Congratulations to the 2021 Aurora Award Nominees!

The 2020 Aurora Award

On May 9, 2021 the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association announced this year’s list of Aurora Award Nominees. These awards are given to Canadian authors and artists of science fiction and fantasy for eligible novels, short stories, artwork, magazines, and film or television from the previous calendar year.

Several SF Canada members are on this year’s list, including Robert J. Sawyer, Susan Forest, Barb Galler-Smith, R. Graeme Cameron, Mark Leslie Lefebvre, and Derek Newman-Stille. But the list of amazing and talented artists is much longer! So, head over to the full list of nominees on the 2021 ballot and refill your reading list for the summer.

Voting for the Aurora Awards opens July 31, 2021 and will close on September 4, 2021. Winners will be announced in an online ceremony on October 16, 2021.

Learn more about the Aurora Awards at prixaurorawards.ca.

Through the Labyrinths of the Mind by Bevan Thomas

SF Canada member Bevan Thomas has just successfully concluded a Kickstarter campaign for the graphic anthology, Through the Labyrinths of the Mind, from Cloudscape Comics.

Along with writer and artist Hanna Lou Myers, Bevan co-edited this timely project in which a wide range of British Columbia comic creators explore their struggles with mental health issues.

Each of Labyrinths’ stories explores mental health in a unique and personal way. Many are memoirs in which the cartoonists candidly describe their own struggles, while others take inspiration from their creators’ experiences to tell fictional stories in numerous genres, ranging from realistic slice-of-life dramas to tales of magic and fantasy. The stories present mental health issues through a wide variety of symbolism – OCD as a host of whispering gremlins, depression as a suffocating black mass, anxiety a mask to hide your true self. In all cases, the chosen genre and symbolism are the ones that best capture the particular cartoonist’s psychological truth, sharing with the reader their own internal journey.

For a full list of contributors and more detail about this anthology, visit the Kickstarter page.

Bevan is a writer, editor, and creative writing teacher best known for his involvement with Cloudscape Comics, BC’s largest comics collective. His work has also appeared in the anthologies Beyond and Superhero Universe: Tesseracts 19, and the magazine Pulp Literature. Bevan teaches writing for comics and comic book history in Langara College’s Graphic Novel & Comix program.

Learn more about Bevan’s work at www.bevanthomas.ca.

Copies of Through the Labyrinths of the Mind will soon be available through Cloudscape Comics.

Writers’ Craft 10: Revision

So, you’ve written a thing

You’ve just keyed in the final word, placed punctuation, and the sense of accomplishment that settles over you is profound. You’re done.

Or are you?

At this point it’s all too easy to think there isn’t another thing that needs doing to that piece of writing. You’ve been careful throughout, not only with the mechanics of good writing — punctuation, spelling, grammar — but with plot, literary devices, character development, research. It would be all too easy to pull the trigger and fire it off to an agent or publisher, or the editor of that magazine you’re trying to crack, or hit the upload button through a self-publishing portal.

Don’t.

Time develops perspective

Good writing is like good wine. It needs time. What you really should do at this point is close the document, walk away, go do something else for a week, or four, or a couple of months. Do something completely different. Even write something completely different. But whatever you do, do not pull the trigger on the freshly-finished manuscript. Why? Because, and trust me on this, when you do come back to the piece you’ll come back to it with a fresh perspective. It always astonishes me, in my own work, how much tighter, cleaner, cohesive I can make the story by simply allowing myself time. I get to review all the plot inconsistencies, all the opportunities for development, all the missed conversations or descriptions or research which would have furthered not just the plot, but character, tension, the entire foundation of what I’ve created.

And if I can benefit from the boon of time and perspective, so can you. So walk away.

Create a new document

You don’t have to, but I have found it useful to save my revision as a new document. Not that I’ve ever had to go back to the original draft, but it just strikes me as a good failsafe in case things go awry. And they can. Mr. Murphy, who always likes to exercise his law, may just pull up to your document have tea.

Once that bit of housekeeping is out of the way, then you can set to your revision. What you’re doing at this point is coming at it from a distance, as an editor with a critical eye. Some writers set about their revision through Track Changes in Word (or whatever equivalent tool in your word processing program). Myself, I don’t bother.

