So what kinds of writing do you do? What projects are folks working on?
I am revising a collection of SFF short stories at the moment. I also have an early draft of a fantasy novel that I should get back to but it is on hold I have more time and energy.
I also try to write poems and have my debut chapbook of translated modern and contemporary Chinese poetry forthcoming in the fall.
@yilinwriter I'm attempting to get writing again after the pandemic murdered my ability to write.
I'm looking for a home for my urban fantasy about nerdy vampires in Kansas City, "Blood Log: How to be a Vampire Badly" and I'm on and off working on the sequel to that book.
@yilinwriter I used to write ttrpg materials, but burned out from trying to go pro with a crappy company, and from lack of feedback on my work. Can't write to a vacuum. Lack of audience response over forty years killed my enthusiasm for my craft. Also, apparently I'm arrogant about my skillset. I have past materials available free for the asking. I get about one request a year.
@yilinwriter I'm writing a hopepunk high fantasy road trip novel with polyamorous furries based on a D&D campaign I played in a couple years ago.
Or trying to. My latest creative slump has been longer than usual, and while I did start on a scene last night, I think my brain is rebelling against putting it in order and figuring out what's missing from the outline.
@WizardOfDocs oh hopepunk is so cool! I once also ran a one shot d&d campaign in a homebrew fantasy world based on my novel and it was really fun. It's always hard to return to writing after a slump. That is where I am at too.
@WizardOfDocs i find my stories always evolve a lot when I am in the early draft stages so I can't say too much but it is about a bunch of martial arts outcasts and wanderers and their power struggles in a slightly fantastical ancient Chinese world. It plays heavily with a genre tradition called wuxia fiction (crouching tiger hidden dragon would be the best known example in English). I wrote about the genre for SFWA last year https://www.sfwa.org/2021/12/28/what-speculative-fiction-writers-can-learn-from-the-origins-and-evolution-of-the-wuxia-genre/
@WizardOfDocs I think of wuxia as "martial arts punk" in some regard. There have been discussions in the community drawing that comparison. Can you tell me more about your project? Also I would love your recommendations for hopepunk fiction to read it you have any
@yilinwriter if you're punching cops, it's punk. That's why I'm comfortable calling my novel hopepunk, as opposed to hopecore--there are few action scenes, but the antagonists are law enforcement.
My novel is set in a high fantasy version of Depression-era North America. Our heroes are bright together by accident, by a group trying to summon back the gods to fix the climate and the government, and to their surprise, we're able to do it.
The party: (cont)
Verity, a university professor who escaped from a cult as a teenager, and has to actually deal with that baggage when the cult leader shows up again;
Tebasha, teenage catgirl mechanic from a steel town who didn't realize she could even do magic before this;
Tarjuk, an orcish priest from a society of nomadic mathematicians who wanted to go see the world, but not like this;
Ariel, an elvish druid from a magical forest, whose quest to reconnect with their god made this all possible
@yilinwriter and Tigris, catboy circuit preacher who's starting to doubt that the gods can be revived, at least until he meets the rest of us and finds himself right in the middle of the Revival
@WizardOfDocs yeah in that case wuxia would definitely fall under punk, because the xia (a vigilante warrior of sorts following a particular code) is as anti-establishment as you can get
@yilinwriter Sweet. I'm not big on high-violence stories (the occasional Jackie Chan comedy notwithstanding--how does he fit into all this?), but I can appreciate a good magical vigilante hero.
@WizardOfDocs martial arts fiction are much more about the vigilante, honor code, found family, and existing outside traditional social structures than fighting. The martial arts are like the aesthetics. The HK martial arts action dramas are a totally different genre because they are like more modern. This is more like hundreds of Robin Hoods running around in an ancient Chinese version of the Wild West
@yilinwriter I'm working on dark fantasy/horrorish thing that was originally a novella, but now might be longer
@yilinwriter I'm working on scripts for podcasts and TV, and also a comic book.
I have been picking back up my writing practice of late, and it feels good.
@yilinwriter I haven't been writing for a long time (chronic pain + other things), but I'm slowly getting back to it.
I have one short story I'm wanting to finish (contemporary mythical horror), and then trying to decide between contemporary fantasy retelling of Orpheus (with queer mermaid and a grieving sister) vs medieval arranged marriage (bride trans man, groom gay cis man) between two feuding families.
