My ideas for stories are not so much building blocks as they are bait. I hold them out in some wild corner of my thoughts (the palm at the end of the mind) and wait days/weeks/months while the stories flitter at the edge of sight, and (readiness is all) hope for one to alight.
I’m working on two stories inspired by the “Did you know…” section of Wikipedia’s main page, which I use as a homepage. One is based on the medieval hunting ritual of Unmaking crossed with an article on the Glass Delusion of Charles VI, and the other is based on the phenomenon of the Prisoner’s Cinema. I honestly ain’t give a damn if Wikipedia is accurate: it’s a wackypedia grab-bag of story ideas…
Here’s some handy (and inspiring!) advice from a stack of great authors, including Gene Wolfe, Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen, Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, Joe Haldeman, etc. etc. etc. I am also somehow mixed up in there, and very very honored to be so.
Shared Worlds is a great program, and supported by some extraordinary people. Speaking of extraordinary, the tireless Teri Goulding organized this Hand in Hand project, as well as last year’s very very cool Critter Corral.
Update: the ever-generous Mr. Gaiman blogged about the Hand in Hand project and Buzz Feed picked it up and it’s all gone a bit virus-y. Here are some pages with my hand and/or quote on it. And a video. Wacky. I’m even misquoted, which I find inordinately pleasing.
I’m delighted to have sold my story “Bloom” to Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. I first drafted it at the 2010 Clarion Writers’ Workshop, and started looking at it again a couple of months ago. It should appear sometime in late 2013. My story “Lost Wax” will be appearing in the August issue of Asimov’s.
It’s with no small delight that I can announce that my short story The Telling has sold to the excellent Fantasy fiction website Beneath Ceaseless Skies. It should be appearing sometime in the second half of 2012; more info coming as I get it.
It’s been a busy month or two, and as usual I am playing catch-up here at the blog. My own big news is that I am now working at Lucasfilm Animation, on a soon-to-be announced project.
I’ve been busy on various projects for friends, including Dermot Power and his son Eolan with whom I am working on an exciting short film, Randy Gaul, and Tony McVey and his stop-motion short Gardens of Miranda, for which I did sound and music. I am looking forward to some exciting new video work with Jeff VanderMeer as well.
And I am finding time for writing here and there. I am particularly excited about a new novelette “Lost Wax” (see below for a now-out-of-date excerpt) and an SF short called “The Prisoner’s Cinema”. And I am poking again at a novel-length adaptation of my screenplay “Downside”.
I’m happy to report that my classmates from Clarion 2010 continue to publish remarkable stories. In 2012 alone, Kali Wallace and John Chu have stories in Asimov’s, Jenn Hsyu in Future Fire, Tom Underberg and Tamsyn Muir in Weird Tales, Tamsyn has another story in the new Nightmare, John another story in the Bloody Fabulous anthology, Kali also has stories in Weird Fiction Review and Lightspeed, Dustin Monk has stories in Shimmer and ODD?2, and nonfiction all over the place, and Karin Tidbeck has a story in Ann VanderMeer’s upcoming Steampunk Revolutions anthology as well as two books: Jagannath, a collection of her stories in English from Cheeky Frawg Books, as well as Amatka, her first novel in Swedish. Whew. I am sure I am missing something, and that by the time you read this there will be more new stories from these amazing writers.
Masses of monsters! Bountiful beasts! It’s the Shared Worlds Critter Corral! I am delighted to have helped out with this fantastically cool project, part of a registration and fund drive in support of the Shared Worlds SF/F teen writing camp! It features all new flash fiction from Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, Scott Westerfeld, Gene Wolfe, Patrick Rothfuss, Jeff VanderMeer, Ann VanderMeer, Lev Grossman, N.K. Jemisin, and on and on: a who’s who of speculative fiction including my wondrously talented Clarion 2010 colleague Karin Tidbeck.
Jeff VanderMeer conceived the idea, which was based around an image from the always astounding Jeremy Zerfoss. The delightful Teri Goulding compiled and edited the stories, and I did the web coding and contributed a small story of my own.
The image here is just a sliver of the wonders that await. Head over to Shared Worlds and explore. And if you like what you see—and I am sure you will—then consider leaving a donation to support these sort of projects and a truly great writing program.
I have been working on Gardens of Miranda, a stop-motion science fiction series from master sculptor and animator Tony McVey. Tony has worked on everything from Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger with Ray Harryhausen to The Dark Crystal to The Return of the Jedi; I worked with him on Beowulf and A Christmas Carol at Disney. I worked with Tony in 2007 on his animation Skull Island, doing all the visual effects, sound design, and musical score. I’m doing the sound and music and the occasional odds and ends for Gardens of Miranda.
Here’s a preview of Episode One: the arrival at the mysterious planet and the introduction of one of our heroes: FE, the Flying Eye robot. Check his blog for pictures of some of the amazing puppets and props. And stay tuned for the final release of Episode One!
I’ve had an odd winter so far, filled with unexpected efforts, fortuitous meetings, and strange diversions. A couple of exciting projects are going public in this coming week: a beastly bounty from the Shared Worlds Writing Camp and a stop (motion, that is) on the way to the mysterious Gardens of Miranda. I’ll be posting about them later in the week. So now seems like a good time to catch up with some of the things I’ve done in the last few months.
In December I did the design, artwork, and animation for the Cheeky Frawg Books website, working with Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, artist Jeremy Zerfoss (who did the Frawg logo and the wonderful book covers), and web guru Danny Fontaine. This is the same crew with whom I worked on my Myster Odd animation last summer, and it was once again a delight. In fact, the Cheeky Frawg site is based on Myster Odd’s writer’s garret. I designed and built the “set” with the Autodesk Maya software, using hand-painted textures and lighting to try to capture the quirky, timeless spirit of the Cheeky Frawg publications. There are a lot of odd easter eggs and free stuff on the site, so go ahead, poke through Myster Odd’s stuff! And while you are there, check out the catalogue for some extraordinary e-books and dare the ODD.
My novella “Slow Boat“, originally published in the July 2010 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction, was reprinted in Russian in the November 2011 issue of Esli Magazine. There are a number of footnotes that seem to be addressing some of the obscure slang I threw in, or in some cases, simply made up; I imagine it was a head-scratcher to translate, but such is always the lot of the translator…
Check in tomorrow for an update on my stories-in-progress!