July 31, 2011

WRITING ADVICE – Kristine Kathryn Rusch #1: “Short Stories”

I first ran across the work of Kristine Kathryn Rusch when her named appeared on the bottom of a standard rejection form I got from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, where she was head editor for several years. A short time later, I ran across one of her short stories (“Retrieval Artist” in the June 2000 ANALOG), which of course, led me t0 her RETRIEVAL ARTIST novels. I’m a fan now and started reading her blog a year or so ago. As always, I look for good writing advice to pass on to you as well as applying it to my own writing. I have her permission to quote from the articles. You can find the complete article referenced below, here: http://kriswrites.com/2011/06/22/the-business-rusch-short-stories/

As I mentioned above, I stumbled across Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s novels through a short story I read and fell in love with. Oddly enough and LONG before I ever made it to reading her website, I was responding exactly as she had planned: “A good short story can be a gateway drug for the reader, getting them into a writer’s work without a lot of commitment.”

I have since then started collecting her RETRIEVAL ARTIST books as well as venturing into her other novels and short stories.

Unfortunately, I have no novels to direct readers of my short fiction to – something I’m trying to remedy. This brings me to a fact I just realized: I have no short stories written in the world of ANY of my novels (like Kristine Kathryn Rusch, I write in multiple genres – short stories in science fiction for young people and adults, historical fiction for young people, contemporary fiction for young people and adults, science labs for all ages, articles on writing, and essays. I have a teen science fantasy novel in first draft form and two picture books nearing completion as well).

I’m adding that peculiar endeavor to my list of things I need to accomplish by Christmas. I’ll keep you posted (or you can watch this blog to see what I “test drive” here).

As to publishing in multiple places “on line”, that was an endeavor I set off for in the fall of 2001 with my first online publication in a defunct online magazine called GATE WAY. The fact that the “story” was only a vignette and was mostly me noodling in a universe I am seriously developing now isn’t important. I wanted to dip my foot in the waters of online and found it chilly but invigorating. Since then I’ve had five stories in online venues – three SF, one a writing article (actually IN the online version of THE WRITER magazine) and one children’s story (which was reprinted in paper and after suggesting a teacher’s activity book to go with the paper magazine, got the go-ahead, wrote it and then had the project cancelled…)

But my problem is that I am way too scattered and – until I started reading her essays, articles, fiction bits and pieces and advice – I had no plan, no purpose and certainly no framework to hang my future as a writer on.

That has started to change because of the kriswrites.com (http://kriswrites.com/) website. The series of articles to follow at roughly monthly intervals will chronicle how I put together a coherent platform on which to build a writing career. I’m excited to see it happen – I hope you’re excited to see it grow.

By the way, I’ve also garnered wisdom from the other people whom I’ve written about based on their writing advice: Lin Oliver (co-found of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and author of the HANK ZIPZER series (along with TV legend, Henry Winkler); Nathan Bransford (former agent and currently author and web commentator); Jack McDevitt (hard science fiction and award-winning author); and Mike Duran (debut novelist and a-bit-right-of-center pop culture blogger and a monthly columnist for NOVEL ROCKET (formerly NOVEL JOURNEY, named one of Writer’s Digest 100 Best Websites in 2008, 2010 and 2011)). [If you click on WRITING ADVICE on the right in the LABELS column, Lin Oliver’s advice begins on November 23, 2008; Jack McDevitt’s on August 2, 2009; Nathan Bransford’s on April 18, 2010; and Mike Duran’s on December 5, 2010.]

image: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_6XXutOu1Dpw/SMMMse8dTtI/AAAAAAAABWA/cAq2GTdMqVY/s320/the+disappeared+rusch.bmp

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