April 20

A plethora of stories

Just under the wire, but here is this week’s writing update.

I have…a plethora of stories at the moment. I wish I could say these were all new stories. Most of them were written in the Fall, then set in a drawer to percolate while I worked first on NanoWriMo, then on the latest novel draft (huh…I just realized I wrote two novels back to back in the last six months. Go me.) What I am left with is a veritable plethora of stories, though.

I have the stories I’m revising that were in the drawer, as well as new stories dancing in the periphery. For the first time, ever, I have 2 stories out with 4 beta readers at the same time. The real kicker is that one of them, a space opera, wasn’t satisfying enough to me in the first draft, so I sat down and rewrote it from scratch (it’s practically a completely different story now).

What does this mean? A lot of checking my inbox for feedback emails, all the while biting at the bit wondering why I haven’t heard anything back from folks yet (it’s been, at most, a few days. It’ll probably be another week.). But this also means that I’m quickly running out of beta readers. I dont’ feel right asking the same folks more than once. I guess I better get this writing thing down right while I still have the kindness of others.

And that’s where I’m at with writing this week. Hope things are faring well on your end!

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April 16

Thickening the skin by proxy (more tangential Hugos crap)

Yeah, it’s more tangentially related to the Hugo debacle posting. Feel free to skip.

I think this whole Hugo mess has taught me a great lesson. No, not the political one (although that’s a lesson worth repeating: In life, everything is politics in the end. Everything.). I’m learning just how thick a skin you have to have to be a writer.

Yesterday, one of the nominees for this year’s Hugo, Marko Kloos, declined the nomination. While he disassociated himself with the sides involved as best he could, his real reasoning for backing out was that there would always be questions on his inclusion. While in a normal year you would think all of the Hugo nominees were there (largely) because people read their books and enjoyed them, this year’s allegation of ballot loading (bulk voting for the same set of authors to get them on the ballot, regardless of whether the voter read/enjoyed the work or not) would always leave a stain on his writing reputation. Would he have made the ballot without the boost? Was he actually worthy? With that kind of lingering question in mind, it’s no wonder he backed out slowly.

That’s not the educational part.

What has followed in the comments section has been the most eye opening maelstrom I’ve seen in a while. There are a lot of people that just comment to applaud the decision kindly – “appreciate your integrity” kind of statements. Not taking sides, not all current readers (though I’d love to see how this has impacted his sales this week), but generically pleasant posts. The rest break down into two rough groups. There’s the indignant, “Of course you should have withdrawn” which come off as just pretentious jerks. And then there’s the belligerent, moronic commenters. Not just haters, but self entitled, truly angry people.

Like a fool, I subscribed to the comments on the post. Although I’m not published, have no stake in the outcome, and don’t even really know Kloos that well (I’ve read a little of his blog in the past), I feel like I know what he must be feeling right now as my inbox dings every time a comment is posted. This is the kind of behaviour you know is out there, but is so rarely visible to the average audience member that it gets boxed away as almost anecdotal in the mind. Just because you put your stuff out there, people think they own a part of you. Crazy.

Bah. Fascinating to follow, easy to get sucked into. I should get back to writing, so I too can get some lovely fan mail about how I suck. And Marko, if you stumble on this post – hat tip, chin up, sounds like we don’t agree on a lot, but your first book’s been good so far and I’d be happy to share a table and some Wienerschnitzel with you some time.

April 15

On voting for the Hugos

If you’re a rabid Science Fiction fan, especially of the written word variety (vs film, television, graphic novel, etc.), you know doubt already know about the current Hugo controversy. If you aren’t and are curious, I’m sure google can fill you in (recommended reading in that case would probably be the dialog between George R. R. Martin and Larry Correia, as well this for a mostly neutral perspective).

Not going to talk about that. Not today, anyway. What I am going to comment on is that today, maybe despite the controversy, or maybe so I could be more than a bystander, I have taken the plunge and paid for Worldcon supporting membership.

Why? For two reasons, really.

First, so that, as a voter, I can share my opinion. Sure, opinions are as common as, well, you know what Grandpa used to say about assholes, we all have one. But like national politics (though on a much, much smaller and at times sillier scale), you can’t talk if you aren’t taking part in the system in the first place. Can’t complain about the president if you didn’t bother to vote, you know

Second, because loaded ballot or not, voting still has an impact. I’m tired of being a part of the fan community on the sidelines, and want to exercise my one vote per member right to sway who pulls through in each category.

OK, lot’s of other words to put together still. Here’s hoping the Hugo’s survive this year’s controversy intact. As I write this, 2 more authors have withdrawn their names to disassociate themselves. By the time the ceremony gets here, there may be no one left for me to vote on.

Typical.