Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday: Old Wounds #16

 

Boy, Saturday snuck up on me! I can’t believe it’s time for another SFF Saturday Snippet! What’s SFF Saturday? It’s a group of authors who post snippets of SFF prose and poetry for comment. You can check out other SFF Saturday posts, too.

I’m so behind on everything lately! (Including commenting on other SFFSat posts.) I’m spending the weekend playing catchup. In the meantime, here’s another snippet from Old Wounds for you. This is the sixteenth part. You can find the other parts here.

When we left Master Sorne, Ambrose had just commented that he made the wrong deal with the wrong person.

He shifted on the stool. “I’m not sure why you’re helping me and not killing me.”

Sorne leaned back in her chair. “Your daughter is three. How would killing you help her?”

He chewed on that for a moment. “I’m a trader, from Farlon Harbor. I generally acquire and transport quarried stone—marble and the like—for building projects.”

That explained his costal accent. “By land and sea?”

Aaaaand that’s 10 sentences. A trader, huh? They never get into bad situations…

Categories: SFF Saturday

Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday: Old Wounds #15

 

Another Saturday has arrived! That means it’s time for another SFF Saturday Snippet! What’s SFF Saturday? It’s a group of authors who post snippets of SFF prose and poetry for comment. You can check out other SFF Saturday posts, too.

Today is yard work day! Lots of rain means long grass and plenty of weeds. So while I’m out pushing the mower, here’s another snippet from Old Wounds for you. This is the fifteenth part. You can find the other parts here.

When we left Master Sorne, she’d given Ambrose back his flintlock pistol.

He took the weapon, but looked at it as if it were a dead fish. He’d perched himself onto a stool near the table.

“You’ll need it later, I expect,” she said.

His face twisted at that. “I’m not built for this kind of thing.” But he pocketed the pistol anyway.

His earlier actions belied that statement. Desperate men and desperate actions. “Tell me what happened.”

“I made the wrong deal with the wrong person.”

Yeah, that’s usually how these things go, huh?

Categories: SFF Saturday

Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday: Old Wounds #14

 

Another Saturday has arrived! That means it’s time for another SFF Saturday Snippet! What’s SFF Saturday? It’s a group of authors who post snippets of SFF prose and poetry for comment. You can check out other SFF Saturday posts, too.

Kind of an exciting week on the blog. I wrote about my issues with writing women MCs and then blogged my letter to SFWA. And then my blog exploded. Things seem to be settling down, though.

I’m off today to meet with my writing mentor, but I’ll leave you with another snippet from Old Wounds. This is the fourteenth part. You can find the other parts here.

When we left Master Sorne, Ambrose, her stranger, was feeling a bit woozy and had asked to sit down.

“In back.” She nodded over her shoulder. “Let me turn the sign and I’ll join you.”

She walked past him, picking up the gun as she went. It took a moment to disarm the thing. Rumor had it even the Palace guard trained to use them now. Good to know all the weapons, though a part of her balked at that thought. But it wasn’t her place any more.

She flipped the sign and locked her door. When she joined Ambrose in the workroom, she handed the flintlock back to him and took a seat in her worktable chair.

She did what? o.O

Categories: SFF Saturday

My Letter to SFWA

So here’s the letter I wrote to John Scalzi in his role as President of SFWA about the continuing problems with sexism in the SFWA Bulletin. It’s not nearly as eloquent as some of the letters out there, but I figure I should post it, least I be accused of being an anonymous voice. I’m not.

If you’re not familiar with the issue, Jim Hines has a darn good list of links.

Dear Mr. Scalzi and Mr. Gould,

I’m not a member of SFWA, but I thought I should write to you about the continuing issues with the SFWA Bulletin and how these problems look to someone from the outside.

Membership in SFWA is one of my career goals. It’s part of the reason I worked to get an agent for my fantasy novels. It’s part of the reason I strive to write better short stories. It’s one of the reasons I only submit short stories to pro markets. It means something.

SFWA is also an organization that does things I admire, from supporting Writer Beware, to working for better contract terms (as with the recent Random House digital imprints) to helping authors get paid what’s due to them.

But the continuing problems with blatant sexism in an official publication of SFWA makes me wonder if I’ll be treated as an equal when I do meet the requirements to join SFWA. I know there are jerks in every organization. And certainly, I know SFWA can’t deny membership to folks for being sexist jerks. But SFWA can refrain from giving them an official platform from which to spew their rhetoric, especially when it is in opposition with SWFA’s statement on sexual harassment. By allowing Mike Resnik and Barry Malzberg a SFWA-sanctioned platform so they could call those who took umbrage with their sexism liberal fascists, SFWA condoned their behavior and their statements.Resnik and Malzberg can blog like everyone else. They don’t need to be paid by SFWA to state their opinions, especially when it runs counter to SFWA’s own policy.

