Tag Archives: Dean Wesley Smith

I fell down a rabbit hole… (The joy of researching)

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I did it again!

I am researching for a SF novel in preparation (the specifics I keep to myself for now) and, one interesting site after one fascinating site, found out that time compressed itself and most of the afternoon had fled down the rabbit hole!

I do not know if my scientific formation aggravates this time-sink habit. I hold a Master degree in geography, and so many aspect of macro-ecology do hold my interests!

Plus, even the very day-to-day concerns penetrates my Serious Writer mode.  From the over-usage of single-used plastics that keep turning up in the remotest places or the oceans, to the waste of my own pens and stylus, to the upcoming Great Backyard Bird Count, and my own, heart-warming geek love Valentine day short-story…

So, all those tiny bits cluttered like a planet aggregation process, dissolving my focus. Already 16h00?

As I mentioned previously, most of what I ‘m noting right now won’t ever make it to the novel you’ll read somewhere in the next year. Some of those, if I can’t place it in the novel, will turn up, greatly compressed, in one or two exploratory short-stories, set in the same universe.

What I will NOT do is integrating all that painstaking-ly gathered tidbits into the novel itself, under the form of some extra-large infodump, (or a rather lengthy explanation by a secondary character that will get killed in the next chapter).

Research as an iceberg

See research as the hidden part of the iceberg. What floats if what the reader experiences. If you tried to pull more of the iceberg over the water level, like I did in my first books (fortunately Daniel Sernine, my editor of the time, detected it) you would end up with an indigestible lump of details that weights down the storytelling.

Yes, I was one of those very interested in sharing all those cute details!

Yes it is soooo tempting to have your characters stop on a ridge and describe the wondrous landscape in excruciating details, over two or four pages! It is more palatable if the description is shorter, and punchy, like this one from a WIP:

The dunes went on and on, a pale sandbox barely contained by a row of angry mountains, each chipped and corroded summit vying for predominance.

Most of the research iceberg must stay invisible!

Solution is not dilution!

To keep our focus, it’s good to set limits, to avoid diluting our attention.

One solution in time management is to do the research after you complete writing a certain set number of words for the day. This is Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s method to limit the time spent in research. She also manage to get her research done before writing the novel, while she’s finishing the previous book.

Not the way of Dean Wesley Smith, who does his research as he writes, because some cool factoids will influence the story telling. I know it happened to a short-story I was researching for.

One obvious solution is to restrain the time passed on the social platforms. Or retire completely from social media in a period of rush. Julie E. Czerneda mentions it.

My own is setting a timer. Sometimes the amount of time is not enough and I prolong the time. Still work to do.

Or I use this experience to write a blog entry.

 


TL;DR : I lost time surfing the web for my research. Some remedies may apply


Flash news:

I had the joy of discovering that my last published SF story in Galaxies 60 (in French!)  is on the selection for the Grand Prix  de l’Imaginaire 2020.

A Short Winter Tale for a Short Day

I participate in the Winter Holiday Spectacular 2019, an initiative from authors Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, uniting 35 Christmas stories in various moods: mysteries, romantic stories set around the 25th of December, and winter stories exploring other traditions or special days. My own story “Winter Pariah” celebrates the winter solstice, the Great Christmas Bird Count, and our troubled humanity, in a combination filled with hope and wonder.

This Christmas tale will be up on my official author website  for one week only, and it will be later published on paper next year. Here is  what Kris wrote about it.

 
Winter Pariah
Genre/Mood: quiet
For the actual solstice, I decided to give you “Winter Pariah,” a story that takes place in the thin light of the shortest day of the year.
Michèle Laframboise takes us birding, something I have never done, and creates marvelous characters along the way. Michèle writes in both English and her native French. She also illustrates much of her fiction. Multi-talented doesn’t begin to describe her.
Her award-winning fiction includes nineteen different novels (in both languages), and over forty-five short stories, three of which have appeared in Fiction River (and two reprinted in Fiction River Presents) with more to come. She writes about birding quite often, including a series about Amanda Byrd (whom you will meet here). A collection of Byrd stories will appear shortly. Find out when, and view some bird pics at michele-laframboise.com.
Michèle is a bird watcher herself. In fact, the last time she was here in Las Vegas, she and another writer/birder discovered a part of the city I had never heard of, where they saw some birds (maybe even life birds) that I hadn’t heard of either.
I simply don’t have the patience to stand outside and wait. (I can hear my husband laughing right now.) I would have to bring a book, which defeats the entire purpose of watching. So I’ll experience birding vicariously. On the page. Which is where I prefer to experience many things.
Enjoy this delicate little story on this, the shortest day of the year.
—Kris

Beat the heat with 10 refreshing books!

As the summer heat and Canada Day are upon us, most of you are looking for a place to spend your vacations… and for good science fiction adventure books to read!

So I look forward to dive into refreshing novels.

The choices are so much diverse than when I was a teenager looking for space adventures, and finding only guy’s adventures. I would say “white guy’s adventures” but in the 80s, male characters were on their way of getting more diverse, not so the female characters… (There were notable exceptions, and books from Ursula K. LeGuin that I  didn’t know existed at the time.)

When I dip into the waters of an enthralling story (like The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal ) and explore its depths, forgetting all about the outside world. It feels like this:

 

Reading GoodBookShort

When you emerge from a powerful and moving story, gratitude floods you, along with a faint regret of having finished the book… but there are many other waiting!

