Funny how you can’t spot a bad habit until you’ve overcome it. Then it yells at you like a car alarm. I used to be too fond of “that” for referring to the business in preceding lines. Here’s an example from book 1 of my SF saga, The Courtesan Prince, published in 2005. Modified a…… Continue reading Clarion Writing Prompt #26 – That
Doomsday scenarios are a dime a dozen. When a villain claims to be on the verge of ‘destroying the Earth’ he/she usually means killing everyone/everything on it. But sometimes simply killing all humans isn’t good enough. Unfortunately even the vast amounts of energy necessary to wipe out all civilization is woefully inantiquate to physically destroy…… Continue reading Spec Tech: Blowing Up Planets
Ah, the recap. How can you get on with the story when understanding depends on knowing what has come before? My trick is to make the recap do double-duty and even triple if possible. In the following lines, the reader is reminded of Ilse’s relationship to someone called “Horth”. But we also feel the strain…… Continue reading Clarion Writing Prompt #25 The Recap
Since linguistics topics are bound to keep popping up here during Spec Tech Thursdays, I thought I’d give a quick run-down of the field of linguistics and its component parts. Hopefully this will give you a taste of how linguists view human language, and at the same time establish a shared vocabulary for future posts…… Continue reading Spec Tech: What is Linguistics, Anyway?
This week’s writing prompt is provided by my daughter and fellow author: Jennifer Lott. What is good writing? It’s always filtered through the lens of the reader. My sixteen-year-old sister is reading A Tale of Two Cities for English. To her credit, she is responding passionately to the injustices of the French Revolution. She…… Continue reading Clarion Writing Prompt #24 Audience
A significant subset of fantasy and science fiction deals with ships and the sea. When writing about sailors and ships, writers of speculative fiction often manage to get it wrong. This does not does not make them usual. Many writers, of all genres, screw things up when writing about ships. I recently read a…… Continue reading Spec Tech: Salty Talk – the Use and Misuse of Nautical Language
I’m here at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida this week to watch the last launch of Space Shuttle Discovery. This represents (nearly) the end of an era for manned spaceflight both in this country and the world. The space shuttle was in many ways inspired by science fiction, and vice versa, I mean it’s…… Continue reading Spec Tech: Space Shuttles are People Too