I was doing a lot of shopping for myself, since it was black friday and lots of deals and what not. I came across several things that I think are lacking in the writing world, so I decided that for this week I would put up a list of things that make the writing world week. Sort of a strange and hard to describe list, but hopefully it makes sense.
(in no particular order)
2) Lack of Reference Books For YA, SF, or F: There hasn’t been a good book released that really gives you a writer’s perspective on writing for those three genres. There are some, but always books aimed towards straight fiction or literary fiction control the market. With series like Harry Potter dominating the entire fiction market there needs to be some good reference books for people who want to write YA. As for SF and F, while there are some reference books out there (and some good how to’s by people like Orson Scott Card), there’s just not enough coming out. You’re lucky to get one or two in a year that are worth forking out fifteen bucks for.
3) Lack of Internet Resources: The Internet, of all places, should have some really fascinating resources for people who are writing in the more speculative fiction genres. Unfortunately, unless you want the same information, and overly complex scifi based things, crammed down your throat you’re out of luck. There are great places such as Fantasy Worldbuilding by Patricia C. Wrede, a complex list of questions to answer when creating your own world, or Robert J. Sawyer’s Website, which gives you all sorts of fantastic info on both writing and query letters.
4) Lack of College Coursework: Somewhere along the line creative writing in all its forms (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama) took an amazing turn and secured itself a position in the academic community as a legitimate and powerful educational ideal. The problem? Where’s the curriculum for people who don’t write literary fiction? There are exceptions, most particularly where Orson Scott Card may teach a class or where there are colleges where writers either in the field or intimately engaged in works within that field are present. However, the majority of colleges don’t even have literature classes aimed towards lovers of scifi/fantasy, and even if they do they don’t count towards general ed requirements, leaving people little choice but to revert to ‘classics’ in British or World literature. This is absurd. There are plenty of scifi/fantasy works that date back to well before we started even calling them that. H.G. Wells, Jules Verne anyone? Heck, even Mark Twain wrote a story that could be seen as a somewhat modern fantasy which involved the son of the devil and the bringing to life of clay figurines. So, why don’t we have curriculum for those of us that love scifi/fantasy? Why aren’t there fiction classes geared towards that, or perhaps geared towards certain aspects of it. We have short story classes, novel classes, etc. Why not world building or development of a scifi/fantasy novel?
5) Lack of Representation: There’s lots of real easy ways to find out all the new buzz about upcoming fiction or horror. There’s a best sellers list, plenty of reviews in all your favorite mass appeal magazines, posters, etc. Unless you are gifted and have a cool book store there won’t be any easy access to all these goodies for speculative fiction. There’s bound to be websites somewhere, but why can’t you get something that offers loads of reviews of upcoming work from more than just your overdone writers like Terry Brooks and Robert Jordan? Is there a magic magazine you can get that keeps you updated on all this? I’ve found that I had to do a lot of searching on the Internet to find much of anything that was useful, and even places like Borders weren’t all that much help because Borders advocates very specialized books rather than your typical things.
So, I think that does it for my silly list. I know, annoying, but hey what can I say. I’m disappointed in the writing world right now and I’d like to see some more public admiration for people who do write in the speculative fiction field.
So have a good day!