Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Science Fiction And Fantasy Writer's Chat 3/16/11 with Brenda Cooper

1:00 amsffwrtcht:Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Writer?s Chat. #sffwrtcht
1:00 amBryanThomasS:Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Writer?s Chat. #sffwrtcht
1:00 amsffwrtcht:Our goal is to talk w/ writers, editors, & others abt the craft of writing, specifically related to writing speculative fiction. #sffwrtcht
1:00 amsffwrtcht:Our format is round table discussion. Please restrict ?s to writing craft, business of writing & the specific works of the guest. #sffwrtcht
1:00 amsffwrtcht:Please wait until your question gets answered to ask another & use the hashtag #sffwrtcht for all questions and comments.
1:00 ambrendacooper:#sffwrtcht Hi Bryan - pleased to join you all.
1:00 amsffwrtcht:It?s up to the guest whether the question time will run longer than our allotted hour slot. #sffwrtcht
1:01 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper Welcome! #sffwrtcht
1:01 amsffwrtcht:Next Wed. we have @kristinerusch and on March 30, @jasonsanford #sffwrtcht
1:01 amsffwrtcht:Tonight?s guest is the author of several books, including ?The Silver Ship & The Sea? and the forthcoming ?Mayan December.? #sffwrtcht
1:01 amshadowflame1974:@brendacooper welcome to our corner of insanity :D #Sffwrtcht
1:01 amsffwrtcht:Her stories appear regularly in magazines like Analog #sffwrtcht
1:01 amsffwrtcht:Welcome @brendacooper! Thanks for joining us! #sffwrtcht
1:02 amBryanThomasS:Why we don?t we start by having you tell us about how you got into writing SF. #sffwrtcht
1:03 ambrendacooper:Well, that's what I read as a kid. Heinlein, Niven, LeGuin, etc. Tolkien. And I cannot remember not writing. #sffwrtcht
1:03 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper Awesome. I made up stories myself from a young age. When and what was your first sale? #sffwrtcht
1:04 ambrendacooper:My favorite middle school book was "Stranger in a Strange Land." #sffwrtcht
1:05 amsffwrtcht:How'd you end up writing books with Larry Niven? #sffwrtcht What a way to start!
1:05 ambrendacooper:I published poetry in college but my first story sale was a collaboration with Niven in 2001 #sffwrtcht
1:06 amsffwrtcht:What?s a typical writing day look like for you? Do you write daily after work? Get up early? #sffwrtcht
1:07 ambrendacooper:I was very lucky. I know and love Steven Barnes well and Steve is a Niven collab. I showed Larry a broken story he could fix. #sffwrtcht
1:07 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper Wish that would happen to me. LOL #sffwrtcht
1:08 amBryanThomasS:Do you outline? Do character sketches? Or let the story unfold? #sffwrtcht
1:08 ambrendacooper:I write whenever I can. I try for 1000 words/day with occasional time off for good behavior. I also have day job, etc. #sffwrtcht
1:09 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper Right. You are a city official by day. An interesting job for a person who writes speculative fiction. :) #sffwrtcht
1:09 ambrendacooper:I pretty much let it unfold, but not every story is the same. I usually have a vision of the arc and the end. #sffwrtcht
1:09 amsffwrtcht:Which comes first?the character or their world? #sffwrtcht
1:10 amAlanBaxter:I do outlines and seat of the pants stuff. It's a balance between planning and letting the story tell itself. #sffwrtcht
1:10 amAlanBaxter:@sffwrtcht I've had it occur both ways. My first novel all grew from the main character. #sffwrtcht
1:10 ambrendacooper:Well, I'm a tech geek by day. I'm the CIO for the City of Kirkland. Also a practicing futurist with a column @futurismic #sffwrtcht
1:11 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper So not too far of a stretch then #sffwrtcht
1:11 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper I guess you could say you're the city's official geek then. :) #sffwrtcht
1:12 ambrendacooper:Hi Alan. Good answer -- for me, 2 much planning kills some juice, too little has sometimes resulted in junk #sffwrtcht
1:12 amsffwrtcht:@brendacooper Where do your ideas come from? #sffwrtcht
1:13 ambrendacooper:Yes, I am the city's official geek. I do have excellent staff and we do have fun most of the time. Lot of work lately. #sffwrtcht
1:14 ambrendacooper:#sffwrtcht My story, "the Robot's Girl" came from an article in a tech magazine about Japan using robots for child care.
