Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror
Lots of great publication and prize announcements in this month's newsletter. It's so good to see our members succeed and thrive. One of our alums has even started a Kickstarter project. Check it out in the Grapevine section.
In this issue, we welcome New York Times bestseller Lynn Viehl back to our author spotlight where she shares some of her techniques for modeling characters.
As always, contact us if you have any questions, publication announcements, or ideas for improving the OWW Newsletter.
Maria Zannini, newsletter editor
news (at) onlinewritingworkshop.com
Your character has a chance to send a message through time to themselves when they were younger. What do they write/say? And what does their younger self do with the information they're given?
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. Put "Challenge" in the title so people can find it.
Challenges can be suggested by anyone and suggestions should be sent to Maria (news (at) onlinewritingworkshop.com).
Zombies Need Brains LLC, a new small press founded by OWW alumnus Joshua Palmatier, is running a Kickstarter campaign for a new anthology called CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs ALIENS. Authors already signed on to contribute stories include Scott Lynch, Seanan McGuire, Gini Koch, Caitlin Kittredge, Ian Tregillis, Bradley Beaulieu, and Gail Z. Martin. Both Ian Tregillis and Bradley Beaulieu are former members of OWW. It will be edited by Patricia Bray and Joshua Palmatier. But only if it's funded!
CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE will contain approximately 14 short stories based on the following theme: When aliens reach Earth, they encounter the clockwork mechanisms and Victorian sensibilities of a full-blown steampunk civilization. Inspired by the classic science-fiction adventure tales of the nineteenth century, leading fantasy and science-fiction authors will bring us tales of first contact with a twist, as steam power meets laser cannons . . . and dirigibles face off against flying saucers. Check it out and pledge if you can! The Kickstarter campaign ends Friday, August 16th. Search for "Clockwork Universe" at www.kickstarter.com.
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 Gemma Files, Leah Bobet, Elizabeth Bear, and C.C. Finlay. 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!
THE CHAOS KNIGHT, CHAPTERS 5 & 6 by Daryl Nash
This middle chapter of this fantasy novel shows ambition in its use of omniscient point of view and a suite of difficult characters and situations. In particular, the thing that attracted me to it is the banter: the characters snark and sass one another, and it's often cleverly done. I also like the way the action is paced: things actually happen, and not a great deal of time is wasted on unnecessary introspection.
I'd like to use this opportunity to address some of the challenges of writing omniscient point of view. I believe that the most important thing for a writer who wants to use omniscient narrative is to understand that an omniscient narrative still has a narrator, and that narrator has an agenda which informs what the writer chooses to show or not show. When literally anything in the world is fair game for discussion, the writer needs to understand what the narrator is trying to accomplish in telling the story, because that will dictate how the story is shaped.
Also important are transitions. It can be jarring to readers to jump from a tight point of view to a wide one; often, it's easier to maintain the readers' interest by thinking of point of view as a camera -- which can be swept wide, or brought into narrow focus, but is easier to keep track of with a sort of visual guide or linear progression. There can be reasons to jump around, of course -- in books as in movies -- but as with any trick that has the potential to be confusing and alienating to readers, it's best to do it knowingly and for a purpose.
While the banter is appealing, I would caution the author against relying on intraparty conflict for the majority of his tension. Currently, a great deal of the conflict is in characters snapping at one another for no good reason. Meanwhile, an external threat is barely established before it's promptly resolved -- the elves are built up as a threat and then removed as a threat in the space of two short chapters. The combination of these two things can leave readers feeling as if the story is spinning its wheels. A gripping narrative does indeed establish and resolve tension, but it also remains aware of where the interesting tension lies -- real threats or complications, rather than simple player-character strife, which can rapidly become tiresome.
Since the author is quite capable of writing witty dialogue, I might suggest focusing on that. I do like that the party members don't necessarily get along -- this seems reasonable to me, and also that people would be snappish and tired after long, hard traveling. What I'm concerned about is that the larger tension of the story is getting lost in quarreling.
