Write for Us!

I started writing for GeekGirlCon about three years ago, after I attended GeekGirlCon ‘14 and was hugely inspired by what I had seen at the panels, Exhibitor Hall, Artists’ Alley, DIY Science Zone, and gaming floor. At first, it was sporadic, with just a few pitches here and there when a brilliant idea for a piece hit me. But writing for GeekGirlCon was fun; it was a way to express and articulate my interests in a way that I couldn’t in my other areas of writing (which were mostly academic journals). I wrote about all sorts of things: what it was like to be an Asian geek, how we could understand fictional worlds, geek taxonomy, and ferrets.

Then, a few months later, a position for a copywriter became open on the volunteer page, I applied for it, and here I am.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that if you’re geeky, have interests that align with our mission or otherwise are passionate about supporting women in games, comics, science, tech, cosplay, and more, consider guest blogging for GeekGirlCon. Or, if there’s content that you’d like to see on the blog that isn’t currently being covered, pitch it as a potential blog post!

Image source: GeekGirlCon Flickr

If you’d like to be a guest blogger, all you have to do is submit a short pitch of about 100 words on the topic you’d like to write about and how you’d write about it to blog@geekgirlcon.com. If your pitch gets accepted, we will work with you on getting your piece published on the blog. Although we will consider all topics, we would especially welcome pitches from members of underrepresented groups, or on the topics of science, cosplay, or comics.

We’d love to get more voices on our blog, so please consider adding yours to our community!

 

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

Guest blogging for GeekGirlCon

We are always looking for awesome geeky blog posts for the GeekGirlCon blog. You could be our next guest blogger!

GeekGirlCon is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the contribution of women in all aspects of geek culture. Connect with GeekGirlCon through social media (Twitter and Facebook) and meet other geeks at events and our annual convention. GeekGirlCon ‘15 is October 10 and 11, 2015.

Adrienne Roehrich
“Rock On!”

Geek Role Models: C.L. Moore

Written by Corrina Lawson

“Cinderella and the Prince were married with great ceremony. No one approved from the first, and now more often than not there was a gleam of I-told-you-so behind the King’s spectacles, and the Queen’s three chins quivered with bitter satisfaction as her predictions were realized one by one. For Cinderella and the Prince were not happy. No one had really expected them to be. You cannot pluck a kitchen girl from the cinders and set a crown on her head and let it go at that; and small feet are not the only prerequisite of a princess.” –Happily Ever After, Catherine Moore, 1930, Vagabond student magazine.

“Cinderella never asked for a prince. She asked for a night off and a dress.” –Tumblr Meme, 2014

Corrina Lawson GeekGirlCon

In my first column about why geek role models are important, I talked briefly about Catherine Lucille Moore (C.L. Moore), best known for the Jirel of Joiry fantasy series, and who published in early days of the pulp magazines Weird Tales and Astounding Science Fiction. Her very existence inspired me because she proved not only that a woman could write this kind of story and do it well but that she could do it while writing a female protagonist.

While I knew her stories back then, I knew little about the life of Catherine Lucille Moore. What I read at the time was frustratingly brief: that she was born in 1911 and also wrote under the pseudonyms of C.H. Liddell, Lewis Padgett, and Lawrence O’Donnell.

But her life story reads like fiction. Kirkus ran a terrific short biography of her last year. Some highlights:

Moore wrote for the student run magazine at Indiana University, The Vagabond, where the story quoted above was published. She was only 19 years old then but 100 years ahead of her time.

She met her first husband, Harry Kuttner, when they corresponded about science fiction. He was unaware at first that she was a woman. After they married, they collaborated extensively and the pseudonyms I listed were the result of that partnership.

After Kuttner died of a heart attack in 1958, Moore never returned to writing science fiction. Instead, she wrote television scripts.

At the 39th World Science Fiction Convention in 1981, Moore was the Guest of Honor and the final person to receive the Gandalf Grandmaster Award. She also received the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award the same year. Unfortunately, she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and died in 1987.

