March 2011 Newsletter



Monthly Writing Challenge

Editors' Choices


Publication Announcements

Reviewer Honor Roll

Membership Info



This month, we introduce a new feature in which we invite published authors to share their experience and expertise. We'll intersperse these articles with regular interviews throughout the year. For March, we are delighted to have OWW member Sarah Prineas share her thoughts on physical dialogue. We know you'll enjoy it!

The OWW FAQ has been updated recently, and if you are new to the workshop or just wondering about what features are available and what the guidelines and expectations are, the FAQ is worth a look.

And have you seen the list of major sales on the front page lately?  We are astoundingly proud to have contributed to the careers of so many successful authors in the SF & fantasy genres, all around the world.  And when you think about the fact that the next ten or so successful genre authors are participating in the workshop right now, that's equally exciting!

As always, contact us if you have any questions, publication announcements, or ideas for improving the OWW newsletter.

Maria Zannini, newsletter editor
newsletter (at)

Monthly Writing Challenge

Write a story in which a character is undergoing a mental change, including changes that could be perceived as gains. Such changes could include loss of innocence, the acquisition of psi abilities, or mechanical augmentation of some kind. How do they  cope with an alteration of things most people take to be an essential part of their nature?

Remember: Challenges are supposed to be fun, but don't forget to stretch yourself. If you normally write fantasy, try SF. If you've never tried space opera, here's your chance. It doesn't have to be great. It's all about trying new things. There's no word limit, no time limit, no nothin'. Just have fun.

Challenges can be suggested by anyone and suggestions should be sent to Maria (newsletter (at) This month's challenge is brought to you by Elizabeth Porco.


Daily Science Fiction: a market accepting speculative fiction stories from 100 to 10,000 words in length. By this we mean science fiction, fantasy, slipstream, etc. All that fits under the broader science fiction umbrella. We have a special need for flash fiction, stories of 1,000 or fewer words.

Editors' Choices

The Editors' Choices are chosen from the submissions from the previous month that show the most potential or otherwise earn the admiration of our Resident Editors. Submissions in four categories--science fiction chapters, fantasy chapters, horror, and short stories -- receive a detailed review, meant to be educational for others as well as the author. 

This issue's reviews are written by Resident Editors Jeanne Cavelos, Karen Meisner, Elizabeth Bear, and Karin Lowachee. The last four months of Editors' Choices and their editorial reviews are archived on the workshop. Go to the "Read, Rate, Review" page and click on "Editors' Choices." 

Congratulations to the current Editors' Choice authors!

Editors' Choices, Fantasy

INK, Chapter 1 by Sabrina Vourvoulias

This novel chapter is quite well-written on a sentence level. Vourvoulias demonstrates a good and stylish command of English, with a narrative ease that's rare to find in an apprentice writer. I note from her biography that she is a poet and a nonfiction writer. This no doubt accounts for her unusual level of accomplishment.

She gives us a narrative sprinkled with concrete, specific observations--the accents of the children, the smell of ammonia in a cramped space-and beautiful spare turns of phrase.

The setting is fabulous-unusual, and telling, and pertinent. The idea of a future United States where brown-skinned residents are tattooed and LoJacked is horrifying and plausible. I do think the chapter as currently written is a little too didactic on the topic. Vourvoulias has set up a strong enough situation here that she doesn't need to tell us what she's talking about-and, in fact, she weakens the impact of the story by explaining. If she shows readers something this terrible, we should be able to figure out what she means by ourselves-and we are always, always, more invested in something we have figured out than something we have had explained.

Beautiful as it can be, I feel that her fiction prose style is still maturing. The level of diction in this piece is quite erratic, and at times her poetic condensation of language becomes a challenge for the reader's comprehension. It's not easy to write beautiful prose that is also vivid and clear-and advances a story. As far as I know there's no cure for it except practice and awareness.

Likewise the development of a writer's voice. Beginning writers tend to be like garage bands-they sound very much alike. Vourvoulias' voice is evident here in its emergent form: she's undergone the transformation. But like an artist who must learn confidence of line so that her style can emerge, this writer is still sketching her narrative in short, jerky strokes. She's well on her way, however, and I suspect if she keeps up her practice the whole of her style, confidence, and control will now come together in a surprisingly short time.

