Crits of the Fantastical - INTRODUCTIONS

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April 15th, 2009


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foxfinial
03:31 pm - INTRODUCTIONS
As I'd rather this comm doesn't become full of intro posts, please feel free to introduce yourself in the comments here.

What kind of fantasy do you like to write? Do you write long or short things? What are you working on at the moment? etc

Off-topic comments are totally fine. =)

I'm your mod, [personal profile] foxfinial (aka Alex), a reader and writer of weird fantasy. My favourite authors are China Miéville, KJ Bishop, Catherynne M Valente, Milorad Pavic, Jeff VanderMeer, Steph Swainston, M John Harrison, Christopher Barzak and probably some others. I'm currently writing a novel about a war between humans and water-people in a secondary world heavily influenced by Thailand. It's being told in the form of a fake history book comprising various texts, such as translations (with footnotes, om nom), letters, chronicles, journal entries, messages on clothing. I've had some short fiction and poetry published, and am submitting a completed novel to agents.

I hope you like this comm!

{ annotate this manuscript }

Comments:


From:[personal profile] pippin
Date:April 15th, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)
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:/
From:[personal profile] pippin
Date:April 15th, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)

p.s.

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200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok 200kok
From:[personal profile] foxfinial
Date:April 15th, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)

Re: p.s.

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Harass me in my private journal, missy. Or not at all, but I suspect that's not an option with you. >.>

I AM NOT WRITING A 200K NOVEL.
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From:[personal profile] bliumchik
Date:May 2nd, 2009 08:47 am (UTC)

Re: p.s.

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oh, that's what it meant. I read it phonetically and was like "200 cocks? is this a private joke about orgies?"
From:[personal profile] foxfinial
Date:May 2nd, 2009 08:53 am (UTC)

Re: p.s.

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Hahaha.

I'm writing a novel at the moment that's turning out reasonably long (current estimate: 130k), and several of my friends are encouraging me to make it 200k. For the sake of my sanity and to preserve the possibility of publication, that ain't happening.
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From:[personal profile] bliumchik
Date:May 2nd, 2009 08:55 am (UTC)

Re: p.s.

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Haha I see :P
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From:[personal profile] readerofasaph
Date:May 1st, 2009 08:58 am (UTC)
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Hi! I'm Lynn, intermittent writer of speculative fiction; I attended Clarion South this year, which has made the intermittency slightly less so. At the moment I'm mostly finishing up fanfiction projects and toying with speculative poetry and short stories while trying to set more concrete goals.

Fantasy reading-wise: Michael Swanwick, M. John Harrison, and Michael Chabon are always somewhere at the top, and my speculative fiction preferences range from conventional to eclectic on any given day. I'm particularly fond of fantasy-of-manners (or possibly just Kushner and Jane Austen; the other fantasists-of-manners I find enjoyable but less compelling, although I'm very fond of Susanna Clarke).
From:[personal profile] foxfinial
Date:May 1st, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, Clarion. Those sound so fun.

I am developing a large amount of love for M John Harrison.
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From:[personal profile] cupiscent
Date:May 5th, 2009 04:58 am (UTC)
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Pardon me for jumping in - though I suppose this is an introductions post. Hi, I'm Dee, and I'm in Australia and dead curious about Clarion South. I attended an EnVision back when Fantastic Queensland still ran them, but I've avoided Clarion as I've never really been a short story reader/writer. This may not be the place for it, but I'd be really interested in hearing about your experience and whether you think it has benefits for someone solely interested in longer pieces. (Though with two years until the next one, it's a pretty academic question. Heh.)
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From:[personal profile] readerofasaph
Date:May 10th, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
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..the short answer is no; if you're exclusively a novel writer it may not be worth the time and expense, particularly if you're a) an experienced writer with existing sources of reliable critique b) already well-connected within the speculative fiction community. The friendships I formed with fellow writers were the best part of the workshop for me; the actual writing/critique less so, although my critiquing skills have certainly become much sharper as a result. (Note that mileage varies, and most others benefitted considerably more than I did; I write slowly at the best of times and write well below my best under pressure - none of which made me a candidate to get the most out of the Clarion experience.)

