Living With a Tiny Closet

My house was built in 1930, an era when people did not accumulate quite so much stuff. In particular, I suspect the 1930 wardrobe was quite a bit less varied than today’s, because my closet is about the size of a refrigerator. My friend Nyla recently asked me, “How do you do it? You are […]

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Pretty

When I was a little girl, I asked my mother, “Am I pretty?” I clearly remember her recoil, her curled lip as she snarled, “Self-pity is disgusting!” I don’t remember what prompted the question, maybe my older sister telling me I was ugly.  “You have to have blonde hair to be pretty,” she said, “like […]

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When Tropes Wear Out

I was reading this essay by Joanna Russ, “The Wearing Out of Genre Materials” – it’s a quick read, but I’m not sure it’s freely available anywhere – I got it on Jstore. Yay working in academia! Anyway, the gist of the essay is: Stories feed an emotional need. They fulfill a wish, somehow. The […]

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Think so you can stop thinking so you can think

At Clarion, one of our instructors (I think it was a guest lecture from Kim Stanley Robinson)  said, “The change to your writing won’t come right away. For most it’s two years after Clarion that what you learn here will really change your writing.” The message was, “Don’t expect to get famous on a schedule.” […]

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Story Shapes: The Caper

During the write-a-thon, I found myself looking for the shapes of stories – the very vaguest, simplest structures I could find.  Something to start with, like an artist starts with an outline or sketch.  When you’re in a crunch to produce a complete work, it helps to have an idea of its completeness to start […]

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Metal and Flesh

Daily Science Fiction released my story “Metal and Flesh” today. It’s a dark little flash piece I wrote for my very first write-a-thon in 2012.  I picked it out of my old drafts folder recently and tweaked it a tiny bit. My initial premise was “uh… like, what if Transformers took over the Earth?” and […]

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Showing a Decision

I’m working on this story and one of the first readers said that I needed to “Show the main character making his decision.” So I re-wrote it and I added all this internal dialog for the character waffling over his decision and… I realized I don’t know how to show a decision being made. “I […]

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