1:14 amBryanThomasS:#sffwrtcht I'm with you on spontaneity Brenda. I like to plan only a little to let creativity flow and not box myself in.
1:15 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper Wow. Those Japanese have every techy thing, don't they? Robot nannies #sffwrtcht
1:15 amBryanThomasS:?Robot Girl? is about two neighbors who get curious about the house next door and discover a girl being raised by robots. #sffwrtcht
1:15 amBryanThomasS:It appeared in Analog last April, I think. It's the story which hooked me on Brenda's work #sffwrtcht
1:15 ambrendacooper:The idea for "Phoenix Dogs" (coming soon in Christchurch quake benefit antho) from Haiti quake, contract day of Japan quake. #sffwrtcht
1:16 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper Any plans to explore that world further (Robot Girl)? #sffwrtcht
1:16 ambrendacooper:I lost a brother last year, wrote about death for three months. Ideas from life and everywhere. #sffwrtcht
1:16 amsffwrtcht:In "Robot Girl," did you follow Asimov?s rules for robots or invent your own? #sffwrtcht
1:17 ambrendacooper:I didn't follow Asimov's rules. Didn't even think of them. But most SFF is a conversation with what we have read before. #sffwrtcht
1:17 amsffwrtcht:#sffwrtcht Everyone feel free to jump in with questions for @brendacooper
1:18 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper Definitely a conversation. #sffwrtcht
1:18 amBryanThomasS:Where did the idea for ?Mayan December? come from? #sffwrtcht
1:18 ambrendacooper:I don't know if I will write more in Robot's Girl time/world. Sometimes stories turn into novels. Working on one of those now. #sffwrtcht
1:19 amBryanThomasS:Which story is that project from? #sffwrtcht
1:19 ambrendacooper:Mayan December idea? I LOVE the Yucatan. Mayan mysteries have always intrigued me. #sffwrtcht
1:19 amsffwrtcht:@brendacooper Do you do all your own research or hire a research assistant? #sffwrtcht
1:21 ambrendacooper:See story for Mayan December was actually ?Mayan Summer,? which came out in Khimairal Ink, in January 2008 #sffwrtcht
1:21 ambrendacooper:#sffwrtcht I meant "seed story"
1:21 amsffwrtcht:I read on that you did a lot more research for this book than many other works. Did you travel to Mexico? #sffwrtcht
1:22 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper We knew what you meant. ;) #sffwrtcht
1:23 ambrendacooper:I do my own. For Mayan December I read a lot: and will interview some of those authors soon. #sffwrtcht
1:24 ambrendacooper:I have been to Mexico three times. Once to Palenque and twice to Yucatan. Well, and also to Tijuana. #sffwrtcht I want to go back!
