Lazarus and Mike Michera

How to create an award-winning illustration

How does one actually create an award-winning illustration? Illustrators of the Future judges include some of the most famous illustrators of the 20 and 21st centuries—and are not easy to impress.

Publisher

Your First Five Pages

A writer pointed out today that when you send a novel to an agent or publisher, they normally ask for the first five or ten pages, just so that they can gauge your writing skill. If those pages don’t grab the reader, it won’t sell. So, he wondered, what do I look for in those first five pages?

Frank Kelly Freas with Ray Bradbury

SF Illustration by Frank Kelly Freas

Frank Kelly Freas was the first coordinating judge of the Illustrators of the Future Contest. Already a well established commercial artist and having known L. Ron Hubbard and having observed first hand Ron lending a helping hand to aspiring writers, he was very excited to share his hard-won experience in helping the aspiring artist.

Larry Elmore and Rob Prior painting a dragon on stage

Can You Draw a Dragon? How Illustrators of the Future Inspires Students

I am teaching in a home school environment and have students who are artists at heart.  Each week I teach an art class that focuses on specific skills as well as ideas that inspire.  These classes validate the imaginative minds of my students in addition to simply being fun. After this year’s Writers and Illustrators of the Future Event, I was inspired to teach a class on dragons.

Frank Herbert

Single Most Important Piece of Advice by Frank Herbert

The very last article that Frank Herbert wrote before his passing in February of 1986 was writing advice to contestants of this very contest. His article appeared in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume II. Advice that is just as applicable today as when it was written.

Magic keyboard

“Boosting” Your Prose

I earlier mentioned that when I used to write for competitions, I would make lists of ways that judges might look at my work in order to grade it. For example, some judges might look for an ending that brought them to tears, while another might be more interested in an intellectual feast. A couple of you asked what my list might look like. So here is a list of things that I might consider in creating a piece.

Orson Scott Card

Are We at the End of Science Fiction?

In 2006, Writers of the Future judge Orson Scott Card addressed a very simple if not vital question which was published in Writers of the Future Volume 22. These aren’t the best of times for science fiction.

Zombie subplots

Multidimensionality: The Value of Subplots

Very often when reading slush for the Writers of the Future contest, I come upon stories that at first glance seem to be perfectly acceptable. They presented a protagonist who had a problem to overcome. The setting was reasonably well defined. The story proceeded at a good pace, with the problem escalating nicely. Often there was a surprise twist at the ending, and the conclusion seemed appropriate. Yet when I got done reading the story, it just lacked . . . something.

A chef

The Fine Distinction Between Cooks and Chefs

A lot of people want to give you writing advice. I’ve felt it—trust me, I’ve been there. During my long years trying to break in as a writer, I felt that I never lacked for someone jumping in to tell me how this writing thing had to be done.

Typewriter

Parts to a Story – From the inciting incident to the denouement

Recently I’ve had a number of my students ask, “What makes a story great?” For example, what sets apart a story that wins major awards from one that doesn’t? What makes one story monumental, a landmark in its field, while another story fades from memory?