Category Archives: Writing

An Armload of Fur and Leaves

In the last year or so, I found a genre that hadn’t previously been on my radar, but which I really enjoy: furry fiction. Kyell Gold had put up his novel Black Angel on the SFWA member forums, where members … Continue reading

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On Writing: Chekhov’s Gun Store

One of playwright Anton Chekhov’s most quoted maxims is this: If in Act I you have a pistol hanging on the wall, then it must fire in the last act. If you establish an expectation in the reader, particularly a … Continue reading

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Guest Post: Dan Koboldt on Magic Versus Technology in SF/F

It’s always bothered me that fantasy and science fiction get lumped together into a single category. The two genres seem very different, at least on the surface. Fantasy usually features some kind of magic as a core speculative element. It often takes place in a secondary world at a pre-industrial state of technology. Science fiction, in contrast, usually takes us to the future in which some as-yet-nonexistent technology underlies the plot. Granted, there’s a huge overlap between fantasy and science fiction fandoms. Maybe that means we live for escapism, whether to a fantasy world or outer space.
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Stay the Course

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Interview with Sherwood Smith on Omniscient Point of View in the Inda Series

Recently the question of omniscient POV has come up in several classes, so I started reading some examples of it. One of the best I hit was Sherwood Smith’s Inda series. I figured, why not go to Sherwood and ask some questions about how she pulled that off.
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Playing at Being Motivated: Habitica for Writers

One thing that was fascinating about this year’s Nebulas was the chance to meet so many people in the publishing industry, including a couple of the founders of Habitica.

Habitica is a motivational game. It lets you gamify your daily tasks and to-do list, turning them into challenges you face in the game. As you complete tasks, you gain levels and items in the game, giving you an extra push to get things done. You can also set it up so you lose points for doing things, if there’s habits you want to avoid. There’s a social aspect; you can join parties and guilds in order to share your progress with friends.

I am always on a quest for a method that will help me stay organized. Various systems have come and gone, some more successful than others, and I’ve learned a few things about how to make such systems more effective. As I share how I am using Habitica, I’ll include some insight into how that knowledge shapes that use. I’ve been logging into it consistently for two weeks now, and I believe it’s going to stick, because I’m finding it very effective for a) nudging me to do things, b) helping me remember stuff, and c) motivating me to use free time and options (like snacks) better.
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For Writers: Re-visioning, Rewriting, and Other Forms of Fine-tuning Your Fiction

As with all writing advice, mileage will vary according to the individual. The best thing as a writer that you can do is to pay attention to your own process and make it more effective. Experiment with lots of things, identify the practices that work, and incorporate them into your process. Keep experimenting, mixing things up a little, every once in a while, writing to the sound of whale songs, or dictating while hiking, or using a pen rather than the keyboard — it doesn’t matter what as long as you keep testing things in a way that lets you grow as a writer.
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Home Stretch For Hearts of Tabat

So my promise to myself is that the sequel to Beasts of Tabat, Hearts of Tabat, will be DONE by November 14th, which is my birthday, and which I plan to spend with Skyrim and a nice sativa (legal here in the marvelous land of WA) and not one ounce of work throughout the day as a thank you to me for working my butt off the last six weeks and getting this DONE.

The book is scheduled to be released at Emerald City Comicon next year, so you may see why the time pressure has stepped up in intensity. I told myself I’d get it done this year, and I have, along with a whole bunch of stories, not one but two collections, the update of Creating an Online Presence for Writers, a bajillion trips, and opening the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers, including cool new classes from Rachel Swirsky and Juliette Wade, so I feel darn good about how much I got accomplished this year despite SFWA’s demanding maw chewing up my time on a consistent basis.

I thought, however, it would be useful perhaps to people to see what the last bits of work involve.
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WIP: The Wizard of West Seattle

This will be going out to Patreon supporters towards the end of the month. It’s urban fantasy, set here in West Seattle.

Being the apprentice for one of West Seattle’s main wizards – probably the main wizard, many thought – was not at all what Albert thought it should be. He’d been installed in the position two weeks ago and so far, all May Hua had asked him to do was walk her dogs, two elderly but still energetic Shih Tzus, three times each day. The rest of the time he studied in the workshop, but it was a self-appointed path and it made him itch, knowing that he could have moved so much faster if she’d been willing to guide him along it.

He said this – not for the first time – to Penny as they walked along. Penny was the housekeeper for Hua’s household, but like Albert, she was frequently at loose ends and so accompanied him on many of the walks. At first he’d been worried she was attracted to him, but it became clear soon that she was bored and he was a fresh novelty. “It’s been a while since May took an apprentice,” she said. She was appreciative of Albert’s presence, particularly since he praised her cooking vociferously. He’d learned a few things since his first, disastrous stint as an apprentice.
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Finishing a Novel

Today I finished Hearts of Tabat. Sure, I’ll go back and do some smoothing before sending it off to beta readers on Monday, but the book is done, the scenes are there, and (roughly) in the order they should be. … Continue reading

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