Monday, August 27, 2012

The Mortal Kombat test

Ugh, I hate my blog. No, I'm sorry, I didn't mean that! It's just, with all I have going on, the blog started to seem like just one more chore. Since I don't want this poor little website to wither and die, I'm trying not to take it so seriously.So please forgive me if the posts over the next little bit are a bit tongue in cheek. There's lots of sites you can go to for actual solid writing advice.

But today we get down to some serious business: pen names.

Pen names are a tricky business. Personally, I find it hard enough to keep a handle on myself just going by one name, so I stick with it no matter what genre I’m in. I’ve had romance, mystery stories, slice-of-life stories, horror, and sci-fi all published under ‘Shannon Fay.’

But there is another reason why I use my real name rather than a myriad collection of alias, and that’s because my name passes a little something I call the ‘Mortal Kombat test.’ I’m sharing this with you now so that you can put your name to the test and see if you need a pen name or not.

Monday, August 13, 2012

In the Future We Will Not Spend Our Money But Our Time

Lately I feel like I’m back in school again. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just surreal. This morning I got up early (well, early for me) and headed over to my old university so I could take part in a research programme the psychology department is conducting. Anyone who has ever been a cash-strapped university student is probably familiar with these trials: They run the gamut from sociological experiments to drug testing. Basically, you volunteer to become a human lab rat. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Creator and destoryer

A story of mine was recently rejected. It was actually a very nice rejection: the story had gotten far along in the submission process and I received feedback on it from the magazine’s editors. I decided to take what they had to say into consideration and tinker with the story a little bit before sending it back out (oh yeah, take that Heinlein!).

I knew what I had to do: I needed to strengthen the bad guy, smooth out the middle, and basically just set it apart from your run-of-the-mill mystery story. But when I sat down to re-write it...the re-written story was already there on my computer. Doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo (that’s supposed to be the Twilight Zone theme music, in case you are horribly confused). 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First review ever!

Diabolical Plots has reviews up for the April Daily Science Fiction stories, including mine. This is exciting for me because it’s the first time I’ve ever had a story reviewed by an impartial third party. Plus, they have some nice things to say:
“A Special Day” by Shannon Fay (debut 4/18 and reviewed by Frank D). A ski bunny takes a sudden interest in the protagonist and buys him a coffee. The ensuing conversation drifts to an unlikely subject.
The subject matter in “A Special Day” is about the day no one celebrates, the pre-anniversary date of their death. It is a day only the snow bunny can appreciate. The tale has a twist that comes out of nowhere yet isn’t surprising when it is revealed. I found the story to be sound but was one where the protagonist became a third wheel in the tale. Interesting.
 Very cool, and they're right about the main character becoming less relevant as the story goes on (though I kind of like that). But they're wrong about the main character being a guy. This isn't the first time I've seen someone make that assumption. I can see how it could happen. The main character's gender isn't central to the story and since it's a first person narration people are going to project a lot onto the character in order to fill in the gaps. It's understandable that a man reading the story would imagine that the narrator is also a guy (heck, a woman reading the story might think the main character is a guy, seeing how male is still seen as the 'default' gender).

But at the same time, I do include things to show that the narrator is a girl. There's her name for one ('Moria' may not be a popular girl name, but it's still a girl's name) and the fact that another character refers to her indirectly as 'she' ('Even a keener like you would take a break on her birthday').

Like I said, it's not central to the story, but it is there. I really believe that female characters are under represented in fiction and it's important to me to write worlds populated by woman characters. One thing I like about 'A Special Day' is that at it's heart it's just two very different girls talking at a coffee shop. Story-wise it's not a world of difference if, instead, it's a guy and a girl talking in a coffee shop, but while it might not mean a big deal to the story it makes a big difference to me.