October 2021

Uplifting Diverse Creatives

Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction vol. 2 edited by Tarun K. Saint and Manjula Padmanabhan.

Released late in September 2021, this collection contains an array of short form fiction and poetry from various South Asian authors. Featuring pieces from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Bangladesh and the wider diaspora.

I’ve just begun this collection and already the concepts have blown me away. Dark and complex sci-fi, driven forward by vivid characters. Each piece offers up powerful imagery and emotion through masterful narratives, where huge concepts are driven home in simple ways that leave the reader reeling and thinking about each piece long afterward.

These stories utilise sci-fi concepts that resemble the western’s golden age in scope and wonder, but are unlike anything the western classics have offered in regards to style, atmosphere, character or culture.

I highly recommend all readers and writers actively seek out their preferred genres written by authors of a vast array of cultures. The novels put in front of us on bookstore shelves and in online ads are dominated by the western world. We need to push through the noise to find the stories that are shoved to the back and won’t ever be discovered if we don’t do the work to actively seek them out.

There’s a whole world out there just waiting for us white westerners to step aside. Anthologies and short form collections are great places to begin, as they offer the reader a huge selection of rich and unique perspectives in quick bites, sometimes as short as a page, other times as long as chapters in the books we read regularly, carrying us down some dark and thought provoking tunnels we never could’ve imagined otherwise.

I’ll be sharing more anthologies in the future to give you a greater chance to discover new and diverse fiction, and to give a greater array of diverse authors a sliver more of a chance to be seen and heard.

Below is a list of this collection’s contributors, where I’ve included the best links to their websites and/or social media platforms, I was able to find. If you’d like to recommend a better link for any of the below, please do leave a comment below or get in contact via email.

For now, check out their works, share, spread their stories. The world needs so much more of the work they have to offer.

Sci-Fi Novels

Recently Read

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

A beautiful novella about connection and difference and culture and new worlds. Binti challenges our comforts and expectations of the future of humanity and how we view hostile outsiders.

I can’t wait to read the next 2 in the trilogy. Highly recommended for those with a love of humanity and it’s potential, and for those seeking sci-fi with a touch of a fantastical feel.

Warpaint by Holly Lisle

The characters in this instalment of Cadence Drake’s world are vivid and utterly loveable. There’s a lot that happens in this novel, it’s packed with action and high stakes, but also twists and turns that left me on the edge of my seat, wanting to keep reading until the end.

This novel is part of a trilogy or series, all set in Holly’s Settled Space universe – I read the Longview Chronicles from the same universe recently too – and there’s a third in the works, The Wishbone Conspiracy.

Despite being part of a series, Holly ties off Warpaint’s ending beautifully yet still manages to leave the reader excited for more.

Now Reading

Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu

This novel has been a whirlwind of a ride so far. Despite covering a fair chunk of mathematic and physics concepts, it presents them in a beautiful way to the reader through the online world of Three Body.

For fear of spoiling the central concept of the story, I can’t go further but I highly recommend this as a dive into Chinese fiction for those who love scientific theory and sci-fi both.

Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction vol. 2 edited by Tarun K. Saint and Manjula Padmanabhan

See first section at top of page

With the Kids

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

This is a lyrical story, but that’s less because it’s poetic, and more because of the flow of the story, the simple language and the beautiful vulnerability and innocence of the characters.

Our three, 9, 8 and 6 years old, have been entranced by each chapter and are whole heartedly invested in the lives of the characters. It’s been a magical journey with them. Kate DiCamillo’s writing is fabulous.

Current Project – Novel and Flash Fiction Collection/Anthology

I’ve achieved another 13k words this month, which is right on track to have this first draft completed by the end of the year. Next year will be dedicated to revisions, and I’ll be using Holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel course to guide me through that.

Read this blog post of Holly’s for a drastically simplified version of the HTRYN course’s approach to revision.

I have purchased and regularly refer to every one of Holly’s smaller clinics, and LOVE her teaching style. It’s not for everyone, but everyone’s perspective on writing is different and there are bound to be skills and tools that Holly offers that could help you too.

If you’re keen, Holly also offers a free How to Write Flash Fiction that Doesn’t Suck course for everyone to check out her style without committing any money or payment details at all. I highly recommend it. I’m using it right now to craft my first short story collection while working on my novel.

I feel like I’ve gotten over the hurdle of just getting the words down. Gathering all the info and ideas in snippets and scenes and summaries in a cohesive order for a first draft. My last few writing sessions saw half the scene overtaken by a brainstorming session, where the characters are at, where they’ve been, what their mindsets are, what’s coming next etc.

Plot brainstorming in chunks, right there in the middle of the draft, to keep myself on track. I know I’ll read through it all over again through revision, and that’s when the work comes in, when I can take all these ideas and extra details and make them work better for the story. I don’t have to remember it all. I get it on the page and move forward.

In regards to revision, I don’t want to lose another fifteen years trying to teach myself how to revise correctly – just like learning to write in the first place – so Holly’s HTRYN course will be my shortcut here. Since revision is largely systematic and the right brain only comes into play when needed, I can follow Holly’s step by step course to break down the story and make it better, the best way she knows how.

Holly Lisle gets right to the bones of the matter and tells it like it is, no fluff and circumstance, or whatever that saying is meant to be. I’m excited for revision, the part that is usually described as the hardest part of writing a novel.

But excitement won’t get me through, it’ll only get me started.

Determination, consistency, persistence, even when the work is shit and boring, that’s what brings results.

As for my short story collection, I’m working my way through that slowly, learning a lot about each piece, seeing every character and problem in a new light every time I rewrite, and looking forward to finally getting the handwritten second drafts done this week so I can move on to typing and editing.

Have you tried writing short form fiction? What do you think? What do you enjoy most?

I’ve enjoyed reading shorter pieces lately too, a whole story packed in a small space, with just as much of a punch. It’s efficient, effective, entertaining and a huge source of growth potential as a writer and just a human looking to understand our world.

Check out my weekly flash pieces for the Carrot Ranch prompts to join in!

Submissions are free and open to everyone, no matter your skill level. We come together to tell stories, in all the beautifully unique ways the human mind can muster.

I’d love to see you there.

Leave your answers and thoughts below. I respond to each and every comment here on my website. Otherwise, pop over to the contact page and send me an email, I love to hear from readers, writers and creatives of all kinds.

Humans. Sentient beings. Get in touch!

For now, remember to:

Explore, create, repeat-

Then thrive.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner

If you enjoy the author’s work, please consider supporting via ko-fi.

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