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James Van Pelt

An interviewer asked the author if he wanted to be the next Stephen King: he said, "No, I want to be the first James Van Pelt."

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James Van Pelt fell in love with Zenna Henderson, Ray Bradbury, Ursula le Guin, Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey and a host of others when he started reading. In elementary school, he told his mom he wanted to grow up to be a Ray Bradbury, like Bradbury was a job instead of a person. His work has appeared in Asimov's, Analog, Clarkesworld and many other venues. Stories have been reprinted in Year's Best anthologies and gathered in five of his collections. He has been a finalist for the Nebula, the Sturgeon Award, and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He recently retired from teaching high school English (37 years), to write full time.

Fiction · Posts · Books

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Video Readings

Published Mar 27, 2020 · 88 words (1 minute) · 16 views

youtube author reading

Do you like author readings? Do you wonder what I look and sound like? Here are a pair of YouTube videos of me reading two short-short stories.

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Experience arcade

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Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Why I Write Science Fiction

Published Mar 22, 2020 · 1,051 words (4 minutes) · 78 views

Science Fiction writing literature Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad H.P. Lovecraft

I was the guest speaker at The Colorado Readers Conference, a very literary gathering that generally wouldn't discuss science fiction, but they invited me, a science fiction writer to be the main presenter! This was the speech.

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My Collection of Best Books on Writing

Published Feb 13, 2020 · 708 words (3 minutes) · 63 views

Writing advice Writing Books

I've been writing and teaching writing for several decades. Along the way I've found the books that told me the most about this interesting and complicated activity.

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Time to hit the books

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Writing Advice for New Writers

Published Nov 30, 2019 · 403 words (2 minutes) · 328 views

Writing advice beginning writers

If I had to boil storytelling to its essence, this is it.

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Designer sketching Wireframes

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What I Started in Junior High that Helps my Writing Today

Published Mar 11, 2019 · 407 words (2 minutes) · 208 views

Sometimes people ask, "Where do you get your ideas?" A better question is "What do you do with your ideas?"

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First Sales

Published Mar 3, 2019 · 1,282 words (5 minutes) · 210 views

This article appeared for the first time a year ago on the Analog Science Fiction blog website. I'm not being hyperbolic at the end about what a first sale felt like for me.

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Computer keyboard

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What are You Writing For?

Published Jan 4, 2019 · 1,370 words (5 minutes) · 255 views

I wrote a continuing column for the British magazine of short fiction reviews, The Fix, for a couple of years. The Andy Cox edited publication vanished (he still publishes the well-respected Interzone and other titles), but the columns are not available online anymore. This one addresses the question of do you write for yourself, or do you write for publication?

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Writing with a fountain pen

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Writing a Story a Week: Trying the Bradbury Challenge

Published Oct 4, 2018 · 1,384 words (6 minutes) · 288 views

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Do I Dare to Eat a Peach?

Published Sep 15, 2018 · 343 words (2 minutes) · 666 views

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Unporn: Butt

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Why I Love Writing

Published Sep 7, 2018 · 564 words (3 minutes) · 319 views

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