. Evans

I chat with the author of Brimstone Angels.

* * *

December 11, 2012 Buy My E-books, Please

I come out hat in hand for Arron of the Black Forest and The Fathomless Abyss.

* * *

December 18, 2012 Happy Feast of the Moon

Add holidays to your fantasy worlds.

* * *

December 25, 2012 Merry Christmas

The Big Day fell on a Tuesday this year.

* * *

January 2013

January 1, 2013 Resolutions, 2013

Happy New Year?

* * *

January 8, 2013 Every Writer Must Have Intellectual Curiosity

Are you constantly learning about everything? You should be!

* * *

January 15, 2013 Sit Your Ass Down and Do It!

You know, at some point, you’re going to have to actually write.

* * *

January 22, 2013 What Are Your Writing Goals for 2013?

I think it helps to have something to shoot for.

* * *

January 29, 2013 No One Cares About Your Great Idea

Much more on the concept of actually, y’know, writing the thing.

* * *

February 2013

February 5, 2013 If I Were (a Bit More of) a Grammar Geek

In which I bemoan the lack of a shared style guide for fiction writers.

* * *

February 12, 2013 What Not to Say

Some practical advice on the subject of dialog.

* * *

February 19, 2013 Writing Wrongs

Why we should occasionally contribute a short story.

* * *

February 26, 2013 Predator/Prey: Why Monsters Are Scary

This was eventually expanded into a whole chapter in Writing Monsters.

* * *

March 2013

March 5, 2013 The One-sitting Short Story

Seventeen months later, you get a chance to read this story!

* * *

March 12, 2013 The Joys of Teaching

Get out there into the world and share your wisdom.

* * *

March 19, 2013 Sick & Busy

Can you take a “sick day” when you don’t, technically, have a “job”?

* * *

March 26, 2013 On Authorship

Another vain attempt to secure respect for writers.

* * *

April 2013

April 2, 2013 Manuscript Format

Even in the digital age, this still matters!

* * *

April 9, 2013 Things Are Going to Start Happening to Me Now

A splash of cold social media water.

* * *

April 16, 2013 My Bicentennial (After a Fashion)

Celebrates 200 posts!

* * *

April 23, 2013 What You Need and What You Should Have

Basic tools of the writing trade.

* * *

April 30, 2013 Tools of the Trade: Traveller5

Use role-playing games as inspiration and worldbuilding tools.

* * *

May 2013

May 7, 2013 Found: Sixteen-and-a-Half Deadlines, Slightly Used

I’ve been getting busier lately.

* * *

May 14, 2013 Plausible Technobabble

How to put the fictional science in your science fiction.

* * *

May 21, 2013 Nobody’s Fault

What about natural disasters?

* * *

May 28, 2013 The Distance Between Here and There

Maps can help you keep your worldbuilding on track.

* * *

June 2013

June 4, 2013 What Else Are You Working On?

A little bit on multitasking and keeping your imagination fresh.

* * *

June 11, 2013 School’s In

What are you doing to keep learning?

* * *

June 18, 2013 Ouch!

How a toothache can inform your fiction.

* * *

June 25, 2013 Only Imperial Stormtroopers are This (Im)precise

Getting deeper into the concept of plausibility.

* * *

July 2013

July 2, 2013 Write What You Know, But Then Some

Don’t let all of your protagonists be you.

* * *

July 9, 2013 What Readers Respond to in a Hero

Personal qualities that make your characters stand out.

* * *

July 16, 2013 First Things First

What happens after you’ve finished writing, and what comes first and what comes last.

* * *

July 23, 2013 Getting Out There

Go to conferences and conventions!

* * *

July 30, 2013 Typesetting Basics for POD

Do not self-publish until you read (at least) this.

* * *

August 2013

August 6, 2013 Travelling with Traveller

I gush about one of my all-time favorite RPGs.

* * *

August 13, 2013 Movies About Books and Writing

Some recommended viewing.

* * *

August 20, 2013 Reading Writing About Writing

And some recommended reading.

* * *

August 27, 2013 I Geek, You Geek

In which I fully embrace my geekiness, and pass it on.

* * *

September 2013

September 3, 2013 September 7: National Buy a Book Day (Again!)

Go out and buy a book every September 7th!

* * *

September 10, 2013 Bought!

What I bought on National Buy a Book Day.

* * *

September 17, 2013 Summer’s End

Both bemoaning and celebrating the end of a busy summer.

* * *

September 24, 2013 What Publishers Have That You Don’t

Some tough love for self-publishers, but based entirely on fact.

* * *

October 2013

October 1, 2013 What Are You Wearing… And Why?

Costuming as part of worldbuilding.

* * *

October 8, 2013 Write Down These Three Questions

Why here? Why now? Why them?

* * *

October 15, 2013 Write-Arounds

A useful tip if research has failed you.

* * *

October 22, 2013 One Hour and Counting

Kind of a missing week…

* * *

October 29, 2013 Science Fiction Can be Fun Again

Why I think SF is struggling in publishing, but flourishing in cinema.

* * *

November 2013

November 5, 2013 If At Forty-ninth You Don’t Succeed, Try and Try Again

If your process doesn’t keep you writing, experiment with new processes!

* * *

November 12, 2013 Six Ways to Break Through Writer’s Block

Get yourself writing again.

* * *

November 19, 2013 One Hundred Titles

I run through one of the previous week’s writer’s block exercises.

* * *

November 26, 2013 What I’m Thankful For, 2013

An irregular Fantasy Author’s Handbook “tradition.”

* * *

December 2013

December 3, 2013 Missing Day

One of the rare Tuesdays without (really) posting.

* * *

December 10, 2013 “Some Basic Dialog Tips,” Phil Suggested

Hands-on advice for dialog—a must read!

* * *

December 24, 2013 A Picture Inspires a Thousand Words

A fun writing exercise I hope you’ll try.

* * *

December 31, 2013 2013 in Review

WordPress retrospective on 2013 in Fantasy Author’s Handbookland.

* * *

December 31, 2013 Just One Resolution

Getting serious about the end of the year.

* * *

January 2014

January 7, 2014 Keeping a Handle on Worldbuilding

You don’t have to build it all.

* * *

January 14, 2014 I Mean, Enough Already

I mean, where did this weird verbal tick, I mean, come from?

* * *

January 21, 2014 The Six Editors

Knowing which sort of edit your book needs and when.

* * *

January 28, 2014 Abstract Though and Why You’re So Smart

A look at how our brains have changed over time, and what that means to fantasy fiction.

* * *

February 2014

February 4, 2014 Exploring Storyist

I try one of them there newfangled writing software gizmos…

* * *

February 11, 2014 The Single Most Important Element to Every Character

Keeping your characters active.

* * *

February 18, 2014 Some Copy Tips

For when the time comes to sell this thing.

* * *

February 25, 2014 Exploring Storyist 2: The Dull Thud

. . . and find it seriously wanting.

* * *

March 2014

March 4, 2014 Informed Consent: Your Editor and You

Looking to the medical profession for some insight into the author-editor relationship.

* * *

March 11, 2014 Dialog Exercise: Time, Place, and Genre

A fun exercise for the dialog-challenged.

* * *

March 18, 2014 More Traveller… Finally!

When I was still involved in Traveller fiction.

* * *

March 25, 2014 Some Dialog Tips: We Know Who He’s Talking To

How to prevent your characters from sounding like used car salesmen.

