Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

January 2014 Newsletter


Monthly Writing Challenge


Editors' Choices


Publication Announcements

Reviewer Honor Roll

On Shelves Now

Membership Info





This month our members are celebrating a first-place writing award and a slew of short-story publications in magazines and anthologies large and small--see our Publication News for all the details. A good way to end the year!

Other endings: After more than six years, this is my very last newsletter for OWW. I can't begin to explain how much I've enjoyed the experience. Not only did I meet some amazing authors and publishing professionals, but it expanded my grasp of the industry as a whole.  There have been so many great memories. The interviews were particularly enlightening. For example, it took a lot of finagling to get an interview with Jim Butcher. But Lois McMaster Bujold chatted with me like an old friend, and Karin Lowachee gave some of the best writer advice I'd ever read. Working behind the scenes has been both gratifying and invaluable.

Starting in February, the exceptional Jaime Lee Moyer will be taking over.  OWW loves finding our staff from among our members and alums--it is a long tradition (just ask Charlie Finlay).  

For myself, I start a new chapter in my career designing book covers. It's a bittersweet moment to have to choose between two passions. It's been a privilege and a pleasure to serve as the OWW newsletter editor. I know I leave you in good hands.

Keep writing, everyone, and reach for that brass ring. I'll see you in the bookstores!

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

Maria Zannini, newsletter editor
news (at)


Monthly Writing Challenge

Mirror-Image: This month's challenge is to have your character solve a problem doing the exact opposite of what he or she should do, then explain why through actions only.

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. This month's writing challenge was submitted by Maria Zannini.

Challenges can be suggested by anyone and suggestions should be sent to Jaime (news (at) 


Open Submissions to F&SF

OWW alum and current Resident Editor C.C. Finlay will be the Guest Editor for the July/August 2014 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Charlie's very first professional sale was a story that he workshopped on OWW and sold to F&SF. He will be accepting electronic submissions from January 1-14, a first for the magazine. Read the full announcement here, and then get your stories ready for submission.

Programming Opportunity

We are still looking to hire a Perl coder who can help whip parts of the workshop system into better shape.  Know anyone who still likes Perl?  Who appreciates SF or understands workshopping? Or who is interested in the use of alternative currencies (like our review points)?  Contact OWW through our Contact Us page if interested.

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, 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!

Editor's Choice, Fantasy

Jeff Stanley, GHOST EATER, Chapters 1 and 2

Jeff Stanley's GHOST EATER starts with a vivid image, an excellent gut-punch that establishes the setting and raises gruesome mysteries very quickly while still allowing readers to connect with and get to know the protagonists. This first scene is a very good example of how to construct a hook. We have floating bodies, severed heads, people we can empathize with happening upon a scene of carnage. We are given a good sense of place by words like "steading" and "jarl" and "Thaneway." and some immediate mysteries are raised along with some lingering ones. (Immediate: where did all these dead bodies come from? More lingering: why don't the adults of the steading go upriver?)

There are some places the prose and imagery can easily be tightened up, or made to do more work, or both, which will increase the creepy factor and readers' immersion in the scene. For example, I'd like more sensory detail in this scene. What time of year is it? Is it mild, the banks blowing with wildflowers? Or is the Thaneway rimmed with ice in spring, or dead leaves in autumn? (Or ice and dead leaves, for that matter?) What does a river clogged with dead bodies smell like? If it's summer, are there hovering insects? I'd also like to know a little bit--just a touch--of costume detail on the characters, as it will help with the setting's technology level and time period. It'll also give me an idea of the social standing of the various people we've just been introduced to, and their relative ranks--things that are, of course, very important to the Medieval worldview.

Also pursuant to preserving reader immersion, consider a search-and-destroy mission for weasel words, scaffolding, and filler. When dead hands seem to grasp, we don't need to be told they almost seem. They do seem; the word seem itself implies that this is not the actuality of the action. One or two such words have little effect on their own, but the cumulative action of many is to rob vigor from the prose.

