May [Insert Deity Here] Have Mercy On Us All, I Was Tagged In a Blog Hop

So, I agreed to do this blog hop thing. (Two, if you want to be technical about it.) Because I don’t have enough to do with my time anyway, right? -_-

But, actually, it’s an interesting idea: One receives questions on the writer’s process, or reasonably related issues, from other people; answers those questions, links back to the person who asked the questions, and then asks questions of still more people. As Matt Moore rather rightly put it, it’s alike to an SFnal Ponzi scheme. Only, as I will note, without scamming people, or, really, any interaction with money.

(–Much like the rest of the publishing industry…. Too soon?)

The lack of monetary interest in any capacity making it somewhat less interesting, I grant you. But, nevertheless, I have agreed to take on two sets of these questions. And thus I am answering both together, because I can.

Also, given everything else I have been doing around making time to answer these questions, I have not had time to gather other people unto this web of non-monetary chain letter mailing.

So take that chain-letter equivalent writer meme! From Hell’s-n0t-at-all-reimbursing-heart-I-stab-at-thee!

And now on to an actual vague form of point:

The first set of questions was given to me by Robert Runté, who has provided the following bio:

Robert Runté is an Associate Professor at the University of Lethbridge, and Senior Editor with Five Rivers Publishing. His editing blog is http://sfeditorca.blogspot.ca/

You can find Robert’s entry in this ongoing absurdity here.

Robert’s questions to me, and my answers, follow:

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You recently said, “my writing process is terrifying if you’re not me”.  I’m keen to know what you meant by that. What exactly is your writing process, and why is it terrifying?

Robert’s actually being somewhat discreet with that question. The exact line he’s quoting is from the e-mail exchange we had about doing this wherein I said “My writing process is fucking terrifying if you’re not me.” Which is true. This is because, unlike all of the writing advice you will ever hear, I eschew the idea of enacting standard writing practice. Or, structuring same. Or indeed having anything that actually resembles an identifiably repeatable process.

I suggest that this is terrifying for many because enacting or creating structure is an excellent way to create order for many writers and keep themselves writing regularly. (This is part of the reason many writers suggest you write every day.)

For my part, I have little interest in order. I work full-time freelance. And I still manage to write. But I don’t do it at a given time of the day. Nor for set lengths. I do it when I have time between other things, when there is something I want to write, or when I am staring down a deadline. I am much more comfortable writing at all hours, not being fixed to one schedule or another, and the writing is not this monolithic thing that absolutely must be done. I am not of the “I shall write when the mood strikes me, or the muse calls to me, and only then” variety of writer either. I am also one of those people who will stop writing in the middle of a sentence, nap briefly, wake up, and continue writing.

If cats wrote fiction they would write fiction the way I write fiction. Tell me that’s not a terrifying thought.

Ultimately, it’s a very fluid process and it works inordinately well for me. I do not begin to imagine that this would be ideal for anyone but me. And if you want some free writing advice, here’s how that applies to you: Everyone has their own individual process. For some, scheduling is an effective tool. For others, fitting writing in around other things works best. And anything and everything in between, or hell and gone from those things, is perfectly fine if that works for you and it allows you to actually get writing done.

And, yes, revising counts as part of writing. So if people are telling you you’re doing this writing thing wrong, or you’re focusing too much on one aspect over another, you tell them to go fuck themselves right and proper.

Nobody gets to dictate to you how you should write but you. And even you need to, sometimes, just shut up, stop talking to yourself about it, sit down and fucking write.

You know. As works best for you.

Where on the “just sit down and write <–-> detailed notes /outline” continuum do you fall? Do revise as you go, or first draft and then revise? Any routines or rituals that need to be followed?

See how I segued so nicely into this question? Huh? Huh?

In addition to the part of this question I answered above, I will add this: I’ve employed both of those forms of writing in the past. I will employ both in the future. Each project requires something different. Sometimes one of those named approaches. Sometimes a hybrid thereof. Sometimes something hell and gone from anything resembling process.

And the same is true of revising. My internal editor is never “off.” I revise as I go, but there are times when I will mostly get through draft work and then go back and revise instead of doing it as I go. Again, it’s about fluidity, not a fixed approach.

And by the same token I’m not much of one for ritual. When it’s dark outside I tend not to turn lights on while I’m writing. (Makes it easier to nap naturally, wake up and continue writing.) But beyond that I don’t really require anything specific to write. I can write in public if need be. On the road. At home. Wherever. I do tend to require an increased intake of food when writing, or editing. And/or post-writing/editing. I assume this is because my body is in a rather literal sense looking to fuel the process.

And now, before this devolves into a discussion about food, onward to the next question!

Your blog/Facebook feed is one of my favourites because you often give your readership a pretty clear picture of an editor’s reactions to submissions. Your commentary often makes me laugh, but it also makes me think–and occasionally to rethink one of my own stories. How does your experience as an editor influence your own writing?

Setting aside momentarily my brilliant (brilliant I tells you! *jazz hands*) deconstruction of work in non-specific, non-attributable, absolutely contextless, uh … context … of Apex submissions on Facebook as a teaching tool to answer the actual question:

Editorial experience is one of those things that will vastly influence the way in which you approach your own work as well as everyone else’s, so, yes, it definitely impacts my writing. Partly in the way I approach doing the actual work, and partly in terms of how I assess what I’m doing before and after. Critical self-assessment is all but impossible, or at least the accurate use of critical exegesis applied to one’s own work is fraught with filters, blinders, and a couple of figurative eighteen-car-pileups sitting between you and actually seeing what you’re doing in an unbiased fashion. But, eventually, and often following sufficient writing, editing, or reviewing, critical theory applied to one’s own work becomes all but second-nature once one has spent enough time applying that critical approach elsewhere.

That’s probably part of the reason I’m not terribly fond of the notion that one must refrain from editing one’s work while writing. Or, really, all of these imperative understandings and usages of writing theory. One is far better off just going with what works for oneself. Worth bearing in mind, too, that all of the “Yea, I cast these scraps of wisdom down upon ye from the mountaintop of literary excellence” exclamations are what worked specifically for the person espousing them. And individual method is precisely that: what worked for that person discussing it.

Wider application of same is possible, sure, though not always ideal, nor always necessary. And decidedly not always advisable.

To each their own (process) and benefiting much moreso from it.

At the risk of asking a really stupid question, do you think that your gender fluidity influences your writing process at all? Which is to say that as an editor and thesis supervisor, I’ve found that male and female writers/students often seem to approach the task differently, and that I have to adjust my feedback and advice accordingly. Hopefully I’m being responsive to individual needs, not sexist, but I’d be curious to know if you’re conscious at all of gender in how you write?