It also has a tendency to make the characters sound a bit alike -- if everybody's snapping at each other, differences in characterization tend to disappear, and it becomes hard to keep track of who is whom and what they are like as people. The more experienced I become, the more convinced I am that what many readers respond most to is characterization and voice. They want an engaging storytelling style -- and they want characters who stand out as quirky, fascinating people.
In fact, in these chapters, I am feeling a problem of stakes. Some of that may be due to coming in late, but even though our characters are pushing on despite great inconvenience and having lost their mounts and supplies, I'm a little at a loss as to what they're risking if they fail. Obviously they're in a great hurry -- and they're at odds, in part, over whether they should have backtracked for supplies and horses rather than pushing on after being robbed -- but there's no sense of ominousness or worry hanging over them. They're prickly and crabby, but they don't seem concerned over whatever it is that they stand to lose if they fail.
Personal stakes and group stakes are very important. Readers invest in a narrative in part because something is at risk, and a character is taking action to protect it or regain it. One of the easiest ways to drive a story, in other words, is to figure out what a character wants most and take it away from him or her. In this case, I don't know what any of these characters want, or why it's important to the narrative, or why their quest is important to the world at large.
The personal and specific is universal in ways that generalities can't be. This is as true thematically as it is in terms of characterization, of catharsis (emotional payoff), and of plot. Give me a specific and I will generalize and personalize it; give me something overly general, and I will likely fail to care.
Overall, this is a good start, and it has a lot of strong points. I think the omniscient narrative, with practice and intention, can be made to work. But I'm concerned with the focus of the piece -- omniscient can be alienating in ways that tight third generally isn't (if we're stuck in somebody's head, we often begin to care for that person, whereas if we can move around it's harder to bond with anyone in particular), and this feels a little like it's lacking a strong narrative engine. Of course that's hard to judge on the basis of some isolated chapters, but ideally a story should be gripping no matter when we pick it up.
Author of THE SEA THY MISTRESS
WINGA'S DILEMMA (FORMERLY MATRIARCHS), Chapter 1 (rewrite) by Sue Wachtman
Chapter One of WINGA'S DILEMMA sets up a space-opera romance in the vein of some of Lois McMaster Bujold's best books. In a far-future galactic culture, the Pharm Lords are up to no good and the Inter-Planetary Service needs to stop them. Captain Rifkin Lile is sent as a reluctant envoy to the planet Gaia, which is ruled by a matriarchy. His mission: convince Winga Jansing, a key player in the planet's politics, to help him stop the Pharm Lords. To do that, he has to convince her to marry him. The only problem is that he doesn't know what he's getting into with a Gaian marriage.
The writing in this chapter is both efficient and breezy, with a tone that's just right for space opera romance. Rif is reluctant to take on the mission and is awkward -- but duty-minded! -- when forced out of his comfort zone. Winga is grieving for her recently lost partner, but still too sharp to be fooled by Rif's falsehoods. This chapter doesn't waste any time, introducing Rif's mission in the first paragraph and having the characters meet by the end of the second scene. By the end of the chapter, they've already agreed to marry.
The quick pacing -- which I see praised in some of the reviews -- is the biggest problem for me. We have a whole novel to spend with these characters. Both characters are clearly complex, with fully realized backstories, and rich, complicated lives. But the story is in such a rush to bring them together that we never really get to know them first as individuals. My sense is that this will make it harder to stay engaged with them as the novel progresses because we won't know what the stakes are for them when it comes to staying together or being apart.
This ties into a second, larger problem that I think the novel will face. It appears from this chapter that the big plot issues will involve the Pharm Lords and the distinct culture of Gaia. Right now, the story just tells us these things without showing them to us. These are the two key sentences, the only mention of the Pharm Lords in this chapter.
"If the Pharm Lords have established a connection on Gaia, we must intervene."
"The IPS has suspected for some time that some members of Gaia's ruling council have come under the control of the Pharm Lords."
The first sentence is spoken by the Admiral to Rif, explaining the mission. The second comes when Rif is explaining his mission to Winga.
My suggestion would be to create dramatic situations that would let us get to see the characters better and that would show us the danger presented by the Pharm Lords.
