Hippos, Worldbuilding, and Amateur Map-Making

About a year ago, I attended a panel on worldbuilding in young adult literature. All of the authors on the panel were young, brilliant, dynamic women. They wore flower crowns and they talked about mapmaking and spreadsheets. They were impressive as all get-out. I have never felt more intensely envious in my life.

I was jealous of their flower crowns, of course. I was also jealous of the easy way they talked about going in-depth on planning color schemes for each chapter they wrote, and the Pinterest boards they referenced for their character aesthetics. I was jealous of the way their worldbuilding all seemed to start from the ground up, because that seemed to me to be a whole other level of professional-writer-ness. My worldbuilding has always leached out from my character development—I write how a character moves, and their movement defines the world they live in. The women on ...

A Bizarre Date I Witnessed Between Wolf Girl and James Spader’s Lonely Doppelganger

James Spader and Wolf Girl story Sarah Gailey

What follows is a true story, as told through author Sarah Gailey’s Twitter account in October 2017. Trust us, you’re gonna want to stick around for the full weirdness of this one…

The Delicate Art of Asterculture

Star-wine is very difficult to make. It’s a complex and sometimes dangerous process. But one must have a hobby, and this is mine. Here’s how it’s done.

First, I harvest the stars. People think that you’re only supposed to harvest the ripest stars—the ones that are near to bursting out of their skins, hanging loose off their nebulae—but actually, those stars only make up about half of the crush. I also grab a few unripe ones, the ones that are still cool enough to grab with bare fingers. They warm up when they’re in the basket alongside the fully-ripe stars, but not all the way, and their slight bitterness adds complexity to the press that you can’t get from just aging. To get a really good sense of terroir, I also let a few comets and loose moons drop in with the crush. People won’t tell you to do this, ...

Fear of the Female Voice

[Note: This essay is adapted from a lecture delivered by the author at Utah State University in October, 2017; video of the lecture is available here.]

Raise your left hand in the air and keep it there.

Did you do it? If so, you are extraordinary. A strange woman just told you to do something, and you listened. On a historic scale, that’s not just different. That’s revolutionary.

There are a lot of people in the world who wish you hadn’t done it. People who don’t like me personally, because I’m the kind of woman who gets up in the front of the room and starts telling people what to do. People who don’t like me in theory, because of what I represent to them. People who you know. People who are participating in a cultural narrative that is woven into the fabric of our society.

I’m not mad ...

The Date I Witnessed Between Wolf Girl and James Spader’s Lonely Doppelganger

James Spader and Wolf Girl story Sarah Gailey

What follows is a true story. (Happy Halloween?)

River Song in Hades

Kidnapped. Searched for, endlessly, tirelessly, by a mother who wants to love and protect her from what she is, and what others would use her for. A change of name. A change of identity, from child to threat. Shaped by forces vaster than anyone’s understanding, into something new and different and wonderful and terrible. Married to a man who might be a monster, but who is always the hero of his own story. Guided to him over and over by a fate she’s stopped resisting. Escape, but not really. Life as a prisoner, but not really that, either. Life marked by a connection she didn’t choose—a connection that chose her. A connection she can’t escape. River Song is not a Persephone analog. She can’t be. If she was, the Doctor would be a Pluto figure, a Hades figure, and that would require a whole other column to justify. A column ...
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River Song in Hades

Kidnapped. Searched for, endlessly, tirelessly, by a mother who wants to love and protect her from what she is, and what others would use her for. A change of name. A change of identity, from child to threat. Shaped by forces vaster than anyone’s understanding, into something new and different and wonderful and terrible. Married to a man who might be a monster, but who is always the hero of his own story. Guided to him over and over by a fate she’s stopped resisting. Escape, but not really. Life as a prisoner, but not really that, either. Life marked by a connection she didn’t choose—a connection that chose her. A connection she can’t escape. River Song is not a Persephone analog. She can’t be. If she was, the Doctor would be a Pluto figure, a Hades figure, and that would require a whole other column to justify. A column ...
riverteeth-thumbnail