Other writers print out a hard copy of the document and make their changes pen to paper. Again, this is something I don’t do personally. But if you find any of these methods works for you, then do it. As I’ve said before: there is no single, correct way of writing. You have to find your own method and your own rhythm.

But what I do know is that a second or even third revision may be called for, because after each pass you should again step away, allow yourself time in which to think about the story. When you are utterly comfortable, when you can’t think of another point or opportunity you’ve missed, then go back over the manuscript once or twice with a spelling and grammar check. I would caution you not to hit the universal change button. I’ve done this a few times, much to my despair, only to discover some horrendous changes which took me days to undo.

Will my manuscript ever be perfect?

Probably not. What in life is? When I was publishing other authors’ work, I can remember agonizing over errors we’d let slip through, even after two, sometimes three different editors, plus the author, would have a look. One of my own novels is out there, and I still grit my teeth because I know there are spelling errors I didn’t catch after nine — yes, nine! — revisions and edits.

But do take encouragement and pride in the fact you’ve done your level best to polish your story to the best of your ability. Sure, you can churn out six novels a year. But do you really want to? Will those six novels be works you can look back upon with pride? If you’re writing just to create pulp, then fine. But if you’re writing because of a different calling, or as a journalist who cares about correct detail, then time and an exacting nature will stand you in good stead.

When Words Collide 2021

Save the dates this August 13 through 15 2021 for When Words Collide (WWC) the annual Canadian literary festival based in Calgary, AB. This popular event for fiction readers, writers, artists, and publishers is open for registration.

As with last year’s online event, WWC 2021 will be both online-only and FREE to attend with most panels and workshops taking place via Zoom. WWC is an inclusive event with programming covering a broad range of commercial and literary fiction, poetry, and more.

WWC has grown to become one of Canada’s largest literary events and is now celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2021.

Learn more about WWC at: whenwordscollide.org/About_WWC

Register to attend this year’s virtual conference here: whenwordscollide.org/Registration

A Virtual Campfire Tale with Mark Leslie

Join SF Canada member Mark Leslie for a virtual event tomorrow, Tuesday April 13, 2021 at 7 PM EST. Mark will be live reading “The Shadow Men” a short story meant to be read around a campfire.

Mark’s reading will be live streamed to YouTube and Facebook, with an interactive chance to ask questions as well as some prizes randomly drawn from those who comment.

Register in advance for an extra chance to win one of Mark’s audiobooks.

Krista Wallace on Myth & Magic

SF Canada member Krista Wallace was recently interviewed by Neil Mach on his UK podcast Myth & Magic. This podcast is aimed at Fantasy writers and focuses on research into history, mythology, fable and folklore.

In episode 75 of Myth & Magic, Krista talks with Neil about her Gatekeeper series and the struggles related to it, as well as Krista’s own podcast, Totally Fantastic Title.

Krista also recently released the second book in this series, Gatekeeper’s Deception – Deceiver. Like the first in this series, Gatekeeper’s Deception was a finalist in the Colorado Gold Contest.

The Lady Alon Maer, wife of duke Kien Bartheylen, is pregnant and seriously ill. Swordfighter Kyer Halidan, along with her company of friends, takes on the mission to find a cure. If they fail, Alon and her baby will die.

An alluring stranger who calls himself The Guardian appears along the way and gives Kyer timely warnings, earning her trust, and hinting at her true identity. But is he helping her, or serving his own ends?

An uncanny escape, a gift from a dead warrior, a shocking message for Kyer’s ears only, all sow suspicions among her friends that she is not who she claims to be. Even as their faith in her is tainted, her nemesis plots his vengeance: exposing unassailable evidence that it is Kyer who is attempting to murder Alon Maer.

 

Krista Wallace is a writer, singer and actor. She writes short fiction in a variety of genres, and long fiction, primarily in fantasy. Krista sings jazz in a big band called FAT Jazz, and a duo called the Itty Bitty Big Band. She also does audiobook narration, and puts out a weekly podcast. She likes dark chocolate and fine single malt scotch.

Learn more about Krista and explore her work at kristawallace.com.

Purchase Gatekeeper’s Deception at Chirp, Google Play, and other audiobook platforms.