(I know that line isn’t entirely free of problems, but please bear with me.) This is an advance announcement for the release date (sort of) of one of the projects I’m working on this year. LET’S GO DESTROY SFF WITH IT!
I’m not sure when the idea of destroying SFF first came onto the scene as a whole, though I know it came to my attention during Crossed Genres’ Long Hidden Kickstarter. I may be misremembering, but Bart Leib’s tweets on how they’re destroying SFF are definitely what made the idea stick firmly in mind, so this is, effectively, the first time it came to my conscious attention.
I’m not going to link you to any of the comments discussing how diversity is destroying SFF, although I will happily direct you to a post by Jim C. Hines responding to such a claim. It inspired a wonderful post on Bibliotropic about (gender) diversity as well. There’s also the Women Destroy Science Fiction Kickstarter by Lightspeed. Go read the essays updates as well if you haven’t already. It’s powerful stuff. (There’s also still time to help fund the project! As of this writing, they’re very close to the Women Destroy Horror stretch goal.)
When the latest (as of this writing) incidence of destroying SFF came about, I pondered. I’m not eloquent with non-fiction the way many other people are and I certainly don’t have the confidence in my skills to put my words out there. I’m… All right. Read Stray Outside the Lines by E. Catherine Tobler before reading on. It’s not long.
I learnt that lesson about lines well and it’s likely a large part of my social anxiety issues. Be quiet, be perfect. Indeed. I am a mouse. Hear me roar at a whisper because anything else is too damn tiring to maintain. (Being introverted does not help.) So I don’t get involved with debates much. The price is far higher than I’m willing to pay and I find myself wanting to do what I can and not being sure what that is.
And then, I really don’t know why, I had an idea. I’m a woman. I certainly try to write diverse characters. According to some people, I am destroying SFF (though mostly fantasy) with my desire to include diverse characters in my fiction. Heck, I’m destroying SFF by merely existing. I’d planned to serialise one of the novels I’m working on this year in 2015. I picked that particular project for a couple of reasons, but the most important one for this post is that the story is filled to the brim with characters that deviate from the fictional default that some people want us to maintain. (If only because none of the characters in the story are white.)
I’m a cisgendered, white woman with a fair bit of privilege and I know will mess it up somewhere. (I already did, actually. Thankfully, I have awesome and knowledgeable friends who pointed this out to me and helped me fix it. <3) So. This whole new post came about and I just asked myself why not share the story as I worked on it? Why not allow readers a chance to offer feedback and make it more awesome and less failtastic if they were so inclined? Why not invite people to help me destroy SFF by making this story as awesome as it can be?
I have no answers. So I’m going to go for it. I’m going to serialise a WIP and invite people to read along the various drafts with me as I make it the best story I can make it.
Long, long ago when I was insecure and scared and never managed to finish anything, I posted some of my things online for friends to read. It helped me gain the confidence I needed to pursue my dreams of being an author. I posted WIPs. I posted things I had finished and was proud of, even though I never considered those early stories done and I reworked them whenever I felt I had enough information to do so. While I’ve never serialised a novel this way before, this brings the journey of the story (and myself as a writer) full-circle.
I spent the past couple of days mulling over the logistics behind this idea. I have them sorted as much as I can without hands-on experience with running a serialised novel. I’m a little scared of doing it, for a variety of reasons. Some are silly, some are not so silly. None of them offer good reasons for me not to do this.
So. Starting March 20th, 2014, I shall be serialising A Promise Broken, the first book in a duology featuring magic, smart girl protagonists, a diverse supporting cast, and more! It’s a fantasy of manners (for kids) that’s estimated to run anywhere between 85,000 words to 100,000 words. I’ll be working on giving people some more details on the story as well as writing up a proper landing page for it in the menu! (You can see the link already, but clicking on it will currently give you a 404.)
Let me know whether there’s anything in particular that you’d like to see me talk about in preparation! A description of the story will go live along with the page, so I’ll make a post for it when I’ve finalised that page.
I am a mouse and a mouse I may be. But damn it I am going to roar anyway. LET’S GO DESTROY SOME SFF WITH OUR GIRL COOTIES AND DIVERSITY GERMS!