Thursday, September 21, 2006

Q & A


I beg your indulgence, I am all a-twitter this morning.
No, not that.

First, I have a few questions:

#1. Can anyone define "speculative fiction" for me? And what is "speculative poetry"?

#2. What is the dumbest/smartest thing you have ever done as a writer?

# 3. Do you really have ambitions toward the NYT best-seller list and a great author label, or do you simply hope to produce a good book that will find a good home with a good publisher?

# 4. Why do some writers feel compelled to constantly make arch comments about the word-verification thingies at the end of their posts? Is this another of those tiresome internet fads?

Per Labor Ad Amor: Safely delivered, at 5:51 last evening, a grandaughter, Elizabeth Victoria Eleanor, 7 lbs. 8 oz.
Be still, my heart.

40 comments:

Erik Ivan James said...

Um, you're supposed to be the teacher, not the student.

1. The thought that I might be able to write it? The kind of stuff I write...and the fantasy that someone might like it.
2. Dumbest=decision to write my book. Smartest=That I procrastonate writing it.
3. My ambition is to finish the damn thing.
4. It usually takes me about three tries to type in the correct letters. Sometimes five or six.

CONGRATULATIONS! Beautiful name selection.

Carla said...

Congratulations on the baby!

I have a vague idea that 'speculative fiction' covers any story not set in the normal day-to-day world, so it covers sci-fi, fantasy, alternate history and so on. But I may very well be wrong. As to the word verification comments, just occasionally the word verification pops up with something that by pure chance seems relevant and worth mentioning - ISTR you once said when posting a nice comment on my blog that the verification word began with 'hugs' (aaaah!), and I once recommended a book to someone and the verification was 'felix'=lucky. Happens very rarely, though, not quite at monkeys-typing-Shakespeare probablity levels but getting on that way. So if commented on 'constantly' I guess it's another little Internet membership badge, like 'dh' and 'LOL'.

anna said...

First off CONGRATS on new baby.
Beautiful name!

as for the questions:
#1. not I
#2. Miles to go before I sleep and more more more stupid things
yet to come. Still waiting for the smart
#3. neither - the thought of Oprah terrifies me
#4. who does these things?! they'll be hearing from me!

and Carla HUGS!!!

James Goodman said...

Congrats on the Baby!

1. I believe it is one of the many names thought up in an effort not to use the word horror as many believe that horror is either dead or dying (not I of course). Put a new label on it and see if the masses find it easier to swallow.

2. The dumbest thing I've ever done: Signed with a less than reputable agent. The smartest, letting my wife talk me out of flying to Florida and killing him with my bare hands.

3. Ambition? I am going to be on the NYT best-seller list. :D

4. Oh dear dog, I hope it's a fad that fades quickly (yeah, I know I'm guilty of this one too, but it was only once and I didn't inhale).

Bernita said...

Thank you, Erik!
Like you,I have trouble enough getting the letters right in the box without making up a song and dance about them!

Thank you, Carla. I am so vastly relieved about the Babe.
Mea culpa, but it was a real word and it fitted, not a bloody sentence,(she muttered.)

Thank you, Anna!
May three queens be a blessing.

Bernita said...

~laughing~
Thank you, James!
I got a request for a "speculative" poem and did NOT have a clue.

Scott said...

Most important, congrats B.

I can only guess at some of these answers, but what the hell.

1) Same for fiction and poetry I suppose. I would guess speculative fiction posits a direction things could travel or would have travelled had certain conditions been true. Example, what if the south had won the civil war?

2) The dumbest thing I ever did was to give up when I was young, the smartest was finally picking it back up.

3) I'm not sure what my ambitions are. Right now, I only aspire to write a novel. After that, we'll see where it takes me.

4) No clue

Jim said...

1. Speculative fiction is a broad name that has been used as an inclusive term covering a group of fiction genres that speculate about worlds that are unlike the real world in various important ways. This includes science fiction, fantasy, horror fiction, supernatural fiction, alternate history, or magic realism.

2. I'm not sure about the dumbest thing I've ever done. The smartest has probably enrolling in the Liberty Hall writers group because it has already done marvelous things for my writing.

3. My own goal is simply to write a good book that will sell well. If it makes a best-seller list and I become world famous, so much the better, but it's not necessarily what I stive for. I love writing, and just being able to see my name in print will be good enough for me.

4. What exactly is an arch comment? That's not a term with which I'm familiar.

Ric said...

1. no clue but I like James' answer.

2. Sending stuff out before it was ready to be sent - sullies the water.

3. MONEY - being self-employed, my retirement plan just sucks - I keep talking to the owner and he says write a best-seller.

4. no clue again.

Congrats on the Granddaughter. A chance to relive the wonder of discovery through the eyes of a child.

Bernita said...

Scott, thank you.
I think it will take you far.You have the gift.

