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30 Days: Fan post

15. Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

There are many writers I admire, of course. I am a writer, an avid reader, and a librarian, so the written word is highly important to me, and I could make a really long list of the people whose writing I always love to read. And it would be quite a diverse group, too: professional writers, fan writers, journalists, humorist, bloggers, friends (with quite a bit of overlap among these categories). Another day, another month, another year, I might pick someone else, but as soon as I started this meme I knew who I was going to write about in answer to this question, and it is Cathrynne Valente.

I first discovered Valente through her fantasy novels, specifically the Orphan's Tales series, the first of which I read as an entry in the Speculative Fiction Challenge sponsored by [personal profile] renay back in 2008, on her strong recommendation. I was completely blown away: by the stories-within-stories structure, by its richness of language, by the sheer variety of tales that were worked organically into a single story. I was entranced, lost; it was one of the best books I'd read in a very long time, matched by very few since. The sequel was just as glorious; I awaited last year's "Palimpsest" with much anticipation and was justly rewarded. But it's not only for her fiction that I admire her. At some point last year, I stumbled across catvalente -- I can't remember the context exactly, but it might have been an eminently-sensible reaction to RaceFail '09 -- and it quickly became one of my favorite LJs. She writes intelligent, thoughtful, sometimes ranty posts on topics I care about, like feminism and sexuality and socially-constructed gender roles and fanfiction and storytelling, and even when I strongly disagree (as with her recent comments on DW, or pretty much every word she's ever written about "Lost"), I find her ideas and the ways she choses to express them thought-provoking.

I don't know that I can say I would want to write just like her -- my own prose style is a great deal sparser, less descriptive and detailed, and uses a lighter vocabulary. I have never been a poet. But I can appreciate the beauty of that style in someone else's work, and hers is some of the best.

30 Days of Writing: Complete list of questions

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