Quote of the week

FRD-09299.JPGWho said “People are not things!” in the best summer post-apocalyptic action movie I’ve seen in a long time?

Answer: an anonymous woman owned by Immortan Joe
in “Mad Max: Fury Road”

For a great explanation of reasons why this remake works so well, and it is in large part because the movie is not about Max,
read Kameron Hurley’s review here.

4 things I learned while writing a first draft / 4 cosas que aprendí escribiendo un primer borrador

It is done! The first draft of my fantasy novel, which is the story of a sister and brother who are trying to come to terms with their past while surviving the present in a realm with competing noble houses, secret gifts from the ancestors and an unstable Queen. (You can see a little more about the novel here.) I learned more from writing the first draft than I can put in one post, but I wanted to share some of the more important discoveries while they’re still fresh in my mind.

1. First drafts are about plot and mechanics not pretty writing. It doesn’t matter that chapters 7, 13, 14, and 24 are barely more than key ideas strung together to link the chapters before and after each of them. It really doesn’t. First drafts are where you waste three days making a character walk from point A to point B. It’s where you can write a paragraph where every sentence starts with “she”. It’s also the place to discover that one of your characters is getting older or younger relative to the other characters in each passing chapter because you weren’t sure what age they were in the beginning. This is what the first draft is for. I have a half a dozen scenes that I really love because I wrote them a long time ago, and I’ve been editing and improving them ever since. I also have 12 chapters that are pretty much garbage as far as the writing goes, but it’s okay, because this was the first time I wrote those 12 chapters and I just had to keep going. Continue reading

Confessions of a fickle reader, overstretched writer

I read more than one book at a time, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I would try to write more than one story at a time, too. While reading multiple pieces at once seems to work for many people, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should curb my multi-story writing habit right now.

Reading multiple books at once can help save a book from rejection due to my flagging attention. Having permission to visit another story gives me a breather from a piece that might be dragging a bit. It can even give me time to think and change my opinion about stories that require more thought and effort. But, to be truthful, I think this reading habit is born of a need to screen. I read lightly until I’m convinced the book deserves my love and attention. I usually find myself doing multi-reading while I’m in the first quarter of any book I’ve picked up. Then, if I’m in, I’m in. I’ll stick with a “good” book ’til the end. If I’m not in, I will keep reading but in a sporadic fashion–unless, of course, the book is so awful I have to drop it altogether. Continue reading

A horror story from India raises political questions

Reading stories from India has been a habit of mine for many years, so when I signed up at The India Readathon to review new works, I was excited to get started. I chose Maya’s New Husband by Neil D’Silva as the first novel I would read and review because it was horror (and not another freakin’ luv story!) and I haven’t read much horror from India.

MayaSo I settled in with this ebook and put my squeamishness aside. It was not easy. D’Silva’s novel is dripping in blood and gore. It reminded me right away of the lurid pulp horror fiction of the mid-20th century and the slasher films of the 1960s and 70s. D’Silva builds the suspense around a mad man’s twisted use of some of the practices of a group of ascetics devoted to Shiva. India’s wide range of religious practice and mythology provides fertile ground for all kinds of storytelling, and D’Silva has material for a lifelong career of horror writing. Continue reading