Tag Archives: jennifer crusie

Friday Links is on the Side of the Bronies

Tor.com on In Defense of Bronies – the Quest for Gender Equality in Fandom. The patriarchy hurts men too, especially men who like cool cartoons about adorable ponies!

Alisa on The Knitting Olympics, and why the spat between the Olympics committee and Ravelry is a feminist issue for her.

Jennifer Crusie, queen of the collage-your-novel technique, talks about brainstorming with yarn, and other art and craft. It’s all about YARNSTORMING!

Bluemilk responds to the Atlantic article about Women Having It All, pulling the best points from the article and providing a bunch of links to interesting followup blogs.

The fabulous epic fantasy writer Karen Miller talks publishing, fantasy and feminism in Five Questions.

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Galactic Suburbia Episode 32 Show Notes

New episode up! Grab it from iTunes, by direct download or stream it on the site.


In which we bid farewell to Joanna Russ, talk e-publishing (again) and Alisa reads a real live actual book. With bonus raving about Doctor Who and Alistair Reynolds – in other words, another episode of Galactic Suburbia.


On Joanna Russ:
Making Light
Broad Universe Samuel Delaney interviews Joanna Russ
Aqueduct Press

Barb & Jenny on e-publishing
Part 1
Part 2

Book Country launched by Penguin USA
Jim Hines on Book Country
Ellen Datlow on the role of the short story editor, at Book Country

Brimstone Press closing

Shaun Tan named judge for Illustrators of the Future

What Culture Have we Consumed?
Alisa: Madigan Mine, Kirstyn McDermott, Fringe Season 3
Alex: Deep State, Walter Jon Williams; Shattered City, and Love and Romanpunk, Tansy Rayner Roberts; Pushing Ice, Alastair Reynolds; Troubletwisters, Garth Nix and Sean Williams.
Tansy: Doctor Who & Big Finish audio plays. The Eighth Doctor Adventures.


Announcing upcoming Spoilerific Book Club on Joanna Russ with particular focus on The Female Man, How To Suppress Women’s Writing and short story “When it Changed.” Read along with us!

Galactic Chat interviews Glenda Larke

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Myths of Nanowrimo

5227 / 50000

There are two fairly tired myths/criticisms of NaNoWriMo and I often see them trotted out regularly at this time of year, usually by people who a) don’t GET NaNoWriMo and b) are offering them as reasons for why they don’t want to play.

The first myth is that there’s no point in writing a ms that’s 50,000 words long, because it’s an unsaleable length. The second myth is that no one writing 50,000 in a month can produce anything that’s actually any good.

My first response actually addresses both of these myths. Nano is not about producing a hot-off-the-presses-ready-to-submit novel. It is about writing a FIRST DRAFT. (or as Justine recently reminded us, a zero draft)  First/zero drafts can take many forms.  They can be skeletal novels that get fleshed out later.  They can be rough-as-guts.  They can be crap.  As Maureen tells us: embrace the suckmonster.  It’s okay.  Because your zero draft can also be awesome, and there is absolutely nothing about writing fast that automatically makes a draft/manuscript crap.

[A book’s true awesomeness requires a lot of post-November editing and reworking to show it to best advantage, and I do weep a little for those agents who get flooded with unedited Nano manuscripts on December 1st.  That’s just nasty]

Also it’s worth noting that there are various kinds of books which can in fact be complete at 50,000.  Children’s, YA and romance, for instance, can easily run to that length.  Many Nano-ites writing in less short-novel-friendly genres like to get around this issue by using NaNoWriMo to add 50,000 words to an existing manuscript (as I did last year), or to write the first 50,000 words and continue in December, possibly at a less breakneck pace.  For some reason, the former is not considered “real” NaNoWriMo while the latter is.  But everyone is welcome to the party.

That’s the first myth out of the way.  Now for the second, which is quite simply wrong.  A lot of sarcastic eyebrows get raised at NaNoWriMo.  The assumption from outsiders is that this is a whole bunch of amateurs looking for a shortcut to a novelist’s career, and that all 100,000 of them are producing crap which will never amount to anything.  Truthfully, a lot of crap is going to be written this month.  Some produced by people wanting to tick ‘write a novel’ off their life list.  Some from people just wanting to knock 50,000 words off the million words of crap they’re supposed to produce before they can be any good at writers.  Some manuscripts will be shoved under the bed (or into the Do Not Disturb folder) and never looked at again.  Some manuscripts will be emailed directly to an agent, long before it’s ready to be seen (seriously, don’t do this).  Some are just being written for the sake of writing them – because NaNoWriMo is a party in your computer, and it’s sad not to play.

