Thursday, June 11, 2015

Destroying Science Fiction, One Flash Story at a Time

The special "Queers Destroy Science Fiction" issue of Lightspeed is out, and my story's in it! Along with a lot of other awesome stories! Check out "Bucket List Found in the Locker of Maddie Price, Age 14, Written Two Weeks Before the Great Uplifting of All Mankind" as part of the free content, or better yet buy the issue and unlock stories by Sarah Pinsker, Rose Lemberg, and many others. I really enjoyed "Emergency Repair" by Kate M. Galey, which you can also read for free.

I've been having a hell of a time finishing stories lately. Over the past month I've started at least five different stories, three of which were variations on a single theme. Sometimes, no matter what you do, a story just won't gel and none of these were working. They were technically good, but felt lifeless. Protip: if your own stories seem lifeless to you, then they definitely will seem that way to an editor.

Most of my stories written in the past two years have been plotted instead of pantsed (improvised) and I've become kind of an evangelist for plotting. However, I think plotting was strangling these stories. They were just sort of limping along from one scene to the next, and while I probably could have "fixed it in post," all of them eventually became chores to write. (And also, five stories. Kind of hard to care about any individual story when your focus is so divided.)

So I started fresh. I reread a few stories that had inspired me in the past and were close to the tone I was trying to set down, figured out the narrator's voice, and just started writing. The new story has pieces in it lifted from the five different stories, but it's really its own thing. It's perhaps a little similar in theme to stuff I've already done, but hey, lots of writers run to similar themes (including some of my all-time favorites). I wrote 1700 words in the first session and plan to finish the story in a second session today or tomorrow, to achieve maximum freshness. I hope this story gels! I think it will. It feels like it will, even if I already see a whole laundry list of tweaks I'll need to tend to.

Not really sure why I felt the need to document this. Perhaps it's just a way to keep myself honest?


  1. Hi there,Reminds me of that determination of science fiction fans who demand just "hard" science fiction can be called "real" science fiction.I concur,science is essential keeping in mind I like suspension of skepticism and anybody,in today's reality, showing real science facts is more imperative than any time in recent memory so enjoy it when that is done well.Have a good day.

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