Monday, November 17, 2014

The Return of the Return of Numbered List Posts

1. My PCC Community Education class Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy is now open for enrollment! If you're in Portland and looking for an introductory writing course geared to genre fiction, I hope you'll check it out.

2. This is a very good post on class and writing that I want to say more about, but in a separate post. While I'm completely on board with pushes for diversity in SF (or any other genre), you can't deny that economic class is the forgotten (or purposely skipped over) component of that intersectionality everyone likes to talk about. There's no "Poors Destroy Science Fiction!" Even Scalzi doesn't factor class into one's "difficulty setting" because it's not immutable, which isn't something I really agree with, but I don't want to get into SJ territory just about now. But yeah. That post. Read it.

Yes, I AM wearing cat socks and a cat-head hoodie.
3. Last weekend was OryCon and I had a lot of fun! I had a reading where I read to people I didn't even know and I was on a ton of panels. Maybe too many panels? It's also awesome to have a con that I can bike and take public transportation to. While I'm usually far more into the lit-only cons, and OryCon is a more general lit + media + costuming + filk con, it's still my local con now so I'm going to it for as long as Portland will have me.

4. While at OryCon I went to a number of great panels (that I wasn't on). One of the best was a panel about how to write faster. I am not a fast writer, at all. I mean, I've written a ton of short stories, but when it comes to long-form stuff I work at a snail's pace, probably because I don't like writing novels all that much. But I want to write them! Which means I need to write faster. I picked up a copy of Rachel Aaron's ebook 2k to 10k on a panel recommendation. It's really short, so I finished it in about an hour. A lot of the advice is geared toward plotters instead of pantsers (definition: a plotter is someone who charts out their novel in advance, a pantser is someone who just starts writing and lets stuff happen) and I am most definitely a pantser.

But if I want to write novels and especially series of novels (which isn't necessarily something I want to do... but I may anyway), I think I'm going to have to learn to plot. Just a little. Nothing super detailed, because honestly, that would take a LOT of the fun out of writing for me. However, while going through my final final yes it's final this time maybe novel revision, I did notice inconsistencies. A lot of inconsistencies. Some my beta readers (I love you both!) noticed, but some only I did. And you know, it would have been much better to figure all that out in advance before wasting a ton of words on it. Even just writing a sentence per chapter indicating the month and where I was in the plot would have kept certain things straight. So... I'm plotting my next long-form project (a novella) and seeing how that goes.

Aaron also gives the advice to put your book onto a Kindle so you can read it like a reader would. It's the simplest idea that I've never even considered doing. I've read through the novel several times of course, but on Word, where I can make changes (and did). On a Kindle you can't make changes to the text, just jot things down on a pad. Brilliant! This is something I will do for sure after completing the final-really-maybe version of the book. (Well, I'm going to sit on it for a few months first, because of The Clarity of Distance.)

5. Speaking of ebooks, here's one you can buy. See how smooth that was? I am a marketing genius.

6. If you're into flash fiction, there's a new site called QuarterReads where you can buy forty hand-selected short stories for only $10! I have a page on there, and a few of those stories aren't available anywhere on the Web (and won't be), so QR is your best bet for reading them if you don't want to pick up their respective anthologies. Or you can read other people's stories too! It's only the price of two hypothetical fancy lattes that people who are not me drink every single day.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Take My Class!

Do you live in Portland? Do you want to learn more about the craft of speculative fiction: how to work from a prompt, how to bring together ideas and characters and plot into a cohesive whole, how to critique both published and peer work, how to submit your own stories for publication? And do you want to take this class with... me?? Well, now you can! This coming semester I'll be teaching a four-week workshop at Portland Community College. Here are the details:

Title: Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy
Dates: January 24 through February 14, 2015 (Saturday)
Time: 10:00 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Cascade Campus in North Portland, 705 N. Killingsworth St.
Cost: $55

The class will be largely focused on flash due to the short time frame, but it's truly open to any speculative genre. There will be lots of in-class writing and critique time. For more information, go to the PCC Community Education site (the class will be listed on November 10), email me, or reply to this post.

In other news, this weekend is OryCon, i.e. the only convention I'll be going to this year. I'm really looking forward to it! Come join all the people on the West Coast who couldn't afford to travel to the World Fantasy Convention this year. We have food carts, that's all I'm sayin'.