Stuff Laura’s reading

I’m reading Dreyer’s English …

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I’ve recently acquired a copy of Dreyer’s English, and I’m enjoying it quite a bit so far. Dreyer’s funny, well aware of the foibles of copyeditors and authors alike. His comment about writers’ pet sentence constructions was, like, a huge mental relief, because my until-recently-unconscious love of a particular sentence structure is the bane of my existence right now. It was nice to know I’m not the only writer in the world writing different sentences in the same exact way, over and over again.

Dreyer is not a proponent of two spaces after a period, and that … well. Sorry. I’m old, and I’ve been typing since I was eight, so thirty-odd years of habit are going nowhere.

But here’s a story: I got into a silly Facebook “fight” with someone over the two spaces after a period–one of those silly things that was all in good fun, no big deal.* Except at some point it stopped being fun, mostly because I realized I actually don’t care. Like, I do this out of habit. I was taught to as a kid, whatever. Some editors care, some don’t; the ones who do care are usually kind enough to say so in their guidelines, which means I do a find and replace. Because money will always trump any stylistic preference I have.

I do use the Oxford comma. I do not care. You can tell me I don’t need it. You can bring up AP style. I refuse to skip the comma before the ‘and.’ You and those strippers dressed like JFK and Stalin can go skipping the Oxford comma all you want, it’s cool. I’ll be over here with my babies, tucking them in at the ends of lists.

On the whole, I don’t want to be a dick about grammar. In high school, first quarter I would always get a B in English, and it was entirely due to how the curriculum front-loaded grammar every year. Drove my mother nuts. It wasn’t until I started teaching grammar that I started to really get it–one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it, I think–but I still don’t want to diagram a sentence.

And, you know, nobody has perfect grammar. Nobody catches every typo (I think it was Neil Gaiman who said the easiest way to find a typo in your published book is to open it. Because that will be the first thing you see). But, at least in the case of this book, it’s fun to read about people whose job it is to try.

(Oh, and one of my other favorite things so far in the book: “Sometimes sentences don’t need to be repunctuated; they need to be rewritten” (25). Ain’t that the truth.)


*For the record, the battle lines fell pretty much generationally. Gen X and above are pro-two spaces, the youth of today are all one-spacers. It was kind of hilarious.

Dreyer, Benjamin. Dreyer’s English. Random House, 2019.

How to Be a Good Beta Reader

In which I natter on about beta-ing because why the heck not?

I see a lot of writing advice, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any beta-ing advice.  So I thought I’d write down my tips for being a good first reader/critiquer/beta reader.  Obviously your mileage may vary on this, as with any advice, but these are the things I try to do when I’m critiquing, and they’re the things I appreciate from a critique.

Continue reading “How to Be a Good Beta Reader”

The Kickstarter for the Women Up to No Good anthologies is back!

If you head on over there, you will find some great backer rewards and a whole lot of behind the scenes, author spotlights!

Over on Twitter, Joanne and Co. have been posting short excerpts from the stories in the anthologies–these are two I particularly like:

And then there’s one from this chick I know pretty well:

(Spoiler: that one’s my story, “Mary In the Looking Glass”!)

There are stories in these books from L. Timmel Duchamp, Chikodili Emelumadu, Nisi Shawl, D.A. Xiaolin Spires, Catherynne M. Valente, Alyssa Wong, Sonya Taaffe, and Damien Angelica Walters, along with a whole lot of other amazing writers.

(Fangirly fun facts:  Damien Angelica Walters guest-edited the issue of Penumbra eMag my story, “Hauntings,” appeared in!  And Nisi Shawl and I were both in the April 2014 issues of Strange Horizons, so we spent a couple weeks in the same “table of contents”–read: front page.  My brushes with greatness, let me show you them.)

So if you find this intriguing, hop on over to the Kickstarter and check it out–and please back the project, if you can!

 

Support the Women Up to No Good Kickstarter!

img_9130  My story, “Mary In the Looking Glass,” is part of the Women Up to No Good anthology Broad Knowledge, and there is a Kickstarter for it and another of the Women Up to No Good anthologies, Sharp and Sugar Tooth.

If you’d like to support “writing by women and authors of marginalized sex and gender identities, about female protagonists whose knowledge or appetites are critical to their stories,” please click the link and check out the various donation levels and rewards.  (The dedication one is pretty cool, I gotta say.)

I’m just saying, you know you want to read a story by me about Mary with the bloody eyes, right?

shameless self-promotion

Yeah, yeah, actual content tomorrow … but first!

“The Lost Languages of Exiles” will be appearing in Best Vegan Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017, which is a collection of vegan-friendly stories (not necessarily stories about veganism).

And Metaphorosis posted the origins of “Exiles,” if you’re interested in seeing where it came from.

the obligatory awards post

Through the fiery blushing and imposter syndrome, I give you my list of stuff that was published in 2017 …

The Lost Languages of Exiles,” in Metaphorosis

Safe As Houses” in Gallery of Curiosities*

“Four Cassandras” in The Cassandra Project

And apparently Dropping Slow could be nominated as a novella, but that seems a bit weird.

*I’m not entirely sure what category this would fall under?  But I’m putting it in, anyway.


 

It feels slightly less uncomfortable to aim you at work from 2017 that I liked a lot and is not by me:

Jason Kimble has three stories eligible for awards, all of which I love for different reasons.

Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” by Fran Wilde, which is so weird and creepy and cooooool …

Seanan McGuire published and posted a lot of great stuff last year–“From A to Z In the Book of Changes,” via her Patreon, was a great story.

I admit, I’m not entirely through all the stories in The Best of Metaphorosis 2017, but “The Illuminator Leaves” by Molly Etta was lovely.

The Murders of Molly Southbourne  by Tade Thompson–this should win awards just for remembering that if blood is An Issue, a female protagonist will have That Issue to deal with once a month.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells–oh my god, I loved this and cannot wait for the next one.

Killing Gravity by Corey J. White–again, I loved this book and cannot wait for the next one.

A Queen from the North by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese–this is AU British history romance with magic; I dug it.

Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan–disquieting and haunting like all of Kiernan’s work.

 

 

 

 

So a little bit of self-promotion …

“The Lost Languages of Exiles” has been chosen for The Best of Metaphorosis 2017!

It will be coming out February 1st, and I’m thrilled to have “Exiles” included.


Two artists whose work survives into the universe of “Exiles” and Dropping Slow are Tom Jones and Ursula K. LeGuin.  There’s a reason Lia reads A Fisherman of the Inland Sea in “Exiles,” and of course the reason is the last story in the collection.

I wrote this on Facebook today:

She was a difficult, thinking, demanding writer whose books taught me a lot about earned endings and the intricacies of tracing people’s interior lives. She was not afraid to look at her old work and grapple with it to make it better. She was a foundation of my genres, better than just about anyone else in them—the world is better because her books are in it, and lessened by the loss of her.

I think everyone seems to be linking to “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” and that is an amazing story.  But I would send you to “Another Story OR A Fisherman of the Inland Sea,” The Tombs of Atuan, Four Ways to Forgiveness, and The Word for World is Forest.