From the time I was very small, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. I first started writing down my stories when I was in grade school. However almost all those first stories have since been lost. Only when I was in junior high and high school did I start carrying my stories everywhere with me and kept them in a folder so that they wouldn't get lost.
When I was a senior in high school, I took a creative writing course. Here is one of the stories I wrote, "The Day There Was No Bad News. Although the writing is a little crude and shows the worldview of a teenager, it was oddly prophetic of the coming rapproachment between the US and the now-fallen Soviet Union.
When I was a freshman in college, I took one college-level creative writing course. However, I soon discovered that the instructor considered science fiction and fantasy a waste of time. He wanted me to write "serious" fiction, by which he meant stories about things that could happen in the here and now. I found that too boring for words, but since I needed a decent grade, I found a story set in Moscow sufficiently exotic to satisfy me while sufficiently "here and now" to satisfy him. I didn't take another course there, although I continued to work on improving my writing.
Then I discovered the Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop, a writers' workshop by mail dedicated to science fiction and fantasy. Finally I found other people who didn't consider sf "escapist trash" and who were willing to help me improve my writing. This organization has a monthly newsletter, which published my first articles. Take a look at the articles the Newsletter has published.
Through this organization I also had the opportunity to meet a number of people who became my close friends and writing partners. These include Sherwood Smith and Dave Trowbridge. These two people have written a fascinating neo-retro space opera called Exordium. I think it's been way underestimated by the critics and you should really take a look at it.
Once I got on the full Internet, I discovered Critters, which distributes stories to its members each week via e-mail. It also has a Website where members can check on various aspects of the workshop administration.
Another Web-based workshopping activity is the Hatrack River workshop.
There are many other resources for writers on the Web. Here are a few of them.
Speculations combines up-to-date market listings with articles on various aspects of the craft and business of writing. It has been nominated for the Best Fanzine Hugo two years in a row.
Scavenger's Newsletter is another market listings magazine.
Be sure to check out the Market List.
Another good resource for writers, especially those who write horror, is the Heliocentric Network.
Also check out Victory's Writing Page, a gathering of original essays and links to other useful sites.
C.J. Cherryh, a noted science fiction and fantasy writer, has some essays on avoiding writerisms and on strong and weak characters.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America was created to b the organization for professional sf/fantasy writers. Even if you aren't a member you will find plenty of useful information here
There are also two major in-person workshops, Clarion and Clarion West.
This page last updated May 9, 1999.
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