Featuring an Interview with 
Beth Hilgartner

Author of Cats in Cyberspace

Welcome to issue # 10!   

Late, but worth the wait!  We have an exceptional issue, and I hope you enjoy all of it!


In this issue our theme is animals in fiction... and real life.  As you might expect, cats and horses abound in the theme material, but we have managed a few pieces on other creatures as well. But the theme articles are not the only material presented in this issue.  The Advanced Writing Section is filled with advice from poisoning to editing, and the Genre Section has a number of exceptional articles.


If you have any comments, drop us a line at vision@lazette.net.  We would like to know what you think of Vision, and what types of material 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.  (Please note that Adobe Acrobat™ and Palm Systems™ versions will be available one week after the html version is posted.  This allows us to catch as many typos and mistakes as possible before turning to formats that are not as easy to correct.)

Interview: Beth Hilgartner

Beth Hilgartner leads a varied life.  According to her home page, she writes books, is an ordained Episcopal priest, and makes classical music (singing soprano as well as playing recorders).  She also teaches private music students (beginning to intermediate piano, voice, and recorder), and makes recorders.

Theme Articles

Adapting Earth Animals into Alien Life Forms
By  S.L. Viehl

Here’s a bit of movie trivia you probably don’t know: Charles Bailey III, the Chief Model Maker and the man who helped created Stephen Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1981), told a reporter that he inverted a domestic cat’s head when he made the preliminary sketches of the much-beloved alien’s face.

Keep Your Eyes Open
By Valerie Serdy

Ideas for our writing can come from anywhere and everywhere.  This is an old writing axiom, rather like "write what you know," and yet sometimes I forget the value it has for me.  I grew up reading fantasy novels and internalized various conventions and clichés without realizing it.

Finding the 'Wild' in the Wilderness 
By Keri Bas

Whenever a character encounters a non-urban area, especially an untamed wilderness region, there are dozens of threats to health and survival that can go unnoticed.  A character's trips through wooded areas or unfamiliar landscapes can easily become torture because of the natural dangers inherent in such an area.  

A Writer's Primer on Parrots 
By Jami Geimer

Parrots are amazing birds, living jewels with the gift of communication with humans. They are also among the most intelligent of birds, with certain individuals functioning on a level similar to a three- to five-year-old human child.

Horse Sense 
By Bob Billing

Most would-be fantasy authors don't even meet horses regularly, let alone make use of them. But no work of fantastic fiction is considered complete without some four-legged transport. This has caused some horrifying bloopers in stories I've read recently. 

Horse Communication 101
By Jeri-Tallee Dawson  

Horses are often an essential part of the novels we write. They are the chosen mode of transportation in a fantasy novel, a fancy hobby for a wealthy Lady in a science fiction series, or the romantic heroine’s closest confidante. . Horses are everywhere in fiction.

Sunlight and Air: The Feeding a  Fictional Horse
By Mary K. Wilson

Too many fictional horses exist on air and sunlight.  In countless stories, a horse and rider gallop for miles, without any thought being given to the horse's stamina and energy levels, both of which are directly related to good nutrition. 

The Heritage of the Barnyard
By Justin Stanchfield   

We live on an amazing planet: a world teeming with life, countless species of animals, some wild, some domestic, filling every conceivable niche. Sadly, too many fantasy stories populate the pages of their pre-industrial world with people, wolf-hounds, horses, and the occasional lap cat, neglecting to the point of absurdity the rich heritage of the barnyard.

Felines in Fantasy:Cliché or Clichéd?
By Heidi Elizabeth Smith   

I recently learned that many speculative fiction readers consider feline--and animal, in general--characters to be clichéd, to the point where magazines state in their guidelines, "No Cat Stories." As an unabashed cat-lover and an author of multiple stories (unpublished and currently in revision) featuring feline or felinoid main characters, I was surprised and, to tell the truth, a little shocked.

