Thoughts on the X-Files, Doctor Who, and Sherlock

the-x-files reboot

When I heard that Steven Moffat is leaving Doctor Who, my first thought was, “Finally.” Of course, he still gets a whole last season to ruin what was once one of my favorite shows, but much like Scott Walker as governor here in Wisconsin, we can only hope his successor will be able to put things back like they were. … Read More

Thoughts on Clarion, Privilege and Gaiman

computer keyboard

So Neil Gaiman—a writer whose success and public image make him a hero to many aspiring writers—tweeted this: It got noticed. Clarion is a workshop for science fiction and fantasy writers, taught by successful established authors in those fields. Its also expensive, long (five to six weeks), and so beyond the reach of a great many aspiring authors. To quote … Read More

Sherlock, by Decree

sherlock-ab

I’m not a hardcore Sherlockian, but I am a fan. I first came to the great detective through a comic book adaptation of “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” and followed that to the original stories. Since at the time they were still under copyright, I was spared the plethora of half-assed pastiches we’re now awash in; the only non-Doyle story … Read More

Guest blog: Mehitobel Wilson on the Blue Alice

Blue Alice 1

Way back in the last century, when the Internet was still shiny, Mehitobel Wilson became one of my earliest online friends. She’s a great writer (the first story of hers that I read began, “Someone was fucking with the pigeons.”), and she’s just finished a new novella, Last Night at the Blue Alice. I asked her to write a little bit about her … Read More

Inspiration and “Copperhead Road”

Copperhead_road

When I teach writing classes, I often play the song “Copperhead Road,” by Steve Earle for the students. If you don’t know it, here’s the video.   When it’s over, I point out what makes the song so extraordinary. It tells the story of three generations of men named Conlee* Pedimore; grandfather was a moonshiner, father was a bootlegger, and … Read More

Guest Post: Nicole Winters on Writing for Teens

Jock and the Fat Chick cover

My friend Nicole Winters has a new novel, The Jock and the Fat Chick, coming out on October 13. She’s been kind enough to talk about the challenge of writing for contemporary teens in their rapidly-updating world. *** Writing for teens in an ever-changing environment; It’s not as scary as you may think You know that saying, “The more things change, … Read More

Review: Epitaph, a novel of the OK Corral

OK Corral sign

I loved, unreservedly, Mary Doria Russell’s 2012 novel Doc, about the life of Doc Holliday before the infamous events of the OK Corral in Tombstone, AZ. I was just familiar enough with both the history and mythology of the story to really appreciate the way she wove them together. When I saw she’d written a follow-up, Epitaph—subtitled A Novel of … Read More

A Couple of More Questions on Writing

Editorial assistant Sophie

Here are some more questions from readers, with the same caveat at last week: my answers describe my process, which may be totally different from yours. Neither is “right”; what matters is what works for you. From Donald Kirby: When you have two openings that appeal equally, how do you choose? That actually happened to me on Long Black Curl. I wanted … Read More

A Couple of Questions on Writing

computer keyboard

Recently I put out a call for questions to be answered on this blog. Here are a couple of the responses. Keep in mind, though, that these are my processes; your mileage may vary. In the end, all that matters is what ends up on the page. From Tamlyn Garrison: [How do you know] when to stop editing? I’m a … Read More

The Nature of Magic vs Science

Waterhouse Cauldron

Recently best-selling author Dave Farland wrote this article about the cost of magic. It’s an argument I’ve encountered before, and the short version is, everything must have a cost. If you cast a spell, the power has to come from somewhere. It’s the basic Law of the Conservation of Energy, one of the rules that keeps the universe ticking along. In other … Read More