Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fun is okay!

Last week was weirdly packed with fun. I went to a Harry & the Potters show; I ate out at an amazing vegan restaurant, where I enjoyed a blueberry gimlet and this amazing grapefruit juice/elderflower liquer/gin cocktail; I caught a marionette performance featuring a mad scientist and a biomechanical hare. I played games with my family! I planted a basil plant!

So all in all, it was pretty much a refilling the well kind of week. This week is already off to a more word-filled start!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Nyan Cat: Proof friends are the best part of this gig

This blog post will best improve your mood if you play this video as you read:

I love this gig. Being a writer is the absolute shit. People have paid me--or promised to pay me--for putting words together. And sometimes I put words together and the things I've managed to say are actually awesome. I started a new story this weekend, and let me tell you: I love it. (I'll probably hate it before I get done editing, but that's just the way the editing process works. I mean, it's supposed to work like that.)

Not every thing about writer is terrific. There are times when I get frustrated by my inability to rock the words. There are times when the publishing industry pisses me off. And there are DEFINITELY times when the genre community pisses me off. Last week, I saw a lot of jackasses trying to explain why they weren't racist or sexist as they screamed and wailed in an attempt to defend the white boy status quo.

I tried to come up with a really good post about what I felt, and maybe I will figure out the right words someday. In the meantime, I think Ian Sales said it best in one of his comments on the SFSignal discussion on sexism: "If you support the status quo, you are sexist. End of story." You can replace "sexist" with "racist" for equal effect.

You know, every single one of us has unconscious biases that come out in our work. What we owe the world isn't our apologies, it's opening up our worlds to each other. When you know people of other races and you have positive experiences with them, you don't write bigoted work. When you know awesome LBGTQ people, you don't write work that excludes them. When you have a terrific boss that you admire who is a woman, you create fiction that reflects your understanding of women who are men's equals.

You have to open up your head, and you have to make friends. They will make sure that the process of mind-opening isn't as terrifying or painful as you fear it will be. (And yeah, it's scary. It's not easy being vulnerable!)

Plus, your friends, new and old, will help cheer you up when your words get rejected. They'll give you a pep talk when you aren't writing as fast as you like. They'll make sure you get back to your hotel room when you get sloshed at the con.

And they'll make sure you know about Nyan Cat so you, too, can have the song stuck in your head.

Friday, June 10, 2011

SO SAY WE ALL! -- An SF challenge

Today, during an exciting chat with the rest of the Inkpunks about the state of science fiction, I threw down the gauntlet: I challenged us all to work hard to master the science fiction short story. By master, I suggested "achieve a SFWA-pro-level sale of an SF story." No matter what it takes, we're going to rock the roof off the science fiction genre.

I definitely think a lot of people are afraid to write SF -- because they're afraid of science. There's so much to get right when you want your story to fit within the parameters of reality. There's research to do! Embarrassment to be had! But that doesn't mean it's not something worth doing. Writing is one of the best ways to explore the nature of humanity, and what's more worthwhile than skewering the human condition with the most exciting crap technology can dish out? :D

By science fiction, we Inkpunks are restricting ourselves only to fiction that works within the generally accepted rules of nature. So the piece can be a mundane work or a near-future dystopian or a post-apocalyptic adventure ... it just can't have magic or elements that make zero sense within the boundaries of modern science. Zombies--the undead kind--are pretty much out. Witches, too. (What the heck am I going to write about?!?! Isn't everything I write about zombies or witches?)

If you're a writer who reads this blog, I throw the gauntlet at you, too. The world needs more great science fiction. It's science fiction that fed the hearts and imaginations of the mid-century American scientists who took us to the moon. It's science fiction that stirred the dreams of the great twentieth century inventors. Let's give the next century something to talk about!

PS: If you're already on-board the science fiction train, I know that right now the Science in My Fiction site is running its 2nd annual short story contest. Go send them something exciting!

Monday, June 06, 2011

AMAZING people being amazing

Today was a wonderfully normal day after two weeks of struggling with health issues. It was nice to have nearly full command of my brain (still feel groggy and tired), and be able to go a day without a nap break. Since I'm still kind of dumb, I thought I'd just banter about the last few days. So, in no particular order or logic:

  • The amazing Snarke came by for some quality girl time (and lawksamussy, we were two girls in need of some girl time!), aka, Lunch At Burgerville + Marathon Chat. She blew my mind by bringing me a copy of Fuzzy Nation. Signed. By Mr. Scalzi, the Overlord of SFWA. I'm pretty certain there is no kinder person on the earth.
  • The amazing John Joseph Adams sent me many, many older issues of F&SF magazine. The next daunting task is to read all these babies, which will be inspirational!
  • Due to the encouragement of the amazing Molly Tanzer and the amazing Erin Stocks, I have picked up the cookbook Appetite for Reduction and have started cooking really healthy & delicious foods. I say "encouragement," but mostly I mean "mouth-watering posts on their blogs & Twitter that feature these amazing recipes." But it's nice to be returning to my whole-foods, healthy ways! It's been a while since I've been inspired to cook!
  • On a totally unrelated note, we had ramen for dinner. *looks shamefaced*
  • A new submission was made, for the first time in, like, months.
  • I had a major brainwave, erased the last 1500 painfully scraped together words of the novel-in-progress, and belched out 908 exciting wonderful words.
  • In a totally related note, put Richard Matheson's Hell House on hold at the library.
  • I've been listening to the podcast of my story "Cold Iron and Green Vines" over at Beneath Ceaseless Skies. It's so cool to hear someone else read my stuff!
Well, that's really about it. It's wonderful to be awake and healthy enough to be blogging at 10 at night!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Unseen Stage Fright

Sandra Wickham said it today on Twitter: I think about my novel all the time. I can't wait till I it's time to write. Finally, I sit to write and I freeze up with stage fright.

Boy do I understand! After taking that my sick days, I feel paralyzed with fear, especially after reading through a chunk of pages yesterday and getting the work back into my head. What if I screw it all up? What if I've lost my touch? What if an evil interloper has strangled my muse and is going to pretend to be my muse, thus leading me to write 9 pages of chick lit inside the haunted house I've been struggling to create?

I read Erika's advice about getting started, and while it all resonated deeply inside me, I know me. I know there are only a handful of things that can turn off my stage fright: chocolate, gum, and massive doses of caffeine. Since it's evening, coffee is out of the question--I need to sleep tonight. But I can bribe myself with my candy bar (just a few squares! I'm not crazy, and honestly, I don't like more than a small serving of the super-dark stuff) and my two fresh packs of Orbit gum.

Yeah, wish me luck. These are the moments when I understand why so many writers have substance abuse issues.