A good short-story writer has an instinct for sketching in just enough background to ground the specific story.
During the many centuries that magic, here on this planet, was presumed to have worked, there were at least as many theories as to how magic worked as there were cultures and religions.
Ideas aren't magical; the only tricky part is holding on to one long enough to get it written down.
I'm a writer first and an editor second... or maybe third or even fourth. Successful editing requires a very specific set of skills, and I don't claim to have all of them at my command.
I've read short stories that are as dense as a 19th century novel and novels that really are short stories filled with a lot of helium.
I'm not constrained by being a genre writer. Any story I can imagine, I can cast as a fantasy novel and probably get it published.
One of my great passions is the collection of historical trivia.
Short-story writing requires an exquisite sense of balance. Novelists, frankly, can get away with more. A novel can have a dull spot or two, because the reader has made a different commitment.
No one uses a ribbon typewriter any more, but your final draft is not the time to try to wring a few more sheets out of your inkjet cartridge.
If you write, one of the questions you're always trying to answer is, Where do you get your ideas? And, if you write, you know how pointless a question this is and how difficult it is to answer.
When I'm not writing or tweaking my computer, I do embroidery. When I'm not plunging into the past, tweaking, or embroidering, I'm reading books about history, computers, or embroidery.
It took me about 12 years to reach my million-word mark. The challenge now is to continue to challenge myself.
My writing has to support more than my research habit, but I love to curl up with a book about some dusty corner of history.
When I have an idea, it goes from vague, cloudy notion to 100,000 words in a heartbeat.
Once you've invested hundreds of hours in creating a coherent universe, your story's grown to around a half-million words and can't be written as anything less than a trilogy.
There is nothing that compares to an unexpected round of applause.
Neophyte writers tend to believe that there is something magical about ideas and that if they can just get a hold of a good one, then their futures are ensured.
It's possible to become so comfortable with one's style and structure that one ceases to grow.
The money can be decent, but I really don't recommend the work-for-hire route as an entry into publishing. Too many things can go wrong.
I think my prose reads as if English were my second language. By the time I get to the end of a paragraph, I'm dodging bullets and gasping for breath.
Editors of open anthologies actively seek submissions from all comers, established and unknown. They are willing to read whatever the tide washes up at their feet.
For me, writing a short story is much, much harder than writing a novel.
I do have a small collection of traditional SF ideas which I've never been able to sell. I'm known as a fantasy writer and neither my agent nor my editors want to risk my brand by jumping genre.
I write sets of books, but I've also written a lot of orphans.
I'm dense when it comes to discouragement.
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