Monday, May 23, 2011

Re: De-sign

A common signifier of historical fiction is a website themed on parchment, browns and beiges, maybe some nice portraiture or at least a nice calligraphy border or something. Something sepia-toned; something to make you forget you're holding a laptop, and evoke an actual (leather-bound ... gilt- or deckle-edged) book.

And here you sit ... in a blue page with arbitrary little funky graphics - drab at best, utilitarian - and antithetical to the subject matter of the author, at worst ... Hmm. Why'd she pick this incredibly boring template?

Eh, it was way easier on the eyes than the solid black one, less garish than the self-consciously girlie ones, and not *quite* as dead-boring as the white one. I was too lazy, and probably too contrary, to search, learn how to design, or pay for a good skin - and I wanted My Writing to be the important thing too.

Granted, Blogger's got a decent looking parchment template with a sedate (if not actually stately) brown background. Eh, I guess I thought it was a bit literal.

More to the point, as some of my regular readers will have noticed recently: for a long, LONG time I really didn't post about history, nor even allow myself to discuss my subject in much detail. In part, this owed to the usual first time (unpublished) author coyness about giving away my trade secrets - heh. If I'm honest, though, it was informed most by a total lack of confidence in this as a marketing medium. When I started this thing, I hadn't really started that part of the work, and the idea that agents would be Googling me or showing up here seemed almost embarrassingly hopeful.

Too, there was the fact that I was still working on the book, and then once I finished it I almost unwittingly rebelled against it. I wanted to discuss it with people, but how to do so here was a little unclear to me, and felt very weird. I wanted to talk in real life about my research, about what I knew, what I had chosen, what the sources were like, all of that. But talking about it here ... ? Just seemed so alien an idea. I liked all those pieces of advice saying a writer's blog should be regularly updated, and not necessarily exclusively with self-conscious discussions of history, histfic, obsessive reflexive subject matter. "Prove you can write ANYthing, not just one thing" - and so I did.

There are times, seeing some of my most deeply and painfully personal posts getting the most hits on this site is pretty uncomfortable, actually - gratifying as it can be for an ego like mine.

Then there are the times I see people bumping into Trekthys and I kind of giggle about how interesting Teh Intarwebs can be (and the way I go on about Trek also informs the design question, I guess - making the whole Anteek-Theme thing all the more inauthentic).

The recent change to talk about Clovis I without quite so much protecting and posturing has been conscious and intentional, and the discussion of history, we'll see together, will probably also increase - perhaps even to include some of the research I'm actually doing for Novel #2, still a work in progress. It does seem logical to me, and in some ways I kick myself for being a bit too shy of my own world, as I have been for too long.

I'll try not to bore everyone with what I learned about the history of lace (a dead end for the work, as I expected it to be, actually), or even brick making in Late Antiquity Gaul. But don't be shocked if there's mention of two of my loves - my own research on pattern welding steel, and the perfectly wonderful Nova special about the making of Japanese katana blades, which got me quite wriggly a couple years back. Feel free to play Guitarist at the Back of the Bar regarding my opinions - nay, dare I even call it scholarship (because it was) - about history, source, and legend. Shoot, laugh when you notice that Guitarist at the Back of the Bar thing getting to be a real theme here - a likelihood inextricable to the nature of allowing myself excursions into Author's Note territory in posting. But come along ... I think it could be interesting.

For now, however: time for beddy-bye. Good night, all. See you soon.

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