A Germ of an Idea

Anonymous's picture

Ok, I was just kind of sitting around thinking both about what I want to do with my forum here on Oasis and with my own website. It occured to me that since my website is called Samersguild.com, I should have a guild or organization of some sort. Ok, no brainer there. For those of you who haven't read the teaser for my book, a samer is what a gay person is called on the world in which the book is set. So now I have - some sort of gay organization. Beyond that, I thought to myself, I'm a Fantasy writer who has always wanted to work with gay/lesbian/bisexual teens, which has led me ultimately to contemplate an organization of gay/lesbian/bisexual teen writers. So far so good, but what would this group do? Well, it's kind of a given that the members will write, and discuss their writings, but that seems kind of lackluster to me. I'd like to think a bit bigger than that. So how about taking it to the next level - to the level that every writer wants to get to eventually - PUBLICATION.

I'm thinking of an anthology of poetry, short stories, novellas and illustrations by young glb writers. I'd want to try and emphasize works of sci-fi, fantasy, horror and other genre fiction, both because that's my area of expertise and because I think it would help to stretch everyone's imaginations a bit and make for a much more interesting book. It would cost very little to publish it, and we'd work afterwards on marketing it. This would be kind of like a gay Junior Achievement project. If the project is a success, I could run it again in subsequent years.

I know that, even just among the people in this room, there's an amazing reservoir of talent. I can only imagine how much more there is out there. There also seems to be a shortage of published material written by and for gay youth. So it seems to me that, with a little skillful marketing, this little project could fast become an underground success.

Anyhow...that's my idea. It's actually a bit more than a germ; it's more of a headcold of an idea. What I want to know is a.) what you guys think of it, and b.) whether you'd want to participate in such a project, either under your own name or a pseudonym. I welcome your comments here, but if you're really interested - I mean like seriously, fiercely interested - send me an email at patrick@samersguild.com. Give me ideas, ask me questions, or just let me know you want in. This is an idea I could get totally stoked over, provided others display some similar enthusiasm.

Not a writer? Not artistically gifted? Still want to participate? Speak up. One of the good parts about the idea of publishing and marketing the final project is that we'll need volunteers to help out with the production and sales end of it too. Never tackled a genre piece? No biggie. Most anything that can be written as regular fiction can be easily written as a genre piece. I'll be there to help out with that aspect of it.

So give me some blowback you guys (hehe, I said blow). If I get enough interest, I'll begin forming a committee to help me put the finished concept together. There are legal issues for me to check up on since there will be minors involved, but that will be my worry if things progress that far. I just want to know right now what you guys think of the idea. So????????????

haNa's picture

Awesome!

That sounds great! I would love to get involved, however I've never really written a lot of Sci-Fi and never read any fantasy beyond Harry Potter. Also, I'm embarresed to say I'm not exactly sure what a genre piece is, but I'm certainly interested in finding out.

I would 100% love to get involved with this.

Great idea!
!!!

patnelsonchilds's picture

A Genre Piece

All a "genre piece" means is you don't set it in a modern contemporary setting. The only reason I'd push for the idea of leaning toward genre pieces is because I think it forces people to get out of their comfort zone a little bit, in terms of writing. If we just opened it up to regular fiction, I'm afraid we'd get 100 stories all set in USA > high school > 2006. That's not necessaryily a bad thing, but there are other publications already doing those kinds of contemporary gay youth fiction stories. I'd just kind of like to put a bit of a twist on this. Besides, most any story can, with a little background tweaking, can be, say, a western, a romance, a historical fiction. I dunno. That would be my preference, but if everyone is strongly against that restriction, we could change it. I'm just throwing the idea out to see who bites at this point. We can tweak the particulars afterwards. :-)

- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay
characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"


www.myspace.com/patnelsonchilds

haNa's picture

Ooh!

Now that I can do! Thank you for putting it in lamens for me, I'm not most literate person.

So how far back must it be? A couple decades, or a couple centuries?

I would definitly be willing to write somethings, or to just edit. Anyway I can help!

patnelsonchilds's picture

Cool. Underdarkness says

Cool. Underdarkness says he's in too. I'm going to look into setting this up as a non-profit organization. That will work to our advantage. I probably won't have much time to research this before the first of the year, but that will give us time to drum up some more participants.

So who else out there is interested?

- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay
characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"


www.myspace.com/patnelsonchilds

saving the last koala bear's picture

Wow. I'm definitely

Wow. I'm definitely interested. While I don't have much experience with sci-fi/fantasy writing, I've read quite a bit of it, and think it would be fun to give it a shot. I think this is a great way to band people together and I'd definitely like to be involved in some way or another.

jojojo's picture

sounds interesting!! reading

sounds interesting!!
reading this already stimulates me to write something.
I haven't written much before for publication - and especially not sci fi. But I think the "Genre Piece" idea is more general than science fiction, right? I like to think more in the direction of a fairy tale... Well, I really like the engagement with realistic situations in writing too... but maybe there can be a mix of realism and fantasy. something like that.
so keep me (us) updated.