Jim, I, too, would be pleased with good book status. Cake is cake, even without icing.
"Arch?" Along the lines of "cleverly sly."

Ric, thank you!
I want to say " Ric Marion? I knew him when..."

EA Monroe said...

Joyful congratulations, Bernita! I love the "E" names.
1. Speculative -- that's what I write. I'm always "speculating" on what I'm writing, want to write, and my continuing efforts to pioneer the borderlands & conventions of cross-mixing genres in an alternate reality.
2. Smartest -- listening to good advice and rewriting. Dumbest -- dumping several years' work of a novel into the garbage can (outside) and watching the pages go up in flames & ash. It was a catharsis moment I needed at the time. Now, I've learned to stick 'em under the bed.
3. I'd be simply happy to share, although it would be nice to walk into the library and find my book(s) upon the shelf.
4. I hate typing those w-v suckers! I do good to type my password right!
I bet you can't wait to spoil the new granddaughter!

Jim said...

Hm, I don't think I've ever seen those sorts of comments. Personally, I kind of like the image verification on those blogs that don't otherwise have spam filters. Keeps the amount of junk comments down to almost nil. They're cumbersome, sure, but if it means not having to worry about solicitations for things I'd rather not see or have to deal with, I'll take the image verification any day.

PBW said...

#1. Can anyone define "speculative fiction" for me? And what is "speculative poetry"?

It's what the Borg call science fiction and science fiction-themed verse.

#2. What is the dumbest/smartest thing you have ever done as a writer?

Dumbest: Turn pro.
Smartest: Turn pro.

# 3. Do you really have ambitions toward the NYT best-seller list and a great author label, or do you simply hope to produce a good book that will find a good home with a good publisher?

I wanted to see my name on the cover of a real book. That was my only goal before publication. Because so many people told me I never would, I guess.

After I signed my first contract, I made a list of four attainable, private career goals. I've accomplished three of them, and I'm halfway to nailing the fourth. None of them are about fame, fortune or making the Times, though.

# 4. Why do some writers feel compelled to constantly make arch comments about the word-verification thingies at the end of their posts? Is this another of those tiresome internet fads?

Dunno. Subconscious lashing out at having to verify one's identity perhaps?

Btw, I saw and bought The Time Traveller's Wife last night at the bookstore, and it's all your fault. :)

PBW said...

I meant to add this to my earlier comment: congratulations on the arrival of your new granddaughter. I agree with Erik, that's a beautiful name.

Bernita said...

Thank you, EA. Joyful indeed!
~agast at the book burning~
Like your answers though.
No spoiling, but...
I'm in a sort of mindless croon at the moment.

I'm not against the verifications, Jim, I understand their utility. Just irritated by the footnote extrapolations and am being petty.

Thank you, PBW.
"so many people told me I never would, I guess."
Well, damn their eyes.
You are Source and inspiration to many of us.
I am, simply and plainly, glad I found you.

Bernita said...

Thank you. The initials spell her mother's name.

MissWrite said...

1-Spec fiction -- already answered. Not the same as writing on 'spec' which most of us do -- writing before we get contracted, or paid.

2-Oh good Lord the list goes on for the 'dumbest' catagory, and I'm nost sure I've hit on the 'smartest' yet.

3-The NYT list--Oh that'd be just grand. Early on in my career I did, but now, hey, it'd be nice, but I'm just pleased as punch to find a good home with a publisher I respect.

4--because they're annoying as all get out, especially for those of us with very, very tired eyes. The 'easier' ones I don't mind, but if they get all funky with weird colors, and lines going through them, argh, the pain, and even blooger sometimes puts them in italics making it harder for me.

Sometimes the letter combos are just funny.


AND CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Grandma Bernita, awwwwwww, such a sweet ring.

Flood said...

Beautiful name, congratulations! Hope Mother and daughter (and grandmother are all well)

jason evans said...

Congratulations Bernita!!! And to mom and dad!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Tami, Flood and Jason.
The sky here today is as blue as Elizabeth's eyes.
All are doing extremely well!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Congratulations on a lovely granddaughter...and with a regal name like that, she will be lovely!

As for the questions...I fit #3...I would love to make the NYTbest seller, but I'll take a good book with a good publisher...LOL!

archer said...

1. Can anyone define "speculative fiction" for me? And what is "speculative poetry"?

Oh, probably Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward" is what people mean. Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" for poetry. (Wikipedia: "The Person from Porlock" is a science fiction story by Raymond F. Jones published in Astounding magazine in 1947. Coleridge's vision is explained as the remote viewing of a secret colony of aliens living on Earth. One of the aliens deliberately distracts Coleridge before he can write down a full description of the colony.)

#2. What is the dumbest/smartest thing you have ever done as a writer?

Backing up three weeks of work on a floppy disc that turned out to have orange juice on it.

