Eh, I’m terrible at this blogging thing, no?
Check out my story BOOTBLACK at Expanded Horizons. Maybe content warning? Nah, go for it. You’re adults.
My novella The Murders of Molly Southbourne is due for an October release from Tor.com. First reader responses are good. I’ve seen the cover art, and it’s superb. I will share what I can when I can.
I’m currently working on rewrites for a novella called Witch Gun Running which is a kind of batshit contemporary fantasy with pocket universe settings. The first draft is a mess, but it’s looking like I know what to fix.
In the Johannesburg Review of Books some other writers and I pay tribute to the writer Kojo Laing who died with not nearly enough recognition, in my opinion.
In a few days time I’ll be giving a talk at the London School of Oriental Studies titled Science Fictional antidotes to the Created, Observed and Experienced African Self. It sounds fancier that it really is, but I promise to entertain, at least.
I’m listening to Drum n Bass and reading Elephantmen.
Til next time.
“Confusion Break Bone” is a Fela Kuti song.
It’s not pronounced the way it reads. You say, “Kon-foo-shon breaky-boney”.
This song is loosely about a place in Lagos called Ojuelegba (which translates to “where the cane sellers are” or “where the whip sellers dwell”-literally, “the face/eye of the cane seller”). If you’ve ever been to Ojuelegba (at least in the ’70s and ’80s) you’ll find the song haunting and frightening.
The place was a confused mess of cars, buses, corrupt police and thugs. I saw my first dead body there. Being so young, when I heard the Fela song I just thought it was a place people went to die alone in the mud or get arrested without charge. In the 80s a governor called Jakande imposed some order on it and in the 90s it was better, but still felt…unsettling.
This is a character from the awesome novella ‘Hammers on Bone’ by Cassandra Khaw.
“If you are looking for a unique and multi-layered alien invasion story that has a truly devastating twist, Rosewater is your book.”
Little Red Reviewer reads ROSEWATER:
Ten thoughts on story/novel openings:
1-Your first job is to draw the reader in.
2-Having drawn her in, keep her there till the story is done.
3-You might find that working on the first line is easiest when you’ve finished the whole story.
4-The opening should set expectations which, by the end of the story, will be met in full.
5-It’s probably best to avoid being boring here.
6-Concrete is probably better than abstract. In other words, who, where, what, why and when, rather than thoughts about the philosophical meaning of grout fungus in the biosphere.
7-The opening and the ending are inextricably linked to each other. These may be the most important parts of the story, so spend a lot of time and effort on both of them.
8-Beware of writerly advice that says “always” or “never” or “must” with respect to openings. Screw that. But *be mindful of what you are screwing*.
9-The opening, above all else, INTRODUCES. It’s not the best place for backstory or side-quests. Introduce characters, world and situation.
10-For my money, the best way to learn about openings is to take books off your shelf (or from the library shelves) and close-read the openings of the narratives that work for you.
Reading: The Making of Mr. Gray’s Anatomy by Ruth Richardson
Listening to: The Lady of Rage, Afro Puffs