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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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?
Terl returned to San Diego Comic Con 2017 and found good company with superheroes as well as Star Wars characters Chewbacca and a baby Ewok and more.
The judging results are in! Here are the 2nd Quarter 2017 Writers of the Future Contest winners. Congratulations to you all!
Over 500 Comic Con attendees had an opportunity to meet Writers of the Future Volume 33 winners Jake Marley and Andrew L. Roberts to get an autographed copy of volume 33 and the beautiful poster of the cover art, Crimson Dawn, painted by Larry Elmore.