Posts Tagged ‘SF/F’

My Use for Writing Tips

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Overspreading the writing blogosphere the past few weeks–posts of Ten “Rules” for Writing Fiction. It started with The Guardian, a British newspaper, publishing tip lists from authors such as Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood. Since then, others have chimed in, including SF/F novelist Daniel Abraham.

I’ve read lots of writing “rules” over the years, ones I agree with and ones I don’t. It is interesting to see what successful writers believe about the (or their) process. But the main thing I get out of such lists is different. The tips I’ve already heard, I gloss over. But every now and then there’s one that makes me think, even if it covers a concept I already know.

Black Gate editor Howard Andrew Jones had one such in his list: “Know what all the characters in the scene want before they come on stage.”

I’m big on character motivation, so I’m always thinking of what the characters want. But I like how Jones’s tip frames that very succinctly, and also includes any possible antagonist or secondary characters as well. All characters, whether PCs or NPCs, want something, and they all should act and interact as though they do. If they don’t, they won’t feel real on the page.

So even if all these tip lists are things you’ve seen before, they can still be useful if they make you think.

“Spin” is Up to Bat

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Issue #14 of M-Brane SF magazine is now out, featuring my hard-SF baseball story “Picking Up the Spin.”

If you’ve always wondered what SF written by me would read like, given that I have a chemistry background but always write fantasy, this is your chance to find out. :)

M-Brane is a great indie mag, now in their second year (not unlike my mag BCS). Among the many other authors in Issue #14 is my friend and colleague Cat Rambo. So definitely give this issue a look.

M-Brane 14 Cover

Boskone Postlude

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

I had a great time at Boskone last weekend! Many people spoke to me about Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which was great–it’s more and more people at each con I go to. A good small crowd attended the BCS reading, and several nice-sized audiences attended the two panels about online topics that I was on.

Special thanks to a few folks: JoAnn and Boskone for inviting me, Maggie and KJ and Mike for reading, Neil Clarke and James Patrick Kelly for great interaction on two different panels, Teresa Nielsen Hayden for remembering me :) , Ian and NewGuyDave for a cool chat, Anne for her great brewpub recommendation, the good folks at Harpoon Brewery and Cambridge Brewing Co. for their fine skill, and my compatriot Mike for bringing a church key!

At Boskone this Weekend

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

This weekend I will be at Boskone, one of the Boston-area SF conventions.

I will be participating on several panels. One at 8pm Friday and another at 11am on Sunday will focus on online reading habits and resources. Another at noon on Sunday will be about recent developments in biological sciences (rather apropos to my story “Picking Up the Spin” coming out in M-Brane SF next month).

And at 5pm Saturday, I will be hosting a reading of authors from Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine, including Margaret Ronald, whose recent story “A Serpent in the Gears” got a great review today in IROSF.

So if you’re at the con, drop by the reading.