Torn paper with title inside

Trademark Law for Writers

Using a trademarked product in your fiction can set a scene or tell the reader about a character. Sure, you can have someone drink a soda, but so much more is conveyed to the reader if that soda is described as a Coke, a Pelligrino blood orange, or a Kroger …

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What Are Sensitivity Readers?

Sensitivity Readers: What They Do and Why You Need Them Learn From My Mistakes It all began with my fascination with the Navajo Code Talkers. Their ability to rapidly send messages in a code they invented, using their native language, provided a huge advantage to U.S.Forces fighting in the Pacific …

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Add Emotion to Fictional Characters

Expression of emotions in speculative fiction writing is crucial to engage readers and create a vivid, immersive experience. As a novel writer who struggles with adding emotion to my characters, I did Internet searches on the topic to help me. Lots of writers and educators have suggestions. I asked chatGPT …

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Podcasting with Social Anxiety

My writing home is Speculative Fiction Writers Association. The members are incredibly accepting of imaginative writers. If I ask about recent changes to Einstein’s theories or where forest elves live… they can help. When it comes to the craft of writing, the group gives lots of advice, and they have …

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Book Review: All Systems Red

Award Winning Novel Written by Martha Wells, this series has won the Nebula and Hugo. All Systems Red is the first novella of the series. Emotional Portrait of One Robot In sharp contrast to the classic I, Robot novel by Asimov—an intellectual exercise tied together by loosely related short stories—All …

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Book Review: Red Rising

Red Rising, by Pierce Brown, takes place in a dystopian version of our galaxy, where a dying Earth sent pioneers to terraform the other planets in the solar system and altered their genetics to ensure their success, using hair and eye color to differentiate between the different levels of hierarchy. …

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Add Emotional Depth to Characters

Character Symptoms: emotionless, bland, and uninteresting Imagine a critique partner reads your first chapter and says: DIAGNOSIS: Your character is not relatable It’s time for a transplant of personality, humanity, emotion, and agency. Character’s Emotional Reaction to the Plot Characters should show emotion in how they react to situations confronting …

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Book Review: Riot Baby

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi is one of the more creative and insightful works of science fiction I have read in years. Rarely has an author so successfully weaved the painful racial history of African Americans in the United States with the science fiction mainstay of superhuman abilities. Supernatural Powers …

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Keeping the Words Flowing with Flow State

I attended the recent RMFW Gold Conference looking for ways to increase my creative output. It takes me months to write a 4k-word short story. Unless I become more productive, completing a novel will be Herculean. Nikki Terpilowski’s session on flow state promised a solution, but flow state sounded kind …

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What I’ve Learned as a Contest Judge

My critique journey began in college, where I majored in English literature and dissected stories. While school equipped me with tools to better exhume meaning from novels, it could not prepare me for my trek into freelance editing, where I helped emerging writers find their voice, create compelling characters, and …

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