It’s not a stupid question, just one I’m not entirely certain I can answer. And whose basis I will also deconstruct now.

Gender fluidity is much more about liminal than fixed states, or being in any one understanding of gender or another. It’s a spectrum of aspects of gender identity that are commonly applied, in social understandings, in binaries elsewhere. I’m also vaguely wary of assigning gender binaries to writing and editing practice, generally or in specific terms.

Not least of all because the individual’s process always trumps gender performance, experience, or purported inclination. But also because binary gender performance is a very tricky concept to map. Who is the base template in that instance? To whose performance do we hold all others? What characteristics specifically make that individual more archetypally “female” or more archetypally “male” than another, and to which culture’s binary ideal are you working? Indeed, why is the heteronormative binary, of whatever culture, the ideal basis in that situation? And at the point at which you identify those elements as a function of a spectrum of behaviours why would you not then move beyond mapping those elements within the single chosen cultural context.

There may be cultural crossover in terms of gender performance (there almost certainly is), but gender behaviour is a learned concept, not an inherent one.

Specifically, take what Robert is discussing here: a culturally derived prevalence for Western, in this case North American approaches, to male and female applications of gender in relation to expected actions. A large part of that is cultural inculcation, with shades of familial inculcation as well, all tangled up in socio-economic and socio-political factors.

Those factors would have to be disassembled, we would have to culturally unlearn those systematized behaviours, and redefine from scratch a global template of multi-faceted gender fluidity on or across a very wide spectrum before that question would really be an applicable one. Add to the mix the fact that gender fluidity is, always, in itself, a non-binary attribution of state and performance, so you cannot comfortably define it along an A-B axis.

On a less involved note, and removing this from process and the gender identification of the writer (somewhat), there are ways to discuss applied male/female balances in fiction (both in terms of representation and input), and in how those choices to represent binary states are used, and why. Also how we subvert those understandings, and whether we do so in binary or non-binary terms. And why.

Specifically, we could discuss gender flipping/gender reorientation in the writing of fiction: the act of looking at how one has chosen to write a character and then deciding to make them something other than originally intended. We often discuss it in binary terms (which “flip” directly implies) as a function of basic gender studies theory, though we certainly don’t have to. And non-binary understandings of gender orientation give us a much more actual and natural approach to a decidedly non-fixed system of representations and actions. Which provides us a much better spectrum of approaches to exploring and examining cultures, gender identities, and sexual identities that we would not normally approach.

I am decidedly of the opinion that writers should stretch beyond the standard characterizations they would normally write, and should challenge themselves to write characters with whom they do not share backgrounds or identities (not at the expense of writing characters like themselves, which is a necessary thing in order to create discussion and dialogue, especially where non-Western narratives and people of colour are concerned given the inordinate amount of time the majority of Western literature spends discussing white, heteronormative stories) in order to better understand others through the act of attempting to properly represent them in fiction.

And in light of the inevitable discussion of cultural appropriation in that context, it’s worth remembering that cultural appropriation is the failure of respectful, comprehensive, and astute representation of someone else’s culture or identity. Writing other cultures, other understandings, and moving beyond one’s own identity in respectful, well-crafted, intelligent and considered terms? That’s just called writing fiction.

And speaking directly to writing fiction, I think the answer to this question could best be served by saying that I write fiction conscious of the genders and gendering (in all contexts of that usage) that I am applying in my fiction. And I do so attempting to discuss, from story to story, vastly different identities and intents rather than writing from my own experience or identity in each piece. Which would actually be quite boring, for both myself and the reader, when you come right down to it. So I think this works out much better.

As a critic I’ve focused on Canadian content and how it distinguishes Canadian authors from American or British or Russian or whatever. How conscious, if at all, are you of writing Canadian fiction, of exploring Canadian tropes or themes?

I rather imagine Sinclair Ross would weep at the paucity of time I spend writing about people standing in wheat fields and windswept plains, awash in the inevitably wind-snatched curl or haze of cigarette smoke.

Which is no bad thing.

And my inevitable bashing of Sinclair Ross aside, my problem with the ultimate basis of this question is that Canadian themes in fiction are generally viewed through a couple of rather distinct, and as far as I’m concerned highly inaccurate, lenses. Speaking both to speculative and literary understandings of Canadian fiction.

The archetypal depiction of Canadian fiction is the landscape of Ross’s prairies. Of Munro’s quiet, painfully human interactions in miniature. Of Atwood’s gender politics and speculations on the human condition as evolving state. Alongside the Canadiana of Ondaatje, of Montgomery, of Davies, of Laurence, of Choy, of Mowat, and so on.

But that list, and others like it, primarily represents the literary mainstream, sometimes moving into interesting territory, other times somewhat more stagnant. And often, though not always, addressing Canada as a homogeneous and cohesive entity. (Which the country absolutely is not and cannot ever be–even before we get into discussions of Canada as the so-often-addressed multicultural nation, and how that works in theory and how that works on the ground–the disparity of those states existing because of Canada’s difficult, shifting, often fraught, and largely xenophobic history while the cultural landscape of Canada’s leadership and internal socio-political view has moved back and forth between outright bigotry and grudging acceptances of everyone who is not lily-fucking white.) And we do that because Canadian literary culture sees itself in very specific terms, and has long been at war with itself about what is the right and proper way of seeing and defining Canadianness. Which is about as elusive, and ultimately fictional, a value as you will ever find.

Now, Robert’s question may have been addressing speculative fiction, but the book and writing culture in Canada primarily addresses our literary (and, admittedly, journalistic as well) mainstream because that is how we choose to present ourselves, in literary terms, to the world: as the literature of the quiet, the internal, the reflective. Until we hit Canadian military history, of which we are fiercely proud, and tend to speak quite vocally.

Nevermind the fact that we have always had some very loud and delightfully brash voices kicking around this country’s literary history in all concerns. But, no, we’re the quiet neighbour, the one where all that multiculturalism comes to the fore and where we get to define ourselves as making it work, despite that fact that we generally fall down hard on multicultural policy and the follow through of inclusiveness on a political, social, and, yes, literary, level.

And sometimes we get it right. We’re just not that fictional ideal we have of ourselves.

