Posts tagged with "conditional love" - Faerye Net 2011-03-09T21:59:14+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Underpopulated 2011-03-09T21:59:14+00:00 2011-03-09T22:12:06+00:00 <p><a href="" target="links">My dear friend Jeannine</a>, a speculative poet of great talent, is also a vigilant <a href="" target="links">lit-blogger</a>. It was she who alerted me to this <a href="" target="links">interview the amazing <a href="" target="links">Duotrope</a> did with the fantastic <a href="" target="links">Sheila Williams</a>, editor of <a href="" target="links"><em>Asimov&#8217;s</em></a>.</p> <p>Now, I&#8217;ll own Jeannine brought it to my attention because I am mentioned therein, but something else about it caught my eye. In part of her response to the question &#8220;What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?&#8221; Sheila said: &#8220;Most stories are underpopulated. A lot of the tale can be told through the interaction of characters.&#8221;</p> <p>I don&#8217;t think Sheila knows it, but she has my number here. (She doesn&#8217;t know it unless I&#8217;ve mentioned it to her. I&#8217;m a procrastinating perfectionist, so she doesn&#8217;t see a story from me until I&#8217;m pretty damn proud of it.) I have learned from hard experience that when a story is just not working &#8212; it doesn&#8217;t want to unfold onto the page, or the first draft is flat as a board &#8212; adding a character often fixes it.</p> <p>I actually wrote a story draft last year where only one character appeared in the flesh (a few more via videoconference. And a cat.) Did it need to have only one character? Was it about solitude, loneliness, shut-ins, or anything of the sort? No. In fact, having only one character made the story flat and unengaging. Once I added a second character, the draft started working and more conflict started seeping in. I hardly need tell you that a story needs conflict like a sled needs snow. With a second character on the scene and a few more revisions, I deemed that story ready to go to Sheila, and it will appear next month <a href="" target="links">in the June issue</a>.</p> <p>I wish I could say that that was the first time I&#8217;ve needed to add more characters to a story, but in its first version, <a href="" target="links">&#8220;Conditional Love&#8221;</a> was missing one of its most important characters. I threw out that version and rewrote from scratch. It took a lot of revision even so, but the story found its heart as soon as I wrote Minerva in.</p> <p>Like most specific writing advice, this doesn&#8217;t apply to everyone. I know I&#8217;ve talked to other writers who have to cut characters out routinely. Maybe my tendency to draw a small cast onto a stage is related to my tendency to write spare drafts that need to be expanded &#8212; another habit many writers don&#8217;t share. But I am pleased to report that like many bad habits, underpopulation can be minimized through practice. I haven&#8217;t had to stop mid-story to rip up and reweave with a new character for a while, and hopefully I&#8217;ll continue the streak. Even though I&#8217;m alone with the page, my characters don&#8217;t have to be.</p> "Conditional Love" available free online! 2011-03-03T22:24:25+00:00 2011-03-04T11:00:02+00:00 <p>Spurred on by <a href="!/jaspkelly/status/43349589805371392" target="links">more experienced nominees</a>, I have posted my Nebula-nominated short story &#8220;Conditional Love&#8221; on my <a href="" target="authorsite">author site</a>. You can <a href="" target="authorsite"><strong>read it online here</strong></a> or download it in <a href=""><span class="caps">PDF</span></a> or <a href="">ePub file</a> format to read on the screen (or printout) of your choice. Many thanks to my co-protagonist <a href="" target="links">Ryan</a> for making this happen quickly and beautifully!</p> <p>My story is by <em>far</em> the latest of the <a href="" target="links">nominated short stories</a> to appear online, so please pass the link on!</p> <p>I hope you enjoy my story. Here&#8217;s how it starts:</p> <blockquote> <center><strong>Conditional Love</strong></center> <p>The new patient was five or six years old, male, Caucasian, John Doe as usual. Grace checked the vitals his bed sensors were feeding her board and concluded he was asleep. She eased the door of 408 open and stepped in.</p> <p>The boy’s head was tilted on his pillow, brown curls cluttering his forehead. Sleep had flushed his cheeks so he looked younger than the estimate. He seemed healthy, with no visible deformities, and if he had been opted for looks, it had worked—Grace would have described him as “cherubic.” He wouldn’t have been dumped if nothing was wrong, so Grace found herself stepping softly, unwilling to disturb him and discover psychological conditions.</p> <p>“Don’t worry about waking him, he sleeps pretty deep.”<br /> <center><a href="" target="authorsite"><strong>&#8230;Read the rest!