As good as Kirkus is at detailing Moore’s major life events, it also only scratches the surface of who she was. I’ve read biographies of some of the other early SF/F pioneers — Asimov, Frederick Pohl, Robert Heinlein — but there’s frustratingly little about this woman.

I believe the lack of information and renown surrounding Moore certainly contributes to the fact that many today probably hadn’t heard of her. It also doesn’t help that most of her work is out of print and often hidden in anthologies where other writers are listed first.

In my research, I stumbled across The Vagabond stories and one frustratingly short tale in Project Gutenberg. Amazon currently has a collection of Jirel of Joiry with multiple used paperback copies starting at one penny. I suspect the market has been flooded recently by people with older editions in their basements. But there’s nothing extensive available online.

This makes me sad. Moore deserves to be remembered. I hope this column intrigues some of you enough to check out Jirel of Joiry and raise a glass to a woman who walked through barriers and made the path easier for the rest of us.

Corrina Lawson GeekGirlConCorrina Lawson grew up reading Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine and reading all she could order from the Science Fiction Book Club and everything she could buy from the spinner rack at her local drug store. This might be why she now writes fiction ranging from steampunk to superheroes to alternate history.

AJ Dent
“Rock On!”

WRITING FANFIC: AN UNEXPECTED LOVE AFFAIR

By Kat Heiden

Okay, world, I’m putting it out there for all to see.

 Hi, my name’s Kat and I write fanfiction.

That, my fellow geeks, is a sentence I never thought I would write, at least not in a very public setting. You see, I’ve always been a fan, especially of television. My love of TV actually led me to work in the industry itself. But as I worked hard day after day to be a part of creating new stories for television, I harbored a dirty little secret: I read fanfiction. A lot. As a recent similar confession on the GeekGirlCon Blog notes, reading fanfiction can be addicting!

when_i_read_fanfics_by_i_write_fanfictions-d682jkj

The fluffy ones are the gateway fics. Photo credit.

Unfortunately, even though many people who work in television began their journey the same way I did – as a TV fan – fanfiction is not exactly something that’s…acceptable as part of the culture. After all, we were creating the “real thing.” Here are the general ideas many in the TV biz have about fanfiction:

  • Written exclusively by lonely internet crazies and/or teenage girls
  • Nothing but characters in, um, adult situations
  • Absolutely no quality writing whatsoever
  • They’re mooching off what we created because they’re not good enough to write “original” works
  • Can get us in trouble if we coincidentally come up with something similar
  • We didn’t give our consent. Fan fiction is illegal and unethical

(Note: the legality and ethics of writing fanfiction is a whole topic unto itself which isn’t clear cut, and is worthy of healthy debate and exploration. For more info on that and a TON of other insight on reading and writing fic, I highly recommend Anne Jamison’s book Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World.)

Of course, many of these assumptions are generalizations that aren’t fair and aren’t true. Unfortunately, what they are is widespread, and not just in the television industry (though the industry does openly make fun of fic writers now and then). Add to that the fact that these stereotypes – especially the one writing fic off as the domain of crazy people (read: crazy women) and teen girls – are sometimes outright sexist. Now, most fic writers are in fact women, but gender has no bearing on the merits of any kind of writing. Regardless of author gender, however, there are, in fact, some terrible fics out there that play into a variety of stereotypes. But no stereotypes ever tell the whole story, and there are many, many fics that defy them.

Still, because of the stigma around fic, reinforced in the comedy world especially, I was essentially ashamed that I read it, even though it brought me joy and helped me cope with the long, trying hours as an assistant vying for a chance to be TV writer.

 Five years in, I was fortunate enough to have co-written two episodes of a show, but I’d gotten so burned out on the TV industry that I decided to change careers. As someone who was and is such a passionate fan of TV, it was the last thing I ever expected I would do. I was confident in and happy with my decision, but knowing that being in the industry was no longer the right choice for my life broke my heart a little bit. What broke my heart even more was the fact I had grown to almost resent writing stories (for any medium).

