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How to Deal With Harsh Criticism of Your Writing

There’s nothing more vulnerable than the act of making up stories. Whether it’s an introspective personal story or a seat-of-your-exploding-pants thriller, you’re taking something out of your unfiltered imagination and putting it into the form of a product. That people then criticize. How do you handle that? » 7/22/15 1:00pm 7/22/15 1:00pm

How To Raise The Stakes In Your Story Without Wrecking Your Characters

The best science fiction and fantasy stories are impossible to tear yourself away from — and often, that thrilling sense of momentum comes from the sense that the danger to the world keeps getting bigger and scarier. But how do you raise the stakes without sacrificing your characters? » 5/19/15 3:38pm 5/19/15 3:38pm

Here's One Brilliant Recipe For A Story That Will Kick Anyone's Ass

There’s no one secret formula for a great story, even if Pixar has its rules and other people have their own ideas. There are as many great shapes for a story to take as there are stories. But Chuck Wendig, author of the Blackbirds series, has a pretty great example of how to structure a kick-ass story. » 5/05/15 2:00pm 5/05/15 2:00pm

10 Ways To Create A Near-Future World That Won't Look Too Dated

Writing about the world to come is a scary proposition, because nothing becomes obsolete faster than futuristic visions. Especially if you're writing about a decade or two from now, your story risks looking ridiculous within a few years. So here are 10 tips to keep your near-future setting from looking too dated.
» 4/17/15 10:26am 4/17/15 10:26am

2 Secrets To Writing A Story That People Can't Tear Themselves Away From

When people talk about how to write a great story, you hear a lot about structure, and how to lay down the track so that the audience is swept along. But writer Frank Cottrell Boyce has some fantastic advice about the true secret of writing a story (or movie) that people can't get enough of: make it a collection of… » 3/17/15 1:41pm 3/17/15 1:41pm

The Greatest Advice For Science Fiction Writers: "Ask The Next Question"

Theodore Sturgeon, who would have turned 97 today, was one of the all-time great science fiction writers. And he came up with a great maxim that defines much of what SF authors do to make their work extraordinary: "Ask the next question." Some current authors explain how this maxim shapes everything they do. » 2/26/15 4:30pm 2/26/15 4:30pm

Why The Best Fantasy Stories Include Mundane Everyday Life

Anne Leonard's fantasy novel Moth and Spark comes out in paperback today. To celebrate, Leonard's written us an essay about how the "mundane" and everyday things are even more important to include in a book about dragons and heroic quests — because without them, you'll never understand the scale of magic. » 12/30/14 2:42pm 12/30/14 2:42pm

10 Ways To Turn Your Real Life Experiences Into Science Fiction

Unless you've commanded a starship, fought off an alien invasion or survived a global disaster, your life experiences probably aren't too science-fictional. But still, the most powerful stories are often rooted in things that actually happened. Here are 10 tricks for turning your personal true stories into science… » 12/18/14 10:08am 12/18/14 10:08am

Joe Abercrombie Shares The Secret Of Fixing Your Cruddy First Draft

It's one of the most common pieces of writing advice: Write the first draft of your novel in a hurry, just to get it down, then fix it later. It's the idea behind NaNoWriMo, too. But how do you fix that first draft? Joe Abercrombie, author of Half a King and its sequel Half the World, has some excellent advice. » 12/15/14 3:20pm 12/15/14 3:20pm

Why Are Many Of Today's Hottest Authors Writing Post-Apocalyptic Books?

If there was any doubt that post-apocalyptic fiction rules the book world, it was probably erased when Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven became a National Book Award finalist. But why do today's hottest writers write stories set after the end? We talked to Mandel and four other post-apocalyptic authors, to find… » 10/21/14 12:21pm 10/21/14 12:21pm

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