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Cast in Silence Chapter, and a question

Because it's the first of July, and it's Canada Day, I've posted the first chapter of the upcoming Cast in Silence on my web-site. Which can now be reached at www.michellesagara.com, (ETA: apparently, this doesn't work as a page-line in LJ, but does work if I cut and paste it. I don't know why. But: the website is here) but is still the same wordpress site it's always otherwise been. It's tucked away in the Chronicles of Elantra side-bar, under the Cast in Silence entry.
Okay, and now, the question.  Well, first the preamble (because of course I can't ask a question without a lot of preamble).

Well, actually some pre-preamble. This question was lifted in its entirety from what I just posted on the web-site, and if you've read it already, there is nothing new here, and I apologize. This actually brings up another point: I'm now (mostly reading) Twitter, Facebook, LJ and my usual RSS feeds. One thing that makes me crazy is the people who post to Twitter and then repost what they've written on Twitter to every other feed. Which shouldn't bother me. I've taken to watching only the Twitter, or only one of their various sites, if they do this, though, because I don't need to read the same thing four times, no matter how interesting it was the first time. So. I'm happy to read anything once. I hate to read it multiple times. And, of course, I'm posting almost the exact same thing (minus this small rumination) on two sites.

You may throw fruit now. Hopefully you will be as bad an aim as I am.

It’s been suggested that I’m not very active on-line, and this is partly true.  I spend time reading on-line, but I don’t post often, and if I do, it’s frequently with a sense of driving outrage.  This implies that I’m normally a fairly silent person, unless pushed, which is sadly not entirely representative of the truth, especially not if you ask my brother.  (Hands up, any brothers who feel that their sisters actually do not talk all of the time).

I’m a fairly housebound person.  But I’m not really a gardener (because I have black thumbs), and knitting is always a proof-in-concept of extra-dimensionality.  I am not a very visual person, and I can draw stick figures on a good day.  I can’t sing, and if I listen to music while trying to write…well, I listen to music.  I don’t travel very much.

I work in a bookstore, which I managed until my oldest son was born.  I like the part-time work there, because I get to handle new books, and I get to see real people.  I understand parts of the writing process, I understand parts of the publishing process, and the business therein.

I do read, because I can’t actually remember a time in my life when I didn’t.  Reading is very much part of what I do, and how I think or feel.  I see movies, but mostly, I see movies that I can take the kids to see.  The two exceptions to that in recent memory that stand out:  The Lives of Others and Il y a Longtemps que Je t’aime.  Both of which were, in their own stark way, so profoundly beautiful I still try to make people watch them.  But I don’t watch very much television at all, and if I do, I play catch-up on series when they’re released as DVDs.

I do have children, and my oldest is now a teenager, and he has given me permission to talk about some of his earlier life and his earlier experiences; I’ve never felt entirely comfortable talking about them in public before because only part of them are my life.  My oldest was diagnosed with Asperger’s, part of ASD, when he first hit school, and some of that experience occupied a great deal of my thought and time.

I also read some manga, and play some computer games.  I spent a number of years playing World of Warcraft, and I have some things to say about the nature of on-line MMO’s in a variety of different ways (gender roles immediately come to mind, and, ummm, I may have been guilty of long, looooong rants about the difference between “male” clothing and “female” clothing in game, among other things. Age disparities. Social values & communities, and how they're pared down, possibly in a bad way.)

But I’m not sure that any of these things are profoundly interesting to people; they are all, of course, interesting to me.
Writing is not a terribly entertaining spectator sport, unless it’s been a particularly bad writing day, in which case it’s at least audibly interesting.  At a safe distance.  (My son says no distance is safe at that time ).

So… what I’m wondering at this point is:  What do you want to see, when you drop by here, or, you know, any author home?  Would posts about the disconnects experienced in raising an ASD child or posts about funny/infuriating things in an MMO, or more frequent ‘read this book’ posts be reasonable? I've done publishing/business related posts in the past, and I'd also be happy to continue with those, but in general I tend to post them reactively now because so many smart people do post about them; I fill in the edges if I think they weren't clear enough.


( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 1st, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
What I want to see at an author's site varies by author.

At your site, I'm happy to see darn near anything. Helpful, no?

I'm fond of your rants, personal writing experiences, and thoughts on publishing.

I'd be particularly interested in reading your poetry, if you chose to post any here.

(Back to mom stuff ...)
Jul. 6th, 2009 07:07 pm (UTC)
I can think of maybe two things off-hand that I'd be willing to expose the reading public to, with regards to poetry. But while I do still write it, it's written in a very particular frame of mind, and it's not something I've ever written specifically for publication, although some of it was published in the University review when I was a student.