One way to do this would be to start Chapter 1 with Rif working on another key Pharm Lord problem. It would be best if he's trying to figure out how his team just got beaten by the Pharm Lords on a different planet or mission. Let us see him be confident, competent, analytical, and dedicated to his cause. Create a horrific incident -- people dead, a whole planet contaminated -- that dramatizes just what losing to the Pharm Lords mean. Then when the Admiral calls him in for the mission to Gaia, we know what the stakes are and why he'll do whatever needs to be done, even if romance is the farthest thing from his mind. All these things are implied in the current chapter... now make them explicit. Draw them out.
For the rest of this review, visit the Editors' Choice area of the OWW site!
"The Lost Episodes" by Oliver Buckram
Oliver Buckram's "The Lost Episodes" isn't quite fanfiction. It's fiction about fandom -- mostly, but not exclusively Doctor Who -- and in that, it's an imperfect but solid primer on how to write that brand of light, playful adventure fiction. So this month I'm hoping to talk about lighter fiction in general, through the lens of what "The Lost Episodes" does right, even with work on it to come.
The main strength of "The Lost Episodes" is how good a job it does of capturing the spirit that captures fans of Doctor Who: a grinning, generous invitation to adventure. We're going to explore the galaxy! It's an infectious feeling; one that puts a little bounce in your step after. It's the integration of the subject matter -- fandom, and the Doctor Who spirit of adventure -- with the very feeling that show can create that makes this piece work. The tones match, and that's the most important thing.
On the other side of that coin: Except for a bobble in the beginning, "The Lost Episodes" doesn't lean too hard on jokes. It's a common misconception that light fiction means telling jokes, and there are whole problems with fiction that's designed to tell jokes that we'll go into some other time. But this piece gets it right: focuses its lightness on the emotional content and the narrative tone.
That said, it's a good choice to keep "The Lost Episodes" short; it's a piece with one major thing happening, set up to strike a specific emotional note. It's quite easy to make a piece of this type too long for its plot, or bog it down in other ways, but "The Lost Episodes" does a smart thing in getting in there, doing its business, and getting right out before it overstays its own welcome.
It also does well in one of the other places where lighter fiction often falls down: the requisite amount of seriousness. The difference between a satisfying piece of lighter fiction and one that just tastes a little thin is often whether it's anchored in the world with something more serious. Consider Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: It's fun, and it's a romp, but it's rooted in having lost your house and your planet on the same day. Or Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, where the conflicts range from issues of racism and discrimination to the importance of critical thinking. In other words: serious business.
"The Lost Episodes" pulls off its seriousness anchors commendably. The idea of expatriates gathering their radio-signal fragments of culture is oddly, and poignantly, compelling, and there's something heartbreaking about "The only aliens we'd found were the Vulcans and Cylons we'd sent on ahead in our own broadcasts." This universe, underneath all the banter and episode-swapping, is desperately, desperately lonely.
In sum, "The Lost Episodes" is adventure and play, but it's saying something: about unity of experience, shared enthusiasm, and the forging of common ground. There's a bittersweet, awed emotion here around fandom and how it can so inexplicably and giddily draw us together; how it can defeat that loneliness. That emotion saves "The Lost Episodes" and its last line from being more than a punchline to a joke. It's flipped out there at the end in its wry, happy way, and it's beautiful.
That said, I think there's still a draft or two of work left to do on this one, and some thoughts as to where and how:
I admit I preferred the original opening over this version -- and only wish I had the original available, so I could speak specifically to why. At present the opening does feel abrupt: the kind of plunk you feel when dropped into a world and character that are kind of just there, and the way jokes like her ship's name stick out too starkly now that something's been reconfigured or rewritten. I'd recommend taking another look at it, and making sure it reflects the story to come.
One of the other issues that emerged from looking harder at that abrupt opening is that Vampira -- before she ever becomes Victoria -- feels somewhat flat. While I appreciate very much the casual multiculturalism of her last name, she falls prey to one of the first clichés of female characters: She's a girl, so the first character we meet must have a crush on her, and she clearly must bat her eyelashes and flirt it up to get what she wants professionally.