# 3. Do you really have ambitions toward the NYT best-seller list and a great author label, or do you simply hope to produce a good book that will find a good home with a good publisher?

I want to crush my enemies beneath my heel like insects and hear the lamentations of their women.

# 4. Why do some writers feel compelled to constantly make arch comments about the word-verification thingies at the end of their posts? Is this another of those tiresome internet fads?

I don't mind them, except for akudhfkauhfiaweufoaiwfuoawi.

archer said...

Granddaughter! Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dave said...

#1 - speculating on what might have been in the real word. Somehting like Sci-Fi or alternate history.
#2 - shot a hole in my hot water basebaord heater with a 357 magnum... Oh, you said written, that's different.
#3 - yes, yes, yes, yes
#4 - mindless silliness, that's all .

Elizabeth Victoria is a great name and congrats ;)

Bernita said...

Thank you, Bonnie, Archer, and Dave.

Bonnie, she's cuddlesome.

I'm dimly grasping the idea, Archer. Mention of Kubla Khan does help.

Ooh, Dave! Was it trying to escape? Better to use a twenty-two - inside the house.

Cynthia Bronco said...

ibid on the .22, less spackle involved.
1. It's what James Frey does. First, he speculates that it's non-fiction, then he speculates that it is fiction.
2. Dumbest: thinking stuff saved on 5 inch floppies would last forever. Smartest: decide to write my book.
3. Bestseller, yes. Critcal raves for literary genius, probably not. I don't care; it's fun to read.
4. I'm considering using some of those verifications as names for characters.

Zinnia said...

Speculative fiction incorporates all things that is horror, paranormal, ghostly, some sci-fi, dark fantasy, etc. If you falls in those categories, chances are it's spec fiction.

The smartest thing I ever did in publishing was writing for men's erotic magazines to get some professional sales under my belt. The dumbest thing I ever did was sign with an agent who tried to change everything I wrote--and I don't mean suggestions, but my style and what I write.

Zinnia said...

Oh yeah, and I'd love to do well enough with my novels that I could live comfortably. It makes it a little easier to raise such a large family.

kmfrontain said...

A grandbaby! Congrats! :D

I'll answer part of number two. Smartest thing I've done is to keep trying, no matter how many stupid things I do. Second smartest, to apologise when necessary after I've done my latest stupid. Third smartest, to resign myself that I will never be perfect, and to follow smart choices one and two whenever necessary.

Bernita said...

You could, Cynthia, as long as they don't introduce apostrophes.

Thank you.
I assume the agent is your ex-agent now, Zinnia!

Thank you, Karen.
~crooning~

I like your "smarts."

Dennie McDonald said...

#2. What is the dumbest/smartest thing you have ever done as a writer?

same thing

submitted my work ...

Gabriele C. said...

Congratulations on the granddaughter.

December Quinn said...

Aaaaw! I didn't have a chance to check in here, congrats on the new granddaughter! What a beautiful name!

My goal is NYT, absolutely. I'd be happy just to make a decent living--but I'm reaching for the stars 100%.


Archer, you may have misquoted Conan, but you get mega points for the effort! :-)

cyn said...

bernita~
how exciting about your grandbaby!
will you see her soon??

1. i always thought speculative fiction was whatever out of the ordinary worlds, etc, a writer may imagine and write. leaning toward sci fi/fantasy. never heard of spec poetry.

2. dumbest thing is to want to keep writing. smartest, too.

3. i just want to finish my story.

4. annoying much?!

Patry Francis said...

The smartest thing I ever did as a writer? I never gave up.

Patry Francis said...

Oh and yes, congratulations on having a granddaughter! Hoping to see pictures soon.

Bernita said...

The usual paradox, Dennie.

Thank you, Gabriele.

December, thank you.
The barbarian pose is cute, is it not?

In a few weeks, Cyn, thank you. She doesn't have much hair, wouldn't you know...

The "smart" rule, Patry. Thank you.

Ballpoint Wren said...

Welcome to the world, Elizabeth Victoria Eleanor!

(You should've been named "Bernita", but we'll still love you anyway!)

spy scribbler said...

2: Dumbest: I was too dumb to notice.
Smartest: Join RWA and listen to conference CDs.
3: Pay the bills and, as corny as it sounds, touch readers. Imagining (and it's usually just my imagination, LOL) that what I write will in some way inspire or just let a reader know that someone understands, is what keeps me through the hard days.
4: Ugh, I can't get those darn letter typed correctly, either. I don't understand how I'm getting them so consistently wrong!

Aren't we all pretty kick-ass typers, with all this writing???

Bernita said...

My Spy, my dumbest is exactly that. Think I'm too dim sometimes to notice.
Typing? Mine and my spelling is getting worse, not better. Go figure. Maybe it's the urge for haste.