Jul. 1st, 2009 06:51 pm (UTC)
As a girl WoW player myself, I'd happily listen to you talk about anything WoW related. Especially the clothing and gender roles, because seriously, once I had a high-level PLATE wearing character who looked like she'd walked out of a Victoria Secret's catalog. (What's up with that? Plate should never look like an open-backed negligee with thigh-high stockings. Plate is always the skaniest, even more than cloth, which you'd THINK would be the most likely to be skanky. I tend to think it's because healing classes wear cloth and they're more "good".. I shouldn't get started on this rant.)

But honestly, I'd read anything you cared to write about. Prior to your series on publishing and book selling I wouldn't have anticipated being interested in that but I enjoyed it so much I've started reading other industry-related blogs even though I'm neither a writer, nor a book seller, or in publishing.

So I'd hesitate to say that any topic you'd feel strongly enough about to write on wouldn't be interesting to me. ;) That's what I look for at author's blogs more than anything else: What do they like to talk about? Well, maybe most readers want to know about future releases and possibly backstage making-of-tidbits. But the over-arching desire is just to learn more about an author, and whatever they choose to talk about, be it personally relevant or interesting, will fulfill that.
Jul. 1st, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
What I like to read at an author's blog is whatever has sparked their interest at the moment, and the occasional reminder of which works of theirs are available, or about to be.

In response to this particular list, I would love to hear more about which manga you've been reading, because while I have several favorites only a few are still putting out new material.

And a rational discussion of WoW would be fabulous, because while my son and husband are both players (thankfully neither are addicts) I continue to have trouble getting started even though all indicators are that I would enjoy it. The most recent attempt on that is about to start later this week, as I try running it on a spare gaming laptop instead of my tiny, old, slow but beloved machine (it turns out you are actually supposed to see your character move when you walk down the road - not jump about as if the sunlight was a strobe).

I want to read your posts because I like to hear what you're up to, and because they reassure me that I should be posting something myself - either on my own or as comments.
Jul. 1st, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)
Personally I think how much people enjoy WoW depends a lot on what they're looking to get out of the game, and how well that matches up with what their friends want. One of the things I like about WoW as opposed to other MMORPGs is how it supports many different play styles. Unfortunately these games also tend to be populated with fairly intense people, and on occasion, I feel really awful that I'm not nearly as hardcore. There's just too much to do, I can't spend enough time doing it all! Which is why I don't play with a friend who was particularly strict, to the point where he was scheduling times when everyone in our group had to be online doing a specific task, and it became like a second job. ;) I've had to learn how to try to tune out all the crazy raid gear/faction grinding and enjoy the bits I enjoy.

The most important thing I learned is to take a break whenever I'm starting to feel the slightest bit overwhelmed, to ignore people who tried to pressure me to play more than I wanted to, and to rein in my disappointment if my friends are in an off-cycle when I'm in an on-cycle. ;) I played non-stop for the first 6 months after it initially came out and I burned out hard, I refuse to do that again.

If your husband and/or son haven't already offered, I think the most fun strategy is to have a partner or two, for everyone to make new characters, and only play those particular characters together. My sister and I have a pact, we have two characters we only level with each other. That way we're always in the same place at the same time, and it's a lot easier to get quests done with a partner. It does require some discipline, sometimes its hard not to play if my sister is busy and vice versa, but we also have characters we play alone. Or we work on tradeskills or non-questing activities. I used to do this with my husband, but he quit the game years ago.
Jul. 1st, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
"Would posts about the disconnects experienced in raising an ASD child or posts about funny/infuriating things in an MMO, or more frequent ‘read this book’ posts be reasonable?"

'Yes' to all of the above.

I post very little in my own LJ, other than the List Of The Day, and I fear it's because doing tech writing nearly every day sucks all the "writing for fun" or even "putting it into words" out of me. Or maybe it's just that nothing very interesting goes on in my life, and when it does, I'm too tired to write. But still. I I enjoy learning what my friends are up to, even though I don't reciprocate.
Jul. 1st, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
I am much the same, I think. But it seems to me that you need do only as much or as little as you want. I enjoy your rants, I'd enjoy seeing your views on books and manga. A lot of the obsessive posters I know don't in fact have much content: intermittent but interesting is a good model as far as I'm concerned.
Jul. 1st, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
I second that opinion. I come to author's LJs or sites to get a grasp on what they are interested in apart from what I can get from their books ^^, so whatever/whenever you find to post is fine.
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Jul. 1st, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
I'm happy with any posts from my authors. For a long time, until this whole 'internet' thing, authors were nothing more than pictures on the back of a book with a little blurb about them if I was lucky. I'm intensely curious about the mind behind the world. Not just the writing process, but.. who are they? What do they do with their lives, how do they fit the real world in when they're carrying entire other worlds in their head?

