Archive for the ‘SFWA Blog’ Category

Guest Post: 10 Books for Writers Focusing on Craft

When I’m teaching, I do bring some books to class in order to point students toward them. I don’t think books are a substitute for the act of writing, but they can help focus and direct your practice and give you a list of things to work on that might not otherwise occur to you. Here’s a list of my top ten for speculative fiction writers focusing on their craft. I was sad to find some not available on the Kindle, but where possible, I’ve pointed to the e-version.

Key Conditions for Reader Suspense:
Part 3 – It’s gotta be difficult

It’s one thing to say that something bad is going to happen. It’s quite another to know that kidnappers are going to cut your finger off with a pair of wire cutters. It’s one thing to have someone say something good will happen (Chinese fortune cookie) and quite another to say your uncle just died and left you a million dollars, but you have to fight your three cousins for it.

Guest Post: Blowing Up Planets

Doomsday scenarios are a dime a dozen. When a villain claims to be on the verge of ‘destroying the Earth’ he/she usually means killing everyone/everything on it. But sometimes simply killing all humans isn’t good enough. Unfortunately even the vast amounts of energy necessary to wipe out all civilization is woefully inantiquate to physically destroy the planet. To do that would take some serious power.

Nebula Awards Guest Post: Sex, Skin and Secret Messages

What is it that makes us entertain fantasies about mating outside our own species? Surely this can’t be in our DNA; the mule, sterile offspring of a horse and donkey’s mating, is an example of the evolutionary dead end that results.Yet since our earliest days we’ve apparently been fascinated by the non-human cultures we co-exist with, and the fantasy of strange creatures, able to shift from wild animal to human. Long before we could write, we told stories around the campfire about them, as lovers, not monsters.