1. On Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy

Page 3 of 4 | Why Write | About the Author | Where to Start? | Rewards of Writing |

Where to Start?

Everyone has to start somewhere.

Although I now mostly write full-length books, that's not how I started. That first effort of mine that I showed you was something I wrote just for fun, when I was about eleven. (Nowadays, many of you start writing earlier than that; you're way ahead of where I was.) Through school, I wrote the occasional short story, and sometimes poetry. I was encouraged in particular by one high school teacher. I was so grateful to him, looking back, that I turned him into a character—a holographic teacher on a starship. Would you like to meet him? Here's an excerpt:

excerpt Down the Stream of Stars

I continued writing short stories when I was in college, and even when I was in graduate school. (Mostly when I was, um, supposed to be doing other work.)

Eventually I started trying to get published. I accumulated quite an impressive file of form-letter rejection slips before I finally started getting more personal, encouraging letters of rejection. And then one day that first acceptance letter came in the mail!

A novelette just means a longish short story. An even longer story, but one not quite long enough to be called a novel, is called a novella. Since then, I've written fifteen novels, all published or in the process of being published, plus a fair number of short stories and novelettes.

You don't even have to start with conventional short stories, if you don't want to. You can try whatever format appeals to you—comics, or scripts, for example.

Same with following this course. Choose the path that suits you best. If you get tired of the talk, and want to just write for a while (but could use a few ideas to jump off with), click at any time to Quick Launch for some suggestions.


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