I would also like to hear about your experiences raising your son. My brother's children fall under the ASD label - and I call it that because it feels as though the day they got a diagnosis, the entire world wanted to shove them into neat little boxes, and it drives me nuts.
Jul. 1st, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
I would also like to hear about your experiences raising your son. My brother's children fall under the ASD label - and I call it that because it feels as though the day they got a diagnosis, the entire world wanted to shove them into neat little boxes, and it drives me nuts.

This is interesting to me, because my son's godfather's wife was traveling and met a woman whose child was diagnosed ASD, and she came back furious about the discussion. And I asked why, because at that age, we did frequently discuss my son. She said "Your son is your son. He's his own person. She talked about her child as if her child was nothing more than textbook symptoms."

But I should also make clear that he was raised in a two-geek household, and we tended to be more experimental and less social-conformist. If something worked, we would pursue it. If it didn't work, it didn't matter to us whether any other parent thought it damn well should work; we didn't.

But there's a variety of different aspects to ASD (which used to be called PDD), so each child diagnosed with it is going to be totally different, and what works with one, won't always work with the other - which is why the label itself is ... tricky. I can't think of a neat little box in which to put all of the children with that diagnosis; they simply wouldn't fit.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
I usually don't post anonymously, but I am doing so for my teenage son's anonymity. He was dx with AS at age 5 and we, too, never defined him by the symptoms/issues of Aspergers. We, also, approached our son in a non-dogmatic way and did what *he* needed to thrive, finding ways to enter his life, rather than force him into someone else's definition of 'normal'.

Now at close to 16, he is an amazing, quirky, fun kid who I wouldn't change for the world. Besides, if I rejected who he is, I also end up rejecting myself. They didn't have any understanding of those of us a little sideways from the norm when I was growing up in the 60s, but today I'd likely be diagnosed on the spectrum as well.

The truth of it is, I'm a happy geek. A wife and mother. A professional and a writer. My son is my son. He has as set of strengths and struggles, like anyone alive has. His particular set just happens to have a name.

I enjoy your blog and would be happy to read anything you happened to be passionate about, be it writing and publishing or not.
Jul. 1st, 2009 07:24 pm (UTC)
I particularly like what you have to say about writing, but I'm geeky that way.

Seriously, whatever causes sparks to fly is interesting. Another author blogs quite a bit about his experiences with cancer. I hope they never apply to my life, but because he's passionately involved, his writing about it is involving.

So, whatever geeks you is good.
Jul. 1st, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
I primarily read for your experience of creative process and how it intersects with the world around us (which certainly extends to your publishing/business content). I'm interested in creativity generally and typically learn things that are worth thinking about when I consider how others deal with theirs.

Otherwise, I'll read many other things you write here because your 'voice' itself makes those subjects more interesting.
Jul. 1st, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
I'd read all of the above, as most of those topics are relevant to me anyway. And if you have strong opinions on manga, I'd like to read them :) I don't play WoW, but I do play an MMO from time to time. I will never ever ever complain about a 'I wrote this, so read it!' post. The more I can get of your works the better. xD <3 And honestly, if I weren't interested in all of said mentioned things, I wouldn't be following you or Brent Weeks on twitter. ;)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 1st, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
Gee, I'd find all of that interesting. I guess I just think you're an interesting person .

Actually, I suppose I enjoy the way your mind expresses itself, and I frequently find myself agreeing with your outlook on various issues apart from writing.

I started looking at your various sites just to get any info I could on how the writing was going and when I could start looking forward to a new book, but I've long since become more interested in your personal ideas/rants/views than I am in just book information.

And I must apologize for being one of the people who post my tweets to facebook, although I have been thinking lately of stopping this practice. You see, in the beginning I didn't have any friends who used both, so it seemed to work. But that's changed now, so I think I must change with the times.
Jul. 1st, 2009 09:30 pm (UTC)
And I must apologize for being one of the people who post my tweets to
facebook, although I have been thinking lately of stopping this practice.
You see, in the beginning I didn't have any friends who used both, so it
seemed to work. But that's changed now, so I think I must change with the

You know, after I posted, I realized that there were three people who would now suddenly be feeling self-conscious about this, and I considered going back and editing it out. Too late =/, and I want to apologize for that now, but first, I must kick myself--this is the kind of thing I generally edit a bit before posting, and this is exactly why.

