CY: I can’t believe July is here! And with it, travel to the Pacific Northwest for the Cascade Writers Workshop, where you and I will see each other in person for the first time since . . . holy crow, since before we even conceived of relaunching Fantasy Magazine together. This will be my first time back among the writing community since the pandemic began. I’m pretty sure my general awkwardness is dialed to eleven (it sure feels that way at my dayjob; I feel like I’ve forgotten how to make small talk). Hopefully people will be willing to overlook that!
AS: Yeahhhhh, when I went to World Fantasy in Montreal, as my first return to in-person conventions, it was so weird because I pretty much forgot how to social. Just being around people seemed bizarre in ways I can’t completely explain. I spent a lot of that time in a weird daze. But something I love about the genre community is that awkward is kind of the default: Nearly everyone relates to or even actually feels a similar sort of awkward. People who don’t experience that awkward are far less common in these circles. In any case, I am nervous about the whole thing, but I’m also really looking forward to seeing you!
CY: Summer is workshop season, when writers are gathering in groups with workshop leaders—usually published authors, editors, or teachers. People often don’t realize how much there is to learn about writing and storytelling, and how much effort goes into learning it. Learning to write is like learning anything else—there is a lot of study and practice that has to go into it before we learn to do it well. And we’re never really done learning! There are moments in my book club meetings when I cringe over someone’s comment about one thing or another, and I think, “You have no idea how hard it is to tell a story this well!”
AS: Absolutely. In fact, I really admire writers who are constantly learning new things, improving their craft, and challenging themselves in different ways. I do think that some writers somewhat accidentally stumble their way to writing a great story—and then usually can’t replicate that success because they don’t really understand the way their own story works. And of course, there are some bad teachers out there! But I think many writers benefit from studying craft, and from receiving the right kind of feedback, all to get a better sense of what works and why.
CY: I haven’t had a chance to work this way with writers in a while, and it’s one of my favorite things to do. For the non-writer readers out there, there is a lot that goes into writing a story that someone wants to publish. No one—not even your favorite writers—sprang fully formed from the brow of Zeus. Forgive the mixed metaphor, but there’s an awful lot of gristle in the sausage as it’s being made!
AS: In interviews I sometimes ask writers about their revision processes, and even a short piece can go through multiple iterations, rounds of feedback, and sometimes, massive restructuring. So much time and energy and love gets poured into something that a reader may finish in under fifteen minutes; not to mention the understanding and knowledge gained from countless hours of study and practice. It’s similar to the beautiful little dessert at a Michelin starred restaurant, which is far more than just the ingredients and the time spent preparing; it actually represents weeks or even months of development and years of education.
We hope you will find some delicious works within our pages, and we hope they will be as memorable for you as they are for us.
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In the July issue of Fantasy Magazine . . .
Short fiction by B.S (“Odd Peas in a Pod) and Sabrina Vourvoulias (“The Memory of Chemistry”); flash fiction by Lindsey Godfrey Eccles (“A Star is Born”) and Michelle Muenzler (“The Life and Death of Atomic Tangerine”); poetry by Shilpa Kamat (“Goldilocks”) and AJ Wentz (“Self-Inflicted Haunt”); and an interview with author RF Kuang.
Spread the word!