Archive for the ‘The Craft of Writing’ Category

Teaching Stuff: Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic

by Richard Chwedyk

Here’s an assignment I give my students:

They receive a copy of the first chapter of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.

It is roughly 2,250 words.

I tell the students that Mr. Wells has just received a note from his editor. “Great stuff, Herbie, but you go on too long here. Cut this first chapter in half.”

4 Pitfalls To Avoid When Crafting Trans Characters (SF&F Edition!)

By Ashley Lauren Rogers

There are numerous examples of classic science fiction and fantasy stories that deal with gender and what happens when we deviate from expectations of that gender. Include popular shows like Transparent, movies like The Danish Girl, and celebrities like Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, and the politically polarizing Caitlin Jenner–and it’s no wonder that an increasing amount of fiction, including YA, is featuring trans and non­binary characters. So how can writers–especially if they aren’t trans or nonbinary–create such characters?

Try Writing Comics

by Sara Ryan

Whatever your situation as a writer, I’d like to encourage you to try writing in the comics format. I keep using the word “format” to emphasize that, as advocates of comics have often been compelled to repeat, “It’s a format, not a genre.” Comics are not just about superheroes, or crime, or memoir, or humor, or romance, or journalism, or realism, or surrealism, or science fiction, or fantasy. Comics can be all those things and more.

Teaching Stuff: At Play With the Universe

by Richard J. Chwedyk

When I started “teaching” the Science Fiction Writing Workshop for undergrad and grad students at Columbia College Chicago, I had no idea what my priorities should be. There’s an obvious plethora of things you want to communicate – a million things you want your students to know. But I wondered: what’s the most important thing for your students to come away with?

The Pleasures of Anthology Editing

by Susan Forest

I like seeing a passage, whether my own or someone else’s, improve with a changed word choice, a question answered, or an idea clarified or extended. To create an entirety—a book—from the discrete stories that make it up, by juxtaposing ideas, styles and emotional content, was a satisfying and creative process that was new to me.

Dispelling the Myth of Strong Female Characters

by Megan Leigh

When it comes to equal representation in fiction, women have a long way to go. There simply aren’t enough female characters in books and that’s counting those that appear only as romantic interests, victims to be saved, or someone’s mother. Is it really so much to ask for an equal number and variety of well-written, three-dimensional female characters?

Guest Post: Set Powerful Deadlines

by Leo Babauta

I’m not always a fan of deadlines and goals, but it’s good to be able to use whatever works best for you. If you’re working great without deadlines and goals, then by all means, keep going. But if you’re struggling to push a project forward (or a learning project like language lessons), then you might try a self-imposed deadline.