Assumptions: Gender and Sex

Everyone has basic assumptions about the world around us. We have to; they’re a part of how we keep functioning.

When you’re writing, however, and especially if you’re writing speculative fiction of any sort (speculative fiction is an umbrella term for fantasy, science fiction, and anything else that doesn’t fit precisely into either but is nonetheless outside “normal reality”), it’s a good time to take a look at your own assumptions. Speculative fiction is, after all, about transgressing the normal rules. I’m not going to try to give specific instances of these, mainly because there are so many I’ve long since lost count and I’d rather not single out individual works from a long list.

A personal pet peeve is the assignment of gender to absolutely everything. Beings of kinds that have no sexual reproduction nonetheless are treated as intrinsically either males or females, no reason for this offered, and Western society being what it is, that tends to then colour everything else associated with that being. Continue reading

Guest Blog; Passion – Writing for Yourself

It’s fascinating to me that there are others who feel the same way I do – this is very much in the same spirit as my recent post on publishing, I think. Even once you’ve decided that your own satisfaction is the most important thing of all, it’s always nice to find that you aren’t alone. :-)

Right brain + left brain = magic

Everyone’s perception of the direct process of creativity is going to be unique to them. I experience it in terms of two halves working together – right brain and left brain, for lack of any terminology that works better.

The story itself, the content, often feels like it comes from outside of me; I’m just watching the events, writing them down as rapidly as my hand can move. Characters and setting are there, waiting for me to tap into them, and once I tune in properly, the characters go ahead and do their thing. Friends have many times heard me muttering dire curses on a character who simply refuses to do what I would prefer that they do. The pure raw material comes from the creative and holistic right side of my brain, which immerses itself in the emotions and experiences and sees the story as a unified whole.

That’s wonderful, and intoxicating, and that side has strengthened over a lifetime of encouragement although it was pretty vivid even as a child. Maybe it just never had the chance to curl up and go dormant. However, it isn’t enough to make a writer. Continue reading

Commercial publishing or staying indie

I’ve been told, and not always by people who could be expected to be rather biased in my favour, that the novels I write are on a par with what’s available commercially – works that were actually picked by an editor from a publishing house as being something they want to offer.

At one point, I did try to get my two earlier novels published. It was a half-hearted attempt, I admit, so it isn’t much surprise that not much came of it. One editor of a small publishing house was very interested in one, but due to I believe the economy and a conflict between the partners, it collapsed before that got far. I was disappointed, I admit. I actually preferred the idea of a smaller publisher than a big one where I’d be just one more new writer of that season’s lineup.

However, I finally concluded, and not as a matter of “Fine, I didn’t want to anyway” sour grapes, that it was just as well. Continue reading

Urban Fantasy vs Other-World Fantasy

Creating a world, if you do it right, is time-consuming work, but can be extremely rewarding. On the other hand, urban fantasy has a lot going for it–despite being a bit disorienting for some readers when they encounter it for the first time.

In some ways, it’s easier. You can take descriptive short-cuts. If you mention a silver mini-van, your readers are going to visualize it without needing extensive details. Characters can drop by the fridge for a drink, or the hospital emergency room for a crisis. When you’re using a setting in another world, you’re going to have to provide considerably more detail about the vehicle used–what’s powering it, how many wheels, covered or not–or the food storage facilities or the emergency medical services available. The more inventive you are with your world (and being inventive is, as far as I’m concerned, a good thing), the more you may need to describe.

Continue reading