Your General SF Culture – story influences

Author’s Culture and Story Influences As an editor, I’m sometimes more conscious of where stories come from than many of the writers whose work crosses my desk. This isn’t a surprise. Story influences are sometimes less important than the stories they inspire. Nonetheless I was a little shocked to discover that one of my authors, […]

3 Kinds of Smarts

An Unfinished Definition A while ago – a fair while ago, I wrote a series of blog posts detailing the major difference between types of mental competence. I talk about intelligence, cleverness, cunning and wisdom. That post is all about what the words mean, where they come from, and how those types of intelligence are […]

Poetry Challenge Week One – Western Haiku

The Western Haiku is a simplified version of a traditional Japanese poem, also known as hokko. Length: 1 stanza. Arrangement: Stanza of 17 syllables in 3 lines. 1 line of 5 syllables 1 line of 7 syllables 1 line of 5 syllables (5, 7, 5) Content: Traditionally, a haiku is observation or commentary on a […]

Poetry Challenge – Introduction

Everyone Thinks They Know What Poetry Is … and what it is for. Even those who are fanatical about it, who can quote lines, or whole poems, of their favorite poet. Who have shelves stuffed to the mixed metaphors with waxed hardcovers, AEG (all edges gilt) and an inset color plate on the front, probably of […]

The 8 Rules of Naming

WhoThing and WhatHer The story takes place in an imagined world, so it doesn’t have real-world placenames. The place is inhabited by indigenous flora and fauna that are unknown on Earth, so they have their own, local names. And the folks that live there have, to coin a phrase, never heard of Birmingham. So of […]

Overcoming Laziness: How the Writer Has Become Their Own Worst Enemy

People are lazy. Wait, I’ll say that in a broader sense. Nature is lazy. Now you might find this opinion piece hard to swallow if you’re a young Earth creationist, and you might even find it problematic if you believe that God thought of evolution long before man was smart enough to catch up, although […]

The Poet and the Mad Computer: Rules for Killer Book Titles

Data, big or small, will never write a good novel. Why? Easy Answers In so much of our daily lives, there are simple problems with simple solutions, or simple problems to which a few general rules can be applied to solve them. Consider a window that won’t close. The rule “don’t force it” will prevent […]

10 Steps for Handling POV Like a Boss

When you’re ready to do character thoughts with sarcasm, you know you don’t need to think about POV any more. POV Like a Boss Checklist At the end of this post I’ve done a bulleted list to show you what you need to do to POV like a boss, so you don’t have to wade […]

Story Maintenance: How to Make Backstory More Effective

If you’re anything like me, and anything like most writers, you want your book finished. Now this is going to sound topsy-turvey, but one of the most effective ways of making your book shorter, of making it less about word count and more about the overall strength of your story, is to make use of […]