theferrett: (Meazel)

Apparently, my clerical coming-of-age-via-a-stabbing story “My Father’s Wounds” has made it to the final round of the “Best Of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year Three” poll.  Which is amazing!  I’m glad to see people liked it.

Now, the run-off is on a Facebook poll, where I am getting thoroughly trounced by Michael John Grist’s “Bone Diamond” and Heather Clitheroe’s “Gone Sleeping,” both of which are excellent stories.  But if you liked “My Father’s Wounds,” and feel so motivated, and have a Facebook account, then please go hither and vote.

(Side Note #1: I idly considered having Opposite Cat vote in the poll, but Opposite Cat mostly reads nonfiction.)

(Side Note #2: I really hate it when someone votes for someone just because they like the person in it, not because what s/he did was good.  It’s like, “Oh, my friend is in this beauty contest, vote for her!”  No, really, vote for her if you see her and she’s pretty to you.  Likewise, if you didn’t like “My Father’s Wounds,” or didn’t read it, kindly abstain.  That would just irk me.)

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

theferrett: (Meazel)

Last year, my “daughter-knifes-her-father-out-of-love” story “My Father’s Wounds” was published at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and I was pleasantly surprised when I found several people suggesting it as worthy on the SFWA leaderboards come Nebula Awards time.  Just in case you’ve forgotten the lead:

Father carries the knife, because I asked him to—but he keeps turning to look at me, earnestly, as if he hopes I’ll take it back.

It’s hard to believe he knows I’ll stab him with that knife. Even harder to believe he’s eager for me to do it. But that’s my father; he thinks the world of his precious daughter. He’s thin yet unbowed in his ascetic gray Blacksmith robes as he leads me up through a cold forest to the Anvil.

It doesn’t matter whether my father will live once I stab him. That’s not the point. The point is all the questions that no one thinks to ask after we’ve healed their fathers, their soldiers, their daughters. Nobody questions our magic, except for us, the loyal priests and priestesses of Aelana.

We can’t stop asking. We can’t sleep for asking.

Anyway, Beneath Ceaseless Skies is holding a poll to see which stories make it into “The Best Of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year Three,” and if you think it’s worthy, then you should probably go vote.  And if you don’t vote, there’s a lot of other Very Cool stories over at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and reading them would probably be a very enjoyable use of your time.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

theferrett: (Meazel)

The good news is, I sold the audio rights for my story “A Window, Clear As A Mirror” to PodCastle.  This is awesome, because a) if you’ll recall, it’s my favorite story ever, and b) PodCastle did such a great job on my story “As Below, So Above” I that I can’t wait to see what they do with the more-humorous-but-more-melancholy tone of “Window.”

But their choice of narrator threw me. I wanted a woman to read this; they said it should be a male.

Which is odd, because to me, “A Window” reads very clearly as a female story, even though the lead character is a male.  In fact, when I read it, I read it in a woman’s voice – I have a high voice to begin with, and I spent years working at a receptionist agency where the patients yelled less if you presented as female, so I have a very good female voice.  And both times I’ve read it, I find my vocal tones rising, me adopting a female slant.

Whereas Dave then told me that if I ever sold “‘Run,’ Bakri Says,” then that would need a female narrator.  And to me, “Bakri” reads so strongly as masculine that I can’t envision what it would sound like with a woman’s voice reading it… Even though the protagonist is a teenaged girl.

I dunno.  On the one hand, he has a point about readers expecting a male protagonist to be read by a male voice, and considering that he’s co-editing an insanely great podcast, I defer to his experience about creating an awesome production. Yet on the other hand, I think about how Neil Gaiman said that he wrote gendered stories; American Gods is a boy book, whereas Stardust is a girl book.  And to me, “Bakri” is a boy story, and “Window” is a girl story, and having opposite-gendered readers feels vaguely like indulging in transgenderism.  (Which is not a bad thing – as noted, I love dressing in high heels and stockings – but it is a little odd at first.)

Gini pointed out that perhaps I was being stereotypical – “Window” is a girl-story because the lead character is dissecting a broken romance, and “Bakri” is a military, “let’s-solve-this-problem” kinda tale.  And there’s an element of that in there, even as “Sauerkraut Station” – which is at least ostensibly about a war – is extremely feminine (though that could be because the inspiration that story is derived wholly from “Little House On The Prairie”).  “iTime,” a problem-solver story if ever there was one, is feminine, whereas “The Backdated Romance” is masculine.  “Camera Obscured” is feminine, “My Father’s Wounds” is masculine.

(On a side note, you know how awesome it is to have so many published stories that I can link to them like this? It’s totally awesome.)

I don’t know. In my head, there’s some trigger where a story is female or male, and it has little to do with the protagonist.  Nor is it necessarily that the story is about problem-solving or relationships, although it does stereotypically tilt slightly that way.  It’s just that to me, certain stories are boy stories and others are girl stories – neither better nor worse, but just flavored in a way that I’ve been drawing this distinction all along, and it only comes up now that I see my girl story putting on a mustache and Don Draper’s suit.

I dunno.  If you write, are your stories gendered at all?  If you read, or have at least read some of the stories here, do you think of them as boy or girl stories now that your attention is drawn to it?

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

theferrett: (Meazel)

My latest story is live at Beneath Ceaseless Skies – have a sample of the opening, why don’tcha?

Father carries the knife, because I asked him to—but he keeps turning to look at me, earnestly, as if he hopes I’ll take it back.

 It’s hard to believe he knows I’ll stab him with that knife. Even harder to believe he’s eager for me to do it. But that’s my father; he thinks the world of his precious daughter. He’s thin yet unbowed in his ascetic gray Blacksmith robes as he leads me up through a cold forest to the Anvil.

It doesn’t matter whether my father will live once I stab him. That’s not the point. The point is all the questions that no one thinks to ask after we’ve healed their fathers, their soldiers, their daughters. Nobody questions our magic, except for us, the loyal priests and priestesses of Aelana.

We can’t stop asking. We can’t sleep for asking.

The origins of this story are either mildly embarrassing or total nerd cred, depending on how you look at it, since it stemmed from a question I had about D&D – how do those first-level priests learn how to Cure Light Wounds, anyway? Do they just stab each other and hope for the best? And I wrote a story that wound up answering questions not only about that question, but as to why a cleric who can cure wounds can’t mend a country.

I really like the ending on this one.  I hope you will too.

 

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

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