We have all been injured, profoundly. (Donna Haraway)
I Am Out, Therefore I Am. (Okay, mostly.)

patnelsonchilds's picture

Well that's really the trick

Well that's really the trick of good Sci-Fi and Fantasy - you have to be able to bring your readers along with you wherever you go. That means that, no matter how far out the story, your characters still have to deal with situations that readers can identify with.

I mean, let's use my book as an example. Orphan's Quest takes place on an entirely different world, one that's very different from ours in many ways. The plot involves sorcerers and elves and mutant rat-like creatures and all kinds of other fantastical stuff. But when you look behind the plot to what the book is really about, you find very familiar themes - awakening sexual identity, first love, betrayal. The magic and mahem is just a way to tell a good story. But behind all good Sci-Fi and Fantasy are universal ideas. That's where the real challenge of all genre fiction comes in.

The same is true with all genres - Western, Historical Fiction, Mysteries, whichever one you choose. No matter how clever the plot device, or how thoroughly you've researched the old west or ancient Greece or whatever, the thing that makes a story great, and will keep your readers coming back for more, is having characters and situations that the readers can understand and sympathize with.

I'm really glad you guys are into this. I want to hear from more of you. It's going to take me a little time to figure out how to get this off the ground, but I'll let everyone know when and how you can get involved. I was thinking more about this last night. I don't know what this is going to grow into, but to start out, I thought we might do it as kind of an interactive creative writing class. Once we get everyone on board, I'll lay out an assignment, kind of a list of criteria for the piece. I'll keep them very broad so that no one feels restricted. Then I'll set up a message board like the one I use for my novel critique group. You guys will post your rough drafts and the rest of us will critique them. I want this to be a constructive project, and learning how to properly give and take criticism will be one of the main focal points. After we've got the stories polished, we'll move on to getting them published. We can use Lulu or one of the other Print on Demand publishers. We'll collaborate on the layout, the cover, etc. Then figure out various ways to distribute it. The idea will be not to make money, since that would make things very complicated. The focus will be on getting the book out to as many people as possible. I'd also like to get the artists involved, maybe to illustrate some of the stories. Poets are also welcome, but I'd like everyone to at least consider trying to tackle prose.

So that's where I'm at so far. I welcome any suggestions you guys have. What I also need is to start getting a list together of people who want to participate. Now I don't want anyone not to take part because they don't want to be outed, so everyone will be able to sign up using a pseudonym if you want. What I think would be good though is to get a little profile about everyone who's going to participate - what part of the country (or the world) you live in, how old you are, whether you're a boy or a girl, and maybe a little "about me" blurb. That way the people who participate will know a little bit about one another and so will the readers once we publish.

Okay, enough for now. Keep posting your comments here. I want to hear all your ideas. If you absolutely, definitely want in, send me an email with at least your first name and age, so I can start a list going. I'd like to get about fifteen people if possible, but I think we could do it with as few as ten. I'm going to post this idea on some other gay youth sites as well. I want to give everyone a chance. Oh, my email for this project again is patrick@samersguild.com. Don't worry about your email address getting out. It will be shared with absolutely nobody else. I promise. Likewise with any other information about you. If you want to participate in this project in total anonymity, you'll be able to do so. The only reason I'm going to want info about you is so that I can make sure you're actually a gay teen and not some 50 year old dude pretending to be a gay teen. There's always that danger anyway, but I'd like to at least make a rudimentary effort to weed out any imposters.

Thanks guys. I'm really looking forward to moving ahead with this project. Start jotting down your ideas. If anyone wants to run something by me, feel free to send me an email. I'll always make time to write back to you.

- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay
characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"


www.myspace.com/patnelsonchilds

the mouse that roared's picture

Yeah!

I don't have a ton of experience with creative prose--I'm more of a plays/poetry person. I also haven't read much sci-fi/fantasy since I was a kid. But if you give me a couple of perameters I can probably get out a short story or at least a poem.

When are you considering getting this together? I'm going to be swamped with college apps until January.

OK, so these aren't gay youth sites, but have you tried either Cicada The Slam or the Muse site? Or maybe even Critique Circle? If you open it up to gay-friendly straight teens/gay teens that spend more time on writing sites, you might get a bigger response.

Great idea! I hope this takes off!

No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless; there is too much work to do.--Dorothy Day

patnelsonchilds's picture

Update

I'd prefer to limit this to gay, lesbian, bisexual youth if at all possible, since giving them a voice is one of the ideas behind the project. We'll see how it goes though.

I've written to theGYC and Mogenic asking for permission to post on their sites. If they deny me, maybe one of you guys can go and spread the word there. I've also posted on several other gay youth message boards. We'll see what comes of those.

As to the time frame, I'm saying January at the earliest. Let's get the holidays out of the way first. Plus that will give people time to decide they want to participate and start maybe jotting down some ideas. At some point after the new year, I'll set up a way for us to all chat together and kick around ideas. Meanwhile, keep posting your comments so this forum topic will stay alive. I want to be certain everyone sees it.

Thanks!

- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay
characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"


www.myspace.com/patnelsonchilds

msquared's picture

Magnifique!

Sounds schnazzy! I'm definitely willing to participate. Absolutely fabulous idea, this one is. I'll send you a mail of the e variety with the facts, pronto!

"Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible." T.E. Lawrence

cynical1inthecorner's picture

Wow. This is really cool--I

Wow. This is really cool--I completely agree with you about the lack of gay fiction of the sci fi and fantasy variety. :) I'd love to help get more out there...

Anyway. This sounds like a really cool idea--especially the whole writing class/forum discussion thing. Even if the publishing part falls through, I think starting something like that forum would be way cool. There needs to be more teen gay writer sites...

Count me in, for now.

patnelsonchilds's picture

Super Duper, Troopers!

Guess I better get my act together and start making some plans! I've got to get with Mr. Underdarkness, my trusty web designer, and see about getting some kind of registration form on the website. I'll also work on getting us a private message board. Someone pointed out to me that posting one's work where everyone can see it might be a bit risky, and I agree. So let me get meself in gear and set something up.

Meanwhile, as I said (and will no doubt say again), start jotting down your ideas. For those of you who don't have any idea what sort of thing to work on, don't worry. I'll have some ideas for you that we can discuss at our first group chat. Oops, note to self: set up group chat.

Watch this forum for further announcements, and keep posting your ideas and comments.

- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay
characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"


www.myspace.com/patnelsonchilds

jojojo's picture

eh...

...don't you want to keep it open to transgender people too? And people who identify with queer but not (completely) with gay, lesbian, or bisexual? Like, there are many people who are struggling with these labels, not finding them completely appropriate, and it would be a pity to exclude those.

...and I am not a teen any more... I am 22...
Do you really want it to be a pure teen project?

the online writing workshop sounds like a lot of fun!

and I am quite an inexperienced chatter... so if this group chat ever happens... well I hope I'll figure out how it works. If I am still part of it.

Until mid January I am also quite swamped with my bachelor thesis... but thereafter things look better

We have all been injured, profoundly. (Donna Haraway)
I Am Out, Therefore I Am. (Okay, mostly.)

patnelsonchilds's picture

[Insert Politically Correct Term Here] Are Welcome

Transgendered and questioning youth are all welcome too. As far as other terminology, I can't keep up with what's politically correct and, frankly, I'm not even going to try. Here's the deal: If you're posting on a site like this one, and you want to be part of this group, then you're welcome.

Also, there really has to be some kind of age limit on this if the project is going to have any kind of focus, but I was thinking like 23. So I guess young people would be the appropriate term. 13 - 23 sounds like a fine range to me. I expect most of you will fall closer to the middle of that range, which is as it should be. If you're just outside that range, fine. I just don't want to push it too far into the pre or post adolescent range.

As far as the group chat goes, I've got to see what's out there for chat software. I'll try and find something basic and easy to use. The only purpose of it is going to be so that we can all meet together and talk about ideas in real time. Most of this project will be done via a message board similar to this one, but sometimes it's just easier to all talk in real time, especially when we're trying to plan stuff.

Keep the questions and comments coming. Like I said, we're just at the very beginning of this, and there are lots of details still to flesh out.

Thanks everyone!

- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay
characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"


www.myspace.com/patnelsonchilds

patnelsonchilds's picture

Some New Developments

Ok, I've found a free place to host a private chat room and a free place to post our writings and discuss them. I've even got most of the Registration Form conundrum figured out. I think that's pretty much it for the tech stuff.

So, everyone seems to think it would be fun to tackle the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres. Is there anyone here that would strenuously object to taking a shot at one of these genres? It really gives you a zillion different approaches to choose from, and I think it would be better to tighten our focus a bit. Then if this goes well, we could explore some other genres together in future projects. Let me know what you think guys. I'm for limiting our scope, but I'm willing to go along with the concensus on this.

I think we can probably plan to start this project the last week of January. I'll try and get the registration form posted by the beginning of next week. Then I'll set up an open chatroom session, before Christmas if I can, just so that interested people can come and talk to me, toss around some ideas, or whatever. You won't need to have anything definite on paper until we actually start the project rolling in late January, so don't worry if you don't have time to work on anything before then. This first chat session will just be an informal meet & greet, with a little shop talk thrown in.

Ok, that brings us up to date. Don't forget to let me know what you think about limiting the scope this time around to Sci-Fi and Fantasy, okay?

Thanks guys. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay
characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"


www.myspace.com/patnelsonchilds

yep_im_a_stalker's picture

this sounds really awesome!

this sounds really awesome! im v.v. interested in participating

***I'm four letters away from being Asian--wOOt***

patnelsonchilds's picture

IMPORTANT NEWS

Hey guys!
I now have a Registration Form up on my website for the Samers Guild writing project. I still haven't set an exact date to begin, but I'm definitely looking at the last week in January. If you seriously want in, you'll have to go and submit this form. It's at www.samersguild.com/register.

More stuff later tonight.

- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay
characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"


www.myspace.com/patnelsonchilds