Ghost Cakes: A Short Story

Ghost Cakes: A Short Story

The blog will be on hiatus until January because between now and then, I’m traveling with only sporadic internet access. As a going away present, I leave you with a Halloween/Day of the Dead short story about Cade, the central character in Finders Keepers. Ghost Cakes By Dorothy A. Winsor What form does courage take? What is the shape of love?–Myst, the shapeshifter god The carved horse teetered on its three legs and clattered over onto the table. I prodded…

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Can I use that word?

Can I use that word?

Traditional fantasy sometimes runs up against the question of what words it can or can’t use to fit into the story world. In my experience, critique groups most commonly question the use of slang. They almost never mention words derived from names, but I wind up questioning myself about those. Slang Here’s my theory about slang. Whatever language the characters are speaking, it isn’t English. What we’re reading is a translation of their language. Like any language, theirs will have…

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Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Recently, someone tweeted a question for published writers, asking how many books they published before they quit their day job and wrote full time. I didn’t read the answers. Mine would have been don’t do that. Every published writer I know has either a day job or a partner who helps support them. Obviously, there are exceptions. J. K. Rowling doesn’t need a day job. But for every Rowling, there are thousands of working writers who don’t make enough to…

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Birth of a novel – how I wrote Blue Tide Rising

Birth of a novel – how I wrote Blue Tide Rising

Today’s post is from Inspired Quill pub-mate, Clare Stevens, who tells us how and why she wrote Blue Tide Rising. Take it away, Clare! Early in 2010, I sat in a pub in Derbyshire with my friend Jane and told her I had an idea for a novel. She asked what it was about. I told her the basic premise which – although I hadn’t at that stage perfected my one-line-pitch – would have gone something like this: It’s about…

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Being Influenced by Other Novels

Being Influenced by Other Novels

I recently blogged about books that have influenced me as a writer. One question that comes up is the difference between being influenced by other novels in your genre and copying them. In some ways, if you’re writing in the same genre, you’re bound to use some of the same elements. Readers choose those genre books partly because they like those elements. But readers also like to be surprised, so a writer can’t just reproduce what’s already been done. Instead,…

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Should I Review This Book?

Should I Review This Book?

In February, I went to a Chicagoland SFF conference called Capricon. Among the engaging panels I attended was one called “Book Reviews vs. Literary Criticism: But is it good?” Panelists included a publicist, a couple of writers, and a book reviewer for a newspaper. The topic they started with was the difference between a fully-fledged piece of literary criticism and the kind of short, off-the-cuff reviews you usually see on Amazon or Goodreads. But they touched on a number of…

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Books that influenced me as a writer

Books that influenced me as a writer

I was recently on a panel for which we were asked to talk about books that had influenced us as writers. It sounded like an easy topic, but the more I thought about it, the less clear my answer got. We’re influenced by our reading in both conscious and unconscious ways. In some sense every novel I ever read has influenced me. Reading is the way most of us learn the shape of story in our culture. However, I eventually…

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Revising on a sentence level

Revising on a sentence level

The first draft of a novel is intensely difficult to write. You’re creating characters, plot, setting, dialogue, details, theme, and a host of other things at once. It has to hang together, and for any of it to work, it all has to work on at least a basic level. In a way, the better the writer gets, the harder it is to do because a good writer is aware of flaws a novice writer might miss. That’s why I…

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