Advice to Writers

Better Than Us: Dystopia with a Twist

(Caution–spoilers ahead!) Superficially, Better Than Us, the science fiction series currently on Netflix, is a typical robots-could-take-over-the-world story. A lot of people have already been pushed out of jobs by bots, and the government is floating a plan to lower the retirement age to 45, with bots taking up the slack. Of course, once that happens, …

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The Academy: New Approaches in Fantasy Literature

Introduction The idea of a school for magic is far from being a new thing in literature. We all immediately think of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books, which are certainly the most well-known modern examples. Some of us will remember Ursula LeGuin’s Wizard of Earthsea as well. But the idea goes back much earlier. Chiron the …

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Inspiration, Part 3: Personal Life

Introduction In the first part of this series, I’ve already noted a couple of factors (reading habits and career) that influenced my writing. But readers have sometimes asked me if other events in my life have influenced my writing. Surprisingly, that’s not an easy question to answer. If you read any of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s …

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Inspiration, Part 2: Research

Introduction Most people hear research and associate it with nonfiction, where it is undeniably crucial. What we don’t always realize is that research can be important in fiction as well–and not just in a genre like historical fiction. Depending on the circumstances, even fantasy can benefit from the judicious use of research. A Counterexample: What Happens When …

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