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Angel’s Bits – SF covers retrospective

We were talking about covers the other day – the good, the bad, and the merely horrendous – which made me think of SF covers and how you can often pinpoint an edition’s decade by the cover art. Early SF cover art was largely the realm of pulp magazines, which then became pulp novels. Cheap art in a time when jobs were scarce and money tight. Oh, the places we’ve been since then… The 1930’s see the beginning of pulp art – flashy, colorful, eye-catching sometimes to the point of being lurid. Thoughts about space travel and vehicles were sketchy … Read more

Angel’s Bits – Those check boxes on the contract

Hi all! For today’s Bits, I wanted to talk a teensy bit about book formats and media. In the past couple of years, I’ve seen more publishers going for a “check box” type of contract where the formats are listed and the ones included in the specific contract are checked off. So what are all these things? eBook Self explanatory, up to a point, but you should know what formats your publisher offers and where they distribute. PDF, epub, mobi and html are the most common (mobi is the Kindle format, though most Kindles now can handle multiple formats with … Read more

Angel’s Bits – Sites for SF Writers?

Hi all! This is going to be a short one because…you’ll see. Someone raised the question this week (forgive me, I don’t remember if it was on QSF or out in the FB-galaxy or how exactly the question was worded) about the best websites for science fiction writers. As so often happens when faced with such a broad question, my forehead kinda crinkled and I said to the screen: It depends. Scott hates when I say that. But it really does. When we write science fiction, we should be, in one respect or another, concerned about the science. That could … Read more

Angel’s Bits – Mainstreaming

Hi all! We talk a lot ( a LOT) about mainstreaming queer spec fic in this group (and in the queer writing community at large) but what do we mean when we say that? Granted, it seems to mean different things to different writers, but the goal is the same: getting queer fiction out of the small, niche audiences (sometimes referred to as literary “ghettos”) and out to a larger reading population. Sometimes, authors are referring specifically to moving away from the erotic or even romance aspects of stories. Sometimes, they mean breaking into the big venues and the big … Read more

Angel’s Bits – Genre Bits and Pieces

One of the biggest issues we watch authors obsess and fuss over these days is genre. What genre is this? Should I call it that? How many genres can a thing be? So why do we have genres in the first place? Who did this horrible thing to us? The short answer is the Ancient Greeks. Isn’t it always? Seriously, this is where it all started when the Greeks started to divide things into poetry and drama, into tragedy and comedy, epic poetry, lyric poetry and love poetry. (Seriously, there are three separate muses to handle poetry.) Modern genres start … Read more

Angel’s Bits – So You Want To Send a Submission

Hey all – I know a lot of our authors here are self-pub, so this post won’t apply for you guys. Or it might. You may find that you want to send a manuscript to a publisher some day. I’m not going to talk about the pieces of a submission (query letter, synopsis, etc.) but I do want to talk a teensy bit about submission etiquette. Etiquette used to be taught. Not so often any longer, but when you correspond with a publisher, how you present yourself can make the difference between having your submission considered and having it tossed … Read more

Angel’s Bits – Web Comics

Questionable Content

I debated a long time this week over what to post. In the end, it felt better to share something from the community rather than try to express things that others in the community have said in more powerful ways. Signal boosting those folks instead. So, in the spirit of sharing something good. We talk about fiction, online, ebook and print, and about graphic novels here at Queer Sci Fi, but we don’t often talk about an interesting phenomenon from queer artists – the web comic. Web comics are an intimate contract between artist and audience. The creators are beholden … Read more

Angel’s Bits: Writer Assist

As writers and readers, we often talk about diversity, and we are a diverse community here at QSF. One of the things we don’t often talk about is how diverse we are in our physical abilities and how that affects us as authors. Vision challenges, neurological illnesses, arthritis, stroke, neurally atypical issues, paralysis – all of these and so many more challenges authors face within our community. What’s a writer to do when they can’t see or type or even hold a pen? It’s certainly never been the end of a career. Even Milton, who was blind when he wrote … Read more

Angel’s Bits – Tense Situations

Verb tenses can get complicated depending on the language. So in the interest of not going down that road, we’re not even going to invite things like past perfect, subjunctive, pluperfect and such to the party. Generally speaking, fiction writers choose either past or present tense for their narratives. We could try writing in future tense – and I think I recall a couple of experimental short stories someone wrote that way – but this stretches reader expectations to the breaking point and puts more emphasis on the verb tense than a writer usually wants. In other words, it’s distracting … Read more

Angel’s Bits: What the *#@$ is an Epigraph?

We all actually know what these are. We just forget what they’re called, because really, how often does this come up in conversation? So while an epigraph can be the inscription on a monument, for writing purposes, an epigraph is a quote from another author that one finds at the beginning of a chapter, story section or work. You find them at the beginning of Frank Herbert chapters, at the beginning of T.S. Eliot poems, at the start of Stephen King novels. Depending on the author, they can serve different purposes. They can set tone. They can anticipate or illuminate … Read more