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26 November 2012 @ 12:56 pm
that climate change trilogy  
If you've been reading my blog for more than five minutes you've heard me talk about wanting to write a near-future SF trilogy around the subject of climate change. It's a passion of mine, having grown up in Alaska, where the effects of climate change have been brutally visible during my lifetime.

One of the things stopping me--well, there are a few. One is the amount of work I feel I'd need to put in to do it right, and an inability to see how I can keep making a living while putting it together. I am not known for writing SF, and although I'm passionate about the topic and a good writer, I'm not sure a publisher would want to take the risk of handing over enough cash that I *could* work on something that big to the exclusion of other material. They might, if I put together a strong enough proposal, but in this case "a strong enough proposal" would be research, time and work intensive enough that I probably might as well write the first book entirely, which comes right back around to the making a living thing.

Another is that I've got girl cooties, which everybody knows means I can't write SF.

I mean, my writer name is (not deliberately) gender-neutral, but it's also associated with urban fantasy and girly covers. So I'm not strictly certain the gender neutrality would get me past the door, even though the name is neutral. I mean, I don't particularly care if I changed my name to something else (presumably gender neutral) to write SF under, except for the irritating fact that it shouldn't have to be that way.

It's not just SF, a'course; it's epic fantasy, too, in many ways. Not that there aren't women being published in both, but they don't seem to break through to the GRRM/Brooks/Goodkind/Jordan/Rothfuss/etc levels of recognition. I know ... many. Let us say many. Many women fantasy novelists who say if they were starting over, they'd use a gender neutral name or a straight-out male one. I know many women SF novelists whose books have made a splash on entry, then largely have sunk without a trace.

I don't know why it is, except we are told over and over again that Men Don't Read Books By Women, and that Women Don't Read SF (or comics). This is clearly bullshit, given how many people I know who run against that tide, but the rote repetition of lies is a popular way to make them true.

I don't know how to fix it, either, because we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Writing under a male name is perpetuating the problem; writing under a female name apparently dooms women writers to obscurity...which perpetuates the problem.


--but I couldn't tell you what name I would publish that brilliance under. :p
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
mevennenmevennen on November 26th, 2012 01:03 pm (UTC)
I think it's a fantastic idea, but agree with your reservations about naming, given the current position of most female SF writers in this part of the world (UK, Ireland). At present it's a bit like Highlander - there can be only one with a publishing contract. Was Jaine and now is Tricia! (not sure whether Gwyneth has a contract for SF currently). I don't know what one does about it.

I'd read it, though!
Kari Sperringla_marquise_de_ on November 26th, 2012 01:08 pm (UTC)
It would definitely be brilliant.
Men get more reviews in big circulation venues, more of the promotional space and money, more opportunities to display their wares, and more public attention. We don't have a level playing field.
But we are here and we are good and we will write, so there.
T. Rev: St. Rev. Dr. Revst_rev on November 26th, 2012 01:13 pm (UTC)
Ironic then that the hands-down best SF comic ever is Carla Speed McNeil's Finder.
Flitterbyflit on November 27th, 2012 05:46 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh YES. So good.
Kate Kirbykirbyk on November 26th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
I have mixed feelings on the whole thing.

One the one hand, the system will never change unless we fight it! Rarr, women power, rarr! The more actually good SF books written by women, the fewer idiots who will promote the conventional wisdom that women don't write good SF books.

On the other hand, it's your career and that money pays for actual cheerios and coats. And one doesn't jeopardize that lightly on an abstract principle.

But given that it's not /my/ money, I tend to favor the former.
Chrysoulachrysoula on November 26th, 2012 08:47 pm (UTC)
I have no idea how to fight the idea that some people have that the only difference between Anne and Todd McCaffrey is their gender, so of course any differences in their writing style must be attributed to their gender. And yet it's ideas like that which ultimately must be fought. Otherwise any woman who breaks out of that mold is simply an exception.
TuftEarstuftears on November 26th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
I would generally urge you to stick with your favored name. There's nothing wrong with being an author who can cover a wide range of genres! No one criticizes Lois McMaster Bujold for writing both fantasy and science fiction under her name...

And being a recognized name may help sell books. If you wrote under a pseudonym, you'd have to build up name awareness for the pseudonym too.
khrister on November 26th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
How about just dropping one of the initials, or add another, like Iain Banks / Iain M. Banks?

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kitmizkit on November 27th, 2012 01:43 pm (UTC)
Well, I've got a respectable following, anyway. :)
Flitterbyflit on November 27th, 2012 05:48 pm (UTC)
It makes me sad and mopy that this is even a consideration.

But of course if I ever wrote it would be under a gender-neutral nym.

So I am part of the problem, or something.
I move the stars for no one: strawberryanjelchan on December 2nd, 2012 01:48 pm (UTC)
I read a mixed bag of authors actually. Mostly if I liked one of the author's works, I'll look for more - even new, unrelated works. That being said, quite a few of my favorite authors are female. I find that females are better at writing females and I like my females to be realistic and capable of more than being pretty and rescued. Sitting here and looking at three of my bookshelves, the majority of my authors are female and the majority of my books are fantasy/science fiction novels.

That being said, when I'm looking for a new book, I honestly pay no attention to what the author's name is. If I like the cover or the name, I pick it up and see what it's about. If other authors that I like recommend it, I tend to purchase it. If it looks interesting, I tend to purchase it. Sometimes I read the first few pages of the book to get a sense of the writing style. I don't go out of my way to pick up books by female authors but I also don't go out of my way to pick up books by male authors. To me the enjoyment is the characters, the style of writing, and where the story takes me. I don't understand why people think women writers should only do romance or children books. It is a suggestion that women can't write the gritty, the intelligent, or the fantastical because they are somehow less by being female.

If you start another series, I'll pick it up. I won't guarantee that I'll keep reading the series but I will always give it a chance because I like your writing style and I've enjoyed your books before. If I like it, I'll recommend it. That's what I do. If I really like it, I'll buy a replacement when I read it too often and I might buy one for a gift to someone else. But I can't understand not trying. If this is a book you really want to write, I think you owe yourself the opportunity to write it. If you start writing it and you can't find anyone else to purchase it, you could always try a kickstarter campaign.