Writing for the Grantville Gazette: Who, What, and When

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Have you ever thought, “I’d like to read a Grantville Gazette dealing with ____.“?  Who, what, where, why, when, and how can you help make that happen?  Some of these questions are easy to answer.

Why

We all want to read stories about topics and people that interest us.

Where

Baen’s Bar:  The 1632 universe has three conferences at Baen’s Bar:  1632 Slush (for stories intended for the Grantville Gazette), 1632 Slush Comments (for feedback on those stories), and 1632 Tech (for technology, history, questions, etc.).

1632.org:  This site has Mike Watson’s 1632 Story Search Engine, “http://www.crucis.net/1632search/” which is great for finding out if anything has been published on a given topic or about a particular person.  It also has the Up-timer Grid (all the up-timers who came through the Ring of Fire) and the Story Timeframes (when each story happens).

There is also a 1632 wiki, at “http://www.1632wiki.org“.

How

There’s a fair bit of information on both Baen’s Bar and 1632.org on how to write a Gazette story, including such things as point of view and Gazette style.

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The rest of the questions are more challenging.

Who

You probably know what’s coming here.  But it’s true.

“Nobody else can write the story you have in mind. Only you can prevent story travesty.” (Laura Runkle, Editorial Board member)

“We are a community here, and our purpose is to get more people to write stories. It is not our purpose to chase people away.” (Walt Boyes, Editorial Board member)

“It’s just that no one has written more stories (about whichever topic under discussion).  I can’t buy what doesn’t get submitted.” (Paula Goodlett, Grantville Gazette editor)

What

1632.org has some guidance in what not to write:  The Many Halves of Grantville (why the Up-timer Grid is necessary) and Dead Horses.  Inclusion on the Dead Horses list doesn’t mean that a topic is forbidden, but it does mean it has been covered rather thoroughly in 1632 Tech.  As Dead Horses says, “Sometimes, when you whip a dead horse, it gets up and stumbles around.” (Rick Boatright, Editorial Board member)

But what about guidance on what to write?  The most-requested story is the next mainline book.  That’s Eric Flint’s domain, of course.  Aside from that, there have been requests for the British Isles thread, for Ring of Fire IV, for stories about ethnic minority characters in Grantville besides James and Sharon Nichols, for popular Roman Catholic liturgical music, and for a sympathetic treatment of Calvinist characters.

What has the Editorial Board suggested?

Paula has been known to throw out some challenges: a story opening with a writing cliché, a story opening with “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”  (Kerryn Offord wrote this story.  It’s in Gazette 44.)

“Write a story about the ambassador from Tibet to Grantville sent by the Dalai Lama after he had received his electric Buddha.” (Rick Boatright)

“To tell the truth, there have been comparatively few stories featuring the teachers who have stuck it out in the Grantville school system, slogging away with punctuation and multiplication tables.”  (Virgnia DeMarce)

“I keep posting a challenge idea: write about people who have never been to Grantville, who have only heard about it, read about it in the news sheets, talked to somebody whose second cousin went there just like the peasants in Europe used to think about America. Write about people who are changing their lives because of something they heard of. Nary an up-timer needs to be used.” (Walt Boyes)

But mostly the Editorial Board emphasizes this:  “We very much want to see more stories about ordinary people. Up-timers if you must, but down-timers are more interesting.” (Walt Boyes)

And this:  Write about the people.  Don’t focus on the technology.  Yes, have the technology in the story, but don’t make it a project report.  It is not necessary that the technology succeed.

When

You know what we’re going to say, right?  Why not get started?

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4 thoughts on “Writing for the Grantville Gazette: Who, What, and When

  1. Mark Roth

    Hi, folks,

    So, how do I submit a story? Note that this one’s different – it’ll have to go to Eric, because it’s about Red Seybolt. He did like the first scene in it, that I sent him last year, and at Windycon, he didn’t say no to me turning it into a story, so…

    mark

    1. Bjorn Hasseler

      Post to 1632 Slush at Baen’s Bar. Open a thread with the same title in 1632 Comments and remind us that you showed Eric the first scene.

      Bjorn Hasseler
      Managing Editor

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