In my opinion the best way to learn to write stories is to write them as well as you can and then take them apart again, and since I am still learning to write, I’m an admitted workshop junkie.
Archive for the ‘Nebula Awards’ Category
What’s special about the Norton shortlist is the company I’m in! I’m a lifelong reader of sf and fantasy, so seeing my work on the same list as Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Scott Westerfield, and others — Terry Pratchett, for God’s sake! Terry Freaking Pratchett!
I worked for thirteen years, failed to sell four novels, wrote short stories for a while after I gave up on novels, and eventually got up the guts to write more novels. My fifth and sixth novels were the ones that sold. The common thread through all of that is that I like the act of writing.
I am often fascinated by the process of bodies becoming things which they were not initially; The Honey Month is full of stories and poems where the colour of people’s skin and the scent of their hair becomes food for the bees, or where the dawn becomes bread, or where flesh becomes salt.
Because I could not recall reading a story in which the main character was a faithful Mormon in a high-tech far future, I decided to use my religion (and my singleness) for the main character.
If I were purposely writing stories to attract a broad audience, I’d be depressed to think what a hash I’d made of it–it’s true my work isn’t easy to categorize, and that even within science fiction and fantasy I’m kind of a specialty taste.
When I made the switch to writing in my own universes, the dark stuff took a while to come out, and once it did, it took a while for me to figure out how to make those stories publishable.
I find that’s the hardest thing about writing historical novels–getting the little stuff right. There’s plenty of information about the battles, the wars, the huge political movements. But just try to find out exactly what the inside of the county clerk’s office in Sacramento in 1910 looked like!
I usually write a detailed outline of maybe 15-20 pages, including character profiles and brief worldbuilding notes. Sometimes I start a wiki — I’ve done that with the Inheritance Trilogy, so I can easily look up concepts or made-up words I’ve forgotten from book 1 to book 3.
If I had to choose a label myself, I’d call the stories historical fantasy, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter how they’re classified. It’s nice that people place them in so many different categories.