I do feel strongly that the short story and the novel are different things (a sentiment Jeff Vandermeer also expressed during the workshop) - and that within Australia something like Varuna or Hachette Livre may be the better way to go, especially if you've already got novels written.

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From:[personal profile] cupiscent
Date:May 11th, 2009 12:03 am (UTC)
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Thanks for that! And double thanks for the links - I'd never heard of the Hachette one before!
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From:[personal profile] caro
Date:May 1st, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
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Hi, I'm Caro. I'm trying to get back into writing after a long hiatus. Fantasy is usually my favorite thing to read or write, and I'm currently picking at three different projects, all of which are supposed to be novel-length (eventually). I haven't been very successful with writing long things, but it's always my intention. My favorite thing to do is world-building, and I'm currently trying to start a novel that will take place in the fantasy setting I've been working on for about a decade. I figure it's past time to actually write something about it!

As a reader, some of my favorite fantasy authors are Susanna Clarke, Neil Gaiman, George RR Martin, Megan Whalen Turner, and China Miéville. I'm actually trying to start reading a lot more these days, so I'm very open to any recommendations.
From:[personal profile] foxfinial
Date:May 1st, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
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Reading is very helpful in learning more writing tricks, imo.

Have you read one of Christopher Barzak's books? I read The Love We Share Without Knowing recently; it's a series of connected stories of locals and expats in Japan whose lives intersect with each other and, occasionally, with fantasy-tinged events. I love Barzak's writing style. It's simple but beautiful.

If you like China Miéville's work, you may enjoy KJ Bishop's The Etched City. Surreal happenings in a tropical city.

You might like Holly Phillip's The Engine's Child: it's a bit of a slow story, imperfect, but it's quite interesting.

Ekaterina Sedia's The Secret History of Moscow is about three people travelling through the mythical undercity of Moscow: similar in some ways to Gaiman's Neverwhere, but definitely its own book.

As I usually do, I'll pimp Catherynne M Valente. You could start with her recent novel Palimpsest, about a sexually transmitted city that transforms -- in beautiful and terrible ways -- the people who discover it.

Good luck with your writing projects!
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From:[personal profile] caro
Date:May 1st, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the recs! I am adding all of these to my Bookmooch wishlist, but I think I'll actually go out and buy The Etched City and Palimpsest. Those sound really interesting.
From:[personal profile] foxfinial
Date:May 1st, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
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I hope you enjoy them!
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From:[personal profile] asinter
Date:May 2nd, 2009 06:10 am (UTC)
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haha, oh right, I should probably comment here.

Hullo! I'm Yun/Ash/Asph/hey you over there. I read and (attempt to) write fantasy; to be honest, it's more like I read and worldbuild fantasy and then somewhere along the way the writing doesn't get much further than my head. (I'm working on that.) I've got about a dozen fanfic WIPs, and then about six major original WIPs. My current goal is to decrease those numbers s-sob. SOMEDAY I WILL FINISH ONE OF THESE MASSIVE SOMETHINGS.

Reading-wise! Er, when it comes to re-reading value, that'd probably be Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint, Diana Gabaldon's works, Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, most of Robin Hobb's works. Friedman's Coldfire trilogy. Michael Chabon's stuff for pure style. I do admit I've been reading a lot of trashy fantasy stuff lately though, just for the sake of something to read as I hunt down recs and take note for my next trip to the bookstore.
From:[personal profile] foxfinial
Date:May 2nd, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
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In recent years I've taught myself to focus on one thing, and this way I've actually been finishing novels instead of writing a dozen opening chapters/parts. So I know your multi-WIP pain.

