A snippet from chapter 6 / Pasaje del capítulo 6

I wanted to write a post about voice, being impressed recently with Norman Partridge’s voice in Dark Harvest, a Stoker Award winner, but I finished it so long ago I’d have to go back and reread to tell you all the reasons why Partridge’s voice is so right for this fast-paced, noir-ish horror story. I don’t have time right now. I have taken up a new day job that is working me hard (I’ve lost three pounds in two weeks.), and I have not been reading or writing much of anything. Therefore, in an effort to get 2017 moving, I thought I would share a scene from chapter 6 of the WIP. The chapter still needs work, but I like this encounter. I hope you will, too. Continue reading

A tribute to translators: Q&A with Daniela Toulemonde / Un homenaje a los traductores: Entrevista con Daniela Toulemonde

Spanish translation below the English is by Daniela Toulemonde.

If you believe as I do that translation is absolutely essential for writers who want to share their work and for readers who want to open their minds to seeing the world beyond their own cultural and lingually shaped perceptions, I hope this post will inspire you to join me in supporting translation and translators. We need to celebrate the importance of translation by actively seeking it out both as writers and readers. Yet this is a hollow gesture and poorly accomplished if we fail to honor the skills and talents of the translators who make it possible. Supporting fair contracts for translation services and making prominent acknowledgement of the translator on published works is the least we can do for those who help move us between worlds and introduce us to new ways of understanding ourselves and others.


Daniela Toulemonde

Following is a Q&A with Daniela Toulemonde, a budding 24-year-old translator from Colombia who has been translating the Spanish-language posts you find on this site. Thank you, Daniela, and best of luck in your further studies!

Q: Tell us a little about yourself – where you’re from, what you like to read, future goals, etc..

A: I’m from Colombia, though most of my family is French. I like to read speculative fiction and historical novels, mostly, though lately I don’t have much time to read anything different than what my studies demand, sadly.

I want to be a professional translator, and maybe, eventually, try to get something of my own published. I’m just about to end my undergraduate studies in English Language and Culture (with a minor in French language teaching) at La Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris. I would like to pursue my studies with an MA in Ireland or England (in Translation Studies). I’m sending the applications next week, so I’m really hoping it will work out! Continue reading

Why multiple protagonists work in The Windup Girl / Por qué funcionan múltiples protagonistas en La Chica Mecánica

TheWindupGirl2015I just finished The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. It’s a fabulous piece of environmental speculative fiction that I somehow missed when it came out in 2009. The worldscape in a future Bangkok is rich with detail, and the backstory about the consequences of genehacking plants and animals is so plausible that I completely immersed, despite being interrupted often due to having to complete tasks for others for money (i.e. work). A lot has been written about this novel, and I could easily go off on a tangent about many of its contributions to speculative fiction. This post, however, is not a review. I want to write about how the novel successfully explores a world from the viewpoints of multiple characters without making the cast so large, repetitive in purpose or thinly conceived that readers can no longer identify with any of them.

[Alert: there be spoilers below.]

The story begins with white male antihero Anderson Lake’s point of view. For a few minutes I thought I was going to be reading a novel that followed a typical thriller pattern nasty-genehacker-sales-rep-on-the-run kind of story and I was a little disappointed. But no! Bacigalupi introduces several other protagonists: Jaidee Rojjanasukchai a former muay thai fighter who is the heart and soul of the Environment Ministry; Kanya Chirathivat his unsmiling female lieutenant whose loyalties have been compromised; Emiko, a windup girl (a female cyborg) who’s been discarded and left to fend for her survival in the city’s seedy haunts; and Tan Hock Seng, an old Malay Chinese businessman barely surviving despite his scams and his nose for sensing out rising social tension. Continue reading

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