Habits in writing are natural. Like any other habit, they serve as a safety net and a place where we can surround ourselves in comfortable things that work for us. In short fiction, these habits might not stand out so much. In long fiction, however, repetitious formulas…
Working on editing two books at once is harder than I thought…
I miss summer vacations.
I miss knowing what I’m doing, at least for a little while. Every time I think about it now, it all seems so overwhelming. The world gets so, so much bigger and more complex when you grow up.
I’m glad it didn’t always seem this way. I wouldn’t have known what to do at all.
bird by bird
Fan fiction. It’s…complicated. I truly believe that fans should be able to perform any and all fan activity they please, and remain unmolested in that activity. I have always maintained a “run and play!” policy with regards to my own work — it doesn’t hurt me or my ability to make money from my work. In all the online hulaballoo about fan fiction, wha tis often lost is that for those of us who are not bestselling authors, fan fiction is advertisement. It helps us. Most of us would be delighted with the most bizarre slashfic if it meant someone loved our characters that much. Most of us will never have the gigantic fan bases that breed fanfic.
I think it would be ironic and disingenuous for me to say that people shouldn’t write it — what, exactly, am I doing when I retell Snow White or Hansel and Gretel? The Orphan’s Tales requires other texts to exist, to function. No book can live in a vacuum. They are always already — to crib my man Jacques — in dialogue with other books. So I encourage my fans to write fanfic — it can be holy work, to dwell in a story and expand its borders.
Not all of it is. Much of it is poorly written, and I don’t think it serves anyone to pretend that’s not the case. But that’s okay, too, it doesn’t have to be. The real issue here is legitimacy, and unfortunately a lot of authors behave as though fanfic somehow threatens them on the level of mercury poisoning, threatens their ability to control what is legitimate. I do think there is a line between professional and fan work, of course there is, but I don’t really think it’s in danger of being scuffed, Nebulas notwithstanding. Fan writing needs source material, guys. Chill."
When Out Jogging
Once upon a time, there was a woman who loved to run. Every day, she put on her loose green shirt and cut-off jean shorts, slid her blue sneakers onto her feet, and jogged out the door of her house to make a long, winding circle around her neighborhood.…
“I just don’t see how non-white characters would fit into my book. All the characters in my head are white.”
I see this excuse as a crisis of imagination. Particularly if you’re writing SF, often set in a future when anything can change. When everything can be different than it is now. We’ve already seen our first black president. We’ve seen women in ever more powerful roles. Gays and lesbians are coming out in nearly every corner of society, and universal marriage equality is becoming more and more imaginable.
You can’t imagine a black genetic engineer as your main character? An Hispanic lesbian piloting a starship? Then your imagination needs some revamping. You need to start thinking outside the box. Open up your corner of the world to more possibilities."