* * *

April 2014

April 1, 2014 Books for Fantasy Author’s XV: Why I Write

I take a deeper look at some exceptional essays by the great George Orwell.

* * *

April 8, 2014 Caution: Adverbs Crossing

Are they really the roots of all evil? Well, maybe not all evil.

* * *

April 15, 2014 Writing Monsters

A first look at my book on, well, Writing Monsters, from Writer’s Digest Books.

* * *

April 22, 2014 Pick My Brain

How to find me for a story consultation via Writer’s Digest.

* * *

April 29, 2014 Contractions Aren’t Bad

Another way to keep your writing from sounding overly formal.

* * *

May 2014

May 6, 2014 Chekhov’s Gun and the Mental Inventory

A case for the elimination of unnecessary detail.

* * *

May 13, 2014 About the Author (You)

Some tips for writing your all-important author bio.

* * *

May 20, 2014 Precisely What Not to Do

The Star Trek reboot and the perils and pitfalls of intellectual property management.

* * *

May 27, 2014 The Care and Feeding of Red Shirts

Why you need minor characters to sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice.

* * *

June 2014

June 3, 2014 One of Those Weeks

Did I salvage a blog post fail?

* * *

June 10, 2014 The Pale Blue Dot

In remembrance of the late, great, Carl Sagan.

* * *

June 17, 2014 Making a Long Story Short

I start to address the length of books.

* * *

June 24, 2014 Worldbuilding Needs You!

For the record, I no longer teach these in-person classes.

* * *

July 2014

July 1, 2014 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XX: Logan L. Masterson

A look into the career and process of a young author at the beginning of his career.

* * *

July 8, 2014 What Makes a Monster Scary?

A full chapter from my book Writing Monsters.

* * *

July 15, 2014 Thinking in Bullet Points

Some note-taking tips for getting the basics down before you start writing.

* * *

July 22, 2014 Why Amazon Doesn’t Scare Me

Don’t fear the monopoly-that-isn’t.

* * *

July 29, 2014 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XXI: Tommy Hancock

A conversation with the founder of Pro Se Productions and a champion of the New Pulp.

* * *

August 2014

August 5, 2014 What Pulp Can Teach Us

Lessons from the high-output, high-octane authors of the Pulp Era.

* * *

August 12, 2104 Are You Attending a Conference this Year?

Get out there and be with other writers, and learn to write better.

* * *

August 19, 2014 No More Summer, Please

I whine a little about wanting to get back to work.

* * *

August 26, 2014 Online Worldbuilding Class Still Open!

I move my worldbuilding class to the internet.

* * *

September 2014

September 2, 2014 A Worldbuilding Example Explained at Last

I’ve always asked: What happens when a character dies and you haven’t thought about funeral rites in your world?

* * *

September 9, 2014 Don’t Let This be the Last National Buy a Book Day!

. . . but it pretty much was.

* * *

September 16, 2014 Are You Keeping Up?

The world is moving pretty fast. Are you getting left behind?

* * *

September 23, 2014 Thoughts on the Difference Between Science Fiction and Fantasy

I mull over a quote from Rod Serling.

* * *

September 30, 2014 Where Did This Dumb Idea Come From?

A little on the source of story ideas.

* * *

October 2014

October 7, 2014 The Strange Geometry of a Well-Placed Attorney

I present a short story I wrote with all the best intentions…

* * *

October 14, 2014 Phil vs. Cthulhu’s Lawyer

. . . then break down why it sucks so much.

* * *

October 21, 2014 The Hurrier I Go, the Behinder I Get

From one of my many too-busy periods.

* * *

October 28, 2014 Books for Fantasy Authors XVI: Scatter, Adapt, and Remember

A must-read for all SF authors, but particularly all you post-apocalypsers.

* * *

November 2014

November 4, 2014 Immediately, Suddenly, and Abruptly Stop Using the Words Immediately, Suddenly, and Abruptly

Sensitize yourself to some lazy word choices… then stop choosing them.

* * *

November 11, 2014 Catching Up With Phil (Again)

Some more or less random thoughts on what I’ve been up to.

* * *

November 18, 2014 More on Accelerating Technology

A look at the past’s view of the future.

* * *

November 25, 2014 Learn This Stuff Right Now or Stop Writing

Some essential basic craft stuff that everyone needs to know.

* * *

December 2014

December 2, 2014 Pacing an Action Scene

With extensive examples courtesy of R.A. Salvatore.

* * *

December 9, 2014 The Legal Page

What all that mysterious stuff on a book’s legal/copyright page means.

* * *

December 16, 2014 Done!*

What I felt like having (more or less) finished a book.

* * *

December 23, 2014 Wrapping Up 2014

My year-end thoughts.

* * *

December 30, 2014 The Sci-Fi Paperback Grab-Bag

How I’ll start reading some of those old SF/F paperbacks I have laying around.

* * *

January 2015

January 6, 2015 Read More… But Not at All Cost

There are other media out there!

* * *

January 13, 2015 Books for Christmas

I shouldn’t be celebrating Christmas, but any excuse to get new books…

* * *

January 20, 2015 Separating the Author and the Work, the Artist and the Art

If H.P. Lovecraft was a racist asshole, can we still read, love, and be influenced by his brilliant dark fantasy?

* * *

January 27, 2015 Portland Comic Con 2015

I drove south for a few hours and saw Lou Ferrigno!

* * *

February 2015

February 3, 2015 Bear

I say goodbye to my little pug.

* * *

February 10, 2015 What We Can Learn from a Random Science Fiction Novel (Part 1)

A deep dive into Arthur C. Clarke’s The City and the Stars.

* * *

February 17, 2015 What We Can Learn from a Random Science Fiction Novel (Part 2)

More wisdom from the Arthur C. Clarke novel The City and the Stars.

* * *

February 24, 2015 What We Can Learn from a Random Science Fiction Novel (Part 3)

The rest of my thoughts on The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke.

* * *

March 2015

March 3, 2015 Farewell, Leonard Nimoy

A short obituary for one of science fiction’s great luminaries.

* * *

March 10, 2015 (Un)happy Organize Your Home Office Day

I bemoan the sorry state of my sanctum sanctorum.

* * *

March 17, 2015 An Evil Empire, Bent on World Domination (But Why?)

A good villain needs solid motivation—and so does the evil empire he, she, or it represents!

* * *

March 24, 2015 Active Search: He Could See

Tips for more active writing.

* * *

March 31, 2015 How Long Should Your Fantasy Novel Be?

I (at least partially) explode the myth of the 200,000-word fantasy epic.

* * *

April 2015

April 7, 2015 Once More With Feeling: A Stand-alone With Series Potential

What every query letter should say . . . and mean it!

* * *

April 14, 2015 You Have the Right to Remain Silent

All I have to say about puppies, sad or otherwise.

* * *

April 21, 2015 Two Old Poems

Okay, kinda phoned this one in.

* * *

April 28, 2015 Don’t Write Accents Phonetically

Learn from Ian Flemming’s horrifying mistakes!

* * *

May 2015

May 5, 2015 Writing Accents

Last week: what not to do. This week: What to do!

* * *

May 12, 2015 Books for Fantasy Authors XVII: Zen in the Art of Writing

Of course we can all learn from the great Ray Bradbury.

* * *

May 19, 2015 Write in Ecstasy, Edit with Intent

The power of the rough draft revealed!

* * *

May 26, 2015 Outlining with Note Cards, Part 1: A Work in Progress for my Work in Progress

I try the whole note card thing.

* * *

June 2015

June 2, 2015 Outlining with Note Cards, Part 2: Seeking Wisdom

Linking to some other smart authors with something to say on the subject.

* * *

June 9, 2015 Writing Without Typing

Thinking about thinking about your story.

* * *

June 16, 2015 Pulp Fiction Workshop

Take my four-week course in writing in the style of the great pulp tradition.

* * *

June 23, 2015 In the Future, Everything Will Always Work

Some worldbuilding thoughts on the reliability of technology.

* * *

June 30, 2015 Thank You Chuckanuts!

My experience at a great local writer’s conference.

* * *

July 2015

July 7, 2015 “Exactly” How Long a Chapter Should Be

I have a little fun with the idea of how long a chapter should be…

* * *

July 14, 2015 “Exactly” How Long a Chapter Should Be, Part 2

. . . then start to take the subject more seriously, with actual advice.

* * *

July 21, 2015 De-bullet Point Your Dialog

Good advice for anyone struggling with writing dialog.

* * *

July 28, 2016 Following Up

Some general bookkeeping and reconnecting with busy, busy, business.

* * *

August 2015

August 4, 2015 My Bad Short Bad Book

Giving yourself permission to just write the damned thing!

* * *

August 11, 2015 Beginning, Middle, and End

A look at the classic three act structure.

* * *

August 18, 2015 Time to Exercise

I start actually trying some of the writing exercises I’ve suggested in the past.

* * *

August 25, 2015 Exercise One Complete

I write to an illustration, in longhand.

* * *

September 2015

September 1, 2015 Books for Fantasy Authors XVIII: Still Writing

Dani Shapiro has some thoughts on writing that you need to hear.

* * *

September 8, 2015 Exercise Two… Attempted

Another of those writing exercises, but this one, not so easy.

* * *

September 15, 2015 Don’t Be Hatin’ on Prologues

I shoot back against some weird anti-prologue movement.

* * *

September 22, 2015 Outlining with Note Cards 3: The “Plotting Under Pressure” Method

I try out Holly Lisle’s note card outlining approach.

* * *

September 29, 2015 Why You Have No Choice About MS Word

If you’re going to be a pro, you need pro tools.

* * *

October 2015

October 6, 2015 Outlining With Note Cards 4: The Outline Itself

The results (for me) of all this note card research.

* * *

October 13, 2015 Bella Lucky and the Log Line of NaNoWriMo

Following on the note card outline for my would-be space opera novel, the log line.

* * *

October 20, 2015 Asking Questions of My Outline

Am I actually ready to write this thing?

* * *

October 27, 2015 Starting With Characters

Building on that space opera outline, I dig deeper into my characters.

* * *

November 2015

November 3, 2015 Just Enough Outline to Get Started

I think I’m ready to write this note card-outlined space opera novel for NaNoWriMo.

* * *

November 10, 2015 Crash!

My hard drive went the way of all flesh, and oh boy did that suck.

* * *

November 17, 2015 My Mean Streets

A personal note from me… where I’m coming from.

* * *

November 24, 2015 NaNoWriMo: Fail (Again)

Okay, I didn’t actually write it. Yet.

* * *

December 2015

December 1, 2015 Let’s Get Organized

My schedule, in ruin.

* * *

December 8, 2015 Talk About the Weather

Some worldbuilding thoughts on the subject of weather.

* * *

December 15, 2015 This is Not a Review of Syfy’s Childhood’s End

My thoughts on this interesting mini-series based on a science fiction classic.

* * *

December 22, 2015 A Little End-of-Year Clean Up

Getting to be that time for reflection and self-appraisal… for what it’s worth.

* * *

December 29, 2015 Random Behavior Modification Prompts for Writers

Fun ways to spark your energy and imagination.

* * *

January 2016

January 5, 2016 Navigating the Eight Emotions, Part 1: Anger

A deep dive into the eight primary emotions.

* * *

January 12, 2016 I Need to Read Newer Books

Am I getting too “classic” in my reading habits? I think so.

* * *

January 19, 2016 Navigating the Eight Emotions, Part 2: Fear

A deep dive into the eight primary emotions.

* * *

January 26, 2016 It’s Never Too Soon

On the advent of 9/11 sci-fi.

* * *

February 2016

February 2, 2016 Navigating the Eight Emotions, Part 3: Sadness

A deep dive into the eight primary emotions.

* * *

February 9, 2016 Books for Fantasy Authors XIX: Poetics

Going all the way back to Aristotle for the basics of story structure.

* * *

February 16, 2016 Navigating the Eight Emotions, Part 4: Disgust

A deep dive into the eight primary emotions.

* * *

February 23, 2016 Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot is an Eternal Wellspring of Pure Joy

What more needs be said?

* * *

March 2016

March 1, 2016 Navigating the Eight Emotions, Part 5: Surprise

A deep dive into the eight primary emotions.

* * *

March 8, 2016 Toward a More Balanced Use of Toward

Use the word toward carefully—it’s scarier than you think!

* * *

March 15, 2016 Navigating the Eight Emotions, Part 6: Anticipation

A deep dive into the eight primary emotions.

* * *

March 22, 2016 Punch, Push, Explain

How to start your story off with a bang.

* * *

March 29, 2016 Navigating the Eight Emotions, Part 7: Trust

A deep dive into the eight primary emotions.

* * *

April 2016

April 5, 2016 Tragic Writing Injuries

Sit up straight!

* * *

April 12, 2016 Navigating the Eight Emotions, Part 8: Joy

A deep dive into the eight primary emotions.

* * *

April 19, 2016 I Had Encountered Past Perfect Tense Far Too Many Times Before Writing This Post

Beware the word had, for it hides many dangers!

* * *

April 26, 2016 When Was the Last Time You Bought a Book?

Do you expect people to buy your book, but don’t buy anyone else’s?

* * *

May 2016

May 3, 2016 What We Can Learn From a Random Science Fiction Novel (Part 4)

Lessons from a century-old science fiction classic.

* * *

May 10, 2016 Lest We Forget the Art

It isn’t all about punching, pushing, and trimming out unnecessary words—there’s an art to it as well.

* * *

May 17, 2016 Farewell, SF Signal, and You’re Welcome for All the Fish

Venerable science fiction web site SF Signal shuts down… oh no!

* * *

May 24, 2016 Show Your Villain Being Villainous, or In Defense of Ramsay Bolton (Sort of)

Why your readers need to see your villains doing bad things.

* * *

May 31, 2016 Body Parts Don’t Do Stuff, People Do

Bronwyn’s fist punched Galen in the eye… or did it?

* * *

June 2016

June 7, 2016 Lessons from the Chicago Manual of Style: Ranks & Titles

Why create a “rule” when a rule already exists for you?

* * *

June 14, 2016 Art vs. Craft

Thoughts on an often fine distinction.

* * *

June 21, 2016 An Evil Empire, Bent on Self-Destruction (But Why?)

Are we living in an evil empire? Would we know it if we were?

* * *

June 28, 2016 Lessons from the Chicago Manual of Style: Italics

Some practical craft advice.

* * *

July 2016

July 5, 2016 My 3.85 Hour Work Day

How productive is productive enough?

* * *

July 12, 2016 Surprise vs. Suspense vs. Writing Monsters

Advice from Alfred Hitchcock himself.

* * *

July 19, 2016 Screw It, I’m Taking a Day Off

Pretty much what it sounds like—but what if your characters do the same thing?

* * *

July 26, 2016 Books for Fantasy Authors XX: Heinlein’s Rules: Five Simple Business Rules for Writing

Not quite a full-throated recommendation, but a book well worth a look.

* * *

August 2016

August 2, 2016 All the Story Structure You’ll Ever Need

The villain starts the story, the hero ends it.

* * *

August 9, 2016 The Difference (If Any) Between an Author and a Writer

Is there one… ?

* * *

August 16, 2016 Progress is Possible

Following up on some productivity and mental health exercises.

* * *

August 23, 2016 The Ghostwriter’s Lament

Thoughts on the ethics behind ghostwriters and ghostwriting.

* * *

August 30, 2016 A Break for Some Science News

On the discovery of Earth 2 and contact with aliens. Maybe.

* * *

September 2016

September 6, 2016 Active Search: Something was Verbing

Make your writing more active and immediate by searching for and knocking out the construction [noun] was [verb]ing.

* * *

September 13, 2016 The Joy of Writing by Hand

I get Old School and love it!

* * *

September 20, 2016 Worldbuilding: Governments

Politics and the governments of the future or the never-was.

* * *

September 27, 2016 Love the Game or Go Play a Different One

Write in your chosen genre for all the right reasons.

* * *

October 2016

October 4, 2016 Active Search: The Thing of Someone

Don’t grab the ankle of Galen, grab Galen’s ankle!

* * *

October 11, 2016 Books for Fantasy Authors XXI: My Ten Favorite Horror Novels

It’s October—time to get spooky!

* * *

October 18, 2016 Busy, Busy, Busy

Let’s stop being “busy” and start exploring opportunities!

* * *

October 25, 2016 Vote for My NaNoWriMo Idea

Once more into the National Novel Writing Month breach.

* * *

November 2016

November 1, 2016 The Two-Comma Rule

Unless you need more.

* * *

November 8, 2016 Leave Me Out of It, Please

Do you really want to relive the 2016 Presidential Election?

* * *

November 15, 2016 Lessons from the Chicago Manual of Style: Numbers

Some nitty-gritty style advice from the source.

* * *

November 22, 2016 What I’m Thankful for, 2016

This one you can skip.

* * *

November 29, 2016 Random Plots & Writing Prompts

Are these worth trying? Let’s find out!

* * *

December 2016

December 6, 2016 Can I Call This a “Qualified Win”?

Another NaNoWriMo in the books… ish.

* * *

December 13, 2016 Next Exercise: Random Prompt

And a scary little story follows.

* * *

December 20, 2016 Another Post About the Holidays

Phil vs. Holidays, or something like that.

* * *

December 27, 2016 The Snapper, the Punch Line to End 2016

Yeah, as years go, you can have this one.

* * *

January 2017

January 3, 2017 Try To vs. Try And

One of the great mysteries of the ages—solved!

* * *

January 10, 2017 What We Mean by “Atmosphere

The layer of feeling that surrounds your characters.

* * *

January 17, 2017 Last Things First, First Things Middle

Who says you have to write a book in order?

* * *

January 24, 2017 Be Open to Inspiration

Continuing to suffer over the source of ideas.

* * *

January 31, 2017 What Are Your “Tropes”?

Embrace the things you have to say.

* * *

February 2017

February 7, 2017 Finding the Personal in the Procedural

Breathing life into your description.

* * *

February 14, 2017 Lovecraft’s Five Definite Elements, Part 1: The One Weird Thing

I dig deeper into the advice of one of the all time greats.

* * *

February 21, 2017 Jury Duty

And real life intrudes.

* * *

February 28, 2017 Lovecraft’s Five Definite Elements, Part 2: Why It’s Here

For every monster, a reason to exist.

* * *

March 2017

March 7, 2017 Isolate Your Characters

What happens to your story if any character can call 911?

* * *

March 14, 2017 Lovecraft’s Five Definite Elements, Part 3: What It Actually Does

Setting limits to the weirdness.

* * *

March 21, 2017 “Write Better Character Description,” Said the 6’3”-tall, 349-pound, Bald Writer With Brown Eyes and Glasses, Who Was a Male Human

Sometimes, it’s about what you choose not to write!

* * *

March 28, 2017 Lovecraft’s Five Definite Elements, Part 4: What Makes it Scary

There are things that work on everybody.

* * *

April 2017

April 4, 2017 In Search of Self-Discipline

If no one is forcing deadlines on you…

* * *

April 11, 2017 Lovecraft’s Five Definite Elements, Part 5: The Damage it Causes

Because how interesting is weirdness that doesn’t hurt?

* * *

April 18, 2017 The Singular They Hurts My Brain But I’ll Try to Get Over It

Can this old dog learn new tricks?

* * *

April 25, 2017 Your Pile of Failures

If at first you don’t succeed… good!

* * *

May

May 2, 2017 Why All the Present Tense?

Is this just trendy?

* * *

May 9, 2017 What I’ve Learned in the Last Twenty-three Years, Part 1

I look back at a short story I wrote a long, long time ago.

* * *

May 16, 2017 What I’ve Learned in the Last Twenty-three Years, Part 2

Here’s the short itself, “Piece Music.”

* * *

May 23, 2017 What I’ve Learned in the Last Twenty-three Years, Part 3

And here’s the 2017 revision of “Piece Music.”

* * *

May 30, 2017 As Henry Miller Commands

And thus begins a long, deep dive into Henry Miller’s Eleven Commandments of Writing

* * *

June 2017

June 6, 2017 As Henry Miller Commands, Part 2:

Start No More New Books

* * *

June 13, 2017 As Henry Miller Commands, Part 3:

Don’t Be Nervous

* * *

June 20, 2017 As Henry Miller Commands, Part 4:

Work According to Program

* * *

June 27, 2017 As Henry Miller Commands, Part 5:

Create vs. Work

* * *

July 2017

July 4, 2017 As Henry Miller Commands, Part 6:

Cement a Little Every Day

* * *

July 11, 2017 As Henry Miller Commands, Part 7:

Keep Human

* * *

July 18 2017 As Henry Miller Commands, Part 8:

Don’t be a Draught Horse

* * *

July 25, 2017 As Henry Miller Commands, Part 9:

Discard the Program

* * *

August 2017

August 1, 2017 As Henry Miller Commands, Part 10:

Think Only of the Book You Are Writing

* * *

August 8, 2017 As Henry Miller Commands, Part 11:

Write First and Always

* * *

August 15, 2017 Phil’s Ten Commandments of Writing (After Henry Miller)

I offer some commandments of my own.

* * *

August 22, 2017 Our Flight Time Today Will Be… ?

Game of Thrones vs. its own map.

* * *

August 29 2017 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XXII: Mark Gottlieb

Advice from a successful literary agent.

* * *

September 2017

September 5, 2017 Please Stop Using Initial Caps as a Substitute for Creativity

Finish your worldbuilding by giving characters and places actual proper names!

* * *

September  12, 2017 Authors on Ideas

Some inspirational quotes from successful authors on the many sources of story ideas.

* * *

September 19, 2017 Looking Back at “32 of Lovecraft’s Favorite Words”

A glimpse into the stygian depths of HPL’s unspeakable vocabulary.

* * *

September 26 2017 It Is To Be a Blog Post About Starting with a Theme

What are you actually trying to say with this novel?

* * *

October 2017

October 3, 2017 Lester Dent’s Wave Those Tags, Part 1: Find a Name

Resurrecting a very old essay on crafting unique characters and giving them unique names.

