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Resources for Writers

Writing Hackers: Really Useful Links by Paul Anthony Shortt

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Article by Paul Anthony Shortt ©.
Posted in Resources (, ).

It’s been a long time since movies like Hackers and Swordfish thrust the notion of the all-powerful cyber-wizard into the minds of audiences. And yet, the image remains a romantic one. Kept in the mainstream media through organisation such as Anonymous and the frenzy every time the latest cyber-leak story breaks, hackers occupy a nebulous place in the collective consciousness.

At once criminal and hero, the popular image of the online rogue, a modern-day Robin Hood, persists through movies, television, and video games. But ask anyone with any knowledge on the subject, and they’ll tell you that the science fiction icon is nothing more than pure fantasy.

Here are some links to show you what we often get wrong about hackers, and how to find the balance between keeping such characters believable, and yet still compelling.

1: Things About Computers & Hacking Writers Need to Know – First up, the basics. This is foundational stuff that should inform every creative decision you make for your hacking story.

2: Hacking if Actually Kind of Boring – Chuck Wendig is one of my favourite sources of writing wisdom, and here he shares what he’s learned about hacking, from an article to coincide with the release of his hacking-focused novel, Zer0es.

3: Don’t Use the Magic Hacker – Hackers are the modern and sci-fi thriller’s answer to wizards. If not handled properly, they can wipe out all the tension you’re trying so hard to create.

4: How to Write Well Hacker Edition – This article gives insight into the mindset and personality traits common in real-world hackers and computer programmers, with additional links to further your research.

5: 10 Genre-Defining Sci-Fi Hacker Novels – Lastly, as I often do, I have a reading list for you. These 10 books are essential reading for anyone with a passion for.

That’s all for this week. Good luck!

(c) Paul Anthony Shortt


Paul Anthony Shortt believes in magic and monsters; in ghosts and fairies, the creatures that lurk under the bed and inside the closet. The things that live in the dark, and the heroes who stand against them. Above all, he believes that stories have the power to change the world, and the most important stories are the ones which show that monsters can be beaten.

Paul's work includes the Memory Wars Trilogy and the Lady Raven Series. His short fiction has appeared in the Amazon #1 bestselling anthology, Sojourn Volume 2.

Website: http://www.paulanthonyshortt.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pashortt