Vision: A Resource for Writers
Lazette Gifford, Editor

Featuring an Interview with 
science fiction and  fantasy writer 
Rob Chilson


Welcome to issue # 6.   This marks the end of our first year in publication, and I would like to thank both the readers and contributors for making Holly Lisle's Vision: A Resource for Writers such an unexpected success.  I would also like to express my personal gratitude to our hardworking Copy Editor, Beth Adele Long, who has worked so hard to keep Vision looking professional.


Thank you also to Holly Lisle, who has inspired all of us at Vision and the Forward Motion Writer's Community to work harder and expand our imaginative horizons.


The Theme for Issue # 6 is Seasons and Holidays, and you'll find articles on how to correctly use weather in worldbuilding and how to create holidays for your fantasy and alien worlds.  There are also several genre-related articles, a new Advanced Writing section, and much more.  Be sure to read the great interview with writer Rob Chilson, and read over the rules on Fair Use for Speculative Writers by John Savage.


We hope you enjoy the articles.  Drop us a line at to let us 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.


...pieces offered by members of the Forward Motion Writers' Community  in the wake of the disasters of September 11, 2001.  Some are readings from which they found solace and others are original pieces they wrote to help heal the loss. 


...The major changes have been on the marketing side.  And of course nowadays you can use naughty words and even talk about “grown-up things” which we couldn’t do in SF, and even in mainstream, when I was learning. 

Theme Articles

Holidays and Kids' Stories by Justin Stanchfield

Sadly, too many children's stories follow predictable, formulaic plot-lines. Santa Clause is in trouble and needs rescue. A young child learns the value of sharing. A boy or girl from one culture discovers the meaning of another culture's holidays. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these ideas. 

Creating Fictional Holidays by Robert A. Sloan

The easiest and simplest way to create fictional holidays for fantasy and SF worldbuilding is to draw them from real holidays and integrate them with your fictional world’s cultures.  

Weather in Fiction by Karen Pon

In fiction, the weather can have two functions.  There can be a significant weather event (a storm or a drought, for example), which has a major effect on your story, or the weather can be in the background, providing depth and ambience to your setting. 

Weather and Worldbuilding 101 by Karen Pon

If you’re writing fantasy or SF, the chances are your story will be set on another world.  Whether you’re building just a small section for your characters to play in, or creating entire galaxies for their adventures, it’s important to have realistic climates.  But what influences climate?     

Flora, Fauna, Fiction by Valerie Serdy

My mother is an avid bird watcher.  Through osmosis I learned robins are the harbingers of spring, cardinals stay year round, and ironically named snowbirds, looking like small lumps of dusty coal, arrive with the winter snows.

No Ordinary Days by Lazette Gifford

Weather often plays an important part in my stories, from a drought on an already desolate world (leading to battle over the remaining water supply), to a blizzard that masks a magical attack in a fantasy novel. 

Genre Articles

Fantasy: Defying Definition by Sarah Jane Elliott

I am often surprised by the most frequently asked question I receive when people learn that I write fantasy.  I’m met with a blank stare, or a smile and a nod, and asked,  “What is fantasy?”

Horror: Halloween: Breaking Down the Cliché by Ron Brown 

Though it is now a full year away, it is not too early to begin considering Halloween oriented pieces.  In fact, when you consider response times and publishing delay, starting now could help in getting a story ready in time for Halloween theme deadlines.

Poetry: Autumn in Poetry by Jennifer St. Clair Bush

Autumn caught me unawares again this year. I blinked in April and when I opened my eyes the summer was gone, a passing memory never to return. The trees have begun to turn. 

RPG: Fantasy Adventure Writing by Christina Stiles 

Adventure, or module, writing fuses fictional elements like setting, plot, and characters with a logical, nonfiction style. Not only must your plot weave an interesting evening or two of gaming for the Game Masters’ players, but you must also provide the Game Master with the technical information ... necessary to run the adventure in the game for which it is written.

Romance: The Uses and Abuses of Mailing Lists by Anne M. Marble

You know that most authors must depend on themselves to publicize their books. You've learned that mailing lists can be a powerful tool for self-promotion. However, to the unwary author, mailing lists can be a potential trap.   

Science Fiction: Time and Holidays by Bob Billing

Time comes in different flavours. There's solar time, atomic time, universal co-ordinated time, sidereal time, bedtime and harvest time - before we even start on those created for science fiction.  

Suspense and Mystery: Short Mystery Fiction by Ron Brown

When considering mystery in the short form, many writers are faced with a dilemma that seems insurmountable.  How can they, in limited space, both show the steps of crime-solving and develop characters well enough to create a fulfilling and entertaining piece of fiction? 

Young Adult and Children: The Sad State of Children's Literature by Vicki McElfresh

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading aloud to a child twenty minutes every day.  That sounds simple enough.  Unfortunately, story time is both my favorite time of day and my least favorite.... After reading them night after night, I have come to dread the whole routine. 

Advanced Writing

Fair Use for Speculative Fiction Writers by John Savage

We have all seen the term "fair use" (or, in Commonwealth countries, "fair dealing"). Fair use is a significant issue when determining, for example, how much of a poem or song lyric we can quote in our stories or novels without running afoul of the Copyright Demons.

The New Computer Health Threat by Cassandra Ward

Thanks to ergonomics, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is often considered to be a thing of the past. We now have to worry about something even more insidious afflicting our hands as we do computer work: tendonitis.  

Three Views of World Con by Jae Brim, Lazette Gifford and Beth Adele Long

I'm glad to say I made it back in one piece from my very first Worldcon, the 2001 Millenium Philcon in Philadelphia.  Since I'd never gone to one of these, or any type of con, I had no idea what to expect. 

Slogging Through the Trenches by Vicki McElfresh

Yet many beginning writers believe writing a novel is simple, and once they discover how much time-consuming, thankless work is involved, they often lose enthusiasm and abandon the project.

Can You Write a Novel In... By Jennifer St. Clair Bush

This year I participated in the 3-day novel contest held by Anvil Press. Compared to that, the Book in a Week and the Book in a Month contests look tame, but they might be just the things to get you up to speed. 

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