Stories From The Motherland & Many Lands

On January 31, 2021 at 4pm EST SF Canada member Bernadette Gabay Dyer will be part of a free online concert brought to you by Storytellers of Canada.

Stories From The Motherland & Many Lands will feature stories from Caribbean and African storytellers in both English and French.

Funds raised through this event will support the 2021 StorySave Rita Cox Project.

Full details about this event are available at: storytellers-conteurs.ca/en/news/Jan-2021-concert.html

Register to attend online at rb.gy/iuy2zu or email admin@storytellers-conteurs.ca

Bernadette Gabay Dyer was born in Kingston Jamaica, and has lived in Toronto Canada for many years. She is a Poet, a Storyteller, an Artist, a Playwright, and the author of four novels, and a short story Collection. Bernadette is a member of the Writer’s Union of Canada and  Science Fiction Canada. Her work has been widely anthologized, and her poetry and short stories have appeared in the University of Miami Journal, as well as in Wasafiri from St Mary’s University in London England. Bernadette is currently awaiting  the publication of a new collection of short stories in 2021.

One Bad Apple & Other Stories by Holly Schofield

SF Canada member Holly Schofield has been busy with some new short story publications recently.

The No Police = Know Future anthology examines worlds where funding for police is redirected to other social services. The publisher, Amazing Selects (a division of Experimenter Publishing which publishes the 94-year-old Amazing Stories magazine), says it’s a “unique showcase for our authors’ creativity and problem-solving capabilities, offering much food for thought.  It will get you to think, to engage, to understand that this genre is a tool for exploring, examining and, hopefully, helping us to discover the kind of futures we desire.”

In the near-crimeless and heavily surveilled world of Holly’s story, “One Bad Apple”, a protective father has to make some tough choices when he and his young daughter are confronted by a mugger.

Get No Police = Know Future from Amazing Stories today in print or ebook.

Another of Holly’s stories, “Stubborn as Dirt”, is about rewilding a marsh — a school science project gone wrong! — and appears in And Lately, the Sun.

This 20-tale solarpunk anthology, probes at “how we could build a working world using the resources available to us – the natural, the social, the political, and the technological”. It’s published by Calyx Create Group, an international team of writers, science fiction enthusiasts, media types, and people who don’t want to see humanity crash and burn. The group is registered in Australia as a non-profit association for the purpose of supporting, generating, and disseminating creative works on themes of science, technology and the future.

Details on ordering And Lately, the Sun, and audio excerpts (including one from Holly’s “Stubborn as Dirt”), are here: https://latelythesun.com/ .

When Holly saw the submissions call for the Magic Pens anthology, she knew she had to write a story for it. The result was “Writ Large”, a surprisingly timely tale of the creation of a “new normal” and a possible way to vastly improve the world.

This eclectic, multi-genre collection of original stories is about the power of communication, the magic of writing instruments, and the strength of community, curated to inspire wonder, hope, and joy.

Treat yourself to the ebook or the print version of Magic Pens today!

A more literary look at what we are doing to the environment is Holly’s story “Passengers All”. An otter investigates an abandoned ferry and uncovers some universal truths. Find it in the October 2020 issue of Honeyguide Literary Magazine.

Environmental concerns are not the only topic Holly writes about. In “Reaching Up, Reaching Back”, familial relationships are examined through the lens of time travel. This story was recently reprinted in The Trouble with Time Travel from Smoking Pen Press.

Holly Schofield is the author of over eighty short stories. Her works are used in university curricula, have been translated into multiple languages, and have appeared in Analog, Lightspeed, Escape Pod, the Aurora-winning Second Contacts, and many other publications throughout the world. She hopes to save the world through science fiction and homegrown heritage tomatoes.

Find Holly at hollyschofield.wordpress.com.

And be sure to watch for Holly’s upcoming stories in the Fix the World anthology, the Very Much Alive anthology, and Analog Science Fiction & Fact magazine!

WRITERS’ CRAFT 3: OUTLINING

Technical issues

I was going to make this entire Writers’ Craft series as vlogs. However, I have a problem with my ISP, in that they have not upgraded the lines in our wee village, and so uploading to YouTube is problematic. The first two videos required an overnight upload, with nothing else eating up broadband. The third one has been a bust, I’m afraid. I’ve tried four times now. The first three attempts resulted in 3% upload after 24 hours. The last attempt stalled at 26%. And I’m out of patience. So, I’m back to the written word, which I suppose is appropriate given I’m supposed to be imparting wisdom on the creation of the written word. Life is full or ironies, say what?

Creating an Outline, or why bother?

I know of a good many writers, be they novice or experienced, who ask that question: Why bother outlining? In my experience, outlining is an essential tool if you’re going to write.

  1. Outlining saves time, because the need for extensive revision will be reduced. You’ll know where you’re going with the story, and why, rather than employing the ‘panster’ method of just writing without any idea at all where you’re going with the story.
  2. Outlining adds cohesion to plot progression, because you’ve thought out your story ahead of time.
  3. Outlining helps you to solidify character development.
  4. Outlining allows you to develop literary devices throughout your story by way of foreshadowing, pacing, and when to introduce a character or plot element.
  5. Outlining helps to identify any further research you’re going to require.
How to create your outline

I use Word or Excel, depending on the complexity of my plot. Normally I use Word, and lay things out by chapter or section, and often pre- or append character sketches as well as world and environmental details. However, when I wrote The Rose Guardianthe story was a bit more complex, employing three different voices in three different timelines, and because of that I used Excel so I could easily scan and organize, as well as keep the continuity of the overall storyline. That also allowed me to clearly define character sketches which allowed me to use those influences in other sections.

I remember well interviewing Marian Fowler, a great Canadian biographer (Blenheim, Below the Peacock Fan, In a Gilded Cage) who was a stickler for accurate research. She used 3×5 cards to outline her biographies and research, and then pinned the cards to a board, or laid them out on a table in her office. I did often wonder what she did if a strong breeze blew through the window. But it was a system which stood her in good stead for many decades.

Other writers I know have written points out by hand on sheets of paper, and then organized those sheets in binders of folders. Others yet have used sticky notes on a wall near their computer. Some have even gone to the trouble of creating visual sketches, working out an actual storyboard.

Just find a system that works for you and use it. You’ll be grateful you did when it comes time to do your revision.

An Outline is a guide, not a monument

It’s important to remember, as you write, your outline is a guide, not a rigid format to which you must adhere. Things occur to you as you’re writing, new ideas, change in plot, change in character, and that’s the way it should be. Just make note of that in your outline and adjust accordingly. I think of an outline as a recipe, if I may be allowed to use a cooking analogy. It often occurs I don’t have all the ingredients for the recipe, which means I liberally substitute. So, I may have started out to make a lasagna, but found I had neither tomatoes nor ground meat, but I did have cream, an abundance of cheese, greens and mushrooms. I still made a lasagna. It was just flavoured differently.

Same with writing and an outline. But it’s important to have at least that basic structure of an outline in place, otherwise you may end up making salad instead of lasagna.

You can follow me at my website: fiveriverspublishing.com

LEXX Unauthorized by D.G. Valdron

SF Canada member D.G. Valdron recently released a book series titled LEXX Unauthorized. The individual titles are, Volume 1: Backstage at the Dark Zone, Volume 2: The Light at the End of the Universe, and Volume 3: It’s Light and It’s Cold. Volume 4 is currently in the works.

LEXX was a subversive Canadian space opera television show that ran between 1997 and 2002, comprising four movies and fifty-eight episodes. The LEXX itself was a ten mile long bio-mechanical dragonfly designed by an evil theocratic space empire to blow up planets. It was stolen by its crew – a cowardly security guard, a frustrated love slave, an undead assassin and a lovestruck robot head.

The LEXX Unauthorized books chronicle the television show which was known for haunting surrealist imagery and dreamlike structure. The LEXX TV series was created by Salter Street films and shot principally in Halifax, employing Canadian actors and writers. Some notable international actors included Rutger Hauer, Malcolm McDowell, Tim Curry, and Barry Bostwick.

D.G. Valdron is a wayward Maritimer, born on the north shore of New Brunswick. His father was a mechanic, his grandfather a carpenter, which provided Valdron with an arsenal of skills, a work ethic, and a practical approach to life. D.G. is currently a lawyer working in the field of aboriginal rights, but has also worked as a mechanic, carpenter, projectionist, cook, waiter, woodcutter ditch-digger, journalist and school teacher.

The LEXX Unauthorized books are available through Amazon.

When the Call Comes In by Ira Nayman

SF Canada member Ira Nayman was recently published in No Police = Know Future, a collection from Amazing Stories.

“When the Call Comes In” tells the story of a police incident in three variations. The first features two Caucasian police officers responding to an African American man sleeping in a car in a lane of a drive-through restaurant. The second and third have the same set-up but replaces the responders with an officer and psychiatrist team, and then a psychiatrist with a social worker robot.

The collection No Police = Know Future explores a future without police in response to the 2020 protests that issued the cry to “defund the police.” Amazing Stories challenged science fiction authors the world over to create their vision of a world without police and fair systems of justice. In this collection you’ll find eleven stories showing alternate forms of law enforcement and criminal justice spread across near future, alternate realities and different worlds.

Ira Nayman is a comedy writer. In the 1980s, he was a writer/performer with the Earth Two and Dead Air radio sketch comedy troupes. Since then, he has written 14 feature length screenplays and approximately 85 scripts for television, most of which are neatly divided into 12 original series.

When he isn’t being satirical all over the place, Ira teaches new media at Ryerson University. He has a Masters degree from the New School for Social Research and he has a PhD from McGill. Ira has written film criticism for Reel Independence and Creative Screenwriting, as well as media and film criticism for *Spark Online.

Learn more about Ira and his work at www.lespagesauxfolles.ca.

Order your copy of No Police = Know Future on Amazon.