Take the paragraph beginning "They would not have buried me." The unattributed--and therefore vague--"they" is a problem, especially when followed by a string of metaphorical references that readers will not understand. In a speculative fiction story, those of us with a penchant for figurative language must be conscious and careful of its use, because it can be extremely confusing for readers.

A reader who is confused needlessly--especially so early in a story--will tend to wander off. And having wandered off, is unlikely to wander back. It's important to keep readers as grounded in the world and character as possible, rather than having them devoting energy to wondering just what the hell is going on. (When they're wondering what is going on in a larger sense, as they are here--not knowing at first that Mari has been abducted by white supremacists--it's even more important to keep them focused on what they do know.)

I wondered, too, how Mari knows the names of the children.

I would recommend starting the novel with the sentence "When I try to open my eyes, they are glued together." This a stronger start that the current opening sentence-"I am in a coffin."-because it is specific and concrete (and viscerally terrifying), and it's information Mari needs to come to the conclusion that she's in a coffin. As currently arranged, the chapter gives us her conclusion, and then the evidence. This is a strategy common to good nonfiction writers, because it's how you structure an essay: thesis, then evidence. But it's rarely the best way to tell a story.

This is an issue of what a film critic might call line of direction--the narrative jumps around randomly, and tends to circle back on itself rather than bringing the reader through in an orderly manner. Prose narrative is a largely linear form and when a writer choses to break that structure, she must do so with control, because she has made the decision that that is the most effective means of telling the story, not because that's the order in which the ideas happened to hit the page.

It's especially important in a narrative with as unusual a setting as this one, because the writer has an extra burden of exposition.

Tension is a problem in this chapter even though Mari has been kidnapped. She's in peril of her life. Her friend is comatose from a traumatic brain injury and will die without medical care. There are children involved, also in mortal peril. This is excellent setup. I should be feeling the immediacy of Mari's fear and her desperation, and instead I feel distanced.

In part, this is because Mari herself is not giving me the physical cues of fear. I want to be more grounded in her responses and those of the children. What should be a harrowing passage is being used only as an excuse for exposition-relating Mari's backstory in the distanced phrasing of a fairy tale. I think this is a mistake, and it would be more effective to move Mari's narrative into the present-day scenario rather than treating it as a flashback. If readers see how she struggles to stay strong and tell this tale for the children, this will encourage them to bond with both her and the kids. Since a first-person narrative lives or dies by the reader's fascination with the narrator, this bond is vital.

The good news here is that Mari is a very good start on a first person narrator. She's strong, courageous, a good observer, and she likes stories. She has a sense of humor, which is critical-humorless first-person narrators are kind of a drag. And she has been unfairly wronged and is in immediate peril, which also give us a reason to invest in her.

My final note is that this reads as a science fiction narrative, not a fantasy one, currently, and I'm wondering where the fantasy element is. It might be nice to bring that up front, because science fiction readers will often feel betrayed when a narrative introduces a fantasy element unexpectedly, and betrayed readers do not come back.

That would be a shame, because this is a promising beginning which presents a number of interesting technical challenges. I'd like to see it find and keep those readers.

--Elizabeth Bear

Editors' Choices, Science Fiction

THE SPEED OF WINTER by B. Morris Allen

This novella (with a perfect title) is a chilling, gruesome story of the eventual degeneration of a colony ship sent to a far off planet in the hopes of settling a new Earth, when the current Earth is in a state of social and environmental destruction. It's told in both third person and first person points-of-view, with the first person account following the narrative of a girl "born" illegally aboard the colony ship, the youngest in a crew of aging, desperate people. The premise might not be new but it's told in a compelling way, and the language and imagery is lovely in parts. This contrasts well to the inevitable brutality of the events. The story vaguely recalls science fiction horrors such as Event Horizon, but is grounded in a real world examination of humanity in hopeless conditions. There is nothing mystical driving the break down of people in a remote location with no hope of going home.

The opening line is a fantastic hook:

The average speed of winter is 5 meters per second in the steppe and in the desert, but only 2 meters per second in the valleys.

The numbers should be spelled out, however, and there are other small syntax errors and typos throughout, so the story should be combed through very finely before submission anywhere. You don't want errors that can otherwise be easily fixed to cause hiccups in what is otherwise a good read. Regardless, as a first sentence, it ties directly into the crux of the story, which the reader later discovers, because the planet the colonists are meant to inhabit turns out to be inhabitable -- an ice planet they call "Winter." The bleak reality of this destination informs what becomes the cold, emotionally barren environment on the ship, in which the starfarers deteriote both physically and psychologically.

