For those who don’t know, Locus Magazine does an annual Recommended Reading list of stories and books from the previous year. The list is chosen by reviewers and industry professionals and generally requires more than one vote to make the list. So permit me the minor brag of mentioning that two of my short stories made the list from 2014, The Manor of Lost Time and The Sorrow of Rain, both from Beneath Ceaseless Skies. A famous sf writer once famously noted that “The Blank of Blank” titles were the titles away from which to stay, but I dunno. They’re not terribly exciting as titles, I agree, but evocative and they did seem to fit.
You can see the full list at the link below. Lots of great reading to be found there, from Mary Rickert, Jay Lake, K.J. Parker, Robert Reed, Aliette de Bodard, and well, far too many to list here. That’s why there’s such a thing as the Locus Recommended Reading List.
Lately it’s felt as if the sf/f field is under a curse. Within the space of a few months we’ve lost Lucius Shepard, Iain Banks, Jay Lake, Graham Joyce, and just this week, Eugie Foster. Nor was it that long ago that Kathy Wentworth left us. I think it was Kathy’s passing that hit me the hardest. Even though we’d been drifting in and out of touch as geography and our separate directions pulled on us, I considered her a friend. Then she was gone before I even knew she was sick. Cancer, like most of the above. All of them gone too soon no matter their ages, but Eugie especially in that regard. She was only forty-two (And for anyone out there who considers forty-two old, all I can say is—wait a while). Continue reading →
Something I read a while back in Kate Wilhelm’s book on the Clarion workshop, On WRITING, got me thinking about attitude. I don’t mean “Attitude” with a capital “A,” but rather a writer’s attitude toward the work. Her premise was related to Damon Knight’s concept of “Fred” as the subconscious, though she referred to hers as “SP” or Silent Partner. It’s the part of the brain this stuff (whatever this “stuff” may be) bubbles up from, and it has to be encouraged and reinforced.
Simply put, the more you use story ideas/notions the more you get story ideas/notions, because doing so is positive reinforcement for your own “Silent Partner.” The SP wants to give you what you can use, and if you use what it gives, it cheerfully gives more. Let’s leave the speculations on neural pathways and closed feedback loops for another day, but as anyone who’s been doing this a while can tell you, it just works. So how do you make it work for you? Continue reading →