SF&F Troubleshooting with Samuel R. Delany: Clichés and Straw Men

This month, our guest author is Samuel R. Delany, a respected literary critic and Nebula-winning science fiction writer as well as one of this summer’s instructors at Clarion.  In this new essay written especially for the Clarion blog, Delany gets at the heart of those nasty “-isms” in fiction and offers advice on how to…… Continue reading SF&F Troubleshooting with Samuel R. Delany: Clichés and Straw Men

Writing Prompt #9

Before an idea can move into the realm of story, it must be populated with characters. These characters have their own personalities and agendas. We all do. When these agendas come into conflict, you have a story. A simplistic approach, perhaps. But a timeless one.

Writing Life: The Path of Cons

Now that we have Write-a-Thon squared away, it’s time to return to our weekly look at how to fit writing into life (and life into writing).  I touched on conventions very briefly in “Write Together, Die Alone,” but it’s a subject that deserves detailed attention and one that can be difficult to research effectively.  For…… Continue reading Writing Life: The Path of Cons

Spec Tech: The Lone Scientist (Not)

Last month I discovered this old paperback on a bookshelf in my parents’ house: SCIENCE AND THE MORAL LIFE by Max Otto, a posthumous collection of his philosophical works published in 1949. I skimmed through the book and latched onto a verbal nugget that helped inspire this week’s blog. In the essay, “The Scientific Method…… Continue reading Spec Tech: The Lone Scientist (Not)

Writing Prompt #8

As you’ve seen, I use what I call “story seeds” a lot as writing prompts. The concept is simple: start with a basic story template and fill in the blanks with random elements. What I love most about this technique is the incongruity between the different elements, smashing together two opposing concepts and seeing what falls out.