Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

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Tips and Advice


We've asked some SF & F authors and editors and workshop members (and the occasional other writing professional) to contribute a little of their expertise to the workshop in the form of tips and advice--short articles on subjects that vary from preparing your manuscript for submission and what agents are for to writing believable characters and choosing a setting and making it real. More words of wisdom on other topics will be contributed every now and then, and we'll announce any new tips and advice in our monthly newsletter.

(Our thanks to Del Rey Books for allowing us to make tips from their editors and authors available to workshop members.)


Read workshop member Greg Byrne on scene analysis--how to make sure each scene helps the story

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

Read David Eddings, bestselling author of The Malloreon and The Belgariad, on starting a fantasy, doing research, and making time pass

Read Nicola Griffith, winner of the 1997 Nebula Award for Slow River, on observation, the pitfall of the favorite word, and avoiding clichés

Read Former Del Rey editor Ellen Key Harris on "sequelitis" (why you shouldn't make your second book a sequel)

Read Laura Kent, workshop member, on how to improve your non-visual descriptions

Read Anne McCaffrey, bestselling author of the Pern series, on how to make your story believable

Read author and workshop alumna Jodi Meadows on how a jar of rocks, pebbles, and sand can guide your writing process

Read Ruth Nestvold, workshop member and published short-story author, on POV (point of view) in fiction

Read Joshua Palmatier, published author and workshop member, on reflecting plot-related world change in genre fiction

Read Sarah Prineas, published author and workshop member, on the place of basic grammar rules in fiction

Read workshop member Nigel Read on dealing with never-ending sentences, balance, and pace

Read workshop member Kelly Schaub's advice on creating believable characters

Read Shelly Shapiro, Del Rey Editorial Director, on why not to write in the first person

Read workshop member Helena Szczepaniak's advice on introducing characters

Read workshop member Donnamarie Thiel-Kline on use of the passive voice, a common critiquing complaint

Read Harry Turtledove, author of the Worldwar series and other fantasy and alternate-history novels, on four important principles of writing alternate history

Read Kate Wilhelm, author of 30+ novels and a writing teacher for 30+ years, on plots to avoid and the benefits of workshopping


Read Workshop and SFFWA member Linda Dunn's guidelines for writers' workshops

Read Workshop member Roger Eichorn on what to ask when evaluating a review of your writing

Read workshop member and staffer Jonathan Paradise on how to deal with the less-than-pleasant critique

Read workshop member Jaime Lee Moyer, author of Delia's Shadow, on writing advice, a.k.a. "the rules."

Read Mary Rosenblum, author of The Drylands, Chimera, and The Stone Garden, on writers' groups and workshops

Read Katie Waitman, author of The Merro Tree, on handling criticism and rejection

Read Kate Wilhelm, author of 30+ novels and a writing teacher for 30+ years, on plots to avoid and the benefits of workshopping


Read Moira Allen, author and owner of, on how to write a query letter

Read the list of Frequently Asked Questions about synopsis-writing compiled by the members of the workshop's first synopsis focus group (August-September '01)

Read Tara K. Harper, author of Wolfwalker, Cat Scratch Fever and other books, on agents: what do they do and are they worthwhile?

Read Former Del Rey editor Ellen Key Harris on the difference between developmental editing, line editing, and copyediting

Read Former Del Rey editor Jenni Smith on some basics of writing and submitting

Read Katie Waitman, author of The Merro Tree, on agents

And that's not all! Check out our list of SF/F Writers' Resources Online for organizations, publications, advice, directories, and newsgroups of interest to science-fiction and fantasy writers.