Lesson Two: Create a Protagonist

“Protagonist” One common misconception among beginning writers is that the author can make the characters do whatever the author wants.  Not true. It takes realistic characters to make a story live. When things happen to them, they must act and react within the limitations of their physical bodies and their personalities. Their beliefs and expectations […]

Lesson One: Have a Plan

“Planning” Although outlining is not mandatory, planning is. I have heard many would-be-writers complain that they have written themselves into a corner or that their story has deviated so much from the original plot that there is no way to have a convincing ending. What they’re saying is that they didn’t plan very well. It […]

So You Want To Write a Book, Do You?

Over the years, I’ve heard dozens of people say “Anyone can write a book. The trick is to write the second one.” WRONG!  The trick is to write the first one. After you’ve learned how to put fifty thousand, or eighty thousand, or a hundred thousand words together in a logical progression that moves from […]

The Crystal Singer Trilogy by Anne McCaffrey

Anne McCaffrey has written so much great science fiction that it is difficult to single out my favorites. I have read and re-read her books ever since I discovered The Ship Who Sang back in the 1970s. She is probably best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series. Although I’ve enjoyed everything of hers, I’ve probably read the three crystal […]

Conrad’s Fate by Diana Wynne Jones

Anyone who likes fantasy should take a look at the Chrestomanci books by Diana Wynne Jones. Charmed Life, the first of half a dozen books about witches and warlocks and magical deeds,  predates Harry Potter by twenty years. Each book stands alone as a complete tale. Chrestomanci is not a person, but a governmental position charged […]

Hellspark and Mirabile by Janet Kagan

Two of my favorite science fiction books are Hellspark and Mirabile, both by Janet Kagan. The protagonist of Hellspark is a woman named Tocohl, who is a glossi (an expert in languages).  She can speak  the languages of all intelligent species in the known universe without an accent. She is hired to go to the planet Lassti, […]

The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander

While I was growing up, I delighted in fairy tales and classics like Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. My first experience with fantasy as an adult came after I graduated from college. I worked for a woman named Harriet Mulliner, and she was taking a Children’s Literature class at […]

Techno-phobe or Misoneist or Both

This morning I tried to decide if I really am a techno-phobe, and the answer is yes. Technology terrifies me. But it goes beyond that. I am also a misoneist. (For those of you who have never come across this word before, it’s pronounced miss-uh-NEE-ist.) A misoneist is a person who hates change or innovation. […]

Blogging for the Techno-Phobic

I have been talking to a few friends and it seems like most of them try to have a theme to their blogging. The themes mentioned were dieting, getting through school, money, artistic talents, and politics. I decided to focus my blogging around my experiences as I try to enter the age of technology. My […]