jenniferkoliver: (Stock | Kitty Love)
Jennifer K. Oliver ([personal profile] jenniferkoliver) wrote2013-07-10 01:36 pm

Welcome to Night Vale, writing novels, and taking a stand against con harassment

A lot of folk have mentioned Welcome to Night Vale and I'm going to add my voice, because it is unique and clever and just plain rollicking creepy fun. This is the blurb: Welcome to Night Vale is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events. Turn on your radio and hide. Great thing about Night Vale? It's free to download. Other great thing? It's extremely well produced and acted. And did I mention rollicking creepy fun?

I've had an idea for a new novel. Cheers, brain. I'm not done with the current steampunk novel and I've only just started outlining its follow-up, but now I have this third monster—a YA sci-fi about celebrity culture and self-identity. It was originally a short story I wrote last year that never quite came together or felt complete. And now I know why.

And it got me thinking: Sometimes you have a fully realised world and you try to work it as a short story, and you're sure there must be a way of showing what needs to be shown super subtly, in a condensed form. But some stories can't be pushed into small packages, and I think you have to go with your gut rather than struggle with them. Writers agonise over keeping things lean, but it should never be to the detriment of story.

Occasionally I would try to squish a story to fit the guidelines of my favourite magazines, but not so much these days. It wasn't healthy, for me or my fiction. Now I go with my gut, and try not to freak out too much if I realise that short story I've been bouncing around is actually a novel. :)

John Scalzi's Convention Harassment Policy - That the convention has a harassment policy, and that the harassment policy is clear on what is unacceptable behavior, as well as to whom those who feel harassed, or see others engaging in harassing behavior, can go for help and action. There's also a post where you can co-sign this policy.

I've never been harassed at a convention, but I've been inappropriately grabbed before, and I would hate for something like that to colour a fan's enjoyment of an event that should be a safe, welcoming and exciting environment.

Ashes to Ashes, by David Bowie.
ext_289215: (WS Bucky Awake)

[identity profile] 2013-07-10 01:52 pm (UTC)(link)
I am continually pleased by Night Vale. Especially Cecil and his giddy feelings over Carlos. It's just the kind of slightly off randomness that I really appreciate.

Irgh, short stories. I've been trying to learn how to work short stories, because it's hard for me to create a universe that isn't massive, and I have a lot of trouble trying to pick out what the important bits are. We'll see how this goes.

I'm excited about your new idea!

[identity profile] 2013-07-10 02:00 pm (UTC)(link)
I find short stories really, really difficult. I've written them all my life and they're never easy - they almost always drive me mad. I'm new to writing novels (only in the last 2-3 years) but they seem way less stressful than some of my short pieces. I think like you, a lot of my ideas are too big for 2-7k words, and that's the problem.

And yet, I still love the challenge of short fiction. Even if it makes me want to tear out my hair! :D
theemdash: (Daniel Huh)

[personal profile] theemdash 2013-07-10 02:12 pm (UTC)(link)
I think you're right on to let the story dictate the length. It's one of the reasons I fret so much about writing to a call. I need to build up a log of stuff that fits things I see often so that way I can pull out a story, dust it off, and submit it.

[identity profile] 2013-07-10 02:17 pm (UTC)(link)
Gah, yes. I've eyed calls for short story submissions before with a theme or deadline, but I always scare myself out of it. There was one short that I worked on almost exclusively for nearly half a year, and in the end I had to scrap it because it just would. Not. Work. D:

I'm glad I'm not the only one who frets about that!