 

This was me. Photo credit.

This was me. Photo credit.

You see, I’d felt so much pressure to make my writing something that could sustain me financially that it stopped being fun. Being a storyteller is a big part of who I am, and I needed to rediscover the excitement of creating characters, of envisioning new worlds, of finding just the right words. I needed to remember those swirly, bright feelings of inspiration – the ones that made me beg my mom to let me use her PowerBook when I was seven to pound out a story about a kid who found a dinosaur egg.

I needed to fall back in love with writing.

 (By the way, the approximately 100-word masterpiece “Dinosaurs in Time” is unfortunately still in search of a publisher. Preferably one who doesn’t mind reading a half-page manuscript featuring several typos and a barely discernible narrative structure.)

On the plus side, the story also features plenty of wish fulfillment. Photo credit.

On the plus side, the story also features plenty of wish fulfillment. Photo credit.

To fall back in love with writing, I knew had to take the pressure off. But that would be easier said than done. Every time I sat down to write, there was a part of me that couldn’t shake the expectations – this had better be good enough to get you an agent. This plot isn’t marketable; come up with a new one. The “financially sustainable writing” monsters in my head hadn’t quite been vanquished yet. I had to fight them with something new, with stories they couldn’t touch. But what sort of writing is done just for the sheer joy of writing and sharing stories, with no expectations as far as career advancement or paying the bills? What sort of writing is done simply to celebrate beloved characters and worlds? The answer, of course, is fanfiction. I hesitated; surely this was “beneath” a “real” writer, which is what I wanted to be. However, despite my reservations, I admitted that fic just might be my ticket to really enjoying writing again.

Turns out, I was right. As soon as I decided to start writing fic, a flood of ideas raced into my head. I scribbled them in a notebook so that the plot bunnies couldn’t hop away, and I took to my computer to get going on my first story. An hour or so later, I was done. You know the feeling you get when you step outside on a crisp spring day and that first breath of fresh air fills your lungs? That was this moment. I felt happy, I felt renewed, and I felt like me again.

What was most refreshing about this was that for the first time in a very long time, I didn’t hate the writing process. It wasn’t arduous or overwrought. In fact, I had so. Much. Fun. My “dirty little secret,” it turns out, was the thing that made me realize that I am a “real writer” just like I wanted to be. For a while there, I had simply forgotten what a writer is:

A writer writes, plain and simple. Reasons don’t matter. Platform doesn’t matter. Money really doesn’t matter.

 And you know what? I love being a writer.

 Thanks, fanfic.

 Kat Heiden is a writer, nonprofit development professional, communications grad student, and proud geek girl. She and her equally geeky husband make their home in Los Angeles as they await their invitation to move onto the TARDIS. 

Adrienne Roehrich
“Rock On!”

Guest Blogging for GeekGirlCon

We are always looking for awesome geeky blog posts for the GeekGirlCon blog. You could be our next guest blogger!

GeekGirlCon is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the contribution of women in all aspects of geek culture. Connect with GeekGirlCon through social media (Twitter and Facebook) and meet other geeks at events and our annual convention. GeekGirlCon ‘14 is October 11 and 12, 2014.

GeekGirlCon’s audience is mainly composed of geeky girls and women. Here’s a short list of the most frequently used keywords that they would look at:
* Geek Girl/GeekGirls        * Conventions        *Sci-Fi        *Geeky Parenting
* Cosplay                            * Geek Culture       *Crafts        * Books
* Gaming                            * Fantasy                 *Nerds        *Anime/Manga

1. Length: Posts should be 600 to 2000 words and stick to one topic or idea.

library girl

Image courtesy of Creative Commons License

2. Title: The post title should be under 60 characters and contain the person or concept featured in the post to help grab readers’ attention. While quirky titles are fun, a straightforward title containing a target keyword can often be more effective than a catchy title.

Please use the following at the top of your post:

Title: Blah Blah Women or Something with proper case 😉

by Your Name, Where People Know You From

3. Beginning: Clearly state your main point at the beginning of your post and include supporting information in subsequent paragraphs.

