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Showing posts from April, 2014

A Class At Gotham

Happy Friday!  Over the past ten weeks, I've been completing an introductory level Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing class online from Gotham Writers.  My husband gave it to me for my birthday back at the beginning of the year.

If you are unfamiliar with the layout and format of an online Gotham class, they have an online tour here.  Gotham has both online and brick-and-mortar classes in their physical location in NYC.

This class is set up to help aspiring writers in the field of speculative fiction hone their craft.  In that respect, it focuses more on craft than it does the speculative fiction.  I've heard that "general" creative writing classes tend to be geared towards literary fiction and can be unfriendly towards genre writers, so it is good that there is a place where we are welcome.  Selections from spec-fic writing were used as examples, and the students are expected to be working on spec-fic projects, but the main focus of the class is making the students…

Filtering through critiques

Happy Friday, friends!

Over the past few weeks, I've been thinking about feedback that I've gotten on my pieces and feedback I've seen others receive.  If you're a relatively new writer, or at least new to getting critiques, it can be difficult to receive critiques with grace.  What's even more difficult is figuring out if what you've gotten back is useful.  Here's how I evaluate my feedback to decide what advice and suggestions to keep, and what to discard.

1) Is this person in my target audience?
Your target audience is a rough approximation of the demographic that you see being a fan of your work.  Whether it's YA, something geared more for baby boomers, whatever, you should have a pretty good idea about who this is by the time you're getting feedback, if not before you start writing.  If they are in your target audience, give their suggestions greater weight.

2) Is this person a fan of other works in this genre?
This goes along the same lines as…

Jane Austen and Magic

Hello friends, happy Friday!  Last week bumped the blog over the 2k view mark, which is awesome.  Thank you for reading and commenting!  (You should comment more!)

Anyway, today I'm reviewing Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal.  If you haven't read it, but her name is familiar, you may know her from the Writing Excuses podcast.  Yes, Shades came out in 2010, and I am a bit behind the curve ball, but let me explain.  When I started listening to the Writing Excuses podcast a year ago, I started waaaaayyy back at the beginning of the series, and Kowal didn't come on to the podcast until about July of last year, by my progress.  (I believe she actually came on as a permanent member back in 2011, but I cannot confirm for certain in the five minutes I spent combing their website.)  I loved everything Kowal was bringing to the podcast and I knew her work would be just as wonderful.  But I had excuses, so I didn't pick up her books.  When a friend asked me what I…

The Re-Emergence of the Post-Apocalyptic

A few weekends ago, my in-laws were in town.  They brought us some lovely furniture that my father-in-law had made, and we visited a little.  We talked about TV that we liked, and The Walking Dead came up.  We talked about scary stories and how they have changed between their generation and ours.

While standard horror, action, and thriller stories are still wildly popular,  both in literature and visual media, there has been a rising trend of post-apocalyptic stories. This article from io9  in 2009 catalogues the rise in the number of post-apocalyptic stories by the causes of the apocalypse. This article from SF Signal last year poses the question of the rising popularity of post-apocalyptic stories to a number of popular authors in the genre.

Why are these stories so popular? I'll offer my own reason. We know that our world is fragile. We anticipate a possible end with every news story that we see in our feed. A landslide.  A hurricane.  A shooter.  A terrorist attack.  A virus …