Failures of Memory

[--- Karen Myers ---] Let's talk about memory. The reader's memory, you know, the one you need to rely on to make your story comprehensible. Now, I'm not getting any younger, and I'm acquiring a front row seat on just how fragile a thing memory can be, especially the short-term kind, and that's for real... Continue Reading →

Genre Cues: Mysteries

Alma T. C. Boykin. What hides in the twilight behind the wall . . .? Well, you need a crime. Or something mysterious that's not a legal crime but not right either. And you need someone to find out who did it, and to get justice. Right? Oh, and now you can have cats and... Continue Reading →

What’s in a nose

[--- Karen Myers ---] Among a great many pedantic bits of advice for beginning fiction writers is the importance of fully describing a character's environment and perceptions as a way of embedding the reader in that experience. Yeah, well.... Boy, is that easy to do clumsily, using a shopping list approach to note the blue... Continue Reading →

Help! There’s Religion in my Story!

It's OK. Deities happen to the best of us. There you are, standing by the corner of your desk, minding your own business, when ZOT! a character gets religion. Oh dear. How awkward. Now what? For a while, science fiction in particular was supposed to be faith-free. Oh, the character might use a deity name... Continue Reading →

Words that don’t belong

[--- Karen Myers ---] I belong to the school of thought that believes that anything that throws a reader out of a story, that breaks his trance, is a bad thing. Typical offenses in this regard are contradictions within the story world, conflicts with how reality works or actual historical circumstances, and character inconsistency ("...but... Continue Reading →

Ya Gotta Hook ‘Em to Reel ‘Em In

Here reader, reader, reader! Source: Pixabay Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay Alma T. C. Boykin I was reading a history book that had, to date, the least effective "hook" of a starting sentence I have read. The book is far better than the first line, but if that's what sells the story, this volume... Continue Reading →


I'm still struggling with the petty bureaucrats. Honestly, I am close to despair and 'I may not win, ever', because bureaucracy tended officially as 'helping' with the pretext of 'looking after your/public safety' is a sacred ritual, no matter if the statistical probability of injury. In fact, it is more important to prevent disasters like... Continue Reading →

Building blocks and jigsaw pieces

My morning started with a simple plan: start Roomba-Actual (successor to Not-A-Roomba. Is an e6 model, but often fails to live up to that and gets called Roomba-Butterbar when it gets lost inside the chair legs), then start laundry, and follow by mopping at least two rooms. Except Roomba-Actual was acting even stupider than its... Continue Reading →

Worldbuilding and genre

Karen's post yesterday inspired me to do some serious thinking about how I'm handling worldbuilding in the WIP. (Note: this is not the same as seriously inspired thinking. Alas.) It's another Regency fantasy set in the imaginary world of Din Eidyn, which I think of as what Edinburgh would have been like at the time... Continue Reading →

Shallow worldbuilding

[--- Karen Myers ---] Chekhov's gun is all very well, but I like my worlds with a little bit more padding on them. Life isn't a stage play, and neither are novels. In brief, the advice is that every object or incident in a story exists to be a clue/foreshadow, either genuine or misleading in... Continue Reading →

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