The pacing moves well through the essential set up of the mission (told through a televised debriefing; these debriefs are used again to convey essential information in a succinct but logical manner in the narrative), introducing the captain and some of the crew of the ship. There is effectively-placed humor and dynamic among the young crew as they tease each other. This will make the change in tone of the narrative all the more hard-hitting when these easygoing people begin to break. The only truly close up view we get is through Elyse, the first person point-of-view and the daughter of a couple that is somewhat ostracized for "culturing" this child against the ship's laws. The third person parts depicting Elyse's child point-of-view read appropriately young, but still with the somewhat distant tone of a retelling that suits the story -- in a way the Voice of the story is as arid as the physical environment of the characters. This is a good "trick" to make the tone of the writing reflect the setting of the story and adds another layer to the piece.

Some of the dialogue breaks are confusing and should be watched:

On the ship, the Angela nudged her blond neighbour. "How tall are you again, Dima?" She raised eyebrows suggestively. "You look about my height. Good thing we're on the same crew." He chuckled.

And later different adjectives are used to describe the same person in a scene, but with no names (when Elyse is first introduced as a kid) and it causes some confusion as to who exactly is "on stage." Make sure that it's absolutely clear who is saying what and who is in the scene so the reader doesn't flounder trying to discern basics when they should be concentrating on the story. Another couple quick notes: great use of multi-national names to subtlely convey that the mission is a world one, and the use of communiqués -- not overdone -- to once again get across essential logistics as well as drop hints about the state of the crew are on the mark. These are more "tricks" a writer can utilize without getting bogged in infodump sections.

The more contemplative sections, from Elyse's point-of-view, elevate the prose. Speaking of the planet they are meant to colonize:

By the time we reached orbit, however, that optimism had faded, and the bare, white planet above us no longer symbolized purity, but an oppressive, constant reminder of failure. Failure of past planning, failure of imagination, failure of future.

Some still called it the 'The Bride in White' -- a deliberate attempt to imply that despite current distance, a happy forever after waited, if only we could find the correct ceremony. But as we hung for years in a pointless orbit, the title was used more and more often in scorn and sarcasm, and the jokes were less about pure virginity than about a cruel, frigid tease.

Because of this, at the end when Elyse -- for all intents and purposes -- goes a little mad, it doesn't quite hold the same depth. Her dialogue becomes breezy, there is confusion as to if Paresh died immediately or when she "propped him up" in her gallery, or what exactly are the logistics there. The liberal use of descriptive tags like "she remonstrated" also distract from what could feel more pared down, spare, and dry, which would reflect the tone better. Leave all the fancy imagery to the parts that require it, and use dialogue descriptions as blunt punctuation; the contrast would lend itself to the overall motif of dark and light, good and bad, hope and hopelessness - all the dichotomies.

The brutality visited upon Elyse also comes on pretty sudden, despite the conversation between her parents. These are horrible acts done to a child, and while people might fall into that behavior (Lucinda was drug-encouraged, but Gerald wasn't), it raises the question of if the crew weren't intensely psychologically screened and would otherwise civilized people degenerate that far even under tense circumstances? These are good questions to tackle in a story and the failure of people to keep it together adds a lot of the momentum and meaning to the piece overall, but if the author wants to go that far then perhaps it should be better set up. Take a little more time to show the stages of deterioration on the page, in a couple actual scenes, instead of mentions through communiqués and conversations, which basically just summarize. Her rape is the low point and the tipping off of her acts later on, so the incline to get to that point has to be steady and sure.

There were a couple questionable aspects of Elyse's portrayal: one where as a child she characterizes her crush on Gerald as "pretend" - little girls don't think that way. Their crushes are 100% real to them and they hang their hopes on them; two, at the end where she self-edits her own narrative to say "somehow" the landing gear on the opposing shuttle failed, when she was the one that sabotaged it. There is no reason, especially considering her actions with the gallery, for her to edit that. By this point she comes across as a woman with nothing to lose, who is walking to the beat of her own drum and conscience, and is likely a little insane. Her thoughts should be just as brutal as her actions, and the scene where she ushers Paresh into the gallery reads too breezy. While she may be acting that way, the narrative tone could enhance the grim nature of this ending by weighting it in a real sense of foreboding and macabre - which is well-written in the last paragraph.