1:25 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper I bet that'll be a fascinating interview. Plus you took three trips or so there right? #sffwrtcht
1:25 amAlanBaxter:@brendacooper I'm glad to hear you say too much planning can be detrimental. Some people plan in minute detail, but I can't. #sffwrtcht
1:25 amsffwrtcht:The book is a bit of a departure for you. Were you looking to do something different or did it just happen? #sffwrtcht
1:25 amAzrael52:Hello, everyone. I've never seen this particular chat. Is it this time every week? #sffwrtcht
1:26 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper I have been loving your vivid descriptions. They so capture the tourist experience I myself have had. :) #sffwrtcht
1:26 ambrendacooper:The Yucatan peninsula is very beautiful. Very different from here. The people are fabulous. I love the ruins. #sffwrtcht
1:26 amAlanBaxter:I have a distinct yearning to visit Central America myself. One day... #sffwrtcht
1:26 amBryanThomasS:@Azrael52 Welcome. Yes. Every Wed at 9 pm EST #sffwrtcht
1:27 amBryanThomasS:@AlanBaxter I can't either. I box myself in and it blocks me. I can always add needed detail in later drafts. #sffwrtcht
1:27 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper Wouldn't it be amazing to see them in their original colors? #sffwrtcht
1:28 amBryanThomasS:"Mayan December" comes out from Prime Books in August and tells the tale of a Mayan researcher whose daughter starts going back #sffwrtcht
1:28 amAlanBaxter:@BryanThomasS I also find the story goes off on its own tangents. "When a man plans, the gods laugh!" :) #sffwrtcht
1:28 amBryanThomasS:#sffwrtcht in time to Mayan days and brings back digital photos
1:28 ambrendacooper:I'm glad you like the descriptions. I wanted to return between sale and final version to clock Chitzen action: ran out of time. #sffwrtcht
1:28 amBryanThomasS:#sffwrtcht then others start having the same travel experiences.
1:29 amAlanBaxter:"Mayan December" sounds right up my alley. I'll look forward to that one. #sffwrtcht
1:29 amBryanThomasS:@AlanBaxter Exactly. :) #sffwrtcht
1:29 ambrendacooper:The gods often laugh at my plans. I think they have their own. #sffwrtcht
1:29 amshadowflame1974:@AlanBaxter lol I thought it was the best laid plans rarely last past the first engagements #Sffwrtcht
1:30 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper They do indeed! The story focuses around a special date on the Mayan calendar, right? #sffwrtcht
1:30 amAlanBaxter:@shadowflame1974 That too! #sffwrtcht
1:30 ambrendacooper:Thanks Alan. Mayan December will be out in August. Launch Party the Friday of Worldcon. #sffwrtcht
1:30 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper I will launch my book there too, hopefully. #sffwrtcht
1:31 amsffwrtcht:RT The book is a bit of a departure for you. Were you looking to do something different or did it just happen? #sffwrtcht
1:31 amWyld_Dandelyon:@brendacooper #sffwrtcht What a great launch day for spec fic book!
1:32 ambrendacooper:Well, yes Bryan, it does focus on Dec 2012. But is not a disaster or very new age. Kind of "The Labyrinth meets Contact." #sffwrtcht
1:32 amAlanBaxter:@brendacooper I wish I could get to Worldcon. Melbourne was awesome, but funds don't allow travel to the US this year. :( #sffwrtcht
1:33 ambrendacooper:It just wanted to be written. It is not my usual hard SF for sure. I have no idea if it will find its market, but I like it. #sffwrtcht
1:33 amAlanBaxter:The whole Mayan 2012 thing is SO misunderstood! #sffwrtcht
1:33 amBryanThomasS:#sffwrtcht Hoping WorldCon will be my wife's first con.
1:34 ambrendacooper:Me too, Bryan. Will miss you Alan. And yes, it is misunderstood. #sffwrtcht
1:34 ambrendacooper:The most fun was researching/writing about Mayans in the past. They had a grand culture and we are still learning so much #sffwrtcht
1:35 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper I think it will appeal to a YA audience as well with Nixie being a young major character #sffwrtcht
1:35 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper Does having a daughter help you get inside a kid's head when writing? #sffwrtcht
1:36 ambrendacooper:@Wyld_Dandelyon #sffwrtcht Yes, it will be a fun time. Louise Marley and I are launching books together. PARTY! Looking forward to it.
1:36 amsffwrtcht:@brendacooper Yes, but with so little known of them, lots of room to speculate as well. #sffwrtcht
1:37 ambrendacooper:I also did write it as spec FICTION - things were changed to fit. But I think it is pretty accurate based on what we know. #sffwrtcht
1:37 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper Is Louise's book also coming from Prime? #sffwrtcht
1:37 amWyld_Dandelyon:@brendacooper #sffwrtcht I wish I could be there.
