The Best of the Best series is back, this time focusing on resources for Speculative Fiction writers. Previous installments looked at Agent Blogs, the Writing Blogosphere’s Major Players, and Romance Writing Resources.
Since I’m slowly shifting gears from my historical romance MS to my speculative fiction WIP, I thought it was an appropriate time to share with you the resources I’ve collected for writing speculative fiction.
And remember, these are links I’ve personally found useful – if you’ve come across your own resources, be sure to share them in the comments!
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America – Although there’s a lot of members-only content, you can still find tons of valuable information that’s publicly available on the official SFWA site. Blog entries on the right-hand side of the home page run the gamut from craft to author news. The Author Information Center includes advice for beginning writers, the craft and business of writing, and copyright. Links to SFWA member fiction are also available in case you want to see what it takes to be published in a pro market.
Tor.com – An online portal for all things specfic. Blog posts cover book reviews; fandom notes for SF/F books, games, movies, and TV shows; polls; and con recaps. An impressive numbers of first-rate short stories, novel excerpts, and comics are also available on the site.
io9 and Blastr – Two sites I use for my specfic pop culture fix. io9 is affiliated with Gawker, while Blastr is an extension of SyFy (the cable network). Both sites include movie casting info and spoilers and speculation on upcoming releases. I tend to prefer io9 since they cover a broader range of mediums (Blastr emphasizes primarily visual media) and io9 also has a series of science-related posts – new findings and the like – that always give me story ideas.
Science In My Fiction – A blog where contributors examine different SF tropes and synthesize the research that is available (research findings, technical reports, mythology, history, you-name-it) into eminently readable articles. They present the science behind such topics as nanotechnology, quantum gravity, and what aliens should look like. If you want to write specfic but don’t have a background in hard science, Science In My Fiction provides a great primer on a variety of subjects.
Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy – Podcasts with established and up-and-coming SF writers as well as other futurists, hosted by author David Barr Kirtley and Lightspeed and Fantasy Magazine editor John Joseph Adams. Interviewees include George R. R. Martin, Orson Scott Card, Paolo Bacigalupi, Carrie Vaughn, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Janice Hardy – Hardy, author of the Healing Wars Trilogy (MG Fantasy), examines every aspect of writing craft on her blog. Regular readers will recognize her from some of my Resource Roundup posts because she does such an exceptional job covering writing topics in a thorough yet accessible manner. Even if you don’t write specfic, you should be following Hardy’s blog. The Kristen Nelson is also her agent, for those of you keeping score.
Juliette Wade – Wade’s blog TalkToYoUniverse includes thoughtful posts not only on writing craft but how linguistics and anthropology (her academic background) inform her writing process. She also hosts a Wednesday Worldbuilding Workshop where she provides line-by-line commentary on how volunteers employ worldbuilding techniques in the opening paragraphs of their story.
Christine Yant – Yant’s perspective as a specfic writer and assistant editor with Lightspeed is particularly helpful for those of you looking to break into the market. Her blog blends the personal with anecdotes from the writing life, but I’d say it is her Lessons from the Slushpile posts that are required reading: The Numbers, Why I Refuse to be a Snarky Slusher, What Editors Owe Us, Your Cover Letter and You, and Good versus Great.
Magical Words – I’ve been a bit lax on the fantasy-specific resources since I’m more towards the SF end of the specfic spectrum, but Magical Words is a wonderful resource for specfic writers of all stripes. Writers A. J. Hartley, C. E. Murphy, Carrie Ryan, David B. Coe, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Edmund Schubert, Faith Hunter, Lucienne Diver, Mindy Klasky, Misty Massey, and Stuart Jaffe all take turns tackling different aspects of craft, publishing, and the writing life, often using examples from their own works.
*This isn’t to say it’s not worth your time to poke around on say Ursula K. Le Guin’s site or Neil Gaiman’s or other SF/F author sites (I’d also recommend Orson Scott Card and Holly Lisle’s sites for writing resources), but the websites I mention above are my go-to resources that I read on a regular basis.
- Want more? Check out the Center for the Study of Science Fiction’s list of resources including degree programs, scholarly articles, awards, conventions, and more.
- Having difficulty bringing your specfic world to life? Check out Margaret Fisk’s Collection of World Building Links for inspiration. Special thanks to The Bookshelf Muse for bringing my attention to this one.
- Not sure your story idea is sound? Read up on which Stories Are Seen Too Often in the slush at Strange Horizons.
- Added bonus – The Turkey City Lexicon, which defines common problems in speculative stories.