By Kevin J. Anderson
If you see a person walking along engaged in a vigorous conversation with no one else around, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s escaped from the nearest asylum. It could be me talking to myself. But don’t be concerned, don’t interrupt me, don’t bother me at all — I’m writing. Yes, writing.
It’s been more than twenty years since I gave up the keyboard and took up a recorder for my first drafts. Since that time, I’ve dictated over a hundred novels that way on an innumerable number of microcassettes, then later as MP3 files on a digital recorder, speaking the words aloud, rather than typing them into my word processor. In other the words, telling the story. The way storytellers always used to do…Read More
By Jeredith Merrin
“As with most first-book poets, the farther Franco gets from himself, the better his work tends to be.”
That’s a sentence from David Orr’s review (mixed) in July’s New York Times Book Review of James Franco’s (yes, the movie actor’s) new book of poems. I’m not sure if it’s true or not (I mean of first-book poets in general), and my high-school teacher would have said Orr should have written “further”—but the idea of getting farther from yourself by writing poetry is interesting to me…Read More
By Matthew Brennan
When we study fiction writing, we talk about conflict as a means to plot and we talk about tension being integral to scene and dialogue. So in workshop stories, we see a lot of breakups, a lot of arguments, even the occasional war story. We watch characters deal with death and loss and illness and pasts that – I noticed in my own work, too – I would never want to experience myself. And haven’t.
Over the past few years, I’ve been working on two things in my writing: flash fiction, and how to generate interesting fiction out of my own fairly mundane life.Read More
By G. Pascal Zachary
When does a writer tell stories that repudiate his or her closely held convictions?
For any writer, authenticity looms large. Write what I believe, I tell myself. Write to promote admirable aspirations, or to alert readers to perils they ought to avoid (we might call these counter-aspirations). Write to express myself as honestly and sincerely as I can. In a world without fixed meanings, in a universe indifferent to my own strivings and sufferings, what lodestar can serve a writer better than sincerity and honesty in expression?Read More
By Alan di Perna
Reading your work out loud in front of an audience can be a bit like standing naked on a crowded subway platform…or so I would imagine. I’ve only done the former, never the latter. And I didn’t do my first public reading until I was well into my professional career as a rock music journalist and author. It was terrifying, but also gratifying. I guarantee this: do a public reading and you’ll gain insights into your work that you’d never attain otherwise. You’ll grow as a writer; and maybe you’ll even sell a few extra copies of your book.Read More
Michael Stackpole recently sat with Timothy C. Ward at SF Signal to record a podcast interview. They discuss the recent Canvas course Michael conducted, but discuss many more topics, as the introduction explains:
Michael and Tim also discuss how one learns to outline, examining studies in neuroplasticity and how outlines come from a strong understanding of characters. Michael discusses higher education options for aspiring authors of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
The audio podcast is available to stream and to download on the SF Signal website.
By Jim Natal
The questions always come up: Who’s your favorite poet? Who were your influences? Neither is easy because there are so many right answers and not all of them will be top-of-mind at that moment. Philip Levine. Naomi Shihab Nye. B. H. Fairchild. Jim Harrison, who’s known much more for his prose than his poetry. David St. John, both for his poetry and his incredible generosity as a teacher. Later that night in bed I always remember more names that I could have mentioned. You know, what I shoulda said.
But it’s not always the poets you admire who have the most influence on your writing…Read More
The Piper Center is proud to announce that our own YOUR NOVEL YEAR coordinator & instructor, Bill Konigsberg, has been chosen as one of five finalists for the 2014 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award! The book earning the honor is Bill’s 2013 effort, Openly Straight.Read More
By Max Doty
Today, we novelists still invent, but it’s an invention informed by three centuries of our predecessors’ work. If we are explorers, we are not Marco Polo or even Lewis and Clark, but their modern day descendants, exploring the last remaining uncharted corners of the novel form.
But I am not only a novelist: the bulk of my professional writing has been for video games, far younger as an art form, and still relatively unexplored as an art form. Exploring the possibilities of this new medium means finding narrative techniques unique to this form—stories that can only be told in the form of a game. Over the course of this piece, I’ll highlight a few of the unique stories that games have allowed me to tell, or to experience.Read More