Vision: A Resource for Writers
Lazette Gifford, Editor

Featuring an Interview with 
Multiple Nebula Winner 
(And Queen of the Hamsters)
Esther Friesner


Welcome to issue # 7.   Yes, we have reached the second year of production on Vision.   I think we've done very well.  All the work on Vision is produced by volunteers, and with the exception of an occasional article, everything is written by members of Holly Lisle's Forward Motion Writing Community.  We are a group dedicated to the art and joy of writing, and we invite anyone who reads Vision to come and join us, no matter what stage in their writing career they might have reached.


First we have a very nice interview with writer Esther Friesner who shares with us some of her insights as both a writer and an editor.


The Theme for Issue # 7 is Writing as Profession/Writing as Hobby.  Are you ready to commit yourself to the idea of being a full-time, professional writer?  Is it really as much fun as it sounds?  Or do you like the security of a regular job's paycheck, and the joy of writing because you want to, not because you need the next advance to live on?  We have a number of articles on both sides of the fence, along with helpful hints for both groups. 


And, as usual, we have a fine array of genre-related articles, including two very good fantasy articles that will be of interest to anyone who is either creating an imaginary military force or working with horses, whatever the genre.


And be certain to check out S.L. Viehl's great article on how writers can take charge of their finances!


We hope you enjoy this issue.  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.


An Interview with Esther Friesner: I'm not a funny writer or a serious writer or a fantasy writer or a poet or a playwright.  I'm a writer.  Either I write in the vein that a particular story demands or I wind up writing a less than satisfactory (for me) story.   

Theme Articles

Walking the Double Path by Justin Stanchfield:  Our friends and families, even complete strangers may listen politely, nodding now and then as we discuss the shadowy world of the writer, but they can never truly understand it. 

Write like a Damsel by Valerie Serdy: With the ultimate goal of Getting Published in mind, I set out to the library and began researching tomatoes.  It was early spring, so I figured my best chance lay in writing some kind of children's article describing how to grow summer tomatoes. 

Toad Love by Alison Sinclair: In my own more black-humored moments, I'm prone to joke that I'm a two-career family. I've been a research scientist, a medical resident, and now a medical writer -- and I've been a part-time professional SF writer (hey, I've earned enough to pay tax!) for six years.

Serious Writing By Jim Mills: I intend to make writing my new full-time career.  Others have done it; I can, too.  Writing lets me work at home, rather than commuting to an office or worksite.  

Finding the Right Day Job by Karen Pon:  It has been described as life-sucking, and accused of draining a writer's energy and creativity, and many writers dream of leaving it behind forever.  But it pays the bills.  It's the Day Job. 

Whistling in the Dark by Robert A. Sloan: I spend a lot of time making up affirmations, whistling in the dark. Writing isn't easy to sell. I type those affirmations out in bold print and put them up on the wall next to my computer.

The College Hobby by Bryn Neuenschwander: We have our own set of hurdles to cross -- whether or not to go to college, what to study there, and how to strike a reasonable balance between the things that are being graded and the things that aren't.  

Taking the Dream Seriously by Jennifer St. Clair Bush:  Even though I've been actively writing for fourteen years, I never trusted myself to take the dream of writing full-time seriously enough to believe I could succeed. Oh, I pretended to well enough to convince just about everyone, but I never actually admitted to myself that I might have a chance of success.

Epublishing as the Middle Ground by Lazette Gifford: Here is a scenario many of us know too well:  The rejection slips have piled up, and there is no longer room on the wall to post the latest.  You cherish the ones that say things like 'send more' or 'great story, but not quite for us.'  And you keep trying.  The problem is that there is a very limited number of print venues, whether you write novels or short stories.

Genre Articles


The Numberless Hordes by C. E. Petit:  Few flaws will break that suspension of disbelief faster than obvious words, things, and concepts that just don’t fit the background world. Inaccurate—even just plain bad—military concepts abound in speculative fiction.

Horses for Writers: Just the Basics by Mary K. Wilson:  When they're written well, horses add sparkle and life to a story.  When they're written badly, the writer may find his or her book thrown across the room with a disgruntled cry.  


What is Horror Fiction? by Teresa Hopper:  ‘What is Horror Fiction?’ It’s a question that I’m often asked by new writers who aren’t sure if what they have written is classified as horror or dark fantasy or thriller. As with everything in life, answering that question didn’t turn out to be as simple as I had expected.  


Poetry Resolutions for the New Year by Jennifer St. Clair Bush:  To be a poet, one must write poetry. To be a writer, one must write. This past year, I’ve been a great writer, but a not-so-great poet. 


Headhopping, Authorial Intrusion, and Shocked Expressions by Anne M. Marble: Viewpoint is a creature that can trip up many writers -- both novices and experts alike. Some things make viewpoint a bit easier for romance writers. First, you are usually going to stick to the viewpoints of your hero and heroine, and in longer novels, important secondary characters.

Science Fiction

Letters from a Better World by Bob Billing:  I want to send readers some letters from a better world - even though that world isn't (in the mundane sense) real. I want to tell them stories that are made up, stories that in a deeper sense are truer than the news on TV.  

Suspense & Mystery

Maintaining Suspense When Using the Criminal POV by Ron Brown: Showing the crime and getting into the head of a deviant criminal, evil mastermind, or even a man caught in circumstances can be a powerful tool.  Making the reader sympathize with the villain of a story can have an impact on the reader that will make them both uneasy and excited

Young Writers

The Rocky Road to Becoming a Writer by Vicki McElfresh:  Once, not so long ago, the thought of letting a friend read my work absolutely terrified me.  I didn't want to be thought of as the "girl who wrote those weird stories."  So I wrote in secret.  I stuffed my stories in folders in my drawers, until one day, I discovered that there were other things to do with those stories, like send them to contests. 

Advanced Writing

Financial Boot Camp by S. L. Viehl: Pursuing a professional career as a writer is a lot like being a contestant on  “Survivor” -- you have to constantly prove your talent in an unfriendly environment surrounded by hostile competitors.

Setting Reasonable Goals by Lazette Gifford: It's the start of the year, a time when many of us set our writing goals and expectations for the coming twelve months.  This is one of my favorite times of the year, in fact.  I can look over what I've done the year before and see if there's a chance of upping my expectations.

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