Another thing to bear in mind is whether what one is describing, no matter how picturesque, is possible. Gold is heavy; torcs will not remain on the necks of beheaded, floating men. We earn points with readers by remaining aware of physics in the small matters. Once we've established our credentials, however, we can redeem those points in reader suspension of disbelief when it becomes necessary for the plot to proceed, or for something cool to happen. Basically, especially early on in the book, we're working to get the readers on our side by getting things right. Later, those same readers will believe us even when we tell the most incredible whoppers, if we do it right, because by then they'll trust us.

As I mentioned above, the current piece does well in handling exposition. As previously discussed, the use of specific terminology to set place is an excellent technique. Additionally, the very effective technique of immediately--unobtrusively--defining a difficult but milieu-specific term with a more familiar synonym by providing them side by side is on good display here. For example: Jarlmen. Sworn shields.

The horrific encounter with the cannibalistic, dismembered dead man is also in general extremely effective, except it stretches out too long with nobody taking action. Even if Arni is frozen in horror and Daine is pulling at him, trying to get him to move, that would be sufficient and effective. Also, Cuthsas gets lost in this scene--he falls into the river (with all the dead!), and then the next we know he's dragging Arni along by the arm. We need to know what happens to him between. Which can help to add some motion to the portion of the story where Arni is frozen. Even if Arni can't see him, he should be able to hear him, and we can track his progress that way.

It's also important that character victories and whatever opposition they face should not feel arbitrary. Currently, when the three go running back to the steading and have their interview with the armsmen there, Braggi, Aigun, and Haggli seem to be obdurate mostly because the author decided to give the protagonists a hard time. For me as a reader, this is frustration. I can see why grown-ups would not take Cuthsas seriously, but Daine and Arni seem to be sober near-adults, and the kind of kids who would be considered to have some sense. Remember that in a subsistence existence, children have a great deal more responsibility early on than they do in the modern period, and as a result will tend to be taken more seriously by adults.

I can see one of the adults being irritated, but not all three of them. Especially when children come running up out of breath and out of sorts--I think the first thought they might leap to is, "Raiders!"

Jundi's response seems much more in keeping with sensible precautions, and also feels reasoned, in character, and like something a real person would do. Remember that even secondary characters and spear-carriers need reasons for their actions; they don't just do things because the story demands it, any more than protagonists do. A good example of this can be seen in the most recent Iron Man movie, where a bad-guy thug, confronted with a violent fight he can't win, surrenders and resigns the field. It's a beautiful moment in the movie, and it has met with great audience response, because we're so used to having second-string bad guys just march off cliffs like lemmings to provide fight scenes.

--Elizabeth Bear

Editor's Choice, Science Fiction

EXHIBITION, Chapter 3 by Deb Cawley

The premise of EXHIBITION is that a dog show, with all of its human and canine contestants, gets transported to an alien planet by the mysterious Guardians. Our characters must survive in this hostile environment and maybe solve the mystery of how they got there or why they were taken.

It's a good premise, and not just because I love dogs. This plot--transporting modern people across time or space--has been used before in speculative fiction, for example in Eric Flint's incredibly popular 1636 series or the movie "Predators." The idea is always that the characters have unique knowledge or skills that allow them to survive in a surprising way. EXHIBITION offers a "Best in Show" take on this sub-genre, which promises some fresh variations. And I love that older women from a variety of backgrounds play such a key role in the novel.

By Chapter 3 in any book, the premise and characters have been established and the unique elements of the story need to start shining. The writing, structure, and pacing in this chapter are all technically very competent but they stay safe. For this book to work, the writer needs to take more risks.  One way the writer could take more risks here is to try externalizing some of the exposition and make it develop character and action as well. Take this bit of dialogue early in the chapter, when a small group leaves the main group to explore a canyon. They're discussing their long-term survival on the new planet:

"We have how many women?" asked Maggie. "We do need to be practical. Women outnumber the men at least ten to one. And not to mention a number of the men are gay. How in the world did the aliens not notice? But I don't want to think about all of that yet. Forget I brought it up."

Now think about this as a conversation, with one of the gay characters and Lee, one of the other protagonists, participating.

"We have how many women?" asked Maggie. "We do need to be practical. Women outnumber the men at least ten to one."

"Not to mention that not all of us men are breeders," said [different character]. "How in the world did the aliens not notice?"

"I don't want to think about all of that yet," Lee said. "I still plan on finding a way out of here so we can get back home."

Maggie shook her head. "Forget I brought it up."

It's the same information, almost the exact same dialogue, but it establishes different identities and goals for the different characters. Three characters want three different things here. It gives us more reasons to keep reading. There are other opportunities to do this. After the sighting of the other aliens, when Lee wishes she was walking next to Rafe so she could discuss it with him, why not write the scene so that she walks next to Rafe long enough for each of them to say a sentence? Or when they're in the shelter during the storm, and Lee wonders if it's going to hold and what they'll do if it doesn't.

It's also important to take more risks with the action. Consider the scene where the group encounters aliens. It's worth including an extended excerpt to point out the missed opportunity. I've underlined some key phrase.

[Lee:] "I think we should have brought some Rhodesian Ridgebacks with us. Right now their lion-fighting history would make me feel a bit better. Or Rottweilers, Dobermans, Anatolians, something big and ferocious."
"There!" Ben pointed to their right.
Lee froze. [...]
The minutes ticked by. Nothing moved. The spot where the grass had parted remained still. The sun beat down, feeling hotter than when they had been walking. Deja moved forward several steps, growling softly.
The dog froze.
Heads popped up all around the field, greenish-brown and fuzzy, with two large round eyes, cupped ears, broad noses and mouths similar to humans. [...]
Lee raised her pistol, shifting her stance and bending her knees slightly. The heads dropped back down and disappeared. Waves of parting grass showed them moving away quickly. For several more minutes Lee and the others stood, waiting and watching.

Notice how slowly and deliberately everything happens here. Lee freezes. Minutes pass and the characters wait. The dog freezes. The aliens run and then minutes pass while the characters wait some more. A scene that could be exciting and dramatic ends up feeling very low tension. And the set-up--that they would be better off with other breeds--never pays off because nothing bad happens and they don't actually need those breeds.

But all the pieces that are needed to raise the energy are suggested right here in the text: more ferocious dogs, pistols, fearfulness.

So what if they had brought some of the other more ferocious hunting dogs with them? The dogs notice the aliens first. The dogs bark, growl, or charge into the grass and flush the aliens. Somebody panics and fires a gun while Lee or somebody else scrambles to call the dogs back before they get hurt. The same end result happens--they encounter aliens, the aliens run off, they call the dogs back, and then the people react. But it's more high-tension.

For the rest of this review, visit the Editors' Choice area of the OWW site!

--C.C. Finlay

Editor's Choice, Short Story

"Last One Out" by Karen Rylander

"Last One Out" caught my eye this month for a number of reasons: its robot-precise but emotionally accessible point-of-view character; the last woman on Earth as an elderly, practical Stockholm schoolteacher; and most of all, its strong illustration of how to deftly handle genre tropes and story elements that have been used frequently before.

None of the SFnal concepts in "Last One Out" are new in the slightest. AIs who do not feel love or appreciate art, the last man on earth scenario, a highly automated society, and the intrusion of corporate interests into daily life are all very familiar story elements for any reader--and twice as familiar to editors. But it's what "Last One Out" does with those elements that makes it a well-crafted and satisfying piece of fiction.

How we use a trope is everything, and "Last One Out" sets up these dystopian, apocalyptic tropes to gently indicate there are other ways to be. Even the title's reference ("Last one out, turn out the lights") is there to be replied to: The last one out, in this piece, is here to turn the lights on. There's a real beauty in that for readers who are familiar with the story elements "Last One Out" is rebutting. In playing skillfully with the entrenched expectations of what kind of story uses those tropes, "Last One Out" is able to--without having to explain or mention them on the page--go against readers' expectations and produce a wonderful sense of hope.

