The Difference Between a Great Story and a Shitty Story Is Often Really Tiny

Hollywood people often say that it’s a miracle there are any good movies at all. Because so much can go wrong, and so many random things have to go right, for a movie to avoid being a hopeless disaster. I can believe this, because in general the difference between the good and bad versions of the same story is often… »10/30/15 4:52pm10/30/15 4:52pm


The Secret of Writing An Action Movie in Book Form

Screw movies. A great novel can be just as exciting and thrilling as a big-budget Hollywood tentpole. A novel can contain massive, insane action, that movie-makers could never even afford to bring to life. But how do you create an action movie on the page? We talked to 10 of our favorite authors, and here’s what they… »9/28/15 4:54pm9/28/15 4:54pm

How To Handle Rejection of Your Writing, Without Becoming a Basket Case

Rejection is part of being a writer. Unless you’re that one-in-a-billion wunderkind who gets “discovered” while you’re still in high school and goes on to become a literary sensation. Almost everybody who writes stories (or anything) has their work dismissed and sent packing, over and over. And learning to deal with… »9/15/15 5:25pm9/15/15 5:25pm

Help! I Put A Placeholder In My Story—And It Became Permanent!

Writing is a messy business for most of us—even if you’re one of those people who outlines everything in advance, there’s always going to be some parts that you make up as you go. And sometimes, a first draft will include stuff that you know you’re going to have to change later. But what happens when that stuff takes… »8/18/15 5:30pm8/18/15 5:30pm

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 5:00pm5/05/15 5:00pm

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.
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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 4:41pm3/17/15 4:41pm

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 7:30pm2/26/15 7:30pm

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 1:08pm12/18/14 1:08pm

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 6:20pm12/15/14 6:20pm

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 3:21pm10/21/14 3:21pm