Published Writers trying to help you

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An Old Friend
This is a thread to explore published writers trying to assist new writers with insight to the field. I feel it is best explained by seeing what I mean...

Writing Speculative Fiction, by Mary Soon Lee

Hello and welcome. I have been submitting short stories since 1992, and have had two collections published: Winter Shadows & Other Tales and Ebb Tides & Other Tales. My other credits include stories in Amazing Stories, Analog, F&SF, Interzone, Realms of Fantasy, Sword and Sorceress, and the Year's Best Science Fiction #4 and #5 (edited by David Hartwell). This page contains tidbits of information that might be useful to new writers. If you would like to know more about me and my own forays into writing, visit my home page. For the curious, more than twenty of my stories are now available from Fictionwise.

Questions and Answers

More authors and writers will follow in the replies to this post.


An Old Friend
Science Fiction Worlds of Jeffrey A. Carver

Here's another to get this thread on the boogie trail...


Many people have emailed me asking what advice I might offer to an aspiring writer. Here are a few thoughts. A lot more could be said, obviously, but I hope you'll find the following useful:
Read, read, read. Read widely and voraciously. Since you're looking at my web page, you probably have an interest in science fiction or fantasy (SF/F). Seek out the best in the field. (Look for my recommended reading list but only as a start; it doesn't even pretend to be exhaustive.) Read the classics, both SF and other. I wish I'd read more of the non-SF classics when I was in school.

Practice, practice, practice writing. Writing is a craft that requires both talent and acquired skills. You learn by doing, by making mistakes and then seeing where you went wrong. Short stories are a good training ground and an easier market to break into.

If you're wondering about a course to pursue in college, and you think you want a career in writing, choose the school that you think will give you the best all-around experience. Much of what I learned in college I learned outside the classroom. Study what interests you (though it doesn't hurt to get some training for work that pays a salary!). What do you feel passionate about? Pursue it! You don't need a certificate to write; you do need self-discipline and inner fire.

Write from the soul, not from some notion about what you think the marketplace wants. The market is fickle; the soul is eternal.

If you can stand the thought of not writing, don't attempt a career as a writer. It's difficult and often painful. Don't subject yourself to it unless you are driven by a passion for it. If you find this too discouraging, you probably shouldn't aim to be a professional writer. But nothing says you can't be a happy amateur. (Remember, the root of the word "amateur" is amare, to love.)

Don't plan on making a lot of money from your writing. A survey by The Authors Guild a few years ago found that the average author earned about $4000 a year from his or her writing. That was a general survey, but even in the genres, there are plenty of people struggling--many of them quite good writers. If you make it into print, you are doing well. If you succeed in breaking out commercially, you'll be among the extremely fortunate few.

See the page for the links to further explore this writers insight


Creative Writer
lists of retail books on the subject of writing, including scifi specific releases :

Ben Bova : The Craft Of Writing Scifi That Sells
Ray Brabbury : The Zen Of Writing
Orson Scott Card : How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy
Orson Scott Card : Characters And Viewpoints
Stephen King : On Writing
Gotham Writers Workshop
Michael Valdez : Magical Realism At Worlds End
Writing Lessons With Uncle Orson
Dorothea Brand : Becoming A Writer
Ansen Dibell : Plot
James Frey : How To Write A Damned Good Book
Nancy Kress : Beginnings, Middles and Ends
Holly Lisle : Mugging the Muse, Writing Fiction For Love And Money
Margaret Lucke : Schaums Quick Guide To Writing Great Short Stories

all published works that i have come across in my travels and i have the main scifi ones in my collection on my shelves (and on my pc), good reading once you have disseminated what you need


An Old Friend

Now here's a site on Writing Science Fiction from Robert J. Sawyer

Select the column you'd like to read from the list below:

A letter to Beginner Writers from Robert Sawyer

Dear Aspirant Writer:

You're getting this letter because you've contacted me about writing science fiction. Unfortunately, so many people have taken to asking me for advice that I've had to resort to this form letter of response. Still, I hope it's of some assistance.

This letter contains 100% of the help I can give you; everything else is up to you.