Some Nano manuscripts will be the cornerstone for something publishable.  Some will go on to be edited and polished and turned into something of professional quality.  Some (admittedly a small number) will sell.  Some may have already sold, in fact. (I used last year’s Nano to complete the first draft a manuscript I had already signed a contract on, and am using this year’s to get down the first 50K of another pre-sold book)

The main thing about writing is that the speed at which you produce the words (and in fact the effort it takes to produce the words) has little to no effect on the end result.  There’s no such thing as ‘too fast’ when it comes to writing.  Some writers work slow, producing polished first drafts.  Some work fast, and take several more passes before the manuscript is ready.  Some write for twenty minutes a day, some for two hours a day, some for eight hours a day.  Many professional writers produce more than the Nano daily word count (1667) every single day.  Some of them work at a pace that leaves the 100,000 Nano-ites in the dust.  And in fact, many of the people participating in NaNoWriMo this and every year are experienced, professional writers.  It’s very likely that what the experienced writers produce will be potentially publishable, just as it’s likely that most of the first novels written during this Nano will probably not be publishable.  (Very few first novels are publishable, but that’s true whether they are written over five years or in one month)  Some people who are doing Nano for the third or fourth or fifth time are doing exactly what they need to in order to make it as writers.  They are practicing.

Nano is not for everyone.  Some people can’t write that way.  Nano could well blow out the brains of many writers, and would certainly not bring out the best work in others, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend that anyone who already knows they hate writing fast first drafts should feel obliged to participate.  But if you’re not sure what kind of writer you are, a blurter or a planner, a sprinter or a marathon stroller, Nano is definitely an efficient way to find out.

Glenda Larke and Jennifer Crusie are among the pro writers giving a whirl this year.  So Nano-ites, take heed!  Next time someone tells you that your November activity of choice is pointless, remember that you’re in good company.

For the record, if you need an excuse not to participate in NaNoWriMo (other than ‘I don’t want to’ which is, let’s face it, perfectly reasonable) then rather than belittling the efforts of those who do choose to take part, consider just saying: “No way, you people are crazy.”  Nano-ites adore being told how crazy they are.  It’s a point of pride.

I love being part of NaNoWriMo.  It’s like one giant month-long flashmob of creative insanity.  It is inspiring and enervating.  It’s the month when it’s most fun to be a writer.

Flirting with Jane

I just finished reading Flirting with Pride & Prejudice, a collections of pop culture style essays on P&P, edited by Jennifer Crusie.  It’s the first of the BenBella Smart Pop Books I’ve actually read, though I was over at their website recently, geeking out at the range of books they have available and the free essays they are offering to promote said books, not realising that the cute Jane Austen book on my library pile was from the same range.

[I just looked again and omg Neptune Noir!  They have one on Veronica Mars.  And the Farscape one is called Sex, Drugs and Killer Muppets – how cool are these people???]

Ahem, back to Jane Austen.

It’s a fun, very readable book.  I like the fact that the essays are for the most part very short and conversational, though a few of them have great depth.  A range of topics are covered (two essays covering Bride and Prejudice, excellent to see!) so there’s a range of history, modern interpretation and adaptation, politics, academia and even to my surprise a goodly chunk of fanfic at the back.

The writers seem mainly to be – well, writers, mostly those of the chicklit/romance field from which Crusie herself hails.  The main theme of the book is the modern perceptions of Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice – and indeed the way that prejudice itself stops many people from engaging with the text.

By far the best essay is the final one, by the always-brilliant Karen Joy Fowler (“The Pelican Bar” is one of the stories of the year, have you read Eclipse Three yet? If not, why not?) who received mainstream literary acclaim for her The Jane Austen Book Club, and as a result has a wealth of anecdotal evidence about what people think about ‘dear Jane’.  I particularly liked her theme of the way in which people not only read Jane Austen’s various books differently as individuals, but also at different times in their life – Mansfield Park is a different book at 16 as it is at 40… it’s a stunningly sophisticated essay, also taking in the male preconceptions of Austen from publication through to present day, and in itself worth picking up the book.

There’s lots more to love in this collection, though. Its timely publication in 2005 (the year of the most recent P&P adaptation) means there is no mention of Keira Knightley at all, but plenty of reference to Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Aishwarya Rai and Martin Henderson.  Good old Charlotte and her choice to marry Mr Collins obviously intrigued/bothered many modern readers, and Jennifer O’Connell’s essay “A Little Friendly Advice” is one of many that engage with that quandary.  There’s also lots of analysis about why Darcy is so hot anyway.  Laura Resnick’s essay on Bride and Prejudice pretty much echoes a conversation I once had about the clever use of Indian culture in the film, and how it’s about as authentic an adaptation as you can get set in the present day, and I like the way she has analysed the film’s successes and failings.  Sarah Zettel’s “Times and Tenors” looks intelligently at the way in which different eras have imposed their own cultural assumptions on film adaptations of P&P, and I particularly enjoyed her analysis of the Greer Garson version (my first introduction to P&P!) and how it swaps the importance of class vs. money, because American audiences were unsympathetic to the idea of money as a motive…

The book is full of humour and contradictions, itself proving time and again that Karen Joy Fowler & Sarah Zettel are absolutely right – everyone takes something different from Pride and Prejudice and at the same time, adds something of their own to what is there in the text.

Now to find out if my library also has a copy of Neptune Noir… sadly I suspect it does not!