So judging by the calendar, this is going to be my last blog post in 2011. This time of year always makes me a little introspective, and leads me to think about what the past year has brought and what I want the new year to bring. And since at this point I’ve been posting weekly reviews and essays fairly religiously for the past 15 months, I thought it would also be a good moment to assess how this blog has developed.
Thank You All
First, let me say how utterly and completely thankful I am to everyone who reads this blog. When I started back in 2010, I thought it would attract some ten or fifteen people every week. I figured that was a safe expectation, considering that the non-fiction I write tends to be fairly dense by the standards of the blogosphere. Add to this the fact that I’m writing this blog anonymously and that I’m not a big name author, and well…let’s just say that the visitor stats back in late 2010 bore out my suspicion.
But over the last year, I’ve gone from averaging about fifteen weekly readers to now averaging about fifteen hundred (excluding spam commenters, who I assume don’t actually know how to read). This fact is amazing, and incredibly gratifying. It is humbling to know that there are so many like-minded people out there who love speculative fiction as much as I do, and who find my thoughts interesting enough to subscribe, read, comment, and share with their friends. Seriously, you are all amazing. Thank you!
What Folks Liked in 2011
Since September 2010, I’ve made eighty-four posts here. Of those eighty-four posts, one third were reviews and the rest were almost all theoretical discussions of writing and genre. Based on my WordPress stats, the ten most popular posts in 2011 were as follows:
|1||Science Fiction Techniques in Spy Novels: James Bond and George Smiley||November 22nd, 2011|
|2||The Evolution of Middle-Grade Fantasy and Television||August 30th, 2011|
|3||Techniques in Writing Alternate History||February 22nd, 2011|
|4||Flirting and Writing Good Dialogue||June 26th, 2011|
|5||REVIEW: The Crippled God (Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 10) by Steven Erikson||March 2nd, 2011|
|6||Leaping the Chasm of Imagination: Verisimilitude, Historical Fiction, and Speculative Fiction||November 1st, 2011|
|7||REVIEW: The Clockwork Rocket by Greg Egan||July 19th, 2011|
|8||The Future is Now: Is Hatsune Miku William Gibson’s Idoru made real?||December 21st, 2010|
|9||Some Brief Thoughts on Love, Relationships, and Characters in Fiction||August 9th, 2011|
|10||A Theory of the Hero: Story Archetypes for Heroic Characters (part 2 of 3)||September 17th, 2011|
What this data suggests to me is that you folks like my theoretical investigations of genre more than my reviews. Is that the case? As I look to continue this great blogging adventure in 2012, I’d love to know more about what kind of material you’d like to see. I did a couple of one-off experiments in 2012 (the interview with Jonathan Case and Steven Padnick, a couple of three-post blog series, etc.) and they were qualified successes. Do you want to see more interviews? Guest posts? Podcasts? Video blogs? More pictures of our guinea pigs? Or should I stick to the approach I’m currently adopting under the theory of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”
Current Resolutions for 2012
In 2012, I would like to continue this blog. I’ve been having a lot of fun writing it and getting to exchange views with all of you both here and on Twitter. As I’ve been thinking about what to do with the blog in 2012, I’ve put together a brief list of blog resolutions for the new year. A year from now, it’ll be fun to check back and see which of these resolutions I actually managed to stick with:
- Read James Wood’s How Fiction Works Without Throwing it Across a Room. I read a lot of literary criticism and books on writing. I find them fun. But I have never been able to get through James Wood’s How Fiction Works. I find that his quasi-academic presentation obscures his rather banal observations, and the book has just infuriated me every time I’ve picked it up. Yet it comes highly recommended, and so I resolve that in 2012 I will actually finish it. Cover to cover. Honest.
- Broaden My Critical Theory. There are lots of critics out there who have interesting and insightful things to say about how fiction, and how genre fiction, works. I want to broaden my knowledge, to read wider in the field, and to share some of my perspectives with you as I do.
- Read More Review Books. About one third of my blog posts are reviews, but I would love to read more widely in and out of genre and post more of my thoughts on what I have found. Since my theoretical musings seem to be somewhat more popular than my reviews, I’d ideally like to do this by increasing my post frequency and thus keeping my theoretical output stable. I’m a little skeptical as to whether this resolution will actually be achievable, but some resolutions are made to be broken, right?
- Experiment with Give-aways. So far, I have never done any giveaways or anything like that. But as the shelves of ARCs and review copies keep growing, I think it’ll be worth experimenting with a giveaway or two this year. I’m curious to see how it works.
- Build Guest Post Relationships. I resolve to try to build guest post relationships, both where interesting and thoughtful people come and share their thoughts over here, and where I foray out into the wild Interwebs to share my thoughts on other blogs. It’s a brave new world out there.
- Be More Active in the Fan Community. This year, I resolve to go to more conventions (I’m already registered for Arisia, Readercon, and Chicon) and to meet other creators, bloggers, and folks who I’ve (so far) only met on the Interwebs.
- Experiment with Different Formats. This year, I resolve to continue various experiments with different post formats. They may be short micro-reviews, or different style posts entirely (video blogs? Podcasts?)
Do you have any other suggestions for me? I’d love to know what kind of stuff you’ve particularly enjoyed, and what type of material you’d like to see more of in the future. Please let me know! I’ve loved writing this blog for the past year and change, and am looking forward to doing more fun stuff like it in the near future.
Meanwhile, Happy New Year to everyone!