March 30, 2014

WRITING ADVICE: Julie Czerneda’s Writing Workshop! #11 – Endless Oceans of Websites for Writers…

In 2005, whilst perusing the shelves at the Hennepin County Public Library, I stumbled across CHANGING VISION by Julie Czerneda (say it: chur-nay-dah), an author I'd never heard of, and was intrigued by the aliens on the cover by artist Luis Royo. It didn’t matter that the book was the second in a series, the cover entranced me and so I read. The book was spectacular, I read others, and fell entirely in love with another series of hers called SPECIES IMPERATIVE for its fascinating aliens and superior characterization. A teacher deeply at heart, Julie Czerneda shares ideas and methodology wherever she goes. On her website, she shares ideas for writers. I want to share what kind of impact her ideas have had on my own writing.  They are used with the author’s permission.

Coming up on the last of Julie Czerneda’s advice, we arrive here:

“My criteria for a good and useful website for writers?

“1. Free. (Money flows to the writer. No one should ask you to pay to read or

assess your work, with the exception of an accredited, professional editor if you

go that route.)

“2. Positive. (Run from any site/blog/text that doesn’t inspire you to write.)

“3. Professional. (Assess the credibility of what’s said and how. Do your

homework and research before you swallow any advice. Even mine.”

Keeping in mind that websites are EVER-changing – these are several that I use (the list is similar to Julie Czerneda’s except that mine is current as of the date of this blog entry!)

Most important of all the blogs/sites I use is the same one that she uses: Ralan’s. This link will take you to a site that is constantly updated and which has the intent of keeping you as up-to-date with science fiction, fantasy, horror and various other markets.


After this basic link, it’s pretty much up to you. If you have a taste for snarky humor – and this one is covered by numbers 2 and 3 above – you can try it. This site NEVER fails to make me snicker!
Kristine Kathryn Rusch is a consummate business woman and willingly shares he expertise (as well as the expertise of her husband and writer, Dean Wesley Smith) on her website. In addition to writing science fiction and fantasy under THIS name, she also writes mysteries and other things under a half-dozen pen names. It’s a huge site, so if you’re one who goes whole hog when they find a goldmine of information, BE CAREFUL!

Another site I visit regularly also has occasionally writing posts. I read these most carefully and even though I don’t always find anything useful, I do more often than not! The site itself is io9: We Come From The Future and besides its writing advice, is a nice place to get lost in occasionally. They cover media, science, and all kinds of other geekology. It’s fun. It’s addictive. Have at it!

You don’t have to be a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in order to use the info posted on the site. The articles are usually good, the conversation is often interesting, and the news is typically up-to-date.

This one is so specific that it may disappear by the time you click on it. However, I’ve referenced it several times over the past couple years, so it SEEMS to have some staying power. This site doesn’t care if you believe that there are only one plot exists in all of English literature or that you believe that there are 36 Plots (and you read The Writers Magazine book to prove it), it lays them out here and I’ve used it to inspire ideas more than once.

After these basics, you can check to see if your favorite writer or agent keeps a website or blog. I’ve found Julie Czerneda’s criteria work well for me. Believe me when I say that you will need SOME SORT OF CRITERIA in order to surf over the deep ocean that is the internet.

There are sharks, reefs, poisonous jellyfish, and bottomless trenches. There are also fields of manganese, copper, and rare earth  nodules down there as well as untapped oil and natural gas reserves. They are all hard to get to and you have to trawl a long time to find worthwhile sources, but they are there.

You just have to find them! If you’re having trouble locating worthwhile websites, shoot me an email and I’ll get back to you with some suggestions!

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