Thursday 29 September 2011

If You Love Something Let It Go ... Weird Tales and Apex

A quick note to let my comrades in the short story trenches know. Under new ownership Weird Tales has released it's stories on submission. Under new editorship Apex has released/rejected the stories previously under Catherynne Valente's further consideration (current subs should be chugging through the system).

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Go With the Flow: Is it Better If You're Loving It?

It's been a tale of two stories so far this week. Both started with the same anthology in mind: Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations. The second story flowed, done and dusted in two days. I really enjoyed writing it. The first story, not so much. I was enamoured of the idea, I'd got some meaty characters, but I just couldn't get the story.

So that got me started thinking about flow. Some writers say that their best work is done when they're in the zone. Other writers say it doesn't make a blind bit of difference to the quality of their work.

Me? I'm on the fence again. I'm not sure. I've sold stories that were a dream to write, and stories that felt like I was pulling teeth. Obviously it's more fun writing stories that flow.

I'm wondering if I can use this to my advantage, somehow, someway. One doesn't want to get into the habit of abandoning stories left, right and centre, but . . .  but what? Help me out here, folks.

Monday 19 September 2011

Novel Abandonment

 I don't know how you novelists do it, I really don't. 30K into my current attempt and I realise I'm writing another science fiction quest novel. As if the only plot drivers I can come up with concern people going to fetch things, as if they were nipping to the shops. It's dead to me. I'm starting a new one. Sure I could probaly get it finished if I plodded on, but, meh.

Quest novels are great, but I don't want to write one. I want to write like Phillip K Dick. So I've searched out my old copy of 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' and I'm reading it in the hope of enlightenment. Boy, it's good. And only 180 pages long.

Mabye I ought to plan more, or something. Sigh.

The next day. . . .

Ah. This is a bit embarassing really. Today the novel doesn't seem too bad. Maybe there's more to be learnt soldiering on. What am I like?

Saturday 17 September 2011

I'm the Winner

Of Liquid Imagination's David Farland Daily Kick Competition. Nice. That's $50 and publication for me.

My story, 'Eldritch Restoration' is a tale of the Fairy Apocalypse. 

Do you subscribe to the David's Daily Kicks in the Pants? (in the left sidebar). They're free and they have lots of excellent advice from a highly successful fantasy author. 

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Let's Go Pollyanna

Writing's a tough old game and no mistake, and while I love a good moan, today I'm feeling good about my writing.  Let's Pollyanna it up.

What do you love about writing? Have you got anything you want to share? Care to post a  link to a story you've written? A good review?   Have you finished a chapter of your novel? Got to grips with a particular tricky character? Sold a copy of your book on Amazon? Made a new writing friend? Learnt something new, today?

Let's celebrate. Writing is so cool. We're so lucky that we've got this opportunity to express ourselves.

C'mon all you Pollyannas.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Am I the Only Uneducated Writer on the Block?

Well, I was following a discussion on my writers' forum about theme, and it struck me that I only had the vaguest idea of what they were talking about. Sure, I knew what a theme was-- an underlying message, right? But it had  never occurred to me to think about it when writing my story, or apply it any meaningful way. 

This I put down to my lack of formal education in writing. I'm sure there must have been a lecture about it on any good course. And it got me thinking, am I alone? I've never taken a class or a workshop about writing.

Of course formal education is not the only education. Point in case, I've picked up something about themes from my writers' forum, and I occasionally read a writing book. I have attended a writers' workshop but it was entirely peer crit based and included no formal teaching. Also I've read a lot of books, does that count?

So, what do you think peeps? Care to share your education credentials? What was the most valuable lessons you learnt? Would you recommend me taking some courses, somehow, someway?

Military Science Fiction and the Overcoat of Subgenre

I read a great military science fiction story in Analog, the other day. What struck me was how character driven it was. All the science fictiony bits I thought I could pull off. (I often do this, if I read a story I like, I immediately wonder if I could have written it.)

So, I'm in the middle of a new military science fiction short story. In a moment of inspired originality, I've decided to take elements from one of the most famous battles of all time: Battle of Thermopylae, you know, The Battle of the 300.

It's coming along very nicely with 2000 of first draft finished in a couple of hours. Even though it's going to be character driven, it's still a lot more action based than I usually write. I've got a hive mind element in there, which is leading quite nicely to questions about authority and command. I'm  finding the mechanics of action quite challenging.  So it's good for me.

And because it's military science fiction I'm having to include conflict, something that doesn't always find an overt way into my stories.

It's interesting how the sub-genre shapes story. Even thought there's scope to play, I'm hoping to incorporate some possibly over the top lyrical stuff.

So, my kind readers. Do you stick to the same genre/sub genre? Do you find the conventions useful or restrictive? Any military science fiction writers out there? If so, I'd love it if you could post some links to resources or your stories.

Thursday 1 September 2011

Publication: Double Bubble

Two publications flopped through the letter box, this week. I love contributors' copies.

The first was Odyssey, the young person' science magazine for ages 9-14. Odyssey run a story each issue. I'm  in the 'addicted issue with my story, 'Time Slipping'. I am so pleased with the artwork they commissioned for the story.

Guidelines are here. They have an unusual sub system, you send in as story prĂ©cis and a  couple of examples of your work, if you're successful they commission the complete story with an intention of buying. But I'm proof that you can get through the door this way. They snag all rights, but they do pay 25 cent a word.

The second publication was the Triangulation Anthology (eds Steve Ramey and James Lackey) with my story 'City of Bones'.  The issue had the prompt, 'Last Contact'  I'm very excited with my TOC buddies which include Robert J. Sawyer and Aaron Polson. 
Hee, hee. For the UK Kindle version, I've got top billing. Check it out. How did that happen?

Ah, there's nothing finer than holding hard copy in your hot little hands.