The Happy Writer, Writing Discussion

Rejection. It’s something every writer has to come to terms with.

A folder of short story rejections lives in the back of my filing cabinet. At the moment there are only a few sheets in it, but I’m working on filling it up. Why? Because every rejection is something concrete. Like a hairline fracture or a battle scar, the rejections are a reminder that my mettle has been tested. More importantly, every rejection is proof that I’ve been writing.

Sure it hurts. I’d be lying if I told you it didn’t, but every time I get a rejection, I stop to think about what I need to improve for next time.

Then I eat some chocolate.

Then I get back to writing.

Honestly, if you learn from what you did wrong, then you haven’t really failed. If you refuse to give up, then you haven’t really failed.

Still there are days when I feel insecure and the writer’s blues linger. If you’re feeling down, I recommend watching this video. J.K. Rowling reminds the graduating class at Harvard of the benefits of failure. You’ll feel better after. I promise.

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.

I also recommend the chocolate.


Writing Discussion

There are no rules. Some things you can  only truly learn by doing, and writing is one of those things.

Form opinions. Try different methods for getting things done. If  something doesn’t work for you, try something else. Keep trying until  something sticks. Keep writing!

Still, there is some value to advice. Sometimes it can speed up the learning process. A single sentence or concept can force understanding to click, suddenly and  permanently, into place – but that won’t happen until you start writing. So keep  writing!

Oh, and  don’t forget to set aside time to read. Now, please get back to  writing.  You’ve wasted enough time surfing the internet my dear.


SF/F Genre Glossary

Speculative fiction only recently became a part of my vocabulary. I was browsing the web for book reviews and the term kept popping up. I checked magazine submission guidelines and there it was there again. How did I miss this?!

It hit me like a one degree shift in the axis the world…

You see, there’s a huge gaping hole in my knowledge of the book world that spans roughly 10 years, and sums up everything between high school and graduating university (yes I spent far too long in school).

So what is speculative fiction?

“is a fiction genre speculating about worlds that are unlike the real world in various important ways. In these contexts, it generally overlaps one or more of the following: science fiction, fantasy fiction, horror fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history.” Thanks Wikipedia.

To summarize: speculative fiction includes stories classified as fantasy, science fiction, horror, plus everything strange and weird.

That’s a huge category. I like it. I think it frees the mind to play with the boundaries of genre.

And so, here’s a challenge, and a writing prompt for Wednesday:

How many genres can you defile at once? What’s the strangest, oddest, weirdest, story you can write up?



Addendum June 2011: There is some controversy over the use of the term Speculative Fiction. When I refer to it in this blog, I am using the definition stated above: as an umbrella term for sf / f / horror and all mixes thereof.