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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 2:30pm 8/18/15 2:30pm

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

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

"He Said, She Said": Is There Any Cooler Way To Show Dialog In Fiction?

So you've written some sparkling dialogue, and even made sure your characters don't all have the same "voice." But there's still a problem with your dialogue — you feel weird writing "he said" and "she said" over and over again. Is there any way around this? What can you do to avoid this repetition? » 2/17/15 2:50pm 2/17/15 2:50pm

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

How To Write About Sex Without Being Boring

Sexuality is one of our most basic drives, but it's also fundamental to our identities as people. Which means sex is the subject of a million cliches, and tons of terrible writing. Not to mention, stupid prejudice. The good news? Science fiction and fantasy writers have a special opportunity to look at sex afresh.… » 7/15/14 1:51pm 7/15/14 1:51pm

10 Things That Every Brand New Creator of Science Fiction Should Know

Being a science fiction creator is the most amazing adventure — you get to invent whole new worlds, brand new futures, and fantastic technologies, and you get to tell the most incredible stories about them. But it's also a tough and heartbreaking career path, whether you're in books, comics, movies or television. Here… » 3/06/14 10:31am 3/06/14 10:31am

How to Write Descriptive Passages Without Boring the Reader or Yourself

Describing stuff can be the hardest part of writing prose fiction. You have a scene in your head, with all the dialogue and action, but now you have to fill in what everything looks like. There's nothing more boring to write, or read, than a long descriptive passage — but here's how to spice it up. » 12/09/13 11:55am 12/09/13 11:55am

10 Ways to Make Everyone Root for Your Amoral Protagonist

One step beyond the anti-hero, there's the amoral or morally challenged main character. Sometimes, a protagonist is so dark, you can't even use the term "hero" to describe him or her. But how do you get your audience to root for a character who might throw an old lady under a bus? Here are 10 ways. » 10/15/13 10:04am 10/15/13 10:04am

The Only Kind of Sentence You Should Use in Your Fiction

People will advise you to write all sorts of sentences. Snappy sentences, lyrical sentences, Hemingway-esque short sentences, long Faulknerian sentences. But there's really only one kind of sentence that actually works: a sentence that carries the reader forward from the previous sentence. This is harder than it… » 8/20/13 3:19pm 8/20/13 3:19pm