Jerry Pournelle Leaves a Legacy of Helping New Writers (1933-2017)

L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest Pays Tribute to Jerry Pournelle (1933 – 2017). Jerry leaves a legacy of helping new writers.


It’s been nearly a year since I found out I was a finalist for L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest, and very nearly five months since I was announced as the 2017 Golden Pen Award winner. To say my life has changed feels like an understatement.

“Boosting” Your Prose

I earlier mentioned that when I used to write for competitions, I would make lists of ways that judges might look at my work in order to grade it. For example, some judges might look for an ending that brought them to tears, while another might be more interested in an intellectual feast. A couple of you asked what my list might look like. So here is a list of things that I might consider in creating a piece.

Multidimensionality: The Value of Subplots

Very often when reading slush for the Writers of the Future contest, I come upon stories that at first glance seem to be perfectly acceptable. They presented a protagonist who had a problem to overcome. The setting was reasonably well defined. The story proceeded at a good pace, with the problem escalating nicely. Often there was a surprise twist at the ending, and the conclusion seemed appropriate. Yet when I got done reading the story, it just lacked … something.

What Makes a Story Great?

Recently I’ve had a number of my students ask, “What makes a story great?” For example, what sets apart a story that wins major awards from one that doesn’t? What makes one story monumental, a landmark in its field, while another story fades from memory?

Writing the Future: Thoughts on the Writers of the Future Contest

I can admit that when I first heard about the Writers and Illustrators of the Future contest, I was skeptical. On the surface it seemed too good to be true.

Focus on Eric James Stone

Eric James Stone is one of the few people who’ve managed to appear in two editions of the Writers of the Future anthology, putting “Memory” into Volume XX in 2004 as a published finalist, and “Betrayer of Trees” into Volume XXI in 2005 as a prizewinner.

Writers of the Future Contest – 1st Quarter 2017 Winners

The judging results are in! And here are the winners for the Writers of the Future Contest—1st Quarter 2017. Congratulations to you all!

David Farland’s 10 Points to Avoid in Writing Short Fiction

This past week I’ve been judging Writers of the Future. Most of the stories come to us electronically, so much of my day is spent opening files, taking a look at them, and then putting in a review–usually one that says “Rejected.” I hate that “Reject” button . . .