* * *

October 10, 2017 Lester Dent’s Wave Those Tags, Part 2: Find an External Tag

The very old essay on crafting unique characters continues with some advice on behavioral quirks and hobbies.

* * *

October 17, 2017 Lester Dent’s Wave Those Tags, Part 3: Find Something to Go Inside

In his very old essay on crafting unique characters, Dent kinda punts on this one.

* * *

October 24, 2017 Lester Dent’s Wave Those Tags, Part 4: Now Make Use of Characterization Tricks in Writing the Story

Our very old essay on crafting unique characters winds up with some practical advice for when pen meets paper.

* * *

October 24, 2017 Thoughts on Lester Dent’s “Wave Those Tags”

I make my opinion known on that very old essay on crafting unique characters.

* * *

November 2017

November 7, 2017 If Area Editor Reads a Pointless Training Session One More Time

I rage against the tendency of SF and fantasy authors to send their characters to worldbuilding school—dragging their readers along for the ride.

* * *

November 14, 2017 What Readers Do With Your Writing

Once it leaves the nest…

* * *

November 21, 2017 What I’m Thankful For, 2017

No emotional outbursts this time, I promise.

* * *

November 28, 2017 Moving Forward With Backward

Lest you forget that I am also a copy editor!

* * *

December 2017

December 5, 2017 A Little About Endings

Where does all this lead to?

* * *

December 12, 2017 How Characters See Themselves in Relation to Other Characters

Don’t let your characters live in bubbles.

* * *

December 19, 2017 Do I Really Have to Write Another Christmas Post?

No, not really.

* * *

December 26, 2017 Resolutions, 2018

I will be healthier, I will read 52 books, and I will get back to writing in 2018!

* * *

January 2018

January 2, 2018 Is This Earth?

The difference between earth and Earth.

* * *

January 9, 2018 Commander, Command Thyself

I walk the walk after talking the talk.

* * *

January 16, 2018 The Religion of Fantasy and the Fantasy of Religion

I don’t know, is my atheist showing?

* * *

January 23, 2018 Selections from the Horror Writing Intensive

I try to get you to take my class!

* * *

January 30, 2018 Do You Want Me to Leave You Alone While You Cry?

A very short story.

* * *

February 2018

February 6, 2018 Just… Write

Sit down and let the story make you write it.

* * *

February 13, 2018 Once More Into the Pulps, Beginning to End

I try to get you to take my Pulp Fiction Workshop!

* * *

February 20, 2018 Commander, Command Thyself… Part 2

I keep working in writing more.

* * *

February 27, 2018 What Are You Listening To?

I recommend a few instrumental CDs.

* * *

March 2018

March 6, 2018 How to Get Middle Class Slowly by Writing Fiction

Do it for everything but the money!

* * *

March 13, 2018 Begin With Movement

Some nuts and bolts advice about what goes where in a sentence.

* * *

March 20, 2018 Notes For a Novel I Will (Probably) Never Write

Write down those ideas, people!

* * *

March 27, 2018 The Five-Minute Story

Creating your own prompts.

* * *

April 2018

April 3, 2018 Can I Pay Attention More? Should I?

Can and should I tame my wandering mind?

* * *

April 10, 2018 Doing My Own Writing Exercise, Part 4: A List of Lists

Murder methods, character names, and more.

* * *

April 17, 2018 I Have a Large Problem With the Word Large

It’s fine for pizzas, but…

* * *

April 24, 2018 A Series of Posts on Motivation

Why do we—and our characters—do the things we do?

* * *

May 2018

May 1, 2018 A Series of Posts on Motivation: Certainty

Six Human needs number one.

* * *

May 8, 2018 A Series of Posts on Motivation: Uncertainty

Six Human needs number two.

* * *

May 15, 2018 A Series of Posts on Motivation: Significance

Six Human needs number three.

* * *

May 22, 2018 A Series of Posts on Motivation: Connection

Six Human needs number four.

* * *

May 29, 2018 A Series of Posts on Motivation: Growth

Six Human needs number five.

* * *

June 2018

June 5 2018 A Series of Posts on Motivation: Contribution

Six Human needs number six.

* * *

June 12, 2018 Books for Fantasy Authors XXII: The World Split Open

A collection of remarkable essays by remarkable authors.

* * *

June 19, 2018 Give Till It Feels Good!

Are you giving to (book and literacy related) charity?

* * *

June 26, 2018 Read, Think, Write, Repeat

Are you reading enough? is there such a thing as reading enough?

* * *

July 2018

July 2, 2018 Harlan Ellison (1934-2018)

On the passing of my principal literary hero.

* * *

July 10, 2018 Pulp and Sexism

Learn from what came before, but edit accordingly.

* * *

July 17, 2018 What’s In a Name?

Naming characters are hard.

* * *

July 24, 2018 First & Last: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 1

I start a deep, deep dive into a very, very old fiction magazine.

* * *

July 31, 2018 First Sentences in Detail: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 2

That all important first sentence of a short story in real life.

* * *

August 2018

August 7, 2018 Down With the Council! The Council Must Be Stopped!

I call for more creative worldbuilding.

* * *

August 14, 2018 Honoring Honorifics

What to cap and what not to, Your Highness.

* * *

August 21, 2018 What’s the Worst Possible Thing You Could Do To Someone?

A question horror authors have to ask themselves, like it or not.

* * *

August 28, 2018 Invaders from Outside: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 3

The first story unfolds.

* * *

September 2018

September 4, 2018 No One Knows All the Words

Including me.

* * *

September 11, 2018 Your Responsibility to Your Readers

…is what, exactly?

* * *

September 18, 2018 The Electric Chair: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 4

A bit of torture porn from 1925.

* * *

September 25, 2018 Just A Bit About Magic Systems

A shallow dive into a deep subject.

* * *

October 2018

October 2, 2018 Books for Fantasy Authors XXIII: On Writing Horror

An excellent collection of essays on the subject of writing horror fiction.

* * *

October 9, 2018 The Persistence of the Logical

Nope. No way was that a ghost.

* * *

October 16, 2018 As Obligated: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 5

A weird tale from Armstrong Livingston.

* * *

October 23, 2018 Getting Ready for the Writer’s Digest Conference

I prepare to speak at the 2018 WD Novel Writing Conference in Pasadena.

* * *

October 30, 2018 Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference Report

I actually go and speak at the 2018 WD Novel Writing Conference in Pasadena.

* * *

November 2018

November 6, 2018 The Rajah’s Gift: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 6

Speaking of racism and sexism in old pulp stories…

* * *

November 13, 2018 Stan Lee (1922-2018)

On the passing of another of my literary idols.

* * *

November 20, 2018 Rules About Writing Rules For Writers

Oh, those lists of rules…

* * *

November 27, 2018 The Fireplace: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 7

The next story from 1925—and I have some issues.

* * *

December 2018

December 4, 2018 Chekhov’s Gen5 MOS Glock

If there’s a gun hanging on the wall in Act 1 it better be fired in Act 2… or something like that.

* * *

December 11, 2018 Books for Fantasy Authors XXIV: Savage Pastimes

A Cultural History of Violent Entertainment by Harold Schechter.

* * *

December 18, 2018 White Man’s Madness: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 8

A novelette by Lenore E. Chaney.

* * *

December 25, 2018 Suggested Reading for 2019

Books I recommend for my online courses.

* * *

January 2019

January 1, 2019 The Resolution That Solves All Problems

My struggles with TV addiction.

* * *

January 8, 2019 Worldbuilding Session Four: Geography

A look inside one of my online courses for Writer’s Digest University.

* * *

January 15, 2019 White Man’s Madness, Chapter 2: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 9

A longer look at a longer pulp story.

* * *

January 22, 2019 The Rest of White Man’s Madness: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 10

Finishing up on this weird novelette.

* * *

January 29, 2019 Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Maybe, Ever)

Why it can actually be better to be a “part time writer.”

* * *

February 2019

February 5, 2019 On the Accidental Genius of Eternal Pessimist H.P. Lovecraft

What can we learn from an imperfect man?

* * *

February 12, 2019 Red and Black: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 11

What could you “get away with” in 1925 that might not fly in 2019?

* * *

February 19, 2019 Some Thoughts on Research

Either your favorite or your least favorite part of the writing process.

* * *

February 26, 2019 Why I Give Every Book I Read Five Stars on GoodReads

Resist the algorithm dystopia!

* * *

March 2019

March 5, 2019 When We Killed Thompson: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 12

Another Weird Tale in order. I really hope you’ll follow through these, and read the issue yourself as well.

* * *

March 12, 2019 Reading and Writing as Therapy

What we, as authors, can get out of our own work.

* * *

March 19, 2019 Critics, Reviews, and Reality

Everyone’s a critic, and no one should be.

* * *

March 26, 2019 Wings of Power: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 13

Real craft lessons from a very old serial.

* * *

April 2019

April 2, 2019 A Look at the Horror Writing Intensive

An online course I am, alas, no longer teaching.

* * *

April 9, 2019 That is a Word That Can Be Cut Most of the Time That You Use It

Once you read this, the word that will stick out like a sore that.

* * *

April 16, 2019 Out of the Long Ago: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 14

A dive into a great story by Seabury Quinn.

* * *

April 23, 2019 Fantasy Worldbuilding, Money, Monsters, and Food

How plausible is a world full of wandering monsters?

* * *

April 30, 2019 Basic Manuscript Format

I know, you don’t think it’s important, at least anymore, but it is. get over it, learn it, embrace it!

* * *

May 2019

May 7, 2019 On the Highway: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 15

A race car horror story. How could that not be awesome?

* * *

May 14, 2019 Mostly Weakness, Just a Little Strength

Keep your heroes human!

* * *

May 21, 2019 Play!

Writing (especially fantasy, science fiction, and horror) should be fun!

* * *

May 28, 2019 The Ocean leech: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 16

This old short story vs. my “Common Comments” file.

* * *

June 2019

June 4, 2019 Science Fiction & Fantasy as Wish Fulfillment

I want to be Captain Kirk. There. I said it.

* * *

June 11, 2019 When Writing Gets Difficult

Cutting to the chase: quality over quantity!

* * *

June 18, 2019 Two Crows: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 17

A fascinating weird poem.

* * *

June 25, 2019 Ten Years of Fantasy Author’s Handbook

A decade in the books!

* * *

July 2019

July 2, 2019 Ansibles, Blasters, and Credits, Oh My!

There are some common science fiction gizmos we all get to use—just use them carefully.

* * *

July 9, 2019 Fog: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 18

Yes, there really is this much, and more, to say about one issue of Weird Tales!

* * *

July 16, 2019 Fog: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 19

Breaking down “The Fog” according to Lester Dent’s formula, part two and three.

* * *

July 16, 2019 Fog: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 20

Breaking down “The Fog” according to Lester Dent’s formula, part two and three.

* * *

July 30, 2019 What We Can Learn from a Random Science Fiction Novel: the Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein

Drawing wisdom from a short story collection by one of the genre’s grand masters.

* * *

August 2019

August 6, 2019 When Characters Meet Technology

Anybody know how to energize the transporter beam?     Anyone? Anyone?

* * *

August 13, 2019 Surf, Think, Write, Repeat

In search of the smarter side of the internet.

* * *

August 20, 2019 Luisma’s Return: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 21

A wildly weird tale you really have to read.

* * *

August 27, 2019 Could You Write a Random Fantasy Novel?

Okay, gamer-authors… warm up those dice!

* * *

September 2019

September 3, 2019 Politics Real and Imaginary

Where fantasy and reality merge and tangle.

* * *

September 10, 2019 Your Bank of Experience Account Requires Immediate Action

One gall bladder later…

* * *

September 17, 2019 A Changeling Soul: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 22

Surprising lessons from a very short story.

* * *

September 24, 2019 I See You Post-Apocalypse and Raise You One Dystopia

I start thinking I don’t like these genres then end with maybe I do.

* * *

October 2019

October 1, 2019 Writing About Music is Like…

…hard, and stuff.

* * *

October 8, 2019 The Specter Priestess of Wrightstone: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 23

Who was Herman F. Wright?

* * *

October 15, 2019 Galen Stood Up. “Lead With Action!”

More specific dialog tips.

* * *

October 22, 2019 Banter at Your Own Risk, or What We Can Learn From a Random Science Fiction Novel: The Fury Out of Time

At some point, grown up characters need to be and sound like grown ups, right?

* * *

October 29, 2019 The Valley of Teeheemen: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 24

The perils of a serial… what if we haven’t read part one?

* * *

November 2019

November 5, 2019 What I’m Reading Right Now and Why

You have to keep reading!

* * *

November 12, 2019 The Remorse of Professor Panebianco: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 25

A great example of how women have always been writing genre fiction. Even in the pulp era it was not a men’s only club.

* * *

November 19, 2019 Books for Fantasy Authors XXV: Horror of Philosophy

A must read set of three books by Eugene Thacker.

* * *

November 26, 2019 What I’m Thankful For, 2019: Books

I love books. Thank you, books.

* * *

December 2019

December 3, 2019 Arhl-a of the Caves: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 26

At least read the opening paragraph!

* * *

December 10, 2019 Get it Out There!

What’s the point if no one reads it?

* * *

December 17, 2019 Too Weird to Describe

When or if it’s okay to not describe something.

* * *

December 24, 2019 The Festival: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 27

A weirdly timed weird tale by H.P. Lovecraft.

* * *

December 31, 2019 Keep Reading!

Don’t stop reading while you’re writing.

* * *

January 2020

January 7, 2020 Fantasy Names Are Hard

Conan, Elric, and Bilbo, oh my!

* * *

January 14, 2020 Phantoms: Exploring Weird Tales Vol. 5, No. 1—Part 28

The last story at last!

* * *

January 21, 2020 Another Post on the Subject of Dialog?

Let’s talk about talking.

* * *

January 28, 2020 Tell Me You Have Some of These

And by “these” I mean story ideas.

* * *

February 2020

February 4, 2020 Lovecraft’s Notes on Writing Weird Fiction

I hand it over to HPL for this week.

* * *

February 11, 2020 The Virtue of Shelfieness

A look at my own home library.

* * *

February 18, 2020 Don’t Be Boring!

That’s it: Never be boring!

* * *

February 25, 2020 In Search of the MacGuffin

We must get the thing—the thing is of vital importance!

* * *

March 2020

March 3, 2020 Can You Learn Good Storytelling from a Bad Writer?

Let’s actually read one of those Doc Savage books.

* * *

March 10, 2020 Why I Avoid the News

I start getting nervous along with everybody else.

* * *

March 17, 2020 Escape Into Enlightenment

What can genre fiction do to help us through difficult times?

* * *

March 24, 2020 How to Work from Home

I’ve been doing it for a while and offer a few tips for the CORVID-bound.