Mr. Scalzi, I know you’ve taken responsibility and have apologized and have put in steps to remedy the lack of oversight that lead to these problems. And I thank you for that.

I hope things do change, because when I am eligible for SFWA membership, I’d like to be fully a of SFWA, and not relegated to some sort of minor ladies axillary.

That’s what SFWA looks like from the outside at the moment: You get to be a Writer if you have a penis. If you don’t, you’re a “lady writer” and no one listens to your concerns. Or they take the mike from you. Or tell you you’re being too sensitive. Or wax on about how wonderful it was in the old days before women ruined everything.

I’ve seen many positive sides of SFWA, but when the problem of blatant sexism continually returns, it obliterates quite a lot of that.

I’m a writer. I’m a human being. I’d like an organization that should be future-looking to pull itself out of the 1950s and into 2013. Please continue to work to make this happen.

Thank you,

Ann L Kopchik

Categories: Uncategorized

Writing Women

I’ve been sharing the first chapter of a “short” story (It’s 10K) I wrote earlier this year as part of Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. The main character is a woman.

In the past I didn’t write women main characters. I was crap at writing women. I’ll tell you why:

I believed that I didn’t understand women, despite being one.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

I’m a woman. I thought I didn’t understand women enough to convincingly write one. Yes. Really.

I understood men well enough. I had lots of male friends. Heck, the were pretty much just like me, except they had a dick and I didn’t. In kindergarten, I wanted to be with the boys at recess when they had boys vs. girls, since what the girls were told to do was run screaming from the boys and I didn’t like that.

Yes. Really. Kindergarten recess. There was a game called boys vs. girls where the boys chased the girls who were supposed to run away screaming. It was sexist tag, basically.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

And folks wonder where the culture of rape comes from. Little girls being taught to run away from boys while screaming. And boys being taught it’s fun to chase screaming girls.

I believed the lie that women were meek. I wasn’t. That they needed to be blonde and pretty and airheads for guys to like them. I wasn’t. That they weren’t into science. I was. They didn’t understand math. I did, once I figured out that I reversed numbers. That they hated fantasy and science fiction. I loved these genres with a passion. That all girls were either going to become mothers or English teachers. I wanted to be a biologist.

I vowed in ninth grade that I would never get anything as useless as an English degree, since all the girls were going into English.

In short, I was sexist against my own gender because I believed the lies that our culture taught me about what girls and women were and should be, despite having counter-examples in my own family. My mother was the primary tool-user in the family. She tends to be the more problem-solving parent while my dad was much more the emotional support parent. My grandmother worked pretty much her entire life. My aunt has been a computer scientist since the 60s. She used to give me punch cards to doodle on.

And yet it took me forever to realize that I’d been fed a pile of hooey. In fact, all my peers had, too. I marveled when I found other women like me in high school and college. I was chuffed when I discovered that other women liked comic books. And D&D. And Star Wars and Star Trek and Tolkien and… and…

..and now I wonder how many of those girls I hated were wearing masks because they thought that was how they should act. I wonder if they like Doctor Who. Or the Avengers. I bet they do. I bet we actually have a lot in common.

I’m a woman. I’ve discovered that I’m not unusual in my tastes or desires. I’m not an odd woman or something outside the norm. I’m actually pretty normal.

So what does this have to do with me writing a woman main character? It was only when I stopped trying to write women like I had been taught women should be that I managed to successfully write a woman main character. That is, I started writing them like I write my male main characters–I started writing them as if I could step into their shoes. And low and behold, the characters felt real. Finally.

Funny that. Turns out women are human. Just like men. Just like me.

Oh, and irony of ironies, I have not just one degree in English, but two. Go figure.

Categories: Writing

Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday: Old Wounds #13

 

Another Saturday has arrived! That means it’s time for another SFF Saturday Snippet! What’s SFF Saturday? It’s a group of authors who post snippets of SFF prose and poetry for comment. You can check out other SFF Saturday posts, too.

I had a great time at WisCon. Met some fine folks and saw some great panels. But I seem to have caught a cold. Ooof. Hopefully a weekend of warm weather and some OTC meds will fix that right up.

Here’s another snippet from Old Wounds! This is the Thirteenth part. You can find the other parts here.

When we left Master Sorne, she’d just told Dilan to get out of the shop, but not tell anyone what was going down.

“I’ll go out the back.” A moment later, Dilan was gone.

Sorne ran fingers through her hair, not surprised to find her skull damp with sweat. She leaned against the counter where she’d lain her blades. “Now, tell me your name.”

“Ambrose Terrin.” He brushed his hand over his face. “Is there somewhere we can sit? I—” He swayed.

Figured, now that his excitement and determination had worn off.

So. Ambrose. She has a name now.

Categories: SFF Saturday

Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday: Old Wounds #12

Another Saturday has arrived! That means it’s time for another SFF Saturday Snippet! What’s SFF Saturday? It’s a group of authors who post snippets of SFF prose and poetry for comment. You can check out other SFF Saturday posts, too.