</strong></a></center></blockquote></p> Love for "Conditional Love": Escape Pod and Locus List 2011-02-11T21:24:29+00:00 2011-03-03T23:14:46+00:00 <p>So! I had some lovely news earlier this week, and a nice surprise this morning, but I never claimed to be consistently chronological: last things first.</p> <p><strong>&#8220;Conditional Love&#8221; on Escape Pod</strong><br /> As I <a href="" target="links">announced</a> in September, my story &#8220;Conditional Love&#8221; was accepted for publication by <a href="" target="links">the one and only <em>Escape Pod</em></a>, the fabulous science fiction podcast. Its episode, #279, went live today! My story is read by Mur Lafferty, the host and editor of the podcast, and I&#8217;m pretty thrilled with it! (As you can tell by my running through today&#8217;s quota of exclamation marks in the first two paragraphs of this post. Damn, how will I finish the post now? With an illusion of decorum, I wager.)</p> <p><em>Escape Pod</em> is free: you can download <a href="" target="links">Episode #279</a> or stream it from the show&#8217;s website <a href="" target="links">here</a>. It will also be available on iTunes (still free!) in the near future, and of course if you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, the new episode will turn up in due course.</p> <p>This is a big first for me. It&#8217;s an exciting, yet embarrassing gratification to hear my words read back from my laptop in Mur&#8217;s assured tones. Go, listen! Make my ears even redder!</p> <p><strong>&#8220;Conditional Love&#8221; on the 2010 Locus Recommended Reading List</strong><br /> <em><a href="" target="links">Locus Magazine</a></em> published their <a href="" target="links">2010 Recommended Reading List</a> last week, and &#8220;Conditional Love&#8221; is among the recommended short stories. (Must&#8230;not&#8230;use&#8230;exclamation points.) The list is full of really splendid pieces of short fiction that I enjoyed this year (as well as novels that I intend to enjoy at some point in the future) and seeing my story in that company is dizzying.</p> <p>The Locus List is, of course, also the initial <a href="" target="links">ballot for the 2010 Locus Awards</a>.</p> <p>Rumors of my tossing my dinner aside in order to rip open the February 2011 issue of <em>Locus</em> and see this list again <em>on paper</em> are surely exaggerated. After all, that dinner contained fried okra. And I have decorum. I managed to delete all the extra exclamation points from this post, didn&#8217;t I? Oh, except those two. Damn.</p> Obligatory Self-Promotion 2010: Nebula Nominations 2010-11-30T15:13:10+00:00 2010-11-30T15:13:34+00:00 <p>It&#8217;s that time of year again, when <a href="" target="links"><span class="caps">SFWA</span></a> Members Active and Associate can help to form the short list for the Nebula Awards.</p> <p>I had two short stories of my very own published this year, and I&#8217;ve posted them on the <span class="caps">SFWA</span> Members-only fora here:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="story1"><strong>&#8220;Conditional Love&#8221;</strong></a> from the January 2010 issue of <a href="" target="links"><em>Asimov&#8217;s</em></a>.</li> <li><a href="" target="story2"><strong>&#8220;The Termite Queen of Tallulah County&#8221;</strong></a> from the October/November issue of <a href="" target="links"><em>Asimov&#8217;s</em></a>.</li> </ul> <p>Members can only nominate five pieces in each category, but they can comment on/recommend as many posted stories as they like!</p> <p>We now return you to your regularly scheduled stuff and nonsense.</p> "Conditional Love" to appear in Escape Pod podcast! 2010-09-22T02:15:13+00:00 2010-10-03T12:52:27+00:00 <p>If you missed <a href="" target="links">&#8220;Conditional Love&#8221;</a> when it appeared in January&#8217;s <em><a href="" target="links">Asimov&#8217;s Science Fiction</a></em>, you will have another chance! I found out today that <a href="" target="links"><em>Escape Pod</em></a> bought my story!</p> <p>I&#8217;ve been listening to <em>Escape Pod</em> for a while (although my reluctance to take walks whilst the daystar is holding its cruel summer sway has led to a podcast backlog) and it is a consistently excellent podcast. I am extremely glad to have my story there, and I look forward to hearing what they do with it!</p> How do you say "Conditional Love" in Polish? 2010-09-15T16:31:45+00:00 2010-09-15T16:31:51+00:00 <p>I should find out in December, when my story will be reprinted in Poland&#8217;s anthology <a href="|en"><em>Kroki w nieznane</em></a> (Steps Into the Unknown), edited by Mirosław Obarski.</p> <p>This will be my <a href="" target="links">second translation</a> overall, and the first time one of my stories has been invited to a reprint anthology in any language. I&#8217;m very pleased, especially because the anthology has an interesting background and a history of very high-powered authors in its pages.