I mean, ideally, our literary landscape is vast and far-reaching, but the Canadian speculative tendencies, like the mainstream ones, are ultimately rooted in shared ground. Sometimes for good, sometimes for ill. But one cannot feasibly escape one’s antecedents, and there is as in most things a need to be in conversation with what has come before, and good reason for that. Though it cannot be at the expense of what must come after, or going forward.

And I’m honestly not sure where Canadian speculative fiction falls on that spectrum right now. I can think of examples where we’re doing it well, and examples where we’re really not.

Ideally, too, I tend to resist speaking specifically about Canadian fiction, speculative or otherwise, as being a thing unto itself for the same reason I am uncomfortable with the idea of creating any literary divisions along national lines, or via the nationalities of writers. Great for archiving, research, and national pride; bloody lousy for everything else. In spite of the import of having connection with one’s cultural roots, literary nationalism is a very divisive approach to creating fiction, and it moves away from the idea and the ideal of multiculturalism that we want so badly to embody in Canada. It compartmentalizes us, and forces Canadianness itself to become a factor in evaluating the work we choose to examine. Look at the recent flap over Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries. Discussions of Canadianness overtook the actual conversation about the quality of the book. It has pros and cons like any other book. Said strengths and weaknesses should have been central to the discussion. Were they? No. The discussion devolved entirely into one of nationalism and proof of sufficient identity. And I’m more than a little concerned that many of the people arguing vociferously for the protection of Canadian nationalism in literary identity weren’t entirely aware of the isolationist and xenophobic grounding of their arguments. Not to mention that I guarantee you the tone of that argument would have been very different (less immediately and easily dismissive of her work) if Catton were a man.

And in a vague attempt to move away from that massive argument looming just off page, and also in an attempt to actually wrangle this point back to the question that spawned it, I am aware that there are Canadian tendencies to my own work; not least of all because parts of it are set in Canada, and I do want to, as a writer, talk about the way loci in Canada function and shape the lives of the people I write about. But, by that same token, what I am addressing when I do so is how external cultures are shaped, or not, by the experience of being Canadian, and not. It’s convergence of internal and external narrative and culture that fascinates me, as much as inter-generational politics and relationships, damage (emotional or otherwise) and how it manifests, and the other things on which my own writing is focused.

And even having said that, I don’t really think there’s as much division in terms of theme, content, basis, or identity between Canadian fiction and any other national identity you choose to name, and certainly not in the distinctly discrete terms in which we discuss it. There’s actually far more variation in regional terms of Canadian fiction (speculative and non) than there is between the idea of Canadian fiction and extra-national fiction. Principally because the hegemonic Canadian identity is a fictionalized masthead we use to describe an incredibly disparate and varied country to people outside our borders. And the truth of the thing is that that’s really true of any country you look at: there’s also going to be regional differences and a fair spread of intent, approach, and literary concerns within a single country’s creation of fictional literary content.

Because societies are made up of individuals.

If this answer hasn’t demonstrated it clearly yet, I’m very wary of discussing Canadian identity at all. Especially as it’s represented in fiction. I enjoy reading the critique of and commentary on same, but it’s not as cut and dried as we like to make it out to be.

And I will add several things to that already vaguely rambling, possibly somewhat more argumentative than I had intended answer:

One, if we’re going to attempt to ascribe, in speculative or literary fiction, a voice to the last century of Canadian artistic endeavour (which you have to do in order to be able to discuss Canadian tropes, themes, and the feeling of being Canadian in the last century), then I say fuck it, let’s just start talking about the last century of Canadiana as the century of Leonard Cohen.

Two, we really need to move away from the accrued identity of the Canadian literary landscape in which we have ensconced ourselves. Thankfully, there is a fantastic host of Canadian authors through whom we can do that going forward.

There are vastly more names than I can cite here with reasonable brevity, but I can certainly begin by naming the people who are at this moment directly on my radar.

Writers of fiction speculative, literary, or as is vastly preferable to me given my taste in fiction: writers of hybrid states and intent. Writers like Suzette Mayr, Esi Edugyan, Sean Dixon, Leah Bobet, Cory Doctorow, Madeline Ashby, Karl Schroeder, Michael Rowe, Gemma Files, A.C. Wise, Indrapramit Das, Amal El-Mohtar, David Nickle, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Nalo Hopkinson, Hiromi Goto, Larissa Lai, Elaine Chen, Lynn Coady, Craig Davidson, Caitlin Sweet, Peter Watts…

And that list just keeps going. And it has blind spots. I am deeply involved in the Toronto literary community (mostly the speculative side thereof) and so that is where my focus tends to be.

Third, I will add that what we absolutely need to avoid in Canadian fiction is a stagnation of culture, or intent, or ideas. And we’re always on the brink of looking too internally, and part of that is that we try so hard to define our national identity that we end up writing to it instead of from it. (And I’m not even sure the latter is a good idea.)

And we’re making our way there awkwardly. There is a fuckload of literary (meaning all genres thereof) Canadian content from Confederation on that is going to be assigned to the trash heap of history. And a great deal of that rightly so. As with any body, or temporary canon, of literary work.

But I have high hopes for Canadian fiction and its future output. (In whatever context we define “Canadian,” or, indeed, if we even should.) Because I have faith in the excellence of the people writing fantastic (in all senses of the word) fiction who just happen to be Canadian.

–Is it not amazing the lengths to which I will go to avoid discussing my own work? Moving on.

Anything else you’d like to add on your writing process?

Oh, I think I’ve probably rambled on process, and a whole host of related and tangential points, quite long enough.

Now on to Matt’s questions!

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The second set of questions provided to me for this blog hop come courtesy of Matt Moore, who did not actually provide me a bio to post, so, uh, Matt’s website is here. And his blog hop post is here.

Matt’s questions to me, and my answers, follow:

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When did you know you wanted to be a writer. It must be a specific moment.

Does anyone ever actually have that epiphanic moment when you decide, irrevocably, that you will be a writer (cue meteor shower and trembling heavens)?

I certainly didn’t.

I can tell you that what spurred me on to wanting to write (though I’d been telling at times quite intricate stories, though not writing them down, since about the time I could talk) was reading Peter Beagle’s work, followed by Roger Zelazny’s. Then a host of other writers, principally Dorothy Parker. (Oh that language. That glorious gift of wit, and her tongue the poet’s scalpel.) What sealed the deal though was reading Samuel Delany’s Dhalgren. My reaction to which was more or less: “Wait. One can do this?” And things more or less went from there.

I will also note that, yes, my early reading in speculative fiction was not as full of female writers as I would like. That came later. And my work was decidedly the better for finding them. Immensely so, in point of fact.

