Jan. 2nd, 2012

end of year

Jan. 2nd, 2012 09:45 am
raven: (misc - thine own self)
end of year meme )

Other notes, on reading and writing:

A very good writing year, which has startled me somewhat. After a few years of doing badly on this front, I really do seem to be writing regularly again, for which I'm very grateful.

Anyway, in 2011, I wrote twenty-two stories in thirteen fandoms (including two for Yuletide). I was particularly pleased by New Beautiful Things Come, the 17,000 word X-Men bakery AU, Lilies of the Field, a Vorkosigan story about Cordelia and Alys, and these are the days of miracle and wonder, a M*A*S*H story written after ten years away.

Also! Excitingly, I have finally started to write original fiction for the first time in many many years. The novel is hard going a lot of the time, but at the time of writing I have nine chapters of Receiver of Wreck written, and a lot of planning and outlining for the second half of it. Many, many thanks to those of you who are reading it for me; I'm very grateful. Add the novel, and I've written a round 100,000 words this year, and that's good enough for anyone.

On that note, I do think that writing fanfic for a decade has made me a far, far better writer than I would be otherwise, and I suppose, now, aged twenty-five, I'm tired of being told that fanfiction is juvenile or lesser. (For one thing, I am always suspicious when a female-dominated creative enterprise is infantilised and made to seem less important. Call me a cynic.)

Book-wise, I mentioned above that Kalpa Imperial was for me the stand-out book of the year. I loved it so much that here, I am actually going to quote some of it at you. These are its opening lines:

the storyteller said )

What I love about this, about all of it, is that it's not so much political but ur-political: before you even get to politics and democracy and all of that, it tells you, you need free people, and ignorant, illiterate, uneducated people aren't meaningfully free. I love that; I love how it's unashamedly literary in one particular sense, that people need stories and histories to be people.

Anyway. It's lovely. Read it.

And, finally! I also read three Chetan Bhagat novels this week, which are happy 250 page slices of Indian life. Shim picked them up and read them after me, and also enjoyed them, but even so I am reluctant to recommend them exactly, because, well. Bhagat, for me, writes so well and so engagingly because he writes about India and Indians, for Indians, in Indian English. Which for me is charming and real and part of what makes Bhagat excellent, but, y'know. You don't want to recommend books that non-Indians are going to pick up and read and put down and feel pleasantly superior that, failing everything else, they're not Indian and don't say things like we are like this only.

But given that, I do recommend them: they made me laugh and they had something to say: 2 States is his best, I think, but I like them all. They have a delightful, almost Victorian conceit in that the events of all of them reportedly happened in some way to the author (he always begins them by explaining how someone emailed him, or he met someone on a train, and that person usually turns out to be the protagonist of the novel) and I especially like the way this plays out in One Night..., in which the reader would be excused for pointing out that the events of the denoument don't work if there were any witnesses other than the characters.

No problem, says Bhagat, there was a witness who witnesses everything. And it's nice to hear God evoked in a Hindu way - as a stranger on a train.

Anyway. Enough talk. More washing up.

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