Archive for the ‘my magazine’ Category

Interview with a Writer/Editor

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

The LiveJournal for the Odyssey Writing Workshop, which I attended in 2005, interviewed me about my approaches to writing and my reasons for starting Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

If you’re interested in my musings about my writing approach, or the genesis of BCS, or the most common weakness I see in submissions to BCS, check it out.

The Demise of Markets?

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

In all the blogosphere hullabaloo last month over the June closings of Lone Star Stories and Talebones, my posts included, and perhaps even more timely now with the recent closings of Farrago’s Wainscot and Baen’s Universe, I came across one really interesting comment. The stalwarts decrying the sky-is-falling mourners were almost as predictable as the mourners themselves, but this comment had a seed of insight I hadn’t seen before.

Lois Tilton, short fiction author and reviewer for The Internet Review of Science Fiction, in the preface to her July column, wrote:

But what I found most telling about all this discussion was the fact that, universally, the reactions I saw were decrying the demise of markets. Not venues where readers could go to find good stories, but places for writers to sell their fiction.

Fiction magazines should be about reading stories. They should exist for readers. Not writers. I don’t believe that a magazine can thrive when its readership is comprised entirely of writers trying to be published in its pages. Yet it seems to me that this is increasingly the case in the field of SF short fiction. I think we are coming to the point where we will have no readers, only a circle of writers feeding on themselves.

I think she’s absolutely right. I have thought for years that SF/F short fiction may already be at the point where its audience is almost exclusively other writers. This very state is suggested by the common derisive story subgenre label “award winner” to denote the type of stories that other writers love and therefore are more likely to win awards but that readers in general don’t understand or find entertaining.

In fantasy especially, I think this is related to the divergence between the readership of short fiction and of novels. Fantasy short fiction has become increasingly “literary” over the past few decades, yet fantasy novels with the traditional quasi-medieval settings and plot-based narratives are still bestsellers. Many writers and short fiction fans scoff at those novels, but they are clearly entertaining far more readers than fantasy short fiction is.

This was part of my reason for starting Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Not only do I really enjoy “literary adventure fantasy” short fiction that is both literary and traditional, I also wanted to try to bring some of that popular fantasy vibe back into short fiction, with stories that would hopefully impress other writers and also entertain readers.

Only “some” of that popular fantasy vibe, mind you–I must admit that some of its plainer aspects don’t appeal to me. But I do think that in great “literary adventure fantasy,” there is enough overlap to entertain both writers and sophisticated readers.

How well is it working? Visit Beneath Ceaseless Skies, read a few stories, and see for yourself. :)

ReaderCon Postlude

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

I had a great time at ReaderCon last weekend! Met lots of very cool folks, many of whom had very nice things to say about Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Hosted the reading for the magazine on Sunday afternoon, which went quite well. Got lots of very insightful advice on magazine things, talking shop with helpful people like Neil Clarke. Heard lots of neat writerly tidbits by listening to people like Gene Wolfe. Picked up lots of reading recommendations. Had more than a few pints of the regional Sam Adams Brick Red Ale. :)

All in all, a great weekend. Will definitely plan to return next year!

ReaderCon this Weekend

Monday, July 6th, 2009

As I mentioned in last week’s post, this weekend I will be at ReaderCon, where I will plug my magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies.   The ReaderCon program folks ahve scenduled a BCS reading, on Sunday at 1PM.  Authors who will be reading include C.C. Finlay, S.C. Butler, Saladin Ahmed, and Kris Dikeman.

Also at the con, my writer cohorts from the Homeless Moon and I will also be premiering our second chapbook of all-original short fiction, this time based around lands from Alberto Manguel’s Dictionary of Imaginary Places.

So if you’re at the con, look out for a free copy of our chapbook and/or feel free to come by the BCS reading.   Thanks.