Vision: A Resource for Writers
Lazette Gifford, Editor

Featuring an Interview with 
horror and dark fantasy writer 
Douglas Clegg


Welcome to issue # 5.  In this issue we deal with the tenacious problem of DEVELOPING YOUR TALENT.  We all have talent, but how to bring it out and use what gifts we have to the best advantage is not always easy.  Here you will find a number of articles to help you along the way -- everything from practical tips on writing a synopsis to how to use your ego to help you make the needed advances toward the goal of publication.  


We hope you enjoy the articles.  Drop us a line at to let us know what you think of Vision, and what types of articles you might find interesting in future issues.


Vision is  also available Adobe Acrobat™ and Palm Systems™ downloadable versions.  We also have a new archive section for the on-line back issues.

Theme Articles:

"...Regarding being a professional writer, I'm still not sure what that means. I wrote nonfiction in my early 20s for publication, and then I sat down to write my first novel at 27 or 28 and finished it, revised it, and sent it out to publishers. It was bought about a year or so after I sent it out... but I think sitting down to write each novel is very much like writing from scratch again.  An Interview with Douglas Clegg  Interviewed By Shane P. Carr

"Consider for a moment one of the commonly-repeated bits of sage wisdom in the writing world.  It goes like this: "If you want to be a writer, you've got to have a thick skin."   Egomania and the Everyday Writer By Bryn Neuenschwander

"While going through a list of future employment for students to consider, she discussed which ones would require a college education.  And, glancing at me, she said that published writers must go to college. " The Tale of Two Teachers By Lazette Gifford

"...But you hesitate to join the group or post that first story because, as in all such peer-based groups, to get feedback on your work you need to give critiques to other writers in turn."  But I Don't Know How to Critique! By V. Anne Arden

"The bane of every writer's existence isn't long, sleepless hours in front of a blurry monitor, bouts of writer's block, depression, or even a story that simply goes nowhere.  The bane of every writer's existence is criticism." Handling Criticism Gracefully By Vicki McElfresh

"...But you need more then complementary technical skills in collaboration, whether in writing or anything else.  You need individuals who are flexible and able to handle the criticism that is required in order to work together." The Art of Collaboration –  a two-part article By Dawn E. Greenlee and James Kenneth Mills 

"If you noticed, I didn’t title this article "Overcoming YOUR Fear of Writing a Synopsis."  I don’t think you own the fear anymore than I do or any other writer.  We all share a common emotion, a reaction to a task that can be summed up in one word: formidable.  Overcoming the Fear of Synopsis By Vicki M. Taylor

"The Query Letter -- the elusive quarry.  We know near perfect ones exist.  Editors expound on those that come across their desk.  Writers rave about their flawless recipe of words that caught an editor’s interest." Quintessential Query Letter By Vicki M. Taylor

"Writing is an art form. Most folks who choose fiction writing as a career do so because of a compulsive need to write. Others choose writing as a way of expressing themselves. I was drawn into writing at an early age." Fiction Writing: A Labor of Love By Shane P. Carr

"... Including subtle imagery in every line can mean the difference between a short story and a long novel, but more importantly, it can mean the difference between comprehension and confusion to the reader. "More Than Words By Mathew Cranford

"...Lately, though, I've been thinking about my eventual goal to write full time from home. I began to realize that if I didn't organize now, I'd never realize my goal." Getting Organized: A Writer's Perspective By Jennifer St. Clair Bush

"...Editors and critics often refer to melodramatic dialogue tags as "said bookisms." They know that these phrases give your story an amateurish look." "Stop Using Those Said Bookisms,"  the Editor Shrieked By Anne M. Marble

"While most of us can never truly live the adventures we thrust upon our unwitting characters, we can still get a taste of what they experience if we just use our imaginations and a bit of creative searching. "The Cheap Adventurer By Justin Stanchfield

"Before our heroes and heroines became the adventurers we needed them to be to make our stories interesting, they had some occupation. Despite what I keep seeing in fantasy novels, not all of these characters need to be warriors looking for work, mages looking for magic items, or youngsters running away to discover fortune." Your Modern Hobbies, Your Ancient World By Valerie Serdy

"I finished my manuscript on Thursday, May 17th at 1:20 p.m. To a writer, the event of completing your first novel is akin to when JFK was shot or when Armstrong took his first steps – you remember where you were." The End By Allan Howe

Genre Articles:

"Read enough Fantasy, and it begins to seem like there is an overabundance of teenagers populating the various fantastic worlds.  Adults may exist in these worlds, but the book itself is often ruled by a teenager." Fantasy: It's Not Easy Being Green By Sarah Jane Elliott 

"I have a confession to make. A long time ago, when I was but a child of thirteen and didn't know any better, I submitted a poem to the National Library of Poetry's contest." Poetry: Yes, Even YOU Can Write (and sell) Poetry! By Jennifer St. Clair Bush

"...I'd been trying to write SF on and off almost all my life, with varying degrees of success, but this was it, this was the big one, this would lead to fame and fortune. "Science Fiction: Harnessing the Wild Idea By Bob Billing

"Ever read a novel that had you so engrossed that all outside life ceased while you turned the pages?  Chances are, compelling characters had a lot to do with it, and chances are, those characters were created by an author who was using (whether they were aware of it or not) the tools of an actor." Stage & Screen: Using the Tools of An Actor By Robin Catesby

"Not so long ago (six years to be exact) I realized, after a year and a half of rejection letters, that I needed a boost getting over my writing hurdles. Even though I was writing steadily, and had already had seen several of my plays produced locally, I couldn’t seem to make that all-important leap from hopeful to publishable." Young Adult and Children:  Looking for a Writing Course  By Justin Stanchfield

"Ah, secret diaries. Got one gathering dust on your highest bookshelf or at the bottom of an old drawer? I do." Young Writer's Scene: Find Your Inner Secret Diary By Caroline Allard

Also: workshop,  reviews, news from the Forward Motion Community, new guidelines, and more!