Tag: musings

Workshops and Non-American Writers

Posted January 16, 2016 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Thoughts. The text 'rambling thoughts' underneath a burning lantern. For rambles, thoughts, and not-essays.

I never thought that one of the first non-fiction posts I would make this year would be one on workshops. But here we are. Apparently that’s what I’m doing. Yesterday, I dove head-first into work and emerged to find that my Twitter timeline had exploded. It took me a while to catch up on what, exactly, had happened.

Briefly: Neil Gaiman made a promotional tweet for the Clarion workshop and a lot of people were hurt by his phrasing. He’s since clarified that it was hyperbole, but to a lot people it was yet another case of (micro)aggression and people spoke out. If you want to see an eloquent and thoughtful discussion on why people were upset, I recommend India Valentin’s response on Tumblr.

In the discussion that ensued on Twitter (and elsewhere, I’m sure, but I saw it solely on Twitter), I saw a handful of people mentioning the existence of a non-American perspective, but I saw very little discussion of what that perspective might actually look like. I know some of my readers might be interested in hearing my thoughts, so… I’ve done my best to sort them out into something at least somewhat coherent. (tl;dr version: if you’ve been following the discussions, I think it’s pretty similar to what other people have been saying but with a slightly different angle.)

Below the cut, then, lie those thoughts. Bear in mind that I’m coming at this discussion from the perspective of a white non-American who has never yet set foot in the US. I have never attended any prestigious workshops and will likely never be able to afford the prestigious ones anyway.

As said, they may be rambly and a smidge incoherent, but I hope not.

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Writing with Fatigue Issues

Posted December 5, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Writing With Fatigue Issues

As my friends well know (because I somehow cannot seem to stop complaining about mentioning it), I have fatigue issues. We suspect CFS/ME, but, well, you try and get a doctor to diagnose it. We’ll go and ignore the fact where it’s not anything else, the symptoms fit and I’ve been dealing with it for a number of years. It used to be a lot worse than it is now, too, so hey progress!

But! This is not going to be a pity post! Well, not much. ^-~ This is going to be a post on my experiences in being a writer (or an author) dealing with fatigue issues as well as how those issues affect the writing advice that’s available online.

In recent months, I’ve seen a lot of posts from established authors discussing their problems with depression (or other often invisible health issues) quite frankly and I’ve been deeply gratified to see many of these authors acknowledge the effects that depression can have. Maybe it’s the articles I read before then, but so many of the ones I read before those particular discussions told people to just ‘get over’ their depression and keep writing anyway and… Well, generally ignored the impact of what depression actually is.

In this post, as I’ve said, I’d like to focus on how to write with fatigue issues. Or, more specifically, how I write with them. You may find that what works for me doesn’t work for you. And that’s okay! You are not me. Obviously, I hope that you’ll find my post useful (or at least informative), but it’s okay if your experience is different from mine.

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5 Tidbits on the Process of Writing

Posted October 3, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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5 Tidbits on the Process of Writing

Yep, just five tidbits on the process of writing. Specifically, my process of writing. Because it’s fun. These are not guaranteed to work for you, but hopefully you’ll find them at least entertaining. One of the things that you need to do as a writer is to learn to listen to what your body and your brain are telling you. You don’t have to understand how you know what they’re saying, so long as you know.

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Hugo Award Nominations by Country

Posted September 18, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in My Work / 18 Comments

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Hugo Award Nominations by Country

This year, much has been said about the Hugo Awards. For those unaware (somehow?), the Hugo Awards are one of the most prestigious American awards for science fiction and fantasy published in English in the last year. They’re voted on by members of Worldcon, which is anyone from anywhere in the world as long as they pay. But most from the US. This post actually isn’t about what’s been said about and around the Hugos this year, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t influence this post. So, if you’ve missed it or want a refresher, here’s a quick round-up with links to more detailed discussion by The Mary Sue. Quicker version: People disagreed with the Hugo nominations of the last few years and decided to game the system using slate voting. It kind of backfired. (Or did it? This too is an ongoing, ah, debate. That I’m trying to stay far away from. Anyway!)

The Daily Dot mentions early on in their report on this year’s Hugo Awards, that 2015 was “a banner year for translated works”. Out of the four written fiction categories (best novel, best novella, best novelette and best short story), only two managed to have a story that beat out No Award. Both these stories were written by non-American men: Cixin Liu and Thomas Olde Heuvelt, a Chinese and a Dutch author respectively.

This year also, and this is much less widely reported, saw the decision to honour translators and both Ken Liu and Lia Belt were given a Hugo Rocket for their work in translating these winning stories. 2015 also marks the first year that the Hugos name the translator of a piece.