4. Tone: Posts should be written for a wide audience and steer clear of jargon or technical language. Use conversational language and explain things clearly by providing background information on a subject and by using specific examples to illustrate a point.

5. Show, Don’t Tell: What does this mean? “Showing” allows the reader to follow you into the moment—to see and feel and experience what you have.

6. Keep Their Attention: People rarely read pages word-by-word. Generally, readers scan a page, picking out individual words and sentences. To help readers find the most important points in your blog, use the following tools:

  • Highlighted keywords

  • Sub-headlines

  • Bolded words

  • Bulleted lists

  • Short paragraphs and short sentences

  • One idea per paragraph

7. Link, Link, Link! A strong blog post includes links to other sites and blogs.

8. Multimedia is Good: Whenever possible, incorporate multimedia features, including embedded videos, images, and infographics. The goal is to have at least one visual element per blog post. The shorter the video, the more likely people will watch it from start to finish. We have a strict no-stealing policy, so only legally free-to-share images are acceptable. Please cite all multimedia sources.

9. Closing: Encourage reader interaction by providing a clear call to action, such as asking readers to sign an online pledge, post their thoughts in the comments section, or share the piece with their networks on Twitter or Facebook.

10. Search Engine Optimization: Ensure your post is optimized for search engines through these steps:

  • Identify your target keyword for each post by thinking about what phrase people would use to search for this topic.

  • Use a target keyword in your first paragraph and two to three more times in the post.

  • Instead of writing something like “Learn more” for hyperlinked text, use more descriptive language related to the target keywords.

We encourage creativity when writing for GeekGirlCon, and we also require that all posts be in alignment with our mission statement. We have final say on what gets released on behalf of the organization and reserve the right to edit, reject, and ask for revisions on all posts and ideas.

orange sweater girl

Image Courtesy of Creative Commons License

If you have any questions, please contact:
Adrienne Roehrich
Manager of Editorial Services
adrienne@geekgirlcon.com

Thanks and happy writing!

Adrienne Roehrich
“Rock On!”

Traveling Into the Wild Nerd Yonder

Here at GeekGirlCon, we love to feature guest blogs from you — the people who come to our events, attend our convention, and volunteer or donate to our cause. You are the geeks who keep us motivated, even on the craziest of days.

Today, we are featuring a blog from Eliza Hirsch, a local writer and, of course, proud geek girl. Below, Eilza shares a story about one of her favorite books and why it spoke to her when she was a teenager.


I only made it to my sophomore year before dropping out of my Colorado country high school. I left behind trailer classrooms (the debate club was relegated to a stuffy box hidden behind the school proper), an extra creative mascot (the mighty fighting Falcons from Falcon High School, in the city of Falcon), and a few real, honest-to-Betsy cowboys.

During my illustrious public school career, I developed a couple coping mechanisms. Books were my primary line of defense. I fell in love with stories, and the ability of those stories to transport me into different, more interesting places. Places that made sense.

The paperback cover for Into the Wild Nerd Yonder

Places like the world in Julie Halpern’s Into the Wild Nerd Yonder. The book follows Jessie in her sophomore year of high school. Her best friends are changing in ways she’s not sure she likes, and she’s trying to figure out who she is, how she fits into the world. Sound familiar? Sound like everyone’s second year of high school? Yeah.

I liked this book, and Jessie in particular, for a few reasons. The most important is that Jessie is the kind of girl I might have been in high school—if I was approximately twice as innocent and half as angry. She wears crazy clothes (most of those skirts I mentioned came from the quilting fabric section) and hangs out with people on the fringe of the social strata; she’s funny, and fun.

Jessie’s also unapologetically intelligent and—with a goal of sewing enough skirts to wear a different one every day of school—she’s uniquely creative. She doesn’t mind standing out, yet at the same time she’s pretty insecure, relying on her increasingly difficult-to-relate-to friends. What’s a girl to do?

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

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