Writer's Conference, by Phil Guesz

Story name: Writer's Conference
Author: Phil Geusz
Publication date: March 14, 1998 (on TSA-List)

Date: Unknown
Location: Metamor Keep (Writer's Guild)


Phil explains, both in-universe and out, what his writing process is like.


Although the conceit of this story is that it is a speech by Phil to the Writer's Guild, it primarily functions as an essay on how he personally writes fiction.

As several Guild members are debating how to write fiction, Phil begins to speak, by explaining that Metamor is a land famed for its arts, even with the curse upon them. Phil did not come intending to write, but after the Curse struck him, he found solace in writing about his experiences, and became renowned enough to become headmaster.

He then moves onto the various topics of writing: finding inspiration, organizing the story, how to concentrate on writing, awareness of word choice and repetition, and beta reading. Next, he gives general advice to writers in general: don't worry about writing your best ever story, that the only way to improve is to write every day, to read great authors and to observe how you react to their writing, to write about what you know, and to not be discouraged by lack of expertise, especially when it comes out of youth and inexperience.

He ends his speech by hoping that he hasn't hurt any feelings by his speech, as rabbits do not deal well with conflict. His audience laughs with sympathy. Phil is not aware that someone has been transcribing his speech.


Main Characters:

  • Phil: Headmaster of the Writer's Guild.


  • Matthias: Another headmaster.
  • Thomas: Duke of Metamor Keep.
  • Isaac Asimov, Joe Haldeman, Larry Niven, Robert Heinlein: Great authors that Phil holds in high regard, particularly Heinlein.

Behind the Scenes

  • Out-of-universe, Phil's essay was in development for months, in response to many List writers asking him for writing tips. He had difficulty with it until he used his MK character to voice it.
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