Book View Café's members include international bestselling authors and winners of the National Book Award, the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and many others. Most have sold multiple novels to major publishers. Many have taught writing at workshops around the world. The knowledge of these professional authors is gathered into a volume that will help both new and experienced writers cope with the creative challenges and the nuts-and-bolts business issues of a career in writing fiction.
I lived in Northern California for more than 15 years, and at the regular Bay Area science fiction conventions I got to know Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff—a science fiction and fantasy writer who not only drew attention for her short fiction in Analog magazine and her novels, but also proved her chops as a very talented musician. Her book Brewing Fine Fiction, written with Patti Nagle, is a grab bag of information on many subjects relevant to writers. You'll certainly find something worthwhile here. – Kevin J. Anderson
"Check any bookstore and you'll find a host of titles on writing. Some are good, some not so good. Every author has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. But in Brewing Fine Fiction; Advice For Writers From the Bookview Café, you get a smorgasbord of professional advice and expertise. From the plausibility of fantasy, by Ursula LeGuin, to Deborah Ross's comments on reviews, you'll find every facet of the craft and writing life covered. For the wealth of information, experience, and diversity, all under one cover, you can't beat it."– Mary Rosenblum, Longridge Writers Group Instructor
"A fantastic compilation of writing advice. Really useful and fun to read, even if you're not going to write. Gives interesting insights into how writing works and what it's like to be a writer, too. And not just fantasy and science fiction—all types."– — Carol G (an Amazon review)
So, here's the thing: I have a deep-seated distrust of "how-to," textbook-style opuses about what you, Dear Writer, absolutely must do to write the next big blockbuster novel. These tomes, you may have noticed, are often penned by folks who haven't actually published anything.
I have a few of that type of book in my possession. I find they make useful examples of the sort of advice a writer might wish not to take if what they really want is to learn thecraft of writing, or discover ways of keeping the Muse happy and productive, or hear real stories from real writers about the writer's life (or rather, lives).
When I started writing seriously—and to this day—what I tend to read are articles and books by professional writers (especially ones I admire) about writing. That's why on my bookshelf, I have not one, but two copies of Ray Bradbury'sZen in the Art of Writing (in case I want to give one away). I also have two copies of Stephen King's Danse Macabre (his insightful study of the horror and dark fantasy genres in literature and film). I will admit right now that, though I have read only Mr. King's short fiction, I used to stay home sick from work to hear him interviewed about the craft of writing. Another prized possession is Spider, Spin Me a Web, which is a collection of Lawrence Block's articles on writing fromWriter's Digest magazine.
Because I love to read writers talking about writing, I'm especially pleased to have been on the editing team for the volume you are now preparing to peruse: Brewing Fine Fiction. In it, you'll find thoughts practical and inspirational, funny and serious, thought-provoking and whimsical. And the best thing? The best thing is they are thoughts from some very fine writers—all members of the Book View Café team.
So, here it is: Book View Café's first volume on brewing fine fiction—for writers from writers with love.
—Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Writing is, for the most part, a solitary endeavor. Once away from the conference, the critique group, or the editor's email, the writer must face the empty page alone. Even collaborators do not sit down together to write; they trade sections of manuscript (or files, nowadays) back and forth, or they brainstorm together and then go their separate ways to work.
In the inevitable solitude that is the nature of this craft, every writer experiences occasional moments of doubt or even despair. At such times it is good to have at hand the words of others who've been in that particular hell. Some favorites of mine—within arm's reach as I type this—are Damon Knight's Creating Short Fictionand Ursula K. Le Guin's Steering the Craft. Now I have another to add to the list.
Brewing Fine Fictiondraws on the extensive and varied experience of Book ViewCafé's many talented members, all professional writers, whose careers span the range of genre fiction from hard science fiction to romance and go beyond into scholarly, critical, and journalistic writing. These good people have taught writing all over the globe and won a galaxy of awards and honors. They have generously shared their knowledge and advice in this volume. At times they have different approaches and different interpretations, even different opinions, but the aim of all their work is consistent: to aid and comfort other writers.
It's been a privilege to work on this book. With each article I reviewed, I was reminded of things I knew but had forgotten, or I received the gift of a new insight. For the reader, whether an experienced professional or an aspiring writer who is just starting out, this book offers not only advice but reassurance. We are all in this together, after all, evenas we each sit alone with our own blank pages or screens to fill.