Interesting things I’ve recently found on the net:
The Kickstarter that was (then wasn’t) – A storify re: an author’s attempt to kickstart the next book in her series (after it was dropped by her publisher) and the ensuing backlash from her fans.
Cellphones do not give you brain cancer – Basically, if they did, then brain cancer rates would be way up since the 60s, and they’re not. Although I guess there could be a confounding factor (i.e. there could be another factor which was lowering brain cancer rates and counteracting the effect of cellphones).
Rose Lemberg on self-rejection – Rose went on a Twitter rant regarding marginalized writers’ tendency to self-reject and find reasons to not send out their work.
I have a story in Clarkesworld this month: “Seeking boarder for rm w/ attached bathroom, must be willing to live with ghosts.” I really like this story. It’s the second of the stories from my MFA workshop to see publication. There’s a whole backstory behind it that I’m too lazy to spin at the moment. Suffice it to say that I once lived with an old (and very nice) gay men who liked to connect unicorns. They were everywhere: unicorn figurines; unicorn tapestries; unicorn porcelain; unicorn place settings. He just loved unicorns.
My story “Sexual Cannibalism” is also out in issue #7 of the literary magazine Birkensnake. This is one of my favorite stories. I think it’s possible that it’s the best story I’ve ever written, and it’s certainly the best that I’ve ever published. I loved reading this during my MFA reading at Hopkins. It’s a great story for a reading–seven short little vignettes–and it was also pretty shocking for the undergrads. They had no idea what to make of it.
I love being tagged in memes, but I rarely go out and do them, because I hate to tag other people: it feels too much like you’re imposing an obligation on them. However, Amy Sundberg has shown me the way–she just uses her “I tag you” space to talk about other blogs that she likes. And since I have recently encountered a number of great author-blogs, I am 100% down with that strategy.
Anyway, the meme is the My Writing Process meme. And the questions are:
What are you working on?
Well the answer, my friend, is that right now I am working on nothing. However, in the near future, I hope to get to work on revising at least 3-5 of my MFA stories, so I can throw them out into the world. And I also plan on writing a middle-grade novel whose plot and voice I’ve sort of worked out (by doing, no joke, 23 versions of the first chapter). The novel also has the most concise description which I’ve ever managed for a book: It’s about the trials and tribulations of the only Voldemortish kid in an entire town full of Harry Potter-type chosen ones.
How does your work differ from other works in its genre?
I think my work is much higher-concept than most writing for kids. On the concept level, alot of children’s books are variations on the same old thing (“in my evil dystopia, there’s no music allowed” or “In my romance, the girl falls in love with her main rival when she competes on a Gordon Ramsay-style cooking show!”). Basically, all they’re doing is shifting the set-dressing, but underneath they’re using the same plots, character types, conflicts, and value systems as all the other stuff. In my case, I feel like the concepts are fresher, and they integrate with concept and character in a more natural way.
How does your writing process work?
It’s always evolving. Lately, I’ve been more careful to listen to what my unconscious is trying to tell me and to interrogate my work as I go. If I feel like something isn’t working quite right, I don’t forge ahead, I back off and circle around and try to figure what I can do. This leads to alot of rewriting, particularly in the beginning (remember those 23 drafts), but I think that it results in a much more cohesive and well-thought-out result. Once I’m under way, though, I tend to produce my first drafts relatively quickly (often in under 30 days). As for revision, I don’t have a very concrete system down, since I’ve only taken two books through to the final stages of revision, and, in both cases, much of the revision happened as a result of my agent’s (always very astute) critiques. Other than him, I don’t really use any first readers (though maybe I should).
Alright, so I am not tagging these people or asking them to respond in any way whatsover. Instead, I’m just going to point out three great author blogs that I’ve only very recently discovered:
Justine Larbalastier is a young adult writer who posts in an incredibly clear and concise way about the publishing industry and the path of the new writer (I guess she’s not new, since she’s been publishing for a decade, but still, she’s at least in tune with newness). I don’t think she posts that often, but when she does, it’s usually something thought-provoking. For instance, right now she’s beginning a series where she reads and writes about classic works of best-selling women’s fiction (Valley of the Dolls, Peyton Place, Flowers in the Attic, etc). That’s so brilliant: I was a bit annoyed that I hadn’t thought of it myself.
Malinda Lo is another young adult writer who posts a lot about issues of diversity (particularly queerness and race) in the YA world. Without her blog, I’d pretty much know zero about any of the LGBT YA that’s not written by David Levithan. Her most recent post is a very thoughtful analysis of her feelings, as a Chinese American, about white Americans writing Chinese protagonists. No easy answers there, but there’s only worthwhile way to blog about cultural appropriation issues, and that’s by looking deep into yourself and writing about what you find there (which is a surprisingly hard thing to do).
I just got word that Steve Berman, the publisher of Lethe Press (which specializes in queer speculative fiction) wants to reprint my Diverse Energies story “Next Door” in Wilde Stories 2013, which is a collection of the year’s best queer speculative fiction. This is my first-ever reprint sale! It’s also good to work with Steve again. We were at Clarion together (wayyyyyy back in 2006).
Why I Attend Conventions – Post from Amy Sundberg about why she goes to conventions, even though it’s not particularly career-advancing for a neo-pro writer.
The #1 Rule of Everything – Steven R. Stewart writes about how it can be paralyzing to become obsessed with rules and the one true way to pursue your writing.
“Toddler’s rare condition means he can’t stop smiling” – a horrifying news story that the parents’ don’t seem to think is horrifying. The mother says, “Sometimes I don’t even think it’s a result of the Angelman’s — he doesn’t have a care in the world, so why wouldn’t he be happy?”