Articles and posts by The Editorial Department’s lead fantasy and science fiction editor Shannon Roberts.

How Do We Write about The Future Now That It’s Here?

by Shannon Roberts

Science fiction, as a genre, has often struggled to be taken seriously. Oh, it’s garnered some respect, a few classics, and a bucketful of noteworthy authors, but how seriously are we expected to take a class of fiction that still doesn’t even warrant its own section in too many bookstores?

Don’t get me wrong: Science fiction was gaining in popularity (though not by that name) in the late 19th century, and came admirably […]

By | 2018-05-16T19:06:29+00:00 |Sci-Fi, SR|Comments Off on How Do We Write about The Future Now That It’s Here?

Writing with Voice Editor Shannon Roberts on building your authorial voice in unexpected ways

Confession: When I first started writing, I copied.

Not ideas—not consciously anyway—but voice

Initially I modeled my work after one of my (at the time) favorite bloggers and web-comic writers, Jerry Holkins. I started to fold in some Terry Pratchett and I sampled from Robert Heinlein. Whenever I came across a technique I liked, I tried to emulate it, until one day I looked at my work and I realized […]

By | 2018-05-03T19:11:57+00:00 |SR, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Writing with Voice Editor Shannon Roberts on building your authorial voice in unexpected ways

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin A “first 50” review

George R.R.Martin’s A Game of Thrones turns 20 this month! In honor of twenty years in print, and a hugely successful twenty years at that, here’s a breakdown of the first 50 pages of the book that started it all.

Aside from the prologue, the first 50 pages of ‘A Game of Thrones’ is divided into five chapters, each written from the point of view of one of the novel’s main characters. While shifting POV can occasionally lead to confusion, giving […]

By | 2018-05-03T20:57:43+00:00 |Book Reviews and Analysis, SR, Trends|Comments Off on A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin A “first 50” review

Yul Brynner’s Black Hat Considering good vs. evil in fantasy fiction

Bad guys and black hats are, in the classic American Western film, almost synonymous.

Even if you haven’t seen many Westerns, you’ve probably absorbed this knowledge via cultural osmosis—I certainly had.

Yul Brynner Yul Brynner in his black hat

Fortunately, the first Western I was privileged to watch was The Magnificent Seven (if a cowboy movie based on a Japanese film inspired by the mythology of the American […]

By | 2018-05-03T20:57:51+00:00 |Fantasy, SR, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Yul Brynner’s Black Hat Considering good vs. evil in fantasy fiction

The Mystery Writer’s Toolbox

mystery_manQuestions. Motives. Clues. Red herrings. Villains. Suspense.

All of these are elements in any good mystery. And all of them should be elements in your novel—whether it be science fiction, literary fiction, family or historical drama, horror, romance, or something else entirely.

Any good story is driven by QUESTIONS, the most important being: What do the protagonists want? Why can’t they have it? Then there’s the villain—what drives your antagonist? If there’s a MacGuffin, who […]

By | 2017-12-07T20:32:24+00:00 |SR, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on The Mystery Writer’s Toolbox