Vision: A Resource for Writers
Lazette Gifford, Editor

Featuring an Interview with 
Vera Nazarian 


Welcome to issue # 8.   In this issue we tackle the  often difficult theme of Parents and Children.  Why are families either badly depicted or nonexistent in a much of fiction writing these days?  We hope that the theme articles will help you sort out the thorny problems. 


 We also have a wonderful interview from writer Vera Nazarian who offers interesting insights and wonderful advice  to new writers 


And, as always, we have a plethora of genre related material, dealing with everything from the current popular fantasy movies and their effect on the writing market, to giving your science fiction world a the proper axial tilt.


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.

Interview: Vera Nazarian

...Yes, small presses in general are more likely to buy niche-defying work from a new and relatively unknown writer, because they operate on a small scale and usually don't have all that much invested in any given writer.  Thus, their risk tolerance is greater.   

Theme Articles

Show and Tell: How To Write Realistic Young Child Characters By S.L. Viehl:  The way some authors write about very young children in their novels reminds me of something Emerson said:  “Children are aliens, and we treat them as such.”  


Women, Men, Families and Fiction By Kay House and Justin Stanchfield: Family background can add tremendous depth to your characters.  Minor children as active characters add poignancy to your theme.  Despite this, many writers make little reference to family, and children often appear only as props.  Why?  


The Perils of Cardboard By Ruth Pischke: One of the more common mistakes is creating a cardboard family.  The loner with no past, the orphaned thief, the placid man who seeks to avenge his murdered family, the abandoned youth who somehow ends up being the savior of the world, and so on.


Exploiting Your Character's Parental Bond By Shane P. Carr: The bond between a parent and child in a fiction story can be exploited in interesting ways. As many know, the bond between a mother and child is nearly unbreakable. Just try to take a newborn puppy away from its mother -- chances are you’ll get a low guttural growl warning you away. 


Dare You Write About Your Family? By Robert A. Sloan:  Every writer comes from a different family situation -- including those they love and fear to offend, family members who send them screaming in terror, or relatives about whom they feel embarrassed.


Heroes Have Families? By Francine M. Seal: Science fiction and fantasy heroes seldom have families, or if they do, they’re severely dysfunctional. When writing stories, there are some very good reasons for this, both social and psychological.  


Where Have All the Families Gone? By Valerie Serdy: Family relationships are among the hardest to maintain, yet they form some of the strongest bonds.  Many families have unspoken rules and protocols to rival an international dinner,


Children Are Characters Too By Andi Ward:  Children are people.  People in fiction are characters. Characters have personalities, lives, hopes, goals, attitudes, and voices. Children certainly do too, and theirs are often more pronounced than adults. Therefore, it seems that children should be easy to write. 


Blood Is Thicker Than Water By Bryn Neuenschwander:  ...Generally naming the members of the family is easy.  You have your main character (MC), his father, his mother, and maybe an aunt or grandfather who is important enough to merit a name.  But now I'm thirty-one characters in and I haven't even started to think about whether any of Saoran's siblings (she's my MC) and cousins have had children yet.  

Genre Articles


Fantasy Movies and the Star Wars Effect By Forward Motion Community Members: This year we've seen two powerful fantasy movies released that drew exceptional attention again.  Will they have the same effects on the fantasy writing market that Star Wars had on SF?  



Introduction to Horror 2: Plot and Character in Horror Fiction By Teresa Hopper: Anyone who writes or reads much horror knows that a stereotype exists amongst some non-horror readers.  Horror is seen as a somewhat inferior form of fiction – trashy, with unrealistic characters who do stupid things to sustain unfeasible plots. It isn’t seen as serious fiction.



Reflections of Starlight By Nic Bonson: For me, writing poetry started a few years ago. Though I'd been writing in some form or another (and indeed, a few poems), I actually produced the majority of my work to date over a three-year period, from 1997 - 1999, the final years of high school.



But Is It Romance? By Lazette Gifford: I was recently surprised (even shocked) to find out how little I know about the romance field.  After considerable discussion on several mailing lists, checking through books, and haunting web sites, I now comprehend Romance a little better. 


Science Fiction

Axial Tilt and Other Things By Bob Billing: Axial tilt for a world is actually very easy to work out. Your imaginary planet has an axial tilt, which is a number that you can choose to suit the story. Think of the planet as going around the sun in a big, flat ellipse. 


YA & Children

Writing Mysteries for Children's Magazines By Ron Brown: Like many, I grew up reading the exploits of The Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown.  I loved to gather clues with the young sleuths and strive to solve the mystery before the last page.  Children today have the same desires, and magazines that target this audience are seeking good mysteries for their pages.  


Young Writers

Welcome to Young Writers Scene By Vicki McElfresh: Newcomers to the Forward Motion Community who are under the age of 18 might not be aware that there is board just for them.  The Young Writer's board features discussions, crit circles, and activities especially geared towards younger writers. 


Advanced Writing

Piracy on the High Bandwidth By John Savage, Esq.: In the last year or so, several authors I know have suffered the ravages of intellectual property pirates. This article should help writers understand their rights and how to enforce them. We’ll start off with a few examples, then issue some letters of marque and reprisal of our own. 

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