Category Archives: Things That Make Experts Cry

Heavy Gear? Knight vs Soldier vs Firefighter

Demonstration of relative mobility issues of a modern soldier, a firefighter, and a knight in full kit. There are some obvious differences in the ages and fitness/stamina level of the participants, but this should give some indication of agility and fighting ability of knights in armor.
 

SFF Short Fiction 101 (from a slusher)

**THIS POST DOES NOT REPRESENT THE OPINION OR METHODOLOGY OF ANY ANTHOLOGY OR MAGAZINE I HAVE WORKED FOR. ALL VIEWS ARE MY OWN.

Hello new writers! Welcome to the game.

Here is some stuff I’ve learned about short fiction submission (and hopefully sales) in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres. I expect that some of this will be wrong, or not true in all cases. If you’ve had stuff published before, you probably know all this.

My credentials: I write mostly fantasy, and have slushed for the Upside Down anthology released by Apex Magazine. I currently slush (am a first-reader) for Escape Artists, specifically Podcastle and Cast of Wonders. I also have written a small number of spotlights (tiny interviews based on short stories) for Lightspeed.

Why am I writing this: I tweeted something re: short fiction submissions, and discovered some people saying the process is opaque. Hopefully these 9 items will shed some light on what happens to your story.

1. What is a slusher? Why should I listen to you?

When a short story gets sent to a publication (sometimes called a market), it enters a queue. The first round of readers, called slushers, read through the stories and decide which ones to pass up to the editor. This is sometimes called a “bump.” If the story doesn’t quite match the publication, or the prose isn’t quite there yet, it will be rejected at this stage. More on that below.

The word slush comes from back in the day when people would submit their stories by printing them out and tossing them through the mail slot. You can visualize how a thick pile of white manuscript paper resembles a chunky, half-melted snow drift.

Why listen to me? You don’t have to listen to me, there are lots of posts by much more successful writers, editors, and agents — but after about a year of being a slush reader, I’ve observed a few missteps that are pretty easy to fix. You know. If people know about them.

2. My story is done, and revised, and ready to go! What next?

Are you sure it’s done?
Have you gotten feedback on plot, sentence structure, pacing, plausibility?
Have you checked for common tropes that might be overused?
If no, go back and fix it.
If yes, read on.

Do not skip the revision step. Once you send a story to a market, you cannot re-submit it. Consider that bridge, for that story, burned.

But you can always submit different stories.

There are lots of places to submit your story, and new markets and anthologies pop up all the time. My go-to search engine is the Submission Grinder.  There I can search not only by subgenre and length, but I can also search by the pay-level. Around 3cents a word is semi-pro, and around 6cents per word is considered a pro-rate.

Pay rates matter if you care how much money you’re making, and they will also qualify you for membership in organizations and guilds like Codex and SFWA.

Why join a guild? Friendship, news, and some resources. You’ll need to make at least one sale at 6cents/word in order to qualify for either of those.

3. How do I know if my story is what that market is looking for?

Well… you don’t. We don’t either. That’s why “don’t self reject” is common and good advice. However, here are the elements at play in a decision.

  1. You have to learn that market. Read the magazine. Listen to the podcasts. There are many styles within a genre. Some fantasy markets want old-school Conan adventures. Some fantasy markets are deeply committed to beautiful, understated language that cut to the emotional core.
    1. Subbing to a market without a broad sense of their taste is like going on a date with the editor and only talking about yourself. Hard to make a meaningful match that way.
  2. Is your story the best story in the pile, at the time? Sometimes we’ll get five stories in a pile that we absolutely adore, but we only have two slots available.
    1. I’ve had one friend get rejected because their story was similar to one that was recently purchased. They waited a year, the editors changed,  they resubmitted, and sold the story.
  3. Taste is subjective. The stuff I like, the stuff my fellow slushers like, and the stuff my editors like might not match exactly. My editors have been kind enough to let me know if I’m going in a different direction from them, and I’ll adjust. If I don’t click with a story, but I recognize that the writing is really good, I leave it for someone else to judge.

4. I found a market I want to submit to. What next?

Check their web site for submission guidelines. That includes file type, formatting instructions, and cover letter content. I can’t speak for all magazines/markets, but most cover letters for short fiction should be brief.

I see a lot of cover letters that are fluffed up into more details than this. To be honest, as a slusher (and kind of a jerk) I’m not interested. If your story is good, then people will like it, and they will like our magazine by extension. This is a business. There are no pity-sales.

If you don’t have previous publication creds, that’s totally fine. You can also list esteemed workshops and awards if you like, such as Clarion, Viable Paradise, or Taos Workshop. I don’t really care about that stuff, though. Mostly I will be envious you got to enjoy those experiences, and I haven’t yet.

I care about your story.

