Must-Watch Speech: Why Creators Mustn't Fear Writing Diverse Characters

Fear can be a healthy thing for a creator. Fear can drive writers and artists to strive to be their best, but as cartoonist and writer Gene Luen Yang points out in this thoughtful speech, it can sometimes prevent creators from writing characters with different backgrounds—and that's a shame. » 9/05/14 11:23am 9/05/14 11:23am

Working On My Novel Is Hilarious, Hits A Little Too Close To Home

Working On My Novel is a book by artist Cory Arcangel featuring 127 tweets from authors who are, you guys, seriously so busy working on their novels that they barely have time left over to tweet about their novel-writing process. Which is something I suspect none of us can relate to. Nope. Not at all. » 7/19/14 10:30am 7/19/14 10:30am

Essential Short Story Anthologies That Every Writer Should Read

Short stories are the lifeblood of science fiction and fantasy — novels get all the buzz and the parties, but short fiction is where the wildest ideas and coolest characters come out. And here are 15 or so anthologies that will show you just how superb science fiction and fantasy storytelling can get. » 5/20/14 3:11pm 5/20/14 3:11pm

Want to Write Great Science Fiction? Read Classic Literature

Worldbuilding is a major challenge for science fiction creators — building a plausible world from scratch involves thinking about lots of variables. But sometimes, to imagine the future, the best way is to look to the past. Classic literature can help you build a world more believably alien than anything you've yet… » 5/14/14 12:05pm 5/14/14 12:05pm

10 Science Fiction And Fantasy Stories That Editors Are Tired Of Seeing

To you, your short story is unique and perfect. To editors, it's "the third steampunk time-travel story we've seen this week." But which trends should you try to avoid? To find out, we asked some of the top editors in the field which type of science fiction and fantasy stories they're tired of seeing. Here's what they… » 4/22/14 10:28am 4/22/14 10:28am

The Crucial Storytelling Mistake that Many Beginning Writers Make

Editor extraordinaire Ellen Datlow has read countless stories, from her tenure at Omni Magazine to her recent slew of fantastic themed anthologies. In a new interview at Papercuts, she explains the biggest mistake she sees beginning writers making: creating a situation instead of plotting a story. » 1/02/14 1:13pm 1/02/14 1:13pm

What does it mean when people say your story's “tone” is wrong?

Writers and creative people talk about tone all the time. But what does it mean? Is it just the difference between a comedy and a drama? Is it just light versus dark? When you write a story, how do you figure out your "tone," and keep it from lurching from one thing to another? Here are some ideas. » 7/15/13 1:08pm 7/15/13 1:08pm

Why You Should Never Write Action Scenes For Your Blockbuster Movie

It's the height of summer movie season, which means that action movies are blowing up all over. And that makes this the perfect time to revisit some advice from John Rogers, creator of Leverage and writer of the new webcomic Arcanum. Here, he explains why you should never write an action scene. Ever. » 6/06/13 12:31pm 6/06/13 12:31pm

How to turn a high concept idea into an actual story

Every story begins with an idea. What's amazing about science fiction stories is, they often start with a cool idea. Like a spin on space travel or robots that nobody's ever thought of before. But how do you turn an idea into a story, with memorable characters and powerful moments? That's often the hard part. » 5/14/13 10:12am 5/14/13 10:12am

Things That Will Make Literary Agents Throw Your Novel Across the Room

The first chapter of your science fiction or fantasy novel absolutely needs to hook readers, and that goes double for any literary agents or editors who might be looking at it. But at the very least, you don't want your opening chapter to contain any of the red flags that make agents toss books in the "reject" pile. » 4/23/13 10:39am 4/23/13 10:39am

Flesh out your fictional characters by having Redditors interview them

Need a little help adding depth to your fictional characters and the world they inhabit? Reddit's new IAmAFiction subreddit offers writers an intriguing way to explore new angles of their stories. These work much like reddit's ever-popular "Ask Me Anything" Q&As—except that in this case, the fictional characters are… » 3/09/13 11:30am 3/09/13 11:30am

What it Means When Someone Tries to Tell You THE Rules of Good Writing

There's only one rule for how to write a story, and that's: "Write a good story." Apart from that, anything goes, as long as you can pull it off. (And some things are harder to pull off than others.) But sometimes, people will try and teach you ironclad rules of fiction writing. Like, avoid an omniscient narrator, or… » 2/01/13 12:45pm 2/01/13 12:45pm

How to make sure the language in your historical fantasy novel is…

We love seeing the grand technological anachronisms in science fiction novels set in the past, such as Victorian or Edwardian-era steampunk or exaggerated Renaissance automata. But what if you want to keep the language in your historical novel accurate for the period? Here's a simple trick historical fantasy novelist… » 1/19/13 7:30am 1/19/13 7:30am

H.P. Lovecraft's Advice to Writers: Read the King James Bible and…

What advice would horror writer H.P. Lovecraft give to writers? Lovecraft's work is filled with rich, often florid language, and he was keenly interested in the descriptive powers of language. It's no surprise then, that, when Lovecraft wrote an essay on writing fiction for The United Amateur, words and grammar were… » 1/12/13 10:30am 1/12/13 10:30am

Great Quotes about Writing from Game of Thrones Author George R.R.…

George R.R. Martin is a master craftsman, whose A Song of Ice and Fire series was a legend even before HBO turned it into a massive hit TV series. His strengths include astounding world-building and an ability to get inside the heads of a wide variety of viewpoint characters, one at a time. How does he do it? And what… » 12/27/12 1:00pm 12/27/12 1:00pm