Sunday, September 21, 2014

Convolution Schedule

I'll be a guest panelist at Convolution, Hyatt Regency Burlingame, September 26 and 27.

Friday 2-4 pm The Classics of SF:There is so much to read already with the new stuff, so how do you advise a new reader about SF's great heritage?

Friday 4-5. The Unpanel. A facilitated listening workshop that turns the panel inside out. Everyone gets a chance to speak without interruption on a topic chosen by the facilitators after learning how to really listen.
We've offered this event at several other conventions, with great appreciation from participants. Usually we ask, "Talk about a book that inspired you" or some other topic just about everyone has something to say about. What makes this event different from the usual panels is that every person has uninterrupted time, and everyone gets to listen carefully and deeply to every other person.

Friday 8-10 pm. Reading (from Lambda Literary Finalist novel Collaborators).
I'll have copies to sell, too.

Saturday 10-12 am. Book View Cafe. Members of the cooperative publisher talk about their work, their art and what exactly a cooperative publisher is, anyway.

Saturday 3-4 pm. Autographing.

Saturday 4-6 pm. Handling Rejection in Writing. Sometimes your skin just isn't that thick. How to cope with a chorus of "No" on the path to a "Yes!"
I'm moderating this one, which means it will be fantastic!

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Writing Life: Re-Entry

I've been away from blogging due to a family medical emergency, so I thought it fitting to return with
Tissot, The Dreamer (1871)
an essay on "getting back into writing."

Maybe some writers have uninterrupted careers. I don’t know any, and I certainly don’t qualify. Sometimes it seems that my writing life has been one uninterrupted series of interruptions. If it’s not one thing, it’s not another. Then I have to wrestle not just with getting back up to speed on the project du jour and making up for lost time, but wrestling with guilt, regret, and self-doubt.

Guilt because I should have been able to keep focused, keep writing, No Matter What. Isn’t that what a professional writer does? If “those other” successful writers can churn out 2500 words a day, come rain come shine come conventions come weddings, then I should be able to. Right?

Regret because of all the moments spent checking my email or playing Scrabble online or anything else but writing. If only I’d resisted the temptation, I’d be well ahead of the game when an interruption happens.

Self-doubt because the present interruption will only prove – publicly and conclusively – that I don’t have what it takes. Everything else I’ve written (12 traditionally published novels, somewhere around 60 published short stories, award nominations, etc.) was smoke and mirrors. Hand-waving, nothing more. And now everyone will find out. It’s called the imposter syndrome, and I am far from alone in experiencing it. My version is that because I’ve been interrupted and I’m having trouble getting back on track, I never will. That’s all she wrote. Literally.

Before I run the risk of turning into a blubbering mass of self-pity, I do have some defense against the aforementioned demons.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

[rant] One Space Or Two Between Sentences?

Apparently, the b/a/t/t/l/e discussion over whether to use one space or two between sentences r/a/g/e/s/o/n continues. Since I have not yet expressed my opinion on the subject, here it is:
You have got to be kidding me, right? Of all the things you could worry about in writing—characters, plot, theme and metatheme, moral center, rising and falling tension, use of language -- you’re obsessed with this?

Once upon a time, when typesetters used single-letter type or operated linotype machines with “hot lead” type, such things as two spaces made sense. Anything that made the typesetter’s job easier made sense. Editors were used to seeing those double spaces after a final period and a single space looked “wrong” and “sloppy” and – heavens! – amateurish, because it was not the norm.

Word processors have changed all that. It’s trivial to do a global search-and-replace two spaces for one. Your editor can, with a couple of clicks, make your manuscript look however she wants. (As an editor, I do this quite a lot and I don’t find it in the least annoying.)

What matters and what has always mattered is not however many spaces you put between sentences. It’s what’s in those sentences and how they fit together to create a story.

The thing is, folks get all worked up about trivialities when they're trying to avoid grappling with the harder, deeper issues. No editor is going to reject an otherwise splendid story because it has the "wrong" number of spaces. Save your passion for what really counts.

Here endeth Deborah’s rant on the subject of double spaces between sentences.