Pen and ink.

Over the last week or so, I’ve been handwriting a story draft. I began because it was convenient to handwrite it at the time – I am very fond of my pens and notebooks, so one of each is generally to hand, and I wasn’t in the same room as a computer – and I continued because… well, I still had the pen and notebook handy, and I was curious.

First, it’s much easier to not get distracted while handwriting. I usually still have my phone with me, but when there isn’t an open browser window or a notification sitting in the corner of my eye, it does get easier to concentrate.

Second, it’s much slower – I can type easily twice as fast as I write, probably more. On the plus side, this means that I’m much less likely to feel like I’m adrift as I sit and stare at a blank page, because I am still writing out the words that I’ve composed in my head after I’ve composed them. On the downside, once I warm up, I cannot quite keep up with writing down everything I am coming up with, and that’s frustrating. I’m seriously considering looking into learning shorthand.

Also, I suspect this is a possible side-effect of it being slower: I’m coming up with more ideas of how to expand the story as I’m writing it, possibly just because I am spending more time thinking about any one particular moment in the story, and that gives me space to muse on what it could branch out into being.

It’s interesting. There’s a climactic scene and the dénouement left, and then I’ll have my first fully handwritten draft in years complete.

(Tangentially: this is also an incredibly effective way to use up fountain pen ink, even if you aren’t prone to fiddling with your pen and accidentally blotting yourself as I am. I’m not sure my 2ml sample of Astorquiza Rot will last until the end of the story.)


Learning curve

I’ve started editing a novel-length manuscript this month, and no lie, it’s a little overwhelming. A lot of my usual editing involves summaries and outlines and lists that fit on (at most) a double-page notebook spread, and I’m struggling a little to adapt that process–which is ultimately the kind of thing you can take in in a single glance–to this. Still, I feel like I’m making progress.

(I’m not actually sure the end result will be anything more than a trunk novel, but I’m hoping that even if that’s the case, I learn something about how to actually get it a work of this length done. Even if I decide novels aren’t for me, it’ll probably be useful to know.)



Instructions for the Age of Emergency.

Some fascinating comments on dystopias in science fiction, restructuring societies, and the Age of Emergency (which I now need to go read a lot more about).

monica byrne

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Halbert W. Hall Speaker’s Series on Science Fiction and Fantasy, Texas A&M University

February 2, 2018

Full Audio


Thank you so much to Texas A&M for hosting me, and especially to the Science Fiction Archivist, Jeremy Brett, who invited me and orchestrated everything. He’s been a supporter of my work for years, and I’m so delighted to finally meet him, and to have the chance to address all of you. I’d also like to thank TAMU Libraries, the Glasscock Center for Humanities Research and its Science Fiction Studies Working Group, the Department of English, the Department of International Studies, and the Department of Visualization. I’m so honored by such an intersectional effort to bring me here. So thank you.

As Jeremy said, I write a lot of things, but when people ask me what I am, the first thing I say is that I’m a science fiction writer. I gave…

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