Lessons From the Rushed Writing of The Blade Itself

Gather round, ye speculative fiction fans. It is time for another critique post. Last time, I reached into spec fic’s distant past and dredged up A Spell for Chameleon, but today I take on a more modern offering: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie. I … read more »

Lessons From the Flat Writing of Tiger’s Curse

A close up of a white tiger with blue eyes

On the cover of Tiger’s Curse is a white tiger giving me an intense blue stare. I think it knows I’m about to critique its book, and it does not approve. Still, I can’t help but appreciate the tasteful graphic design and gentle pattern overlay … read more »

Crafting Micro Stories

Micro stories are not only great fun, but excellent practice for writers. Creating micro stories forces you to tighten your prose – an essential skill for any kind of writing. Naturally, these tiny narratives come with challenges of their own. Let’s look at this unique … read more »

Five Essentials of Omniscient Narration

What do Discworld, Alice in Wonderland, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Lord of the Rings have in common? If you guessed “omniscient narration,” then you’re right, but you also cheated by reading my title. No matter – I will still share the secrets of this powerful but challenging … read more »

Will Your Subgenre Prevent You From Being Published?

As a literary agent at Trident Media Group, I see a plethora of science fiction and fantasy book ideas come across my desk, but only ideas that sell will make it to publication. Writers can find themselves in a stalemate when they’re writing more of … read more »

Lessons From the Tedious Writing of The Disintegration Machine

Cover art from the Disintegration Machine, showing something that looks like a film projector.

Nearly everyone knows Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the author of Sherlock Holmes, but the good detective wasn’t Doyle’s only creation. Doyle was a prolific author, penning many tales outside the Holmes universe, and today we’re looking at one of them: The Disintegration Machine. While … read more »

Six Reasons You Shouldn’t Enter Writing Contests

Writing contests seem so flashy and cool. They promise big prizes and publishing deals, and surely your story is good enough to win, right? Entering seems like a no-brainer! Except that it’s almost never a good idea to enter a prose writing contest.* For authors, writing … read more »

Five Speculative Fiction Novels You Can Learn From

What we read influences what we write, often without our conscious intent. So if you’re working on your writing skills, pick your books carefully. Great books can show you how it’s done. Terrible ones can encourage poor habits. But which books are great? If you’re new … read more »

Ten Ways to Switch Up Your Sentences

Fiction is made of people doing things, and the standard “protagonist verb object” is a strong way to write that. But if you structure all your sentences that way, you’ll have a monotonous mess on your hands. When that happens, it can be a struggle to inject some life into stale phrasing. To keep your head from hitting the desk, I have some quick ideas you can use. Read more »

Five Perspective Mistakes to Avoid

Narrative perspective comes in many forms. In first-person limited, the narrator and the protagonist are one and the same, and the audience knows only what the character knows. In third-person omniscient, the narrator is free to rain down information from on high and use whatever voice … read more »

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