Tag Archives: good authors write bad

Ah, the Keys!


Over at OWWW, there’s a new batch interested in The Six Keys (the beginner/intermediate individual workshop I tutor). I’ve never taught a round of that without first going over the whole business, to catch snags and update the links. So a couple of those took up the weekend.

I really need some new short stories for the crit practice each week. I need ones with obvious problems in plot, characterization, dialogue, world-building, openings and endings, or pacing and tension. Either science fiction or fantasy will do. I’ve been using this same set for years, and I’m sick of seeing them.

They have to be professionally published, sometime in the past, preferably not too old. Right now I have Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Tanith Lee, Zenna Hendersen,  A. E. Silas, Megan Lindholm, Mildred Downey Broxon, Jack Vance (a favorite author of mine: I have no mercy). I think it’s a morale advantage to them to realize even big names can drop the ball.

I think I may have a ghastly bad piece of steampunk, which is a Western with a pasted on clockwork prosthetic, but it’s like “too bad”: a one-trick pony that never does its trick. It’s not easy finding stuff in that Goldilocks zone, not so bad that it can be critted in ten lines, but bad enough my students can see what’s wrong if they don’t let the names dazzle them.

Folks — can you help me out here?