</p> <p>I&#8217;m so happy to see my stories travel around the world!</p> "Conditional Love" reviewed in March Locus 2010-03-26T14:12:00+00:00 2010-03-26T14:26:15+00:00 <p>I don&#8217;t plan to make a habit of posting every review my work receives. It could very quickly become boring for my readers, and it would raise other questions: how would I decide which reviews to post? Some sort of professional standard? Would I ignore bad reviews? Besides, reviews and reader responses tend to leave me feeling gawkish and confused, and this blog doesn&#8217;t need a regular feature where I digitally shuffle my feet and fail to make eye contact.</p> <p>However, I&#8217;m making an exception: my friend <a href="" target="links">Pam Rentz</a> (watch for her first published story in <a href="" target="links"><em>Asimov&#8217;s</em></a> August issue!) e-mailed me today to congratulate me on my story being mentioned in <a href="" target="links"><em>Locus Magazine</em></a>. Now, in case you don&#8217;t know, <em>Locus</em> is (in the <a href="" target="links">words of the <em>Independent</em></a>, &#8220;the news organ of choice for the American science-fiction community.&#8221; Any sort of mindful, professional creature would already have subscribed to it, and Pam thought this would be old news to me. Luckily I know mindful, professional people like Pam. (I&#8217;m also thinking of embarking on a subscription-fest, so perhaps this time tomorrow I&#8217;ll be a sober, thoughtful <em>Locus</em> subscriber.)</p> <p>Anyway, <em>Locus</em> is quite important, and so is <a href="" target="links">Gardner Dozois</a>, the editor and writer who now reviews their short fiction in a column called &#8220;Gardnerspace&#8221;. This double-scoop of prestige is why I&#8217;m breaking my review radio silence in order to report that in the March 2010 issue of <em>Locus</em>, he said &#8220;Conditional Love&#8221; was &#8220;excellent.&#8221; &#8220;&#8230;this is a moving, compassionate story with a killer twist in its tail.&#8221;</p> <p>Now you are duly informed of the facts: firstly, that I won&#8217;t be posting about my reviews here on a regular basis, and secondly, that I can be shocked out of that position on extraordinary occasions such as this. Thirdly, Gardner Dozois liked my story! Fourthly, I&#8217;m a doofus for not subscribing to <em>Locus</em>. I&#8217;m glad we could clear these matters up.</p> <p>P.S. I do not believe in the prognosticative powers of fortune cookies. <a href="" target="links">No matter how accurate they may be.</a></p> <p>P.S.2. Maybe I should dig up a May 2008 issue and see what the reviewer they had then thought of &#8220;Burgerdroid&#8221;? Maybe someone would have told me if it was exciting &#8212; but then again, I don&#8217;t think I&#8217;d met Pam then.</p> "Conditional Love" on newsstands 2009-11-11T23:29:09+00:00 2009-12-17T22:10:55+00:00 <p>The January 2010 <a href="" target="links"><em>Asimov&#8217;s Science Fiction</em></a> with my story, &#8220;Conditional Love,&#8221; is available on newsstands and at bookstores! Many Barnes &amp; Noble and Borders locations carry <em>Asimov&#8217;s</em>, and some independent bookstores &#8212; in either case, it&#8217;s good to call ahead if you haven&#8217;t seen previous issues there. The digital version does not appear to be available yet at <a href="" target="links">Fictionwise</a>, but I&#8217;ll update this post with a link when it&#8217;s available.</p> <p>If you&#8217;re looking for this issue on shelves, here&#8217;s your quarry:<br /> <center><a href="" target="links"><br /> <img src="" border="0" title="January 2010 ASF cover" alt="Magazine cover appears to show men in boater hats investigating a beached space squid"></a></center></p> <p>I&#8217;d like to keep this thread spoiler-free. If you&#8217;d like to discuss the story in depth, I can set up another thread for that, or you can hie you to the <a href="" target="links"><em>Asimov&#8217;s</em> fora</a>.</p> <p>In case anyone is wondering, yes, it&#8217;s still incredibly exciting the second time around. The difference is that now it&#8217;s my third story out, and my second in <em>Asimov&#8217;s</em>, I can actually believe it without checking the table of contents every five minutes!</p> <p>Thank you for your attention to this self-aggrandizing announcement.</p> <p><strong>Update, 11/24/09:</strong> The magazine is available digitally from <a href="" target="links">the Sony eBook store</a>. Have not found it on Fictionwise yet.</p> <p><strong>Update, 12/4/09:</strong> The magazine is now available digitally from <a href="" target="links">Fictionwise</a>. They sell all sorts of eReader formats and .pdf. Also, the magazine&#8217;s on sale right now!