This week, Andi and Lise talk writing (since they’re writers and all). Specifically, the pitfalls and fun stuff in writing series. Both have series they’ve written or are writing and they break down some of the things they think about or have thought about as they’re writing different kinds of series in different genres. Like, you know, character continuity, plot arcs, world-building, other stuff…like that.
Lise recommends the animated series Gravity Falls, available on Disney Plus (and also Hulu) while Andi binged Picard, on CBS All Access. Find info about Lise’s series at her website, lisemactague.com. Find out more about Andi’s at andimarquette.com.
Andi and Lise dig into multiple Hugo-winner N.K. Jemisin’s amazing and multi-layered The Fifth Season (2015), the first in The Broken Earth trilogy. Andi and Lise talk about Jemisin’s use of point-of-view for different characters, how their stories interweave with the world-building, and the world-building itself, which they found utterly engrossing and brilliantly presented.
Synopsis, from the site Deadline: The Fifth Season is described as an epic drama set in a world where civilization-destroying earthquakes occur with deadly regularity. A small minority of inhabitants has the ability to quiet these earthquakes, but they also can cause them. The series follows three women, each of whom possesses these special, Earth-controlling abilities: Damaya, a young girl training to serve the Empire; Syenite, an ambitious young woman ordered to breed with her bitter and frighteningly powerful mentor; and Essun, a mother searching for the husband who murdered her young son and kidnapped her daughter mere hours after a Season tore a fiery rift across the land.
“Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.” –Simon and Schuster
Roanhorse builds a post-apocalyptic world in what was the American Southwest, populated largely by Indigenous people. In this world of Dinétah, resources are in short supply, and myth and mythical beings roam freely among the humans.
Andi and Lise are getting ready for a new year of geeking out! They each chat about movies they’re looking forward to, books/authors they want to read and other geekly things. To that end, here are some things they’re looking forward to:
Movies: Wonder Woman 1984 (trailer)
Possibly the re-make of Dune, though both are a little more cautious of that. (trailer) No Time to Die (latest James Bond; trailer)
Andi is finally watching the animated series Star Wars: Rebels and she’s loving it; she’s also watching the latest season of Dr. Who (Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor); and will be continuing on with her usual series.
Lise is stoked to check out Cyberpunk 2077 (info).
This week, Andi and Lise chat with F/F fic reviewer extraordinaire Tara Scott, whose reviews you can find at The Lesbian Review, Lambda Literary and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. She also hosts the podcast Les Do Books at the Lesbian Talk Show. We talk a bit of history of F/F fiction, found out what she’s reading and way into these days, and also what she sees as emerging trends in F/F fiction.
Authors who write butch characters well: KD Williamson, Jenny Frame, Nell Stark, Rachel Spangler, Brenda Murphy
Other authors who came up: Radclyffe, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Kat Sebastian, Meghan O’Brien
The LGO crew and Tara also recommend Heather Rose Jones’ podcast, The Lesbian Historic Motif, so if you’re looking to write some F/F historical fiction, check it out.
Lise’s shout-out this week was to Hugo-winning N.K. Jemisn’s collection of short stories, How Long ‘til Black Future Month? Tara’s is for looking forward to reading Tara Muir’s Gideon the 9th, which Andi and Lise love, and Andi’s shout-out is to the fact that she’s currently creating a character for a little DnD!
Andi and Lise each read a book and then talked about it. The cool part is, they didn’t tell each other which book they decided to read, so it was happy fun discovery time!
Lise read Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth (2019), which is, basically, lesbian necromancers in a gothic space palace with swordplay and intrigue and why the hell wouldn’t you want to read this awesome-ness? Gideon, the MC, is trying to escape a life of paranormal servitude but her childhood nemesis won’t let her leave without yet another service. And that nemesis is the powerful daughter of the 9th House, and in order to succeed in the emperor’s contest of wits and skills, Harrowhark needs her cavalier—Gideon on and her sword. Lise raved about the world-building, characterization, and Muir’s writing style.
Andi read April Daniels’ Dreadnought (Nemesis Book One; 2017), an emotional roller-coaster of a ride starring teen Danny Tozer, who inherits the powers of superhero Dreadnought. In the transfer, the inheritor becomes their true self, and Danny is at last the young woman she has always known she’s been. But she has to deal with her unaccepting parents, coming out at school, figuring out where she fits in the league of superheroes, how her powers work and, on top of all that, the supervillain who murdered the previous Dreadnought. Andi loved the dialogue, the pacing, adventure, and yes, even the gut-wrenching turmoil Danny had to face.
Lise’s shout-out was for the TV series The Good Place, in which a woman ends up in a heaven-like utopia afterlife by mistake, but she then works to change her ways so she can stay. You can catch earlier seasons on Netflix.
Andi and Lise get a little personal and talk shop about their respective writing processes. Both write spec fic, though Andi also writes romance and mysteries, and those genres take a different approach. They discuss how they approach different projects, what kind of preparation they do, multitasking different projects or not, outlines or not, and tools of the trade. They also talk about how writing influences how they watch, read, and analyze other creators’ work.
Notebooks (as in actual paper!) both use for project notes/character sketches/plots/timelines: Moleskine Link to a bunch of different notebooks (Andi uses several different kinds, usually plain-covered or something with a skull on the cover…lol)
Andi and Lise both recommend doing NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month, which is every November. 50,000 words in a month is what NNWM is about. Try it! Great community, great fun! NaNoWriMo
LGO morphs into the Kameron Hurley fan club as Lise and Andi dive into her latest book, The Light Brigade, a time travel military science fiction novel that explores themes of militarized capitalism, war, and connection through the eyes of grunt Dietz. Through tech that disassembles soldiers and sends them as beams of light into combat zones and reassembles them upon re-entry, Dietz realizes that she is experiencing the war between Earth and Mars differently than others: she’s jumping around its timeline, which gives her a unique and horrifying view of battles and comrades lost and gained. This is a uniquely layered, tightly-written story that stays with readers long after they finish the last page, as its themes resonate with contemporary issues.
Find more about Hugo-winning author Kameron Hurley at her website.
More information about The Light BrigadeHERE.
Synopsis and review of The Light Brigade at Publishers Weekly.
Andi and Lise talk with Kameron Hurley on episode 52 of the Lez Geek Out! podcast HERE.
Lez Geek Out! is a geek culture podcast that celebrates popular culture with an eye for the woman-loving-woman audience. It focuses mainly on work with lesbian/bi/women-loving-women themes/characters, but sometimes strays into territory where the subtext is strong, and the female characters are stronger.
The covers all forms of media are explored, be they books, movies, TV shows, graphic novels, web-comics, or anything else that fits the bill.