Which of your stories would you like to see come true?

None: I write principally horror.

Or, I suppose I could conversely argue that a number of the things I write are already true, since I write principally horror.

But, nevertheless, I’m not sure there’s anything I’ve written that it would be a good idea for to come true. It would be problematic as all holy hell. At best.

And I suppose we could also have a discussion about what constitutes “true,” and whether or not we’re discussing consensus reality, or revealed truths in the classical sense. Or the non-classical sense for that matter.

Actually, you know what? Let’s not have that discussion. Let us pretend I didn’t bring that up. Because that just … yeah … no. Once again: moving on.

A new writer comes to you and says “I feel like I should quit writing.” What do you say?

“Excellent. One less competitor.”

Actually, all joking aside, that question is fairly long and involved. It’s the kind of situation where you wander about on tenterhooks, because that statement can speak to anything from melodrama to meltdown. At one end of the spectrum you can just (figuratively) slap someone around for a while until they come to their senses, and at the other you need to be very careful to walk someone back from a sometimes proverbial, sometimes literal, edge.

Given that writing functions sometimes as a means of monetary support, sometimes as a means of self-expression, sometimes as a means of creating dialogue, and, really, a whole host of other things, in that situation one has to tease as much information as possible out of the writer in order to figure out how to respond to that.

There are also other factors to consider: Why is this person addressing this to me? I’m a comparatively invisible person in the field (despite all the varied things I do, I’m relatively in the background), so are they coming to me because they’re aware that I try to provide information and aid to others in the field where possible? Are they coming to me because they saw something I wrote online and feel a connection? Are they coming to me because they identified with something I wrote elsewhere, or even the fiction? Am I the nearest warm body?

All these factors make an inordinate difference. And the level of interaction is also part of what dictates the response.

And then there is the understanding of obligation, in humane context, and otherwise. How much am I able, willing, or, indeed, obligated to give of myself in order to fix this. This is me, so I will help if I can. But there are limits to what it is possible to do for other people. And sometimes it’s best to stop beating one’s head against a wall before one’s skull cracks open.

There is no one standard answer to that question. Except maybe for saying “Why is it that you think you should stop?” That at least gives you somewhere to start in terms of figuring out what’s necessary, and how to go forward with addressing that question, and getting someone the answer they need.

Also, honestly, I recognize that that question’s implicit subtext is “How do you get that person to keep writing,” and I’m aware that the following is probably not the answer everyone reading this wants to hear, but sometimes the act of writing itself is toxic. Sometimes it’s not a healing process. Sometimes it destroys you. And, yes, not everyone should be writing.

We have this vastly inflated understanding of what writing does, and many cultures have the implicit narrative that “Making art saves you.” That’s often not the reality of the thing. Making art can be a vastly destructive and harrowing thing. It’s what you do with the product of making or creating art (in whatever context) that creates lasting impact, and that can give you the meaning you’re looking for by creating art. The act of creation itself can be the end game, but it often isn’t. Especially if you want to engage in wider dialogue as a function or consequence of your art, whatever form it may take.

And pursuant to that: it’s important to remember that writing isn’t the only artistic outlet. And for all that we treat it like one, writing’s not a sacred, inviolable act. Nor should it be put up on a pedestal. There is excessive refinement and excellence of craft to be had if you’re up for working for it, but writing is a journeyman’s art. You learn your craft. You study it, and you never master it. It is a lifetime’s work. And if it feeds you, allows you to express yourself, and gives you the opportunity to connect with people, expiate whatever you need to cleave from yourself, or gives you something else you need, then that is worth pursuing and you continue doing it. But if it doesn’t, if it wounds you, isolates or damages you, or makes your life unlivable, then there are other avenues in this life.

And art is a far wider spectrum than we sometimes remember to discuss it as.

Reductio ad absurdum: There are an awful lot of answers to give to someone making that statement.

Twilight turned vampires into brooding, sexy teens. What’s the next monster (yes, MONSTER!) we should make sexy? And how?

Fuck it: The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Everything (or most everything) else has been turned into cryptozoological porn at this point, why not swamp monsters? Hell, we could make giant leeches sexy and someone would buy it.

“She hungered for him. He hungered for her. Once they found love he couldn’t let go, and she couldn’t tear herself away.”

I mean, really, we’ve had sexy vampires, sexy werewolves, sexy mummies, nymphomaniac bigfeet, and the less said about horny dinosaurs (pun intended) the better. And, really, I’m uncomfortable that this conversation slides into additional double entendres about merkin.

But I have brought this on myself.

Honestly though, if we’re going to talk about a re-envisioning of the tale of the Creature from the Black Lagoon in Twilight terms, and making him sexy in line with the Twilight … um … makeovers (?) of popular monsters, then we’d have to clean him up and make him look perfectly normal with maybe a set of hidden gills. Or maybe he would just magically breathe underwater. And always come up from the swamp looking like he’d just emerged from a swimming pool. I don’t know.

Ultimately, it would be far too facile.

Personally, I’d rather see a gender flipped monster narrative. Or genderbending. Or a QUILTBAG narrative. So many possibilities.

And if you want to play with the tropes, still subvert them beautifully, and just have excellent writing, especially with this narrative, then I can just point everyone in the direction of something like Jonathan Case’s Dear Creature, of which I am inordinately fond. And which succeeds ably on so many fronts.

I’ll happily take the complexity of that tale over the facile boredom of bringing Twilight-style “sexy” to classic monsters. Many of which already operate on actual, multi-layered, non-superficial allure in any case, and are much more interesting for it.

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Well, friends, on that note we bring this blog hop to a close. Be saddened. Be overjoyed. Be terrified that you sat through all that.

Questions? Comments? Arguments? Toss them all into the comments below.

Posted in Interviews, Ramble, Uncategorized, Writing Advice | Tagged | 2 Comments

Doing Some Teaching Tomorrow (Fiction Writing Workshop)

Yes, yes, this is a super last minute reminder. (Been a little busy around here.)

Nevertheless, for all those of you who were on the fence about whether or not to come to the fiction writing workshop I’m teaching tomorrow (“The Architecture of Fiction: Critical Approaches to Writing Fiction from the Ground Up” at Bakka Phoenix Books, from 1-3 pm), there are still tickets, and you are all welcome.

Obviously that invitation is meant for Toronto and surrounding area people, but the general welcome stands :)

And while the following may or may not actually be an incentive for anyone to come, I think this is quite cool: Bakka currently has in stock several different anthologies in which my work appears, including Future Lovecraft (the Prime Books re-release), Dead North, and Chilling Tales 2. So you can pick from any of those three as your free book for attending the workshop.