Why hope? It's worth going into, briefly, the difference between replying to a trope and taking fictional revenge on it. As resident editor Elizabeth Bear has said repeatedly, literature is a conversation: We build on the work that's come before, but we also discuss and dissect it. The difference between replying to a trope--where readers walk out with more than they had before--and the revenge story ("X idea is bad and that's the whole point") is illustrated very well in the final trope "Last One Out" had to undermine: The Pinocchio story. Filip gains smell, taste, mobility, a voice, the ability to be independent, all the trappings of A Real Boy, but he still doesn't like music--and that's all right. Humanness is not the ultimate value here; the world doesn't end when the last human dies. Filip and Ella face each other as equals, not caretaker and charge--as friends.

There's a value-added to this interpretation: "Last One Out" hasn't gone in to say that the idea of human as the best thing is stupid, or that you should ditch that thought right now. It's suggested an alternative. It's done the primary task of science fiction, which is saying: "What if?" We can now have more conversation, not less, and that's a good indicator of a successful reply in any conversation, literary or otherwise.

This reply tool is a tricky one to use at times--one has to anticipate just what most readers associate with a trope or kind of story, and then propose an alternative carefully enough to not feel preachy or overbearing--but it's an incredibly effective strategy. Half the worldbuilding you require is already in the readers' heads: When readers feel the resolution it can be exquisitely personal, and memorable, because it's not just changed how the world looks in the frame of the story itself, but how those tropes or bits of worldbuilding work in the readers' heads.

There is one other point of craft I want to touch on in "Last One Out": A very good use of small details to set up later plot developments. Filip's mobility--and gaining a voice, and ultimate independence--are foreshadowed subtly by Ella's grandchildren's promise to take him out one day to see the shore; by the way Ella turned his speakers off long ago. Because that sense of him wanting a certain freedom is established in the first paragraphs, his slip into the go-machine feels narratively fulfilling, a success--something that matters--without his dissatisfaction having been hammered in too hard early on.

In terms of space for improvement, there is occasional drag in the early scenes, before "Last One Out" truly gets going. I suspect other critiquers' comments on Filip's numbers feeling overbearing speak a little more to the pacing of those scenes than the amount of number measurements themselves: they feel like more, because not as much is happening in the space where they exist. Filip's numbers do add something definite--the contrast between his quantitative world and Ella's qualitative one, and the setup for how they don't actually need to perceive the world the same way--and I personally feel that's a good element to keep. But the first scenes could possibly be compacted slightly--only very slightly!--to feel more balanced.

Likewise, some of the Walcorp information could be a good target for trimming. Scenelets like the grocery order are solid worldbuilding--answering preemptively where food comes from--but I'm unsure they speak to the main point of the story and its conflicts.  There are a few continuity bobbles to check, as well.  For example, Ella goes for coffee in the second scene, but comes back with tea.

Overall, though, this is a very tidy draft--one doing a lot of smart, emotionally affecting, memorable work. Thank you for the thoughtful story, and best of luck with it!

--Leah Bobet
Author of ABOVE

Editor's Choice, Horror

"El Chupador," Part 1 by Gio Clairval

Starting a story with the main character near death creates some good suspense, and that's what "El Chupador" does. The story sets up a mystery about what is wrong with the main character, Pierre. We feel curiosity and suspense as we wonder what caused the illness and whether he'll be able to survive. The unusual setting, the art world of 1950s Paris, also generates interest and draws us in. The story gains some depth through the characters' actions. Pierre's wife and friends avoid admitting his condition is fatal and discuss other things, as if all is well. This creates tension between the surface actions/dialogue and the underlying reality. Whenever characters are unable or unwilling to say the truth, the dialogue has the potential to carry powerful subtext.

While it's always hard to offer feedback on an excerpt from a longer piece, I think there are several ways this section can be strengthened. The first involves plot. This section has an odd structure, in that Pierre's first-person narration hints at his situation as friends visit, then Pierre suffers his nightly torment, and then the last five paragraphs tell us what the rest of the section has just shown us. While I enjoyed having some clarity about Pierre's occupation and situation in those last five paragraphs, it seems redundant to provide that information so late in the story, after we've already worked most of this out. So I think most of that information needs to be worked in earlier in the story or, if it's already there, cut from the last section.