Overall this is a standout story for its steady pace toward a horrible end, and characters that move in the same direction -- a dystopic view, but it rings with a strong element of truth.

--Karin Lowachee

Editors' Choices, Short Story

"The Februaries" by Jay Reynolds

"The Februaries" begins in the apartment of some stoner buddies whose lives seem to consist of television, delivery food, and mindless conversation about pop culture. It is one of the story's sly strengths that we accept this scene as familiar and realistic enough that we don't immediately notice there's anything unusual about their vague, empty lives. What we do notice right away is that the narrator seems to have some trouble with his memory. As the story unfolds, and he is led into clarity by a mysterious woman, we come to see that his comfortable existence is a temporary illusion created by a drug he's been taking. Eventually, we learn that this is all taking place on an interstellar spaceship, whose occupants deal with the psychological pressures of confinement by making themselves forget where they really are, and taking month-long "vacations" in faked Earthlike settings.

"The Februaries" does something I really enjoy, which is to show us a scene (for example, the narrator smoking a pipe of weed) and then later revisit that scene so we see the same thing differently (in this case, the pipe is really an inhaler containing the drug that affects memory and perception). We think we understand what the title means: that grim feeling that sets in around late winter, like the blues. But underneath lies a suggestion that time is standing still, as though we were stuck in a long series of unchanging February days, which turns out to be closer to the case. I love the reveals as the drug wears off and Korey begins to see through the illusion to the truth about his life. Let's look at one point where this could be made even more effective, as the narrator starts to see his apartment differently: "My furnishings were still where they had been and were all the same relative size. But instead of pressboard, fabric and drywall, my living space was constructed out of metal and plastic. My now-fluorescent lights glared off the hard surfaces. Even the discarded go-boxes had metamorphosed, transformed from cardboard to plastic." In this one sentence, the story is giving us both the "before" and the "after". We've glimpsed a few scattered details previously, but this is the first time we've gotten any real description of Korey's apartment, which means that the first time we're seeing the illusion is also the first time we're seeing through it. This scene could be stronger if earlier scenes had done more to establish our idea of what the apartment looks like through his eyes, so that when he begins to see it differently, we experience the same thing.

The opening paragraphs seem inconsistent in showing how his memory works. The rest of the story keeps his point of view firmly in the moment, rather than looking back on events from some future vantage point where he's figured out what's going on. So a line like, "The same delivery girl dropped off food every time, though I couldn't remember that yet" makes him appear to know more than he should. When he says, "Her hair was always blue, except for the one time it was pink, which I couldn't remember either," it undermines the integrity of the narrative. Make sure Korey's observations stay true to his perspective as he goes along.

I think there's one serious structural problem in this story, which is that it spends a lot of time building up a mysterious adversary who never pans out to quite fit the story on the page. The understated romance of the ending is really terrific, but none of Alison's explanations make sense of why there's been such a cloak-and-dagger element running through the plot. Alison appears to be working with the other blue-jumpsuited people to legitimately operate the ship, and she doesn't give any indication of an unusual event or situation that would put her at odds with other forces. So who is this man in a blue jumpsuit who keeps trying to sabotage Korey's awakening? It feels as though that entire character and subplot is thrown in for dramatic purposes, to create tension and danger and provide some action scenes. But as far as I can tell, there's no reason he should be doing what he's doing, and his behavior is never explained.

I enjoy that man's ominous presence, and the dynamic energy he brings to the story. But I think you need to decide if there's really a good reason for him to be there. Is this a story about Korey being woken up by Alison when his month is done, or a story in which someone is actively working against the proper functioning of their system? If it's going to be the former, then the tension may need to come from other sources. Perhaps from Korey himself, in his reluctance to let go of the dream and return to reality. That's certainly an evocative enough idea to work with; we've all struggled with the difficulty in facing the real world when avoidance and slackerdom are so much easier! But maybe you'll opt to keep the oppositional character in there somehow, in which case room must be made in the plot to accommodate him. Has he gone rogue; is he part of some faction working against Korey's awakening?

Conversely, is Alison the one breaking protocol by waking Korey, or is it simply time for him to wake up? Surely all these people on the spaceship don't go through such elaborate and adversarial scenarios to separate one another from their fake lives, every time a person's month-long shift ends? I think this calls for some thought and exploration to tighten the story and make more sense of it.

