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ccfinlay

Blog Posts I Haven't Made Recently

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Jul. 26th, 2005 | 10:05 am

1. A thank you to everyone who congratulated me on the recent story sale. You guys rock. That kind of dogpile makes a good thing even better.

2. Some thoughts, based on the Kirkus review and on the congratulation replies, on what kind of writer I am, or am becoming, and how that affects my relationship to genre, which I am finding sometimes problematic.

2a. Follow-upped with the "what kind of writer are you" quiz/meme, which says, like my agent, that I should be writing suspense. Which actually feels about right to me too, if the suspense includes spec fic elements.

3. A discussion, based on my conversations with the kids at the ice cream place, on why Harry Potter provides a shared literature experience, where people who are mostly strangers can get into a deep discussion about a book and the way it affected them emotionally and what they thought about it, and why this is a Good Thing, or, at least, a Very Pleasant Thing, for those of us who care about books as part of the shared cultural experience.

4. An account of my trip up to Clarion last week with Toby Buckell to do a novel writing session with Walter Jon Williams and Leslie What. Mostly I wanted to write about my long drive through the backroads of Ohio, through the small towns where I spent time as a kid, and that influence on me.

5. Mention that Gordon Van Gelder is going to be interviewed on Wednesday, July 27 at 8:00 pm EST US on this show: http://www.interstellartransmissions.com/. The interview is focusing on the new F&SF Mars anthology, FOURTH PLANET FROM THE SUN.

6. Talk about how well I'm sleeping lately, and how that cuts down on my productivity, because I depend on that insomnia time to get stuff done. Damn good sleep.

I might come back to the first four of these topics in a more interesting way at some point soon. In the meantime, a couple quick stories, so I don't forget them.

Yesterday, I was driving with my (soon to be) 12 year old son, Cole, past a sign for a local triathalon.

Cole: I'm training for a triathalon.

Me: What?

Cole: It involves eating, watching TV, and sleeping.

Me: (pause) Good luck finding a sponsor.

Cole: I'm hoping to go pro by the time I'm an adult.

Today, we were driving the younger one, Fin, to camp. He was looking at the road signs.

Fin: (from the back seat) Hey Dad, what does yield mean?

Me: It means to give way, to let someone else go through.

Fin: Oh. Okay.

Me: I think it has an older usage in medieval times, where one knight would yield to another to acknowledge defeat.

Fin: (stares out window)

Cole: (reads graphic novel)

Me: But it's not only used in traffic today. It's also got a parliamentary, or rules of order, meaning, as in congress when one member yields the floor to another honored member. And it has a military meaning too, like when one force yields ground to another. "We yielded the city to the enemy when we faked our retreat, stringing out their forces so that we could overcome them more easily when we counter-attacked." Like that.

Fin: What?

Cole: Okay, that's whacked.

Me: What do you mean?

Cole: When you give an example for the definition of something, you need a sentence with like five words, not twenty-five.

Fin: Yeah. "We yielded ground to the enemy so we could defeat them." That's basically what you said.

Cole: What's wrong with you?

Fin: Sheesh.

Cole: The cement truck ran over us because we didn't yield.

Fin: Right.

Cole: You can do so much better than that, dad.

Fin: By the time he's done talking, the cement truck hits him.

Me: (silently keeps driving)

Should I fear the teen years now?


Hopefully, I did the cut tags right!

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Comments {23}

Jason Erik Lundberg

(no subject)

from: jlundberg
date: Jul. 26th, 2005 02:54 pm (UTC)
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A literary lesson in brevity from the kids, eh? But, you know, they didn't start talking about it until you went into the more thorough explanation, and now they'll probably remember it better because of their participation.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jul. 26th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC)
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Yeah. It's both amusing and scary to have someone who hasn't even started 7th grade go all Strunk & White on my ass. Although I fear what I hear is them doing to me what I've done to them: that's the mirror it's sometimes hard to look into as a parent.

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barbarienne

(no subject)

from: barbarienne
date: Jul. 26th, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC)
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Speaking from the POV of the kid who got to fire back Dad's grammar lessons at him, it is a wonderful feeling.

But don't worry, it never broke the illusion that my dad was the Font Of All Things Grammarian. It just made him human, and made it okay for me to be human and make mistakes, too.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jul. 27th, 2005 02:33 pm (UTC)
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my dad was the Font Of All Things Grammarian

Is that how you inherited the title of Fontiff?

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aimeempayne

(no subject)

from: aimeempayne
date: Jul. 26th, 2005 02:58 pm (UTC)
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Mostly I wanted to write about my long drive through the backroads of Ohio, through the small towns where I spent time as a kid, and that influence on me.

