A few of the odds and ends that have been accumulating on my desktop.
Note: Bold indicates a link.
A Year of Reading Only Women Writers
Is there a bias against female writers? The statistics say yes, and they’re probably right, but taking a vow to read nothing by male writers for the next year isn’t exactly a solution. It might appeal to readers who read primarily to be entertained, but I suspect that even they don’t really care much whether the books they enjoy are written by men or women. Another tempest in a teacup, great for acrimonious online discussion, but not much else.
Why is it So Hard to Write a Decent Ending?
So I’m not the only one with that problem? Good to know. The article’s emphasis seems to be on action-oriented science fiction, so the question, what would actually happen in this situation, doesn’t always apply. For me, it’s usually which one of several equally difficult choices would the protag choose?
Knowing Only One Story
The Archdruid Report isn’t a blog that many writers would think of reading, which is kind of too bad. John Michael Greer is the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America, which would seem to put him in the New Age, slightly whacko category. In fact, his blog is a hard-headed consideration of major issues that most of us would prefer to ignore, including climate change, resource depletion, and the slow breakdown of societies based on capitalism. He’s also a science fiction writer, about to come out (very soon, I hope) with a novel that he’d serialized on the blog for several years: Star’s Reach, which takes place several hundred years after the collapse of the United States.
But what I want to point to here is an idea that came to him years ago and that has been, in a way, a guide for his writing.
“Knowing many stories is wisdom.
Knowing no stories is ignorance.
Knowing only one story is death.”
Of course this can be interpreted in many ways, from the sociological to the literary. It’s certainly a good way to think about story ideas, particularly for someone who finds that their stories are developing a theme. It bothered me for a little while when I realized that most of my novels had similar themes. I wondered if I needed to break out of what might become a series of rehashes with variations. But themes have the potential for infinite variations, and if there’s a theme that really needs more than one story, one way to look at the world, a writer would be crazy not to go with it.
Our culture perpetuates the theme of infinite progress: more, bigger, better. Anyone who digs into the news rather than just watching their favorite TV news channel knows that we need alternate stories, lots of them. “Knowing only one story is death.”