Friday, February 13, 2015

SFF Writing Roundup

On Wednesdays, I do a weekly web round-up post over at (Also, I wear pink.)

And in the course of searching for lots of SFF-related news in publishing, TV, and film, I also run across a fair amount of stuff that's of interest to me as a writer. Like Kameron Hurley's essay crushing the idea that you have to write every day, and proposing a new model--the 10,000 word writing day. Or her other essay giving us some real talk (and figures) about what the non-J.K. Rowlings and Pat Rothfusses of the world get paid to write books.

Or Brian Stavely's ongoing blog series about transitioning from writing poetry to writing epic fantasy. Apparently, only one of these genres involves spreadsheets to keep track of boring parts like whether or not your character is wearing clean underwear.

Or the fact that SFWA has changed their membership rules, opening up places for self-published authors and authors published with small presses.

Or Tor's announcement about their new publishing tack focusing on novellas via an e-platform.

A couple places to submit: one if you would like to guest blog about representation in SFF, and another (only open for 2 more days) for short-shorts on the edge of realism and speculative fiction.

I'll end with two bits of writing advice. The first is a bit tongue-in-cheek. It came from Neil Gaiman a couple of months ago in response to a fan asking how to start writing, but it's so good that I'll post it again here.

And the other is courtesy of Aimee Bender, who was a guest speaker for the online fiction workshop I'm taking via The Brainery. She was lovely: warm, humble, honest, and funny. And she had some very common-sense writing advice about only working on what you feel like working on. If you come to your writing desk and you don't feel like finishing the story you were working on yesterday, that's fine; write something else. Write what you want to write.

It may sound silly, but this was transformative for me. I spent over a year writing my dissertation, a project that I almost never wanted to be working on. When I finished it and my degree, I thought, finally, I can write what I want. But the process of getting my Ph.D. changed me; where I'd been lazy and apathetic before, I was suddenly all driven, with a strong work ethic, like some kind of Puritan. It was awful.

Don't get me wrong, those are good qualities, but along with them comes a certain, shall we say, singleminded-ness. I'm not always as in touch with "what I want" and am instead still working in service of "what I should." Sometimes I push the words out, trying to shove a story into a particular box. "The ending should be like this!" "I have to send it to this journal!" "It needs to be this many words!"

Since she said that, I've been trying to listen to my creative brain, my crazy cluttered child brain. And it's been wonderful. This past week I've been working on something amazing that I love, that, if I can make it say what I want it to say, will give everyone who reads it chills. And today I wrote, revised, and submitted an entire sci-fi/noir short-short. I'm really excited about it! And all this productivity, even after I loosened my mental reins...

Bless Aimee Bender. :)