Four Green Squares

the tiny little blog no-one will ever read

Write-a-thon June 16, 2012

Filed under: clarion,writing — FourGreenSquares @ 7:21 am

You know you want to!

Write-a-thon! Write-a-thon! Write-a-thon! (For some reason, in my head that sounded like ‘Monorail, monorail, monorail! from the Simpsons. But rest assured, at least what I’m about to say won’t end in disaster. Or biting possums.)

Every year, Clarion runs a fundraiser along side the workshop. As a recipient of a grant that allowed me to attend, I can wholeheartedly endorse the cause.

The write-a-thon is a fab chance to have some fun, get loads of writing done, and get to know some great people. If you get $20 in sponsorship, you can join one of the small groups of writers and get mentored by a Clarion grad. If you bring in $250 or more in sponsorship, a Clarion author will critique your story! There are also prizes like gift certificates.

The write-a-thon runs from 24th June through 4th August. Check it out. Thank you.


In which form tiptoes up behind function and yells “boo!” June 11, 2012

Filed under: clarion,writing — FourGreenSquares @ 9:29 am

As the Clarion head-getting-around continues, I’ve been thinking more about what I want to write while there. Not in terms of story ideas, though I do have a nice grab-bag of premises just in case.

No, I realised that the main way I want to challenge myself at Clarion isn’t necessarily by tackling different sorts of subjects; the premise list showed me that I’m pretty darn diverse already. In terms of subjects, that is. In terms of form…

Yeesh. How did I end up a linear narrative type of gal? Not at all what anyone listening to me speak would anticipate.

But there it is. So that’s my big challenge to myself. I want to try at least a few of the following:

  • Interleaving story lines: past/present, with one told not in chronological order
  • A story told backwards
  • Omniscient narrator, multiple POVs
  • Twisting storylines, one told backwards, one forwards, with them meeting at the end/beginning
  • Modern epistolary–a story told through the comments in a forum thread

Now (in case any soon- to-be fellow Clarionauts are reading this), I’m not planning on trying all of these, of only turning in fractured or disjointed tales. But I do feel it’s time to expand beyond the rush of forward momentum that you get with the character+problem setup and consider the how as well as the what.

So yeah, I guess I am about to turn in a string of disjointed tales. I’m sure y’all will take appropriate revenge. Actually, I’m counting on it.


Two Weeks! June 10, 2012

Filed under: clarion — FourGreenSquares @ 3:17 pm

Two weeks to Clarion. A week and a half until my flight.

My to-do list is only slightly taller than I am, which is actually progress from earlier in the week.

I am not nearly ready and I can’t wait.

Two weeks!!


Three-Dimensional Punks June 3, 2012

Filed under: late night thoughts,writing — FourGreenSquares @ 11:25 am

Reading “The Third Industrial Revolution” in The Economist really got the ole mental gears whirring. The article talks about 3D printers’ staggering potential to upend so many current supply processes. These supply disruptions, in turn, would unleash wider econ and social changes.

Of course, my sci-fi writer’s brain began speculating, a score of story seeds springing into existence. This gush of ideas then made me wonder:

The cusp of the computer age saw the emergence of cyberpunk, stories exploring how a digitally-enmeshed society might develop. So might a new sub-genre be about to bud, one that deals with the incredible disruptions that 3D printing could unleash? 3D punk.

In the same way that older stories’ conceptions of the future look strange to modern readers because characters don’t use mobile phones, will not using 3d printing soon date stories being written now? Is 3D printing the new big world-building blind spot?

For example, the implications for space travel: no worries about spare parts, just make sure the ship has a 3D printer–or two, so that if one breaks, the other can be used to fix it. No need for supply chains other than initial raw materials, a need further reduced if the printer reuses material from a broken part to make a replacement.

So all those trade wars in space stories…obsolete? Future trade focusing on raw materials, luxury items and…designers. Many cyberpunk visions of the future saw people as obsolete in a mechanised future, but 3D printers make people, their ideas, innovation, central once more.

Okay, that’s like, three more new stories, even without speculating on the implication of cities no longer providing economies of scale and… Fine, fine, I’ll stop there.

So, any SF readers/writers out there: What other implications from 3D printers do you foresee? What other world-building game changers do you think are brewing?