Category Archives: How to write fiction

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,

How to get a literary agent

Amy Suiter-Clarke was on my MFA course and has just secured a literary agent for her novel. She’s blogged here about how she secured her agent – without a cold query. I participated in three Twitter pitching contests and sent out dozens of queries before I

How to make a living as a professional fiction writer

I’ve recently discovered New York Times bestselling author Larry Correia‘s writing class ‘How to make a living as a professional fiction writer’ . The notes were blogged by David Harr over four blogposts, which you can read here, here, here, and here. The best session is definitely

A new magazine for interactive fiction

Sub-Q is a new magazine that claims to be the first to pay professional rates for interactive fiction. They offer $90 for an original 1,000 interactive short story, and are looking for: F/SF, horror, mystery, and mash-up interactive fiction.  We like beautiful, moving prose, but

The Book Business (with dinosaur pwrn) 17.09.15

Can you write four good books in a year? SF&F authors Larry Correia and John Scalzi have remarkably similar answers. John Scalzi writes: There are a lot of writers who write fast and well, for whom four books a year of readable, enjoyable prose is not a stretch.

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

What not to submit to a literary magazine…

Nathaniel Tower, managing editor of Bartleby Snopes Literary Magazine, is sick of Alzheimer’s, death endings and masturbation in line one. If these are the only ideas you can come up with, then please stop writing forever. Or try to write a story that combines all of