Month: November 2011

No no, NaNoWriMo.

Once again, I’m going to give up on completing NaNoWriMo. I intended to use this weekend writing and editing. Well, I’d gotten quite a lot done editing my existing novel! …and absolutely no new writing done.

Well, it’s for the best, really. I’d rather be that much closer getting my existing novel into a shape in which other people might think it’s good, and not just me. 🙂 If I can get a little bit more done every night this week, or at least another marathon editing weekend, I think I can get it finished before next week and be able to give it to some readers for critique. It’ll be nice to get some feedback from people outside my own head. The voices in there aren’t always the most trust-worthy.

I love this book, and I’m extremely proud of it — but I don’t mind saying I can’t wait to be done of it. Sure, I want it to be the best it can be! I’m not at all going to hedge on the effort going into editing it. But, when it’s done, when I’ve edited the last page and am ready to send it to paying customers/editors, I’m done with it. I totally understand how directors and actors when their franchise gets cancelled and they’re asked about fan efforts to revive their show, they often reply with a kind of “Oh, it was a great time in my life, but it’s over and I’ve moved on now. I don’t think I can return to that.” Makes me wonder what the heck’s George Lucas’ deal, constantly going back and fiddling with Star Wars. Guess it helps he just has to tell an army of people, “Go and change and add this. Hop to!”


Related Posts:

Talkin’ Turkey

OK, that’s surely the worst blog post title ever. I am ashamed.

Now that that’s behind us, I just came across the wonderful page on SFWA’s site (I don’t know how I’ve missed it! I love SFWA!) called Turkey City Lexicon – A Primer for SF Workshops. It’s great advice for aspiring authors of speculative fiction (applicable to any fiction, really) on what not to do — or at least try not to do. Not all of the items are Do Not Do’s, but are just descriptions of tropes that are so common (or notorious) that they have their own labels and names.

Most of this stuff I’d heard before elsewhere, but even so, I still find myself reading through the list and saying to myself, “Oops, guilty of that one . . . eep! I’ve done that. . . .”

Here’s a few samples of turkeys:

  • Idiot Plot

A plot which functions only because all the characters involved are idiots. They behave in a way that suits the author’s convenience, rather than through any rational motivation of their own. (Attr. James Blish)

  • Kudzu plot

Plot which weaves and curls and writhes in weedy organic profusion, smothering everything in its path.

  • Plot Coupons

The basic building blocks of the quest-type fantasy plot. The “hero” collects sufficient plot coupons (magic sword, magic book, magic cat) to send off to the author for the ending. Note that “the author” can be substituted for “the Gods” in such a work: “The Gods decreed he would pursue this quest.” Right, mate. The author decreed he would pursue this quest until sufficient pages were filled to procure an advance. (Nick Lowe)

  • Second-order Idiot Plot

A plot involving an entire invented SF society which functions only because every single person in it is necessarily an idiot. (Attr. Damon Knight)


Related Posts:

  • (related posts tool must not be working on this one)

William Gibson, The Art of Fiction

Paris Review has a great interview with what is, in my opinion, one of the great postmodern authors (regardless of if you classify him as a “genre writer” or a literary author). William Gibson has always had this incredible ability to really get at and critique the culture without making it obvious. Under the guise of gritty scifi called “cyberpunk,” was at the core a brilliant indictment of global market capitalism and the schizophrenic cultural logic that emanated from it. His later works, Pattern Recognition especially, is a deconstruction of the current culture we’re in the middle of and are too close to see the overall pattern to make sense of it.

See the documentary interview film, No Maps for These Territories. It’ll really make you think, and see things in a new way.

Here’s the beginning of the Paris Review interview


What’s wrong with cyberpunk?


A snappy label and a manifesto would have been two of the very last things on my own career want list. That label enabled mainstream science fiction to safely assimilate our dissident influence, such as it was. Cyberpunk could then be embraced and given prizes and patted on the head, and genre science fiction could continue unchanged.


What was that dissident influence? What were you trying to do?


I didn’t have a manifesto. I had some discontent. It seemed to me that midcentury mainstream American science fiction had often been triumphalist and militaristic, a sort of folk propaganda for American exceptionalism. I was tired of America-as-the-future, the world as a white monoculture, the protagonist as a good guy from the middle class or above. I wanted there to be more elbow room. I wanted to make room for antiheroes.

I also wanted science fiction to be more naturalistic. There had been a poverty of description in much of it. The technology depicted was so slick and clean that it was practically invisible. What would any given SF favorite look like if we could crank up the resolution? As it was then, much of it was like video games before the invention of fractal dirt. I wanted to see dirt in the corners.



Related Posts:

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén