I doubt if any writer ever avoids using details from her personal life and experience. That oddball Latin teacher in ninth grade, the eccentric neighbor who collected birdbaths, the obnoxious boss with his mean-spirited sense of “humor”…such individuals lodge in the memory banks and can give birth to a fictional character forty years after the original has vanished into the past. The same process can use life’s twists and turns, furnishing everything from background material for a world to an amusing incident that serves as a bridge in chapter nine. But I never thought memory or past experience was as important as imagination when crafting a story.
Every once in a while, though, a writer finds herself channeling her own past in a more direct fashion. When that happens, there’s a sense of exposure. Even when no one knows the wellsprings of a given story or book, taking off the mask of privacy can feel like an intentional public strip-tease. That’s what I’m going to do now. Blog posts frequently function as a venting mechanism, or as a spelunking expedition into the deepest, darkest recesses of the Id. Keeping a journal or diaries is a well-known, if less public, route to self-analysis. I’ve heard people refer to writing fiction as therapy, but I always thought it a mistake to treat the Muse as a shrink. Fiction requires more than a dip into Memory’s pool.
Normally. But not always. Continue reading
This three-part miniseries was obviously generated to take advantage of the recent Batman movie. The late Heath Ledger’s superb Joker has loosed a flood of Joker/Batman stories. All of them are a weariness — if I were DC I would put the Joker on hiatus for at least a couple years.
Cacophany is a particularly unsatisfying member of this annoying flood. With its references to past events and a supporting cast of uninspiring villains of yore, it is a bad jumping-on place for new fans. You would think that DC would take care to have everything accessible to a new reader, so as to derive maximum mileage from the boost of the movie. It is exceptionally gory and violent, many knives, guns, pieces of broken glass, and so on, which means that moms are not going to let little Justin spend his allowance here. (The various Bat cartoon titles are the way to go for youngsters — I have heard good reports of Brave and Bold.)
Finally and most damning, the thing doesn’t resolve. Mysterious new villain Cacophony is not apprehended; we don’t even learn anything useful about him. The information will doubtless be revealed in future miniseries. I will seriously consider not being there. Meanwhile you, the reader, should save your money. This mini is eminently skippable.
Remember radio plays? Probably not. Most of us denizens of the Internet are way too young. Most of us probably don’t even remember the early days of TV, let alone the heyday of radio. Somehow, though, I’m sure we’re all aware of those old-time soaps. There’s way too many “Shadow knows” jokes going around. Woody Allen gave us Radio Days and Garrison Keillor gives us the Prairie Home Companion. The references are all over the place.
Having fled screaming from grad school several decades ago, I have to admit I got a kick out of how many merit badges I could claim from The Order of the Science Scouts at Science Creative Quarterly.
First I have to claim the “I left the respectable sciences to pursue humanistic studies of the sciences” badge, on the grounds of discovering that as a research scientist, I make a pretty decent SF writer.
I’m pretty proud to be able to claim the “I’ve done science with no conceivable practical application” badge. Why, you ask? Doesn’t that make me a parasite upon society, a Golden Fleece Award-qualified waster of academic resources? Continue reading
One of two pallets of Girl Scout cookies in my garage.
I am the proud possessor of a Girl Scout. This is her sixth year as a Scout, and she belongs to a large, active troop full of highly motivated sellers, as the real estate ads put it. Last year her troop sold something like 50,000 boxes of cookies during the spring sale. My daughter, whose Scout name is Avocado (don’t ask), met her goal and sold 1200 boxes. She’s aiming, come hell, high water, and the economy, to sell another 1200 boxes this year.
There’s going to be a conference call soon. It’s going to be discussing the future of the Book View Cafe and areas where we should look at channelling our resources to make the site better, more flexible and accessible, and of course, how to let you know about the new online and print titles we’ve all got coming out.
So, we’re asking; what’s missing from the site? What do you want or need that we haven’t got right now?
Other quesiton: if you’re a registered BVC user, did you get your newsletter? Did you like your newsletter? What news would you like to be getting from BVC?
Today, I am coming out of the closet.
I’ve tried for years to fit in. I’ve tried to just stay quiet and get along. But I can’t do it anymore. I just can’t. I will just have to hope my friends will understand and accept me for who I am.
Regardless, today I have to say it.
I don’t like The Watchmen.
The Columbia River Gorge
My husband and I have always considered the Columbia River Gorge from The Dalles, Oregon through Hood River, around Cascade Locks, and past numerous majestic waterfalls, as part of our back yard, even if we live 50 miles away. We love it ice shrouded in winter, vibrant green with a myriad of wildflowers in spring, parched and sauna hot in summer, or glorious with red and gold leaves in autumn. Clear blue skies, mysterious mist rising from the river or leaden clouds determined to dump buckets of rain, no two trips are ever the same, and never are we disappointed.
We’ve taken serious hikes with day packs and lunches. He has backpacked deep into the side ravines to find hidden lakes. On short spontaneous trips we stroll along paved paths barely stressing our muscles. Continue reading
It suddenly occurred to me last weekend that while anyone (except spammers) can comment on my posts here on the Book View Cafe Blog, I didn’t have any place where folks could make observations about the stories I’m putting up on Book View Cafe.
There’s no comment function on the main Book View Cafe site; it isn’t set up for that. But, I thought, why not have a link on each story to a page where people can discuss it?
So I set up Nancy Jane Moore’s Fiction Comment Page. There’s a link on each story to the post for comments on that particular story, and links on the comment page back to the stories. It’s set up on Live Journal because I had an account there I wasn’t using, but you don’t have to be a member to comment.
So if you have a reaction to one or more of my stories, please stop by and tell me what you think.
Nancy Jane’s flash fiction for this week is “Happily Ever After.” Her collection Conscientious Inconsistencies is available from PS Publishing and her novella Changeling can be ordered from Aqueduct Press.
To finish off this series, I’d like to offer a smattering of “safety tips” that have come out of the mentoring and workshops I’ve done over the years. Some of these I’ve come by as the result of struggling with my own craft and some through struggles with other writer’s particular issues. As with all things, interpret them in a way that’s useful to you at this moment in your writing life. Continue reading