I grew up in small town Ohio. There's such an interesting vibe to a town that's 200 years old with a population of 300 or less. It's a perfect backdrop for Speculative Fiction.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jul. 27th, 2005 02:35 pm (UTC)
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Wow. 300 people is much smaller than my town, although it's the size of towns where I spent time with friends and relatives. As for the other, I grew up feeling like the whole world was sometimes an alien planet or a distant country in some fantasy novel. But those are probably my issues.

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Comfort me with Apples

(no subject)

from: tanaise
date: Jul. 26th, 2005 03:19 pm (UTC)
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A couple of years ago, my dad drove me and my youngest brothers up here for a visit, and Duncan was just old enough to be reading. (okay, actually he would have been 6.5, but it's hard to remember he's not a baby anymore). So duncan's reading the street signs as we drive, and he asks about the speed limit sign, which is 55. So my dad tells him. And duncan says, "If that's the limit, how come the car says you're driving 60?"

There's probably something to be said for stupid children, namely that they argue less. :)

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jul. 27th, 2005 02:36 pm (UTC)
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Nah, I'll keep the smart ones. More entertaining stories balance the rest of it out. ;-)

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(Deleted comment)

C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jul. 27th, 2005 02:36 pm (UTC)
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Ferret tales. I sense an anthology in the works...

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(Deleted comment)

C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jul. 27th, 2005 02:37 pm (UTC)
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They're hard to beat when they team up. Ai de me!

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chance

*snerk*

from: chance88088
date: Jul. 26th, 2005 03:46 pm (UTC)
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You should listen to your boys. You are always too smart (and wordy) for your own good.

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C. C. Finlay

Re: *snerk*

from: ccfinlay
date: Jul. 27th, 2005 02:37 pm (UTC)
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*glares* *dumbly*

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(no subject)

from: palinade
date: Jul. 26th, 2005 03:51 pm (UTC)
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It's daunting to know that your kids are smarter than you. :-)

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jul. 27th, 2005 02:38 pm (UTC)
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"Encouraging" is the word I would choose. I've spent too much of my life being a dumba**. :-)

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Kristine Smith

(no subject)

from: kristine_smith
date: Jul. 26th, 2005 04:35 pm (UTC)
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2a. Follow-upped with the "what kind of writer are you" quiz/meme, which says, like my agent, that I should be writing suspense. Which actually feels about right to me too, if the suspense includes spec fic elements.

*sigh* I was trying to hit suspense. First I got fantasy, then skiffy. It was sort of cool to see that they used the image from the Contact Imminent cover as the skiffy illustration, though. It's like, hey, I made it--my book cover is on Quizilla.


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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jul. 27th, 2005 02:40 pm (UTC)
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I saw that! How cool is it that you and only you define the image of a genre? It must be incredibly flattering.

I wasn't trying to hit anything, just answering honestly and see where I got. My short fiction has been all over the place, so I wasn't sure where I'd end up... and it was in the one thing I haven't written yet. Go figure.

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Kristine Smith

(no subject)

from: kristine_smith
date: Jul. 27th, 2005 03:13 pm (UTC)
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I saw that! How cool is it that you and only you define the image of a genre? It must be incredibly flattering.

That's me, the definition of Space Opera...

I had a hard time answering honestly because, well, I don't have a Hero, and the Heroine options all covered secondary characters that were varying grades of irritating. My answers were Fantasy, Skiffy, and Gothics. The difference between Skiffy and Gothics came when I changed my Hero option from smart&determined to dark&broody. I guess if I want all four, I'll have to write Gothic Skiffy.

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Cath Emery

(no subject)

from: cathemery
date: Jul. 26th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC)
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OTOH, your brain will never sit down and get old with those lads around. :)

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jul. 27th, 2005 02:41 pm (UTC)
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Heck, most days I'm lucky if any part of me gets to sit down when they're around. ;-)

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tcastleb

(no subject)

from: tcastleb
date: Jul. 27th, 2005 02:26 pm (UTC)
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Is the what kind of writer are you a real quiz? Where's it at? I had a couple people suggest I should try mainstream. . .mostly because I write on touchy subjects. . .but I write to get away from the real world, not to hang out in it. Anyway, I'd be interested in seeing some of those other posts. . .

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jul. 27th, 2005 03:02 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, it's one of the Quizilla quizzes, with exactly the kind of accuracy you should base life decisions on as all the other quizzes there. I think it's here.

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silk_noir

(no subject)

from: silk_noir
date: Jul. 28th, 2005 10:50 am (UTC)
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There's also the "Which Science Fiction Author Should You Marry?" quiz. You're on it. Heh.

Y'all, if you want your answer to come up "Mr. Finlay," make sure and answer the pantsless questions.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jul. 28th, 2005 03:23 pm (UTC)
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Sigh. The whole pantless thing is so 2003. And I'm still not married.

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