Ooh, CS Friedman. I read her scifi novel This Alien Shore years ago, and it's one of my favourite scifi novels. I've the first Coldfire novel on my to-read pile.
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From:[personal profile] asinter
Date:May 2nd, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
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Haaahahaha, yeah, the thing is I don't even have opening chapters/parts. I just have worlds/settings that I fell in love with and can't abandon. It's kind of a pain!

Oh man, huh, I didn't know she's written scifi too. [should go check it oooout] I loved her writing in Coldfire so much, so. *A*!!!
From:[personal profile] foxfinial
Date:May 5th, 2009 12:33 pm (UTC)
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You could always write a fake travel brochure. Stories told by texts are fun.

It's probably better to ignore me. >.>
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From:[personal profile] asinter
Date:May 5th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
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If I didn't also want to explain the workings of the Bureau, I'd be tempted to do just that. Well, I might do that as an aside anyway, given how the Bureau is like an INTERWORLDLY CROSSING POINT.

But why? >: You have shiny ideas!
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From:[personal profile] bliumchik
Date:May 2nd, 2009 08:51 am (UTC)
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Hallo! I'm Maggie, I've several fantasy-things in the works as soon as I lick this pesky procrastination problem (also, university :P) although lately everything seems to show up in my head in comic-book form, so that might be tricky.

Anyway, I thought I'd join pre-emptively and do some critting because I have discovered a gleeful passion for pointing out syntax errors which is the bane of my short-fiction class at uni and I thought I might be able to work it out in peace on the internet.

Some of my favourite fantasy authors include Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Kelly Link, China Mieville and Robert Rankin!
From:[personal profile] foxfinial
Date:May 2nd, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)
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Haha, I remember final year of uni and my fiction productivity.

I have no advice for procrastination. *re-checks LJ f'list again* (I sometimes turn the internet off, actually, and that works for as long as I can resist the urge to turn it back on.)

Kelly Link is fabulous.
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From:[personal profile] cupiscent
Date:May 5th, 2009 05:03 am (UTC)
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Oh hi you.

Er... no further message. *G*
From:[personal profile] garlicandsapphires
Date:May 3rd, 2009 03:06 am (UTC)
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Hi, I'm Tori. I'm trying to rewrite the 'it's my baby and I luuuv it' fantasy novel I started several years ago, because I think if I hack at and twist and bleed it, there's a good story there. I'm also working on my short fiction and trying to get it published. I like trying to work with the weird and the folkloric and the narrative unconventional, and trying not to be (too) pretentious with it. And I'm trying to get better at focusing and committing because my output isn't very high.

My favourite fantasy writers (in which I include magic realists) are China Miéville, Neil Gaiman, Phillip Pullman, Angela Carter, Italo Calvino, Salman Rushdie and Oscar Wilde. I also really love certain children's fantasy authors, such as Alan Garner, John Masefield, Joan Aiken and C.S. Lewis.
From:[personal profile] garlicandsapphires
Date:May 3rd, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)
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Lot's of 'trying's in there, ha.
Nice comm, also :D

ohhh I forgot Hans Christian Andersen. I spose Grimm don't count because they were collectors.
From:[personal profile] foxfinial
Date:May 5th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
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Well, there is quite a lot of trying in this writing malarkey.

OH HAI YOU.
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From:[personal profile] cat_rood
Date:May 4th, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
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Hi. I'm Cat and currently, I'm attempting to drive myself more insanefinish up a 130k-ish novel before the end of May. This is the third revision for this, and I'm juuuuuuuuust about willing to let an editor have at it. Maybe. Possibly. I think.

I haven't been reading nearly as much as I should be lately, but I blame the whole trying to go insane thing.
From:[personal profile] foxfinial
Date:May 5th, 2009 12:42 pm (UTC)
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I've been forcing myself to read more while pushing hard on the writing, but it can be tricky balancing the two.

