Monday, June 27, 2011

Advice for Young Writers and Editors,

As I have mentioned here occasionally, I mentor teenagers at my high school alma mater* who write, edit, and publish Tapestry, the SF/F magazine I worked on when I was there (lo these nearly 20 years ago). They just sent me the latest issue, which has gorgeous cover art–art folks, keep the name Esther Wu in the back of your mind, because she’s going places–and the usual excellent crop of stories, poems, and articles.

One of the articles explains that they couldn’t ask Neil Gaiman and Suzanne Collins how they deal with writer’s block, so they asked their English teachers instead. No disrespect to those teachers, of course, but my immediate thought was, “Well, I can’t ask Neil Gaiman** or Suzanne Collins either, but I know lots and lots of professional SF, fantasy, and horror writers I could ask!”

So if you would, please tell me in comments how you get past writer’s block, and then encourage your friends who are writers to chime in. I’ll forward your replies to the Tapestry team. And if you happen to have a direct line to Neil or Suzanne and they happen to have a bit of free time to help out some teenagers who are completely devoted to SF/F and the written word, I certainly wouldn’t mind hearing from them too.

* I always feel weird saying “at my alma mater” but “at my mater” and “at alma mater” feels even weirder.

** I have a bet with myself about how long I can go without meeting Neil Gaiman. I saw him at Balticon in 2006–along with Peter S. Beagle and Gene Wolfe; I can only assume the concom robbed a bank or something–and we’ve occasionally tweeted at each other, but we’ve yet to be introduced in person. There are dozens of people who know us both and could introduce us, so the longer this continues, the funnier it will get. I’m counting from my April 2007 start date at PW and aiming for at least ten years.