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Book Review: Damnation Alley, Roger Zelazny (1969)

I’m a science fiction writer and have been following this blog for some time now. In my mind, for science fiction lovers it needs more exposure.
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Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations

(Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1969 edition)

3/5 (Average)

As I read Roger Zelazny’s post-apocalyptical adventure Damnation Alley (1969), the relentless throbbing of Hawkwind’s 1977 song inspired by the novel along with cringeworthy lines of dialogue from the 1977 film version kept interjecting themselves into my reading experience.

First, a snippet from the song….

I’ve got the serum and I’m going to take it
All the way to Boston, oh I’ve got to get through
The going won’t be easy, but I’m going to make it
It’s the only thing that I’m cut out to do
Ride the post-atomic radioactive trash
The sky’s on fire from the nuclear flash
Driving through the burning hoop of doom,
In an eight wheeled anti-radiation tomb
Thank you Dr. Strangelove for going doolally,
and leaving me the heritage of Damnation Alley […].

Absent from Hawkwind’s interpretation that

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July 31, 2017 at 8:58 pm Leave a comment

Historical Research for Writers

I find, for matter what you write, research providing facts make the story more real.

A Writer's Path

by Sheree Crawford

Researching is, believe it or not, a skill that not everyone has. If you do have it you should definitely put it on your C.V.; good research is often the thing you do not see, but the want of it is blindingly obvious, especially when you write historic fiction, or you’re writing about cultures and people you don’t know anything about.

Research isn’t about consuming every piece of information you can find on your topic; it’s about knowing what is and isn’t important. You can learn this by taking a degree of some sort (History in particular will smack you in the face with research skill requirements before you’ve even finished the first year… whoo-boy that was a learning curve, I can tell you), or you can piggyback my History degree; go on, I don’t mind. I’ll share some of the pearls I’ve discovered while cracking…

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July 29, 2017 at 8:54 pm Leave a comment

How to Take Criticism and Turn It into Growth in 5 Steps

An important comment for the writer.

A Writer's Path

by Daniella Levy

It hurts to hear people say negative things about something you poured your heart and soul into. It hurts to recognize that you are not perfect at what you do and can always use improvement.

However, criticism–good criticism–is a very powerful raw material you can use to build yourself as an artist.

People generally react to criticism non-constructively in one of two ways: resistance (dismissing, arguing, or denying) or withering (collapsing in feelings of shame and inadequacy). Both of these reactions deny you the opportunity to learn and grow from the feedback.

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July 15, 2017 at 9:01 pm Leave a comment

3 Poems in Indra’s Net: An International Anthology of Poetry in Aid of The Book Bus

O at the Edges

I’m delighted that three of my poems, including “How to Write a Poem,” are included in Indra’s Net: An International Anthology of Poetry in Aid of The Book Bus.

All profits from this anthology published by Bennison Books will go to The Book Bus, a charity which aims to improve child literacy rates in Africa, Asia and South America by providing children with books and the inspiration to read them.

Available at Amazon (UK) and Amazon (US)

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July 15, 2017 at 8:58 pm Leave a comment

How To Outline By the Seat of Your Pants

A Writer's Path

by Stephanie O’Brien

When you start to create a novel, one of the first questions you have to ask yourself is, “Should I start by creating an outline, or just fly by the seat of my pants?”

Both of these options have their merits.As I noted in a previous blog post, creating an outline first helps to keep the plot more coherent, avoid plot holes, and stop writer’s block before it starts.

But many writers probably share the same fear I had before I started to embrace outlining: what if the outline stifles my creativity? What if I lose the spontaneity that I need to write the characters naturally, and to let the characters be themselves?

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July 11, 2017 at 10:27 pm Leave a comment

Useful Tips for Self-Editing a Manuscript

A Writer's Path

 

by Emily Nemchick

Whilst there is no substitute for hiring a professional editor, self-editing is an important skill for any writer to hone. For one thing, the more passes a manuscript gets, the fewer errors will remain in the final product. If you are using an editor, be sure to self-edit thoroughly first so they can focus on the things you have missed. If you are not using an editor, then self-editing is doubly essential. Here are a few tips to make sure you catch as many errors as possible.

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July 2, 2017 at 1:52 am Leave a comment

How to Work With Beta Readers

A Writer's Path

by Hope Ann

There is no one secret to producing a good book. Hard work, patience, more hard work, dogged determination, and did I mention hard work? Yet it is so worth it. And, the more I write, the more I value one particular asset every writer should have.

Beta readers!

Beta readers are wonderful. Sometimes they are friends. Sometimes they are other writers. Sometimes they are people you’ve never met before but who have signed up to help you. Whatever the case, they provide an excellent new look at your own work, commenting on points you’ve missed because of your closeness to your story. If there are problems you are trying to ignore, they will be quick to point those out too.

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July 1, 2017 at 9:44 pm Leave a comment

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