“Readers want to see, hear, feel, smell the action of your story, even if that action is just two people having a quiet conversation.” – Nancy Kress
Sci-Fi writer Kress, who was born in New York on Jan. 20, 1948, is one of those authors who immerses readers in the story. The author of 27 novels, 3 books on writing, 4 short story collections, and over a hundred works of short fiction, her books have won numerous "reader's choices" awards, not to mention 6 Nebulas and 3 Hugos. Her first major multiple-award winner was one of her first novellas, the 1991 Beggars in Spain, later expanded into a novel by the same title. She also won multiple awards for 2013’s After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, and 2015’s Yesterday's Kin.
Kress, who has master’s degrees in both Education and English, has taught at the collegiate level and also spent time working in advertising before turning her attention in the early 1990s to full time Science Fiction. Her books have sold in the millions and been translated into 14 languages. Her advice to new writers is to focus on sharp, compelling openings.
“How many times have you opened a book, read the first few sentences and made a snap decision about whether to buy it?” she said. “When it's your book that's coming under this casual-but-critical scrutiny, you want the reader to be instantly hooked. The way to accomplish this is to create compelling opening sentences.”
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