I'd challenge you to, bluntly, approach this question with a little more thought and creativity. The idea that a woman character must automatically exist in a sexual context when there's nothing sexual about any of the rest of the story has been cliché fodder in fiction for decades, and it hurts this piece. It sends a signal to readers that herein lies the Same Old Stuff; herein lies sloppy thinking. That signal of "same old same old" cuts out by the time Victoria and Kovacs speak -- she starts becoming a real person, with wants and needs and idiosyncrasies -- but use of those kinds of shortcut tropes means the risk that readers will never get to the real person. They'll just assume they know what's already there.
I would also ask you to consider putting in a touch more body language -- just a touch. A facial expression here, a bit of physicality there. While the benefits of keeping things short and sweet cannot be overstated, I think there's room in "The Lost Episodes" to flesh out all the characters just a touch more, and give us a more well-rounded sense of what they're feeling and how they move. Specifically, in the conversation between Victoria and Kovacs, watching their moods set and change as they decide to go looking for life in the known universe could have a very, very powerful effect.
In all: A piece that's still somewhat raw, but the bones are very good. Best of luck with it!
Author of ABOVE
STAY IN THE LIGHT (PROLOGUE) by Lisa Vetrone
From what we see here, STAY IN THE LIGHT appears to be the beginning of an urban paranormal novel/potential series starring Azura, a New York night-shift cab driver who constantly moves between two worlds. We first meet her while she's ferrying around a new customer, a seemingly normal man who she picked up "wandering in the rain in Harold Square, near where the Empire State Building can be found." When a flying menu adheres to her cab's windshield, Azura stops to remove it, then gets back in only to find the man has transformed in an "Ornith", an ugly, threatening creature from some dark, dank parallel dimension.
This prologue seems organized into over-large chunks which could do with being broken out according to change of content -- i.e., whenever there's a switch from description to action, action to dialogue, etc., it's generally a good idea to start a new paragraph.
I will also note that "Prologue: New York City 2020, Warnings in the Night. October 1." is a really long chapter heading, and would perhaps benefit from being separated into three separate lines addressing title, location and date, like this:
"Prologue: Warnings in the Night
New York City
October 1, 2020"
And now, back to the plot. The Ornith identifies Azura as a powerful hereditary magic-user, "the descendant of Portia, sorceress of Ewin," and tells her that "the Queen" has returned to the city; she is waiting for Azura underneath Grand Central Terminal, expecting her to present herself-along with "the one they call 'Priest'"-so that the Queen can warn them both about some impending threat to the human world.
This Prologue, presented in two parts, contains enough action and back-story for three separate chapters. On the plot side of things, there's the meeting with the Ornith and Azura's subsequent seeking out of her ally Colin Blackthorne, "the most powerful Mage in the history of Mages," followed by their descent into the caverns beneath Grand Central. Interspersed throughout, however, are sudden chunks of exposition (Example: "She's evil. That's why she is banished. I wondered idly who may have removed the magick barriers designed to keep her and her kind OUT of the City."), always framed as part of Azura's thoughts/memories.
These seem meant to provide context for the current situation, but actually read more like a summary of action from books we haven't read, a sort of "Last time, on Stay In The Light..." voiceover which intrudes into whatever's going on at any given moment in a seemingly random, distracting way, particularly because it usually raises more questions than it answers. (In the case of the quote highlighted above: Who put up the barriers? Does the City have any sort of local magickal infrastructure? Are Azura and Blackthorne part of that, or outside it? Also, shouldn't Azura be far more than "idly" worried that a blood-sucking, pandimensional magic vampire Queen who's been banished once already wants to chat with her about the apocalypse?)
My main content problem with this Prologue is that while there's a fair amount of surface world-building, I emerge from it with no real sense of how this world works. This is particularly obvious whenever I start thinking about the inherent magic-system, and realize that I don't begin to understand its rules. Even Azura's own magic seems literally boundless, because we have no idea what its parameters and limitations are; she's apparently wary of the Orinth, for example, but then later casually threatens to kill the Queen, who's the Orinth's "boss" and therefore is probably even more powerful.
