Friday, August 14, 2015

Ask Unca Mke


Science fiction and fantasy writers are a group are extraordinarily generous with advice to new writers. A moment's thought, however, reveals that this is just encouraging talented young people to occupy the publishing niches and win the awards that would otherwise go to to us Old Hands. Ask Unca Mike is an attempt to rectify this deplorable situation.

Fact and Fiction

Dear Unca Mike,

I am a much better writer in my mind than I am on paper. In my imagination my stories are brilliant and get nominated for all kinds of awards. Why are the stories I actually write so terrible?

(Signed) "Walter"

The solution to your problem is blindingly obvious: In your mind, invent an imaginary science fiction magazine and submit your stories there.

Dear Unca Mike:

My problem is that all my story ideas seem wasted on fiction.

Wouldn't a well-researched, reasonably plausible science fiction story idea likely earn a better return as the prospectus for a startup company?  Or at least a Kickstarter?

Wouldn't a cracking good idea for a bank heist plot be better used on an actual bank?  And so on.

(Signed) Realist

Will F. Jenkins, who under the name of Murray Leinster was known as the Dean of Science Fiction, once told me that he started with ideas for scientific inventions and then thought about them until he figured out either how to make them work or why they wouldn’t. If an idea worked, he patented it. If it didn’t, he wrote a science fiction story papering over the flaw that made it impossible. You would do well to follow his example.

As for the bank heist, however… Theodore Sturgeon has stated that he began writing because he’d come up with the perfect crime and lacked the nerve to try it out. I’ve read that story that resulted, however, and it would have landed him in the hoosegow. You would be wise to follow his example as well.

Dear Unca Mike,

I can't seem to get an editor of an SF magazine to publish me. I've read a lot of your advice, but I'm sure I must have missed some of it along the way or I would be published by now. Will it all ever be collected into an e-book or, even, a paperback?

(Signed)  "Thank You For Submitting, But..."

 Try submitting your stories to Walter’s Imaginary Science Fiction Magazine. I hear they’ll take anything.

If you have a question for Unca Mike you can post it below. Or write to AskUncaMike ("at" sign) I'll respond tho those I have the best answers for.

Ask Unca Mike will run here on Fridays.

And more seriously. . .

As always, I'm on the road again. This time, I'm headed for North Carolina to promote my new and madly entertaining Darger & Surplus novel, Chasing the Phoenix.  Why not stop in on an event and say hi?  

Here's where I'll be:.

Saturday, August 15 

Quail Ridge Books and Music  – 7pm
3522 Wade Ave
Raleigh, NC  C
Sunday, August 16 

Oak City Comic Show

3415 Wake Forest Road
Raleigh, NC 27609   
Monday, August 17

Flyleaf Books  – 7pm
752 MLK Jr Boulevard
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Tuesday, August 18

Malaprop’s Bookstore and Cafe – 7pm

55 Haywood Street
Asheville, NC 28801    



Sean Dail said...

So disappointed that your appearance at Quail Ridge Books was cancelled! Is there any chance you'll be able to reschedule?

Sean Dail said...
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Mystic Mongol said...

Sean Dail...

YES! And it's starting in nine minutes! Head on down, he'd love to see you.

Sean Dail said...

Thank you, Mystic! I was there with my wife Maryann... What a great time.

Thanks, Michael. Maryann knew very little about you coming in, but now is anxious to read Chasing the Phoenix and the other Darger and Surplus works.