I think 130k borders on the too-long end of the scale, but exceptions happen. (An agent talking about novel lengths.) It might be worth looking at places to tighten it, although I say this without having read the thing so I've no idea if the book actually needs all the 130k.

Either way, good luck finishing and submitting it. =)
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From:[personal profile] cat_rood
Date:May 5th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
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Actually, I know it's clocking in at the high end. The first draft was 320k, the second somewhere around 240k, so, at 130k, it's ready to be shipped to an editor.

Please note: I mean an Actual editor, NOT a publishing house editor. Meaning, someone who will tell me what's wrong, where and what can be done so it can be sent to agents/publishing houses.

I'm not stupid enough (and that's a personal opinion about myself, not a reflection on anyone else) to think that the third draft is anywhere near publishable. I think I've one or three more drafts, before that can happen.

As for finding time to read: I've found YA a lot easier to read, when writing, than anything epic. (I have GRRM to read, and several others.)
From:[personal profile] foxfinial
Date:May 5th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)
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Ahh, right.

I'm sure you already know this, but choose carefully with a hired editor. There are a lot of people who scam new writers. There are, however, some legit people who could prove tremendously helpful. I know that Jeff VanderMeer offers a book critiquing service, as does John Jarrold (who is also a reputable lit agent, but he keeps the book-doctor and lit-agent aspects quite separate and is legit).
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From:[personal profile] cat_rood
Date:May 7th, 2009 11:04 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I started stalking P&E a while ago, because I knew some people had to be scamming someone somewhere. (Sad state huh?)

But I'll look into VanderMeer. Thanks.
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From:[personal profile] asinter
Date:May 5th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
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H-Holy crap, I cannot even imagine 130k, let alone 320k. [is still trying to work her way past 2k] orz
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From:[personal profile] cat_rood
Date:May 7th, 2009 11:02 am (UTC)
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Well, to be fair, it was co-written at the 320k stage.

Then, my first rewrite took it down to 240k, taking out a lot of extraneous crap that we, as the writers, had to know, but the reader really didn't.

I'm still doing that, trying to get it down to about 130k.

I'm just glad that I've got more than a few reccs from P&E about who to contact for a thorough edit of this thing. All my friends have seen it, and are probably sick of it! Plus, it's at the stage where I cannot do anything else with it. Someone else needs to prod it with a stick.

I'm going to cringe when I get it back. I know it....
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From:[personal profile] cupiscent
Date:May 5th, 2009 04:49 am (UTC)
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This looks like a pretty splendid sort of place. So, hello! I'm Dee, and I'm fond of a spectrum from high political fantasy through to urban fantasy. I have a soft spot for "unfantastical" fantasy. My favourites are KJ Parker, Scott Lynch, George RR Martin and Guy Gavriel Kay. Also very fond of Neal Stephenson.

I've got a few things bubbling in my head, but the main project at present is Boralos, a 130k stand-alone high fantasy, set in a SE Asian/Egyptian world with flavours of Ancient China. I'm currently working on taking in corrections and alterations from having given it to a core of friends/family to read and critique. I hope to start shopping it by the end of June at the latest.
From:[personal profile] foxfinial
Date:May 5th, 2009 12:36 pm (UTC)
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I wanted to like KJ Parker's Engineer novels so much, but I couldn't get past 100 pages of book 1. =(

Hooray for people who aren't just writing Western European worlds. Good luck shopping it around!
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From:[personal profile] ms_danson
Date:May 6th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
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Hi, I'm Ms. Danson. I haven't settled on a particular area of fantasy but many of my stories fall into urban, humour (absurd or parody), or superhero(ish) categories. I mostly write short fiction but I want to write a novel (The Dragon Skin Book - Modern Urban Fantasy) to see if I can do it. I've also spent the past few years writing a quasi-superhero serial (Jack Shadow) for the entertainment of my LJ readers.

I'm trying to improve my writing (I love feedback) so that some day I can get some of my fiction published. My DW account is my writing journal and my LJ account is my personal journal.

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