Newest post is up at Mslexia – click here for Part I of the Dos and Don’ts of writing SFF. Includes reference to poisonous space-rhinos, which I now *have to* write a story about.
My latest blog about genre-writing is up at Mslexia. Here’s an excerpt – click here for the full read. And I do hope you like the zebra photo. I aim to serve.
No one wants to be pigeonholed. I just want to write books so wonderful that everyone loves them, all over the world. Even people who don’t normally read will adore what I write and praise me. Loudly. You want the same thing, right?
With that in mind, identifying yourself as a genre writer and distinguishing yourself from the mainstream – isn’t that cutting yourself off, selling yourself short?
I don’t think so. Far from being limiting, I have found more support, useful advice and a stronger sense of my writing identity since I defined myself as a fantasy writer. Here’s how it worked for me, and while my references and resources are particularly about Sci-Fi/Fantasy, I hope that some of this will be useful to those writing in other genres, too.
I hope you’ll read the full post here.
My first post is up at the Mslexia blog – w00t! It’s the first of six pieces about writing Fantasy (and the SF/F genre in general). Mslexia is a quarterly magazine aimed at women writers, and it’s my absolute favourite writing-type periodical, so I am very chuffed to be guest blogging for them. Come on over and read my piece, then check out the rest of the site if you haven’t heard of them before. Excerpt follows.
From the Mslexia Blog
I didn’t mean to write ‘genre’. I hadn’t even considered it – but when I joined my local writing class, every story I told had something supernatural in it. Magic and myth, alternative histories, witches and other worlds. What was happening to me? I hadn’t read anything like that since my teens, so was surprised to find myself writing it now.
I was reading serious novels those days; classics, Booker Prize winners, modern stories about India and child abuse. Somehow I’d changed from the girl who devoured every book in the library’s ‘Science Fiction’ section (where anything vaguely Asimov, McCaffrey or Herbert was shelved), stopped being the girl who stalked Terry Pratchett til he remembered my name*. I’d become a reading snob, and hadn’t even noticed.
Article continues. . .
My Advent Thanksgiving series is a series of posts about stuff I liked in 2011. Music, books, tv, games, handsome gentlemen – you get the idea.
My review of Warm Bodies is up at Slacker Heroes today. I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this, not being a big zombie fan, but it was gorgeous. Funny, full of art and music and just the right side of sentimental. Zombie romance – who knew?
I just love your brraaiins: 3 reasons to fall in love with a zombie
He lives in a plane
Post zombie plague, the undead hang out in large groups at abandoned places while the living hide in barricaded, joyless camps. ‘R’, our zombie narrator, lives in an abandoned airport, and has claimed a 747 commercial jet as his private pad. He spends his days travelling up and down the airport escalators, then up and down again. I guess they’re operating at the same level of animation. His friend ‘M’ is more down to earth (all zombies have forgotten their full, living names; M and R think they remember the first initials of theirs, at least) and is as sleazy and female obsessed in death as he was in life. M lives in the ladies bathroom, watching soft porn and tripping on hits from fresh brains. I know which bachelor pad I’d prefer.
‘My friend ‘M’ says the irony of being a zombie is that everything is funny, but you can’t smile, because your lips have rotted off.’
He loves music
It’s hard for the zombies to remember what happened to them, or what their lives were like before. R seems to be the only one who cares, and his inability to piece anything together is upsetting him. He collects records and memorabilia, paintings, movies and dolls, and piles them up in his plane-pad. He’s certain they were things of importance but unable to remember why. His mind is stretching beyond his zombie lot in life, but his memory won’t play ball and his vocabulary, limited to the occasional shuffling syllable, can’t help him ask what he wants to know. In one of the cutest, coolest scenes of the novel, he uses his vinyl stash to ‘scratch’ the words he wants to say, skipping through lines of Sinatra records to articulate his thoughts.
Who’s he trying to communicate with? Well. When he eats the brain of a twenty something soldier, he experiences the love the boy had for his bright, full of life girlfriend and decides to rescue her and bring her back to his plane. Yes, you’re right, not the cleverest idea ever. Bring a living girl into an airport full of zombies in order to protect her? Hmm. Anyway, while she’s there they start playing the records he’s amassed, and have a strange few days of hanging out, playing records and eating Thai food. Sounds like my 20s. Though I never had to cover myself in the blood of the dead to hide my scent from the hordes of hungry dead outside.
He values pop culture
Frustrated that none of the other zombies seem to remember or want more, R loses his temper and shouts at a zombie he meets when looping the escalators one day. She has a name tag – she has a name, a clue to her old life, but zombies can’t read so all it does is taunt him.
‘Name,’ I say, glaring into her ear. ‘Name?’
She shoots me a cold look and keeps walking.
‘Job? School?’ My tone shifts from query to accusation. ‘Movie? Song?’ It bubbles out of me like oil from a punctured pipeline. ‘Book?’ I shout at her. ‘Home? Name?’
I think I’d get on with this guy. Picture it. We’re in his plane, listening to Sinatra, eating pad Thai and talking about books. He’s kinda immortal. He’s got DJ skills. He wants to know where I’m from, what my favourite movie is. He’s eaten my boyfriend’s brain to get to know me better – if that’s not commitment, what is?
Every few pages of this novel has a reference to what this new, dead world is missing; Julie’s eyes are likened to ‘classic novels and poetry’, while R’s cravings for brraaiins pulse like pink Pollock fractals. Polaroids are valuable because memories are fading, Beatles songs weave in and out of the chapters, and R and his crew are a ‘cadaverous cadre…roaming the open roads like Kerouac beats with no gas money’. The people behind the barricades have no time to teach their children about art and music, because learning to load a gun and cut a zombie’s brains out are more urgent life skills. They dress in khaki and there’s no booze left in the pub. They are alive, but what for? Warm Bodies is a love letter to what we still have – culture, creativity, emotion, (vodka) – and inspires me to relish it now, before the zombie apocalypse takes it all away.
from ‘3 reasons to fall in love with a zombie’
– Click here for the review at Slacker Heroes (and if you are a zombie fan, check out the rest of the site’s Zombiethon)