Another plot issue is the repetitive nature of what happens to Pierre. Apparently, every night his blood leaves his body, and he has to struggle to put some of it back in before sunrise. Some of the imagery is quite vivid and striking. But I feel less and less suspense as this process continues, since I know it happens every night and I know he survives. It's not until the end of the process that I learn he's lost more blood than the night before, creating a bit of escalation. The fact that this happens every night makes the long section of his torment feel like cool special effects that don't have a powerful emotional underpinning. Before I talk about a solution, I want to raise another point. Pierre's first-person description of this torment doesn't sound like it's coming from someone who has undergone this many times. He is paying such close attention, and describing it in such detail, it seems as if this is the first time he's experienced it. Someone who has experienced it many times will react differently. Consider Groundhog Day. Phil experiences the same events every day, but his reaction is different every day, because he knows what to expect. His reactions are what make that movie interesting, rather than the external events. So does Pierre have a new plan tonight to call his wife in, because he thinks the evil can't happen if he's not alone? Does he plan to stab the tormenting arms with the fireplace poker? Does he plan to look in the mirror to see the face of his tormentor? Or is his plan more internal, to fix the face of his wife in his mind to block out the pain? To repeat in his mind the lyrics from his favorite song, or to visualize his favorite painting? If he has a goal he is struggling to achieve, then we can feel suspense over whether he'll succeed in achieving that goal or not. Without that, he's simply an observer recording various sensations.

To add to the suspense, the situation should clearly and strongly escalate from previous nights. So this night, the pattern changes, perhaps because of Pierre's plan. His plan, which he hopes will make things better, actually makes things worse. That type of reversal can create significant excitement and put more at stake. It also will give a stronger sense that the story is evolving. Right now, this excerpt feels like it's all simply establishing the status quo for Pierre. Nothing much seems to change for him from previous days. The excerpt would be much stronger if something major changed for Pierre.

A second area I'd like to discuss is style. I'm not an expert on 1950s Paris by any means, but for me, the voice of the story sounded like it came from the 1930s or even earlier, not the 1950s. I also didn't feel much of a sense of Paris in the voice. A few phrases suggest a foreign language, such as "let us say," or "I should say," but they don't particularly suggest to me that people are speaking in French. More research and consultation with an expert would probably be helpful in this.

For the rest of this review, visit the Editors' Choice area of the OWW site!

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


Michael Keyton, OWW member and veteran critiquer

This month, we bring in a long-time member of OWW and veteran of thoughtful and well-executed critiques to weigh in on what makes a good critique.  Michael Keyton started with OWW during its early days and has been a loyal member ever since. Who better to tell you the benefits of a workshop and how it helped his career?

How long have you been a member? What made you join?

I joined in 2001, the year before the transfer from Del Rey. Interestingly enough it was one of my students who introduced me to it. I explored the site and realised at once this was just what I needed. I valued -- still do -- the prospect of completely blind crits from all over the world, but also the discipline that keeps the bum on seat staring at a blank screen. OWW provided this.

How has being a part of OWW changed your writing?

The first year was a steep learning curve as particularly bad habits were gradually erased. Since then the changes have been less perceptible. I think my writing has become more "easy" once I'm in the mythical "zone," and I've learnt that less is more. My use of commas remains a tad eccentric to the good-humoured despair of long standing critters.

Others have said this, so I'll say it, too. Critting others is of huge value though you often don't realise that at first. I'm always scared when I first open up someone else's work, in case I find nothing to say or say something stupid. The feeling goes after the first paragraph or two. There are occasions when the writing knocks you out, and then it's best just to say it and not go straining gnats. Usually you read chapters and find blemishes you haven't, until then, seen in your own work

You've recently been selected for an EC Review. How did that make you feel to be noticed by well-established authors?

I think I've been chosen twice before. I can't remember. And yes, when you get that e-mail saying you've been chosen for an Editor's Choice review it's a really good feeling. Then you worry about what they're actually going to say -- well, I do. I'm a pessimist.

Your novella, Dark Fire, comes out later this year from Red Sage Publishing. Was Dark Fire critiqued on OWW? Do you think it made the editing process for the final book easier?

It's going to be published in the autumn of 2014. The core of the story remains the same. Essentially it's speculative fiction with a historical twist. It has though undergone several key changes and a fair bit of cutting depending on which market I was submitting it to, i.e., some markets like lots of bonking, other markets don't. Throughout the various changes that various rejections encouraged, the workshop proved invaluable.