For my part I just like the fact that there are so many books at the store with my work in them :D

Anyway, tickets still available ($25.00/person). Interactive discussion, snacks, discounts coupons for Bakka, and a generally good time to be had up for grabs. Swing by if you’re so inclined.

Posted in Appearances, Ramble, Uncategorized, Workshops, Writing Advice | Tagged , | Leave a comment

More Additions/Changes Coming to the Website

I’m doing some revising and content addition to the website this weekend. Going to see, specifically, about finally putting two things together:

First, I’ve been talking for ages about actually building a dedicated Freelance Editing page here, and I really do need to get that put together to facilitate some of the fundraising I’m doing in advance of heading to Clarion West. Principally because while I will be setting up some direct fundraising I’d be immensely more comfortable raising at least some of the funds I need through the work I do anyway in terms of my livelihood. More on that later, but for now I’m working on putting together a list of rates, process information, supporting information, and some testimonials. Hoping to have that up by the end of the week.

[Update: The Editing page is now live, along with subpages for Process, Rates, and Testimonials. You'll find everything related to the freelancing editing under the Editing tab on the navbar.]

Second, between all of the work I’m doing on multiple projects and the fact that ChiZine.com is no longer running new reviews (the website has been folded into CZP’s ongoing promotional stream, so new content is strictly limited at this point) I don’t really have a ready place to post reviews, and the time spent seeking out markets to host the ones I’ve promised to write is more time-consuming than I can really commit to right now.

However, as I have several books in queue for review, and keep getting requests (both at the ChiZine.com address and elsewhere) to cover still more work, I’m just going to start posting reviews here on the site, and create a tab in the navbar to collect those posts in bibliographic format. Probably going to move all the reviews links from the general Bibliography page to the Reviews page in the process. Just seems easiest to have everything under the same tab.

[Update: The Reviews page is up and running, and you'll find the tab for it on the navbar.]

And now if you’ll all excuse me, I need to go write the several things I promised people I would have done more or less this weekend :)

Posted in Ramble, Reviews, Status Updates, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Very Fast Ad Astra Follow-Up and Some Free Fan/Slashfic

(I’m refraining from linking to anyone named in this post because of the fan/slashfic I’ve pasted into the post below.)

Ad Astra con had. Time spent hanging out with other authors, local friends, and friends who came in specifically for the con. Went to some most excellent panels and readings, including those from Matt Moore, Alyx Dellamonica, and Rio Youers. Panelled a fair bit. (Sat at the grown-up editors table on some of those panels, as it were, getting to be on there alongside the likes of Anne Groell, Ed Greenwood, and Doug Smith, among others.) An article written by me (I’m not exactly sure which editorial was being referred to, though it sounded like one of the ones from here, or possibly one of the rants from the CSFL) was cited while I was sitting in the audience of another panel, and I don’t think the panelist who brought it up realized I was in the room, which was quite delightful.

Also recorded a decidedly enjoyable interview/chat with Derek Newman-Stille, so that’ll be floating around at some point later. And I will talk about that further down the road.

But, really, there were two events at this year’s Ad Astra which were the centrepieces of the con (whatever else you may have heard to the contrary): Adam Shaftoe’s Friday night “Podcasting After Dark” panel (hurray for alcohol and unscripted goodness–also it was recorded, so it will eventually be available and you can judge for yourself what level of drunkenness is required to enact such a panel). And of course my own Saturday night “Boozy Fan/Slashfic Group Reading” … panel … thing. Whatever.

And, really, the latter’s what we’re here to talk about (briefly). The story of how it came about is one post back, so I’ll not rehash the story here. For those who were there, you are aware of the most delicious mayhem that ensued. For those who were not, I brought beer to a 10:30 p.m. reading/panel, other attendees brought liquor, we gave away a couple of books via some trivia, many readings were enacted upon the audience, there were breaks for freshening up one’s beverages (or if you were me and beer cans were within reach at the table the partaking was more or less constant), and a ridiculously good time was had by all.

Originally, Derek Künsken and I had planned to read back and forth to start things off, but Derek was unwell and thus unable to attend the panel, so Matt Moore stepped in to pinch hit for him. Matt started things off by reading from The Empire Striketh Back, performing a most excellent rendition of Luke’s soliloquy which opens the piece. I then read the Star Wars/Pacific Rim fan/slashfic I wrote for the event. And after we had heaped utter and absolute shame upon all the properties aforementioned and The Bard as well (incidentally, Matt’s wookie rendition is really rather excellent), there was a pause to head toward the next stage of the event (at which time several people who had wanted to be there for the next stage, and had just come from another panel, joined the fray and an already well-attended room filled somewhat fuller), and we launched into the open mic portion of the evening. Which featured Simon Barry McNeil reading from his own Star Wars/Pacific Rim fanfic written for the event, Adam Shaftoe reading an X-COM fanfic written for the event, and Angela Keeley bringing down the house with a reading of the first four chapters of the really quite aptly infamous (intentionally as appalling as possible, bless it) My Immortal fanfic.

If you do not know what that is then this, my friends, is what Google is for.

You’re welcome.

And since absolutely bloody nothing was going to be able to follow that, we wrapped and dissolved into further mirth and discourse. And many of us then went trawling about the con hotel to see what else was doing, and where people had gathered. As one does on the Saturday night of a con.

Plans are already underway to do another version of this next year, involving a group reading of some material from The Empire Striketh Back, another group reading of The Skinhead Hamlet (I am here and now calling narrating the stage directions–other people attending can fight it out over what other parts they want :p ), some other things not yet decided on, and something thoroughly unspeakable from Angela Keeley, who will once again be closing the panel down next year. (Because knowing what she’s reading from, nothing will be able to follow it.)

As I said above, that panel was extremely well attended for a reading. (The attendance of a reading fluctuates due to a number of factors, and this was a group reading/open mic which can further affect that, it should be recalled.) I do believe we had near 20 people prior to the additional influx of audience members came 11 p.m. And it’s possible we came up near 30 people at the peak points after, though I don’t think we hit quite that high. Still quite bloody good for a 10:30 pm reading. (For those who are curious, yes, alcohol makes every reading better–this is why the best readings are scheduled in bars or any other establishment where alcohol is readily available.)

In any case, for those who could not attend, but would like to read some horrible fan/slashfic anyway, I have posted the fan/slashfic I wrote for the panel.

