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Sandra McDonald
Writing at the intersection of Whimsy and Bleak
Recent Activity
I'm very much enjoying the audiobook of Lawrence McDonald's A Colossal Failure of Common Sense (11 discs, each more fascinating than the last.) The history and downfall of Lehman Brothers is not something I'd normally pick up, but it is a fascinating story and I feel a kinship to McDonald... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2016 at Sandra Ad Astra
So I was totally wrong about plot points in The Force Awakens, which I finally saw at the theater because I was going down to Disney for a training conference, and that meant visiting Disney Studios, and hello! Star Wars at Disney! But it would have been so cool if... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2016 at Sandra Ad Astra
Congratulations to Tansy Rayner Roberts & Tehani Wessely, FableCroft Publishing, for winning a Ditmar award for Cranky Ladies of History (Best Collected Work) at the Australian National Science Fiction convention! My story about Cora Crane is included in that book. Cora was a writer and brothel owner in Jacksonville, Florida,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2016 at Sandra Ad Astra
New Star Wars trailers: love the epic nature, the cinematography, and of course Han Solo. As a teenager I took the train into Boston with my best friend 18 different times to watch The Empire Strikes Back. But I went to the first Star Wars movie in 1977 because of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2015 at Sandra Ad Astra
When we think about blockbuster science fiction films with gay heroes, the list is horribly empty. Until now. The Martian -- a terrific film by Ridley Scott, based on Andy Weir's book -- has a gay character as its lead, if you decode the signs and read the absences for... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2015 at Sandra Ad Astra
Recently I was reading a review of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee and loved the bit about the Southern pastoral, "in which summer is always called summertime." (Read the review here) My summertime has been full of many things so far, including writing and publishing and physics. Not... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2015 at Sandra Ad Astra
After the first burst of creativity in a story (Hello! Nice to meet you!), sometime I get bogged down in the actual paragraphs. What seemed like the perfect narrative in my head turns out to be far trickier when it gets to the page. If you too are a writer... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2015 at Sandra Ad Astra
Miserably sick in Cancun, I wasn't thinking about writing. I wasn't thinking much beyond dying of Montezuma's Revenge in a high-rise resort during what was supposed to be a fabulous Christmas getaway. While Lord of the Rings played incessantly in Spanish on TV, I hoped someone would take care of... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2015 at Sandra Ad Astra
Of course you're writing this weekend. Aren't you? Writing takes work and work doesn't stop on Memorial Day weekend. Or any weekend, in fact. The temptation is there--picnics, air-conditioned movie theaters, shops full of sales. A trip to the beach. Time with family. Or maybe you are stuck working a... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2015 at Sandra Ad Astra
Have you ever been stranded on another planet? Probably not. Ever read Robinson Crusoe? Chances are slightly higher. (But not much) Ever feel like you’re stuck in an endless meeting in a drab conference room on planet Earth and never going to blast off to anywhere exciting? Welcome to the... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2015 at Sandra Ad Astra
Here are 10 of my favorite recent tweets about issues affecting the transgender community. If you have any to share, please leave a message in the comments. Follow me at @sandramcdonald if you'd like to see more. The Girl Scouts of America announce they will accept #transgender kids 7... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2015 at Sandra Ad Astra
A first line that ends with a punch. A first paragraph that hooks the reader. A person, group of people, or personified object. (You can even make a place a character too.) A color tied to the theme. An image. Markers for the genre you're writing in. A hint or... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2015 at Sandra Ad Astra
A few weeks ago, Julie Czerneda and I ran a 1st Page Critique workshop at a fan convention in Orlando. I'm still impressed by the great writing we saw, but the ones I most remember had that elusive and priceless element: voice. I wish we'd had more time to spend... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2015 at Sandra Ad Astra
The first paragraph of any piece of fiction is like a rocket on the launchpad. It must ignite in a reader the desire to keep reading to the next paragraph, and the one after that, and then again after that. A misfire means the reader's attention will likely wander off,... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2015 at Sandra Ad Astra
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May 11, 2015