Or, to be a bit more practical: at one point, Azura covers herself with a protection spell and kisses an amulet -- is it the source of her power? An object to channel it through? What would happen if she lost it? She's got a dagger that gets a loving description; what's it for? Can we see it in action? (And while we're at it, why is it her "destiny is to protect humans," and why is her magic needed so specifically in this City?)
For the rest of this review, visit the Editors' Choice area of the OWW site!
Author of the Weird Western Hexslinger series
Playing Dr. Frankenstein
In a sense all fiction writers are a little like Dr. Frankenstein, in that we cobble together of bits and pieces of different people along with some imaginary odds and ends to make up the characters for our stories. We also try to animate them by zapping them with our creative energy and challenging them with the torches and pitchforks of our story conflicts.
When it works, our readers see our characters as real people, not a lot of words. When it doesn't, our characters are doomed to remain inanimate, artificial constructs without a single spark of life (or, worse, they start out promising but then gradually unravel and fall apart.) So how does a writer build a character that will come to life on the page?
I play Dr. Frankenstein a little with all my characters, but most often with my protagonists and other main characters who require the most development. Generally I begin with whatever first inspired me to build this particular character. It could be music or artwork, or even a couple of interesting words, but whatever it is, it must capture my imagination and my full attention. This is because I know I can't write a book about a ho-hum person that I sort of like; as the author, I need to be fully engaged by this character.
Once I have that inspiration, it becomes the foundation on which I build the personality of my character. If it's music, for example, I'll play the piece over and over while I visualize the character. I have to clearly see them before I move on to the next step in my characterization process, because I can't build on a blank.
When I can visualize the physical character, then I can begin the process of bringing them to life. My method is to first ask -- and answer -- three questions about the character:
1. Who are you?
2. What do you want?
3. What's the worst thing I can do to you?
I know how ridiculously simple these questions sound, but they're not so easy to answer. If you still doubt me, ask them of yourself -- who are you? Are you just a name and an occupation, or is there more to you than that? I'm guessing there is. If you want your character to come to life, then why would they be any different than you?
Once you know who your character is, then you can continue to build by asking the second question, and find out what they want. We all have desires and goals and dreams; what we each want plays a huge part in defining not only who we are, but what we do. If your aim is that your characters live and breathe, you have to give them reasons to do so.
Finally we come to my third question, which is my particular brand of torches and pitchforks conflict. I don't want to send my character into a story that maybe challenges them a little in between breakfast and lunch before they watch the latest episode of Ellen; I want to throw them to wolves. Sometimes this character conflict is subtle; something that happens internally while they deal with other challenges. Other times this conflict hits them like a freight train that came out of nowhere. Whatever the worst is for my character may destroy them, bring out the best in them, or result in some combination of both. The worst is that event or moment or decision or meeting or anything that compels the character to change and grow. Whether the worst causes them to succeed or fail, their life will never be the same again.
Obviously my exact approach won't work for everyone, but this is where you can customize it to suit your process. If you work better imagining the character's personality first and then building the physical construct on that, go for it. If you don't care for my questions, put together a list of your own -- but like Dr. Frankenstein, think of building your characters as you would a real person. You may find the results quite electrifying.
Author Bio: Since 2000, author Lynn Viehl has published fifty novels in nine genres, including her New York Times bestselling Darkyn series, the StarDoc SF series (as S.L. Viehl) and the Tales from Grace Chapel Inn series (as Rebecca Kelly). Ranked as one of the top 100 female, top 50 book, and top 10 SF author bloggers on the Internet, Ms. Viehl hosts Paperback Writer, a popular industry weblog she has updated daily since 2004 with free market info, working advice, and online resources for all writers.
Her newest release is Her Ladyship's Curse. Visit Disenchanted & Co for more information.
Eliza Collins says, "Got a call from Joni Lebaqui at Writers of the Future letting me know I was the second-place winner this quarter! Also 'Voyager' sold to Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (#58, due out Aug '13)."
Sarah Grey wrote: "I'm pleased to announce my second sale to Flash Fiction Online, 'The Social Phobic's Guide to Interior Design.' This one's not my typical speculative-fiction fare, but I'm fond of it, and happy it's found a home."
