Category Archives: How to write fiction

Building a Web Presence for SF&F

Madgeniusclub has an interesting article for SF&F writers on building web presence: 1- Be you.  Don’t try to sound educated, or professorial or anything of the kind, unless that is who you are, naturally.  Just be you.  I swear readers can smell “Phony” a mile off. 

The Super Mario Bros. approach to #storyplotfail

Today I read an unpublished novelette that – in theory – was a page turner. A former mind-swap expert treks to a remote monastery to look for his ex-wife who’s hiding as a mind upload in a virtual-reality maze where she can never be found. This novelette – which

Thinking about writing a female protagonist? Hmmmm…

Erin Lindsey describes of the no-win situation as you dare to craft your female protagonist. She must be strong, but not so superhuman that she’s a Mary Sue. And she must be recognisably female, but not a feminine stereotype. When creating your heroine: balance is key. Like,

The Top 5 things you shouldn’t do in a Twine game

Anyone old enough in the 1980s will probably remember the computer game Zork and the Fighting Fantasy books by Steve Jackson. They’re examples of “choose your own adventure” stories where players make choices, and how the story ends depends on their decisions. Text-based games dropped out of fashion as

Heroism, message fiction and the countervailing point-of-view

I was fascinated to read a comment about message fiction (in film) on an article about free speech in the Spectator. The commentator, Sue Smith, argues that message fiction is where the text contains no countervailing point of view. There is only one ‘truth’ presented and emotional imagery,

An Open Letter to Tom Kratman – Big Boys Don’t Cry

Dear Tom, Yesterday I read your Big Boys Don’t Cry, which is nominated for the  2015 Hugo Award for Best Novella. There were bits of Big Boys Don’t Cry that I enjoyed, but your novella was a struggle to read. I nearly gave up at the 7% mark.  It

Five Guides for Puzzled Writers

Given the choice between reading a book about doing something… or doing that thing, I opt for the book every time. Which explains why I must have opened every ‘How to Write Fiction’ book ever written. Opened… Read a couple of pages. And – in

I am reality, hear me roar…

During my MFA in creative writing, I had a few critique sessions with a Costa-Award-winning novelist. I learned a lot from him since, unlike most lecturers, who nodded sagely while the class gave feedback, he talked while we shut up. He was a successful literary writer, we weren’t, and learning from