Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Unveiled!

Tenea D. Johnson and Steve Berman have announced the table of contents for Heiresses of Russ 2013, and guess what...I'm in it.

“Harrowing Emily” by Megan Arkenberg
“Reality Girl” by Richard Bowes
“The Witch Sea” by Sara Diemer
“Saint Louis 1990” by Jewelle Gomez
“Narrative Only” by Kate Harrad
“Nightfall in the Scent Garden” by Claire Humphrey
“Elm” by Jamie Killen
“Beneath Impossible Circumstances” by Andrea Kneeland
“One True Love” by Malinda Lo
“Winter Scheming” by Brit Mandelo
“Feed Me the Bones of Our Saints” by Alex Dally McFarlane
“Nine Days Seven Tears” by JL Merrow
“Oracle Gretel” by Julia Rios
“Otherwise” by Nisi Shawl
“Chang’e Dashes from the Moon” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
“Astrophilia” by Carrie Vaughn
“Barnstormers” by Wendy Wagner

I was also really happy to note that last one, Wendy Wagner's "Barnstormers", which first appeared in Ideomancer.  (I was the slush reader who caught that one--for some reason this always makes me feel extra-pleased when the story goes on to do well!)

Strange Horizons makes a great showing, too: several of these stories first appeared there, including mine, plus work by editors Brit Mandelo and Julia Rios made the list.  I'm proud to appear in this company.

Go here to look at the cover!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

So, this Kickstarter I'm backing...

Long Hidden is an anthology of "speculative fiction from the margins of history", edited by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older and to be published by Crossed Genres.  It's already funded, but I'm really hoping it will reach its stretch goal to be able to include even more stories.

In the words of the mission statement, this anthology is participating in a tradition of "literary resistance to erasure".  I love this statement, I love the list of authors already lined up, and I love that there are more spots open for submissions from those of us not yet big enough names to have been asked in advance.

Most of all, though, I love seeing the enthusiasm around this project.  680 people, as of this writing, are so into this idea that they're supporting it sight unseen.  That tells me there's a really enthusiastic market for SF that isn't just about royalty or spaceship captains.

I've always liked to learn history from fiction.  Oh, I'm fully aware that fiction can't always be relied upon for facts--we writers are prone to moving cities, marrying off people who lived decades apart, and other such conveniences in service of a more enjoyable story.  But good historical fiction is also deeply true in its depiction of people's lives.  When I read it, I'm not just learning history--I'm learning empathy.

As a reader, I feel like I'm going to benefit from this book in more than the usual way.  As a writer, whether my story makes it in or not, I'm thrilled to see such an appetite from other readers.  Every backer of this project is urging us all to keep writing our truths, to keep telling the stories no one else can tell.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Novel Enduro: The Finish Line

Done.  Wait, let me say that again:

DONE.

80,000 words of PURE GENIUS.  Yeah: 80,000... despite word counts of more than 2k new stuff per day yesterday and today.  I took out a lot of faffing about, especially from the beginning.  And here we see the problem with the Pantsing Method: when I started writing this book I had no clue at all where it was going.  I wrote a lot of scenes that ended up being character background--worthwhile work for me, but not stuff that really needs to be in the final version, as it has the effect of slowing down the action.

So I actually have a 20-item list of things to fix in the next draft, but they feel like next-draft things: strengthening certain thematic threads, punching up some of the action scenes, reading through the dialogue to improve the voices (something I seem to have a problem getting right out of the gate).  It's possible there are continuity issues, because I haven't done a proper date-map yet.  And it's even possible there will be a character streamlining--I have a few secondary people who all seem to be doing the same job.

But the important thing is that this draft has an ending.  I wrote it today.  I cried.  It's a happy ending!  That's a new thing for me!

Fave sentence: "Gavin kissed him on the mouth, standing across their threshold.  And deep below the parking garage, the concrete caissons of the apartment building shook against the surrounding clay."



Why is it my fave?  Because it's the last one.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Novel Enduro: Day VIII

79,000 words.  Two new scenes left to write, maybe three.  Not with a bang, but a whimper (from the author, who's continually surprised at how fucking emotionally draining it is to end a book!)

Horrible things: how hard it is to write romantic scenes without slipping into Hollywood tropes.  I haven't had much practice, I guess... in my previous novel, there wasn't a central love relationship, just a bit of dating.

Beautiful things: getting one of those scenes right, I think!  Also, some more bits with magic, always fun.

Tonight's homework: going through a year's worth of notes from my writing group because I'm almost positive there's a great suggestion in there about a specific missing scene I should write, and I can't remember what it is.  And being a very orderly person, I'd like to write that missing scene before I write the two final scenes, because once those are done I'd like to go celebrate, instead of messing around some more.

Also, today's win: Beyond Binary is nominated for a Lambda Literary Award!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Novel Enduro, Days VI & VII

I didn't have time to post Monday because I had an urgent need for a pint with my husband at Bar Volo at day's end.  I did, however, hammer in another 2000 words, bringing that day's total to just over 77,000.

Sadly, it's still there as of today.  I put in hours of work to keep it there, too.  I deleted several vestigial, useless or outdated scenes, and the new words I added were just barely enough to keep the total count on track.

I don't think this novel is going to be quite 90k, but it is still going to be done by the end of the week: I have about five scenes left to write, and none of them contain land mines as far as I can tell.

I've also had a flurry of other writing-related activity, including both success and failure, which I can't share at this time, and only mention in order to provide context for why today was another low-count day.  I can see this being quite a time-sink for a full-time writer.  As my own publishing history grows, and my involvement with the SF community with it, I find myself with a lot of tangential tasks like updating my website, mailing contracts, Ideomancer slush, social media, grant applications, SFWA business.  All worthwhile and part of the work, and I need to account for it in my Grand Plan.

The Grand Plan for the rest of today, however, includes mostly stretching and tea-drinking.  G'night!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Novel Enduro: Day V

In the spirit of public accountability, I'm posting even though this day has NOT gone as well as the others.

Today's word count: 1263.
Total word count: 75,250 of 90,000.
Percent completion: 83.6%.

Beautiful things: bike couriers, hand-pulled noodles at Pacific Mall.

Horrible things: everyone wants you to talk about things and you just want to whack-a-mole every single thought that surfaces in your brain.

Favourite sentence:  "It was the voice he used on both Gavin and Asta, when they were sleepy or sick and had to be coaxed."

What went wrong with this day: Late start due to unavoidable obligation; rewrote the same scene four or five times before getting it even close; deleted another scene entirely, cancelling out a bunch of word count.


Interesting note: judging by where I am right now, this novel isn't actually going to hit 90k.  I think I'm closer to the end of the action than that.  Which is fine.  I'll just throw in some more sex ;)