We’re entering our second week here at the Clarion 2010 Writers’ Workshop, with Delia Sherman passing the baton to George R.R. Martin, and… that’s all I am allowed to say. We are under orders not to blog about the workshop while we are here. As if we would have the time, anyway… So, all I will say for now is “wow”.

I am leaving this Saturday for the Clarion Writers’ Workshop! I can’t wait to meet (in person!) my co-Clarionites — Stacie Brown, John Chu, William Farrar, Erin Gonzales, Jessica Hilt, Jennifer Hsyu, Adam Israel, Dustin Monk, Tamsyn Muir, Laura Praytor, L.M. Redding, Dallas Taylor, Leah Thomas, Karin Tidbeck, Tom Underberg, Kali Wallace, Kai Ashante Wilson — and the instructors: Delia Sherman, George RR Martin, Dale Bailey, Samuel R. Delany, Jeff Vandermeer, and Ann Vandermeer!

A friend in the film business was alarmed by my about the future… page.  “Aren’t you worried someone will steal your ideas?”

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It is commonplace advice for writers to “write what you know”.  I disagree.

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All fiction is speculative fiction.

And all writing is fiction.

If there’s one thing I hope and strive for in my writing, it’s clarity.  Writing clear, concise, precise prose is always challenging, and all the more so in Science Fiction and Fantasy.

That’s because the goal (well, one goal) of fantastic fiction is to describe the new, surprising, extraordinary, the wondrous.  And it’s easy, even tempting, to be oblique, obscure, vague in these descriptions, to use the literary equivalents of murky, billowing smoke and ominous shadows.  It’s a superlative, a compliment, to say “Wow, that’s too fantastic for words.”

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I was trying to summarize what I like about the television series Lost, and in particular why I enjoy the writing.  Here are some terms that didn’t work: wacky, smart, uncommercial, ambitious, challenging, literate.  What I meant was: unapologetic.

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