Monday, May 30, 2011

My Plan to Get Going

I've been going through one of my periodic creative droughts of late. They come along every once in a while and cause me no end of tribulation.

But, for once, I've decided to take the bull by the horns this. I recently read a good piece of advice about writers' block and how to eliminate it... and that piece of advice was simply this 'don't be afraid to write crap'.

Very often, writers have the expectation that every word they write needs to be golden - I suffer from this delusion all too often and when it turns out that not every word I write is perfect it causes me to slow down and sometimes come to a grinding halt.

So I have made the decision to spend the next seven days writing anything that comes into my head - or to the tips of my fingers - as long as I write no less than 1,000 words per day.

I don't expect any of it to be usable (and fully expect most of it to be derivative at best), but hopefully it might help to pull me out of this latest creative mire.

Here goes....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Some Days... But Then

There are some days, beyond the shadow of a doubt, when you wonder why you bother to write. You have crafted and chosen, played with form and structure, created (hopefully) believable characters and placed them in an imaginary world that has a good internal logic and a sense of wonder all its own.

You send the story out... wait a bit... and it comes winging back to you with a 'thanks but no thanks' attached to it.

Rejection is, unfortunately, part and parcel of any writer's life and I have experienced my fair share of rejection letters over the years and been crushed by every single one. It never really seems to get any easier and I think I know why.

Regardless of its actual worth, I am always of the belief that the story (or stories) that I am working on are the best that I can do at that particular point. I send them off with a metaphorical kiss on the forehead and am crushed when others do not seem to realize exactly how wonderful my work is (of course this is not to say that I haven't written some stinkers in my time, but that only really comes with hindsight).

In some ways, though, that sinking feeling you get when reading a rejection letter is a good thing because it means that you actually care about your own work.

As they say about horse riding, the only thing to do is to get back on again or, if you're a writer, to dust the story down (bearing in mind that some editorial comment are useful) wipe that look of shame off its face and send it out into the world again certain in the knowledge that next time the editor will love your story just as much as you do.

Some days are difficult... But then there's always tomorrow.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Joanna Russ

The noted American sf author Joanna Russ passed away on 29 April 2011.

Influential not only as one of the most pre-eminent writers of science fiction with a feminist slant, her contribution to science fiction criticism helped to shape modern sf and fantasy, and her best known work, The Female Man, broke down many of the pre-concieved barriers with regard to gender in speculative writing.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

On The Other Side of the Mirror at An Electric Tragedy

My short story On The Other Side of the Mirror is currently online at An Electric Tragedy (a new ezine of speculative fiction).

The story is something of a variant on an old theme... to say more might give the game away entirely (but let me point out that I've been reading a lot of Angela Carter and the Brothers Grimm of late, so there may be an influence or two there).

You can find it here: