Graphic showing a satirical book blurb for 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke. "The monkeys are getting restless. Some say the aliens are responsible." Text copyright 2020 by Gabriel Connor Salter.

The Bad Book Blurb Contest: Worst Descriptions of Classic Spec Fic Books

This week, I'm going to do something a bit different from my usual blog post routine, and do something humorous. Why? Partly because we're all in a tough time right now and we could always use a few more laughs. Also because this humorous thing connects to topics I've discussed frequently in my regular posts: …

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Douglas Adams, Technology and Balance: Thoughts on Writing Better or Worse

Recently, I've been reading a lot about Douglas Adams, the writer behind The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Quite a lot has been written Adams' wit, his originality... and how notoriously slow he was to finish anything. You would think that using a computer would be the perfect remedy to this problem, wouldn't you? Strangely …

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Statue of Christ in crucifixion pose in a church sanctuary. Photo by Ricky Turner on Unsplash. See https://unsplash.com/photos/5_fwgw-2JEE

Stories that Both Critique and Praise Spirituality

Sometimes the artists who seem most critical of faith aren't so much railing against belief in God as much as they are against how they've seen people misuse those beliefs. Here are some of my favorite books by writers who on one level take a very critical approach to religion and on another level seem …

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Maurice Sendak and other Children’s Authors

Sometimes the best children's authors are the ones who trust kids enough to include some scary elements in their stories. In a recent article for the Odyssey, I talk about 6 authors, from Maurice Sendak to Roald Dahl, who wrote popular but dark children's stories. You can read the article here:  https://www.theodysseyonline.com/6-authors-who-wrote-dark-childrens-stories

Terry Pratchett, Frank Miller and Using Rage to Fuel Good Writing

Here's one of writing's funny paradoxes: experts often say you should write about the things which move you, the things that really get you excited or angry or sad. But writing about what makes you angry can create lopsided stories where you just rant instead of telling the story. Is there a way to write …

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5 Story Elements From Arabian Nights

“Not another elf!” Hugo Dyson said that while listening to J.R.R. Tolkien read "Lord of the Rings" in  Inklings meetings. While I disagree with Dyson’s assessment, I must admit it’s been tempting to repeat that phrase when reading modern fantasy. Since Tolkien published his epic in 1954, many fantasy writers have imitated his style --British/Germanic folklore …

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Three Things To Remember During NaNoWriMo

This article first published by The Odyssey on November 14, 2016. For many writers, the most stressful time of year has come. No, not the election. Not even early Christmas shopping. November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. Writers who participate must write an entire novel in just 30 days. I opted …

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