2015 is a win for diversity in SFF. We’ve seen articles discussing the rise of marginalised writers in SFF erroneously because we have always been there. What’s changed is our visibility within the SFF community. It’s not that marginalised people have never been here. It’s that we’re speaking up about our presence. (And that the internet allows us to be heard in the first place.)

So, initially, when the Hugos were announced I was thrilled along with everyone else. I am still thrilled because it is a great thing worthy of celebration. Diversity creates strength and fosters innovation. But something in the back of my mind was niggling at me. There was something about the celebration that felt off to me. Something about translated works and English-language awards and voting. Something that, as far as I can tell, no one has mentioned in any of their articles. Something that I expect most people wouldn’t even think to check. Either because they’re too thrilled that ‘one of their own’ won a prestigious foreign award or because they just don’t see that there might be something to look at.

It’s fairly common knowledge that, despite claims to the contrary, the Hugo Awards are a predominantly American award. But is it? After all, despite the slate voting this year saw a lot of diversity and it still won the awards. That’s what was niggling me: how completely different that focus is from my experience. Were the Hugos more nationally diverse than my gut was telling me? Was I wrong in thinking about the Hugos as an American award? Was I wrong to think of it as an award only native speakers of English stood a chance at winning?

To that end, I decided to look at the nationalities of the all the authors nominated for a Best Novel Hugo Award. I also looked at the language a book was originally published in. Then, because it is also a generally accepted truth that it’s easier to find non-native speakers of English publishing in short story venues, I looked at the other prose fiction categories (novella, novelette and short story) as well.

This post is a recording of what I found.

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How to Write a Character with Dyscalculia

Posted September 5, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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How to Write a Character with Dyscalculia

I’ve talked about how some of my characters (notably Eiryn, the protagonist of A Promise Broken) have dyscalculia and I’ve touched a little on the experience of writing a character like that. Since then I’ve noticed that some of the search terms that show up in my statistics deal with how to write a character with dyscalculia, so I figured I’d try to write a brief sort-of guide on the things you could do to make your writing of a character with dyscalculia better.

This is not a complete or definitive guide. By a long shot. There is no way I (or anyone) could write one of those. These are just a combination of ten suggestions and/or experiences that you can use to draw on to write a character with dycalculia. ^_^ I hope it’s helpful! Don’t hesitate to ask if you’ve got any questions. I’d be happy to try and help. Just remember that I don’t speak for everyone with dyscalculia.

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Feather by Feather Discount Promotion Results

Posted July 18, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Ages ago in internet terms, I promised to discuss the results of lowering the price of Feather by Feather and Other Stories from $5.99 to $2.99.

It’s been a big busy and hectic since then, so I hadn’t really been able to sit down and write about it. Given that I actually have very little to say (and probably analyse), that tells you more about where my head’s been than anything else.

The really, really short version, then: It made almost no difference whatsoever.

To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting it to suddenly soar. I’m absolutely terrible at active marketing (you may have noticed) and I spent most of the months the book was on sale working on getting a completely different story published. So even if I were good at marketing, my energy would have been elsewhere.

Protip: don’t do a promotion if you’re not going to advertise it.

Yes, I know that that’s common sense, but here you go. Have concrete proof that this doesn’t work if you don’t already have a fair amount of internet presence (or better yet a fanbase who’ll squee over the reduced pricing). ^_^

Don’t be like me, people!

That said, I’m not unhappy about the promotion either. Right now, what I want to get out of the process more than anything is education and experimentation. What works for me, what doesn’t, that sort of thing. In that sense, the promotion was a huge success even if most of what it did was point out the obvious:

  1. Promotions need to be occasionally promoted
  2. I really need to work on my active marketing skills (N.B. this involves working on my anxiety issues, so it’s not as clear-cut as it sounds)

It may sound silly that I’m happy to have information that I already knew, but sometimes it really helps to have concrete proof to build up that information. It also allows me to set up a baseline from which I can tell whether I’ve actually improved or whether I’m stagnating.

Another thing it taught me is that I like price reduction promotions, even if I’m (still) rubbish at promoting myself. Again, that may seem like a small and silly thing to most people, but if you’re just starting out and not making a lot of sales yet it’s entirely possible that you view reduced pricing as a bad thing. I didn’t, but I was scared that running a promotion and not getting Instant Fame from it would sour me on the whole thing.

Protip: Don’t let it sour you. Writing is a long-term game. Unless you’re really really lucky it’s going to take quite a while to start building up momentum.

