Thursday, July 17, 2008

Writers of the Science Fiction Romance Future

Welcome to The Galaxy Express Writer’s Retreat! The perfect weekend getaway, I must say (and I’m sure many more will follow). Let’s talk shop.

Despite the myriad renowned qualities of science fiction romance, it’s a niche market, which makes the publishing goal that much more of a hurdle. Not only that, but publishers are still determining how to market the genre, while booksellers struggle with appropriate shelf placement.

That’s why it’s crucial to make that manuscript snap, crackle, and pop. Not only are you competing against an agent’s or editor’s subjective taste, you’re competing against published authors for limited slots. Your story had better be the best thing since the Mars Rover, or better yet, double fudge mocha chocolate ice cream with caramel swirls and toffee chunks.

Speaking of, Chef has set up a buffet table with lots of yummy hors d’oeuvres, sparkling Italian sodas, coffee, tea, and a sampling of his famous deserts. Fill up your plates, find a table, and replenish your font of creativity with these not-to-be-missed SFR resources:

Thanks to Lisa Paitz Spindler, Shelfari Science Fiction Romance Group joins the ranks of the SFR community. As a totally happening pad, it’s a super place to dish about your favorite SFR books or discover new reads.

Out Of This World”—a Sci-Fi/Futuristic Workshop at Romance Divas. This shindig was thrown by a number of renowned SFR authors. Dated from October 12-14, 2007, the thread is long over, but still free!

For inspiration or research needs, check out Futurismic: Near Future Science Fiction and Fact Since 2001 (and I just might bump into you there!)

SFSignal & io9 keeps you abreast of all the swinging events in the SF universe.

Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror (and agents such as Colleen Lindsay evaluate participation in these workshops seriously).

Check out Alien Romance for a post on writing a gripping opening line, among other goodies.

Here are some great tools for Building Your Own World

Plot, Character, Or Something Else? offers thought provoking questions to spike your creative juices.

From SFWA comes a list of Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions by Patricia C. Wrede.

Here are a few of Linnea’s Writing Tips

Laurie at Spacefreighter’s Lounge has lots of SFR specific posts geared toward writers/research.

For online communities, you can’t beat Absolute Write. But if cozier digs are more your style, head on over to The Quill & Parchments Writers Pub.

Always do your own research, but the following agents are a few that might be open to SFR submissions. These are suggestions, not endorsements, so query at your own risk:

Colleen Lindsay, FinePrint Literary Management
Rachel Downes, Caren Johnson Literary Agency
Lucienne Diver, The Knight Agency
Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Literary Agency
Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown, Ltd.
Jenny Rappaport, L. Perkins Agency
Jennifer Schober, Spencerhill Associates
Holly Root, Waxman Literary Agency
Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency

There’s a lot more out there, so query widely! Agent Query is a great resource.

Now for the fun part—it’s time to network! Below are names and links to writers who love SFR so much they spin tales about it. I wanted to formally introduce everyone to um, everyone else. These are names to watch:

Ella Drake

Natalie Hatch

Kimber An

The gang at Take It To The Stars

Lisa Paitz Spindler

Frances Drake

If you’re an aspiring SFR author, come aboard and mingle. Tell us about yourself, and share writing, craft, or query war stories. For those of you with a blog or Web site, feel free to post a link in the comments (and apologies in advance if I overlooked anyone).

Let’s do this again sometime, and thanks for your art!

Joyfully yours,