You’re cute and fresh and wholesome, but science has a cure

So, yesterday, I bought a new car.  It was an Unplanned Purchase in which a complicated combination of factors conspired to create a Perfect Moment to strike.  I am of mixed feelings regarding the whole situation.  On the one hand, I adored the little green Subaru Legacy; it was zippy and sweet-tempered; good in the rain, the sleet and the snow, and never, ever once let me down.  On the other hand, it was more than 15 years old.  The new car — by which I mean, “new to me” — is several generations younger.  It is apparently capable of doing things that I cannot, as yet, imagine.  It, too, is a Subaru Legacy, in color a cheerful bright blue; but Subaru Legacies have gotten taller in the intervening years — not a bad thing; in fact, a feature.  It’s roomier inside than the green Legacy, and!

. . .it has heated seats.

It also has very low miles; was apparently kept by its former owner in the lap of garaged luxury, and only allowed out on the road during the very finest and bug-free of spring days.

So.  I have a new car.

I ALSO HAVE, with Steve, a collection of our work to get into shape to send on to Madame the Editor realsoonnow, and!  I need your — yes, your — advice.

A common reader complaint regarding the contents of the first two Liaden Universe® Constellations was that they lacked an ABOUT THIS STORY at the top of each story.  Apparently, lots of people like those, so, to keep peace in the family, we’re going to write an ABOUT THIS STORY for each of the twelve stories in Constellation Three.

And here’s where we need your help.

What sorts of things do you want to know ABOUT THIS STORY?



Today’s title comes from “Brand New Girl,” as performed by Julie Brown in Earth Girls are Easy.  Here’s your link.


19 thoughts on “You’re cute and fresh and wholesome, but science has a cure”

  1. Where about the “timeline” history of Liaden stories the story might fall. For example: just before Fledgling, or just after, [or any earlier book, of course]. Just for fun– did the main character leap out and say You Must write a story about me! Or maybe it is just an outtake- it did not fit the book at the time it was written, still good, just did not fit. That sort of thing.

  2. It would be nice to know where in the over arcing story line the story fits. Also, the inspiration for the story.

  3. I personally don’t care for synopsis I like experiencing the story in the raw. I ignore them. I mean, “what’s the purpose?” TO tell me if I like the story and want to read it? Cliff Notes for readers? I skip them when they exist, and never miss them when they don’t.

    Maybe I am too “old school” 🙂 !

  4. I almost agree with David. I never read the forward…… until I’ve gobbled up the story and realize there is no more. Then I go back, read the forward, and very often read the story again with new perspective.

  5. Yes, please approximate time line, is it an outtake or its own self; how does it relate to other stories; I keep wondering, the hunter with the daughter who shared the Liaden biology; is that the same society Daav was in? Before or after? Where does the box of horrible that had to be destroyed fit into the Universe? Things like that.

  6. I also would like to have a description of where a story fits in the arc and timeline of the larger universe or universes, if a story is a cross over.

    Also, I find it interesting to know if the story was part of the process of a larger work, either something that didn’t fit in the final structure or something that you “needed” to write to anchor the pieces for the next big bite.

    For readers who may not have encountered your work before, a note about which characters appear in other stories or novels might be helpful, especially as they are now all available.

    You do a lot of these things with the Splinter Universe stories and I appreciate them.

  7. A confession: I just finished Fledgling a few weeks ago. I’d started it not long after the mass-market paperback came out, but set it aside. I just couldn’t get into it. The heroine was such a misfit that I couldn’t identify with her at all. Or maybe was too much like me at the same age and I identified so much that it hurt. I donno. But I’d left it with a marker where I’d quit, and I tried again recently. My thought when I finished it was “Why didn’t they TELL me she comes to life as soon as she gets offplanet!?!” That’s the kind of notice you need to post, sometimes. Anyway, now I guess I have to go off and buy three more books…

  8. Well, see. *I* think she comes to life on page one, and continues to engage, even as she changes.

    And, yanno, posting a note that says, “Stick with it, folks, it’ll be worth reading starting about page 100” is kind of the same thing as saying we’re Useless as Writers. Which I don’t believe, so…

  9. No, I didn’t really believe you’d want to do that. And, at any rate, I think it’s the only book of yours that I’ve started and had trouble getting into, and I assume that reaction was personal to me…but it was the only form of “notice” that I’ve ever felt was needed, so I thought to mention it in passing.

  10. I really enjoy your “how this story came to be” snippets.
    It’s nice to get a peek into thee writers’ brains at work.

  11. I agree with those asking for a placement in the timeline. I don’t want a synopsis of the story. I really enjoy the odd characters that come from other planets and situations in different cultures.. like the story about the Organ..thanks for asking btw.. this is neat 🙂

  12. On having ‘About This Story’ at the beginning. I only like them if there is something I should know before I read the story, or if there is an interesting story about how it came to be written. I don’t actually want much information about the story, since i would much rather read the story. I sympathize with the folks who want to know where the story ‘fits’… but I have seen often enough in your work short stories that don’t ‘fit’ anywhere… yet. Don’t spoil the surprise on those!

    I also agree… Theo was a very interesting character from the very start of her story.. and it was just nifty how the things that made her a misfit on her home planet turned out to make her extra competent in different circumstances. (I’m just thinking… that seems to be a theme in your writing)

  13. I was forced to buy a newer used car. The 11K purchase will be funded by overtime. What a mess.

  14. I like many of the above comments would like to know where in the time line the story falls. I like the idea of getting background on where the story came from; it just had to be written, it got written but just didn’t fit with where the rest of the story went, etc. Not necessary, but getting extra “meat” with my meal gives me more to chew on. 🙂

  15. I agree about timeline placement, and when appropriate where the short story came from: back story, wrote itself, etc. it’s not required, just fun to see your process.

  16. My preference would be for exactly the sort of thing you’ve already produced in your introduction to “Code of Honor” — not so much “where does this story fit in the timeline” but “how did this story come about” “what itch did this story scratch for the writers” or “what blank spot in the Liaden universe does this story help fill.”

  17. What I mostly like to know About This Story is where they fall in the chronology.

    Beyond that, if it exists, cute inspiration anecdote for where you got the idea, guidelines of anthology or theme issue it was originally written for, larger novel it was cut out of and why), any spoiler-free Trials and Tribulations of writing it (e.g., the whole way through I thought this was a romance and then suddenly it revealed it was a mystery on the last page).

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