Archive for January, 2012

Drawing on Literary Traditions: THE HUNGER GAMES and THE MAZE RUNNER as Case Studies

A graduate student in writing, someone I am mentoring, asked me a question some time back about what she should do if she came up with an idea for a story that she really wanted to write, but that had been written about previously by other writers.  My answer to her was basically this: “First […]

The Skill List Project: Writing Descriptive Passages

This is another post in The Skill List Project: an attempt to list all the skills involved in writing and selling fiction, particularly science fiction and fantasy. As promised last time, we’re going to look at writing description, one of the most important skills in prose fiction. When you think about it, prose fiction primarily […]

Competence is hot

By now everybody and their brother has probably seen the post by (SF Novelists’ own) Jim Hines, wherein he attempts to pose like the women on the covers of some fantasy novels. The results are suitably absurd — not because there’s anything wrong with Jim, but because there’s something wrong with the covers. He caused […]

What’s Your Favorite Anecdote About Learning How to Write?

 Mine is easy.  It was in a college writing class many, many years ago.  Not an MFA writing class, but the kind of writing class that pre-meds, business, and chemistry majors used to take, because deep in their hearts they didn’ want to be doctors, entrepreneurs, or scientists.  They wanted to be writers.  Creative writing […]

Promotion, self-promotion, and all that jazz

See, here’s the thing – nobody likes a shill for their own stuff. For very excellent reasons. If a person – an artist – a writer – doesn’t seem to be capable of uttering six straight words without beginning the next sentence with “In MY book…” – well – there is only so much you […]

Author Information

David B. Coe

David B. Coe ( is the Crawford award-winning author of the LonTobyn Chronicle, the Winds of the Forelands quintet, the Blood of the Southlands trilogy, and a number of short stories. Writing as D.B. Jackson (, he is the author of the Thieftaker Chronicles, a blend of urban fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction. David is also part of the Magical Words group blog (, and co-author of How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion. In 2010 he wrote the novelization of director Ridley Scott’s movie, Robin Hood. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Visit site.

James Alan Gardner

James Alan Gardner got his M.Math from the University of Waterloo with a thesis on black holes...and then he immediately started writing science fiction instead. He's been a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula awards, and has won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award as well as the Aurora award (twice). He's published seven novels (beginning with "Expendable"), plus a short story collection and (for street cred) a Lara Croft book. He cares deeply about words and sentences, and is working his way up to paragraphs. Visit site.

Marie Brennan

Marie Brennan is the author of more than forty short stories and seven novels, the most recent of which is the urban fantasy Lies and Prophecy. Visit site.

S.C. Butler

Butler is the author of The Stoneways Trilogy from Tor Books: Reiffen's Choice, Queen Ferris, and The Magician's Daughter. Find out what Reiffen does with magic, and what magic does with him... Visit site.

Alma Alexander

Alma Alexander is a novelist, short story writer and anthologist whose books include High Fantasy ("Hidden Quen""Changer of Days"), historical fantasy ("Secrets of Jin Shei", "Embers of Heaven"), contemporary fantasy ("Midnight at Spanish gardens") and YA (the Worldweavers series, the Were Chronicles). She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two cats. Visit site.



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