feuervogel: (crowley eternity)
nb: This is a bit of a braindump as I put thoughts together. I'm not locking this, because I like discussion.

A somewhat recent post from Ekaterina Sedia on being a Russian writer with an American audience, building on one from last year which she wrote about "foreignness" in translation and how people mark foreigners as "other" by having them speak broken English, sticks with me.
But wait, some of you are possibly (probably) thinking, what about American books translated into foreign languages? And yes, there are a lot. In fact, there are a lot of SF/F books translated from English, and most Hollywood movies do release abroad. In fact, Western cultural influences are so ubiquitous as to become familiar – and inescapable. I will posit that people in other cultures don’t really mind translated works because they are used to being exposed to different perspectives, and thus stepping outside of one’s own head is not a chore – it’s a necessity. It is also my hunch that part of this necessity recently has been reinforced by the Western cultural hegemony – refusing to accept American perspective or ignoring it is not really an option in the current extent of Western cultural colonization. [...]
So the issue with books set in foreign cultures, I think, that even though many SF/F readers call for more perspectives and diversity, they don’t really want that. They want someone familiar to show them some exotic stuff without actually challenging the readers’ assumptions or values.

From last year's:
A couple of years back I was on a panel that compared several translations of Zamyatin's We, and both the audience and the panel participants seemed to prefer the translations that sounded the most broken, the most alien. I alone liked the one which translated Zamyatin's text into normal English (with a few quirks of the original preserved), and I still remember the vertiginous sense of trying to explain how alienating that broken English felt while realizing that my own accent, in turn, is rendering my point useless (after the panel, several people saw it fit to compliment me on my accent; just FYI.)

She posted that around the same time there was a discussion on how to translate manga into English, wherein someone argued that it's best to keep the honorifics (-san, -kun, -sensei, etc) even if you're translating a work set outside Japan. (I argued that keeping them marked the text clearly as "other," because what kid New York City that isn't of Japanese descent speaking to a Japanese teacher (or in other contexts where addressing someone as -sensei/-san/etc is relevant and appropriate) is going to say "Hello, Smith-sensei"? Or "How's it going, Jeff-kun?" In a manga set in Japan, it's more appropriate to leave it as "Good morning, Tanaka-sensei" or "How's it going, Yuki-kun?" But that's a long-past discussion.)

And back on the subject I originally intended to discuss.

I'm an American, writing in English, ostensibly for an American audience. Yet my principal characters are essentially future space German-Turks (and Germans), except the ones who are future space Iranians. I aim for an insider perspective; I've left a lot of things unremarked-on (like what sucuk and Maultaschen are), and my characters make soccer references on occasion (and they call it football, dammit). I don't want to have the American-looking-in perspective, or have these characters be future space Americans with European names. I also don't want to have the white person writing about "exotic" cultures thing, either.

Though, in some sense, I'm targeting a German audience as well. I'd LOVE to see my work in German. I don't think, sadly, that I'll ever be quite good enough to write novels in German. There are too many nuances I don't have. Though living there again could help, because I'd have to use German most of the time. I'd even make Ben speak German at home. (Maybe not always...)

Of course, some of the assumptions I've made for these future societies could probably be seen as imperialistic colonialist crap. (For starters, at some point, Turkey joined the EU, before that split into western and central/eastern European trade unions, and Germany got its head completely out of its ass regarding citizenship and "integration." And in 500 years, nobody cares if you're gay, and they can marry and serve openly in the military. WHY NOT? Jeez.)

I call this whole universe "space Germans," but my principals are Turks. I think that not having Turks in future Germany shows ignorance of reality, like having LA or NYC entirely white. My little special forces unit is ethnically similar to the 2010 German World Cup squad (though there are no Africans among the named characters. There are 68 of them; maybe they're unnamed and in a different platoon.)

I have no idea if anyone will buy my novel. It's got some Baen-tastic action, but gay Muslims aren't exactly something their main demographic is particularly keen on, or most of the editors, for that matter. *sigh* I just have to have faith that I can make the story compelling enough that I can get an agent, and that s/he can sell the damned thing.
feuervogel: (writing)
In the effort to get this bloody short story as polished as possible to send in as my Viable Paradise application, I've asked my new writing group and some writerly friends for crit. It's definitely getting tighter with the input from Don, who also caught a continuity error that I added on revision (oops), and the underlying internal conflict is going to be a bit more prominent.

