Tag: Writing

Article: 21 Blogs Writers Should Be Reading

The blogosphere is a wild and sometimes chaotic place, but in that vast sea of voices there are some people saying things that need to be heard. And since blogging is just a form of writing, there are naturally several blogs that dispense valuable writing advice.

The benefits of interacting with the blogosphere can be great. Not only can you pick up free writing advice from professional writers who speak from personal experience, but you can also become part of your favorite writing community by reading the posts, then reacting to them either by posting comments or writing blog posts of your own.

Diving headfirst into the blogosphere is not without perils, however. If you have the tendency to spout off without really thinking through what you’re saying, you can quickly develop a bad reputation as a troublemaker, or a troll as such folks are known online. Reading a lot of blogs can also be a huge time-waster–time that might be better spent actually writing–so it’s important to spend your blog-reading time wisely. Below is a list of some of the best blogs about writing and/or publishing, written by writers and other publishing professionals.


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Article: Beyond the Guidelines: 25 Ways You Might Be Annoying Editors Without Even Knowing It

All writers at some point in their careers make some kind of submission faux-pas. It’s embarrassing and you’ll feel pretty dumb when it happens, but rest assured that there’s almost certainly another writer out there who has done the same thing, or has done something even more obtuse.

Following standard manuscript format will take care of most of the problems you’re likely to run into. But in my seven years experience as an editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, I’ve come across a number of recurring mistakes that tend to get glossed over in guidelines, but are annoying nonetheless. Here are my top 25.


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Guidelines: Federations edited by John Joseph Adams



federations From Star Trek to Star Wars, from Dune to Foundation, science fiction has a rich history of exploring the idea of vast intergalactic societies, and the challenges facing those living in or trying to manage such societies. The stories in Federations will continue that tradition.

What are the social, religious, environmental, or technological implications of living in such a vast society? What happens when expansionist tendencies on a galactic scale come into conflict with the indigenous peoples of other planets, of other races? And what of the issue of communicating across such distances, or the problems caused by relativistic travel? These are just some of the questions and issues that the stories in Federations will take on.

Genres: Science Fiction only. Original fiction only, no reprints.

Payment: 5 cents per word ($250 max), plus a pro-rata share of the anthology’s earnings and 1 contributor copy.

Word limit: 5000 words. (Stories may exceed 5000 words, but $250 is the maximum payment per story, and stories 5000 words or less are strongly preferred.)

Rights: First world English rights, non-exclusive world anthology rights, and non-exclusive audio anthology rights. See my boilerplate author-anthologist contract, which spells out the rights in detail.

Reading Period: November 1-January 1, 2009

Response Time: Most rejections will be sent out quickly, but stories that I like may be held until January 31 before a final decision is made.

Publication date: May 2009

Publisher: Prime Books

Submission Instructions: Email your story in .doc Microsoft Word format (preferred) or .rtf rich-text format to John Joseph Adams at [anthology now closed]. Include the title of the story and your byline in the subject line of the email.


John Joseph Adams is the editor of the anthologies Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse, Seeds of Change, and The Living Dead. He is also the assistant editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and is the print news correspondent for SCI FI Wire (the news service of the SCI FI Channel). For more information, visit his website at www.johnjosephadams.com.

ETA 2/1/09:

Table of Contents

  • Mazer in Prison | Orson Scott Card (reprint)
  • Carthago Delenda Est | Genevieve Valentine
  • Life-Suspension | L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
  • Terra-Exulta | S. L. Gilbow
  • Aftermaths | Lois McMaster Bujold (reprint)
  • Someone is Stealing the Great Throne Rooms of the Galaxy | Harry Turtledove (reprint)
  • Prisons | Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason (reprint)
  • Different Day | K. Tempest Bradford
  • Twilight of the Gods | John C. Wright
  • Warship | George R. R. Martin and George Guthridge (reprint)
  • Swanwatch | Yoon Ha Lee
  • Spirey and the Queen | Alastair Reynolds (reprint)
  • Pardon Our Conquest | Alan Dean Foster
  • Symbiont | Robert Silverberg (reprint)
  • The Ship Who Returned | Anne McCaffrey (reprint)
  • My She | Mary Rosenblum
  • The Shoulders of Giants | Robert J. Sawyer (reprint)
  • The Culture Archivist | Jeremiah Tolbert
  • The Other Side of Jordan | Allen Steele
  • Like They Always Been Free | Georgina Li
  • Eskhara | Trent Hergenrader
  • The One with the Interstellar Group Consciousnesses | James Alan Gardner
  • Golubash or, Wine-War-Blood-Elegy | Catherynne M. Valente

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Launch Pad Workshop: Learn Space Science…for Free!

Unlike Odyssey or Clarion, Launch Pad isn’t workshop for aspiring writers about writing, it’s a workshop for established writers about astronomy and science, workshop director Mike Brotherton says. "Clarion instructors are the applicant pool rather than those who would apply to Clarion," he says. "NASA is footing the bill and the workshop is free, or nearly free, for attendees.  We even cover airfare for attendees who request it."