Cats and Writers, One Cat's Opinion
By Aristophenes Mr. Robert's Cat Sloan   

Cat civilization began when we first domesticated some big primates living along the Nile in Egypt. Humans are useful food givers who build good housing for us, care for our medical needs, love, adore, and even worship us. Intelligent and easily trained, humans can become like a member of your family.

Lessons Taught By a Siamese Friend's Life
By Cheryl Peugh

As the first clods of Missouri dirt covered the blue paint that read "Simba" on one side of the box lid, and "1980 - 98" on the other side, I thought of all the things the cat inside the box and I had been through in our lives together.

Advanced Writing

Poisoning Persons in Print
By Alison Sinclair   

One of your characters has murder in mind, but is not disposed to direct confrontation with sword, knife or morningstar, having neither the skill nor the temperament, perhaps (the psychology of poisoners is beyond the scope of this article). I hope in this article to hit some high points, point up some patterns and offer some possibilities on the menu.

The Right to Revise
By Carol Stephenson   

For those who receive an editor's revision letter after submission, or at an appointment hear an editor say, "it sounds interesting but….," or post sale have an editor who needs one more change after another, my heartfelt condolences.  

Background Color in Worldbuilding
By Steven Swain   

You’ve named your world, chosen your main characters and your villains, and figured out a plot. You’re all ready to charge headlong into your novel, right? Sure, if you want your novel to be bare of all background color.

On Keeping a Writer’s Journal 
By Peggy Kurilla   

One piece of advice, given to writers so often it’s almost a cliché, is to keep a journal.  What is less often covered is what to write in those journals and how they can help your writing.  In this article, I’ll cover four common types of journals that can help you refine your writing.  

Just for fun...
An Argument Against Reading Fiction 

By T. L. Cobern

Reading fiction is a vile habit.  The very act of sitting down to read removes me from the daily grind, from the pressure of reaching my wordcount goal for that day, and rewards me with nothing more than empty hands and mind at the end of said reading time. 

Genre Articles

Describing Fantastic Creatures 

By Jeff Reeds

I have a problem with animals. The pesky beasts are popping up everywhere -- and no wonder. The novel I’m writing takes place at the end of the Bronze Age and its people are reliant on animals for work and for food.

Getting the Best Out of Your Bad Guys

by Teresa Hopper

I have a confession to make: I love the bad guys in horror stories. There’s nothing I enjoy more than sinking my teeth into a novel with a really well written, scary bad guy in it. And they are often my favourite characters in my own stories, more so than my heroes.

Mystery & Suspense:
Get a Clue: Using Clues to Map Your Mystery 
By Rob Flumignan  

Probably the toughest part about writing a mystery comes when you’ve got three hundred or so pages stacked up and it’s time to tie all the ends together and reveal "whodunit."  Though there really isn’t any easy way to tackle the unique and complex mystery form, there is a way to make the process slightly less like performing brain surgery with a pair of crochet needles.

Characters Romance Readers Love #2: Heroine Junkies

By Gena Hale

Writing romance is all about "boy meets girl" – telling the story of how two people come together, go through various and sundry adventures, fall in love, and eventually commit to one another.  Naturally one of the most important elements of that story is the girl – the main female character, aka the heroine. 

Science Fiction
The Curious Behaviour of the Altharian Tzog in the Night 
By Bob Billing

Introducing an animal into a story can sometimes be a useful plot device. In fact I have a rough collie called Flora McDonald --Flossie to her friends -- in my current work in progress. In this article I'd like to go through some of the ways in which animals not only can bring out points about the human characters but can also let you present things that would be difficult to say in any other way.

Forward Motion Articles

Meet the Moderators: 
Meet James Milton

Non-fiction Moderator James Milton is an Australian, born in Brisbane -- a wonderful city to grow up in, retaining, at that time, the charm of a small city with all the facilities expected from the capital of Australia's fastest-growing state.  

Forward Motion:
Forward Motion in A Nutshell
By Robert A. Sloan

It was amazing to meet people who posted entire sentences in chat! For the first time in my life, I wasn't considered weird. The pressing issues ,ideas, and technical problems that occupy way too much of my time and energy were common ones with this group.


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