Which leads me to the question for the Germans. Is there any sort of stigma associated with Valkyries/Walküre? Like, is it an insult, or is it part of the right-wing neo-fascists' adoration of all things Germannia, or whatever? I don't want to commit a major faux pas.

And I was beset by yet another vague idea for a story when reading ... someone's blog post about how teenage girls aren't yet part of mainstream canon and how there's more to their lives than being popular & crushing on people, like forming friendships with other girls. I just don't know which of my women I want to revisit as a teenager. Hikaru would be focused on becoming a Hessian, and she could be dealing with her family's expectations (as well as her being a lesbian... yes, I know the lesbian military officer is cliche, but I didn't start off with that as part of her character. It just happened.) But Azar, the second MC of The Novel, could have a very interesting story, though I would have to do a LOT LOT LOT LOT more research, because she's a (probably Shi'a) Muslim living in a dictatorship not unlike present-day Iran, except without the morality police, etc.

I still need to figure out how I'm going to write a story basically about Berlin & its history that would be of interest to people other than me.
feuervogel: (writing)
Still waiting on the second set of comments on draft 2, and I've made a few edits already based on the first set (because I agreed with them), but unless the second reviewer gives me major edits (she did last time...), I should be able to submit this thing first of next week at the latest.

Yikes. And stuff.

Then I wait for the yes or no...

I googled around on the publishing house (they're a very small press), and they seem legit. Payment isn't stellar, but it's payment. I'm not anti-small-press by any means. It's just, I'd like to make a pro sale. And this piece may be pro-worthy. But it's rude to submit a proposal for an anthology then not the story. So. Submit to antho, wait for accept/reject, see where else I can send it if it's rejected.

Work on novel revisions...
feuervogel: (writing)
I took the printout of "Valkyrie One" to the coffee shop today to work on revisions. Despite some damn loud chatty people in the shop, I managed to finish it in just under 2 hours. I've typed the revisions into Scrivener, and the word count stands at 3951.

I'm looking for a couple betas. (If I had a regular writing group, this would be less problematic. *sigh*) I need more along the lines of a whole reading, for plot holes, characterization, pacing, etc, than a line edit, though pointing out awkward or repetitive wording is always welcome.

Turn-around by August 1 preferred, since the close of submissions is September 1.

(Now to work on the proposal/query...)
feuervogel: (writing)
Today's word count: 770
Total word count: 3839

Current title: Valkyrie One (I don't like this much.)

This means I don't have to work on it tomorrow morning, when I should be packing and getting directions and all that shit. But I'll print it out tomorrow when I'm printing directions.

Yay!

I also may be reading at ReaderCon. (10 am Saturday, NH)

Dear impostor syndrome: DIAF.
feuervogel: (writing)
Tomorrow morning I have to get my oil changed, tires checked, and rear windshield wiper replaced, because I'm driving my car to Boston on Wednesday/Thursday. Because renting a car with an under-25 driver makes it more $$.

Here's to hoping I don't spend the whole day goofing off.

Today's word count: 542
Total word count: 3069
Words to minimum for anthology: 431

Holidays!

4 Jul 2010 03:28 pm
feuervogel: (writing)
That means I spent less than an hour writing (and way too much time looking at picspams of the German national team.)

Today's word count: 499
Total word count: 2527

Got the lead-in to the action scene done, so sometime between now and tomorrow I have to figure out what actually happens.

Time to head off to some 4th of July something or other.
feuervogel: (writing)
Today's word count: 325
Total word count: 2028

Stuck at the action sequence, as usual. Edited a few things from before, too.
feuervogel: (writing)
Today's word count: 678
Total word count: 1703
Target: 4000

"There were worse things to be compared to than warrior demi-goddesses of ancient Germanic legend."

New goal: finished first draft before ReaderCon. I have between football matches tomorrow, all day Monday, and between matches Tuesday. I hope I have some time either Saturday or Sunday; there are vague plans for those days.