You post so seldom that in either Twitter or Facebook I'm lucky if your single post is not 600 posts down the "load more" list, and I just count myself lucky to catch it on either, at all. You will note that anywhere you post, I'm still following.
Jul. 1st, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
Happy Canada Day! (My consolation today is eating porridge with maple sugar.)

What do you want to see, when you drop by here, or, you know, any author home? Would posts about the disconnects experienced in raising an ASD child or posts about funny/infuriating things in an MMO, or more frequent ‘read this book’ posts be reasonable?

More or less the same things as I see in anyone's blogs: bits of their daily lives, the projects that they're working on, interesting inside information, random philosophical thoughts. So yes, all of those things are reasonable. Though I'd expect that you might occasionally mention, y'know, books. :)

Writing is not a terribly entertaining spectator sport, unless it’s been a particularly bad writing day, in which case it’s at least audibly interesting. At a safe distance. (My son says no distance is safe at that time ).

*grin* It's been mentioned here and there. Sometimes we get word counts. Sometimes we get industry information. Sometimes we get rants about the evilness of the postal system. Sometimes we get recipes or sales pitches or answers to fan mail. It's all good.

It was especially good for me, to know that you're still working on House War. I've just finished re-reading from Hunter's Death to The Sun Sword, and I can't wait.
Jul. 1st, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
Firstly, thanks for posting the chapter!!

Would posts about the disconnects experienced in raising an ASD child or posts about funny/infuriating things in an MMO, or more frequent ‘read this book’ posts be reasonable?

Sure. I'm interested in autistic spectrum stuff (my dad might be diagnosed with Aspergers if he were a kid today) & feminist clothing rants & book recommendations . . .

But it's your lj really. I mean, it's not even something we have to buy/you are trying to sell. If you want to rant about something & a person doesn't enjoy it, we can either defriend you if you get constantly boring or skip that particular entry. I skip entries of people/communities on my flist all the time. (Especially the knitting ones.)

Some writers are concerned about not revealing their political beliefs, in case readers decide not to try them on principle, so if you are that way you might not want to talk about politics. But lj is about saying whatever you want to say (as long as it's not child pr0n).
Jul. 1st, 2009 11:18 pm (UTC)
As someone who also tends to read more than post, I'd say it's your journal, write what you want to write. If it's not something I'm interested in, I'll simply skip it. If you were to start writing multiple times a day on issues I'm not interested in, I might choose to stop reading your journal, but I don't think that's really a major danger.

I found your journal because I like your Michelle West books. As someone who's long considered getting off (or on, I suppose) his duff and writing a fantasy novel himself, I've enjoyed your posts about the business. I'm sure I'd find some of the other topics you mentioned interesting, and if not, well, it's your journal, write what interests you. Well done, content doesn't matter -- I've lost track of the number of times NPR has done an absolutely fascinating story on a subject I wouldn't have said I'd be interested in in a million years.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 12:00 am (UTC)
I like wordcounts.
pretty please...
Jul. 2nd, 2009 12:08 am (UTC)
I'm really happy to see anything you are moved to write about. That's the nice thing about reading journals by writers. Most writers can make almost anything interesting, if one likes their style and approach to begin with.

Jul. 2nd, 2009 12:40 am (UTC)
To quote someone above, What I like to read at an author's blog is whatever has sparked their interest at the moment, and the occasional reminder of which works of theirs are available, or about to be.

When someone is interested in something, they are interesting about it, often enough.

Jul. 2nd, 2009 02:04 am (UTC)
Firstly: I am one of the many guilty of posting the same thing more than once.

That being said.

What do I expect to see here? Or want to see?
Whatever you want to write.
Quite frankly, when it comes to journals/blogs/diaries/etc, I hold strongly that the content is and should be entirely up to the person doing the writing. What others want/expect to see doesn't matter. This is your place - your place - to rejoice, to vent, to ruminate, to recount your day.
As for being absent, it's one thing if it's a family member who bugs you about it. After all, most families, when they don't hear from you in a while, get concerned, or at the VERY least, curious. But for a perfect stranger whom you've never even met in person to ask you to be more present - that's most definitely crossing a line.
I've observed that you write mostly about the writing/publishing process here, and on Twitter you give little snippets of your personal thoughts on life in general. If that's the way you want to run things, then that's how you do it. If you're absent from here a lot of the time, so be it. You're a busy woman with a busy life to lead - and lead it you do.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
OMG chapter! Too short. Thanks!