And, speaking of good books…

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The Space Travelers StoryBundle reunites several wonderful writers, and I am proud to be a part of it with one novel (Clouds of Phoenix, featuring a disabled heroine on planet Phoenix) and one short-story (Closing the Big Bang) in the Space Travelers Anthology.

This StoryBundle is a joint promotion that gets 10 very affordable books in your hands, and helps you discover new writers along the way.

More details about how the Space Travelers StoryBundle works for you are explained in last week’s blog entry. The gist is: you pay what you want for the ebooks, and they will get into your reading device, whatever formatting you use. This helps the writers get new readers.

As for discovering new authors, I already knew Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith, and they are entertaining and never dull. I discovered Robert J. Jeschonek, Lindsay Buroker and Leigh Saunders for their short-stories in anthologies.

However, I will discover Kristine Smith (I met her in 2006 at a convention) with this StoryBundle.

I can’t wait to dive into those new, exciting novels!

 

 

Space Travelers StoryBundle cracks open new science fiction books

Discover new frontiers! 

When social medias and distributors force writers to shell out  more and more money to promote their books, the quest for visibility  spurs an unhealthy competition among writers. Getting readers to discover us is a challenge.

So, bundling e-books is a creative, cooperative way for writers to promote each other, and to get good books to SF readers.

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The Space Travelers Story Bundle regroup ten science fiction books, novels and anthologies curated by KK Rusch. This collective promotion effort makes you discover new writers and get a taste of  their work.

I have read stories from, and met in person, half of the authors participating in this bundle. If you are a Star Trek afficionado, you will love Robert Jeschonek! And I have read in KK Rusch’s Retriveal artist series and Dean Wesley Smith’s Seeder’s universe. However, I still have to discover the Grand Theft Starship Anthology!

Yet, there is not only one Laframboise in this bundle, but two! One of my SF stories has been re-published in the Fiction River Presents #9: Space Travelers.

2019_ebookCOVER_CloudsPhoenix150  and FictionRiverPresents09_150

How the StoryBundle works:

All information can be found on the StoryBundle website, but here are three distinct advantages for passionate readers:

  1. YOU choose how much you pay for the bundle, either basic (four novels, befinning at 5$) or extended (beginning at 15$) which makes it advantageous
  2. YOU control the percentage of your price that will go to StoryBundle and to the authors (the default is 30%/70%)
  3. YOU can opt in to give 10% to a charity featured. Able Gamers helps adapt video games for people living with various disabilities (like my son said yesterday, can you imagine a color-blind person playing a game?)

Not only do you help authors, but you can share the Space Travelers Bundle to help others discover new books. Four of those  books are new works, exclusive to this Bundle.

Your three-week mission is to help promote this wonderful summer reading Bundle around you.

Starting now!

Meet my fans: the success story fan

The successful fan... meets the slightly less successful writer!

Has this situation happened to you?

Fortunately, none of my old college friends are afflicted with such a materialistic mentality.   This meeting did not happen in a book fair, but at a dinner for young professionals at the Ecole Polytechnique. I was so well dressed that newcomers automatically takes me for a successful businesswoman. I had this same air as this comic  character…then, it is when they realize that I am a humble self-employed worker that potential contacts shy away.

For some media, the value of an artist or writer is primarily related to his or her financial success.

I do not scorn entrepreneurship itself, since I lead my own business. In a recent lecture given at a dinner of the AFAF, I mentioned that building a business, any kind of business,  requires a good dose of creativity!

SF and fantasy author Dean Wesley Smith (a prolific author who gives advice to young writers, his site is worth a visit) takes writing as a serious business. According to him, if you do not make a living from your writing, it is because you do not write enough or want it, work hard enough. This appears like a disdainful view of people whose productivity do not match his own. But the reasoning works also to remind us that we often find excuses for… not writing.

Well, there is an area for nuance or discussion, and all our situations and writing goals are not the same.  I like to dig a lot of infos for my SF novels…  besides doing comics as well. DWS believes in writing  a lot, and submitting a lot, and taking care of the business end. With a hundred novels published in twenty years or so,  he is an Olympic writing athlete himself! (A page in 10 or 15 minutes… faster than me, even when I have the story clear in my head).

This year, he gave himself the challenge to write 100 short stories for 2011. Yes, a hundred! There is already eight published, between 2500 and 6000 words each. It is fortunate that he repeats that every writer is different!  Nevertheless, his blog “Killing the sacred cows of publishing” offers great pointers and unorthodox advices.

DWS is very optimistic. In his opinion, publishers are always looking for new voices. And that too much rewriting  “blunts” your creative voice, the personal, original part of the creation.

It happened to me for my first novel Ithuriel (16 agonizing rewrites!), so his message resonates strongly with me. Obviously, DWS revises to correct the “ortograf”, or flagrant errors or blunders. But after that he rewrites only if his editor asks him. And after the contract is signed…

It was a stimulating reading for me. Dean Wesley Smith’s advices have the effect of  empowering a writer, reminding that he or she is not at the mercy of “the market” or agents. And to put the pleasure back in writing. Writers can achieve a good measure of “success” with effort and perseverance, without sacrificing their unique voice.
:^)