- by E. C. Ambrose
One of the most common mistakes I find in books by new authors is the tendency to put in the wrong things: they spend pages on things that should be left out, then jump right over the things that should be included. The result is a work that feels unbalanced, giving weight to stuff the reader doesn’t care about, and depriving the reader of the good stuff. What kind of stuff? I’m glad you asked!
A great science fiction writer (I think it was Allen Steele) said that you should leave out the things that readers skip. Here is a (by no means exhaustive) list. Read more…
- by E. C. Ambrose
No doubt many of you are familiar with Clarke’s law: any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. It’s been speculated that one reason why science fiction as a genre has lost some ground to fantasy is that we seem to be living in an age of magic. With all of the extraordinary technologies at our fingertips, we are, in some sense, all wizards now.
With the tap of a key or the “unpinch” of a window, we control space and time fly through archives more vast than any alternate realm, and conjure demons to assist us with our every desire. Read more…
- by Dianne Drake
Hello & Happy April Fool’s Day!
My April Fools’ Day started like any other day for me. That is, until the first five hours of my work efforts disappeared. Didn’t back up, didn’t materialize any where. Just gone. Poof. Vanished into thin air.
It’s happened to me before, and it will happen again. All writers go through this and while the simple thing might be to manually save every page, it’s not practical, especially when I get going and lose myself in what I’m writing, the way I did today. I can go an hour or two and totally lose track of time. Of course, I do have a timed back-up, which doesn’t always work. Then I also back up to a cloud, which works, but it does that maybe once a day. So that left me without most of my day’s efforts.
No big deal, right? One writer friend told me he lost three whole chapters. Another friend commiserated, but also mentioned a chapter and a half vanishing. Other friends chimed in as well, telling me all with their tales of woe. The thing is, I sympathize with all of them, but none of that would recover what I know was the most brilliant writing of my life. Or at least, the most brilliant writing of my writing day.
Anyway, I called my computer tech to see if he could offer any advice, and he did. He said, and I quote, “Write it again.” Well geez, that was a $20 phone consultation wasted. But then he gave me an additional gem, and I quote again, “This will give you the opportunity to do it better.” For that piece of wisdom I should have scrounged up an additional $20 for him (which I didn’t do.) But, as I was giving it some angry thought, I realized that maybe he was right. Maybe I would be able to do it better the second time.
- by Elaine Isaak
Over the course of my roller coaster career, I have discovered that writing is, for me, a biological necessity. If I haven’t been writing for too long, the effects are rather like dehydration: I’m cranky, tired, low energy, hungry, eat a lot of chocolate. yeah, okay, the symptoms *are* similar to PMS–which is why I claim it’s biological. I need it–I crave it! If I don’t have it, my family will regret it.
The author in her natural environment.
You see above, a photo of me on a good writing day. How can I tell? That huge three-ring binder on my desk is a novel in progress. I purchase cases of pre-drilled copy paper for my printer, so I can print out each chapter as I write and put it in a notebook like this. There are also copious quantities of sticky notes, to jot ideas for the next chapter, or for something that I should change in revision. This is a happy writer.
So why would I ever go without? Alas, there are a variety of reasons, some days, all too many. Read more…