Category Archives: 2012
The Locus Awards is the only major F&SF award where you don’t have to meet a particular criteria to be able to vote, unlike the Nebula Award, where you have to be a member of SFWA or the Hugo, where … Continue reading
Here’s my holiday gift to you. This story was original to the collection that came out in September, Near + Far. It’s one of my favorites. Here’s the print version as well as a link to the audio version, read by me and edited by the wonderful Lauren Harris.
Last week in the Writing F&SF Stories class, we talked about dialogue. This is a basic tool for a writer, one whose importance cannot be ignored.
I’ve started tabletop playing again, although it’s via Google Hangouts rather than in person. My brother’s running a Changeling: The Lost campaign and it’s a great way to spend a little time with both him and my sister-in-law, along with meeting some new fellow players. I really love what he’s doing, which is using a system called Microscope in order to collaboratively generate the setting for the game, and it’s making me wonder about the possibilities of it for generating a shared world setting.
I blogged a couple of days ago about arranging stories and my philosophy for such arrangements. I wanted to show those principles in action by looking at the two ToCs for the book Near + Far.
As you may know, the book is divided into two parts, near future stories and far future stories. This allowed us to take advantage of the old Ace double format, where each half is one side of the book. It also meant creating two tables of contents, one for each section.
So here’s the order for the Near section, with some explication:
The always fabulous Jude Marie Green mailed me. Her question, which got me thinking, was: What does an editor do (besides acquire) to make the issue “come together”?
It wasn’t the first time this question’s come up, and I’ve never seen much about it, so I wanted to talk a little about the idea of arranging things. Because an ideal magazine issue or anthology isn’t just a bunch of stories in a box. In theory, at least, the editor has selected stories that resonate with each other and arranged them in a way that’s meaningful. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
It’s that time of year when people are stepping up their reading for the various awards and their best of the year lists. I’m making my own, and if you’ve got something I should be paying attention to, please feel free to point me to it in the comments here or mail it to me.
Tonight’s the final session of the recent Thursday F&SF class, and it’s the one labelled in my notes as “Everything Else.” All the career stuff, the mechanics of submissions, how to schmooze at conventions, foreign reprints, agents, etc. Here’s the rough outline from my notes.
One of the things I’ve been doing this month is cooking more in an attempt to wean Chez Rambo away from a too heavy reliance on eating out. The other day I made us eggnog French toast for breakfast (take … Continue reading
A metaphor that I was exposed to at Clarion West (now nearly a decade ago) still works beautifully for me, and it’s one I use when teaching: the idea of the writer’s toolbox.
In my mind’s eye, it’s a big red metal tool chest, small enough to be carried around, large enough that you wouldn’t want to HAVE to carry it around all the time. Inside, drawers lift out to reveal neatly packed devices and tools, each in their own padded slot.
There’s a blade capable of lopping off awkward paragraphs, and sharper, tinier words designed for work at the sentence level, trimming beginnings till they catch a reader like a fish hook and pull them into the story. There’s a box of punctuation marks, with a special slot for the semicolons. There’s the intricate device of an unreliable narrator, calculated to wobble like a gyroscope yet still remain true to the story’s course. There’s a set of filters, each one a specific point of view, each letting you cast a section in a different light. And a layer of ornamental gadgetry: epigraphs and scraps of poetry. And a valuable gimlet, capable of drilling down to a character’s motivation: the question, “What does s/he WANT?”