I’m at WisCon this weekend, so I’m in beautiful Madison, Wisconson, soaking up the sites, the panels, and the companionship.

So while I’m running to and fro and staying up waaaay too late, here’s another snippet from Old Wounds! This is the twelfth part. You can find the other parts here.

When we left Master Sorne, her mysterious guest has finally lowered his gun.

Sorne moved with care. The gun, while not aimed at Dilan’s head, was still cocked. One slip of his finger and the damn thing would go off. “Please put that down.”

The man looked at the weapon, then placed it on a nearby counter, its muzzle pointing toward the wall. Tension eased between Sorne’s shoulder blades and she lowered her arms. “Dilan, get out of here, but don’t tell anyone what has happened.”

“Master?”

She snorted. “If he’s being watched and you tattle, what do you think happens to the girl?”

Ah, Sorne. She’s clever. Or experienced. Which do you think?

 

Categories: SFF Saturday

Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday: Old Wounds #11

 

Look at that! It Saturday again! That means it’s time for another SFF Saturday Snippet! What’s SFF Saturday? It’s a group of authors who post snippets of SFF prose and poetry for comment. You can check out other SFF Saturday posts, too.

My good news for the week is that the manuscript I submitted to Harper Voyager waaaaay back in October during their unagented digital submissions open window has made it past the first cut! But I’m one of 948 (out of 4,500+ originally) so still very much long odds. But hey, I made it that far! (Yeah, I have an agent now, but back then I didn’t.)

This weekend will be full of writing and housework and packing. I’m heading out to WisCon next weekend! But I’m packing early, as the cats get bent whenever I take the suitcase out. Or clean. So I want to give them a chance to calm down before I leave them.

So while I’m folding laundry, here’s another snippet from Old Wounds! This is the eleventh part. You can find the other parts here.

When we left Master Sorne, her mysterious guest (still holding Dilan at gunpoint) just told her he was doing all this because “they” had his daughter.

“And you have someone’s son.”

There it was, the waver. In his face and in his arm, telling her that he did not want to be here. “She’s three,” he said.

Fire and ash. There wasn’t much he wouldn’t do either, then. “Put down the gun and tell me. Perhaps there’s another way out of this.”

The man did not move for several long moments, then he lowered his arm. “I have no other hope.”

Categories: SFF Saturday

Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday: Old Wounds #10

 

Holy Cats! It Saturday again! That means it’s time for another SFF Saturday Snippet! What’s SFF Saturday? It’s a group of authors who post snippets of SFF prose and poetry for comment. You can check out other SFF Saturday posts, too.

It’s Mother’s Day in the US and, as it happens, my parents are visiting this weekend, so I’ll be running around with my mom and seeing my grandmom and doing other related family activities.

But while I’m out and about, here’s another snippet from Old Wounds to keep you entertained! This is the tenth part. You can find the other parts here.

When we left Master Sorne, her mysterious guest wanted her to break into the Palace. She said no. Very decisively, despite the gun still pressed to Dilan’s head.

“She won’t betray the King. Not for my life, not for her own.” Dilan opened his eyes and met Sorne’s gaze. “You could bathe the streets red with the blood of the town’s residents, and it wouldn’t sway her.” He’d gained some of his color back.

The kid had a spine after all. If they survived this, she’d work with him on building that up. “Dilan has the right of it.”

The stranger pulled back the pistol slightly. “They have my daughter.”

Categories: SFF Saturday

Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday: Old Wounds #9

 

Is it Saturday all ready? That means it’s time for another SFF Saturday Snippet! What’s SFF Saturday? It’s a group of authors who post snippets of SFF prose and poetry for comment. You can check out other SFF Saturday posts, too.

It’s been an eventful week for me. If you didn’t see my Wednesday post, I accepted an offer of representation from Jennifer Udden of the Donald Maass Agency. I’m still kind of in shock. And thrilled! But in shock. She’ll also be representing the other me, who writes steamier books.

We’ll be working on getting a fantasy novel called Duty to the Crown ready for submission. Old Wounds, the short story I’ve been posting snippets from, is set in the same world, with some of the same characters. So I’m not sure what will happen to this piece in the future…only time will tell!

But for the time being, here’s another snippet from Old Wounds. This is the ninth part. You can find the other parts here.

When we left Master Sorne, her mysterious guest complained that he didn’t have time for an appointment. She noted that she didn’t either.

Silence, but for Dilan’s gasps for air. She sighed. “What do you want, then?”

“I need to break into the Palace—”

“No.”

The stranger parted his lips in shock, then pressed the gun harder into Dilan’s skull. “I don’t think you understand what I’m willing to do…”

Dilan closed his eyes. He knew, of course.

…and that’s it until next week!

Categories: SFF Saturday

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