* * *

March 31, 2020 Love, and a Storm by the Lake

An old short story of mine, just because.

* * *

April 2020

April 7, 2020 When Characters Practice Social Distancing

Isolating characters for dramatic effect.

* * *

April 14, 2020 Worldbuilding the Other

“Races” and archetypes.

* * *

April 21, 2020 There is no Such Thing as a “Plotless Novel,” Damn It

I rail against this absurd concept.

* * *

April 28, 2020 Farewell to the Objectivist “Hero”

And good riddance.

* * *

May 2020

May 5, 2020 Processing Your Process

How do you actually sit down and write?

* * *

May 12, 2020 Why Not Poetry, Too?

Are you writing poetry? I am!

* * *

May 19, 2020 Fantasy Author’s Refresh

A little FAH housecleaning.

* * *

May 26, 2020 Five Things Every Aspiring Author Should Know

A resurrected post from Grasping for the Wind that still works.

* * *

June 2020

June 2, 2020 What Can I Say?

A bit of a flailing dispatch from the COVID-19 dystopia.

* * *

June 9, 2020 Let Me Tell You Something You Already Know

Words of wisdom from Rocky Balboa… seriously.

* * *

June 16, 2020 Is Science Fiction Bad For Us?

A question first posed nine years before in Grasping for the Wind.

* * *

June 23, 2020 Pile on the Huge: Science Fiction & Fantasy On (Or Off) a Budget

How big can you get your world and your action?

* * *

June 30, 2020 Write From Your Self

A warning against the urge to self-censor.

* * *

July 2020

July 7, 2020 Convention Etiquette for Pros & Panelists

How to have a positive convention experience.

* * *

July 14, 2020 Anticipatory Anxiety and the Long Paragraph

Manipulate your readers’ breathing for fun and profit.

* * *

July 21, 2020 Content is King

Repeat after me: I am a content provider!

* * *

July 28, 2020 Why Fantasy and Science Fiction

Genre fiction is fun and (not but) it’s a whole lot more.

* * *

August 2020

August 4, 2020 A Couple Different Kinds of Evil

Monster vs. villain, exterior vs. interior.

* * *

August 11, 2020 For the Love of Pretend Maps

I love maps of places that never actually existed.

* * *

August 18, 2020 Too Many Books?

I buy books, some might say obsessively, and have a few decades worth of reading material saved up.

* * *

August 25, 2020 A Fantasy Word List

The word list/style guide is an author and their editor’s best friend.

* * *

September 2020

September 1, 2020 Schrödinger’s Idea

Any idea is both good and bad until you start writing it.

* * *

September 8, 2020 Sifting Through the Rubble of Sifting Through the Rubble of COVID

Still waiting for “things to get back to normal…”

* * *

September 15, 2020 I Have No Idea What’s Going to Happen Next

What can bad times bring to our writing?

* * *

September 22, 2020 Robot is the New Vampire

And I called it in 2010!

* * *

September 29, 2020 Hi, Tall Girl, My Name is Eye Patch, Pleased to Meet You

I rail against the horror of “naming” tertiary characters with obvious descriptors.

* * *

October 2020

October 6, 2020 The Worlds That Outgrew Their Stories

Ed Greenwood and Tracy Hickman on managing shared worlds.

* * *

October 13, 2020 What Writing Actually Is

Why we write in the first place.

* * *

October 20, 2020 Everyone Gets Bad Reviews and No One Should Read Them

I kinda lose it on the subject of reviews, good or bad.

* * *

October 27, 2020 Okay, Let’s Just Take A Week And…

2020 is backing up on me.

* * *

November 2020

November 3, 2020 Election Day

You can skip this one—everything worked out fine.

* * *

November 10, 2020 A Case for Literary Fantasy

“Popular” vs. “literary” fiction—a battle that doesn’t need to happen.

* * *

November 17 Why Wait Till 2021?

Let’s just go ahead and start fixing our lives.

* * *

November 24, 2020 Describe Your Writing Process

I wouldn’t advise drinking as much as Truman Capote did, but…

* * *

December 2020

December 1, 2020 Characters Should “Menace” Themselves

Not all challenges come from external sources.

* * *

December 8, 2020 Writing Our Way Out of 2020

Can bad times inspire good writing?

* * *

December 15, 2020 Appeal to All Five Senses—With Examples

Don’t just do what I say, do what these great authors did!

* * *

December 22, 2020 Revision Search Patterns

Search for bad writing, replace with good.

* * *

December 29, 2020 Books for Fantasy Authors XXVI: Story Trumps Structure

A look at this popular writing guide by Steven James

* * *

January 2021

January 5, 2021 2021: The Year of Phil

I declare this to be the Year of Phil. What more can I say?

* * *

January 12, 2021 Writers on Reading

I’m not the only writer who reads, nor am I the only writer who advises other writers to do the same.

* * *

January 19, 2021 Confronting the Weird

Writing weird fiction requires some familiarity with weirdness.

* * *

January 26, 2021 Random Lessons from Random Books

What can we learn by pulling three random books off a shelf and flipping through them at random? Lots!

* * *

February 2021

February 2, 2021 Publishing Season is… When?

An attempt to determine the best time to query.

* * *

February 9, 2021 Inspirational Words About Inspiration

…and couldn’t we all use a little inspiration right now?

* * *

February 16, 2021 Some Thoughts on Horror

If you’re writing scary stuff, read this!

* * *

February 23, 2021 A Brief History of Pulp Fiction

When pulp was king!

* * *

March 2021

March 2, 2021 Times New Roman 12, The Only Font You’ll Ever Need

Seriously. Just this one, only this size.

* * *

March 9, 2021 Pantsing My Way Through an Outline

Plotters vs. pantsers decided once and for all.

* * *

March 16, 2021 Write What Your Characters Know

Serious advice you must read!

* * *

March 23, 2021 Online Resources for Fantasy, SF, and Horror Authors

Bookmark these sites!

* * *

March 30, 2021 We Are Making This Up As We Go Along

There are things you can learn and things you just have to develop in yourself.

* * *

May, 2021

May 4, 2021 Fantasy and/or Science Fiction and/or Horror

On the intersections between genres.

* * *

May 11, 2021 Die, Semicolon, Die!

Is it possible to hate a punctuation mark?

* * *

May 18 Cover Reveal…

A sneak peek at The Best of Fantasy Authors Handbook, Vol. I, 2009-2013.

* * *

May 25, 2021 What do we Expect from Authors, and What Should Our Readers Expect from Us?

Authors as writers and as people and readers as readers and as people. too.

* * *

June, 2021

June 1, 2021 Does Fantasy Have to be Medieval?

Or does is have to be medieval in every way?

* * *

June 8, 2021 The Best of Fantasy Authors Handbook is Almost Here!

I preview the first collection of revised and expanded post.

* * *

June 15, 2021 Who is Philip Athans Now?

My revised bio.

* * *

June 22, 2021 Write Short Stories, Get Rejected

Why you should write short stories and what they can do for your career.

* * *

June 29, 2021 It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Weather and worldbuilding.

* * *

July 2021

July 6, 2021 You’re Doing it Completely Wrong and You Are Doomed to Fail

…or are you?

* * *

July 13, 2012 For Instance, This Story

“Just Exactly Like,” nominated, along with about 10,000 others, for a Pushcart Prize.

* * *

July 20, 2021 Stay Out of Your Story

A deeper dive into the importance of character POV.

* * *

July 27, 2021 Write Something of Value Today

Is this all the writing goal we really need?

