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Writer's School

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Writing is one of the oldest artforms, but writing fiction is one of the newest. Like any other artform it looks deceptively easy to get into, but once you start the hidden troubles show up. The best authors will tell you that you can't just learn how to write, but this is only partially true. There is a facet to writing that is a learned skill and a facet that you have to be born with.

To the layperson writing is simply stringing words together into a coherent whole. And, to an extent, that is the truth—it's also the part of the art that can be taught. Anyone can learn how to string words together into a coherent sentence and string hundreds of those sentences into a coherent story, but unless you are born with the gift of knowing how to tell a story the end product is, more often than not, bland and built of tiresome cliches and rehashed plots. But if you have been born a storyteller the end product shines, what cliches and rehashed plots it may contain used and retold in such a manner that they seem new again.

This “Writers School” is an attempt to break that mold. Not only is it going to try and teach those people who are born storytellers ways to improve their skills, but it is going to try and teach people how to tell the stories. In here you can find articles on creating believable characters and worlds, tips about how to escape many common pitfalls that snare many writers.

Before Writing

Title Description Author
Making Miracles Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. Rabbit
The Message at the Center of the Novel Preachiness versus Having A Theme Rabbit
Pigging Out Some thoughts on one of the more enduring shared settings, "The Blind Pig" Rabbit
The Pornography Trap One of the most common TF story pitfalls Rabbit
Putting First Things First "It's the story, stupid!" Rabbit
Title Stolen by Evil, Inc. Creating and writing villains Rabbit
The Tail Tale Avoiding cliches and common pitfalls of TF fiction Rabbit
Writing Fantasy Tips about writing good fantasy Rabbit
Learning from the Masters Some recommended Science Fiction TF novels to read and take notes from Michael Bard
Points of View What POV should you write your story in? Michael Bard
Research:It's not just for School anymore Getting your facts straight! Michael Bard
Transformation Writing Types Categorizing TF Fiction Michael Bard
Character Some basics about where characters come from, how and when to describe them, and what kind of characters you really need Fish
Dialog Punctuating dialog properly and making it sound real, but not too real Fish
Syntax Everything you needed to know about grammar and punctuation and then some Fish
Word Choice Choosing the right words for your story Fish

Writing the Story

Title Description Author
How's This For Openers Good advice on creating a memorable first paragraph Rabbit
Lights, Camera, Action! Tips about writing good action sequences Rabbit
Thinking Things Through If you want to toss in a neat technology or ability into a story, think about what else could be done with it before actually inserting it Michael Bard
Use Your Senses Dammit! Don't just describe things visually in your writing Michael Bard

After Writing

Title Description Author
The E-Publishing Dilemma What, exactly, is an author to do? Rabbit
Getting Published Tips and Tricks for those people wishing to get published Rabbit
The Letter How can a would-be writer know he's passed the Point of No Return? Rabbit

General Advice

Title Description Author
Beating Block Different Methods of Beating Writers Block Rabbit
Getting Small Age Regression and the world through a childs eyes Rabbit
Going Soft Through the eyes of a member of the opposite sex Rabbit
The Horror, the Horror Writing Horror Stories Rabbit
The Proper Tool What you need if you want to be a writer. Rabbit
Experience Personal adventures and experience breeds better stories Rabbit
Why We Write A look inside the auctorial mind. Rabbit
Writers Groups And Other Support Mechanisms What's good and bad about them. Rabbit
The Writing Life Why do they do it? Rabbit
From Thesis to Synthesis Some notes on a fundamental necessity for improving one's craft. ShadowWolf
As you and I both know What is "infodump" in fiction and how to avoid it Michael Bard
Creating Worlds to Share An examination of why some shared universes are successful, and why others aren't Michael Bard
Critiquing Advice and thoughts as to how to usefully critique things, and how to use critique Michael Bard
Editors aren't the Enemy Why editing and critiquing by others is useful and vital Michael Bard
Keeping the Editor Happy Three common errors I see in fiction submitted to TSAT: Repetitive Sentence Structure, Narrator Changes, Unnatural Sounding Speech Michael Bard
Posting to Lists Using mailing lists to get stories read and critiqued Michael Bard
Technological Transformation Methodology Some technological methods of inducing transformations Michael Bard
Write what you Know Applying that rule to TF Fiction Michael Bard
Writing in Groups Success and failure about writing groups formed to write co-authored novels Michael Bard
Collaborative Writing with EtherPad Using the EtherPad collaborative text editor to allow multiple people to write stories together Robotech_Master
Writing in the TBP universe Important things you should be aware of before writing a story set in :"Tales From The Blind Pig" Michael Bard
Writing Organization Different methods of writing work for different folks. Outlines, sequential/non-sequential writing, etc. Michael Bard
The Importance of Narrative Flow About "Narrative Flow" and how important it is to maintain it ShadowWolf
The Vanishing Transforation A defense of the inclusion of detailed transformation sequences and what separates one from "transporn" Sturmovik

Article Series

The Five C's by Rabbit

  1. Creation
  2. Composition
  3. Critiquing
  4. Completion
  5. Commercialization

Writing Science Fiction by Michael Bard

  1. SF101: Writing Technological SF
  2. SF102: Learning the Basics
  3. SF103: Aliens
  4. SF104: Space Ships
  5. SF105: Living in a Science Fiction World

Advanced Topics