It’s a good idea to try and get the educational process under way whilst you still have (relatively) little work available. The habits you set now will make things either easier or harder in the long run. Might as well start building up good ones from the beginning! ^_^

And… I think that’s it for my thinky thoughts. Apologies if they’re not very coherent still!

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The Faces of Depression

Posted April 17, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 2 Comments

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The Faces of Depression

Please note! This post comes with a content warning for a discussion of depression in fiction, the different ways depression can show itself (or not), and references to suicide.

On a tangentially related note: This post was written for submission to a column anxiety weasels got too loud about. Mostly because I have no confidence in my ability to actually remember things accurately and what if I get it wrong?! So. You know. There’s that.

If anyone was wondering for any reason, why I haven’t commented on the Hugos… You know, apart from being the non-confrontational person I am in general, I was a little preoccupied attending a funeral and looking after myself. (If you’re worried: I am mostly doing okay by now, I think.) My thanks to all the moderate voices letting me keep somewhat up-to-date without being a ball of tears.

Lastly, my thanks to the lovely and wonderful people who looked it over for me and helped me get enough confidence to post it here.

And now, without further ado. A post below the cut!

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Lynn and the Influence of Sailor Moon

Posted January 24, 2015 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Thoughts. The text 'rambling thoughts' underneath a burning lantern. For rambles, thoughts, and not-essays.

When I put out my call for discussion topics, Elizabeth suggested I discuss how I was introduced to Sailor Moon. And… The truth is that I don’t quite remember. I’m pretty sure I was introduced to it by a friend in my mid-teens or so, but don’t ask me who or when or why because I’ve completely forgotten. Which doesn’t make for the best of topic discussions. As you can imagine it wouldn’t! It’d be dreadfully short.

I have, however, been thinking about Sailor Moon and why it’s such an important show  to me (because yes I came into Sailor Moon through the anime rather than the manga; it’s the anime that’s nearest and dearest to my heart) a reasonable bit, largely because of the reboot giving me oh so many feels. It’s been really fascinating to watch the differences between Crystal!Usagi and Classic!Usagi. You know those lists people make of media that’s been very influential in their’s life and that people use to go “If you want to understand me better, watch/read/play this”? If I were to compile such a list, Sailor Moon Classic and, specifically, the finale of Stars, would be pretty high on my list. And by “pretty high” I mean “would probably be number 1”. My feels about that episode (and, honestly, all of Stars) are that strong. But hey I think my reaction to pretty much anything Usagi says or does in that episode is “Yes, this. So much this”, so… You know. Resonance. It is pretty overpowering.

Being the final episode of the entire show, though, discussion of it in detail would be filled to the brim with spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen it. It deviates a bit too much from the manga, if memory serves, to spoil that storyline entirely, but even so. Spoilers galore if I tried to discuss the episode in detail. So I’ll spread it out over the whole anime. And yes if you hadn’t picked up on it yet this post is predominantly about the classic anime adaptation with the occasional foray into other versions. There will be spoilers galore for the whole Classic series! Especially for some of the earlier season finales. THERE ARE SPOILERS GALORE. YOU ARE WARNED OF SPOILERS. FOR THE MANGA, CRYSTAL, THE CLASSIC ANIME AND THE LIVE-ACTION ADAPTATION. SPOILERS ALL THE SPOILERS. (Okay, not all. But if you want to go into any of the above fresh for post-season-1 developments in Crystal, you actually want to avoid the rest of this post.)

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Revision Notes: All Our Good Intentions/Made to Be Broken

Posted November 14, 2014 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in My Work / 0 Comments

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Lynn's Projects. The text 'Lynn's Projects' next to a big quill. Updates on what I'm working on.

It’s been a while since I touched my revision chronicling projects. Part of that is, simply, that I’ve been buried in other projects. The last time I touched Made to Be Broken was in 2013 and that draft never got finished. The last finished draft, then, is the one collected in Feather by Feather and Other Stories. You can read that version here (for free) if you’d like. The latest draft can be read here. It went up yesterday.

And then 2014 came about and I decided to semi-officially signup for NaNoWriMo. Unofficially since I had a novella draft that I really had to finish that was already partway done. Having finished that, I decided to focus on something else and try to take advantage of the NaNoWriMo sphere to see if I could if not finish at least speed along another project (or two). There was, however, a problem. I finished the novella much sooner than the previous ten months led me to believe I would and I hadn’t decided what to write yet.

So! While I asked friends and internet acquaintances to cast their vote on what they thought sounded the most interesting, I decided that, in the interrim, I’d return to Made to Be Broken at long last and see what happened this time. It’s been a while and, as you can see if you compare the latest draft to the previous one, been changed quite substantially.

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