rynling: (Terra Branford)
Yesterday afternoon, while driving down to Georgia, I finally found the entryway I needed for my book about women and comics. Instead of approaching the topic through its broader context of history or something resembling a literature review, I'm going to describe my process of writing the book as a personal narrative, with each chapter of the text approximating a chapter of my life. I know this sounds narcissistic – and it is! – but my project aims to draw connections that I don't think most people writing about popular culture have made yet, primarily because most people writing about popular culture don't have my generational experience.

How exactly did we get from Sailor Moon to Steven Universe? I know exactly how that story goes, because it's essentially the story of my life. Each chapter in the manuscript draws on a ton of research, but I want the introduction to be more personal; I want to engage the reader while showing her exactly how everything fits together within a lived experience.

It's a lovely 70° at 10:00 in the morning, which is perfect for taking a long walk and then sitting outside with some iced tea. The South may be a racist and homophobic dystopian hellhole, but at least the weather is nice.
rynling: (Cecil Harvey)
I'm supposed to be writing a book about women and comics, and in fact I have been writing it. Now that I am already well past the deadline for the submission of my manuscript, I need to edit the material and tie everything together with an introduction so that the work stands as a cohesive whole with a strong underlying narrative. I've been dragging my feet on the introduction especially, and I think it's worth writing about what's been going on inside my head in an effort to twist myself away from the doldrums of my anxiety.

Essentially, I'm worried about the reception I will receive. It's highly likely that I will receive no reception at all, because not everyone can be a beautiful shining star. If people do pay attention to my writing, however, I'm worried that there will be backlash from three groups of people:

(1) the patriarchy, who will say that gender isn't worth talking about,
(2) feminist scholars, who will say that I don't engage deeply enough with theory, and
(3) self-identified feminist fans, who will say that I am an outsider to fandom or doing fandom wrong.

Honestly, at this point, I'm less worried about the patriarchy (which is unfortunately very real and manifests itself in very concrete ways) than I am about my fellow feminists, especially subcultures of feminists who have positioned embittered critique as the only valid mode of discussion regarding popular culture.
rynling: (Cecil Palmer)
An acquaintance of mine from college works on the staff of the Smithsonian magazine, so I called him and asked if he could let me into the American History museum and give me a tour of the offices and archives. He was game, so off I go.

I have a new boss, and so far he seems more equanimous about my selfish bullshit than my old boss. I told him I needed to take the morning off to do research for a novel, and he was like, "Okie dokie, knock yourself out." It probably doesn't hurt that he's a novelist himself. I hope we can be friends.

I think the best way to approach my "fanfic as novel pilot" plan is to try to write a chapter every weekend. This gives me a month to figure out whether the story is worth dropping out of fandom and doing the actual work of becoming a writer.

Meanwhile I still haven't submitted the manuscript for the actual book I have under actual contract, because why pursue real-world success when you can build imaginary castles in the sky, I mean honestly.

ETA: My behind-the-scenes tour of the Smithsonian was amazing, holy fuck. That was such a good idea. Everyone I met was brilliant and encouraging, and I was so energized and inspired that I ended up writing almost 5,000 words after I got home that afternoon. I could really get used to this whole "being a writer" thing.
rynling: (Mog Toast)
Now that I'm writing a book, I'm having trouble caring about my professional blog. I didn't update it at all last month; I couldn't be bothered.

I've been having all manner of crazy thoughts concerning what to do with my contract advance (like scheduling an intake appointment for cosmetic surgery - no, seriously!), but I think the best use of the money might be to pay people to write for me. I would solicit guest writers and then compensate them fairly for their labor, basically.

The problem is that most of the writers I know in real life are neurotic. Like, I love them, but they are all different types of crazy. I am already an editor in my day job, but my institution lends me authority. If I become an editor on my own blog, it will just be me being a dick to my friends, many of whom are already a few cards short of a full deck (which is why I love them and, let's be honest, why we became friends to begin with). Also, if I start paying the people I drink with, obviously our relationships are going to change.

Still, I think it's worth trying. Since it's just a blog, I wouldn't be under any obligation to do anything with any degree of regularity, or to continue anything that isn't working for me. No one else on the internet or in print is doing anything remotely like what I'm doing, and it would be cool to turn this project into A Real Thing.

My plan for today is to (a) start drinking early, (b) send out the first batch of emails before I start doubting myself, (c) leave work after lunch to continue drinking, and then (d) put together a simple set of practical guidelines for guest writers. This is how professionals do things, right?
rynling: (Mog Toast)
Yesterday I signed a book contract.

The book is about women and comics. My main argument is that women are not a subculture.

Since I had nothing to lose, I went to the biggest, shiniest editor at the biggest, shiniest press I could think of. She got really excited and started using words I didn't understand, like "fax" and "certified check."

It's a sad commentary on the state of writing about comics that I was able to sell the idea for a book that essentially states "women exist." I'm actually planning on being quiet about this on my social networks, because I've already gotten aggressive pushback against the idea that there are just as many women as men making comics. A lot of people hate comics that aren't about superheroes, a lot of people hate comics that aren't written in English, a lot of people hate Tumblr, and a lot of people hate women.

In any case, my contract specifies the deadline for submission of the full manuscript as August 31 of this year. Seven months doesn't seem like a lot of time, and I seriously doubt that I have the strength of character to see a project like this all the way through. I will do my best, I guess.

To celebrate I bought myself a leather jacket and a pair of gold-rimmed aviator sunglasses so I can pretend to be a badass bitch instead of a scared and pasty nerd who has suddenly found herself at the deep end of a shark tank.


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