Finally, here's a word of advice that I hope all OWW writers will take to heart: please do not date your story by peppering it with current pop-culture references! Nothing makes future-sf feel less like the future than having everyone talk as though they were living in 2011. Such references can carry a double whammy, too, as when Korey asks Alison, "Are you going to tell me why everything has turned into a mash-up of A Scanner Darkly, Communion, and The Matrix?" Sure, Korey is a character who thinks in terms of movies, but having him point out that this plot resembles those movies only calls attention to the ways in which the premise is derivative and we've seen this story before. It might be more interesting if Korey, attempting to make sense of things, were to try and fit elements of his predicament into one or more of those movies and bump up against the ways in which that's not what's happening here.

Because while we have seen elements of this story before, there are many pleasures in here. The delight of watching illusion dissolve into reality, and the non-cloying sweetness of Korey's reunion with Alison: moments like these make "The Februaries" an enjoyable read. Good luck with it.

--Karen Meisner, Editor, Strange Horizons

Editors' Choices, Horror

"The Ship" by Jennifer Wray

On a cruise, Sylvia sees the Mothman, a harbinger of disaster, and becomes convinced that something horrible is about to happen. Juanita, also on board, has a recurring dream of her Spanish grandmother saying, "the ship is burning," and several other weird things happen. Sylvia resolves to leave the ship at the next port and talks her skeptical husband into leaving with her. They disembark at Avalon but all helicopters are grounded due to high winds and all hotels are full. As Sylvia takes their suitcases to the ferry station for storage, she learns that the Mothman has been sighted in town also. Sylvia calls Juanita to warn her, more certain of the danger than ever, but Juanita reveals that passengers have been visiting a bar in town called El Galleon, and that is actually what her Spanish grandmother was saying in the dream. Sylvia discovers that her husband is in the bar just as the bar explodes.

The story does a very good job at generating suspense. From the second paragraph of the story, I am worried that the ship is going to burn. The suspense increases when Sylvia realizes the disaster will happen soon and when other strange things happen. When Sylvia hears of the sightings in town, the suspense jumps to a new level. The reader is now not sure whether the danger is on the ship or in the town, which makes it hard to know what Sylvia should do. The twist, that Juanita's grandmother actually said "galleon" rather than "ship" in the dream, is set up well, so it's believable when revealed and creates a moment of high excitement as we realize that the danger is in the town.

As I mentioned last month, suspense can be created in three general ways: by showing a specific danger to a character, by raising questions that we want answered, and by created an atmosphere of dread. This story is filled with the first two types of suspense. We see the possible danger early on, and we are constantly wondering when the disaster will happen and whether Sylvia will escape it.

The story could definitely use more description to create a strong atmosphere of dread and to make us feel more like we're there. I felt quite distant from the places and people. I didn't really feel like I was on a cruise ship or that I was walking around Avalon. I didn't really see the characters and feel the reality of them. The description of El Galleon is quite nice, but it's one of only a few descriptions in the story. Adding more description, particularly focused around sensory details that evoke dread, would make this even stronger.

Another area that could be strengthened is the relationship between Sylvia and her husband, Dan. I'm glad that they aren't hanging all over each other saying how much they love each other; then I would probably know that he was going to die. But as is, I don't feel that Sylvia cares about Dan at all or that he cares about her. Dan seems irritated with Sylvia, and Sylvia seems preoccupied with the Mothman and doesn't seem to care whether Dan believes her or not. I understand that couples often feud on the surface while love lurks underneath, but I'm only seeing the superficial level of feuding in the story; I don't see the love until the end, when it's too late. This keeps me distant from all of the characters. While I intellectually enjoy the twist and feel satisfaction at having my questions answered, the story doesn't have much of an emotional effect on me. I want to be feeling horror as El Galleon explodes at the end, and Dan is killed, but I don't feel anything for Dan or Sylvia. If you can convey a stronger sense of their relationship and their feelings for each other, that would help them become more real to me and make me feel more for them. Does Sylvia always have "flaky" ideas, or is this the first? If she always does, then did Dan used to find them attractive? If this is the first, then isn't Dan worried that she's acting so differently? If Dan is always practical and realistic, did Sylvia used to find that attractive? If this is a new development in his personality, why is he so hard-nosed and dismissive? Is he angry because Sylvia recently had an affair? Or because she lost her job and he's worried about money? I'm not asking for pages of exposition about their relationship, but through dialogue, small actions, and description, you could hint at other levels to their relationship. Sylvia's point of view could also be developed a bit more to reveal her attitude about Dan. He threatens to have her committed, and I don't know if he's serious or joking. Sylvia's reaction leaves me uncertain. She thinks that she is used to arguing with him, but I don't know what they usually argue about or why they stay together. Are they thinking about splitting up? Is this vacation their last chance to patch things up?

