26 February 2009

What is speculative fiction?

A friend asked me the other day what I meant in describing a collection of short stories I've been building as "speculative". I think she had the economy on her mind and thought I'd been writing about business (which is not my forte, in case anyone is curious).

I usually turn to Wikipedia for answers and the mega resource didn't disappoint. In fact, the entry containing the following quote is Google's top result for speculative fiction (in case anyone is curious).

"Speculative fiction is a term used as an inclusive descriptor covering a group of fiction genres that speculate about worlds that are unlike the real world in various important ways. In these contexts, it generally overlaps with one or more of the following: science fiction, fantasy fiction, horror fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history.

The term is used this way in academic and ideological criticism of these genres, as well as by some readers, writers, and editors of these genres."

Sadly, the outline for my collection has grown larger than the number of completed stories, but it is moving, albeit at a glacial pace.

I don't know that they'll fit the YA market I've become more familiar with, but I'll have a better idea when more stories come into focus.

19 February 2009

Boomers, make room for Gen Y... please?

I've written about this before in my column over at Cahoots, but I consider myself to be part of Generation Y. Why? Because I fall right on the cusp between X and Y, left to decide by their respective definitions into which one I fit.

I met another Gen Y-er last night who's in the same position I was a few years ago of being underemployed. And she's a few years younger than me, so it sounds about right.

She graduated from university with a degree that should have her working in the field of physiotherapy. What's she doing? Working as a customer service rep for the Province and not exactly experiencing job satisfaction.

I've also written about underemployment before, so these are issues close to the surface for me. Ironically, when I was underemployed, I was working as an employment counsellor. And getting a first-hand look at why underemployment was going to continue for my generation. Boomers aren't retiring - still.

But I'm not laying blame. Talking with my parents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, and other Boomers makes it clear that financially, they don't feel alright either. It's a conundrum and as I've heard pitched recently, "Hope is not a strategy."

Having both generations reduce expectations for lifestyle seems to be a straightforward answer. But try telling someone who's worked for decades to have a nice house and trips to Europe that they have to give up one or both for the sake of their kids - whom they've already sacrificed for. Then try telling a twenty-something that no matter how hard they work, it's unlikely they'll ever achieve what they always categorized as 'the basics' - like owning a house.

Unfortunately, I don't know what the right approach is other than to keep going and feel a little less guilty that my generation still has to lean on our parents. With unemployment mounting across Canada and EI benefits not measuring up, is there any other choice?

12 February 2009

Balancing books

Reading a recent post over at the Y-Eh! blog got me to thinking - again - about what it means to be a working author. And by that I mean an author who earns her living by means other than her books. I expect about 99% of us have day jobs to pay the bills.

Some of those jobs involve writing, some don't. Even within the YA world, authors have diverse backgrounds, but North American authors overall write in a huge range of genres and sub-genres, all for different reasons.

But all our jobs (in fairness to companies and co-workers) require our undivided attention for anywhere between eight to 10 hours each weekday - more or less depending on your 'other' profession.

Aside from a memorable (to me) Quill & Quire post, I've read very little about how other writers feel about this. Obviously there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution.

I love to write, but find myself constantly juggling to make it work. So, I'm curious, how do other writers feel about their work/life/writing balance?

07 February 2009

Sakura time

It's almost that time of year here in Victoria where the Japanese cherry blossoms pop up on boughs across the city, so while I wait to be back in revision mode, I'm working on a few blossom-inspired wire creations. They'll definitely last longer than the real versions, though they'll never be as pretty.

04 February 2009


I found a new word today! I love finding new words, but this one was particularly spectacular as it applies to my Bits & Baubles.

Wikipedia says:

"Trashion is a term for art, jewelry, fashion and objects for the home from used, thrown-out, found & repurposed elements. Trashion is a philosophy and an ethic. It encompasses environmentalism and innovation, and respects the human creative and healing potential."

Read the rest here.