@melindrea i caught covid in January and am still low energy at times so I relate. Hope you find ways to slowly get back to writing and to manage the pain. I am very really interested in retellings as a genre. My collection has a bunch of retellings and/or subversions of Chinese folklore.
@yilinwriter I really enjoy retellings, but I always have a difficult time figuring out where the border between "retelling" and "completely new story" goes. IE, when things are so different that it's a different story.
Even more fun a border when it's a theme that's found in many stories: "go into the underworld, bring back dead person, as long as you don't do X. Reader, they did X" <.< (like "don't look back" in Orpheus =)
@melindrea yeah I guess the labels are helpful in terms of thinking about what you are doing but I think it gets much more blurry. I think of my stories are much more reinterpretations and borrowing elements than straight up retellings
@yilinwriter I love borrowing and referencing mythology and folklore. It's a large part of my writing: weaving a story of myths, magic, and the past affecting the present =)
@melindrea for sure! i see myths and folktales as a part of culture/history and it's a lens through which i perceive the world
@yilinwriter I agree completely. It's how our ancestors saw the world and explained it.
I think one of the things that fascinates me is how we see the same themes and sometimes full-on stories across time and culture, even when they seem so far apart.
@melindrea yeah one of things i have been really interested in is looking at how certain chinese folktales have been passed on and seeing themes recur while the stories evolve across time, distance, and generations. i'm interested in reclaiming & reinterpreting folktales from feminist, diaspora, and queer angles
@yilinwriter That sounds really fun, and also important work.
My dad loved history, and I spent my summers in an area of Sweden that has had a lot of importance through history, all the way back to the old sagas.
@melindrea oh yeah i love those old sagas. i'm really interested in (and wanting to look more into) oral storytelling and epic poems as narrative modes too
@yilinwriter My ancestors in all their wisdom decided that they didn't like the whole "writing things down" and were quite certain that would never bite them in the bum <.<
One of the things I find really fascinating is to try to figure out what social norms are present, based on how things are being told. Like how grilling food appears to have been less common because one saga specifically mentions that they grilled something for <insert reasons>.
@yilinwriter i have a fortnightly newsletter (my pinned post) and am also writing the sequel to my first novel. Currently planning a workshop on editing with a friend for our local writing group :)
@yilinwriter Ooh, the translated poetry interests me! I'll keep an eye out for it.
I'm currently revising a short novel into a novella. It's a story about finding your agency when you have no voice. A Princess & the Pea inspired fantasy.
@abetterjulie You can find some of my translations listed on the publication of my website if you are curious. I am best known for my translations of the poems of Qiu Jin (China's 1st modern feminist poet who crossdressed and led a very interesting life) and other poets like Fei Ming and Xiao Xi. I am now translating contemporary Taiwanese queer poetry.
@yilinwriter I write SFF that may or may not ever be seen by another set of human eyes. One novel project is basically a personal therapy exercise where I am writing a character who is faced with similar choices/experiences but in a different world, some outcomes may be the same, sometimes I may explore some what-ifs. Another project is meant to be a more light/fun sort of project because that one is too mentally much during the pandemic. YA SFF, tropes galore.
@dani It's cool! I started out writing for myself, and I still write my first drafts for myself as well. I think there's something very special about writing just for yourself, close friends or a particular community. Love writing as healing & therapy. <3
@yilinwriter <3 Yes! It's been very good for me. I think that worrying about future audience tends to make me worry about decisions instead of just writing. On top of this, I used to talk more/share more about my earlier projects and I never got terribly far in them. And then I was reading Stephen King's On Writing, and he talked about how he doesn't let people see anything until he's completed his first draft because it derails him and I realized that's what had been happening to me.
I write creative nonfiction (mostly on software & politics) & short SF. I recently put out the second volume of my horror zine, Devilry Quarterly.
@yilinwriter I write poetry and essays for fun, long technical reports of economic analysis for legal cases in order to pay bills, and maybe speculative fiction, someday.
The Wandering Shop is a Mastodon instance initially geared for the science fiction and fantasy community but open to anyone. We want our 'local' timeline to have the feel of a coffee shop at a good convention: tables full of friendly conversation on a wide variety of topics. We welcome everyone who wants to participate, so long as you're willing to abide by our code of conduct.