Carpe Sharknado (and Other Stuff I Liked in June, 2020)

Yup, the time has come to share not only what I write, but what I read, too. I’ll aim for a roundup per month, but… no promises! Please note that none of the links here are affiliates. I’m just a simple writer/reader, trying to make my way… you get the idea.

Non-fiction

Writing by Committee by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

“Perfection is the death of entertainment, just like predictability is.” (There’s a reason this post comes first in this merry little roundup.)

Out of Order by Courtney Milan

This post revealed yet another interesting tidbit of quality genre writing to me, and I loved it! Yes, it does mean I’ll have to rewrite at least one scene in Johnny’s Girls because Courtney Milan is right.

And yes, I’ve already identified at least one Dingbat A (a character, this time) in a novel I highly enjoyed reading and whoa. A whole new world…

Carpe Sharknado by Jennifer Crusie

It’s unbelievable how important this (old) post is. It hadn’t only made me more aware that yes, I need to write postapocalyptic Meditteranean Duchies, but it helped me realize how many of the things I adore would’ve been nonexistant if somebody had just stopped and tried to write something, you know, acceptable. Or normal. Or whatever—other than the exact thing they wanted to write.

How to Write About Africa by Binyavanga Wainaina

This article from 2005 blew my mind. Even as a person who never wanted to write about Africa, and who’s still not sure she’s even interested in reading about Africa, I recognize the many, many examples through sheer mass media around us (but mostly movies). That’s why it’s called research, and I feel this is a great starting point for someone as illiterate as me.

Regaining Focus by Dean Wesley Smith

Something I’ve been working on, hard, in early June. It was nice knowing I’m not the only one with these kinds of issues.

10 Life Lessons by Courtney Carver

“I want everyone to be well and safe and happy but I refuse to spend any more time making sure my choices are pleasing to everyone.”

WisCon38 Guest of Honour Speech by Hiromi Goto

It’s a lifelong search, trying to write characters whose experiences you haven’t had. And in 2020, writing fiction in English (for the first time, for me), there is no way in hell I can continue writing exclusively white characters and look myself in the mirror. Yes, fear of getting everything wrong included. Yes, the already apparent feeling of inadequacy included. At the beginning of my search to try to understand, I’ve stumbled upon this transcript from a speech Hiromi Goto gave back in 2014. I’m not quoting it, not even the (kinda famous) Big Important Point. Go see for yourself (if you haven’t already).

And, since this is the first roundup of this kind here on S’n’W, here’s a bonus post from May, too—because I can, and because we deserve it.

Yes and No: Consent in Sex Scenes by KJ Charles

It’s probably obvious that KJ Charles is a one-click author for me, and has been for a while now. Even though I don’t actually write characters this way, this post was a great read, and awesome food for thought. Yes, characterization through sex scenes is not only a regular occasion in fiction—it is paramount.

Fiction

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Stephanie Burgis is a newly discovered favourite. I’m glad she’s still working on her current adult series, because I am so ready to devour more. I started at Moontangled, but Spellswept is probably a better entry point. Art of Deception (standalone story) is another recommendation, albeit a more random one. Romance! Magic! Queer people! Matriarchy! Honestly, if this setting were a Bingo card, it would be pretty close to my all-time-favourite fiction elements. Grateful for the opportunity to enjoy.

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Still loving Hazard & Somerset by Gregory Ashe. The series has had ups and downs for me through the course of the books, but book the recently out book 10, Wayward, rates among my favourites. Nobody’s ready for the conclusion of this storyline—expecially not me. Gay detectives! (Actually, I still think one of them’s bi—even better.) Creepiness! Hotness! Yes.

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I finally bit the bullet with Sierra Simone’s Thornchapel series, mostly because I couldn’t get through American King. As I live an breathe, most of the stuff I hated in the earlier series is gone from this new, shiny one. Just a caveat—you need to be a certain type of person to enjoy this series. (And don’t read reader reviews for book two, dammit!)

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Cover photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash.