It’s been a while since I touched my revision chronicling projects. Part of that is, simply, that I’ve been buried in other projects. The last time I touched Made to Be Broken was in 2013 and that draft never got finished. The last finished draft, then, is the one collected in Feather by Feather and Other Stories. You can read that version here (for free) if you’d like. The latest draft can be read here. It went up yesterday.
And then 2014 came about and I decided to semi-officially signup for NaNoWriMo. Unofficially since I had a novella draft that I really had to finish that was already partway done. Having finished that, I decided to focus on something else and try to take advantage of the NaNoWriMo sphere to see if I could if not finish at least speed along another project (or two). There was, however, a problem. I finished the novella much sooner than the previous ten months led me to believe I would and I hadn’t decided what to write yet.
So! While I asked friends and internet acquaintances to cast their vote on what they thought sounded the most interesting, I decided that, in the interrim, I’d return to Made to Be Broken at long last and see what happened this time. It’s been a while and, as you can see if you compare the latest draft to the previous one, been changed quite substantially.
A few days ago, I compiled a brief list of books that I know feature asexuals or people strongly presumed to be asexual. Subsequent discussion suggested that perhaps it would be nice to have them in a nice and handy blog post list, so. Here it is! ^_^ I hope people will find it useful and please don’t hesitate to mention any books you know of in the comments!
Also, please note that the list below features predominently SFF since, as readers of my blog probably gathered, that’s the bulk of what I read. There is also brief commentary and this list is compiled in no particular order whatsoever beyond that I’ve put my own stories last.
Hope this helps people out!
No, this isn’t going to be one of those ebooks versus print books lists. Don’t worry. I like both. I thought it might be a nice and refreshing change to have a list of why I like both in one spot. ^_^
In some ways the ebooks vs print books debate is an interesting one since people feel so strongly about them. There’s such an either/or mentality to the debate. In others, the debate is utterly baffling because, despite the either/or mentality I see in those articles, most of the people I know have an and/and mentality. They may, for various reasons, have concluded that either side isn’t for them, but the vehemence I see in some of the articles written about the topic? Never seen that before.
So. What I like about print and ebooks.
I don’t know how old I was when I learned that my dad has dyslexia. It’s one of those things I’ve always kind of known. I’ve also always kind of known that he never got the support he needed to excel at school. For me it’s maths. Like my dad’s situation with dyslexia, when I was in primary and secondary school dyscalculia wasn’t a thing people paid attention to. My mum remains firmly convinced that I woke up one day, said “I don’t like maths” and decided to suck at it for the rest of my life. Because that’s a thing people with invisible disabilities do, you know, they decide that they have a problem. Please note the heavy use of sarcasm in that sentence because we do not, in fact, decide to have a problem and then it magically appears and if only we just decide not to have a problem then it will go away like it’s never been.
This is a post that has been percolating in my mind for… some time now. I’m writing it partially on behalf of an acquaintance who encouraged me to write and share this in hopes that it will do people some good. I will note right now, at the top, that this is a sensitive topic for me to discuss and doing so leaves me pretty sore. I suspect it will leave a fair few people who want to participate in a discussion sore simply because it’s that kind of topic.
I don’t know how many of my readers are familiar with the concept of love memes (or ‘words and deeds’ memes), so let me explain what they are first. I’ve only ever encountered them on DreamWidth, but they may also be a thing on LiveJournal and I’ve never seen them on WordPress or Blogger before. Other people could write you up a neat history of them, I’m sure, but I’m afraid I’m not that person.
A while ago (as I post this; not so much as I write this) I discussed some of my favourite fairytales. This time around, as I hinted at then, I’d like to discuss some of my favourite retellings as well as spend some time nattering about some of my own attempts. That’ll be interesting. For this post I’ll make things a little broader in that I don’t want to rely solely on retellings of Western European fairytales. For one this allows me to include Tam Lin retellings, which are some of my favourites. (I have a Theory about Tam Lin retellings. One day I will reassemble my collection, reread them all and natter about this theory. Maybe. We’ll see. But so far I have yet to read a retelling that failed to live up to the Theory.)
I feel a little odd naming these as my favourite retellings, actually, since by and large I often haven’t read these books more than once yet. I just fell in love with them when I did and I am filled with squeefulness that has me pass these suggestions on to everyone I can when the topic comes up. This post is still written in honour of Once upon a Time season. I hope everyone’s been having a great challenge! We’re… about halfway through when I’m posting this, I think? Time sure does fly! :O
Because this is a two-part post, I shall be using subheadings to divide the two. Fun times!
Like many, I grew up on fairytales. Inspired by a guest post on Tales of the Marvellous and because it’s Once upon a Time season, I thought I’d ramble on about fairytales and my relationship to them. I may, or may not, at some point make a list of favourite fairytale retellings. For the purpose of this post, I’ll stick to what are canonically considered Western European fairytales. A large part of the reason for that is that, though I grew up with some exposure to non-Western European tales (fairytale, folktale, mythology or otherwise) it wasn’t a lot and my favourites are all going to be Western European.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that, growing up, I was surrounded by many of the most well-known fairytales: Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc. They’re stories that have endured and continue to endure for a reason. Some of that is that they’re good at what they do. They take a couple of fairytale elements and do them well. Unlike some other tales which gather up a mishmash and do them badly. Some of that is that they’re so well-known. Some of that is that they’re genuinely more coherent and possess more character than some of the others without needing too much adaptation to be suitable to small children. Jorinde and Joringel is lovely tale on its own, but it’s a bit sparse on motivation even for a fairytale and it’s not particularly memorable compared to some of the others out there. The Juniper Tree is one of the more detailed fairytales, but whichever way you twist it it’s a gruesome tale. It remains a story about a stepmother who beheads her stepson, makes her daughter think she did it, chops the dead boy up for supper, and then gets murdered by the dead-boy-turned-bird by having her head bashed in. There isn’t much you can sanitise and keep the plot intact. Sleeping Beauty is fairly easily sanitised and turned into a chaste kiss without touching much of the rest of the story at all. Rapunzel gets a little more complex. The story I grew up with took out the suggestion that she and the prince have had sex, but left in the kids she’s given birth to in the end. As a child I just rolled with it. As an adult, I kind of want to explore what happened to Rapunzel because she sure wasn’t pregnant when she parted from her prince. Perhaps one day I will.
I was talking about spoilers on other people’s blogs and got a bit tangled in all I wanted to say in a “Reply to a comment” format. Spoilers are interesting things because stories are weird. Sometimes, knowing how a story will turn out significantly increases my enjoyment of it. Sometimes it doesn’t.
A good example is one of the stories I Beyond Binary which I’ve tried to word a comment on (in relation to some of the other stories in the anthology) without giving a part of the central device away. It’s not an unexpected device — in fact, it’s incredibly obvious once you start reading — but the thing that gave the story the kick it had was the fact that I had no outside corroboration of that device. It’s slowly revealed throughout the story and a great deal of my pleasure came from collecting up clues to prove it right. It’s not a mystery story, though those are another good example of stories where I do often find spoilers… not necessarily detracting from the story but changing the way I read it. If I don’t know what the mystery is, I get to guess at it and piece the clues together. If I do know what the mystery is, I read for how the characters piece it together or how the author framed it or the world-building or the characterisation or whatever else I find intriguing about the story. It’s a very different experience and a lot more like rereading. (In the case of Beyond Binary, the knowledge would have ruined the story for me because it would have taken away the one thing I connected to.)
GalleyCat posted a brief article about the books that scared us as children a little while ago. (You can read it here) and I thought, hey, why not? It could be an interesting topic to talk about.
Unfortunately, my memory of my childhood reading is incredibly spotty and I avoided horror books as much as I possibly could. I was a scaredy-cat. Still am, comes to that. So you’d think that I wouldn’t have a whole lot of interesting answers to give to the question of what books scared me as a child.
Because it’s been on my mind a bit, courtesy of some recent discussions on my twitter timeline (or whatsitcalled? I’m still a twitter n00b).