5. What about inclusion? Don’t you want to know if I’m non-binary?

This is the one exception to the above tweet. I do look for things that indicate the author has come from an underrepresented demographic, and I also look for notes on their occupation or other lived experience (i.e., refugee, Indigenous Cultural Advocacy, etc).

This does not include your feelings or intentions.

The reason I glance at this information depends largely on the topic and themes of the story. These qualities lend veracity to stories about those particular topics, but quality comes first, always.

I have also used this information to make sure I’m not misinterpreting unfamiliar language as “improper” language. Everyone slushes differently, and I’m still learning how to do this properly.

6. What if I get rejected?

There are a few kinds of rejections.

Form rejection – general, no details about your story. Either a poor fit, or the writing wasn’t quite ready.

Personal rejection – these are actually really great! The top 10% of rejections. They’ll tell you something specific about why your story wasn’t working for the editor. The trick is to go from being in the top 10% (personal rejections) to the top 1% (publication).

Rewrite request – “if you’re willing to make these changes, then we can send you a contract. LMK if that’s ok.” When I’ve been asked for rewrites in the past, I have done them — with the intention to revisit the cut material in other stories (if what was cut out was really important to me). It’s totally ok if you don’t want to make changes. No one will blacklist you for sticking to your guns.

Silence. Check the magazine’s website. Sometimes they’ll indicate how long you should wait to query. Querying is totally fine IF you do it during the time-span suggested (i.e., after waiting 3 months).

Regardless of what kind of rejection you get, it’s totally fine. It happens to most of us, all the time. Keep writing new stories, keep revising, and keep sending them out. It’s totally ok to “trunk” (put a way) a story if you’re not sure if it will sell. You should start the next one as soon as you can, though. If you have writer-buddies, this is how we keep our spirits up. If you don’t have writer buddies, check out some forums or Twitter or G+ and see if other people are looking. That’s a whole other post by itself.

7. What if I get accepted?

There will be a contract and a celebration, most likely. Possibly also dollars. Once the party’s over, start writing the next story.

8. You’re so mean! Why do you say you don’t care?

It’s not personal, it’s business.

That said, in light of privilege and intersectionality, there’s still a lot of work to be done. There are millions of stories not getting told, that really need to be. There are voices that aren’t getting their share of the spotlight, that really should be. All of our experiences are unique, as are our voices. You might have some insight I’ve been waiting my whole life to hear. I want you to keep writing, reading, learning, growing, improving… so that when it’s your turn, you’re bulletproof.

I don’t want you to miss out because your sentences are clunky. I don’t want you to miss out because you’ve been sending your military SF to urban fantasy markets. I want you to have every opportunity available, and I want you to not waste it by making small, fixable mistakes.

9. What if I have more questions?

Slushers are largely invisible because of the odd person who will respond to a rejection with an argument, or in some cases, a baseball bat. Never EVER argue. Ever. Don’t even send thank-you notes. By allowing slushers and editors a bit of professional distance, we have the spoons to do our jobs correctly, voting on each story on its own merits.

This is a business. We are more likely to do business with other people who treat it like a business.

If you really want to get back at us, or thank us, keep writing. Write something that knocks our socks off. Keep trying. You’ll get there.

In the end, all that matters is the story.

Final note…

The writers that are loudest about process advice tend to also be the newest (and not successful, yet). Don’t worry too much about finding the right path into the industry. Write and read, write and read.

When trying to figure out who to listen to, check their publication credits. How many books do they have out? Are they selling well? What awards to they have?  Are they regularly invited to speak at conventions? Have they been interviewed or published in trade magazines like Locus?

Spoiler alert: I have done none of these things. So if you have the opportunity, become a slusher yourself. You’ll see what it’s like out there.

Shut up and cope, you fucking weakling

Frustrated with talk of anxiety and trauma? Think that this generation is full of mewling pussies?

Have I got a rant for you!

If you have said the above sentence to yourself, I’d like to suggest that you’re coming at the sensitivity/politically-correct culture from the wrong direction.

(I offer as my context: I grew up in New York, and I now live in Norcal. My best friends and I say “go fuck yourself” instead of “I love you.”)

The primary goal of sensitivity, inclusion, unpacking, safe spaces, intentional communication, etc. is to to make the world less harsh and scary. In and of itself, that’s not a bad goal.

The process of unpacking all the horrible shit we’ve done to each other as a species is part of achieving that goal — looking personal and institutionalized cruelty (and the banality of evil) in the face and taking ownership of how those systems continue to screw people over.

So we’re looking at everything from considering natural African-American hair “unprofessional,” to quite literally beating each other to death over what… having to piss? Turning down a date? For fuck’s sake.

But sEtSu, everyone’s playing the victim! They use their “anxiety” and “trauma” to take up all the space in the room!

Well, I mean, lots of people have some form of social anxiety, ranging from, I’m a little nervous, I hope my peers like me, to full-blown can’t-go-outside-because-the-world-tried-to-kill-me agoraphobia. Acknowledging these things is usually meant as a way to show vulnerability — to bond — with the people around you. If the psychological vocabulary, or gender-studies vocabulary, or concepts relating to intersectionality are now widely available… why shouldn’t we use them to better understand ourselves and each other?

Especially in a world of social media, where it’s normal to not only air, but curate your thoughts and feelings. Our inner life is just as much on display as the clothes and cars of yesteryear. The thought police have nothing on social currency.

It’s also why you can’t really compare today’s struggles with the Victorian era, or WWII, because the stakes are so different. We can’t abstain from being online, from participating, because we’ll lose currency. On top of that, internet records are forever; and likely something your bosses and lovers (and now, possibly children?) will find.

Consider also the heightened insanity created by political echo chambers; pushing us further to one side or another in any game that has stakes… On top of terrorism, which is perpetuated somewhat by bombs, and much more by our media and government. There’s nowhere to run from any of this. We can’t avoid being online, and Syria is online. France is online. Nigeria is online. Radicals of all sorts are readily available 24/7, and we’re all watching each other.

I’m not saying the internet is the cause of our so-called fragility; but it’s been absolutely instrumental in changing the way we interact with each other as a people and as a species. The language is also changing and evolving incredibly fast. I’ve started seeing CW (content warnings) instead of TW (trigger warnings) to more accurately convey the purpose of the note.

As connective as this is, we could (and do) readily use that kind of information to exploit one another socially, emotionally, physically. We’re that much more on our guard for harm, because it can come from so many directions, with great intensity, at any time. We live in a world where you can get booed off stage by thousands of people from the comfort of your own living room.

It’s like that nude photo leak a few years ago. Some argue that the starlet shouldn’t have taken the photos, but they were stolen and distributed without her consent. Take a second to consider what you’re arguing in favor of. A kinder, gentler world wouldn’t slut-shame.

In my opinion, without shame, there’d be more orgasms for everyone. If they want them. No requirement either way. Consent. Vulnerability. Safety. It’s all good.

If someone cops to the fact that they feel off, and as such, are likely to do awkward things (like be insulting or draining, which is an honest mistake), surely you have as much ability to say, “it’s not my preference to shoulder that kind of vulnerability. Can we shift to a different topic?” Which lends itself to that kinder, gentler world folks are aiming for.

“Shut up and cope” is perfectly reasonable for some. Often, it’s exactly what I need to hear to pull myself out of a funk. For others, it leads to a sense of isolation, projecting, bad temper, alcoholism or other crutches, suicide, etc.

So I mean… it’s all about choice, spotlight or no, right?

Still annoyed?

Quit whining, whiner. Go for a walk or something, damn.

The Assumptions of 2nd Person POV

I have a lot of trouble connecting with work written in second person. I have a lot of trouble with “you are…” statements in general written by people who don’t know me. Especially if it says something evocative of coyness, glancing up from under long lashes while you brush your hair behind one ear — you always were beautiful.

Vomit.

For me, hearing “you” gets too tangled in my own sense of self, and the urge to get defensive or fling the book across the room for being presumptuous is too strong. It throws me out of the story, and there’s nothing worse, while reading, than remembering you’re reading. It ruins the escapism.

One way to use this successfully is when the object of the “you are…” is clearly established within the scope of the story. The most successful example of which is “Read This Quickly, For You Will Only Have a Moment…” by Stephen Case.

I am marking it here so I don’t lose the link again.

Head over to Beneath Ceaseless Skies to listen to it. It’s an old one from 2011, but it sticks in my memory.

Building a Language Out of Music (with boodles of links)


CCHR International released a video about the way attribute certain childhood behaviors to mental disorders. This video struck a chord with me because so much of what those labels say has to do with fit and function; rather than objective assessment. To oversimplify: If a kid has a lot of energy, and is set to a task that requires a lot of energy, there’s no reason to say they’re dysfunctional. However, if they’re asked to sit still all day, then… they’re gonna have a bad day. We can say that the kid has a lot of energy — but whether that’s an asset or a dysfunction depends on how she’s socialized.

How you’re socialized somewhat determines your relationship with music, and vice versa. Nowhere is fit and function more subjective than with musical taste. When someone asks what kind of music you like, “oh, everything but rap and country” is the most common answer I hear from my white friends. I’m willing to bet they haven’t listed to a lot of country; the same way I’m pretty sure my midwestern aunties can’t tell symphonic metal from speed metal and are content to leave well enough alone.

I like rap and country, and pop and metal, and industrial and folk (from Georgia the state to Georgia the country), and house and trip-hop, rockabilly and opera. It is perhaps most accurate to say I am psychoacoustically active to sus2 and sus4 transitions, which are chords specifically designed to cause tension.

