I speak frequently to user groups, conventions and conferences, covering diverse topics such as writing, self-publishing, science fiction, science and Internet technologies. Some of my engagements have been videotaped. In other cases, my slides are available online via Slideshare.net, where they’ve been viewed more than 100,000 times. Selected workshops, videos, presentations and handouts are featured below.
|Hourlings Podcast Project: A weekly video podcast from the Hourlings Writing Group. Real writing advice from working authors on topics like finding time to write, writing on vacation, character development, worldbuilding, and more. Season 3 started on January 7, 2023 with the 117th episode overall.
Launched: November 9, 2020
|Hourlings Writing Exercises: Diverse writing exercises from the Hourlings Writing Group on subjects like ideation, creating atmosphere, crafting characters, defining interesting SF/Fantasy occupations, plotting, and more. Even better, new exercises are added all the time.
Created: June 3, 2019; Updated: Ongoing
|Daedalus Seven: Diverse World-Building Exercises: Learn about the doomed voyage of the Daedalus Seven, a vast generation spaceship, in this world-building workshop. With the core design of the ship and its multiple habitats already established, participants will design the ecosystems of the habitats, craft the surviving civilizations after its 12-thousand-year voyage, and envision plots leveraging the world-building details.
Created: March 27, 2021
|Strong Stories Need Strong Heroes: Compelling heroes are the centerpiece of successful stories. They’re not just carried along by the plot—they drive the plot. They demand the reader’s attention and drag them on a journey. If your heroes aren’t doing that, then this is the workshop for you. This group collaborative session will teach you a multi-layered approach to crafting a compelling, memorable hero. During the character-building exercises, you’ll also learn how to build a meaningful character arc for your hero that you can leverage for your story’s plot.
Given: Cascades Library, 2023; Released: November 14, 2023
|Occupational Hazard: In this workshop on character development, participants will start by defining an SF or Fantasy occupation…and then exploring the type of person who might take on that job. Participants will also focus on key areas such as character goals, high-level story arc, challenges, obstacles, and limitations.
Given: Capclave 2022 & 2023; Released: October 3, 2022
|Create Your Own SF/Fantasy TV Series: Using techniques exemplified by series like Buffy, Firefly, Dark Matter and other shows too numerous to mention, participants will collaborate in envisioning an SF or Fantasy TV series. Topics will include developing the concept, budget considerations, character development, season-level story arcs, and idea generation for potential episodes.
Given: Capclave 2022; Released: October 3, 2022
|Writing Killer Fight Scenes: Does your story come to a screeching halt every time there’s a fight scene? Do readers think your fight scenes are…tedious…instead of exciting? How realistic should your fight be? Discover how real people react to violence, and how you can use this information to make your conflict more believable. Learn how to craft fight scenes that engage your readers, advance your plot and reveal character.
Given: Capclave 2018; Released: December 29, 2020
|Building a Space Battle: So, you want to include a titanic space battle in your military SF novel or your galaxy-spanning space opera. But…who’s fighting? Why are they fighting? You’d like to make the battle realistic…but what tactics and strategies make sense? In this workshop, you’ll learn by doing as we collaboratively build an epic space battle.
Given: Capclave 2017; Released: October 7, 2017
|Creating a Setting for Your Series: Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve noticed that a lot of authors are making money with series. But crafting a series is hard, and it’s a subject that’s not covered in most writing manuals. Come learn a set of steps for creating a coherent, consistent and connected background to support multiple stories leveraging the same setting, primary characters and supporting characters. Give your series the foundation it needs to become what you want it to be.
Given: Capclave 2015 & 2019, Balticon 2017; Released: October 10, 2015
|Public Speaking for Writers: Simply writing a story isn’t enough – you also need to get up in front of an audience and promote yourself. In this workshop, you’ll learn techniques to be a dynamic speaker. You’ll learn how to apply these techniques to be an effective panelist at conventions, whether as a moderator or as a participant. You’ll also learn to describe your fiction in succinct sound bites designed to intrigue potential readers. Author Tom Doyle said, “This should be a required course for all would-be convention panelists. Very helpful for those new to pitching their novels in person as well.”
Given: Capclave 2014, Balticon 2018; Released: October 12, 2014
|The Finest Legacy: I’ve been a science fiction fan for almost as long as I can remember. I’d like to share with you how I became a science fiction fan, and maybe along the way, show you a few things that I find really fascinating about this field of literature. Even if you’re not a science fiction enthusiast, I promise that you won’t think the same way about science fiction after this talk.
Released: October 13, 2012
|The Apple Falls Down: Perspectives on Global Warming: Global warming is the type of problem that starts out small but becomes increasingly serious as time goes on. While there may be no “smoking gun” right now, we need to prepare for the future.
Released: July 4, 2012
Most of my presentations are available online at Slideshare. One of my presentations, “Creating Killer Business Models” was even a “Featured Selection” on Slideshare’s Home page.
|Titanic: The Forgotten Passengers: Even after 101 years, the tragedy of the Titanic still echoes in our collective memories. There are so many stories of that fateful journey – of bravery, of cowardice, of self-sacrifice, and more. But Titanic wasn’t just a human tragedy. Come back to Titanic with me, and let me tell you about…the forgotten passengers.
Released: September 10, 2013
|21st Century Writer: Today is the best time ever to be a writer. Discover what being a professional writer used to be like, how the publishing industry is now changing in fundamental ways, and how you can become the writer you always wanted to be.
Released: September 17, 2013
|Elevator Up, Please: Space travel is dangerous and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Find out about an alternative way to reach orbit that is rapidly becoming feasible and may eventually change how we view our world.
Released: March 25, 2012
When I speak at conventions, I often provide handouts for the sessions I’m on. Since many of these handouts are of general interest, I also upload them to this website. Likewise, I’ve created hand-outs based on questions I’ve recieved from my writing group or from workshop attendees.