Tag Archives: clarion west
The excellent Folly Blaine reads one of the stories from Near + Far, “Zeppelin Follies.”
I wanted to talk about something that I often say in class. It’s something Connie Willis told my Clarion West class, and which I repeat, but don’t explain as thoroughly as I should, because it’s so clear in my head.
But words are imprecise things, and so I’m a-gonna do what we used to call “unpacking” back in grad school and even provide some useful examples. What did Connie say? She said, “Good fiction teaches us what it means to be human.” As good f&sf writers, I would argue that we might change “human” to “self-aware being,” but that is picking nits.
What does that mean? It means we’re all faced with this common problem: life. And we want to know what we’re supposed to do, and what we can get away with, and what to do about all that hardcoded primate behavior that keeps popping up from time to time, and stuff like that. Sometimes the message features a universal human, sometimes it is a human shaped by particular circumstances, such as race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, etc. It’s why we like to read fiction. It’s why we like gossip. We want to know what other human beings do.
And here’s why this is important: Sometimes thinking about what a story is trying to say is a good way to complete, rewrite, or sharpen it.
It’s the start of another Clarion West season. As always, it was marked by the Locus Awards, which were a ton of fun and extra cool because they were my first chance to see the ARC (advance reading copy) of … Continue reading
The merry but busy month of May is past, huzzah! Rio Hondo was awesome, and had such amazing participants (there are some pics frm it up on Facebook, if you have an account on there). I’m reworking what I have … Continue reading
It’s the time of year when people are contemplating submissions to workshops like Clarion, Clarion West, Odyssey, Taos Toolbox, and a myriad of others. Here’s seven tips to help with yours. Don’t put it off till the last minute. I … Continue reading
Here is one of the wisest things about writing process ever told me, said by Syne Mitchell during a Clarion West Friday mystery muse visit: “Try lots of things, find out what works for you, and then do that. Lots.” Brilliant. Continue reading
As many of you know, I am working on a Big Fat Fantasy Trilogy and chunks of it have become my write-a-thon goal. I hope to have a complete rough draft by the end of July and am well on track for that. Interspersed in the narrative are little set pieces. I thought I’d share a recent one and mention that if you support me in the Clarion West Write-a-thon, you will get at least two more of these AND the first three chapters of the book over the course of the Write-a-thon, even for the smallest of donations. Continue reading