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Science Fiction & Definitions

Published on December 3rd

It’s come to my attention that, once again, there are mutterings around the internet about how science fiction absolutely has to be about SCIENCE, with the implication that anything that involves a bit of, shall we say, speculation, is not real science fiction. This is… disingenuous, I believe (they don’t call it “speculative fiction” for nothing), so here, have my two cents on the subject, totally off the cuff. read more…

What Was Your NaNoWriMo Reward?

Published on December 2nd

Every year, along with a whole lot of other writers around the world, I spend the month of November trying to write 50,000 words. I’ve been doing this for about ten years now, and most years I succeed, but it’s always a struggle. There’s always something. When I first started it was usually papers and midterms, now it’s more often other projects or stuff at my day job. There’s always something that wants to keep you from writing, especially when you’re trying to write 1,667 words a day. I don’t know about you, but even though I’m in the habit of writing every single day, that’s still about twice as many words as I usually manage on a weekday. read more…

Semi-Daily Dandelions

Published on October 15th

Every writer has heroes, other writers who have gone before us and whose work we draw on for inspiration and that little push whenever we feel low or wonder what the point of it all is – it’s not only great scientists who stand upon the shoulders of giants. I have a lot of giants at the top of my beanstalk, but one of the most important to me stands so very tall in my mind only in part because of the writing that she published in her lifetime. The rest of the reason I revere her memory is entirely because of her persona off the page, and the openness with which she interacted with her fans. read more…

Word Choice

Published on October 13th

I’m a fan of musical theater – not something you’d think has a lot of crossover with interest in writing and editing. But I’m specifically a big fan of Stephen Sondheim, in part because of his lyrics (okay, and in part because “Sweeney Todd” is my favorite musical, but come on, Sondheim is the master of lyrics). Not too long ago I read the first part of his biography/collected works Finishing the Hat, and I was fascinated by his discussions of word choice as related to lyrics. I would have guessed he took it seriously, just from what he ends up with, but I was enchanted to hear about the level of thought he puts into the simplest words. He’s still upset about the name of a street mentioned in “Sweeney Todd” that, to him, doesn’t sound right for 19th century London – it sounds more Irish, and he feels he should’ve spent more time looking through maps to find a street name that really worked. That’s serious business. Serious attention to detail. read more…

Learning How to Plot

Published on October 9th

I’ve been writing for years, sometimes less and sometimes more, sometimes fannish and sometimes not, but I’ve always been convinced that I have a hard time with ideas. I get a kernel, and then I kind of get stuck trying to figure out how to thread that idea out into something bigger. The times I work best in that department tend to be when I can bounce ideas off someone else – spin things bigger and bigger in the course of a conversation, and feed off someone else a little bit. I always kind of thought that meant I wasn’t any good at the idea part. read more…

Grammar & Legitimacy

Published on August 22nd

Recently I went out of town on a long business trip across the country. The company I work for very kindly paid my way, and for ease of billing and whatnot they had particular vendors lined up that I should contract with for my hotel room, flight, and the car service to pick me up from the airport. I prepared my car reservations and, like a good little netizen, clicked to read the “Terms of Use” before clicking to submit. Oh boy. Typos and misspelled words EVERYWHERE. Now, this was a small local service we were working with, and the two drivers who helped me out during my trip were wonderful, their service left me with absolutely no complaints. But I admit, I felt a moment of worry looking at that terms of use pop-up. “Seriously?” I thought. “Are these guys legit? I mean, I’m going alone to the other side of the country, I’m arriving fairly late… are these really the people I want picking me up at the airport of a big city?” read more…

Social Needs for a Solitary Art

Published on June 19th

Most of us, when we learn about writing or even when we think about it, imagine a solitary pursuit. We envision the writer alone in an office (preferably lined with books and a leather armchair, with huge windows looking out on a garden… and why not, we can all dream!). I always felt cheated and cheap when I couldn’t generate all that I needed for a project on my own – I felt like that made me less of a writer. My best ideas came (and still come) from tossing things back and forth with friends. Something about explaining things for someone else and leaping one thought off another really opens me up and makes the waters pour. I still feel a little guilty about it sometimes, though. read more…

Getting the Words Down

Published on June 10th

Last night should have been my twenty-third straight day writing at least 750 words over at 750 Words. Unfortunately, something that normally makes me happy ended up being the downfall for my current streak – I got into my writing and lost track of time. In the middle of a sentence, while I was trying to figure out exactly how to phrase what I wanted to say, the clock hit midnight on the Pacific Coast, and 750 Words popped up the red flag and froze my text box. Too late, try again tomorrow. read more…

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