GENREALITY

Archive for August 22nd, 2011



Monday, August 22nd, 2011 by Carrie Vaughn
Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going (Or, I engage in a bit of time travel)

By now, I know whether or not my short story “Amaryllis” won a Hugo.  But since I’m posting this a week in advance, I really don’t know.  I probably won’t be able to update with the news because I’ll be flying to Michigan for a signing.  Whichever way it goes — went, rather — I’m incredibly happy about the nomination.  It’s one of those external benchmarks that ends up meaning a lot because this is such a crazy business that doesn’t always give us concrete feedback.  I think this is one of the reasons we have so many writing and book awards: it’s a way to provide concrete feedback, or to impose some kind of order on the mass of books and writing that appears every year.  That may be a discussion for another time.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on my writing and the progress I’ve made in the 22 years since I sent out my first short stories.  Because I think “Amaryllis” is the kind of story I tried to write in high school and college and couldn’t.  A thoughtful, solid science fiction story like the kind I grew up reading.  As a teenager, I didn’t have the experience  — the emotional experience, the raw life experience to draw on (John Scalzi touches on this in in his advice to teenage writers).  I didn’t have the ability to write about several threads and plotlines at once, which is one of the things that makes for good stories.  (I could barely write one at a time then.)  I didn’t have the ability to craft, to take the feedback I got on the story from a very trusted reader and use it to shape the story into something more powerful.

It’s been a startling revelation, that I actually seem to have learned something, or internalized something.  I mean, of course I have, I should hope one wouldn’t work at an art or craft for twenty years and not learn something.  But I felt a strange time dilation, considering that I have written something, without really realizing it, that my teenage self aspired to write.

Whichever way the award goes — or went — I got a great dress for the ceremony, which is/was co-hosted by our own Ken Scholes, and plan(ned) on making an event of it.  If I get internet access I’ll try to pop in and say how it went.