Tag Archives: writing advice

Guest Post: 4 Essential Tips for Writing Cinematic Fantasy by Savannah Cordova

Fantasy is quite literally a magical genre, and as a fan, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing that magic brought to life. From epic undertakings like the Lord of the Rings trilogy to dazzling new Netflix series like The Witcher, … Continue reading

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Why You Can’t Teach Writing

How do you learn to write? You learn by observing and doing, by reading good fiction and making attempts at your own. The truth is that writing is primarily self-taught, that the axiom that you must write a million words is on the mark, and that the first truth is this: To learn to write, you must be writing.

With my students who are writing and thinking about writing, I would have to actively give them bad advice like Play videogames rather than write. Don’t read anything. Only write when you’re in the mood. for them not to get better.
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What I Wrote in 2016 and The List of Award Eligibility Posts I’ve Found

Oh, it’s that time! The season of looking back at the year and seeing what you did or didn’t get done. And the season for starting to nominate for awards. I’ve been reading and recommending for a while now, but it’s always fun to read all the wrap-up posts and find anything that I missed. I do have a monster post full of some of this year’s reading, but I’m still working on that. (When I have it, there will be a link here.)

Writers wondering whether or not they should put up an awards eligibility post, the answer is yes, yes you should. Do us all the favor of collecting your stuff and making it easy to find. If you’ve got a lot, point out some favorites.
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Into the Abyss: Surrey International Writers Conference, Morning Keynote for October 23, 2016

From the Surrey International Writers Conference, Sunday, October 23, 2016 keynote:

I would ask if you’re having a good time but I know that you are, I’ve been so impressed by the enthusiasm, the professionalism, and the talent here, and amazed at how well the presenters are taken care of by the conference. Thank you for the chance to be here.

I figure you are all already stuffed full of writing advice, so I wanted to give you some things for after the conference. First off, go home and sleep. Decompress. You’ve been working hard all weekend and you deserve it.
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You Should Read This: On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing by Stephen King is divided into two parts. The first is an autobiographical look at his writing over the years. It is unflinching and honest and well worth the read. The second is stuff about writing. It is also unflinching and honest and well worth the read.
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You Should Read This: About Writing by Samuel R. Delany

I can’t think of a better book to begin with than a writing book I go back to over and over again, both for teaching and to apply to my own writing. Be aware that many of these essays are also contained in The Jewel-Hinged Jaw.
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When Can You Get Away with Wordy Prose?

The following comes from an email exchange between myself and John Barnes, whose story I critiqued and who has given permission to reprint the exchange 🙂 I know that this question often comes up for newer writers. They see writers who write long, elaborate sentences and wonder why they then get criticized for overly long and complicated sentences.
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Writing Thoughts: Dwelling On Process

Writers should pay attention to our own process. Sometimes we’re reluctant to do so. We worry that like the centipede in the story who stops being able to walk after thinking about exactly how she does it, looking at our own process will damage or kill it. A Schrödinger’s cat: we know we’re doing something, but if we look to prove that, it’ll vanish.

This is not actually true. Looking will, most probably, not kill it. If you are the rare exception that cannot look at their process without damaging it, a brief examination will let you know this without damaging anything too much. Maybe. There are no guarantees in writing advice.

But if you are part of the vast majority that WILL learn from it, what will you gain?
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Writing Talk: Basics of Dialogue

Last week in the Writing F&SF Stories class, we talked about dialogue. This is a basic tool for a writer, one whose importance cannot be ignored.

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News: Offering an Online Workshop

Several people have been asking if I’d offer an online workshop and I’ve been thinking about how best to do that. So here goes. Please spread the word of this however you can. If I don’t get at least 3 students for a workshop, I’ll cancel it. Continue reading

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