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Posts by Pam Uphoff

Digging up Dinosaurs

No, not the extinct scaly (or possibly feathery) critters not seen around for seventy some million years.

I’m talking about the old computer you suddenly need, because your main computer died in the early hours of Monday, and your already glitchy laptop took one look at the vast responsibilities of being a writer’s main tool and went belly up Tuesday afternoon. Read more

The Art of Ignoring Reality

No, no, not getting into politics! (Much)

I was just wondering . . . Do Science Fiction and Fantasy writers ignore reality?

Well, yes and no.
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Multiple Threads

One of the responses to our request for “what do you want the Mad Genii to blog about” was how to handle multiple story threads.

Answer: First learn to juggle . . .

Okay, not helpful.

So think about these multiple threads. And especially, how do they relate to each other?

In the most straightforward, you have a group of comrades with common loyalties and so forth. So the BIG STORY PROBLEM is important to all of them. So even thought they split up, they’re all on the same page. Defending the Kingdom, the Free Asteroid Miners, the Source of All Magic, whatever.
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Eldon’s one of my favorite characters. _Very_ fun to write. And live as of a few hours ago:

The Disorganized Muse


I’ll be out of reach when this goes live, so I’ll ask my fellow Mad Geniuses to add helpful suggestions and answer questions.
In an orderly Universe the ideas for stories in a series would come sequentially, in proper order.

Unfortunately, Chaos rules this Universe, and is concentrated in my subconscious, where my Muse usually resides.

So, how does one deal with a minimum of three ideas (a new one pops up every time I get to a scene I don’t want to write, but really need to) at once? Well, since hitting your desk with your head has never worked (for me, give it a try if you want) I generally try to force some degree of order to the tangle of my imagination. Read more

Hi There!

How Do You Do?

So . . . what’s the best way to introduce a new character?

“Whatever works” is unhelpful. So I went spelunking for some examples out of my own stuff, to try to analyze.

A recent addition to my usual:


Rael spotted the four of them, with an interesting mix of body language. Joke stiff and affronted. Lenny’s head swinging back and forth, trying to watch the others. Tall blonde and handsome grinning. The younger one with brown hair had his hand over his face. Talking.

“Ice, swear to The One I can’t take you anywhere!”

“Not my fault I keep getting accosted by beautiful women . . .”



So, Ice is tall blonde and handsome, used to attracting women, and brashly responding in an inappropriate manner. His so-far-unnamed companion is younger, brown haired, and gets embarrassed moderately easily.

This all works because of the emotions on display. Joke, who is female, affronted and stiff. Ice grinning, his friend embarrassed. It doesn’t read like bare descriptions. Read more


The flickering light of the flames, the pulsing red of the coals, the sheer sensuous pleasure of the radiant heat.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the first major change to their environment early Hominids made was the taming of fire. And then they evolved to better take advantage of that warmth in the cold, the delicious food that happened when things were exposed to fire. The safety from predators in the night, a relatively safe way to drive animals over a cliff. Read more