Tag: nancy fulda

Linky linky

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-E. Sedia on copyright law and intellectual property. Seriously stuff worth reading and mulling on.

-Edroxy (Roxanne) has a series on French Female Writers Through the Centuries: her latest review is of Marie NDiaye’s Three Strong Women, here. Whole series is worth reading, but this has some interesthing thoughts about NDiaye herself, and her sense of identity, or “truncated mixity” as she calls it, and handling what people expect her to write vs what she actually writes.

-Nancy Fulda on Readers, Feedback and Good Stories. One of the hardest lessons I learnt as a beginning writer is that you can’t please everyone (probably because by temperament and by upbringing, I tend to be nice to everyone)

Ye obligatory eligibility post, plus asking for story recommendations

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So, since everyone is doing it, the obligatory awards eligibility post…

I only published three original pieces of short fiction this year, and of these the one that has the most visibility is this one (it got noticed in Rich Horton’s year-end summary of Asimov’s, among other things):

-“Shipbirth”, published in the February 2011 issue of Asimov’s, best described as “Aztecs in space”. Eligible in the short story category. If you’re interested, I’ve put it online here (it’s in EPUB and MOBI format as well, for ereaders).

On a not-so-selfish note, meanwhile, here’s the stuff I read this year that was awesome:
Short stories:
-Nancy Fulda, “Movement” (Asimov’s March issue). OK, I’m biased. I read an early draft of this and loved it. But Lois Tilton and Jason Sanford also think it’s a great story, so I’m not the only one. It’s in the point of view of a child with temporal autism and a unique outlook on life–but what happens when her parents want to cure her of her “disease”?
-Yoon Ha Lee, “Ghostweight” (Clarkesworld, January 2011). I’m a big Yoon Ha Lee fan, and this story is awesome. It’s about a woman (and an entire people) who carry the souls of the dead, and how far she’s willing to go to get revenge against the empire that destroyed her home. It’s also about origami, and war-kites, and change. Wonderful from beginning to end.
-Ferrett Steimetz, “Run, Bacri Says” (Asimov’s October 2011). The premise is goofy (what if you could save your life like in videogames, and then rewind to the save point); the story is anything but, taking the reader along with it, and raising hard questions about the worth of actions. Good, in a very disturbing kind of way. And also recommended by Lois Tilton.
-Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, “Return to Paraiso” (Realms of Fantasy, October 2011). A wonderful piece, set in a fantastical version of the Philippines, with a rebel returning to her home in a cage, and the effect she has on the community. Chockful of detail, with a strong voice reminiscent of the best magical realists. Track it online and read it, you won’t regret it. Plus, it has an awesome illustration.

Novella:
-“The Man Who Ended History: a Documentary”, Ken Liu (available online here at Ken’s website, originally published in Panverse Three). Ken had a lot of very good stories this year, but this one is my favourite (narrow tie between this and “Paper Menagerie in F&SF, though). It deals with a novel method of observing history–about what this means for memory, for the victims of atrocities and their descendants, and for history as a discipline. It’s a harrowing look at a dark episode in the history of Asia, too, and will definitely make you think.

Novel:
-Zoo City, Lauren Beukes. It won the Clarke Award, and deservedly so–a rich thriller set in a world where criminals acquire an animal familiar who gives them supernatural power, the novel follows Zinzi December through Johannesburg and the titular slum–and her attempts to make sense of the mysterious disappearance of a singer. Bursting at the seams with wonderful world-building and a sharp eye for details and voice, this should make final ballots if there’s any justice.

Campbell:
-Zen Cho (qian on LJ) is eligible for the Campbell! You should totally read her Malaysian-vampire novelette, “The House of Aunts” in Giganotosaurus, and her short story (?) about lion dancers and exorcisms, “起狮,行礼 (Rising Lion—The Lion Bows)” in Strange Horizons.

Other than that… I haven’t been reading much short fiction or recent novels lately. What’s out there that’s award-worthy? I still have ten days (for the BSFA), and a couple of months (for the Hugos and Nebulas) to catch up on stuff… Any recs much appreciated (feel free to plug yourself, too). Thanks in advance!

ETA: Ken’s novella is actually available on his website (thanks to Dario Ciriello for the link). Go check it out!

Guest post: Nancy Fulda on Freeing the statue from the stone

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Part 2 of the Codexian blog tour, in which the amazing Nancy Fulda tells us about writing and sculpture:


The Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo once said: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

He also said: “The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has.”

