Writing a story, building a world – part 4: WHEN

Read WHO, WHAT, WHERE in previous installments. Coninuing – Question 4: WHEN It isn’t a coincidence that stories told to all of us in our childhood used to begin with “Once upon a time…” The concept of a moment in … Continue reading

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What Off Earth Made me Write my First Novel?

It’s been fun to revisit my early writing, as Book View Café releases new editions (with new covers!) of my early science fiction novels originally published by Berkley/Ace/Putnam. I wrote my first novel while finishing my undergraduate degree in English … Continue reading

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Writing a story, building a world – part 3: WHERE

Read WHO and WHAT in previous installments Continuing –   Question 3: WHERE The setting of any given story is neither more nor less than context – and context matters a great deal. It determines what KIND of story may … Continue reading

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Writing a story, building a world – part 2: WHAT

Read Part 1, WHO, last week. Continuing – Question 2: WHAT You’ve heard about tropes? There are several definitions of the word, but the one that applies here is “a common (or overused) plot or story device”. The publishing/media world … Continue reading

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Writing a story, building a world – part 1: WHO

Before reporting became a dying craft, every newbie was taught that a news story had to answer five fundamental questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why … and sometimes, How. In fiction, these questions are just as fundamental. The difference is … Continue reading

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Between the Lines: When research tries to eat you

Any author will tell you that writing a novel involves research. Then, if you aren’t quick on your feet, they’re liable to corner you and tell you all the marvelous things they learned that were peripheral to their novel and so never got into the book. Have you poured hours into research that led you farther and farther away from your story—and into fascinating places?

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A Little Etiquette, a Little Incense, a Little Edge

I think I was 13 when I discovered, more or less all at once, Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, Jane Aiken Hodge, and “romantic suspense,” a broad category that included different sorts of books but generally featured a woman in a diaphanous gown, … Continue reading

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