I also hope my website is ready before NASFIC. I wish I had an eye for design and knew how to code CSS or whatever the kids are using these days.
feuervogel: (writing)
Word count: 630
Total word count: 1025

I wrote a couple sections of dialogue that happen later (wot, I'm writing non-linearly? I'm sure you're shocked.

I also discovered that I shake with feminist rage when fictional chauvinist pigs are rude to fictional women. Interesting.

Even a woman as ass-kicking as Hikaru can have a raging case of imposter syndrome.
feuervogel: (writing)
I'm starting work on that short story I was talking about before I went to Europe. Today I got in 375 words (anthology guidelines: 3500-5000; I'm targeting 4000). I pretty much hate all of them, but I figure I can fix them later.

Deadline is Sept 1, so I'm setting a goal for a first draft by ... hmm (looks at calendar and upcoming travel schedule, factors in World Cup action) July 18? That's about 15 writing days in there. If I can get 500 words a day, I'll need 8, then the other 8 I can use to fix the stupid crap.

(Then I can beg people for betas with fast turnaround? I'm getting better at self crit, but...)
feuervogel: (writing)
Or: an atheist ex-Christian attempts to write a (casual/lapsed) Muslim.

It's been 15 years since I went to church on a weekly basis. Not coincidentally, it's been 15 years since I moved out of my mother's house. We went to a United Methodist church while I was in high school. I *did* attend while I was home on breaks from college, but mainly so I could see my friend and sing. I miss singing.

But I still remember things:
A mighty fortress is our god -- well enough to know the dreadful alterations in a Catholic hymnal (I'm still amused at the irony of a Martin Luther hymn in a Catholic book)
A bunch of other hymns, far less well known: Be still my soul, the lord is on your side (to Finlandia) (I can recognize the titles and hum at least the first few bars of a lot of the songs listed at hymnsite.com.)
Holy, holy, holy lord, god of power and might. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the lord. Hosanna in the highest.

They say to write what you know, and I don't know Islam. I do, however, know how much you can retain after not using something for 15 years, when it's something you did regularly for even 4 years. And my character did it far longer than that, and more frequently. Five times a day, even. He'd remember his prayers, even if he doesn't believe a syllable of them. And if anyone calls me on that in the editing process, I'll sing Amazing Grace or Abide with Me or Come thou Fount of Every Blessing at them.
feuervogel: (writing)
I wrote some character background notes and some setting reference material for the space opera novella I'm planning. I've got a name and a background for one of the characters, but the other hasn't introduced himself yet.

I even found a way to make it less Generic White (though Germanic isn't exactly generic...). Well, an additional way. I've decided that spaceships are places where mingling happens, moreso than on stations. Ha.

Once the buzz from my dinner beer wears off, maybe I'll make some more background notes and flesh out the outline a bit more. Stupid biology.
feuervogel: (writing)
I wrote out (by hand!) a rough draft/detailed outline of the first section of the alternate history short I'm submitting in June. It's about 2 pages handwritten. Then I typed it up into a semi-revised, more showing/less telling 1.5th draft. It stands at 769 words.

The guidelines say 1000-8000 words. I'm targeting 1500-2000, though at this rate it may get closer to 2500. (It's going to have three sections.)

I have a rough plot outline for the three sections. Next, I need to write up the middle section.

Once I write the whole thing, which I'd like to have done by Animazement (5/22) at the absolute latest, I'll need some betas. (I wish my writing group hadn't died out.) I need critique from two angles: 1) is it alternate history enough? and 2) the normal editing stuff: style, flow, continuity, characters, word choice, etc.

I want to get it in by the middle of June; we're going on an anniversary trip the 26th-29th or something like that (Thurs-Sun).

Still waiting for word back on the flash piece I submitted at the end of March. I noticed that the magazine just closed to submissions, so I'm thinking they've got a lot of backlog. It'll probably be another 2-3 weeks at least (Duotrope lists the most recent responses received were to stories submitted 3/11 or so. I got mine in the 23rd.) I hope they take it; that would be awesome.

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