Category: Writing Tips

The Science of Difficult Topics

Athena Andreadis has an interesting and useful post about rape over on her blog, which also includes a re-posted Evolutionary Psychology bingo card that I found quite illuminating. I think my favorite one was “Believes women out-talk men but keeps talking nonstop” since I’ve seen that one in action many times before. (I’ve also been […]

Entry Points into Fiction: Text Shows You How to Read It

This post was written in solidarity with Booklifenow, which has been publishing lots of wonderful and unique content—check it out! I’ve been thinking a lot about the protocols of fiction in terms of story and novel beginnings, in part because of my own recent resurgence in writing fiction but also from reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s […]

Where is Story? Story is…Everywhere

Thesis: This entry from C.W. Hart, Jr’s A Dictionary of Non-Scientific Names of Freshwater Crayfishes (Astacoidea and Parastacoidea), Including Other Words and Phrases Incorporating Crayfish Names contains all of the elements needed to inspire and create fiction. Therefore, story exists all around us, everywhere, and is inhibited only by the limitations of the imaginations that […]

Panic Attack: Understanding Your Work Cycles

Sometime in the past month or so I must admit that I had a kind of panic attack, one that had me stressed and depressed at first—especially in the context of so many writers producing a novel a year. Although I’ve never thought this was necessarily a good idea for me, except career-wise, it still […]

Staying in Touch with Your Writing

Sometimes I think writers, on their blogs and when giving advice, over-emphasize word count. It’s certainly important for writers to understand that discipline is important and that no work exists without getting butt in seat and words on the page. But there’s a wider context to writing that sometimes gets lost. That context? Thinking about […]

The Situation: Analyzing Story from a Writer’s Point of View

Having recently come back from Trinity Prep School in Orlando, where the students were reading my short story “The Situation,” available at GeekDad, as well as its web-comic adaptation on, I thought I’d post some of my notes about the story. This examination is a work in progress, and although it contains sub-sections, there’s […]

Writers: I Highly Recommend Woodchuck Groundhog Target Paper

Woodchuck Groundhog target paper—the blank side–is great for writing longhand. The grain of the paper is just right to catch and hold the pen and the ink without being either too smooth or too rough. The pads hinge on the right, so it’s also perfect for left-handers like myself. The Squirrel target paper appears identical, […]

Story and Novel VanderMeer Critique Service: Now With Gift Wrap!

(This image of the editor at a burnt-out desk in a quarry may not accurately portray his critique style…) I’m extending my critique service for a bit. Just email me at vanderworld at for details. In addition to my writing career, I have 25 years of experience as an editor and have won several […]

Writers and Their Literary Estates: Story Reprints

Since the early 1990s, my wife Ann and I have edited or co-edited more than sixteen anthologies containing somewhere shy of three millions words of fiction. Some of those anthologies have collected original fiction, but about half have been reprint anthologies, including the massive 750,000-word The Weird, our most recent effort. Based on these projects, […]

Things I Know?

After 25-plus years in the book world, I will admit I don’t know as much as I should, I suppose. In a way, I don’t want to have Things I Know, because the terrain shifts and you spend some portion of your time adjusting to the current even as you try also think strategically about […]