Again, you’re welcome.

-Quick notes on the text below: Though I have absolutely no ownership of any of the content, nor any of the trademarked properties in the story that follows, the writing of it is nevertheless attributed to me, and the restriction on use determined by me as well. So there will be absolutely no reposting of this, anywhere, for any reason, unless explicit permission is obtained from me.

The following was written merely to amuse myself and others (pun not intended, but I’m leaving it), was all but literally thrown together in about half an hour after reading up on some aspects of the Star Wars universe that I thought I might want to include, and is probably not good for your health. It stops abruptly because it was written for a live reading, and I knew exactly what note I wanted to end on. Also worth noting that, because of the Pacific Rim content, and how crossover PR slashfic works, yes, the Drift equates to sex in the crossover slashfic. Thus I chose not to write the story from Luke’s perspective, because another aspect of Pacific Rim canon is that the best Drift compatibility exists between family.

Again, you’re welcome for that image.

So I went with what was my first choice in any case: Han as the protagonist.

And, for all those who just realized what that means, again, you’re welcome for that image.

The following will work best if you’re already familiar with Star Wars and Pacific Rim. And contrary to my calling this slashfic, it is, in fact, SFW.-

So, without further ado, I present to you, the following:

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Untitled Star Wars/Pacific Rim Crossover Fan/Slashfic Prologue

by Michael Matheson

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Han craned his neck up to take in the groaning heap of his Jaeger, last of the Mark 1s. Loose coils of spent negative power couplings Chewie still hadn’t replaced spilled from her titan guts. The rest of her faring no better: The Millennium Falcon’s jumble of plates and replacement parts scavenged from a dozen wrecked units. Her original core intact, but the rest of her a patchwork of solder and durasteel, and even a few plates of beskar salvaged from the hull of a Mandalorian frigate. And a few nastier surprises, too, for those who thought her little more than a rustbucket. Didn’t look like much, but she had it where it counted.

Marshall Organa’s R2 unit whistled at him, and Han waved it away. It booped sadly, set down the orders it had been dispatched to deliver on a nearby crate, and veered off again through the crowded, bustling Shatterdome. The crackle of wires and lit fires of retrofits in progress echoed through the cavernous reaches of the foundry cum factory in the droid’s wake.

Han ignored the handheld display unit on the crate behind him. He already knew what it said: Leia’s kid brother, Luke, was due to arrive from Tatooine on the next transport. Not that Han needed the aggravation of yet another brat pilot still wet behind the ears, no matter how unprecedented his Drift Compatibility scores had been in the academy’s sims. Not now, with the first of the Mark 5s coming off the assembly lines, and a wave of trainees too green to be more than Kaiju fodder to pilot them. Not that Han’s concerns in that regard carried much weight with the admiralty anymore. Not after the fall of Coruscant and the Core Worlds to the Category 4s. Not after he couldn’t hold Corellia—the planet’s surface a scattered graveyard of fallen Mark 3s and the scoured remnants of what had once been home.

In the wake of all they’d lost, and kept losing—what remained of the Rebellion driven back to the Outer Rim—they couldn’t build the Jaegers fast enough. But good pilots to fly them were in short supply. Han didn’t imagine the kid would fare much better. He might be a hotshot pilot in theory, but he’d have a hell of time living up to Leia’s kill count. They all did. Han blew all the air out of his lungs like a bellows. They’d know one way or another soon enough.

Poor bastard had probably never even been offworld before. Let alone seen a Kaiju swim through the deep black between the stars, blotting out the light of the nearest sun and countless distant galaxies. Planet-sized terrors fashioned from the stuff of nightmares.

There were whispers they fed on the Force. If you even believed in that kind of thing. A lot of simple tricks and nonsense. Hokey religions and ancient weapons were no match for the weight of a Jaeger under your feet.

But no, it wasn’t some all-powerful Force controlling everything that had spawned the Kaiju.

That first fluke genetic mutation in the Empire’s clone factories—a byproduct of Imperial tampering with the genetic makeup of the Mandalorian template subject—had doomed them all. But it was the Empire’s choice to breed the inhuman mutation that had sealed their fate. The Kaiju had dismantled the bulk of the Rebellion, only to turn on their Imperial masters. Nothing left now but the backwater planets, furthest from the bright centre of the universe. And only scattered communications and rogue ships to prove that anything still survived heading out toward the Tingel Arm of the galaxy. Most of that Mandalorians coming to regroup and sign up for the Rebellion, under the flag of their Mand’alor, Boba Fett. The Mandalorian tech and battle strategies an overdue addition to the Rebel struggle, but welcome all the same. Especially now, with the Rebellion scrambling to maintain production on their Jaegers and fit them all with the Starkiller Cannons—cobbled together from plans stolen from the Empire’s aborted Death Star program—that were the only thing powerful enough to rip apart a Kaiju. Assuming there was still nothing bigger than a Category 5.

Before the Rebellion had been driven back beyond the Inner Rim, their spies had sent word the Kaiju had started interbreeding in the darkened space that had once been the Deep Core—further mutations showing with each successive generation; monstrous aberrations too twisted to survive long, their meat carrion for the next clutch of Kaiju to spawn. But there were rumours of Kaiju that dwarfed suns in their turn—the mad, or hopefully mad, ravings of pilots who’d spent too long staring into the black until it started looking back.

Han’d fought Category 5s: so massive it was like watching a black hole swim up in front of you; all the light in the world devoured in their continent-size maws. He could barely wrap his mind around those, let alone something larger still.

Only the mismatched weight of the Millennium Falcon towering over him, Han cool in the stretch of her shadow, gave him comfort in the face of that thought. The Falcon had had one foot in the scrapyard longer than Han wanted to think about, but she was still the fastest Jaeger in the galaxy. Built when speed, not size, or armour, had mattered most.

Chewie’s roar from the gangway drew Han’s gaze back and away from the Falcon. And there he was: the runt. And looking it beside Chewie, the kid a golden-haired boy fresh off the moisture farm. Couldn’t have been more than eighteen. So young. They all were. Han and Chewie the only pilots left from the first wave when they’d baptized the Mach 1s in Kaiju blood came planetfall on Geonosis. Before they realized they’d come too late to the clone factories–that the Empire had already unleashed their Kaiju army—and the rout began.

Han still remembered the shock and head-snapping force of that first Drift during the drop. That sudden, terrifying skull-plummet and bonding with the wookie. Too-bright images of Kashyyyk flaring through his skull; the unexpected weight of clawed hands; of the struggle to control the fury within; the constant struggle to resist going madclaw. So much anger. So much rage. So much passion.

