In recent news the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s of America) have announced that they will begin to accept Game Writing submissions in their organization. Cat Rambo, President of the SFWA, reached out to Fan Girl Nation for an exclusive discussion about this incredible change.
Thank you very much for taking time out of your day to speak with us Cat! For starters, let’s introduce our readers to your organization. What prompted you to join and who would you like to acknowledge in the SFWA?
Joining the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America was a milestone for me, and marked the point where I felt I’d become a professional writer. The organization, over 50 years old now and with close to two thousand members across the globe, is the only one of its kind for authors working in fantasy and science fiction.
Being part of the organization means I’m part of a heritage that includes folks like Robert A. Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Silverberg, and more. It’s a great community and the many of the friendships I’ve made through it are folks whose presence in my life I cherish.
I grew up reading Anne McAfferey which is how I discovered the SFWA. I also have family members who have, at points in their careers, been involved with SFWA writers so this is a very exciting topic for me. If I may ask, as a Science Fiction and Fantasy focused company what motivated your recent decision to include game writers?
It’s a step I personally strongly support. Game writing is an art form, requiring the same sort of professional wordsmithing that stories, novels, and scripts all do.
I could not agree more with you and your members. Is there a specific form of game writing you are looking for? (e.g. virtual reality experiences, console experiences, online MMOs, etc.)
We are open to all forms of game writing. That was one of the difficulties the committee trying to come up when creating the qualifications: the fact that there’s a lot of different kinds of games, and the amount of writing can vary greatly from one to another.
That is a very good point. The versatility of games can be seen as an asset and yet categorizing their styles is almost like trying to tame the internet ( mad props to anyone who can figure that out). What criteria do you use when reviewing a game/science fiction/fantasy submission?
You can find the membership qualifications here: http://www.sfwa.org/about/join-us/sfwa-membership-requirements/
The game writer qualifications are currently under discussion and revision. We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback that helped us find holes and issues in the first version.
Thank you very much for sharing that link Cat! Being a blossoming writer myself I must ask: Are non-SFWA members allowed to submit essays/articles/documents/stories to your organization?
Our blog, which appears on the website at sfwa.org, is always looking for articles, and we pay!
Here’s the guidelines: http://www.sfwa.org/sfwa-publications/sfwa-blog-guidelines/
We also put out a quarterly print publication, The SFWA Bulletin, which also looks for pieces and is also a paying market: http://www.sfwa.org/sfwa-publications/the-bulletin/bulletin-submission-guidelines/
It would seem my bucket list just grew. If I may Cat, is the SFWA using the game writers as a way to encourage younger generations to read your publications?
Well, there probably would be much more efficient ways of doing it, and we do engage in some outreach like that, such as a presence at events, the Nebula Awards, and the Speakers Bureau. But this decision is more about about bringing fellow F&SF content creators into the organization, for both their benefit and ours.
What are your goals for the future? How do you think including game writers in your organization will improve your company’s standing?
Last year, we voted to allow writers who were publishing independently and through small presses into the organization, and found they brought in a wealth of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm. I hope that above all we’ll see our internal community continue to build, because many of SFWA’s cool new initiatives, like the Kickstarter Star Project (http://www.sfwa.org/2016/01/sfwa-star-projects-on-kickstarter-a-new-initiative-for-2016/) or our New Release Newsletter (http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-readers/new-release-newsletter/), have come out of exchanges within that community.
This is all very exciting. I don’t want to take up too much of your time but may I ask if there are any Game Writers already joining or who have joined the SFWA?
We do have some game writers already in the organization, some of which served on the committee: Jennifer Brozek, Richard Dansky, Steve Jackson, and Rosemary Jones.
Thank you again for providing us with such incredible insight Cat! We are looking forward to this evolution of the SFWA and can’t wait to see what is in store!
For the original announcement please visit: http://www.sfwa.org/2016/07/sfwa-admit-game-writers-starting-august-1st-2016/
If you’re in the Indianapolis area August 4th – 7th stop by Gen Con where the SFWA intends to elaborate on this announcement an answer any questions the public may have: https://www.gencon.com/events/102805
Images were obtained from SWFA.ORG and are not owned by FanGirl Nation Magazine. For more information on Cat Rambo and other members of the SFWA board please visit: http://www.sfwa.org/about/current-officers/
Fan Girl On!