1:38 amshadowflame1974:@Wyld_Dandelyon me too #Sffwrtcht
1:38 ambrendacooper:Well, being around kids does help. I have a 30 year old son. My partner has a 14 year old daughter who did help a lot. #sffwrtcht
1:38 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper Did she read it and give you pointers? #sffwrtcht
1:39 amsffwrtcht:@brendacooper How long does it take you to write a novel? #sffwrtcht
1:39 ambrendacooper:Louise's Book is Kensington - both books have history and two timelines, but different styles. Hers is "The Brahms Deception. " #sffwrtcht
1:40 ambrendacooper:KT didn't read this book, but she is smart and brave like Nixie (one of my viewpoints in Mayan December) #sffwrtcht
1:40 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper When you and Niven collaborated, did you rewrite each other? Did you pick one as final voice? #sffwrtcht
1:42 amWyld_Dandelyon:#sffwrtcht @brendacooper What's the biggest difference, for you, between writing a short story and writing a novel?
1:42 ambrendacooper:Usually a year - 6 months draft, 1 month fix bad things, 2 months rest, then polish and read aloud three months. #sffwrtcht
1:43 ambrendacooper:But sometimes novel drafts come out in a month and the book with Larry took years. So books, like stories, vary. #sffwrtcht
1:43 amsffwrtcht:@brendacooper Do you work on multiple projects at one time or do short stories, then a novel, then stories again? #sffwrtcht
1:44 ambrendacooper:Stories come out in a few days and then I can rest I tend to fall into novels and exclude other things. They eat my dreams. #sffwrtcht
1:44 amShellyRaeClift:@brendacooper you recently lost your brother to cancer. How has that experience affected your stories? Will you use it in story? #sffwrtcht
1:45 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper Yes, and sorry for your loss. #sffwrtcht
1:45 ambrendacooper:When a novel rests I do stories. Between novels I do stories. If I have to (eg for antho) I can break away but I do not like it. #sffwrtcht
1:45 amBryanThomasS:RT @Wyld_Dandelyon: #sffwrtcht @brendacooper What's the biggest difference, for you, between writing a short story and writing a novel?
1:46 amBryanThomasS:@ShellyRaeClift Awesome question. Thanks for joining us! #sffwrtcht
1:46 ambrendacooper:It ate my work for three months; everything had death theme, but not Russy directly. But he will be a character. #sffwrtcht
1:47 amBryanThomasS:For those unaware, previous #sffwrtcht guest @jay_lake wrt "Specific Gravity of Grief" a novella abt a writer with cancer based on prsnl exp
1:48 ambrendacooper:I have a story coming out in "Westward Weird" antho from that right-after-he-died period. From Daw. Sometime this year. #sffwrtcht
1:48 amShellyRaeClift:@brendacooper Russy will be a character? Cool. What sort of story will you give him? #sffwrtcht
1:48 ambrendacooper:And I got to blurb "Specific Gravity of Grief" - #sffwrtcht
1:49 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper I remember that :) (blurb) #sffwrtcht
1:49 amsffwrtcht:Time's running out fast. 10 min left in #sffwrtcht with @brendacooper. Get those questions in. She's had great answers!
1:49 amBryanThomasS:Time's running out fast. 10 min left in #sffwrtcht with @brendacooper. Get those questions in. She's had great answers!
