About a year ago I wrote a rant about the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones. It got a lot of hits, and also exposed me to the lovely experience of women saying that the only reason I was so upset by the sexism in the show was because I was jealous of all the sex the characters in the show were getting (you know, all that good rape and prostitution sex). Anyway, for the most part all the comments on the post have been tame, and I’ve been grateful for that. But just now I got a really long response–a thoughtful response that disagreed with my take on the book and attempted to explain it to me. Which… I appreciate that it was thoughtful, but I just don’t have the time or energy to respond to things like that (because my reading is not yours, so stop trying to convince me that yours is the one true path because seriously random internet person? Why do you care what I think?). So I approved the comment, and clicked away.
Then I thought for a moment. This post has been a thorn in my side for over a year now. Not because of the comments it generates (which are rare), but because the most popular search strings used to find my blog are dozens upon dozens of variations of the question ‘When do Cersei and Jamie do it.’
While I took a small thrill from the idea that my blog post was the LEAST likely to give them a satisfactory answer, I’m tired of being grossed out by the daily reminders that what people most want to read about, or watch on television is… that. So the post has been set to private, and one day, hopefully, the searches will stop. Or will stop finding my blog at least.
Apparently all my blog posts lately have been on dates ending in 5. I was sad this afternoon because I couldn’t think of anything to write about, and then realized I forgot to mention this: I’ve been named as a guest judge for Spark’s latest contest, the theme of which is “Fables.” You can find more information here. The contest is for both poetry and prose, and there is no fee to enter. Grand prize is $500 plus publication in Spark: Volume VI.
I use the notes application on my phone to write things down from time to time. Sometimes I write ideas for stories, sometimes I record overheard bits of conversation or found language which I can use for stories… sometimes other things.
This… I don’t know what this is:
From December 4, 2013 4:07 PM
“Fuck you. Please be gentle.
Once there was an ugly barnacle. He was so ugly that everyone died. The end.
? ? They were infected. ZOMBIES…”
I do not remember writing this. Which leads me to the inevitable conclusion that my phone is haunted.
The January/February issue of Black Static contains the story “Passion Play” by Malcolm Devlin (aka Vince Haig).
I first read this story during the third week of Clarion West and fell in love with it pretty much instantly. I loved it so much I even didn’t care that the re-enactment of a missing person’s last moments for the press made absolutely no sense to me as that’s not something people do in the United States.
I loved it because it was a ghost story. I loved it because it was delicate and fragile. I loved it because of the nuns. I loved it because it was about a friendship between two girls that fell apart. I loved it because of the ending. I loved it because it was beautiful and perfect and strange.
I loved it despite the title (which I still hate).
I loved it despite the fact it was 6900 words.
The story is a little longer now. And a few things have been changed here and there, particularly the ending (not the last few lines, which were gloriously perfect and remain so, but the final scene). But the most important thing is it is published. It is in print. It is now and forever on my bookcase.
And I love it just as much now as when I first read it. And I know you will too.
Issue 3 of The Dark has been released on Weightless Books. Don’t know when the stories will be put up on the website but my guess is soon.
“Burial” is the first story I wrote after coming back from Clarion West. I cheated a little by relying on a first paragraph I had written beforehand (and it really is cheating considering the story only has about 8 paragraphs in total). It’s an odd little thing. My workshop wanted me to try to expand on it and make it a bit more logical, but ultimately it is what it is.
Edit: The story is now online at The Dark
Lois Tilton reviewed The Dark and recommended my story as well as “Zeraquesh in Absentia” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew.
On the first day of Workshop this spring, John Kessel introduced me to a new framework of examining stories: the Formalist approach (where technique is all that matters) vs the Humanist approach (responsibility of content). He was discussing it in the context of novels such as Lolita which a Formalist would praise due to its craft, whereas a Humanist would be bothered by the fact that it’s about a pedophile and doesn’t do enough to condemn him. Having never read Lolita, I can’t really wade into that particular debate, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about off and on since then. Which is more important: telling a good story, or telling a story that supports good values. Obviously the easy answer is ‘do both’ but I think I generally fall on the Humanist side of the equation as a reader. I’m more interested in reading things which challenge sexism and racism, than a story that is technically flawless, but seems to support a world view which I find abhorrent.
The Drabblecast has produced a podcast of my story All the Young Kirks and Their Good Intentions. This was the first story I sold to Clarkesworld (where it was podcasted by Kage Baker), which I talked about in an earlier blog post. Continue reading
For my screenwriting class we’ve been assigned to read Washington Square by Henry James. James apparently based the main character, Catherine, on his sister. To that all I can say is thank god my brother is an artist, not a writer. Because fuck. Continue reading
On a writing forum I saw the following question:
Suppose someone brand new to publishing wants to start submitting short stories, where do you suggest starting?
I had a cheat. When I started writing fiction, I went to Orson Scott Card’s Bootcamp. While the workshop was useful in a few respects, the best thing I got out of it was my friend Oliver. I knew nothing. Oliver, it seemed, knew everything. He told me about Speculations and the Black Hole (the Duotrope of its day). He (metaphorically) held my hand as I revised stories and considered sending them for publication. He also hinted that I shouldn’t send that one story off to Realms of Fantasy (my first fiction submission). He was right in the sense that it was unpublishable, but wrong in the sense that it would be years before I would write anything publishable, and holding off on submitting stories until I was ready would’ve meant I didn’t learn as much in the intervening years.
But you don’t have an Oliver. So here’s what you need to know: Continue reading
Today the Broncos play the Patriots in the AFC Championship. My mother will not be watching. Not because she’s not interested in the game, or its outcome, far from it. My mother has been a fan of Peyton Manning, the Broncos quarterback, since he started at the University of Tennessee back in 1994. My mother skipped visiting me one Parents’ Weekends because she had tickets to a Vols game. I should add that the Parents’ Weekend in question was the same weekend as my birthday. Continue reading