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Author Archive > Adam

Shifting Sand: The Art of Tending Goals

Around the time I was fifteen, I wrote to Marion Zimmer Bradley for the guidelines to her magazine and I collected every copy of Asimov’s Magazine I could get my hands on. I didn’t really know what it meant to be a writer but I knew I wanted to be one and I had it […]

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Folding Socks w/Nick Mamatas

The Inkpunks have asked me to discuss my fiction-writing process, which struck me as an odd request. The process one uses to write fiction hardly matters as far as the end result goes. One may as well ask how writers fold their socks. Do they roll them up in balls, just lay them flat, fold […]

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A thousand words

I had a conversation recently about world building, and if it was more effective to make up places stitched together from real ones, like Capital City or Metropolis, or to take an existing one and make subtle changes to fit the story. I argued that, when writing a story set in the modern world, that […]

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Know your markets

I occasionally overhear part of a conversation where someone mentions Duotrope and the other person admits that they’d never heard of it before before. What? I think to myself, How can you not know the holy grail of market research known as Duotrope? Then I remember that all knowledge is subjective and that, one day, […]

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Pushing the Boulder: Making the leap from short story to novel

The act of writing is a lot like the Greek king Sisyphus’ endless task, to push a boulder up a hill, only to see it roll down and have to start all over again. It’s a long, often thankless task and it’s all too easy to give up. We write on faith, believing that our […]

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An Introductory Primer to the Clarion Workshops

It’s that time of year. Winter has faded, birds are beginning their first tentative tweets, and a new class of Clarion students has been selected. The Clarion Workshops have a reputation for turning out many distinguished writers, like Kij Johnson, Gordon Van Gelder, Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Cory Doctorow, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Bruce Sterling, […]

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Trunk or Submit

Writers are a neurotic bunch, and like many I have a trunk where I lock my most embarrassing failures lest they break free and expose me for a fraud. On top of that chest of despair rest the manuscripts that aren’t quite so bad. Some of them, in fact, are kind of decent but they’re […]

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Writer’s Toolkit: Tarot Cards

This post started a couple weeks ago when I twittered that I was pulling tarot cards for a flash fiction story I was working on. It sparked a discussion and several people wanted to know more how about how I was using tarot cards in my writing process. The most interesting characters are flawed. They […]

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Day Jobbery: Who wants to work forever?

When I was eighteen, I traveled north to Milwaukee and attended my first GenCon in the mid 1990’s with some friends from college. It was the first time I’d experienced anything of the sort. I’d been reading Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance stuff for ages, and idolized Margaret Weis & Tracey Hickman; I’d known I wanted […]

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Learning to say no

If you haven’t read Christie Yant’s great article about volunteering, shame on you. Just kidding, but you absolutely must read in its entirety before you continue. Yes, I’m assigning homework. Go ahead, I’ll wait. There was a day, not that long ago, that I’d jump at any opportunity for volunteer work in the speculative fiction […]

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