* * *

August 2021

August 3, 2021 Remembering Matt Adelsperger

Saying faewell to one of the greatest book designers/art directors of all time.

* * *

August 10, 2021 Work in Progress or Works in Progress?

How many writing projects are you working on right now?

* * *

August 17, 2021 Dialog and POV

Not just who’s saying what, but who’s hearing what.

* * *

August 24, 2021 Don’t Jump to Conclusions, Part 1: Characters

Your characters convey emotion, not you!

* * *

August 31, 2021 Don’t Jump to Conclusions, Part 2: Worldbuilding

We only know your world through your characters’ experiences.

 

 

BOOKS FOR FANTASY AUTHORS

September 1, 2009 Books for Fantasy Authors I: Medieval Wordbook

I recommend you find a copy of this excellent reference book by Madeline Pelner Cosman.

* * *

September 29, 2009 Books for Fantasy Authors II: Payback

Why you must buy and read this fascinating book by Margaret Atwood.

* * *

November 11, 2009 Books for Fantasy Authors III: My Ten Favorite Fantasy Novels

A look at my desert-island books, if the desert island is the lair of a hungry dragon.

* * *

January 19, 2010 Books for Fantasy Authors IV: World Builder’s Handbook

In which I recommend an obscure, long-lost role-playing game product to any and every author of science fiction.

* * *

February 16, 2010 Books for Fantasy Authors V: My Ten Favorite Science Fiction Novels

My desert island books, if the desert island is surrounded by the methane seas of Titan.

* * *

April 27, 2009 Books for Fantasy Authors VI: Take Joy

A must-read book by Jane Yolen for all writers of all genres.

* * *

September 28, 2010 Books for Fantasy Authors VII: Born Standing Up

Find out what SF/fantasy authors can learn from Steve Martin’s memoir.

* * *

December 14, 2010 Books for Fantasy Authors VIII: The Eerie Silence

A brilliant review of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by Paul Davies.

* * *

January 4, 2011 Books for Fantasy Authors IX: The Essentials

Some must-have books to have close at hand.

* * *

February 15, 2011 Books for Fantasy Authors X: Writing the Breakout Novel

I recommend agent Donald Maass’s exceptional book for all genres.

* * *

November 15, 2011 Books for Fantasy Authors XI: The Red Hourglass

Don’t invent a monster without it.

* * *

January 24, 2012 Books for Fantasy Authors XII: Last Breath (and Stranger Than Fiction)

What does death feel like?

* * *

May 8, 2012 Books for Fantasy Authors XIII: Columbine

One of the scariest books I’ve ever read.

* * *

October 2, 2012 Books for Fantasy Authors XIV: The Prince

I take a look at the seminal text by Machiavelli.

* * *

April 1, 2014 Books for Fantasy Author’s XV: Why I Write

I take a deeper look at some exceptional essays by the great George Orwell.

* * *

October 28, 2014 Books for Fantasy Authors XVI: Scatter, Adapt, and Remember

A must-read for all SF authors, but particularly all you post-apocalypsers.

* * *

May 12, 2015 Books for Fantasy Authors XVII: Zen in the Art of Writing

Of course we can all learn from the great Ray Bradbury.

* * *

September 1, 2015 Books for Fantasy Authors XVIII: Still Writing

Dani Shapiro has some thoughts on writing that you need to hear.

* * *

February 9, 2016 Books for Fantasy Authors XIX: Poetics

Going all the way back to Aristotle for the basics of story structure.

* * *

July 26, 2016 Books for Fantasy Authors XX: Heinlein’s Rules: Five Simple Business Rules for Writing

Not quite a full-throated recommendation, but a book well worth a look.

* * *

October 11, 2016 Books for Fantasy Authors XXI: My Ten Favorite Horror Novels

It’s October—time to get spooky!

* * *

June 12, 2018 Books for Fantasy Authors XXII: The World Split Open

A collection of remarkable essays by remarkable authors.

* * *

October 2, 2018 Books for Fantasy Authors XXIII: On Writing Horror

An excellent collection of essays on the subject of writing horror fiction.

* * *

December 11, 2018 Books for Fantasy Authors XXIV: Savage Pastimes

A Cultural History of Violent Entertainment by Harold Schechter.

* * *

November 19, 2019 Books for Fantasy Authors XXV: Horror of Philosophy

A must read set of three books by Eugene Thacker.

* * *

December 29, 2020 Books for Fantasy Authors XXVI: Story Trumps Structure

A look at this popular writing guide by Steven James

 

 

THE FANTASY AUTHOR’S HANDBOOK INTERVIEWS

May 4, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews I: Mike Resnick

My interview with the most decorated SF/fantasy author of all time, and a really great guy.

* * *

May 25, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews II: John Betancourt

I talk with the man behind Wildside Press about SF, fantasy, and publishing in general.

* * *

June 2010

June 1, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews III: Paul S. Kemp

A candid chat with my friend and co-conspirator, The New York Times best-selling creator of Erevis Cale.

* * *

June 29, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews IV: Terry Brooks

Literally a living literary legend of the genre, Terry Brooks offers advice, wisdom, and humor.

* * *

July 2010

July 6, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews V: Chantelle Shaw

My interview with romance novelist Chantelle Shaw, on the similarities and differences of the genres in question.

* * *

July 20, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews VI: Lou Anders

Pyr editor and anthologist Lou Anders talks fantasy, SF, and everything in between.

* * *

August 3, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews VII: Kevin J. Anderson

My conversation with best-selling author Kevin J. Anderson on worldbuilding, tie-ins, and more.

* * *

August 24, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews VIII: Ethan Ellenberg

Literary agent Ethan Ellenberg on the state of publishing, and advice for authors.

* * *

September 14, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews IX: Brendan Deneen

I delve into the mind of a former movie producer, agent, and current editor on the state of the publishing business.

* * *

October 12, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews X: Paul Park

Wisdom from the critically-acclaimed author of A Princess of Roumania.

* * *

November 9, 2010 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews XI: J.M. McDermott

I chat with one of the most original voices in fantasy… or any genre.

* * *

January 11, 2011 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews XII: Jess Lebow

A successful novelist and video game creator speaks out.

* * *

March 29, 2011 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews XIII: Peter D. Adkison

A chat with my former boss, Wizards of the Coast founder Peter Adkison.

* * *

April 26, 2011 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interviews XIV: Jim Minz

I talk with the editor at Baen Books about military SF, urban fantasy, and so on.

* * *

August 23, 2011 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XV: Ari Marmell

I talk about fantasy, publishing, and all sorts of things with this exciting young author.

* * *

September 20, 2011 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XVI: Alan Dean Foster

I chat with one of my favorite authors, a true SF/fantasy legend.

* * *

October 11, 2011 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XVII: Donald Maass

I get the skinny from one of New York’s top agents.

* * *

February 21, 2012 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XVIII: Mats Minnhagen

The Fathomless Abyss cover artist speaks.

* * *

December 4, 2012 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XIX: Erin M. Evans

I chat with the author of Brimstone Angels.

* * *

July 1, 2014 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XX: Logan L. Masterson

A look into the career and process of a young author at the beginning of his career.

* * *

July 29, 2014 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XXI: Tommy Hancock

A conversation with the founder of Pro Se Productions and a champion of the New Pulp.

* * *

August 29 2017 The Fantasy Author’s Handbook Interview XXII: Mark Gottlieb

Advice from a successful literary agent.

 

 

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