I'd like to mention two minor points. One involves the establishment of the point of view at the beginning of the story. It's usually best to establish the POV as soon as possible. We don't know we're in Sylvia's POV until the fourth paragraph, and there's minimal description of where the characters are or who is there. This created a lot of confusion for me. I thought that Sylvia was the one having the dream and didn't have a clear sense of who was at the table--that there were the two couples the story follows, plus a couple of others.

The other is Sylvia taking the suitcases to the ferry station. While I know nothing about ferry stations in Avalon, as a reader, I don't buy that the station will be open when they want to return to retrieve their luggage. So that action seems unbelievable. It feels as if the author is forcing Sylvia to take the luggage there. If, instead, she checked the luggage at a hotel, that would be more believable for me.

I hope this is helpful. I think you have a lot of the ingredients here and just need to develop the description and characters some more.

--Jeanne Cavelos, editor, author, director of Odyssey


This month published author and longtime OWW member Sarah Prineas shares some hard-won writing savvy with us.  Thanks, Sarah!  Sarah's latest fantasy novel is The Magic Thief: Found.  Visit Sarah Prineas at her web site or at the Harper Collins web site devoted to her Magic Thief series.

On Physical Dialog by Sarah Prineas

author photoI thought I'd talk a little about a writing trick, a technique I learned from posting my work on the OWW and getting wise comments on it.

So we have dialogue, when two or more people communicate in spoken words.

And we have physical dialogue, as I'm going to call it, when people communicate in gesture, or in expression, or in stance. I see this referred to sometimes as the action tag, as it accompanies spoken dialogue, but I'm thinking it can be productive to think of it as not just action, but as communication. Physical dialogue is absolutely crucial in helping readers visualize a scene, because the characters, in their actions, come alive. The characters' physical actions often reveal their thoughts. The physical actions often reflect the emotional progression of a scene. And physical dialogue is a great way to avoid talking heads syndrome. Some physical dialogue from my second book, The Magic Thief: Lost, is italicized in this excerpt:

Benet thunked a jar onto the tabletop. "Jam," he said, then went back to the stove, where he fetched a pan, then scooped a steaming, bony fish onto each of our plates. After clattering the pan back onto the stovetop, he sat down and we started eating.

"You going to do that again?" Benet asked me. He pointed with his chin in the direction of my workshop.
I nodded and picked a bone out of my fish.
I could feel Nevery glaring at me. All of a sudden I didn't feel quite so hungry.

Nevery scowled and took a long drink from his mug of ale. "No, he is not." He pointed at me with his fork. "If the magisters find out that you are conducting pyrotechnic experiments, my lad, they will throw you out of the city so fast your head will spin. They have other problems to deal with than one recalcitrant apprentice."

Right, then I would have to be more careful, that was all.

Staying quiet, I pushed stewed greens around my plate with my fork.

[Conn thinks for a bit]
I took a bite of bread and jam and washed it down with a gulp of water. We ate quietly for a few minutes. Lady came curling around my feet under the table, and I reached down and fed her a few bits of fish.

I'm not crazy about the "I pushed stewed greens around my plate with my fork" because it's an action tag cliché: it signifies uncertainty or unhappiness. But I can see Benet pointing with his chin, and for sure see Nevery pointing his fork at Conn, which is nice and confrontational (their relationship is somewhat fraught). I like Conn picking the bone out of his fish because I think it signifies his unhappiness at this moment--above everything, Conn likes to eat, and the "bone" of contention here is preventing him from doing that. And I like Conn thinking things through and then feeling comfortable enough not just to eat, but to feed his cat under the table.

Compare that moment with Nevery pointing his fork at Conn to what he might have said in dialogue:

"No he is not," Nevery said. "I am very angry with you, boy. If the magisters find out..."

It's one of those Shown versus Told moments. Shown in action rather than Told in dialogue. As we all know, it's (usually) better to show rather than tell, because doing so helps your reader feel more completely immersed in your story.

Happy writing!

Sarah Prineas

Publication Announcements

Gio Clairval's story "The Lizard Dance" (written with Jeff VanderMeer) appears in this month's Fantasy Magazine.

Michael Evans's short story "Forgive Me, Father, For I Have. . .Burp!," is included in the zombie anthology First Time Dead (out this month).

Lydia Kurnia tells us: "Just wanting to share the joy. I sold my short fiction--'Light and Blood'--to Short-Story.Me today and wouldn't have done it without the help of my wonderful friends at OWW. Special thanks to Beth Cato, Ladonna Watkins, Phillip Spencer and Sylvia Hiven for their help with this tale. It will appear in the April 2011 and as usual, will be running for a place in the next anthology (fingers crossed!)."

Jaime Lee Moyer happily announced: "I sold books! I am oh so pleased to announce that Tor Books, a publisher of infinite taste, will be publishing my three-book series, Delia's Shadow,'A Barricade In Hell, and Against A Brightening Sky. We don't have a firm publication date yet, but all three books will be out first in hardcover and then go to trade paper. 'Delia's Shadow' was workshopped on OWW and you can be sure my loyal band of critters, PJ Thompson, Jodi Meadows, Josh Vogt, Dena Landon, Teresa Frohock, and J.R. Hoch will go in my acknowledgements. I have a lot of work to do in the next couple of years. I'm going to love every second of it."

John Dale Renton says: "My fantasy novel Half Moon, workshopped on OWW, has just been released by Winterbourne Pubishing . I've included a thanks in the Acknowledgements to Mark Reeder and to Aaron Brown, two OWW members who helped me a great deal with the manuscript. Many other OWW members helped me get 'Half Moon' to a state fit for publication. Thanks to all!"

Reviewer Honor Roll

The Reviewer Honor Roll is a great way to pay back a reviewer for a really useful review.  When you nominate a reviewer, we list the reviewer's name, the submission/author reviewed, and your explanation of what made the review so useful.  The nomination appears in the Honor Roll area of OWW the month after you submit it, and is listed  for a month. You can nominate reviewers of your own submissions or reviewers of other submissions, if you have learned from reading the review.  Think of it as a structured, public "thank you" that gives credit where credit is due and helps direct other OWWers to useful reviewers and useful review skills.

Visit the Reviewer Honor Roll page for a complete list of nominees and explanatory nominations.

February 2011 Honor Roll Nominees

Reviewer: David Rees-Thomas
Submission: The Angel of Turing Run
Submitted by: Donnie G Reynolds

Reviewer: Kim Allison
Submission: The Speed of Winter
Submitted by: B. Morris Allen<

Reviewer: Beth Cato
Submission: Stealing A Dream
Submitted by: Lydia Kurnia

Reviewer: Heidi Garrett
Submission: The Speed of Winter (second half)
Submitted by: B. Morris Allen

Reviewer: Marc Cram
Submission: The Othernauts - Chapter 1
Submitted by: Daniel Raeder

Reviewer: Daniel Raeder
Submission: Baton Bay - Prologue - Testaments of Anay
Submitted by: Marc Cram

Reviewer: Ilan Lerman
Submission: Dance of the Splintered Hands (V2.2)
Submitted by: Henry Szabranski

Reviewer: Dev Agarwal
Submission: A Flower, Back to Root
Submitted by: David Rees-Thomas

Reviewer: Joshua Canete
Submission: Reveries of a Solitary Walker
Submitted by: Donnie G Reynolds

Reviewer: F. Wilde
Submission: The Journey Opening Chapter
Submitted by: Ronald Kent Robertson

Reviewer: Ann Winter
Submission: Stealing A Dream Part I: Chapter 9 (revised)
Submitted by: Lydia Kurnia

Reviewer: Ladonna Watkins
Submission: Stealing A Dream Part I: Chapter 7 to 8
Submitted by: Lydia Kurnia

Reviewer: Walter Williams
Submission: Why We Can't Have Nice Things (REVISED)
Submitted by: F. Wilde

Reviewer: Swapna Kishore
Submission: Let's Get Dead (Rev 5) Part 1
Submitted by: Scott Kennedy

Reviewer: Scott Kennedy
Submission: "Unmasking the Masker"
Submitted by: David Fortier

Reviewer: David Fortier
Submission: Tails of the Overly Familiar, Chapter Six
Submitted by: Elizabeth McGlothlin

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Until next month--just write!

The Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
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