I feel my leg being pulled, but The Avocado Papers is selling nonexclusive rights to canned opening paragraphs for $1.75 a word. The shortest is $122.50, pricey enough to motivate even the most blocked novelist to warm up with a few word-association exercises. The grafs they’ve posted are just OK, IMO. A better deal: The tireless Mur Lafferty offers a daily blog of ideas from Poughkeepsie under Creative Commons attribution. They’re strange, wonderful, and free.
The SF Signal gang have been running another of their ‘Mind Meld’ pieces. This time they asked a bunch of genre notables which up-and-coming writers they thought would be the next generation of sf’s big hitters. Here’s the final list, based on frequency of mentions:
- Paolo Bacigalupi (4 mentions)
- Darryl Gregory (4)
- Benjamin Rosenbaum (3 mentions)
- Cory Doctorow (3)
- Jay Lake (3)
- David Moles (3)
- Chris Roberson (3)
- Vandana Singh (3)
- Elizabeth Bear (2 mentions)
- Alan DeNiro (2)
- Alex Irvine (2)
- Ted Kosmatka (2)
- Paul Melko (2)
- Naomi Novik (2)
- Tim Pratt (2)
- Jason Stoddard (2)
- Karen Traviss (2)
- Scott Westerfeld (2)
We’re pleased to see two Futurismic alumni in that list – Jay Lake and Jason Stoddard. No mention of Tobias Buckell, though, which seems surprising to me – and not just because he used to blog here, either.
There’s also a lively discussion thread going on, with plenty of other writers pitching in with their suggestions and refutations. What about you guys – who would Futurismic‘s readers add to (or remove from) that list?
Diane Turnshek, who runs the Alpha Workshop for young writers, sent me details on this year’s workshop, which will be held in Pittsburgh this July. I had the great pleasure of attending the first two years of the workshop, in 2002 and 2003. Alpha taught me a huge amount about the craft and business of writing and led me to my first few fiction sales. If you write science fiction, fantasy or horror and are between the age of 14 and 19 this is the best possible way to learn more about how to improve your work as well as have a lot of fun meeting other like-minded people.
Alpha uses a similar structure to the Clarion and Odyssey writers’ workshops but over ten days rather than six weeks. The teens accepted to the workshop will have their submission story critiqued as well as writing a completely new story with the help of the staff and guest writers. At the end of the final week everyone is encouraged to submit their story to market before heading over to the Pittsburgh SF convention, Confluence for a final weekend of fun.
The ALPHA SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers (ages 14-19) will be held at the University of Pittsburgh’s Greensburg Campus July 16-25, 2008
in conjunction with Pittsburgh’s science fiction convention, Confluence, July 25-27th. Twenty talented young writers will be selected to attend the workshop on the strength of their submission stories. Four guest authors and ten staff members will be present during the ten-day residency workshop to teach genre writing. Mike
Arnzen, Timothy Zahn, Chris McKitterick and Tamora Pierce are our guest authors for 2008 (our seventh year). Workshop fee: $950.00 For more information, see:
Past graduates have been published in Realms Of Fantasy, Aberrant Dreams, Boys Life, Fantasy Magazine and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, as well as placing in awards like Writers Of The Future and The Dell Award for Undergraduates. So if you know any young writer with an ambition to be published, let them know about Alpha and help create a new generation of genre writers.
Whilst I’ve talked in the past about the future of online content, it appears for some writers an internet based career is rapidy becoming present, not future. The LA Times reports that a number of the writers and creators involved in the Hollywood writer strike are in talks with venture capitalists and advertisers about creating their own content sites. It may be that if this strike continues long enough, some writers may not come back at all to the studios. It’s also interesting to note that the words quoted most by the writers invovled is ‘United Artists’, the organisation that structured good deals for creators way back in Hollywood history.
On the web, there’s also a good round table discussion featuring Tobias Buckell, Pyr editor Lou Anders and David Louis Edelman at SF Signal about the use of the internet to promote writers via community, rather than advertising. Charles Stross also had a good rant about the idiocy of the Kindle earlier in the month.
Google has announced a new wikipedia-like project, entitled ‘knol’. Short for knowledge, the project aims to have an encyclopedia type experience but with more emphasis on the author, rather than anonymous multiple contributors. There will not be editorial contributions from Google, but authors including ads will get revenue.
An example knol has been put up on the Google blog. Google says that the emphasis will be on large numbers of posts, ranked by users and views to encourage quality. Peer review seems to encourage good writers to become better rated and more successful. Added to the potential to earn money, this endeavour could provide a good potential way to create a freelance online writer business model. It looks like Knol will be less comprehensive/consistent across the entire volume of data than Wikipedia, but with better quality at the top end. It’s a similar model to Mahalo, only with the backing of perhaps the biggest internet company out there.