Also, both of the html markups in the entry appear to not work (at least they didn't work for me; they both led to LJ groups that didn't exist or something).

I'd be interested in anything you feel like writing about--although perhaps particularly in any stories about (raising) your ASD son you might be willing to share, since I for one feel that I don't understand it even approaching enough. And I love to hear other people's thoughts on manga, because I like it myself. Ditto for "read this book" posts, since I find that people who write books themselves tend to recommend good ones (I'm reading The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet now due to your Twitter recommendation, and am enjoying it so far).
Jul. 2nd, 2009 05:23 am (UTC)
That's true, the link html somehow was screwed up. I found the site here http://msagarawest.wordpress.com/ or here
Jul. 2nd, 2009 02:22 am (UTC)
Post your grocery and laundry lists. Write about the idiot on the way to work or to get the boys from school. Write whatever and you know I will read it. If you think you don't post much, consider the last time I posted something.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
I started reading your LJ because of the writing and publishing insights, but I'll likely ready anything you post.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 06:54 am (UTC)
I've played MMOs forever it seems like, and I'm always interested in an intelligent female perspective on my favorite kind of game.

But as a geek mom to a 1st grader on the spectrum (he taught himself to read when he was two, and the parenting adventure took off from there) who just married a Canadian, and is about to move up to Vancouver and out of California for the first time ever . . . well, I think I can say I'd be very very interested in anything you have to say about your life outside of writing. It feels like I spent 5 years down here figuring out the school and medical system, and now I have to start all over again. Your perspective would be really valuable to me.

And now, I am off to read that chapter!
Jul. 2nd, 2009 11:33 am (UTC)
Speaking as someone who reads various authors' blogs, but rarely comments, any author is necessarily good at writing, whatever the subject.

It's almost irrelevant what you write about, the result will be worth my time to read (and if you choose a topic one day that I completely disinterested in, I'll just skip that post)
Jul. 2nd, 2009 01:11 pm (UTC)
Personally, I enjoy anything an author posts.

And I'm not exactly the most prolific poster myself.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
(I read your LiveJournal through the feed.)

When I drop by author websites and author blogs, it tends to be because I like the authors' writing and am interested in what they're interested in. (Which is to say that I want to know what they're interested in, not that we necessarily share the same interests.) My favorite blogs, author or otherwise, are those that have posts on a variety of subjects, all written interestingly.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC)
From my perspective, any posts are welcome, but I do recognize that some people prefer to limit their online presence to a few occasional updates per year. That's fine with me, as long as it is explained up front.

If you want to post about raising an ASD child or anything else you want, that's fine with me. After all, this is your LJ site (or your website), and what you're comfortable with posting about is -in the end- entirely up to you. You're inviting us into your life, so you should be the one to set the expectations.

That said, if you want to have your more personally oriented posts on LJ but your career related posts on both locations, that would seem to make sense.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
Just to add to the consensus
My general experience is that anything a good writer is interested in writing about will be worth reading. You are a good writer: ergo, if some topic sparks your interest enough to write about it, I would be happy to read it.
Jul. 3rd, 2009 08:31 am (UTC)
have you considered book touring in oregon?? my husband and i enjoy your "cast" series and sit on pins and needles awaiting the next one.
Jul. 3rd, 2009 01:35 pm (UTC)
I would love to hear about your personal experiences (with your kids and any other random and interesting things), because it's a good way to learn about things that I don't have any experience with, and I enjoy reading your writing in any topic.

And I would really like to hear about any books/manga you're reading and like; I've found a lot of really good stuff by discovering what my favorite authors like.
Jul. 3rd, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
I've spent about 90 minutes over the last couple days trying to find the trick Sandra McDonald showed me for blocking Twitter feeds. The post shows, but not the tweets.

Dang if I can find it, though.

I'd be interested in any of the things you discuss above, although I never read WIP or sample chapters online for a whole host of reasons, from spoilers for earlier books in a series to the "Crap! I've read this book before!" feeling I get when I start the actual novel.

The MMO stuff would be esp. interesting, since my son is slowly moving toward them.
Jul. 4th, 2009 05:55 am (UTC)
I can only speak for myself, but I looked you up because I am such a fan of your books. And this, in turn, caused me to want to know more about you and, of course, to snatch up whatever tidbits (such as this first chapter!) of upcoming works you might offer. So, while there is certainly no judgement or generalization going on from this end, I believe that whatever you feel inclined to post about allows us to get to know something about you. And whatever that may be, it's special. This is an amazing age to live in, where we get to have more of an authors words than just what gets bound and published. And that's exactly what it is, a privilege.
( 39 comments — Leave a comment )

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