“I am writing a short story about a lesbian main character … and almost had it finished when I had a panic attack. I was at a conference talking about my story when a lesbian told me she would never take it seriously because I wasn’t a lesbian and I can’t know what that feels like. But to me that love is love and normal and just like love between anyone else except for that one guy back home and his sheep. I don’t want to do this wrong. I want their love to be the reason my MC survives this ordeal but I don’t want to offend either. What can I do?”
The truth is that major publishers put out more books written by men than women. Print publications write more about books written by men. NPR discusses more books written by men. Unsurprisingly, the best seller list is dominated by books written by men: men outnumbered women 25 to 11 on last year’s number-one-best-seller fiction charts. And to be honest, I’m not innocent of this either — in the last calendar year, of the 76 books I wrote about, 42 were by men and only 34 were by women.
Clearly, female novelists have neither the cultural capital nor the financial capital that male novelists do. When will people face up to that? And when will it change?
“Setting aside the tangled web of labels of low, dark, high, heroic, etc. fantasy (or speculative fiction) — do you consider yourself to write ‘lesbian’ books, or books that happen to be about lesbians?”
Heiresses of Russ, the new annual anthology series created in honor of the late writer, academic, and feminist Joanna Russ, is now taking recommendations for the 2012 edition. We’re looking for lesbian-themed speculative fiction first published in 2011. The 2011 edition, co-edited by Joselle Vanderhooft, is available now, including work by Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, Rachel Swirsky, and other outstanding writers. This year Steve Berman of Lethe Press has invited Connie Wilkins to co-edit the 2012 edition with him. Connie also edited Time Well Bent: Queer Alternative Histories for Lethe Press, and has edited seven anthologies under an alternate name in an alternate genre. We’re looking for the best lesbian-themed speculative fiction published in 2011, with a length limit of 2,000-10,000 words. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, interstitital, just plain weird—we’ll know it when we see it. We can’t succinctly define superlative writing, either, but we know it when we see it. Recommendations from readers, authors, and publishers will be welcomed. We don’t need the stories themselves just yet, but if we’re interested and can’t find copies on our own, we’ll ask for manuscripts. Our deadline for recommendations is March 15, 2012. The payment for these reprinted stories will be $25 each and two copies of the anthology. Recommendations and queries can be e-mailed to email@example.com.
The one question that every creative professional (writer, artist, musician, whatever) gets asked is: Where do you get your inspiration? Well, today I’ve decided to share with the world my top 10 sources of inspiration!
“Masculinity, femininity, genderqueerness, or any sort of gender presentation is not inherent to a sexual identity. Femininity is not just for straight women. We’ve accepted that masculinity is for dykes and femininity is for fags because, well, this culture is homophobic and sexist, and we assume that a rejection of heterosexuality is also a rejection of gender roles. But many combinations of gender and sexuality exist—probably more than I could even name, probably more than I comprehend.”—Femme Invisibility and Beyond (Sugarbutch Chronicles)
The application period for the 2012 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop at UC San Diego officially opened on December 1, and will remain open until March 1. If you’ve been thinking about applying, start tapping on those keys now.
They’ve got an awesome faculty set up…
I wish I had known about this workshop years ago! Sounds like such an awesome experience …
A trio of Asian American teens singlehandedly — triplehandedly? — flipped the script on stereotypes of females in science, while scoring major wins in the fight against the most insidious of killer diseases. Seventeen-year-old Shree Bose of Fort Worth, TAXwon the $50,000 grand prize in the inaugural Google Science Fair with a project that solves a weakness in current chemotherapies for ovarian cancer, while 17-year-old Angela Zhang of Cupertino, CA scored the $100,000 top award in the 2011 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology for designing a nanoparticle that could potentially be the “Swiss Army knife” of cancer drug delivery. Meanwhile, 16-year old Amy Chyao of Richardson, TX sat next to the First Lady at the State of the Union in January, while basking in the President’s praise of her as the face of America’s STEM-studies future; Chyao won last year’s Intel Science and Engineering Fair with her own groundbreaking nanotech anti-tumor treatment. Cancer better hope these three don’t team up.
“I dislike the term ‘politically correct’ because I so often hear it used with a sneer, and because the word ‘politically’ is so unnecessary. What’s wrong with just ‘correct’? As in, it is correct not to be sexist, it is correct not to be racist, it is correct to treat everyone with common decency. See? Works perfectly well.”—The inimitable Sarah Rees Brennan (word!)
“It’s been called a hymn, a prayer—written by a rebel against religious dogma who nearly quit her job when Wellesley insisted that faculty members sign a pledge confirming their Christian beliefs. She was raised poor but educated, by a single mother (her father, who was a minister, died when she was 5), in Falmouth, Mass., which she later described as ‘a friendly little village that practiced a neighborly socialism.’”
I’m teaching a free workshop on writing fantasy and science fiction!
Attention Northern California teen writers! I am teaching a free (yes, FREE!) two-day writing workshop on writing fantasy and science fiction at the Fairfax Public Library in Fairfax, California, on January 21 and 28 from 3-5 p.m.
This free two-session writing workshop will cover the main elements of writing fantasy and science fiction, from how to create three-dimensional fantasy worlds to the basics of plot, to how to develop characters, and how to revise drafts. The workshop will also include opportunities for students to write and share their own work.
In more detail, here’s what I’ll be covering:
DAY 1: Saturday, Jan. 21
3-4 p.m. — The Basics of Plot (With an Assist From Harry Potter) 4-5 p.m. — Worldbuilding 101
DAY 2: Saturday, Jan. 28
3-4 p.m. — How to Make Your Characters Suffer Live 4-4:30 p.m. — Putting the Vision in Revision 4:30-5 p.m. — Q&A
And here’s how to sign up for this workshop:
Enrollment is limited and pre-registration is required
Students must be in grades 9-12 and sign up for both days
Visit or call the reference desk at: 415.457.5629
This event is supported by Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant it has received from The James Irvine Foundation and by The Friends of the Marin County Free Library