Vision: A Resource for Writers
Lazette Gifford, Editor
Holly Lisle's Vision

Around the Boards 
at Forward Motion

By James Mills
Contemporary/ Urban/ Gothic Fantasy Moderator

2001, James Mills 

A lot has been happening since the last issue of Vision.  Some of the boards have been changed, and the menu system at the tops of the pages has changed.

The menu changes: I was confused at first, but bear with it once you understand how it all works, it's really pretty neat.  Holly explains it all and answers questions:

Courses and Classes and Workshops, oh my!  Check out all the great stuff being offered for free at  Professional quality courses, classes and workshops that might cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars elsewhere are available here at little or no cost (you may be asked to buy a book, but not from us).  It's all part of the pay it forward philosophy.  Reap the rewards: 

Workshop and Class Sign-Up board:  

Most classes will be held in Conference Room One unless otherwise noted.  See the Calendar for scheduling.  You can find a link to the calendar on all the menus. 

There are lots of different classes being offered, such as: 

Holly Lisle's classes : Courses and workshops on topics such as characters, manuscript preparation, plotting, scenes and the very beneficial and popular "Writing the Breakout Novel" course:  

Editing Theme Anthologies with Robert A. Sloan: Very much a "Backstage" course on small press publishing and a mission statement leading to a focus on pro publishing as well.  

Fight Scenes for the Untrained (WORKSHOP) with Bryn Neuenschwander: This will not be a workshop on the specifics of combat mechanics; it will cover how to write compelling fight scenes without that kind of specialized knowledge or training. Workshop participants will go step-by-step through the process of staging the scene, addressing questions of how the details of the scene (such as character motivation, setting, tone, movement, weaponry, injuries, etc.) can be used to affect the story.  

Headhopping Hell with Anne Marble: This class is about the different types of viewpoints writers can use. Also, we'll learn about juggling multiple viewpoints, avoiding headhopping (bouncing viewpoints within a single scene), the pitfalls of some POVs, and so forth. 

Love Scenes in All Genre with Anne Marble: Also at the same link: We'll talk about what to do if some of your characters suddenly (gasp) become attracted to each other.  

Horses and Writing  with Mary K. Wilson: This class covers the basics for non-horsey people, breeds and types of horses, some conformation issues, use issues (i.e. why a good carriage horse would not make a good riding horse), tack (saddle, bridle, etc.), and other horse-related topics. 

General discussion:

Vampires in Fiction with Jennifer St. Clair Bush: Are you thinking about writing Vampire fiction?  See what Jen and others have to say.  Sink your teeth into it.


Lunch at the Library with Katherine: A daytime workshop on research and other topics. 

September workshop and comments:  

October workshop:


Novel Submission with Vicki McElfresh: Learn the basics of what should go into a novel submission and how to properly present your material to an editor.  

Short Story Submission Workshop with Ron Brown:   This class focuses on researching markets, sources of information about markets and how to use them, submission guidelines and formats, and using rejections to build a relationship with an editor and to improve your work.  

Writing for Children and Young Adults with Justin Stanchfield:  Writing for a younger audience has its own problems and rewards.  Learn some of the techniques in this class.  

Writing Workshop Series with S. L. Viehl: Sheila is the author of the StarDoc series of novels (great reading - buy her books!) and she's teaching how to write.  Check out her classes Sign-Up and Transcripts:  

Short Story Classes with Lazette Gifford: Zette's planning another series of classes on short story writing.  Let her know if you're interested. 

Sign-Up here (but scroll down for the latest news):  

World Building Course- with Jim Mills: No sign-up necessary - just show up.  We'll start the first one on Sunday Oct. 7th at 6pm Eastern Time, which should make it 11pm British time.  At a later date, probably after the first of the year, we may run a course at a 'daytime' time for the Asia and Australia area members.  This course will repeat.  

Did you think that was a lot?  There are more that I haven't covered and others being added all the time.  Check out the Workshop & Class Sign-Up board for the latest information:  

The Round Robin board has disappeared and been replaced by a Questions & Answers board with subsections for science, math, manuscript submission, grammar, etc.  

Crit Circle Classifieds:  

Check here often for people looking for crits and willing to return same.  Or post crit requests of your own.  Sometimes circle moderators post notices that they are looking for new members.  This is the place to get information. 

Also, there's the Crit Circle Master Index, which lists all the crit circles on-site, who runs them, where they are posted, etc.  

Interesting threads from the Writers' Discussion Board: 

Embracing your wickedness -- the secret to better fiction

Holly and others discuss how to write good villains that readers will remember.  

How do I find information on a vague event in history? 

This thread was started Sept. 13, 2000 and has been periodically updated through Aug. 20, 2001, with interesting comments and links to resources about comet impacts on Earth (and/or volcanic eruptions) that threw dust into the air and caused winter-like conditions to persist year-round in 1816, or links to arms and armor throughout history, etc.  

Languages - this thread has interesting questions, and some answers, relating to how to use languages of people in different areas as tools in your writing, use of translators, 'common' languages in different eras (English modern and Greek 2000 years ago), how to haggle and barter with someone who doesn't speak the same language, etc.  

Alternative first lines to various literature - this one's a hoot!  

The World Building Board:  

There is more to world building than making a city, country or planet, drawing a map and plunking your characters down.  If you want to maintain believability and keep your readers -- even in non-SF writing - then you have to get the science right (at least to a degree) and be consistent in details.  This is the place to ask questions and get answers. 

Quantum Computing and FTL (Faster Than Light): Ready for SF?  


Military Structure  

Slitting your wrists and scars: what has this got to do with world building, you ask?  Good world building includes things like culture, customs, taboos and the consequences of breaking them.  

Matriarchies and other female-dominated societies:  

Paper: What were some ways of making paper before modern times? Also, what would be some qualities a plant should have to make good paper?  

There's more.  Come and browse the World Building Board:  

The Moderator Index is scheduled for an update with new information on the moderators, some samples of their work, pictures, etc.  Come and meet your moderators: