October 2, 2011

WRITING ADVICE – Kristine Kathryn Rusch #4: Free Fiction Mondays

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 (http://kriswrites.com/) a year or more 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, as well as links to her recent ANALOG story (http://www.analogsf.com/2011_07-08/index.shtml) and the exclusive audio version of a RETRIEVAL ARTIST novel that us reading folk won’t be able to get until December 2011 (http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B005OSNTS8&qid=1317128702&sr=1-1).

No specific article this week, but I just want to bring your attention to Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s regular FREE FICTION MONDAY.

To put a frame around the kind of impact this had on my blogging, I need to give you a brief history of this blog. When I started in June of 2007, (which I transferred to Blogspot.com from some extremely obscure site I started on) I posted infrequently and only the seminal articles that gave my blog its name – Possibly Irritating Essays. In December, I tried dispensing my own writing advice, but no one seemed interested (most likely because though I’d been multiply published in two major venues (ANALOG and CRICKET) I had no novel (and subsequently no agent or editor readers could ask to borrow) and I started to look around to see if other better known writers were offering writing advice. In November of 2008, I had permission from children’s author and co-founder of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators to use writing advice from a talk she’d given at the local SCBWI conference.

In January of 2009 I made my first offering of “free fiction” with a series that’s currently running – because it’s actually my first draft of a novel called MARTIAN HOLIDAY (I KNOW there are major inconsistencies! That’s what I’m doing it for: to develop the book and test it out! Three others are awaiting editing, one a final edit before it hits the road.) THE RECONSTRUCTION OF MAI LI HASTINGS began next, followed by others. I asked for comments and only got them infrequently – but what I did get was gratefully received and applied as quickly as possible. But again, few people noticed. I shudder to think about the number of comments KKR would get if she tried this!

I have a rhythm now – as well as adding a second blog chronicling the family’s life from my wife’s diagnosis of breast cancer (Guy’s Gotta Talk About Breast Cancer (it’s sorta a play on words, actually, though I think the humor is mostly lost: http://breastcancerreaper.blogspot.com/).


Monday is nothing.

Tuesday is the idea I got from KKR’s site: IDEAS ON TUESDAY. I rotate between science fiction, fantasy and horror tropes that I picked up from some website or another (possibly this one, though I doubt it: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpeculativeFictionTropes). But instead of just tossing an idea out there, I throw in a current news story, add some adolescents and then let the reader play and run away with it. All I ask in return is that they let me know if the idea bears fruit.

Wednesday is a break for me.

Thursday is my version of Free Fiction Monday and I currently rotate between two novels and a children’s picture book.

Friday is free.


Then it starts all over again. KKR has an enormous amount of information, advice, fiction and connections on her site. I seek to emulate that and as the number of my published works increases (and moves into novels) I expect the number of visitors to my site will increase slowly.

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