So submissions for Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores reopened recently, and I’ve already spotted a trend in the Slush Pile irritating enough to make me jump back into the blog, despite still being on holiday. Unconvincing and poorly written characters and settings can ruin any story. I covered various ways to avoid this in my […]Read More For SF&F Writers: Being Selective with Speculative Elements
Lets talk bad guys. Most stories have one. Well crafted or otherwise, speculative fiction is full of them. Not that any one actual character is essential as the obstacle the protagonist has to overcome. Sometimes its simply the environment they’re in, other times its a whole alien species in the vein of Starship Troopers or […]Read More For SF&F Writers. Building Believable Worlds Part 4: Antagonists and Enemies
Every drama needs a supporting cast. In my time as a First Reader with Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, I’ve come across far too many stories that fail to give sufficient thought or depth to secondary characters. An unfortunate, but easy mistake to make when writing short fiction, particularly in the first person. The writer […]Read More For SF&F Writers. Building Believable Worlds Part 3: Secondary Characters
So you’ve got a great idea for your speculative fiction story. You’ve envisioned a fantastic future or a mythical realm, and presumably given some thoughts to it’s inhabitants and the problem they’ll need to solve in order to drive the plot forward. Good start. Now, what character’s point of view is this story going to […]Read More For SF&F Writers. Building Believable Worlds Part 2: The Protagonist(s)
A big part of any good speculative fiction story is building a believable world. A bit ironic, considering that the genres of science fiction and fantasy are built around the willing suspension of disbelief, but there it is. This isn’t to say that the setting for any given story can’t be magical, fantastic, or set […]Read More For SF&F Writers: Building Believable Worlds Pt. 1, Language
Working as a First Reader isn’t difficult. I read, I evaluate, I offer a constructive critique, and usually, I reject. I can’t speak to the rest of the editorial process at Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, but when it comes to my part in the submission process the choice of how to rate a story […]Read More For SF&F Writers: Anatomy Of A Successful Submission. Reviewing “My Heart is a Prayer” by Ryan Row.
In this latest installment of Notes From the Slush Pile, I’d like to take a moment to talk about racial bigotry, class divides, gender inequality, and religious intolerance. Maybe it’s just what’s been in my personal slush pile lately, or maybe I’ve been watching too much coverage of the US election. Either way, it’s been […]Read More Writing about Oppressed/Marginalized Peoples in SF&F