When Tropes Wear Out

I was reading this essay by Joanna Russ, “The Wearing Out of Genre Materials” – it’s a quick read, but I’m not sure it’s freely available anywhere – I got it on Jstore. Yay working in academia! Anyway, the gist of the essay is: Stories feed an emotional need. They fulfill a wish, somehow. The […]

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Think so you can stop thinking so you can think

At Clarion, one of our instructors (I think it was a guest lecture from Kim Stanley Robinson)  said, “The change to your writing won’t come right away. For most it’s two years after Clarion that what you learn here will really change your writing.” The message was, “Don’t expect to get famous on a schedule.” […]

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Story Shapes: The Caper

During the write-a-thon, I found myself looking for the shapes of stories – the very vaguest, simplest structures I could find.  Something to start with, like an artist starts with an outline or sketch.  When you’re in a crunch to produce a complete work, it helps to have an idea of its completeness to start […]

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Showing a Decision

I’m working on this story and one of the first readers said that I needed to “Show the main character making his decision.” So I re-wrote it and I added all this internal dialog for the character waffling over his decision and… I realized I don’t know how to show a decision being made. “I […]

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Write-a-Thon Post-Mortem

Well, I did it! I wrote 50 new short story drafts in 42 days.  I started strong, zipping out some flashy flash pieces, and I slogged and hit writer’s block and I did sorta take four days out to revise a novel because that’s the kind of crazy I am. Only 3 stories were started […]

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The Fear of Invention

The first critiques we receive always stay with us the longest and hold disproportionate position in our imaginations.  So it is for me and scientific plausibility. As a child, writing silly, childish stories, I was drawn to science fiction first. I wanted to write about robots and spaceships and aliens.  Almost immediately, the comments I […]

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Suspense

  I’m starting to learn how to add suspense to my stories. Something I often lack because I’m such a nut about being brief. Naturally, the way I think best about suspense is to look at it through the lens of poetry. Warning: The following contains POETRY COMPOSED IN A BROWSER WINDOW.   Poets want […]

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