1:50 ambrendacooper:Russy as a character will be a good cook who loves golden retrievers and has a great sense of humor. Unsure of story. #sffwrtcht
1:50 amAlanBaxter:@brendacooper Who doesn't love golden retrievers? :) #sffwrtcht
1:52 amAlanBaxter:Incidentally, I met Jay Lake at Worldcon last year. The man is a legend and an inspiration. #sffwrtcht
1:52 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper When you collaborate do you pick a final voice? Rewrite each other's scenes? What works for you? #sffwrtcht
1:53 amAlanBaxter:@brendacooper You've done a lot with Larry Niven - what's he like to work with? #sffwrtcht
1:53 ambrendacooper:My Mayan December character Nixie is named after my golden retriever (She's the little one in this pic : #sffwrtcht
1:53 amBryanThomasS:@AlanBaxter Amazed he went given he was just out of treatment, but I know he had a good time. #sffwrtcht
1:54 amAlanBaxter:@BryanThomasS Exactly. And he was so gracious to people that wanted to chat. #sffwrtcht
1:54 ambrendacooper:Larry is brilliant. He's fun and shy and has a good sense of humor and can all out mistakes cleanly. #sffwrtcht
1:55 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper Great pic! Lovely dogs! #sffwrtcht
1:55 amBryanThomasS:@AlanBaxter @jay_lake is nothing if not gracious. One of the most gracious people I know. #sffwrtcht
1:56 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper Any further plans to collaborate with Larry? Or with others? #sffwrtcht
1:56 ambrendacooper:At first, I drafted and Larry corrected and fixed and added. Later we wrote more equally, but I am not yet his match. #sffwrtcht
1:56 amAlanBaxter:This is my dog - (Sorry, can't resist sharing dog pics!) #sffwrtcht
1:57 amBryanThomasS:@AlanBaxter LOL great shot! #sffwrtcht
1:57 amAlanBaxter:@brendacooper Who is!? :) #sffwrtcht
1:58 ambrendacooper:@AlanBaxter #sffwrtcht Beautiful. Dogs rule! collaborating right now. Open in the future, but my time is booked for next year.
1:58 amBryanThomasS:What other projects are you working on? #sffwrtcht
1:58 amAlanBaxter:@brendacooper Dogs are the best people. #sffwrtcht
1:59 amBryanThomasS:Our dogs. #sffwrtcht Amelie and Louie.
1:59 ambrendacooper:Right now I am working on past-apocalyptic YA set in Portland OR. It's writing itself. Working title is Sage Monday so far. #sffwrtcht
2:00 amWyld_Dandelyon:I wish #sffwrtcht wasn't during Criminal Minds!
2:00 ambrendacooper:@BryanThomasS Lovely dogs. Usually I find more cat people among writers. #sffwrtcht
2:00 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper #sffwrtcht Oh, we have a cat too!
2:00 amShellyRaeClift:is Larry Niven a still first reader? You already know I'm a fan of silver ship series. Will you write more YA? Stick to sf? #sffwrtcht
2:00 amsffwrtcht:Nxt week, @KristineRusch join us & the week after @jasonsanford 4 #sffwrtcht! Transcripts 4 all chats go up on the blog
2:00 amAlanBaxter:@BryanThomasS @brendacooper Yeah, I have a cat too! :) #sffwrtcht
2:01 amsffwrtcht:Wrapping up with Shelly's question and then anything final you'd like to say, Brenda. :) #sffwrtchtMaybe abt upcoming projects.
2:01 amEireannOz:@AlanBaxter aaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww #sffwrtcht
2:02 amsffwrtcht:@brendacooper Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us! Please come back again! #sffwrtcht
2:03 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper "Evita in space" a musical book? #sffwrtcht
2:03 ambrendacooper:Thank you all so much! I loved this. Fingers tired. Have a good evening. #sffwrtcht
2:03 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper good night! #sffwrtcht
2:03 ambrendacooper:It could be filked. RT @BryanThomasS: @brendacooper "Evita in space" a musical book? #sffwrtcht
2:03 amAlanBaxter:Thanks @brendacooper - that was fun! #sffwrtcht
2:04 amsffwrtcht:Thanks everyone for participating or lurking! See you next time on #sffwrtcht!
2:04 amBryanThomasS:@brendacooper LOL #sffwrtcht
2:04 amShellyRaeClift:@brendacooper filked? How about accompanied on ukulele? Thanks! I look forward to it. #sffwrtcht
2:12 ampattyjansen:zut. I went shopping and I missed #sffwrtcht, but at least I have a dress for the WOTF ceremony. I win.
2:13 amWyld_Dandelyon:#sffwrtcht Or autoharp! Filk, cats, and writing. Life is good.
2:58 amKristineRusch:RT @sffwrtcht: Next Wed. we have @kristinerusch and on March 30, @jasonsanford #sffwrtcht

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