28 June 2012
1) Passive voice--especially multiple sentences in a row of passive voice.
2) Lack of a clear protagonist. This usually means there's a long narrative that reads more like a newspaper article than a story. Also, this can be when multiple characters are introduced but I don't know which one the story is about.
3) Generalized descriptions. For example, "The short-haired man stood in the room. Across from him, the woman sitting in the chair smiled." I don't get a picture in my head from these sentences. I don't even know where or when the story takes place. Give me some details. Maybe something like this: "As usual, Alfred, the raisin-faced weirdo from accounting, hovered next to the coffeemaker in the break room. Jane slouched in the hard plastic chair across from him and couldn't help but smile. Tonight, Alfred would die a slow, painful death."
26 June 2012
- Ursula K. LeGuin
- Octavia Butler
- Madeleine L’Engle
- Angela Carter
- Kelly Link
- Anne Rice
- Connie Willis
- Susanna Clarke
- Doris Lessing
- Marion Zimmer Bradley
I must admit I do have a problem with the "greatest female" label. I'd say most of these authors are among the "greatest" authors period, certainly in the SF/F field.
Generally the "of all time" label is also a bit problematic. Authors can be amazing trail-blazers or ground-breakers for their time, but have their work not stand up years or decades later. (Not that I'm saying this is the case for these authors.) Should we judge authors in their time or for all time?
What do you think? Who are the greatest SF/F authors?
19 June 2012
14 June 2012
- Local Authors Spotlight - Hyatt Capitol Room 3 - 7pm FRIDAY
- New Horror and Urban Fantasy - Room 104 - 11-12 Sat SATURDAY
- Strong Women Writers and Characters in SF and Urban Fantasy - Hyatt Capitol Room 2 2pm SATURDAY
- Great SF/fantasy/horror books Room 104 - 10-11am SUNDAY
- How To Break Into SF/fantasy/horror Fiction-Writing - Room 104 11am-12 SUNDAY
12 June 2012
- Do avoid exclamation marks! When I got my MFA my professors told me authors are allowed one exclamation mark per 80,000-word novel. How many does that leave you as a short story writer? You do the math.
- Do have your protagonist do something. In particular, it's great when the protagonist acts to solve his/her/its problem.
- Do give your protagonist a problem. If his/her/its life is perfect...it's not a story.
- Do have some dialogue. Obviously, you can write a story with no dialogue, but we rarely publish such stories. Be cognizant of your market.
- Do avoid non-said dialogue tags. 'asked' is okay, too.
- Do have at least one speculative fiction element. I just rejected a lovely story solely because there was nothing speculative about it. Be cognizant of your market. :)
- Do avoid obvious and blatant political or religious issues. We don't campaign for candidates or causes. We don't proselytize.
- Do avoid grammar and spelling issues--especially in the first paragraph. We may be a little lenient when it comes to accepting stories with grammar and/or spelling issues but when they're in the first paragraph, I get grumpy.
- Your advice here.
06 June 2012
As Clifton Fadiman says in one edition of The Martian Chronicles Prefatory Note: "Mr. Bradbury has caught hold of a simple, obvious but overwhelmingly important moral idea... That idea--highlighted as every passing month produces a new terrifying lunacy: sputniks,super-sputniks, projected assaults on the moon, projected manned satellites--is that we are in the grip of a psychosis, a technology-mania, the final consequence of which can only be universal murder and quite conceivably the destruction of our planet." Bradbury's paradigm was very different from those of his science 'fictioneer' peers. Since humanity has not heeded his warnings, let's hope his dire prophesies do not come to pass.
There's a fascinating interview about Bradbury posted at The Paris Review: Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No. 203. Check it out!
Rest in peace, Mr. Bradbury.
05 June 2012
What's the key to kicking off a great summer? Great speculative fiction stories! And we just happen to have several you are sure to enjoy. Returning Electric Spec author A.L. Sirois brings us a startling look at the future of musical entertainment in "Itinerate Pandemonium." Those who love high fantasy will flock to "They Who Ride Griffons" by K.R. Hager. Also in the fantasy department, we bring you Larry Hodges' "In the Belly of the Beast," which presents a whole new take on dragon hunting. If you're looking for a note of tragedy with your sci-fi, read "Time Debt" by D. Thomas Minton. And, just in time for summer, we have "Deep Deep" by Karen Munro, a summer camp story with a side of slipstream. If any of you are planning a trip to Vegas, you may want to read the cautionary tale included in this month's Editor's Corner "My Kingdom for a Gislestorch". As if all this fiction were not enough to get you going, this issue features an exiting interview with first-class science fiction author Warren Hammond, and our film critic explains how the horror film A Cabin in the Woods relates to world politics.
Thank you very much to all our authors and columnists, our tech support folks, our slush reader and everyone else who helped put this issue together. We appreciate you!
And "Thank You" readers! Without you, we wouldn't exist!