28 Mar

Finding Your Heroes

It’s been a while since I wrote something here, so I’m a bit rusty. But this is something I need to say, and hopefully something you need to listen to:

Find your heroes.

Simple as that. Call them mentors or teachers, parents or guides, I don’t care. To me they are heroes, people I look up to, people I want to emulate.

For a long time I had no idea how to do it. Isaac Asimov‘s dead. So’s Jack Vance. Ursula Le’Guin died a month ago. Louis McMaster-Bujold, Dean Wesley Smith, Howard Tayler, pretty much everyone I admire, lives on the other side of the world. And even when I knew Tayler was going to be in Finland, for the World Fantasy Convention last August, I put that aside. Didn’t have the time. Didn’t have the strength to chance it. Promised myself that I’d go meet them some other WorldCon. When I’d made enough money from my writing.

Wrong. Read More

20 Feb

Plotting with Pain – Who’d be the Most Hurt?

How to Plot using Pain

How to Plot using PainLet’s say you have an idea for a setting, or an event, or a new type of technology, but you can’t transform it into a plot. There’s simply no action there, no conflict. All you’ve got is a “what if…”

How about you take one of those what ifs and ask “who would be the most hurt by this?” I.e.:

“What if all people could suddenly fly? Who would be the most hurt by this?”

Airlines. Airline pilots. Airline maintenance workers. What if it’s a airplane mechanic who really loves his planes, but now they’re all worthless and nobody wants them? “The Airplane Whisperer, coming soon to a theater near you…”

Second point would be to see how badly you can make the person hurt. Read More

10 Feb

Challenge: Meet a New Person next week

So I’m reading this book called “Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives” by Tim Harford. Harford references a psychology study where executives, entrepreneurs and high-powered consultants and similar go-getters were invited to a high-power networking event.

But there was a twist. Each attendant got a tag that tracked where they were in the room, and who they talked to. And it turns out that although every attendant stated beforehand that they went in order to meet new people and make new business ties, immediately upon entering the room, they made a beeline for old friends – and stayed there the entire event. If they did speak to a stranger, it was because the stranger was a friend of a friend. Read More

06 Jan

2016 in Review

Sales and SubmissionsSo the year is at an end. Yeah, yeah, new year, new possibilities, same old 24 hours/day. Anyway, here’s how I did in 2016:

Writing wise I…
(2015 numbers in paranthesis)

… submitted 164 (109) stories to publishers.
… got 4 (8) stories accepted.
… of which 4 (2) acceptances were by pro markets.
So, more submissions, less acceptances. But I only submitted to pro markets this year, meaning that all of my acceptances were from pro markets. Which rocks! Read More

31 Oct

12 Rejection Letters of Massively Popular Authors

12 Rejection Letters of Massively Popular Authors

12 Rejection Letters of Massively Popular AuthorsRejections are a part of the writer’s life. And yet, a bad rejection at the wrong time can crush an aspiring author.

Knowing that others have been rejected before you, that authors you admire, who’ve won prizes and gone on to glorious careers, have been badly rejected, can ease your burden. Here are some of those rejections. Read More

24 Oct

Short and Sweet Writing Advice – Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys Review

Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys - Review

Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys - ReviewSometimes you read a book at exactly the right time to change your world. Algis Budrys’ “Writing to the Point: A Complete Guide to Selling Fiction” was one of those books for me.

Writing to the Point is a short (152 airy pages) yet deep (spanning everything from “Chapter 1: The Basic Basics” to dealing with agents and who to format a manuscript) writing advice book. It took me slightly less than an hour-and-a-half to read, and I haven’t come away from a writing how-to book this turbo-charged in a long, long time. Read More

17 Oct

Design Your Author Website – The Basics

Design your Author Website

Design your Author WebsiteYou’ve written your novel, published your stories, signed an autograph or two[note]Yes, your mother does count.[/note]. And then you get the question: so, what’s your platform like?

What the hell is an author platform? Have you got one? Is it contagious?

Easy there, buckaroo. Help is on the way.

An author, or author’s, platform is all the online presence you’ve got[note]In fact it’s all the presence you’ve got, including offline, media and personal, but you don’t want fans trampling your mother’s petunias so we’ll stick to online.[/note]. It’s your website, Twitter feed, Instagram account, and forum moderator powers put together. And the most basic, and easiest to do, part of your writer platform, is your author website. Read More

10 Oct

Top Ten Writing Resources – Fall 2016

Top Ten Writer's Resources Fall 2016

Top Ten Writer's Resources Fall 2016There are some things that work plain better than others, that resonate with your needs better than others. When it comes to writing, I have tons of resources that I use on occasion, some that I use repeatedly and a few that I use all the time.

This is my Top Ten List of Writing Resources for the fall of 2016 (with some bonuses and honorary mentions). Read More