Experts Professionals and College

Do I have to have a college education to make it as a writer I haven't finished high school. Can I still write I've always wanted to be a writer, and I've done a lot of writing, but I couldn't afford to go to college when I was younger . . . This question arrives in my e-mail box about once a week, worded in any of a dozen different ways. Some of the questioners tiptoe around it, embarrassed to ask, pretty sure they know what the answer is going to be, but hoping that it won't. Sometimes I can...

Write a good outline and stick with it

This doesn't seem like such a big deal. You and your friend share a vision. You've talked endlessly about it, you know who your characters are and where you want them to go, and the fact that you don't have the whole story worked out doesn't seem relevant. However - from my own experience here - the act of writing changes the vision, and even with an outline you can end up in trouble. My friend and I had agreed to write a book together in a universe that I created in which the heroine was so...

Character Creation Dos and Donts

Don't start your character off with a name or a physical description. I know this doesn't seem logical at first glance - after all, you name a baby before you get to know him very well. Why wouldn't you give your character a name and blue eyes before you find out anything else about him There are a couple of reasons. The first is that you have a lot of preconceived ideas about names and body types. Perhaps every charlie you ever knew was a great guy, while every Barry you knew was an idiot. so...

About Literary Agents

Please realize that finding good representation requires a major effort on your part, professional and courteous conduct, and a top-quality product. About using the term product to describe your work do remember that your book is your product not your baby. You'll probably have to give it a nose job and whack off at least one of its arms before it reaches publication, so start thinking of it as your product now. The surgery hurts a lot less that way. Don't query any agent before you've...

Is anybody happy to see you

Do people make an effort to include you Did anyone ask you your name Did you like anyone there I'd link the theme song from Furthermore, are you happy to be there Do Cheers here, but it would slow you look forward to going to meetings your reading. Just think of the When you get home, do you want to write, or theme song, and you'll get the do you want to become an accountant idea. If it isn't fun, if it doesn't add something positive to your life, don't waste your time. I hope this helps you...

Timed Writing Workshop

I am indebted to Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones, for what has become one of the staples of my own writing practice. Though I don't do timed writing quite the way she says most of the time, I still find it essential to cutting through the murkiness of my own mind when I'm stuck, and for sharpening images while I'm working on a book. I prefer working at a keyboard to writing in longhand, so I almost always type my timed writings directly into the computer. If you don't like...

Grab opportunities to learn new things

Once a week, go someplace in your town that you've never been. Go to a church or synagogue that you don't belong to, in a religion other than yours. stop by that little one-man museum curated by the old guy at the end of the street. Pick up a book on growing roses just because you've always thought it would be cool to try, and learn all about organic fertilizers and the uses of ladybugs and praying mantises. Take a class in stained glass work or CPR or bookkeeping. Learn to ice skate or tango....

Say What You Mean

You want to talk about fear This is where the process of writing comes right down to sweat under the armpits, racing pulse, dry mouth, and the urge to get up and go to the bathroom, or to switch over from the word processor to Maxis Space Cadet for five or ten quick games of pinball, or where the dust on the ceiling suddenly becomes an unbearable affront that you have to get rid of Right Now. This is where facing anything else becomes preferable to facing the words on the page, because the...

Schrodingers Petshop Press

We're considering doing chapbook-style publications of members' work. Format would be similar to what you see in your hand-book, printing costs would have to be absorbed by the members involved in each project, and marketing would be up to the interested individuals. This is just something we're thinking about for the time being - if you're interested, let me know. The chapbook format would lend itself nicely to speculative fiction poetry, small collections of short stories, or individual...

About Writing for the HyperspaceZOO

The ZOO has added an Outside Opinons column. If you would like to submit an article, maximum word length for a single article is 600 words. Maximum series length is three issues. I'm open to any aspect of writing, from articles on technical writing to personal experiences to how you do research. I require professionally formatted submissions - that is, typed, double-spaced, with your name, title, and page number at the top of each page. I don't pay. I'm not a professional publication. If you...