Assumptions

So, I wrote this story with a black, inner-city protagonist. I based her on a friend of mine and like that friend she is compassionate and witty and willing to do anything for the people under her care. In an early scene in the story, she describes a boy “as prim and proper as a […]

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What Should I Write?

When I was a wee child, picking a topic to write about was easy: I wrote COOL SHIT.  Like… bicycles that transform into helicopters or space ships or motorcycles or maybe power armor and I should have a cool robot friend who is sarcastic and transforms into like a briefcase. (I watched a lot of […]

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We Need to Stop Calling Bad SF “Fantasy”

“This is well-written,” the rejection letter read, “but time travel isn’t science fiction. I suggest you send it to a fantasy magazine like Beneath Ceaseless Skies.” A newbie writer, I had never gotten such a direct referral to another magazine before. Surely it meant this editor knew more than I did about the genre. I […]

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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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