In this, I think, sculpting is not so very different than writing. As authors, we stand like Michelangelo before the lump of our incompleted stories, stupefied not by lack of ideas, but by their plethora. An unfinished story is full of potential. It might become anything: an action-adventure saga, a conflicted character story, an incisive satire.

It is this potential that dazzles us. And it is this same potential which so often causes us to stumble.

A story is defined, not so much by what it is, but by what it is not. Faced with the rough surface of a draft that has not yet been freed from the stone, the writer might feel tempted to do it all: concentrate on character and plot and symbolism and prose style. He is afraid to cut away too much, and so his chisel strokes are awkward, and hesitant, and ultimately unsatisfactory. The angel within the stone remains buried beneath a jumble of beautiful clutter.

Michelangelo said, “The more the marbles wastes, the more the statue grows.” This is, I believe, an early incarnation of the well-known injunction to Murder Your Darlings.

All life is nurtured by death, and a story is defined not so much by what it is, but by what it is not. Our fiction cannot take on life unless we are willing destroy all of the beautiful possibilities but one: the best one. We must be willing to slay the poetic character story in order to set the action-adventure free. We must murder the satire so that drama can rise from its ashes.

I hear objections shouted from the crowd already.

Yes, of course it’s possible to mingle plot with characterization. Like Abraham, we are sometimes spared from destroying something precious in the pursuit of something we treasure even more. But let’s remember something about Abraham: he was firm in his priorities.

You want a deeply conflicted protagonist who fights bad guys with paperclips, and by the way, he loves to compose limericks? Fair enough, but you’d better figure out which of those three elements is most important to you, because if any of the others get in its way, you’re going to have to clear them out. Failure to do so will imprison your angel.

This is why critique groups can be so frustrating, by the way. Each critiquer gives voice to one of the thousand Stories-That-Might-Have-Been. Each of them calls for a distinct, if superficially similar, narrative. It’s no wonder new authors sometimes feel lost in the babble.

The only solution is to find your angel. Your angel, not anyone else’s.

In other words, find your rough draft’s dominant draw — the aspect of the story that ignites your aesthetic passion, the part of it you love most. That’s your angel.

A story’s ending is often indicative, here. Critiquers may complain that the end doesn’t mesh with themes presented earlier. That’s because the writer was still exploring ideas. At the end of the first draft, when it’s time to wrap things up, his subconscious emphasizes those elements which have become most meaningful to him — and they are often not the same elements that dominated the opening scenes.

For heaven’s sakes, folks, don’t smother your angels! Be very cautious if someone tells you to change your ending. Ask yourself whether it’s the beginning that ought to change, instead.

Find your angel, writers. Don’t stop carving until you’ve set him free.

And if it seems like a lot of work along the way? And if we’re tempted to feel jealous of the people who do it better than we do?

Well, a certain Renaissance sculptor once said: “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.”



Nancy Fulda’s fiction has appeared in venues including Asimov’s, Jim Baen’s Universe, and Norilana Books’ Warrior, Wisewoman anthology. She is a Phobos Award recipient, a two-time WOTF Finalist, and an assistant editor at Jim Baen’s Universe. Nancy also manages the custom anthology web site at http://www.anthologybuilder.com, where visitors can assemble a print-ready anthology of stories by prominent authors. Nancy keeps a blog at http://nancyfulda.livejournal.com. She lives in Germany with her husband, their three children, and no cats. You can order a collection of her short fiction here.

Darkness notice

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Blog’s going dark–will respond to comments and other pending stuff in a bit. I’m off to finish drafting that %%% book before the internet can terminally distract me.

In the meantime, the Codex blog tour is under way, and you can find me over at Nancy Fulda’s blog, Suite101 (courtesy of fellow AR author Colin Harvey), and Lawrence M. Schoen’s blog. Many thanks to my wonderful interviewers for lending me a bit of space on the internet–and stay tuned for more guest posts on this blog (after the novel is done, of course…)

Also, my short story “After the Fire”, originally published in Apex, has been reprinted in Descended from Darkness Vol 2, a compilation of Apex short stories for the past year. (a sneaky way for me to share a TOC with the always awesome Rochita Loenen-Ruiz).

That’s all. I’m off to usher in the Apocalypse….

Interview with Nancy Fulda

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Over at his blog The Willpower Engine, Codex founder Luc Reid interviews Nancy Fulda, creator of AnthologyBuilder, the do-it-yourself anthology website (and writer, editor, and awesome Villa Diodati member). There’s some fascinating stuff about balancing work and family, as well as behind-the-scenes on the creation and maintenance of the website.

Entrepreneurial Motivation and Creating a Business from Scratch: An Interview with Nancy Fulda.