Occasional Notes On Writing

Everyone who writes has their own reasons for doing it, their own way of doing it, their own justification for what and how they do it. What I think is crap and hack is produced by people who believe in what they’re doing.

Note: when I say “writing” I’m talking about writing fiction because that’s what I do.

I went to Clarion West a number of years ago. For anyone who doesn’t know, Clarion is a six-week intensive workshop for science fiction/fantasy/horror. A different writer comes in each week to teach. Participants try to write a new story each week to present to the group for critique. It was mostly a good experience for me. But at my Clarion there was pressure to write things that conformed to the tastes of editors at the big genre magazines, things that would sell to those editors. People who wrote traditional genre were more likely expected to succeed than those who didn’t.

That way of thinking interfered with my development. After the workshop it took me a while to understand what I wanted to do. I wanted to write things that came from me, that were uniquely me (and get them published). I can’t write for a market. I don’t want to write for a market. Theme anthologies?  Forget it.

Persevering with my own vision hasn’t been easy. Trends and fads come and go, writers pick up on them, get books published, etc. None of that is for me unless by accident.

Guardian article on fantasy

Lots of good stuff in this article from the Guardian by Damien G. Walter.

…And to judge by the narratives that have filtered down to us through oral traditions and early written records, fantasy has always been essential to those stories.

Stories from the ancient world are infused with the fantastic, from Ovid’s Metamorphoses to Beowulf, The Iliad and The Odyssey. Myth, legend, folk and fairytales have fired our imaginations for thousands of years. We have used the fantastic to take mundane reality and transform it, sometimes for escapist pleasure, and sometimes to find meaning in a world that can often seem brutal and purposeless.

and:

But the commodification of fantasy does not mean it must all appeal to the lowest common denominator, any more than the presence of Starbucks on every street corner means you can’t find a decent cup elsewhere.

Sentimentality

Not a big fan of. But I miss Three Brother’s Bakery. It’s near where my parents lived in Houston. It’s what bakery means to me. I even dated one of the brother’s daughters when I was in college (one date, I think—if I was a smarter boychick I would have married into that family).

When my parents moved to Ohio a few years ago I now had very little to take me back to Houston besides the bakery (and it is a long way to go for an onion board or coconut danish, however excellent they may be). It never occurred to me to look for their web page. A bakery isn’t something you can enter virtually.

Well, someone I knew from elementary school through high school emailed me, and I friended her on Facebook. And discovered she was a fan (Facebook fan) of Three Brothers (yes, they have a Facebook fan page!). And now I’m a fan too.

And they have a website, and you can order from it.

Zanzibar

Announcing that French publisher Zanzibar Editions has picked up two books, The Painting and the City and Psychological Methods To Sell Should Be Destroyed. Writer and editor Anne-Sylvie  Homassel (stories in English in Strange Tales and Strange Tales II from Tartarus Press) has begun translation. P&C should be out this summer…