Straight Talk on Writing: 20 Conversations with Authors about the Craft

By Scott Francis | Go to book overview

Steven Harper Piziks

“Write it, finish it, send it
out. You can’t get published
if you don’t do all three.”

Steven Harper Piziks is the author of In the Company of Mind and Corporate Mentality, both science-fiction books published by Baen Books. Writing as Steven Harper for Roc Books, he has produced The Silent Empire series for Roc and is currently writing The Brain Plague steampunk trilogy for DAW. He’s also written books based on Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and The Ghost Whisperer, as well as the movie novelization Identity.

I had the chance to work as Piziks’s editor for Writing the Paranormal Novel: Techniques and Exercises for Weaving Supernatural Elements Into Your Story, which he wrote for Writer’s Digest Books in 2010. During that time Piziks took a few minutes to talk with me about his favorite reads, the importance of professionalism, and persisting as a writer.

—SF


When did you first know
you wanted to be a writer?

Weirdly, I didn’t really have a moment when I knew. I’ve been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil, but to me, writers were people who lived in exotic places like Miami or New York or San Francisco. They didn’t live in backwoods Michigan, feeding one end of a horse and shoveling up what came out of the other. I didn’t learn until years later that many writers did live where I did and grew up doing exactly that. Even so, I didn’t know anyone who actually wrote for money, and I had no idea how to go about getting published. So I wrote for myself.


What was the first thing you
ever wrote?

That would be a science fiction novel about a boy who was kidnapped off a sailboat by aliens living under the ocean. I was eight years old, and I worked on that book for two or three years. The manuscript has since disappeared. If I found it now, I’d probably both squirm with embarrassment and be charmed by this window to my past self.

If you mean the first thing I wrote for publication, I sold an article about raising rabbits to The Mother Earth News when I was thirteen years old, believe it or not. It started when I wrote a letter to the editor. I included my age under my signature, and the editor wrote back to say he was impressed with my writing ability and if I ever wanted to query him with something, I should. I was raising

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Straight Talk on Writing: 20 Conversations with Authors about the Craft
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments i
  • Table of Contents ii
  • Introduction 1
  • Laurie Alberts 2
  • Barbara Baig 6
  • William Cane 9
  • Orson Scott Card 13
  • Sage Cohen 21
  • Sarah Dornet 25
  • Jeff Gerke 29
  • April Hamilton 32
  • Becky Levine 37
  • Donald Maass 41
  • Dinty W. Moore 43
  • Jessica Page Morrell 46
  • Steven Harper Piziks 49
  • Peter Seigin 53
  • George Singleton 57
  • James Alexander Thom 60
  • Fred White 62
  • Karen S. Wiesner 64
  • You’Ve Read the Interviews… Now Read the Books! 68
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