News, Perspectives, and Insights on Writing and Publishing

From the Staff of The Editorial Department

August 5, 2017

Rediscovering Fantasy
 (or, Why Magical Weaponry of Any Kind is a Death Sentence)

The idea that there is a genre of novels called ‘fantasy’ is a lie. Every bookstore worth its salt has such a section, generally stuffed to overflowing with your basic swords and sorcery.Those books and the genre they reside in exist solely because somewhere, someone decided that fantasy […]
July 31, 2017

How do we write about the future now that it’s here?

Science fiction, as a genre, has often struggled to be taken seriously. Oh, it’s garnered some respect, a few classics, and a bucketful of noteworthy authors, but how seriously are we expected to take a class of fiction that doesn’t even warrant its own section in most major […]
October 26, 2016

Writing With Voice
Editor Shannon Roberts on building your authorial voice in unexpected ways

Confession: When I first started writing, I copied. Not ideas—not consciously anyway—but voice Initially I modeled my work after one of my (at the time) favorite bloggers and web-comic writers, Jerry Holkins. I started to fold in some Terry Pratchett and I sampled from Robert Heinlein. Whenever I […]
August 25, 2016
Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
A "first 50" review

George R.R.Martin’s ‘A Game of Thrones‘ turns 20 this month! In honor of twenty years in print, and a hugely successful twenty years at that, here’s a breakdown of the first 50 pages of the book that started it all. Aside from the prologue, the first 50 pages of ‘A […]
August 17, 2016

Yul Brynner’s Black Hat
Considering good vs. evil in fantasy fiction

Bad guys and black hats are, in the classic American Western film, almost synonymous. Even if you haven’t seen many Westerns, you’ve probably absorbed this knowledge via cultural osmosis—I certainly had. Fortunately, the first Western I was privileged to watch was The Magnificent Seven (if a cowboy movie based on […]
October 2, 2015

The Mystery Writer’s Toolbox

Questions. Motives. Clues. Red herrings. Villains. Suspense. All of these are elements in any good mystery. And all of them should be elements in your novel—whether it be science fiction, literary fiction, family or historical drama, horror, romance, or something else entirely. Any good story is driven by […]