Bio: Michael Keyton has cooked in hospital kitchens, worked in some of the dirtiest hotels in Wales, and played for a time in a semi-professional ceilidh band. For many years he taught history in a challenging state school where "story" was important. For more information, visit him at Record of a Baffled Spirit. His novella, Dark Fire, comes out later this year. Click on the link for the full description.

Publication Announcements

Rae Carson's The Goldscryer Trilogy will be out in 2015 from Greenwillow/HarperCollins. Congratulations, Rae!

Vylar Kaftan reports: "'Christmas Wedding' is reprinted at GigaNotoSaurus. This story is secretly one of my favorites. Okay, not so secret since I'm telling you. I also signed a contract for 'Ink of My Bones, Blood of My Hands' to appear at Beneath Ceaseless Skies. It's my homage to Lovecraft, sort of, without the overblown prose. There are dinosaurs in it."

Roger Lovelace tells us: "'Titans' will be published in the spring of 2014 by The Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles. It's a science fiction horror story, first workshopped a couple of years ago. Also, 'Psyclone' has been published in Voluted Tales in December. It is a psychological story of a war veteran attempting to relieve his PTSD by reliving a childhood memory."

Tim Major announced: "'Read/Write Head' has been published by Garbled Transmissions, Dec 2013."

Sandra McDonald has several stories recently published and one coming out in 2014: "'End of the Road' --Full of puns. Seriously, all puns. Post-apocalyptic artificial puns. It's in NH Pulp Fiction #3 Live Free or Sci Fi. 'Sylvia Ascending'--I wrote this for the LaunchPad anthology. 'Our Daughters' is for Apex magazine, and 'Fleet'  is my transgender post-apocalyptic story set in Guam. This was the third of three Guam stories that I wrote in 2012. 'Fleet' will be appearing in 2014's Year's Best Anthology edited by Gardner Dozois, which delights me very much."

Megan O'Keefe is the first-place winner in the latest Writers of the Future quarterly contest! She will now compete for the 2013 Grand Prize against the other three quarterly winners.  Good luck, Megan!

Jodi Ralston reports two sales to anthologies late this year:  "The Perfect Present" to Luna's Children: Stranger Wereworlds anthology and "The Bet" to A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court anthology.

Seth Skorkowsky tells us: "I have two short story collections coming out in 2014. Mountain of Daggers and Sea of Quills are both for Rogue Blades Entertainment."

Durand Welsh says: "I received an acceptance today for my story 'The Jesuit's Mask' to be published in the forthcoming Tor anthology, Midian Unmade, edited by Joseph Nassise and Del Howison."

Kim J. Zimring says, "Asimov's will publish 'The Talking Cure' (forthcoming)."

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.


December 2013 Honor Roll Nominees:

Reviewer: Sarah Beth
Submission: The forging of Steele - Chapter One by Sean L
Submitted by: Sean L

Reviewer: Eli Zaren
Submission: "Things Lost Under Bridges" by Roberta Ecks
Submitted by: Roberta Ecks

Reviewer: Christian Crowe
Submission: Lesser Monster's Chapter Two (C4C) by Laurie Blanchard
Submitted by: Laurie Blanchard

On Shelves Now

SOMETHING MORE THAN NIGHT by Ian Tregillis (Tor Books, December 2013)


A Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler-inspired murder mystery set in Thomas Aquinas's vision of Heaven. It's a noir detective story starring fallen angels, the heavenly choir, nightclub stigmatics, a priest with a dirty secret, a femme fatale, and the Voice of God.

Somebody has murdered the angel Gabriel. Worse, the Jericho Trumpet has gone missing, putting Heaven on the brink of a truly cosmic crisis. But the twisty plot that unfolds from the murder investigation leads to something much bigger: a con job one billion years in the making.



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This month's featured article from our Tips and Advice section:

Workshop member Carlos J. Cortes on pacing and the three functional types of scenes

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) and we'll do the rest.

Until next month--just write!

The Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
support (at)