I have come across a minor research hurdle and wondering if anyone out there is able to help. It’s a simple yet hard-to-Google topic that I’d rather not get into publicly (not because it’s embarrassing, just… other reasons). Anyway, if you are a Native American individual and/or know a great deal about the Native groups that populated the East Coast Region before colonization and can help me with a minor question, please contact me via this link. Thanks!
It’s that time again: Fantasy Friday. Blog something and win Beer Money! woot.
Looks like the blog is back up again, thank goodness. I’m switching hosts soon; by next weekend probably.
In happier news, the latest issue of Cerise is now live and includes my review of Diner Dash: Hometown Heroes. If you’re a DD fan, you should download this game. You should also play with me in Multiplayer mode!
I have some commentary up about wikis, both large, famous ones like Wikipedia and small ones with narrow focus.
The Carl Brandon wiki-ers ran into [some ugliness on Wikipedia] pretty soon after they started heavily editing, when a category they created–People of Color in SF–was nominated for deletion…
…This led to Carl Brandon members renewing their interest in having a CBS wiki, just as FeministSF.net has an FSFWiki. I think this is a great idea for many reasons, not the least of which is the nastiness one often experiences on Wikipedia. That nastiness has a few things at its core. One being that some people have serious power issues and play them out in whatever venue allows them to–Wikipedia is an easy fiefdom to conquer, if one has the time and no life. Another being that American culture, the culture which many people contributing to the English language Wikipedia are steeped in, often devalues the contributions of women and minorities, but does so in a backhanded way: by claiming that their contributions shouldn’t be called out on the basis of race or gender or nationality, but instead thrown in with the “mainstream”, which just happens to be overwhelmingly populated by white males.
All right, I’m going to be brave and post this story for you all. It’s the first story I ever had published (Peridot Books, 2000) and was published in the first venue I sent it to, which both encouraged me and set up extremely unrealistic expectations for my career. My favorite thing about this story is that it stars my roleplaying characters, because I am just that much of a cliche. There are times that I’d like to write that novel about Nera I always intended to. I also have this whacked out scene from a grocery store with Nera, Tannim, and some character named Tasi that I do not remember at all. It involved teh gay, though.
What We Make of It
by K T Bradford
Looks like Clarion and Clarion West are starting to send acceptances (or phone them). Congrats to everyone who gets in, it’s going to be awesome (and tiring, and maddening… but mostly awesome). I thought this would be a good time to link to my Clarion Journal, as it is still online. Back then I was calling myself Finley Larkin–ah, the old days.
No clue how helpful this will be for folks, but it’s all I have in the way of advice and usefulness on this topic.
Some of you may recall that last summer I sang the praises of the Launchpad Workshop, a week-long immersion in science and astronomy sponsored by NASA. I had a really wonderful time, learned a lot, and came back with several cool ideas for stories that I’m still working on.
They’re doing the workshop again this year and, if you haven’t applied already, I suggest you do. The deadline is March 31st.
Last year several people (who were completely jealous–in a good way–that I got to go) said that they didn’t bother applying because they thought that only major pros would be able to get in. Such is not the case. It does help if you have some publishing track record, and being a Clarion alum probably doesn’t hurt, either. But our group was a nice mixture of neo-pros and not-so-neo-pros and it worked out just fine. Writers all along the spectrum can benefit from learning more about these concepts, and the admins know that.
Another thing I like about the workshop is that they are very interested in getting women and minorities to apply, and they’re not just going for tokenism. Our group was diverse in terms of gender and ethnicity.
If you have any interest at all in astronomy and learning correct scientific principles to enhance your already amazing science fiction (or even fantasy… trust me on this), apply, apply, apply. It’s free to do so, the workshop itself is free (you’ll have to cover your own meals, possibly your transportation, but they have funds for those in need on that front, too), it’s a good time, you’ll learn a lot, Wyoming is beautiful, if incredibly empty.
A couple of weekends back I went off to a writing retreat with some folks from my writing group and other assorted author friends. The trip was amazing in many ways, despite the evil snow that wouldn’t let us get up the mountain, and I can’t wait to do it again.
