2012 was a rough year for me. No details, just a hard slog for a number of reasons.
For those of you who also had a hard slog, my sympathies and let us hope for a kinder, more joyous, and excitingly challenging 2013 (the good kind of excitement, not the other kind).
For those who had a great 2012: Excellent! And I wish for you another great year ahead.
It took me a long time to finish the third Spiritwalker novel, COLD STEEL (for my long road through the novel and if you are interested in process, you can check all my Cold Steel tags on this blog). But as most if not all of you reading this know, it is finished, revised, copy edited, and making its way through the production process toward publication in June 2013.
I’m planning to continue my Spiritwalker Monday posts from now until publication. Because I’ve realized that posting once a week is about all I can reliably manage (without cutting deeply into my novel writing energy), some of those posts will be more general posts about world building, writing, culture, reading, and so on. However, at least two posts per month should focus specifically on the Spiritwalker world and/or the writing of the books. I hope to complete at least one prequel short story (the one I am working on right now is about Andevai). Upcoming posts will discuss the creole used in COLD FIRE, some reflections on how I developed the love story in the first two books (in February), the use of place names in a world without Germanic-derived place names, and whatever else I can produce between working on Other Projects. I can’t talk about Other Projects yet. I will when I can.
Some of my favorite posts I read this year (heavily weighted to the end of the year as I do not keep good track):
The amazing tag team of Tansy Raynor Roberts (Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy: Let’s Unpack That) and Foz Meadows (Your Default Narrative Settings are Not Apolitical) both tackle the issue of the excuse some writers and readers make that they can’t have women (or women with agency) in their fantasy novels because of what amounts to their lack of understanding of history. This subject has been batted around a lot this year (and in previous years) and perhaps some day it will be put to rest, but I’m not holding my breath yet. Tansy also wrote a guest post on this blog on women of Rome.
In this vein, my favorite of my Spiritwalker Monday posts so far is Why Cat Sews, about the importance of depicting all the kinds of work that underpin human society.
Over at Book Smugglers, N. K. Jemisin wrote The Unexotic Exotic on using details of ordinary life to de-exotify the “exotic” in fantasy worlds.
In Rochita Loenen-Ruiz’s Identity and the Indigenous Spirit she talks about allowing herself “to be true to the place that gave birth to and shaped me.” On this blog, her guest post Decolonizing as an SF Writer discusses (among other things) histories of the Philippines and her own relationship with SF.
Seanan McGuire wrote a searing post on Things I Will Not Do To My Characters. Ever. in response to a reader who asked her when certain of her female characters were finally going to get raped. (Imagine! Asking that!)
I have some posts I wrote this year which I particularly value, and one of those touches on another aspect of the use of sexual violence in fiction (although from a different perspective): The narrative of women in fear and pain. (In my recent guest post on Book Smugglers I talk about quite the opposite: positive depictions of sex in fiction.)(There’s also a giveaway open until January 6.)
Sherwood Smith writes brilliantly about writing and reading: You can find her at Book View Cafe. Really everything she writes is well worth reading, but I wanted to highlight a post from earlier this year on Process Narration, what she defines as writers “writing their own experience of writing fiction into the text.” I read this post nodding my head and wincing in fierce agreement; I do this and I need to be more aware of it. Great stuff.
Here on this blog, Paul Weimer wrote about his own experiences reviewing in The Stress of Their Regard: Book Reviews and the Reactions to Them.
Understanding history in its fullest and most complex sense as opposed to the narrow range of history that is normally taught is, for me, a crucial enterprise, a process that never ends.
Malinda Lo wrote a two part post about same-sex relationships in fantasy and the question “Is it believable to have same-sex relationships in a medieval-esque fantasy world?” in Heteronormativity, Fantasy & Bitterblue Part One and Part Two.
D. B. Jackson wrote on “the history that isn’t taught” and what he learned about colonial era Boston while researching for his Thieftaker series.
In the science department, how about this fascinating article about redrawing the “tree of life”: It is just so cool! And Athena Andreadis has a lovely post on human evolution and The Grandmother Hypothesis: “that the presence of grandmothers allowed more children to reach adulthood.”
I’ve not yet touched on architecture and fashion so here, via tumblr, a Fashion Timeline History of Vietnamese Clothing.
Meanwhile, Helen Lowe discussed the essential element of mystery in On World building.
Okay, that’s surely enough. Except for this link to an article on Early Medieval Science: The evidence of Bede. Because there can never be enough Venerable Bede.
For myself, I worked long and hard on my article The Omniscient Breasts because I wanted to define and describe how the male gaze affects how people write without them necessarily being aware of it, and I wanted to express it in a constructive way that might possibly get through to a few people and make them think about through what default lens they might be “seeing” in their fiction. [You should go check it out if only to make sure it reaches the top ten (in page views) of SFSignal’s posts for the year–right?]
These are just a few of the many wonderful, illuminating, and thoughtful things I read online this past year. There were so many more.
Last, if I can encourage you (and I know I encouraged some of you already) to check out one album this year it would be Fatoumata Diawara’s FATOU.
What links do you have for me? What great posts from 2012 on . . . anything, really . . . got you thinking or laughing or pissed off or excited or learning or asking questions?
And, as always, thank you for reading.