</p> <p><strong>Update, 12/17/09:</strong> <a href="" target="links">Rich&#8217;s Cigar Store</a>, an independent cigar and magazine shop in Downtown Portland, still has several copies of January&#8217;s <em>Asimov&#8217;s</em>, and they do ship. The February issue hits stands on the 22nd, so there are a few days left!</p> Newsstand date for "Conditional Love" 2009-09-27T22:44:58+00:00 2009-09-27T22:45:12+00:00 <p>&#8220;Conditional Love,&#8221; my <a href="" target="links">second story</a> to appear in <em><a href="" target="links">Asimov&#8217;s Science Fiction</a></em>, is slated for the January 2010 issue. I now have a newsstand date, too: November 10, 2009. (Yes, the January issue hits stores in November. We subscribers get it even sooner. It gives a delicious illusion of time travel!)</p> <p>If you&#8217;re worried that writing it on your calendar in giant red pen is insufficient, do watch this space. I promise I won&#8217;t let you forget about it.</p> Writing tools: Flickr 2009-08-04T17:30:29+00:00 2009-08-04T17:46:30+00:00 <p>My dear friend <a href="" target="links">Jeannine Hall Gailey</a> recently encouraged me to blog more about my writing process. I was dubious about this &#8211; I believe I said, &#8220;Thousands of people are working on a first novel. Why should anyone care that I am?&#8221; but I gave it some thought, and I came up with one aspect of my writing process that might be interesting.</p> <p>I use <a href="" target="links">Flickr</a> as a writing tool a great deal. By no means am I the only author who has come up with this particular expedient: <a href="" target="links">David Long</a> has also enthused about it, for example. Flickr has millions (billions?) of public photos from all over the world, many of them tagged extensively. This combination of photos and <a href="">folksonomy</a> is invaluable.</p> <p>You see, the world (and the web) is dripping with information, but much of it isn&#8217;t the kind of information a writer needs. <a href="">Wikipedia</a>, for example, is very general. I need specifics. Wikipedia may have vague or incomplete range information for an animal, when what I need to know is whether it lives in Southern Oregon. It may contain information on blights that affect a tree, when I want to know what range of colors its leaves turn in Autumn. As Flannery O&#8217;Connor says in <a href=" " target="powells"><em>Mystery and Manners</em></a>, &#8220;It&#8217;s always necessary to remember that the fiction writer is much less <em>immediately</em> concerned with grand ideas and bristling emotions than he is with putting list slippers on clerks.&#8221;</p> <p>One of the best ways I&#8217;ve found to locate the necessary list slippers is Flickr. For instance, my story <a href="" target="links">&#8220;Conditional Love&#8221;</a>, which will appear in the January 2010 issue of <a href="" target="links"><em>Asimov&#8217;s</em></a>, takes place in near-future Cleveland. Now, I lived there for a few years (it was the past when I did, though, not the future) and have a fair idea of the place. But I wanted to double-check my notion of when the cherry trees bloom, so I searched Flickr for <a href="" target="links">&#8220;cleveland cherry blossom&#8221;</a> and perused the date stamps. It&#8217;s good to double-check by using photos from several different Flickr members, since date stamps can be off or show the upload rather than the capture date. Similarly, Flickr members may misidentify the tree or deer in their photos, so it&#8217;s good to make comparisons for certainty.</p> <p>Another way I use Flickr is as photo reference. Even in fantasy stories, I like to firmly establish the geology and landscape. Sometimes I choose a real-world analogue &#8211; say, the Hebrides &#8211; and use photos of that place to inspire my descriptions of the rocks and waves, to anchor my thoughts. The same concept works for animals.</p> <p>Finally, Flickr and <a href="" target="links">Google Streetview</a> can help you research buildings and streets in settings far away. My novel is set in a future Los Angeles, so I can take plenty of artistic license. But if I want to, I can find out exactly what&#8217;s there now. I know of non-spec-fic authors using Flickr to set novels in other countries, too. Building details and atmosphere are easy to pick up as long as there are lots of photos and lots of tags to make sense of them.</p> <p>I&#8217;m very grateful for the opportunities the internet provides to me as a writer. I can still walk down to the local library and get a deep text on trees when I need to know the usual size of various species, but I can also quickly find out what a tree looks like, or whether a certain flower grows in a certain state. With careful searching, I can even figure out what name goes with a remembered image in my brain. Detail is what grounds a story and convinces the reader of the reality, immediacy of its world. It&#8217;s wonderful to have so many resources available when I go hunting for those list slippers, fallen leaves and cherry blossoms.</p>