World building

Someone else asked me how I go about world building when writing fantasy or science fiction or historical fiction. (I’ve written all three.) Once again the question made me go all inarticulate and respond randomly and lamely: “How do I breathe?” “How does a butterfly flap its wings?”

Clearly I need to figure out how I go about world building. I’m fascinated by writing process and this is a large part of mine. I have to quit it with the inarticulate spluttering.

So those of you have written novels not set in this world—how did you go about your world building? Or, to refer to a recent discussion on Gwenda’s blog, what story do you tell yourself about your world building?

Do Not Listen to Gwenda Bond

The panel is not dead. If Gwenda actually explains what she means by such a ridiculous statement, I’ll explain why she is wrong.

For those of you who do not fritter away countless days of your lives going to science fiction conventions: a panel is a discussion consisting of a few people (usually about five) sitting behind a desk in front of an audience nattering on about something for (usually) an hour.


So I just started this new blog thingie and now I’m going to the “leading feminist science fiction convention in the world” known as WisCon. I’ll be away for a week and I haven’t made up my mind whether to take my computer or not. I’ve taken it in the past and done bugger all work. Anyways I’m unlikely to blog, but you never know.

Here’s my schedule for anyone else who’s going:

Promoting Your Novel
Sunday, 2:30-3:45 p.m. in Senate B
John M Scalzi, James F. Minz, Justine Larbalestier, Eileen Gunn, M: Liz Gorinsky

Everyone knows that the vast majority of published novelists do not get sent on book tours or make appearances on “Oprah” and “Good Morning America.” So what should the rest of us be doing to promote our novels? What are the best ways to let people know our novels exist?

“Rewrite” is a Four-Letter Word
Sunday, 4:00-5:15 p.m. in Conference Room 3
Nisi Shawl, Katya Reimann, Sarah Monette, Laurie J. Marks, Justine Larbalestier

Some folks actually enjoy rewriting; to others it is a painful chore. All agree it’s necessary. What techniques, attitudes, and approaches can lessen the negative aspects and increase the effectiveness of rewriting?

Pretty Magic Butlers of Roanoke
Sunday, 10:00-11:15 p.m. in Conference Room 2
Gwenda Bond, Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld, Ysabeau Wilce

Young adult fiction comes in many forms. Some of it involves the Pretty Magic Butlers of Roanoke who will read for your pleasure and offer spectacular cookies and prizes. The main prize is a limited edition chapbook (which is absolutely gorgeous) of work by the four of us. Only six exists in the entire world!

The SignOut
Monday, 11:30am-12:45pm in Capitol Room

A whole bunch of writers including me signing their books for you. Also much weary hanging out and gossiping.

Hope to see youse lot in Madison!

A Meme Thingie

Awhile back Gwenda called on me to do this meme thingie. However, my musings are too high-class a location for such low-brow frippery (that’s right, Mely, I mock your mock!). But now that I’m slumming in blogland with the rest of youse . . .

1. The person (or persons) who passed the baton to you.

Gwenda the Spenda

2. Total volume of music files on your computer.

10.89 GB. Not a tonne . . . Haven’t managed to get done ripping all my cds on account of them all being in Sydney in a storage unit. Sigh. I am missing my seventies Elvis. I surely am. And Buddy Guy & Junior Wells Play the Blues. Double sigh.

3. The title and artist of the last CD you bought.

“Hijos de Culo” by Bersuit Vergarabat. They’re an Argentinian band, bought it last year in Buenos Aires. I adore it. They funny and talented. The title translates as “Children of the Adorable Enchanted Land of Pixies”. Honest.

4. Song playing at the moment of writing.

“This is All” Jay Hawkins.

5. Five songs you have been listening to of late (or all-time favorites, or particularly personally meaningful songs).

Of late, in random order:

“Get Back (Black, Brown and White)” Bill Broonzy–brilliant, brilliant satirical song from the forties. “If you’re white, you’re alright. If you’re brown stick around, but if you’re black: get back, get back.”
“Fallen” K D Lang–her voice. Oh my.
“To Be Good Takes A Long Time” Vika & Linda–I don’t care what they sing, they got the best harmonies going ever. And has anyone even heard of them outside of Australia?!
“Isfahan” Joe Henderson–this one’s on high rotation. It’s so so so beautiful.
“Ojalá” Silvio Rodriguez–can’t hear this song without wanting to cry. Rodriguez does that to me every single time. Such lyrics!

6. The five people to whom you will ‘pass the musical baton.’

I don’t want to offend anyone by not passing such a lovely baton in their direction, so whoever wants it it’s yours, even though it’s kind of old and everyone’s on to the next one of these thingies . . .