The retreat was nothing fancy — five days at a house in Woodstock. But my first real vacation in a long time. Five days where I had nothing to do except write, write, and write. It was a productive trip for me; several scenes on my YA novel written, a whole short story drafted, some serious background work on other stories, and relaxation. Oh the pleasure of actual relaxation. [Read more…]
All last month on the Angry Black Woman I posted short essays written by black writers about how history intersects with their writing. I’m lucky enough to know or have contact with some really amazing authors who agreed to contribute. Now that February is over, I can link to them all. They are definitely worth reading if you have any interest in writing and authors.
Weaving My Herstory With My Fiction by S. Renée Bess
Have I taken that risk and written about the unknown, or have I created plots and characters borrowed from familiar territory? I need to be honest with my readers and with myself and confess that I’ve used bits and pieces of my personal history in writing three novels thus far. Don’t most writers do the same thing? …in committing my characters to the computer screen, I couldn’t escape my past and present realties any more than I could walk on my hands for a mile while singing my favorite Gladys Knight and the Pips song.
Fiction Is Just Nonfiction Through A Distorted Lens by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
When you are athletically gifted, in many ways, it’s like having this weird magical talent. You can just do these things that people find amazing, yet, it comes easily to you. I was always the first chosen during games on the play ground. I was always the one racing and beating the boys. It was all easy, natural. Being in motion always brought me great joy. So I’ve known this kind of ability.
My storytelling often takes the form of a poem by Linda Addison
As the world whispers to me, as stories and poetry fall from my hands, history personal and impersonal take form, teaching me many lessons. I try to be a grateful student.
The personal history of the author is tangential at best by Alaya Dawn Johnson
…my daddy, this reviewer said, was white, my mom was black, and I just didn’t know what I was talking about. This reviewer did not know me personally. Information about the ethnicity of my parents is not available online. There was, however, a photograph of me at the end of my offending story, revealing the salient detail: I’m one pale black person.
How can we conjure the wondrous world we believe in? by Andrea Hairston
People with power, talent, and beauty don’t necessarily get wealth, success, and happiness. The tragedies that befall us are not simply caused by the flaws in our characters. Power and talent can be a torment in a system stacked against you. People can shun the magical ones, be jealous or frightened of brilliance. Social forces can thwart even the strongest will and structural reality can crush individual imagination and agency.
Each turn of a writer’s imagination creates a different history by Charles Saunders
I used real history to change fantasy history – a reversal of the usual mode, in which fantasy history is a transmutation of real history. Were it not for the historical sources provided by the books of Du Bois, Davidson and Diop – along with many others that line the shelves of university libraries – I probably never would have started writing at all.
I’m a die-hard multiculturalist as a result of my very existence by Tobias S. Buckell
Later, when I started my first novel, I took a Caribbean-settled world cut off from the rest of the universe, developing on its own. I wanted to place Caribbean people out in outer space, something I’ve actually gotten hate mail for doing (I was told by the emailer I had no business writing about 3rd world people in outer space because only westerners had the ability to pull of the technological grunt work do ever reach the stars). I guess my writing set out to provide an antidote to attitudes such as that.
I’ve grown to love complexity by David Anthony Durham
Early stories are likely to be autobiographical. That one was. I was Marcus. I experienced all those moments, and in some variation had that cultural awakening, spurred by images of Hannibal. My awareness may not have happened in the tight time frame of the story, but the motion of it is accurate as far as I can remember. It marked the connection with history – and with the history of people of African heritage – that became fundamental to my life ever since.
Many moons ago when I was a wee lass and hung out in a chat room with other folks from the Online Writing Workshop, we used to engage in many group writing activities like word racing (the first one to get to 500 wins!) and the picture game. I don’t miss the chat room that much, but I do miss word racing and the picture game.
The latter is really simple. Find a picture, share it with the group, then write something inspired by the picture for 5 to 10 minutes. No stopping or editing or thinking, just whatever comes out. It can be a scene or a snippet of dialogue or description or exposition. Anything the picture makes you write. We then shared our efforts.
The only real problem with the picture game was that eventually we had this tendency to try hard to be brilliant and impress each other. The point wasn’t to be amazing, but just to write and get the creative juices going. Some people did get stories out of it, though. [Read more…]