Anna Kashina announced: "I still can't believe this happened to me, but I have just signed a three-book contract with Angry Robot for the publication of my workshopped novel The Black Diamond and two sequels. I am really grateful to many people at OWW, without whom this simply would not have happened. I have been a member since 2001, and so many people have shaped my writing over the years that it would take many pages to list them all. For this particular project I wanted to thank especially Jennifer Dawson, Rhonda Garcia, Amy Raby, Siobhan Carroll, Abigail Carter, and Terry Jackman. While I received the feedback on this novel from many others, these people gave me key advice (and key encouragement) where I needed them most. Of course, I am really grateful also to everyone on this list for being an amazing group of people with whom I can share this joy. Thank you, and yay!!!"
Mike Keyton wrote to say, "My novella 'Dark Fire' is to be published by Red Sage in August 2014. Paranormal historical fantasy with a touch of rather dark romance. There are many who have helped me over the years but for 'Dark Fire' particular thanks go to Mike Staton, Crash Froelich, and Sharon Ramirez. Status: Happy."
Jodi Meadows told us that Harper Teen will release her novella, "Phoenix Overture," the prequel to Incarnate, in September 2013.
Bill Powell tells us: "Just thought you might like to know my novel A Child Alone has been accepted by Tor Books and I'm currently awaiting an offer. I wanted to let you know because (unlike other writer sites) sff-oww contributors provided genuinely useful criticism that helped me sharpen up my writing to the point where it got an editor's attention. While I only submitted a small portion of the work to the site, the lessons learned were applicable to the rest. So thank you for creating the kind of site where understanding writers can give and receive criticism without the ghastly you-plug-my-book-and-I-plug-yours gaming. Now begins the long slog to polish the novel into something truly publishable..."
Carol Ryles wrote: "'The Silence of Clockwork' was published in the Conflux 9 Convention Programme, 2013."
Henry Szabranski announced, "'The Clay Farima' will be published in the August 2013 issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies."
David Young (aka D.L. Young) says: "Just wanted to let you know that my story 'Juarez Square' has been sold to Deepwood Publishing's Ruined Cities anthology, publication date forthcoming. Thanks to all the OWW members who helped critique this story!"
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.
July 2013 Honor Roll Nominees
Reviewer: Kim Allison
Submission: Terror in the Trees, Ch 4-5 by wendy aughenbaugh
Submitted by: wendy aughenbaugh
Reviewer: Rob Smythe
Submission: The Dream Effect--Chapters 3 & 4 (revised) by Sara Crandall
Submitted by: Sara Crandall
Reviewer: Josh Vogt
Submission: Nano Genesis by Marla Anderson
Submitted by: Marla Anderson
Reviewer: Joseph Ahn
Submission: WORLD ALONE -- Chapter 1 by Annette Lee
Submitted by: Annette Lee
Reviewer: Sean Schauer
Submission: Jason Green Argo Long Synopsis by Rich Masters
Submitted by: Rich Masters
Reviewer: Katrina Oppermann
Submission: Magick 7.0 - Chapter 25 by Wade Albert White
Submitted by: Wade Albert White
Reviewer: Dragon Paradise
Submission: The Sands of Alora by Sharon Bennett
Submitted by: Sharon Bennett
Reviewer: Dragon Paradise
Submission: E for Escape, Chapter Three, Revision by Rita de Heer
Submitted by: Rita de Heer
MAGIC RISES by Ilona Andrews (Ace, July 2013)
Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them -- no matter the cost.
Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack's shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there's little available in Atlanta.
Kate can't bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute -- and they'll pay him in medicine. With the young people's survival and the Pack's future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer -- but they have little doubt that they're heading straight into a trap...
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This month's featured article from our Tips and Advice section:
Workshop member Kelly Schaub's advice on creating believable characters
Got a helpful tip for your fellow members? A trick or hint for submitting or reviewing, for what to put in your author's comments, for getting good reviews, or for formatting or titling your submission? Share it with us and we'll publish it in the next newsletter. Just send it to support (at) sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com and we'll do the rest.
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