Archive for October, 2012

The Skill List Project: Character Motivation

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. Last time, I said we’d look at one of the most important aspects of characterization: motivation. Why do your characters do what they do? And how do you […]

Six Non-Writing Things That Might Improve Your Writing

We give a fair amount of writing advice on this site, almost all of it geared toward creative process and storytelling mechanics.  I’ve written several of these posts myself, and will write more in the future.  But today’s post is a bit different.  I want to focus on those things I do to improve my […]

This Wardrobe Closed Until Further Notice

My fellow SF Novelist Rachel Manija Brown posted today about portal fantasies, and why nobody’s buying them. (Quick definition of a portal fantasy: Narnia. Person from our world is transported to another one, has adventures there.) The inciting incident for this is a panel at the Sirens Conference, in which five agents discussed the state […]

And You Thought Writing Had Nothing to Do With Math

Except it does, in an odd way. Because most long form writing, be it fiction or nonfiction, is storytelling, and much of storytelling is problem solving. And what is one of the best ways to learn how to solve problems? Math. Think about it. Your heroine is trapped in the cellar of an old wineshop […]

True to type

Something that turned up because of the new Rowling book, actually, and made me think about things. Rowling wrote a series of books (ostensibly)  for children – books that started squarely in Middle Grade territory and segued into Young Adult, if you want to apply the labels strictly. And let me correct that, just a […]

The Category Game

I spent the better part of the past weekend promoting my latest novel, DARKBEAST, to avid readers who are not necessarily readers of fantasy and science fiction.  (I was attending the Baltimore Book Festival’s Children’s Bookstore Stage and the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association annual meeting.)  I got my patter down pretty quickly:  “DARKBEAST is […]

Author Information

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.

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.

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.

Mindy Klasky

Mindy Klasky is the author of eleven novels, including WHEN GOOD WISHES GO BAD and HOW NOT TO MAKE A WISH in the As You Wish Series. She also wrote GIRL'S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT, SORCERY AND THE SINGLE GIRL, and MAGIC AND THE MODERN GIRL, about a librarian who finds out she's a witch. Mindy also wrote the award-winning, best-selling Glasswrights series and the stand-alone fantasy novel, SEASON OF SACRIFICE. Visit site.



Browse our archives: