The Long Slog

Writing can be such a long slog, but like all things worthwhile it doesn’t always come easy. Fellow ink-scribe Steve Savile once described it to me thus: “A writing career should not be a sprint, but a marathon,” or words to that effect.

I would paraphrase this even further, if I may. A writing career is like a series of swift kicks to the gut, interrupted by the occasional lollipop. It’s great having written, but everything up to that point is godawful solitude, a lonely pouring of your brain juices onto the page. Worse, it might not even work as a piece of creative expression, and you’re left with festering brain juice and nothing decent to show for it.

However, I cannot imagine doing anything else but this :-) here’s to all the ink-scribes and creatives, just keep at it! Here’s some Acker Dacker to spur you on.

WINNER – “Name that Cat” Contest

Had some great entries for the “Name That Cat” contest for my novel-in-progress “This Empty Earth”. Some real imaginative efforts here, as well as many people taking the piss. I salute you all!

There can be only one winner, so the cat in my novel will hereby be known as Pushkin. Congratulations, Thoraiya Dyer, you are the winner of a copy of my novel “Quiver”, and in the happy event that the book gets published, I shall list you in the acknowledgements :-)

Now, onward with the writing! Pushkin awaits.

COMPETITION – Name That Cat!

Okay folks, it’s competition time. I’m about 3/4 of the way through the first draft of “This Empty Earth”, a thriller novel where every living creature on the surface of the Earth mysteriously vanishes. The only ones to be spared from this event are those up in planes, skydiving, hot-air balloons, you name it.

Naturally enough, I have a cast of plucky heroes/heroines, and plenty of dastardly villains. I also have a cat survivor, who for various reasons is important to the plot of the story. Cats were also wiped from the face of the earth, except for a lucky few felines who were up in air, snoozing in their animal carriers.

This cat has the placeholder name of Miffsy, which is less than ideal. So I’m looking for name suggestions. They could be your real life cat, a person’s name, or something so ridiculous that I have no choice but to go with it :-) the winner of this impromptu contest as judged by me will win a hard-copy of my zombie novel Quiver (posted in Australia only – international people, I shall find something equally awesome for you should you win).

So either leave your entry as a comment here, as a comment on my Facebook page under this entry, or email your suggestions to “mail AT jasonfischer.com.au”

I’ll leave this contest open till I receive the perfect name. Go to it, cat callers!

Worlds Within You – Worldbuilding Workshop with Jason Fischer, 16th April

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I’m running a world-building workshop during National Youth Week for any budding creatives. The workshop is at the Woodcroft Library on 16th April, from 6:30-8pm. I’m told there will be pizza, and we’re going to go berserk with the butcher’s paper, lego and plasticine. I’ll be passing on my knowledge of how to make up a fantasy world for stories and comics, and you better believe there’s going to be some amateur cartography :-)

Workshop is suitable for 10-15 year olds, let anyone know south of Adelaide who may be keen.

2014 Aurealis Awards Finalists Announced

Last night, the conveners released their shortlist for the 2014 Aurealis Awards. Seems it’s time to crack open the Tia Maria and put on some footy franks, because one of my stories is up for a gong! Up for Best Science Fiction Short Story is my pulpy SF piece “The Glorious Aerybeth”, which appeared in Canada’s OnSpec Magazine last year.

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I find myself sharing this shortlist with many wonderful friends and colleagues, and am always tickled pink when I sneak onto one of these things. It’s a little surreal to get some recognition for my science fiction, as I’m typically a fantasy or horror writer. Added bonus, I’m sharing a shortlist with Garth Nix, whose writing I have idolised for years! He is one of the writers who first inspired me to pick up the pen, which makes this a very cool moment.

“Winners of the 2014 Aurealis Awards and the Convenors’ Award for Excellence will be announced at the Aurealis Awards ceremony, on the evening of Saturday 11 April at the University House, Canberra. Details of the evening and a link to the online booking website are available at www.aurealisawards.org

Complete Aurealis shortlist is as follows:

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

Fireborn, Keri Arthur (Hachette Australia)

This Shattered World, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)

The Lascar’s Dagger, Glenda Larke (Hachette Australia)

Dreamer’s Pool, Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld (Penguin Books Australia)

Daughters of the Storm, Kim Wilkins (Harlequin Enterprises Australia)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

“The Oud”, Thoraiya Dyer (Long Hidden, Crossed Genres Publications)

“Teratogen”, Deborah Kalin (Cemetery Dance, #71, May 2014)

“The Ghost of Hephaestus”, Charlotte Nash (Phantazein, FableCroft Publications)

“St Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls”, Angela Slatter (The Review of Australian Fiction, Volume 9, Issue 3)

“The Badger Bride”, Angela Slatter (Strange Tales IV, Tartarus Press)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

Aurora: Meridian, Amanda Bridgeman (Momentum)

Nil By Mouth, LynC (Satalyte)

The White List, Nina D’Aleo (Momentum)

Peacemaker, Marianne de Pierres (Angry Robot)

This Shattered World, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)

Foresight, Graham Storrs (Momentum)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

“The Executioner Goes Home”, Deborah Biancotti (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 11 Issue 6)

“Wine, Women and Stars”, Thoraiya Dyer (Analog Vol CXXXIV nos 1&2 Jan/Feb)

“The Glorious Aerybeth”, Jason Fischer (OnSpec, 11 Sep 2014)

“Dellinger”, Charlotte Nash (Use Only As Directed, Peggy Bright Books)

“Happy Go Lucky”, Garth Nix (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST HORROR NOVEL

Book of the Dead, Greig Beck (Momentum)

Razorhurst, Justine Larbalestier (Allen & Unwin)

Obsidian, Alan Baxter (HarperVoyager)

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

“The Executioner Goes Home”, Deborah Biancotti (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 11 Issue 6)

“Skinsuit”, James Bradley (Island Magazine 137)

“By the Moon’s Good Grace”, Kirstyn McDermott (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 12, Issue 3)

“Shay Corsham Worsted”, Garth Nix (Fearful Symmetries, Chizine)

“Home and Hearth”, Angela Slatter (Spectral Press)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

The Astrologer’s Daughter, Rebecca Lim (Text Publishing)

Afterworld, Lynnette Lounsbury (Allen & Unwin)

The Cracks in the Kingdom, Jaclyn Moriarty (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Clariel, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)

The Haunting of Lily Frost, Nova Weetman (UQP)

Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld (Penguin Books Australia)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

“In Hades”, Goldie Alexander (Celapene Press)

“Falling Leaves”, Liz Argall (Apex Magazine)

“The Fuller and the Bogle”, David Cornish (Tales from the Half-Continent, Omnibus Books)

“Vanilla”, Dirk Flinthart (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Signature”, Faith Mudge (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

Slaves of Socorro: Brotherband #4, John Flanagan (Random House Australia)

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, Karen Foxlee (Hot Key Books)

The Last Viking Returns, Norman Jorgensen and James Foley (ILL.) (Fremantle Press)

Withering-by-Sea, Judith Rossell (ABC Books)

Sunker’s Deep: The Hidden #2, Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)

Shadow Sister: Dragon Keeper #5, Carole Wilkinson (Black Dog Books)

BEST COLLECTION

The Female Factory, Lisa L Hannett and Angela Slatter (Twelfth Planet Press)

Secret Lives, Rosaleen Love (Twelfth Planet Press)

Angel Dust, Ian McHugh (Ticonderoga Publications)

Difficult Second Album: more stories of Xenobiology, Space Elevators, and Bats Out Of Hell, Simon Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)

The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, Angela Slatter (Tartarus Press)

Black-Winged Angels, Angela Slatter (Ticonderoga Publications)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

Kisses by Clockwork, Liz Grzyb (Ed) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (Eds), (Twelfth Planet Press)

Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction, Dominica Malcolm (Ed) (Solarwyrm Press)

Reach for Infinity, Jonathan Strahan (Ed) (Solaris Books)

Fearsome Magics, Jonathan Strahan (Ed) (Solaris Books)

Phantazein, Tehani Wessely (Ed) (FableCroft Publishing)

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL/ILLUSTRATED WORK

Left Hand Path #1, Jason Franks & Paul Abstruse (Winter City Productions)

Awkwood, Jase Harper (Milk Shadow Books)

“A Small Wild Magic”, Kathleen Jennings (Monstrous Affections, Candlewick Press)

Mr Unpronounceable and the Sect of the Bleeding Eye, Tim Molloy (Milk Shadow Books)

The Game, Shane W Smith (Deeper Meanings Publishing)

(original post here – http://aurealisawards.org/2015/02/27/announcement-2014-aurealis-awards-shortlist/)

 

Stuff and Nonsense, the February Edition

Here’s some stuff that’s been going on in the House of Fisch:

  • Logan and I have started going to his lego group again – an amazing activity for kids on the spectrum. To see such a big group of these kids sit together and play happily is wonderful.
  • Have wrapped up study for clinical coding (through work) and sat my 2nd exam. Fingers crossed that I passed this resit exam (failed the first one by 2%, need 80% correct to pass. If I don’t scrape through this time, I might just go loco!
  • Enjoying the fact that a pizza shop has opened DIRECTLY ACROSS THE ROAD FROM MY HOUSE. They do amazing Yiros pizzas, King prawn pizzas, Moroccan lamb, you name it. Goodbye, pants.
  • Have re-enrolled in the Advanced Diploma of Professional Writing through Adelaide College of the Arts – I’ve only been doing this course since about 2001! Is meant to take four years. I’ve got one year left. So yeah, extracting a digit to get this shizzle DONE.
  • Guitar lessons are going well! Am working on Eagle Rock at the moment – when my fingers behave, it sounds good.

 

No Plan Survives Contact With the Enemy

At the end of 2013, I started a novel, wrote the first 45% in a blaze of clattering keys – then shelved it for a year. Real Life and Study got in the way of things, and just when I pulled my nose out of the books, a couple of opportunities to write commissioned short pieces landed on my desk. Once those were squared away, I got back into my novel (empty earth thriller yet to be named).

The best news is, it’s falling out of my head just as quickly as when I first started it, which tells me the idea holds water. Early on, I’d cobbled together a thorough outline, detailing what each chapter would do to contribute to the story arc as a whole…

…which I’ve already started deviating from. I’ve changed horses midstream, and you know what? It’s okay.

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No plan survives contact with the enemy. In this case, the enemy is my squirrelly writer hind-brain, which churns and burps out words into my fingers, which I then type with and wait a minute I’ve said too much.

Anyhow, I can’t think of a time when I’ve been 100% faithful to my outlines, even while the 1st draft word vomit is splattering all over the page. Safe to say, I’m probably not alone here – author Fiona McIntosh is also a notorious pantser, whose planning of her fantasy works involved a synopsis/outline she rarely kept to, a rough world map, and an idea of which famous actor resembled which of her characters.

She would then proceed to write some of the greatest page-turning works I’ve encountered. The Quickening books honestly kept me up into the small hours, despite the fact that they were pantsers of the highest order.

I’d like to think of my outlines as a plan – and the beauty of plans is that if Plan A isn’t working, there is a Plan B, Plan C etc. In my own process, it works best to let that writer goblin trapped in my subconscious write what flows best – keeps it interesting, and keeps the story itself honest. If that means my writer goblin pisses all over my intended finish line, hey, I’m cool with that.

“Well, of course the Space Goats are going to form an alliance with the Tin Can Cartel. They’ve both been attacked by the Shenanigans Society, and their differences aren’t that hard to overcome in the face of a shared enemy.” - Jason’s Writer Goblin, about 2 in the morning.

So if anyone wants me, I’ll be standing over this half-finished idea, watching my word-vomit fall upon it in a pleasing manner.

Namaste,

Fisch.

Meet Fang Fischer

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We have flies in Australia. Many, many flies. Consequently, many spiders. Both of these things are wrong, and usually arrive in tandem with summer, when our sun becomes a Flaming Bastard Murderball and tries to kill us all.

In an attempt to at least limit the flies, I have adopted two venus fly traps, Fang #1 and Fang #2. May you murder many flies in a gruesome fashion.