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Monthly Archives: January 2014
How to Critique: Best Practices for Workshopping
Both my Writing F&SF Stories and Advanced workshops offer students a chance to critique and be critiqued. To my mind, the latter is actually more useful, because being forced to articulate one’s position on an aspect of writing can be enlightening and instructive. With that in mind, here’s some best practices for such workshops.
You Should Read This: Woman and Nature by Susan Griffin
I found this book in grad school when I was first learning to look into metaphors to find out what they contained.
Who: Read this if you’re a woman, whether or not you call yourself a feminist. Read it if you’re a man trying to write realistic women, because the structures Griffin talks about are ones that affect all of this, but particularly women. Read it if you don’t mind some poetry mixed in with your thinking.
Posted in you should read this Tagged feminism, nature, susan griffin, woman and nature, you should read this Leave a comment
You Should Read This: The Essential Rumi (Coleman Barks translation)
I first discovered Rumi’s work when I was in graduate school. It spoke to me in a way that few other poems had, seeming to pluck out the questions I had and showing me that the answer was already there.
Posted in you should read this Tagged coleman barks, inspiration, poetry, rumi, you should read this 1 Comment
You Should Read This: A Biography of the English Language by C.M. Millward
In A Biography of the English Language, Millward presents some of the complicated history of the English language, first talking about what a language is, along with basics of phonology and writing before moving into Indo-European, Old English (the sage of the arrival of the English, the Christianization of England, and various Viking invasions), Middle English, Early Modern English, and then the array of recent forces shaping our language: the printing press, the industrial revolution, colonization, the codification of grammar, and more.
You Should Read This: Watership Down by Richard Adams
Watership Down was the first of a wave of animal books that included Duncton Wood, The Book of the Dun Cow, and Tailchaser’s Song. It’s inspired an animated movie that is not terrible (bear in mind that I dislike most movies) and which has weathered the years well.
Posted in you should read this Tagged animal fantasy, classic fantasy, fantasy books, richard adams, suggested reading, watership down 1 Comment
On Writing: Have an Impact on the Reader
“The whole point of a short story is to assassinate the reader. You don’t have the time or the space to go to war or do large maneuvers, you can’t do chapters of elaborate setup, there’s much less room for character development—a good writer can get more character development in, but that isn’t my particular strength. Anyway, everything in the short story has to drive toward a short sharp point, whatever it is you’re trying to leave the reader with at the end of the story.” -Yoon Ha Lee
You Should Read This: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie is a fabulous space opera with an unusual protagonist whose struggle will pull the reader in. It is, alas, not a particularly long book, and I could have read at least twice more the length happily.
I must admit to an extra hint of pride in this book’s appearance here, because Ann was a member of my Clarion West class back in 2005, when she was first wowing all of us with her Radchi universe. Ann and I also know each other through SFWA and our shared agent, Seth Fishman.
Posted in you should read this Tagged ancillary justice, ann leckie, clarion west, SFWA, you should read this 1 Comment