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END

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A (Fairly) Brief Update on Everything Going on Around Here

So, not that you’d know it from all the focus I’ve given the Start a Revolution anthology while the reading period was open, but there have actually been a fair number of other things going on around here while that was happening :)

And now that the submissions window for Start a Revolution is finished and I’m on to working on putting the actual book together (with announcements/updates to come later in the month), and all the work involved therein, I’m going to take a moment to talk about some of the other things I’ve refrained from talking about in the meantime.

–I wanted all the updates, and information for Start a Revolution to have centre focus so everyone got a fair, and focused, shot at making something work for the anthology, and the information needed to so was as front and centre as possible.–

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Ad Astra Schedule

I’m actually going to be at Ad Astra again this year, and doing a few things: some panels and a reading. The latter of which has metamorphosed into so much more than a reading. See, I got scheduled for a reading at 10:30 pm. On a Saturday. If you schedule someone that late, on the longest evening of a con weekend, you’re just asking to be messed with. (More info on that below.) But, first, a brief version of my schedule. (The full schedule, with more information on these individual panels as well, can be found here: http://ad-astra.shdlr.com/grid)

Friday – 7:00 pm – Newmarket – Stephen King of the Hill (w/Joel Sutherland, Rio Youers, Simon McNeil)

Saturday – 4:00 pm – Aurora – When is an Editor Not an Editor (w/Anne Groell, Gabrielle Harbowy, Karen Dales, Max Turner)

Saturday – 10:30 pm – Oakridges – The Michael Matheson and Derek Künsken Boozy Fanfic Reading*

Sunday – 3:00 pm – Newmarket – Rejectomancy (w/Anne Groell, Douglas Smith, Ed Greenwood, Gabrielle Harbowy)

* So, yes, I got assigned a 10:30 pm reading on a Saturday. Which, I suppose predictably, (and fairly quickly) evolved into Derek Künsken and I reading alternating/intercalating fanfic (I wrote Pacific Rim/Star Wars crossover fanfic specifically for this, and Derek will be reading from The Empire Striketh Back). With booze involved. I will be bringing some alcohol for the room. People attending have been invited to do likewise, and many of the people that I know are coming are doing so, with the whole thing taking on a welcoming party atmosphere. Especially since after Derek and I are done debasing Star Wars, Pacific Rim, and the works of Shakespeare, the room is going open mic for fanfic. Several people have also said they will bring same, so this is going to get hilarious very fast.

Basically, there is no one scheduled after that event in the room we’re occupying. So it’s a great opportunity to relax and enjoy a communal space. I’m also bringing a couple of books to give away, and will find some pretext for doing so. But the whole thing is, at this point, pretty much a low-key party/gathering for as long as people want to stick around. If you’re attending the con, by all means drop by.

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Clarion West

So, more or less on a lark, I applied to the Clarion West Six Week Workshop. The acceptance came in March.

So I will be doing intensive writer things this summer. In Seattle. It will be awesome. I will also be doing some fundraising in support of that, starting not too long from now (both direct fundraising, and via shouting a little more vigorously than usual that I am available for freelance editing, with some actual guidelines going up for same on this site soon, fingers crossed). Because money. And what have you. But, first, let us take a moment to breathe and then shout in uproarious joy because Clarion (all the various branches) is a pretty fucking awesome thing to get to do.

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“The Architecture of Fiction” Workshop

This is more of a reminder that the weekend after Ad Astra (on Sunday, April 13th, in fact) I will be running this fiction writing workshop at Bakka Phoenix Books. Still plenty of tickets left for that, and the class size is intentionally small so that everyone can get something out of it and the entire workshop can function as a conversation/back and forth discussion. Which is, really, the ideal way to teach anything. Involvement/investment is key to retention, so I prefer the conversational approach to teaching, lecturing, and so on. The whole thing is decidedly low key. If you’re interested, by all means attend. Full information, and the opportunity to buy tickets, at the website linked above.

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Apex Magazine‘s “Operation Fourth Story” Fundraiser

So, technically, “Operation Fourth Story” is more of a subscription/Patreon drive. But still. The purpose of the initiative is to put Apex in a position where we’re able to offer still more original content per issue. We’re managing a fairly good output of a variety of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and other content at this point. But there’s always room to improve. Have a look at the link above to see how you can help, and please feel free to spread the word.

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Well, there’s more going on in the background around here right now than just those things. But I’ve got an inordinate number of things to attend to, e-mails piling up, and responses that need to go out. Expect more updates on various topics throughout the month.

And I’m looking forward to being able to talk about Start a Revolution some more once I’m able to do so. Things are shaping up very nicely with that….

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Start a Revolution: Update 3

I’m tying all of these updates to the guidelines page for whichever anthology they’re written for (at the bottom of the page), so all the updates are listed together for easy reference.

So I just had a query on the Start a Revolution guidelines page, the second part of which relates to something that a lot of you (from what I’m seeing in the slush pile) are struggling with. And I’m going to highlight it because this comes after a long conversation with several other editors and authors last night in which the spread of points below, in relation to the anthology, also was discussed at length, so all of this is very much on my mind right now.

Now, the submissions question that triggered this today was:

Are you intending the QUILTBAG aspect of the story to be primary and the speculative aspects secondary, or is there flexibility for this?

Many of the stories, in fact the majority, that have been submitted to Start a Revolution have assumed one of several things, sometimes all of these:

First, that having a QUILTBAG protagonist means the story has to be about them being QUILTBAG–a la the bulk of LGBT fiction that concerns itself with characters discovering they’re gay/lesbian/trans*, and that’s the entire point of the story.

Which really needs to stop being a focal point of QUILTBAG fiction now, because it’s antithetical to how you actually introduce diversity in fiction. And I wish that so many people responding to this open call had not run with the idea that a story about personal revolution meant a protagonist figuring out their sexual and/or gender orientation, and the story’s climax being “Oh my god! I’m X category of QUILTBAG! This now directly informs every aspect of my life!”

No it doesn’t.

Your gender and sexual orientation informs some of your social interactions. Also various societal interactions, because we are, by nature, a species of xenophobes, and we have adopted a mythology about “normative” cultural representations (more on that later). But no one is defined by one aspect of their existence. There will be other people who will over the course of your life attempt to circumscribe to you only that much space and no more, but why in the name of all that’s profane would you possibly want to do that to yourself?

