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Friday, April 1, 2016

Writing with meaningful emotion

“The thing is, emotion - if it's visibly felt by the writer - will go through all the processes it takes to publish a story and still hit the reader right in the gut. But you have to really mean it.” – Anne McCaffrey

 Born on this date in 1926, McCaffrey was one of the all-time great writers of fantasy and science fiction (she died in 2011).  Best known for her Dragonriders of Pern fantasy series, she became the first woman to win a Hugo Award for fiction and a Nebula Award for excellence in science fiction. Her 1978 novel The White Dragon was one of the first science-fiction books to appear on the New York Times Best Seller list.
A Science Fiction Hall of Fame inductee, she was only the 22nd person ever selected as a Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.  
Born in Massachusetts, she lived 40 years in Ireland (a great tax haven for writers) and became a naturalized Irish citizen.  A graduate of Radcliffe, she studied music and contemplated an operatic career before becoming a writer.  

McCaffrey achieved success in the early 1950s writing science fiction despite being advised that it was “not a woman’s field.”  To that she replied, “A good story is a good story, no matter who writes it.”  Soon, it became one of the industry standards for aspiring Sci-Fi writers to want to write like McCaffrey, and that included writing women as primary protagonists.

She also set the standards for writing with emotion and putting the reader directly into the worlds she created. “That's what writing is all about, after all,” she said,  “making others see what you have put down on the page and believing that it does, or could, exist and you want to go there.”

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