link salad (client edition)

* Ekaterina Sedia AKA squirrel_monkey suggests we need more mothers in SF/F: “Much has been said about sexism and misogyny in fantasy and SF, and there are quite a few books with strong female protagonists. So it is doubly puzzling that it is the father/father figure who more often than not provide meaningful interaction and plot tension, while the mother is pushed to the background or conveniently dead.”

* jaylake offers a recording of his reading of his story “Arrange the Bones.” At 1,000 words, this originally appeared in Say…Was that a Kiss? back in 2002, then was reprinted by Prime Books in his 2004 collection, Dogs In The Moonlight .

* pbray has updated her website with a free excerpt from The Final Sacrifice.

* “Living alone in a garret and bleeding all over your pages while slowly starving to death or dying of consumption sounds a lot more romantic than it actually is.”Kameron Hurley’s response to a post John Scalzi made concerning unasked for advice to New Writers about Money. John is (regrettably) not a client of mine, but this is an awfully useful post, even if he breaks the curve on writing income considerably. This particularly resonated with me as an agent, both for my own commissions and because of the amount of my job it defines: “The full-time writing life isn’t about writing full-time; it’s about a full-time quest to get paid for your writing, both in selling the work, and then (alas) in collecting what you are owed. It’s not romantic; it’s a pain in the ass.” And I’m thinking that many people could do well to take his advice about “don’t have the cash, then you can’t have it” whether they are writers or not. And writers should particularly pay attention to section 10: “Writing is a business. Act like it.” (I suspect that last bit would get me quite an “Amen” from the Agent Hallelujah Chorus.)

10 responses to “link salad (client edition)

  1. I completely agree with the need for more mothers in SF/F. It’s amazing how many women are dying in childbirth, even in books/movies with advanced civilizations (*cough*Star Wars*cough*). You would think that’d be fixed, you know? I’m trying to do my part – my novel is chick lit/scifi with the story from the mother’s point of view. I’m hoping that unique perspective is more helpful than detrimental when it comes time to market it.

    • Star Wars
      I think I can spot your problem right there 😉

    • Hmmm… Many (not all) fantasy settings are based on older versions of human civilization. In many such settings, females were rarely granted roles of clear leadership. They were organizers of households, but not heads of armies. That one is as difficult or more difficult to do well than the other is moot… one is noticeable, the other must be pointed out.
      A strong protagonist is (often, not always) in a leadership position. If the author must spell out where the protagonist learned to be a leader in a familial way, then culturally it may just be an expectation that the protagonist would have learned to be a highly visible leader from their father or some other male figure who was already in a position of visible authority. So I don’t think the absence of female role models springs from anything particularly anti-feminist, I just think a lot of authors are leaning a little too hard on archetypical settings for their world building. ^-^’
      Your novel is from the perspective of the strong mother watching/encouraging/talking about her daughter as the protagonist? And it’s scifi? That sounds pretty interesting to me… lots of potential in that choice of view point. It might convince me to read something I otherwise wouldn’t, even.

  2. The British Sci-Fi folks seem to be better on this account… Banks, MacLeod, Stross, and Reynolds may all be men, but they all present what are (to me) convincing female characters, some of whom have been mothers/wives/etc.

  3. And writers should particularly pay attention to section 10: “Writing is a business. Act like it.” (I suspect that last bit would get me quite an “Amen” from the Agent Hallelujah Chorus.)
    is bound and determined to convince performers (specifically opera singers, in the forum where I usually see her tilting away) of that. She sets a hell of an example herself. If more people followed it, life would be a lot easier for everybody involved.

  4. Thanks!
    Those links were great! I especially enjoyed the financial realities discussed in the last two.

  5. thanks
    I have to admit I don’t usually click onto other blogs because otherwise I’ll spend my whole life reading blogs, but I did read John Scalzi’s piece and it’s very, very good. Thanks for the heads up.
    cheers,
    Joelle
    http://www.joelleanthony.com

  6. I’m a mother who is not disagreeing with the need for more mothers in fantasy, but I just had a thought. From a writer’s perspective, you try to make life as difficult for your protagonist as possible. Mothers often offer a deep sense of security and confidence, something you may not want your protagonist to have easy access to. I think it’s the same reason you tend to see a lot of orphan protagonists (and lest you should think that never works anymore because it’s so cliche, read The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss). Again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have more mothers in fantasy… I just thought I’d say that trend isn’t necessarily due to sexism. There’s something compelling about a character who is really on their own, and that’s why we see a lot of it.

  7. So it is doubly puzzling that it is the father/father figure who more often than not provide meaningful interaction and plot tension, while the mother is pushed to the background or conveniently dead.”
    Just like Disney movies!

  8. As a mother of five and a grandmother, I can’t not write sf/f from a mother’s perspective. Even in fantasy and the more primitive societies represented there, women can be strong characters and leaders. A lot of what I write (and want to write) comes from this point of view.
    Ironically, my first novel brought reviewer and agent complaints of a too-young-too-meek female protaganist. But the complaints were based on the belief that in order to be “strong” she has to be in-your-face assertive with the men running the business. It wasn’t enough to be strong as a mother or as a member of society with her own agenda.
    Our own preconceptions continue to trip us up…

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