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One of the questions I’ve been asked several times and never known how to answer before is “How is writing a novel different than writing a short story?” The smart-ass answer is, of course, a novel is longer, but it’s more than that, more a question of the complexity that a greater length affords you, an ability to move in four dimensions rather than just three.
A short story is smaller, flatter, closer to two-dimensional, while a novel has at least four and probably much more than that. Things interconnect in a short story, but in a novel those interconnections become even more important, indeed are kind of building block. In a novel, things reflect, are doubled, made more complicated, imbued with meaning. So what’s the difference? For me, it’s in the writing, in getting enough of the book in my head to be able to figure out where it’s going next.
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Okay, holy cow, the Nebulas were a blast but also a giddy whirl. Here’s some highlights. (Sundry advice piece #1: It’s good to do these, not just because it makes you remember some of the things you should be following … Continue reading →
When I first became aware of BIC-HOK a few years ago, it enthralled me. I love a good acronym, and doubly so one that promises to whisper the secret to being a writer right into my eager ear. Butt in … Continue reading →
I’m getting ready to head off to the Nebulas in about an hour. Ten years ago at this time, I was getting ready to go off to Clarion West for six weeks. I’d quit my job at Microsoft and my … Continue reading →
One of the things I’ve been trying to do in recent years is look more at the history of the field. In the thrift store, I love finding F&SF anthologies from the 60s and 70s, in part because it’s interesting to see which names kept on going, which faded away. Often the most riveting story in a collection is from a writer whose name I’ll only see that once. In reading anthologies, I find that often one of the most revelatory parts is the introduction, less for anything said about the stories than for clues to the publishing climate at the time.
Recently in the thrift shop, I picked up a couple of paperbacks: two volumes worth of early Hugo winners, edited by Isaac Asimov. Of course I bought them. How could I not, in light of recent controversies? They’ve been an interesting read – particularly when I’m reading the first Nebula volume at the same time — and sometimes illuminating.
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So, how many people have you killed? I mean, characters. And how long have you been doing it? I have to confess: It was hard for me to kill my first character, but after that it got easier. I actually … Continue reading →
Hard science fiction tells stories based on the hardest of hard sciences, particularly on the engineering and technological application of these sciences. If a story doesn’t have space ships, terraforming, anti-grav, robots, or semi-accurate descriptions of planetary orbits and atmospheres, … Continue reading →
Guest Post from Anne Leonard: Writing “Strong Female Characters” in a Patriarchal Secondary World Fantasy
Yes, this is another post about writing “strong female characters.” I am coming to this issue from the position of someone who likes traditional epic fantasy with pseudo-medieval (or at least pre-industrial) cultures. This is my comfort read, and it is what I like to write. This is partly because that was what I grew up on, partly because I’m enough of a romantic to still have a soft spot for heroes, and partly because I like to interrogate that social structure. For me, interesting female characters are the ones who have to face social oppression – the same social oppression I do – and who fight against it within the limitations of their own beliefs about their roles. Feminist fantasy with matriarchal or egalitarian societies isn’t as interesting to me as a writer because it avoids the very problems I want to get my teeth into – what is a woman to do when oppressed? What if she doesn’t know she’s oppressed?
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