Tag Archives: advice

What to do when you finish a short story

Bios writing robotThere’s some sound advice for the novice short fiction writer from Sarah Brandel over at Apex Online. The first one (which, as any slush-pile reader will tell you, gets ignored far too often) is:

1. Get some distance.

First drafts are rarely perfect. The conventional wisdom, upon finishing a story, is to lock the story in a drawer for a week before starting to revise it. It can be difficult to see mistakes–ranging from typos to issues in continuity and back story–in anything one is too close to.

Amen. Any writers in the audience feel like sharing some of their hard-earned wisdom? [image by Gastev]

Writing advice from Matthew Cheney

Matthew “The Mumpsimus” Cheney is guest-blogging over at Colleen Lindsay’s site, and he’s decided to do a post entitled “If Only I’d Known: Writing Advice to my Younger Self“. In sharp contrast to the gung-ho you-can-do-it teach-yourself-to-write books, however, he advocates making sure you write for the right reasons:

Publication can be fun, but I don’t think a healthy psyche finds it much more than that. If you haven’t been able to find balance and contentment in your life, publishing won’t help you, and, if anything, it may hurt.

It’s an interesting piece, written with Cheney’s characteristic honesty and heartily recommended for any writerly types in the audience – published or otherwise.

Gargantuan collection of writing advice

In a brief flurry of self-aggrandisement, I’d like to point out that I’m in the habit of collecting author blog posts which contain advice on writing, and then publishing them in big batches on my own blog, Velcro City Tourist Board.

This time out, I’d waited rather longer between posts than usual. End result? One huge post, containing nearly fifty writing advice links.

Which author blogs do you find most consistently useful for advice on the actual craft and work of writing? Share your links in the comments!

Friday Free Fiction for 24th August

The times, they are a’changing, as Dylan once whined. Nowhere is that more true than in genre fiction publishing, it seems, with some interesting examples of new delivery systems among this week’s free reads:

At Manybooks.net, they’re rocking the old-school sf novels for free: Gordon Randall Garrett and Laurence Randall Janifer’s The Impossibles and Supermind, to be precise.

Free Speculative Fiction Online list a whole batch of newly available works; go and see, and give the gift of traffic.

Pete Tzinski (of Blood, Blade and Thruster magazine fame) is blogging an online fiction serial called God in the Machine. (As a side note, I reckon this will be one of the fiction formats of the future, so I’ll be watching closely to see how this does.)

The webzine Byzarium returns from the metaphorical wastelands of the intarwebs, complete with their archive of previous material. All new material will be for paid subscribers only – another interesting potential business model for short fiction online.

Classic free pulp-era science fiction: Edmond Hamilton’s “The Man Who Evolved”.

Don Sakers is inviting people to subscribe to his latest ongoing Scattered Worlds novel, Hunt for the Dymalon CygnetHunt for the Dymalon Cygnet. You can read everything that’s been published already for free, and then sign up to get the latest parts before anyone else.

Here’s Paul McAuley’s short story “Gene Wars”.

The first stages of Subterranean Magazine‘s Fall 2007 issue have started to appear – columns, audiobooks and fiction by the big guns of the genre, costing you nix.

Electric Velocipede’s John Klima has Ezra Pines’ story “Antevellum” available as a PDFread about this satire on Hal Duncan at the EV blog, then grab the file.

And a few bonus tidbits for the writers among the readers:

Nick Mamatas on the scene break, and why you shouldn’t overuse it.

Futurismic’s own Jeremiah Tolbert shares a nugget of wisdom on “the holy math of story”.


Writers, editors and anyone else – if you want something you’ve written or published on the web for free mentioned here, drop me (Paul Raven) an email to the address listed for me on the Staff page, and I’ll include it in next week’s round-up.