Filter Out Filter Words

The most common stylistic problem I find while editing early drafts (both my own and those of critique partners) is excessive filtering and filter words. Filter words are terms and phrases that filter action or insight through a character’s point of view (POV). Overusing them is like asking your reader to watch your story unfold while looking through a dirty window. So, writing an immersive scene means the filter words …

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Pacing and Paragraphs

Having spent the last three years as a member of a robust online critique group and the last year as judge in a novel contest, I’ve learned several things about what makes writing effective. I’ve found many people have a story to tell, but only a small minority have the ability to tell their story well. One such aspect of good writing is pacing. Stories should speed up when the …

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Fall 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to the Spec Fic Writers Fall Newsletter. Follow along with our members who publish in many of the speculative fiction sub-genres including: science fiction, fantasy, horror, dystopian, weird west, fairy tales and more. Get to know our writers and our works. We also share our favorites in the speculative fiction genre and more…   Meet Our Member Mike Swain TaleRider Hits the Road Again With Travels and Tales What …

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Pixlr E Review – Free Online Image Editor

Image editing is helpful for authors who need images for blogs, newsletters, social media and other marketing activities. Those who self-publish often prefer an inexpensive image editor that is not too complicated. Photoshop is the standard for marketing professionals, but it has a very steep learning curve, not to mention a steep price. So, what’s an author to do? One possibility is the redesigned online service Pixlr E. The recent …

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Summer 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to the Spec Fic Writers Spring Newsletter. Follow along with our members who publish in many of the speculative fiction sub-genres including: science fiction, fantasy, horror, dystopian, weird west, fairy tales and more. Get to know our writers and our works. We also share our favorites in the speculative fiction genre and more… A Word with Spec Fic Writer Kayelle Allen Genre-hopping, super-productive author, publisher, and marketer Kayelle Allen …

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Paul Martz Named 2022 Roswell Award Finalist

Paul Martz is administering self-defibrillation after finding out that his story, Dr. Harriet Hartfeld’s Home for Aging AIs, is a finalist for the 2022 Omega Sci-Fi Roswell Award. Prizewinners will be announced during the May 21 awards ceremony, in which finalist stories will be read aloud by celebrity narrators. Attend the ceremony, and see if Paul is still wearing that same stupid hoodie. The Omega Sci-Fi Awards seek to empower …

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Spring 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to the Spec Fic Writers Spring Newsletter. Follow along with our members who publish in many of the speculative fiction sub-genres including: science fiction, fantasy, horror, dystopian, weird west, fairy tales and more. Get to know our writers and our works. To be sure you don’t miss an issue, click here to register for the email newsletter. Spring’s Featured Member If you joined Spec Fic Writers recently, you were …

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Winter 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to our quarterly newsletter. Follow along with our members who publish in many of the speculative fiction sub-genres including: science fiction, fantasy, horror, dystopian, weird west, fairy tales and more.  Each newsletter will introduce you to a few of our members, recommend a book, and more. To be sure you don’t miss an issue, click here to register for the newsletter “Joy to the Worlds” Holiday Anthology Published Take your …

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Fall 2021 Newsletter

Third Quarter 2021 Welcome to our quarterly newsletter. Follow along with our members who publish in many of the speculative fiction sub-genres including: science fiction, fantasy, horror, dystopian, weird west, fairy tales and more.  Each newsletter will introduce you to a few of our members, recommend a book, and more. To be sure you don’t miss an issue, click here to register for the newsletter by email. Group Creativity, an Anthology …

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Critique Groups: The Writer’s Lifeline

If you are a writer or aspire to write, you soon discover it’s not as easy as it looks. In fact, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve been writing professionally for over thirty years. It’s a career where the minute you think you’ve mastered the craft, your editor returns a document covered in markups and comments that triples the size of your MS Word file. Hence, writers …

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