Which leads us to the second assumption. Many submissions have attempted to handle discussing QUILTBAG characters by having those characters actively self-define in dialogue, or do so directly to the reader, or through other highly polemic and artificial means, including more than one example of writers putting in brackets behind one of the QUILTBAG terms some explainer text….

This is not how you introduce diversity and representation of real, three-dimensional people into fiction. Because in order to introduce and represent diversity you don’t highlight (read: exoticize, or other) it, you normalize the presence of characters in an environment. You write real, three-dimensional people into a story, who just happen to be whatever their gender and/or sexual orientation, race, nationality, or other concern is. And the rest takes care of itself because:

The world is composed of multi-cultural societies, in which we live and interact with peoples of diverse definitions (in some countries and societies more than others, I grant you). But the point is that there is no such thing as a default gender, sexual, racial, or national basis for identity or self-definition. No such thing. It doesn’t exist.

And the failure of most fictions attempting to write diverse narratives from a forced perspective is that they assume the default of a white, straight protagonist, living in a culturally homogeneous society.

Writing diversity is really easy. You know how you do it? You write books with people in them who aren’t white and straight (in whatever non-combination thereof), ideally protagonists as well as a large basis of diverse secondaries, and you don’t make the fact that they’re not those things the focus of your story. Then you situate your protagonist in a world full of other equally well-realized people doing interesting things. And hopefully you have, you know, a plot in there somewhere.

But that’s it. That’s all you have to do.

Characters who are isolated in a narrative for their ethnicity, their orientation, or other single-focus factors, and exist in that story solely because of that factor, are subject to the token effect: that thing that happens when a non-white and/or non-straight character exists to be non-white/non-straight, and is exoticized or dehumanized for being so. Often without any kind of evidenced identity or personality to boot. The Magical Negro effect is one particular aspect of the problem. And a variant of it crops up as disabled/queer/QUILTBAG protagonists being magical because they’re different, and being so gives them awesome powers other people don’t possess! It’s the flip side of curebie (this character is broken, and a burden on everyone else, and won’t it be wonderful when they’re fixed) stories.

I’ve had several Magical QUILTBAG stories show up in the slush pile. And at least one Magical Disabled Person story, too. Nothing to do for them. Or with them for that matter:

The lack of a plot, or cessation of plot just as thing start up, is difficult to work around. Primarily because though you can write stories whose entire point is that things are coming to a head, stories that come up to a cliff and then don’t jump off it more often than not just aren’t finished, or are otherwise unready.

Which brings us to the third assumption:

Wow but a lot of you took that anthology title literally.

Your story doesn’t just have to be about the inception of a revolution. Really it doesn’t :)

Which, actually, leads into the fourth assumption:

The prevailing idea that seems to have cropped up in the slush pile for this anthology is that having “QUILTBAG” and the word “revolution” in the same title means that the revolutions under discussion must be revolutions about being some orientation of QUILTBAG or a related self-definition, or that the greater revolution is somehow a war between being QUILTBAG and not.

That being not at all the basis of the book. I will stress again that the idea of both QUILTBAG anthologies (Start a Revolution and This Patchwork Flesh) is to introduce readers to characters who are in a naturalized, non-exoticized, context QUILTBAG protagonists. It is about correcting underrepresentation, and also about showing people who are QUILTBAG readers and who do not find a wealth of books featuring protagonists like themselves the opportunity to say “Hey, this story has a person who looks/feels/self-defines like me and they’re represented as a real, three-dimensional human being.” Or  gives them the opportunity to say “Oh. This is what that thing I’ve been looking for a name/way to discuss/way to understand myself is referred to as. And it’s part of a spectrum of ways of being.”

It’s about giving people a wider sense of inclusion, and for those who don’t know it yet letting them know that they’re not alone.

This is why we keep having the conversation about diversity in YA, and PoC and QUILTBAG representation there: because the conversation is about depicting the actuality of the world for people who are still engaged in their formative years and need role models and a sense that they are not being ignored by the world–a position I would argue we never actually grow out of (and the conversation in adult fiction does overlap with this, but it has different foci). But, yes, it’s especially important to find like stories when we’re still finding ourselves and trying to understand who we want to be.

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At this point I’m not going to go into statistics with this post. I’ve spent enough (literal) hours on it now, writing and rewriting the above. And I’d not intended to do one of these update posts right now, but the above needed saying for those who have yet to submit something. Especially as we’ve got a little less than a couple of weeks to go on the submissions window.

Over the course of that submissions window, I’ve seen a lot of work that is unintentionally heavy-handed, thankfully very few pieces of which have been trunk stories, and despite a fair number of beautifully written stories I’ve seen a lot of work that doesn’t manage to treat being QUILTBAG as a normalized function of being a person.

I have been trying to come up with a better way to put this, but in the end I’m just going to repost here my response to the question I highlighted at the beginning of this post:

Both the QUILTBAG orientation of the protagonist and the speculative elements of the story are just structural components of the story–you don’t want them to be the focus. You want the interesting story–the *reason* you’re telling the story–to be the focus of the work, and everything else should just be background and feel natural for the story you’re telling. Play with the story, have fun telling it, and write interesting characters who just happen to be of various gender and sexual orientations.

It really is that simple.

And the last thing I will point out in this update is that subtlety is always a better storytelling approach with me, and will give you a much better shot at getting into the anthology. And I’m just going to explain that in musical/visual shorthand right now:

Many of you are doing this (and a story going this blunt had better be doing a hell of a lot of interesting things with itself):

You really need to be doing something like this to have a better shot at getting in:

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Reminder Notice: The Architecture of Fiction Workshop (April 2014)

We’re now one month out from the fiction writing workshop, “The Architecture of Fiction: Critical Approaches to Writing Fiction from the Ground Up,” that I’ll be running in April.

There are still tickets available for same. The total number of tickets I’ve made available is not terribly high, so the workshop group will be reasonably sized no matter how this falls out. (Small number of people signed up so far, not sure how many it will be in the end–though if it mirrors last year’s workshop then the class size will be about ten.)

For those who don’t already know, the actual workshop will be held on April 13th, at Bakka Phoenix Books, from 1-3 pm. The workshop is focused on critical/editorial discussion of the craft of writing short fiction (at all lengths) and novel length work. Tickets to the workshop cost $25 (CDN), and the cost of the tickets includes a free book, a discount coupon for Bakka, and refreshments.

The link at the top of the post will take you to the Ticketleap page for the workshop, which discusses the topics that will be covered and other information. You can purchase tickets from there as well.

By all means please feel free to spread the word about the workshop.

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