Changing the Story

May 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

Women of the Military

Image from “Women of the Military” (http://www.womenofthemilitary.com/)

I have been hunting for just what the heck Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg had written in the SFWA Bulletin that has gotten so many people angry. I’m not a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), so I don’t get the bulletin or have access to the online version. But I started seeing tweets about it by outgoing SFWA president John Scalzi and incoming president Steven Gould, and I thought surely something this controversial would be made public somewhere. I have yet to find the original Resnick/Malzberg article that caused the uproar, but I have found many things about it, and the gist I’m getting is that Resnick and Malzberg made some sexist statements in a column they write for the bulletin, for which they were vociferously called out. Instead of apologizing, they wrote a second column saying their detractors were trying censor them and control their thoughts. Gasoline, meet fire.

But this post isn’t about that. Well, it sort of is. But it’s really about llamas.

In the course of trying to find the offending Malzberg/Resnick article, I went to SFWA’s website, where I found a post by Kameron Hurley. It’s titled “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative,” and it is very long, but it’s well worth reading. In fact, go read it now—the whole grande enchilada.

I’m glad I read it when I did. My little space opera has several women in it, and while I hope I’m writing them as strong characters, I’ll be going back and looking at them with a more critical eye now. I’m actually kind of nervous about it. I hope I like what I find. Even if I don’t, though, changing the story will make it a better story, and I’m fine with that.

So go read Hurley’s essay, and then change your story.

Make sure you get the llamas right.

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Stephen King: “Never forget, we sell fun.”

May 28, 2013 § 1 Comment

Parade magazine published a “rare” interview with Stephen King over the weekend. There’s not a lot about writing in it, but there is some:

I’m a situational writer. You give me a situation, like a writer gets in a car crash, breaks his leg, is kidnapped by his number-one fan, and is kept in a cabin and forced to write a book—everything else springs from there. You really don’t have to work once you’ve had the idea. All you have to do is kind of take dictation from something inside.

And:

The major job is still to entertain people. Joyland really took off for me when the old guy who owns the place says, “Never forget, we sell fun.” That’s what we’re supposed to do—writers, filmmakers, all of us. That’s why they let us stay in the playground.

Check out the entire interview when you get a chance. Because you know that Stevie King — he’s wicked smart.

Writing about Reading: Consider Phlebas

May 22, 2013 § 2 Comments

When I began assembling a menu of space operas to devour, I had a passing familiarity with most of the books on the list. One, however, I had never heard of — Consider Phlebas, the first book in the Culture series by Iain M. Banks. Not only had I never heard of the book or the series, I’d never heard of the author.

I’m not sure why I’d never heard of Banks. He’s certainly been around a while and made a decent splash in not only the science fiction community, but also the world of literary novels. (When he writes the literary books, he’s Iain Banks; on his sci-fi covers, he’s Iain M. Banks.)

I wish I could say I picked the book up because the reviews won me over, or because I’d finally gotten around to it. The truth, however, is that I decided to bump Banks’ book up the list because I found out that he’s dying, and reading his book now is the only way I have of supporting him and saying “Fuck Cancer!” yet again.

Consider Phlebas is a long book, and I do love long books. The trade paperback weighs in at over 500 pages; not quite Neal Stephenson length, but enough to keep me entertained for a good long while. And entertained I was.

It takes some getting used to, this odd not-so-little novel. It’s chock full of strange and, at times, hard to pronounce names: Bora Horza Gobuchul, Perosteck Balveda, Kraiklyn, Unaha-Closp, and so on. The spaceships have odd names, too; my favorite is the pirate ship Clear Air Turbulence. (Banks is on record as having said that all space operas should have at least one ridiculously named ship in them.)

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What is your creative process?

May 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

Here’s a little bit of humor for the weekend:

The Creative Process by Murray the Nut (www.murraythenut.com)

The Creative Process by Murray the Nut (www.murraythenut.com)

 

This pretty much represents my creative process. The binge eating and discouraged napping wedges might be smaller, but only because the random internet surfing wedge would be larger.

What’s your creative process?

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