Friday, April 29, 2011

Numbah Fowah!

"Trois" accepted by Khimairal Ink for their July 2011 issue.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writing: Death Match! Short Stories vs The Novel! Lay your bets!

Uh Oh.

I have an idea for a novel. AND IT WON'T LET ME GO.

Over the years I've had a few ideas for novels come and, 99% of the time, go. Either they don't interest me enough to sustain me up to X-ty thousands of words, someone beats me to the idea, or the idea isn't big enough for novel size.

But this one...this one *shakes clenched fists, looks like she's just drunk three cans of Coke Zero in quick succession*

Monday, April 25, 2011

Truly, Madly, Rejections 25/04/2011

"Twixt" rejected by Lightspeed via form letter in my fastest. rejection. EVAH! (10 hours! Do I get a prize?)

"The Words Women Say That Men Don't Hear" rejected by Wily Writers via nice form letter.

"Through the Open Door" rejected by Electric Spec via form letter. Woohoo, it's hit double digit rejections!

Darren Hayes, a blonde bestubbled man, looks over his shoulder apprehensively at a Star Wars Stormtrooper
Reject me, will you? Me 'n my frend will see about that...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Writing: Find The Sweet Spot

The last couple of months have been, as you can imagine, a little difficult when it comes to my writing.

I know some writers deal with difficult circumstances in different ways: some use their work as a way to power through; others absolutely fall apart. I think I did better than I expected - I was fully expecting a complete crash in productivity and there was a moment or two where I questioned what the hell I was doing, but I knew that was just the stress talking.

In the first couple of weeks I solely focused on the incomings and outgoings - keeping my submissions rolling after a rejection. Three to four weeks in I was happy to do a bit of editing and rewriting of older manuscripts and I got a couple more stories out on the slush piles that way.

The last three weeks have seen my productivity pick up, and I'm really pleased: I finished a story I started just before the quake (after three false starts); I started rewriting an old story in a completely fresh way (using some concepts and ideas I've picked up since I originally wrote it); I rewrote and submitted a piece for a competition (then after rejection rejigged it); and just this week I got my old Writer Monday back to good form by completing a first draft of a story in one sitting.

Writing all this down, thinking about it, suddenly makes me realize how much I've got done even in a stressful time. I know it's not working on a novel, or 3000 words a day, but I've done something where I thought I couldn't, and that's a real boost to me, the eternal procrastinator.

In the last couple of months, perhaps because I wasn't worrying about my technique (I worry constantly if I'll ever get better), things have clicked a little better into place. I think this comes down to three things: I had a punchy opening line (I LOVE punchy openers); I wrote copious notes about the theme, characters and worlds; and I had a clear place to finish (I have this habit of wanting to be a bit obfuscatey/obscure sometimes). What I didn't do though was plot completely. I have this thing about being a "loose planner" - I let the world and characters drive things, which took my notes in fun and fresh directions.

Another thing I noticed about these three recent stories is that subtlety seems to be creeping in, and it makes for a better reading experience. I'm not hitting the reader over the head with the theme, or how to feel about the problem/character. I attribute this change in my technique to sheer hard work and persistence. I've written some clangers in the last year and been about as subtle as a brick some times. Now, perhaps, my good vs bad stories are going to become less haphazard as I discover the good parts of my writing voice, and what style of SFF I'm better at.

I have always been about writing sociological SFF, but I've gone a bit softer than I originally intended. I want to write some fun Space Opera and harder SF, but I'm a little scared of it - I don't want to muck up the facts (make myself look silly, like I don't know my science). I could probably resolve this issue by taking up some research techniques - I need to start reading science journals and articles more.

I am more than happy though with my exploration of gender and various -isms. I know I still have a long way to go to put aside my privileges, and I want to learn and explore a lot more. I hope I don't let people down or do any harm with these explorations. If I do, I fully deserve a good dressing down about it.
It's all about finding my Writing Sweet Spot: getting a good writing groove going on and being in the zone; being so enthusiastic about a story that I'm thinking about it all the time to almost all exclusion of all else until I've tweaked it to perfection; and ultimately really pleased with what I've written...

...then waiting for rejections and feedback to kick my ass. feet

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I've had the Rejections of my life, and I've never felt like this before 13/04/2011

"Twixt" rejected by Asimovs via form letter.

"The Woman With Flowers In Her Hair" rejected by Kaleidotrope by form letter.

And after all the excitement of my SJV nomination...I didn't make the final ballot. Sigh. I feel stoopid for getting all excited about it now.

ETA: And to top it all off, "Me Myself I" rejected by snail mail form letter from Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine. I think that must be some kind of record, four rejections in a day...

There's an app for flat

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Daily Bike Commute Through Muntsville: A Photo Essay

The term "new normal" has been bandied around a lot lately.  It's becoming very easy to travel past the same scenes of destruction or demolish on a daily basis and not a bat an eyelid, but if you go to another part of town you haven't seen since before the earthquake it can be quite horrifying.

I have yet to see the majority of the centre of town, Sydenham, the eastern suburbs, Ferrymead, Sumner and the hills. But what follows below the fold is what I see on my daily bike commute to work, my new "normal". (Photo intensive, all photos can be clicked on for larger viewing).

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Feminist Science Fiction - "The Female Man" Joanna Russ

Burned any bras lately har har twinkle twinkle A pretty girl like you doesn't need to be liberated twinkle har Don't listen to those hysterical bitches twinkle twinkle twinkle I never take a woman's advice about two things: love and automobiles twinkle twinkle har May I kiss your little hand twinkle twinkle twinkle. Har. Twinkle.
"The Female Man" by Joanna Russ, Part 3, section 5.

I'm currently reading "The Female Man" and it is WILD. It's totally gonzo, whacked out, angry and it's making me laugh out loud.

ETA: Having finished the book, I can qualify the "Laugh Out Loud" with quite a bit of hesitation on her handling of transgender themes. For all it's feminist goodness, if you're ever reading it please keep in mind the book is now 35 years old and written at the height of the second wave.