Friday, November 07, 2008

Removing the SFnal element from a story

During the VD3 workshop I presented a story that is really actually about marriage and family life, though it had a fantasy trigger element in it. A couple of reviewers commented that they thought it would be stronger without that; just the couple and their two kids (what? autobiographical? of course not...).

Then someone -- I think it was Chance -- started riffing on that idea. I mean, how many genres out there can you do that with? Could you imagine someone writing a Western, and then in the workshop someone says, "Why don't you take the cowboys out? And it doesn't really need the saloon and the Indians" Or a thriller, and someone says, "I think it would be better without the guns and spies." "You know, this Harlequin might be better without the tall handsome mysterious guy with the shadowy past." "I don't know... I think the thing under the bed should really just be a teddy bear."

It's a funny idea, but it does underline a point about the universality of good SF that is generally missed by most critics of the genre.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In the market of Avignon we happened across a local chef doing a cooking demonstration. It was for an apple crumble with honey and thyme; we watched him make it from A to Z and taste-tested (wow!) the final product. It was a great idea -- publicity for the restaurant, a bit of life and animation for the market, and a great little cooking lesson for those who happened to pass by.
Who knows? The next time you stop by chez nous it may be on the menu...
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A guy I could like

Kevin Smith, the director who did (among others) "Clerks," "Clerks 2," and most recently "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," comes up with a great quote in an on-line interview. He calls "A Man for All Seasons" (also one of my all-time faves) "...basically porn for people who love dialogue."

That is just so true.

Obamoments 2

An SMS from a French neighbor:

"Yes you can.
Thank you America from the world."

Obamoments 1

I haven't felt like this since I watched Luke blow up the Death Star.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The south of France, eleven artists, excellent meals, plenty of wine... Ah, the rigours of a speculative writing workshop.

We did the third Villa Diodati workshop at the end of October, here in scenic Le Bar sur Loup. I dare to list the luminaries who were there, as their presence imparts a certain sheen of quality to my own pedestrian efforts:
Aliette de Bodard
Deanna Carlyle
Steve Gaskell
Sara Genge
Floris Kleijne
Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
Chance Morrison
Ruth Nestvold
John Olsen
Ben Rosenbaum
Here you can find a few of my photos, and many more can be found on flickr (few other things come up if you search for "VD3" ... ). The house we rented was thanks to good friends who also happen to make a living handling property rentals in the Côte d'Azur.

Onward and upward; the story that was critted at VD3 is already winging its way to F&SF.