I’ll Tell You What

If nothing else, 2011 is already turning into a bumper crop year for sunsets.


Taos Toolbox Accepting Applications

Walter Jon Williams has promised to strangle to death with his bare hands anyone I choose in return for my services asked me if I would, through the goodness of my own heart, and with no other consideration at all, remind science fiction and fantasy writers of his Taos Toolbox writers workshop, a two-week master class for advanced aspiring writers (and those who have already begun to sell), featuring Mr. Williams and Nancy Kress as instructors. As the site text notes:

Taos Toolbox will be a “graduate” workshop designed to bring your science fiction and fantasy writing to the next level. If you’ve sold a few stories and then stalled out, or if you’ve been to Clarion or Odyssey and want to re-connect with the workshop community, this is the workshop for you!

This is not a workshop for beginners. We won’t teach you correct manuscript format or what an adverb is and why you shouldn’t use one, because we’ll assume that you already know. We want to concentrate on giving talented, burgeoning writers the information necessary to become professionals within the science fiction and fantasy field.

Though short fiction will be enthusiastically received, there will be an emphasis at Taos Toolbox on the craft of the novel, with attention given to such vital topics as plotting, pacing, and selling full-length works.

Applications for the current year are currently being accepted; click here for all the details. And good luck.


Elfman-Related Gloatination

I tweeted today that I had received a signed Danny Elfman CD in the mail today, which precipitated the usual “pics or it didn’t happen” response, so here: My signed Danny Elfman CD. CHOKE ON IT.

(It’s possible the “pics or it didn’t happen” was actually regarding the toe I stubbed today, which I thought I might have broke, but I assume no one really wants to see an ugly purple toe of mine, and if you do, dude, you’re creepy.)

The CD arrived because I had ordered this, a limited numbered collection edition of music box celebrating 25 years of collaboration between Danny Elfman and Tim Burton. It had originally been advertised as being available in December, so I got it as a general Christmas present for the Scalzi family, since we’re big Elfman/Burton fans around here. But then production snafus pushed it back to February, so as a nice make-do for the people who had already ordered the thing, they put together an additional disc, had Elfman sign it, and sent it off early. And here we are.

As I noted on Twitter, this is actually the second signed Elfman CD I have; the first I got way back in 1990 when I interviewed Elfman as part of a movie junket for Darkman, which he had scored. I didn’t know he was going to be there and had coincidentally brought his solo album So-Lo with me to listen to while I drove. So it was a happy accident.

And now you know the stories of both my signed Danny Elfman CDs. Clearly, the highlight of this day, and any other day you might have. Ever.


The 2011 Award Pimpage Post

It’s that time of year again in which people start thinking about nominations for the various awards available in science fiction and fantasy. If you’re one of those people, a) I think you look fantastic, and I’m not just saying that, and b) here’s what I got going on, fictionwise, for you to consider.

Best Short Story:

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form:

Best Anthology:

And now, notes on these:

* Let me start with “Morning Announcements,” which is a comedy piece I wrote specifically for my w00tstock appearance. Naturally, for the Hugo category of Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, there’s going to be some tough competition in the form of Doctor Who, Torchwood, Fringe and all those other science fiction television shows, not omitting my own sentimental favorite, Stargate: Universe.

Two things here. One, I think it’s good to remember that the category doesn’t have to be for television shows only; it’s for “a dramatized production in any medium, including film, television, radio, live theater, computer games or music. The work must last less than 90 minutes (excluding commercials).” The piece was written specifically for live theater, featured acting (me, as an assistant principal of a future high school) and at eight minutes and change, is substantially less than ninety minutes.

Two, I think it’s pretty funny, very science fictional, and performed for a packed house of science fiction and fantasy nerds. It’s right in the sweet spot for this category.

So, no, this isn’t just stunt suggesting on my part. Give “Morning Announcements” a shot, and if you enjoy it, think about whether it merits a nod. And while you’re at it, give some thought to other short dramatic presentations, not related to television, which are worthy of consideration in this category. Surprises are fun. You’ll still have a few other slots for TV shows (especially for SG:U, hint hint).

* In the short story category, you may note me pointing out “When the Yogurt Took Over,” which is a very short piece (exactly one thousand words) about a ridiculous subject (intelligent yogurt) which I self-published here. I wrote it as a trifle but I have to say since I’ve written it, it’s grown on me, no pun intended. I could explain why but that’s the equivalent of leading the witness. So I’ll just say: Trifle though it was intended to be, check it out.

* As regards Clash of the Geeks, as the editor of the project I am in fact very proud of it. Once again, an absolutely ridiculous subject, and I make no bones about that. But the contributors — all of them — outperformed, and at times extraordinarily so. If you’re someone thinking about nominations for an award which features anthologies, look beyond the silliness and check out the writing craft on display.

* Once again I will note that I am eligible for the Hugo Fan Writer category and once again I would urge nominators not to nominate me and to look through the (crowded) field of potential candidates for this award. One of the things I feel very happy about is that in the last four years, there have been four different winners of this Hugo, which is a nice change from the 20 years previous to that. Let’s keep that up and get that rocket to people who deserve it and haven’t won it yet.

Thus endeth my award pimpage for 2011. And for those of you who are wondering, per this post, I wrote this last night and scheduled it for this morning.

Update, 11:22 am, 1/3: Was asked in e-mail if I’m eligible for Best Editor consideration, re: Clash of the Geeks. For the Hugo Best Editor, Short Form category, the answer is “no,” I’m one editing credit short of being qualified (you need four editing credits over a career plus at least one editing credit for the year in question). So don’t waste a vote on me; there are numerous other rather more qualified candidates for the category in any event. As for other awards with an editing category, I don’t know; you’d have to check the rules in question.

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