The workshop consists of a week-long crash course in modern astronomy that includes lecture, lab exercises, first-hand experiences with professional telescopes, and discussions about how to present scientific concepts effectively to general audiences. "Ideally we’re looking for writers with larger audiences who are looking to include more and more accurate astronomy in their work in the near future," Brotherton says. "While science fiction writers are the majority of applicants, we’re also looking for writers/editors of all kinds who would benefit from this experience."

Brotherton says that the workshop was sold to NASA based on the idea that it could help educate the public about space science and inspire future scientists by better educating the writers who reach the public.  "My background as both an astronomy professor and science fiction writer make this a natural marriage of my passions," he says.

The workshop is held in Laramie, Wyoming. Most of the workshop activities will take place at a local university campus; lodging will be provided for students at nearby hotels.

This year’s workshop is scheduled to take place immediately preceding the 2008 Worldcon, in Denver, CO. "We fly attendees for the workshop into Denver (Laramie is only a two hour drive away), and they can stay in Denver after the workshop for Worldcon if they wish," Brotherton says. "Wyoming is beautiful in the summer and the skies are darker than you can imagine."

Brotherton says that Launch Pad is particularly interested in female and minority writers who have been historically under represented in the physical sciences and hard science fiction, though all are welcome to apply.

Last year was Launch Pad’s first workshop; graduates of the inaugural class include: Vonda McIntyre, Jeffrey Carver, Jo Sherman, Eugie Foster, and others.  See http://www.launchpadworkshop.org/attendees.html for a complete list.

Tuition: Free
Housing: Provided
College Credit: N/A
Application Fee: None
Application Deadline: March 31
Workshop Schedule: July 30-August 5, 2008
Location: Laramie, WY
Number of Participants: about 12
Founded: 2007
URL: www.launchpadworkshop.org

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Eclipse Two Open Reading Period

Jonathan Strahan currently has an open reading period for his anthology series Eclipse:

I am currently reading for Eclipse Two, the second volume in the original science fiction and fantasy anthology series that I am editing for San Francisco-based publisher Night Shade Books. Eclipse is a series of anthologies in the vein of Orbit, Universe and New Dimensions, updated for the 21st century. It’s new and it’s proudly genre. It has no theme, and there’s no such thing as an Eclipse ‘type’ of story. Instead writers are encouraged to take any and all of the colors of the genre palette – be they steampunk, cyberpunk, new space opera, old space opera, fairy tale, ghost story, hard SF, or whatever – and use them as they will to create something unique and wonderful. That said, I am particularly looking for strong science fiction stories for Volume Two. Each volume of Eclipse features more than a dozen new stories by some of the best and brightest writers working in the field today. For example, Eclipse 1, which was published in October 2007, features Peter S. Beagle, Jack Dann & Paul Brandon, Terry Dowling, Andy Duncan, Jeffrey Ford, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Eileen Gunn, Gwyneth Jones, Ellen Klages, Margo Lanagan, Maureen F. McHugh, Garth Nix, Lucius Shepard, Bruce Sterling, and Ysabeau S. Wilce.

Visit Jonathan’s website to learn how to submit a story.

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Noctem Aeternus Vol. 1

Charlie Finlay points out that the first issue of Noctem Aeternus is now available as a free PDF download. It features his story "The Rapeworm":

You can download the issue here, but you have to join the subscription list. (I think this is so they can pitch solid subscriber numbers to advertisers, who will underwrite the cost of the fiction, which would be a new model for internet fiction magazines similar to the free weekly newspapers you pick up in most cities. Their goal is 30,000 subscribers by the first of next year.) It’s worth signing up just to take a look at this issue. There are other stories in the issue by Cherie Priest, Michael Laimo, Tim Waggoner, and Ramsey Campbell, plus a Paula Guran column, interviews, and art by Kuang Hong.

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Still Life with Writer Post-Deadline

That whooshing sound you just heard might have been the huge sigh of relief I just let out after finishing the last of my three articles for the 2009 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. I had like six months to write these things; why did I have to wait until the last two weeks of December to even start trying to work on them? Note I say trying; work in earnest didn’t really begin until three days ago. And here I am finishing up right at the deadline.

If you’re interested, the three articles are:

  • 21 Blogs Writers Should Be Reading
  • Beyond the Guidelines: 25 Ways You Might Be Annoying Editors and Not Even Know It
  • SF/Fantasy Editorial Roundtable with Gordon Van Gelder, Sheila Williams, & Susan Marie Groppi

The titles are subject to change, but the ones I have there pretty much let you know what the articles are about, so no further description is necessary, I reckon. You’ll have to wait at least until August to read them in print. And I’ll attempt to sell them elsewhere as reprints, but if no one wants to reprint them, I’m sure they’ll end up here on my blog. Meanwhile, enjoy my article "Speculative Fiction: The Next Generation," which I wrote for the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market 2008.

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