Class Notes From Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction

View of a Japanese Garden

Images speak differently than words. They speak in color and shapes, smells and movements that our writing can only hope to approximate.

We’re coming up on the end of the Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction class I teach at Bellevue College. Tonight’s the next to last session. In earlier sessions we’ve talked about the writing process, story parts and mechanics, delivering information, characters, description, and worldbuilding. A number of past blog posts have come out of those classes: 5 Things to Do in Your First 3 Paragraphs, Active Verbs, Foreshadowing and Establishing Conflict, Plotting and Re-plotting Stories, Three Strategies for Snaring the Senses, Three Things that End a Story Well, Using Random Tools Like Stumbleupon For Rewriting, and Why Titles Matter.

Here’s what we’re covering in this session and the next:

Tonight (Rewriting, Revising, and Polishing)

  • The difference between rewriting, revising, and polishing
  • Rewriting – ways to do it
  • Revising – things to look for
  • Polishing
  • Working at the sentence level
  • Placement of sentences
  • Breaking up paragraphs
  • Titles
  • Quoting song lyrics
  • Collaboration

Next Week (Publishing & Career Stuff)

  • Markets: researching them, submitting to them, querying them, foreign markets, reprints, audio.
  • Submissions: how to, tracking them, etiquette, types (flash to novel)
  • Agents: researching and querying them
  • Conventions: why go, what to do to make the most of them, top cons
  • Workshops: why do (or not), how to make the most of them, top ones
  • Blogging & websites: why, BRIEF discussion of mechanics
  • Publications to follow
  • Networking
  • SFWA and other professional organizations
  • Writing groups
  • Resources
  • Keeping yourself motivated

So here’s my question. I’ll be glancing back at this list when thinking about future blog posts and drawing from it as well as from what I’m experiencing in my own writing. What would -you- like to see?

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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