Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Fantasies as re-imagined history


Right now on Black Gate magazine: Mucking with the Mundane, my take on fantasies set in alternate historical periods.

How do authors get readers to abandon what they know about what already happened and take a ride with the fantastical?

I look at Moorcock’s Gloriana, Card’s Alvin Maker series and such works as Novik’s Temeraire series.

If you haven’t checked out the excellent Black Gate: Adventures in Fantasy Literature, try it now!


Ups and downs

It was an up and down week.

It’s not the week I would normally talk about. But these are the scenes from the cutting room floor, the little realities of the writing life:

The ups

  • Hitting my stride on WIP, reasonable page count this week. Not great, but given what else is going on around here, quite respectable.
  • Advance Reader Copies of A Thousand Perfect Things will have full color wrap around cover, I learned this week.
  • Received a lovely advance blurb from a well-known writer for Perfect Things.
  • Wrote a tough scene for the WIP. Wondered if I could pull it off, but love it. Read More…

Convergence of ideas

I have no idea how the brain works, but in a novel-writing brain (er, mine at least) it works from convergence. Or at least that’s my theory this morning.

BarloughIn the excellent on line magazine, Black Gate, I read an interview with Jeffrey E. Barlough, author of the Western Lights series. He described how his latest book in the series came from combining three different writing projects he was working on. He also said that his rich alternate history world came from the intersection of 1) his interest in paleontology; 2) a love of Victorian fiction; and 3) his time as a volunteer excavator and the La Brea Tar Pits.

I often cook up story ideas that way, too. Read More…

Writing what we don’t know

Musing today on that sage advice, write what you know.  Sounds like a good idea, but is it?

Not if we take it too literally. We don’t write to record what we’ve done or re-imagine what we’ve done. It could be argued that we write to experience something vicariously. And these events or experiences might be quite new to us.

Like many fiction writers, you may–like me–have a boring life. We keep our lives uneventful so that nothing will get in the way of writing. (Maybe this in itself should warn off aspiring writers. Write novels, and you will shun the world.) E.L. Doctorow said in a recent interview in the Paris Review that “A writer’s live is so hazardous that anything he does is bad for him.” Read More…

Why I write

Dear readers and friends,

My blog is changing. I’ll be sharing more personal perspectives on the writing life rather than teaching fiction. I find that I need to commit more time to my writing, and some things, alas, must go.  It’s exciting to have a new book coming out, and of course, the next one’s under way. They’ll now get more of my attention.  I hope you’ll still drop by and catch some of my musings on the writing life and, soon, some insights into my latest book.  With many thanks–Kay


Why I Write

I’m probably not the only writer who sometimes asks herself, Why the hell am I doing this? Writing, that is. Especially, writing novels. The answer sure isn’t glamor, money and prestige. Of course there is some income from the endeavor, but for most of us, it ain’t a lot. As for glamor, the last time I felt glamorous was sitting in my best dress at the Hugo ceremony and hearing my name from the stage–not winning an award, but being thanked by an editor. Yup, that was the high point in glamor. And those of us in the trenches know the business too well to hope for, of all things, prestige.

So if the money isn’t great, the job is rather pedestrian, and it’s short on prestige, why do it? Read More…