Would love to see answers like that on a friggin’ buzzfeed quiz. What does your personal resonance say about you? It would be impossible to codify.

While music resonates on an intuitive level, there are mathematical consistencies. Some people look to classical forms to make them feel relaxed, whereas others can’t stand that stuff and find more aggressive material soothing.

It turns out there’s an entire field of (pseudo?)science surrounding music and sound as therapy. This article goes into some of the science of why humans like music. In some cases, it  creates a physical response.

For example, I noticed that the key changes in “Let it Go” always give me chills at the base of my skull. My buddy explained that in the Idina Menzel version there’s a key change from G minor to sus2 (a suspended chord). I get the same feeling during the Demi Lovato version, and he said it was the same thing. Similarly, in the case of our national anthem translated to a minor key, I felt the same chills at 1:08, 1:21, and 1:52.

Let’s go deeper than major = happy, minor = dour.

Suspended chords shift away from the common triad pattern, so instead of a 1+3+5 pattern you’d get 1+4+5 (sus4).

Mmm… Math.

Getting away from that for a moment, let’s talk about music and story.

Peter and the Wolf is an excellent introduction for how music can inform a story. Each instrument plays a particular role, and the narrator helps guide us along; but this is socialization. This is setting and meeting a specific expectation. The description and function of each instrument is clearly laid out so we know what to imagine when we hear the final adventure. However, if we’ve never heard the narration, and didn’t have the title, there’s a possibility we’d envision something different.

When story informs music, resonance could go anywhere. Even though we as humans experience the same emotions, we don’t always express them the same way. Let’s approach from the other angle, translating from feeling to music.

Das Parfum: Die Geschichte Eines Mörders, was a novel written in the 80s by Patrick Süskind. Many songs have been inspired by this story, but for now let’s talk about Meeting Laura (below) and “Du Riechst So Gut” by Rammstein. Both the choral Italian piece and the metal German piece balance warm attractiveness with a chilling threat — much like the protagonist Grenouille, who creates untouchable olfactory beauty while committing unspeakable horror.

When it comes to the music itself, are these different accents, or different languages? To me, the undercurrent feels exactly the same — the kind of passion that presents itself as love; but is in truth the most destructive kind of hunger. To me, these are different languages. They say the same thing, but are mutually unintelligible. When it comes to the language of music, this is further complicated by the fact that Western Europe never held a monopoly on music. There’s maqam. There’s sargam. There are dozens of other systems, codified and uncodified, that tell stories and resonate with musicians and audiences alike. Different chord progressions and different keys have different meanings in different cultures. What is mournful to one group could be joyful to another (literally, not sadistically).

What resonates with you might not resonate with your neighbor; but transcend borders and culture.

Certain characters and certain moments resonate so loudly we can slap a song right on them. However, I can’t put an entire 4-7 minute song in the text of my story — and need a shortcut. That’s where the math comes back. If you distill your favorite song down to it’s best moment, you wind up with a certain phrase linguistically and/or musically that can be represented in coded shorthand. Here’s a quick preview of how I’m doing this in text, aimed at people (like me) who don’t have a music theory background.

When one character is asked to introduce himself, he responds with five short chords, described as a lash of sound.  Here are the tabs for guitar.

e|————–|
b|————–|
G|————–|x 1
D|-0–0–0-0-0–|
A|-0–0–0-0-0–|
D|-0–0–0-0-0–|

This was taken from of Rammstein’s “Ich Tu Dir Weh,” the first five chords on guitar. Here’s a cover that focuses just on the guitars, and here’s the full song. That’s how this guy introduces himself, and how the other characters refer to him. It has been really challenging to translate these concepts into a wordless, intelligible, resonant language. All forms of expression have technical and intuitive approaches, which enhance and support each other.

If poetry is the music of language, music is the poetry of mathematics.

Stack of Rejections: How to Know When You’re Done

Say you’re writing a novel. Say you send it off to agents, indie publishers, friends, your neighbor, and no one wants to give you dollars for it.

How do you know you’re done?

If you’re a novelist, and you hate writing short stories, or “don’t” write short stories, I have words for you. They’re not idle words either, as I also dislike writing shorts. I feel you, I do. 

What we do is as much about craft as it is about expression. There are certain tools we need classes to use, certain skills we need to hone, and we need to develop the instincts to say when something is good — and when it won’t work where it is.

This is why writing short fiction is helpful.

Short fiction is an exercise that helps you learn those tools much faster, because you’re applying your skills in new situations one after the other. Like Arley said (while schooling me on structure) some people are born with good instincts, and while that’s awesome, that’s not enough. If you’re able to recognize how and why it’s good — you’re more likely to apply that technique intentionally and mindfully next time.

Isolate one event, one turning point, one moment, and focus on just that. Don’t worry about a long build-up and denouement. Every time you write a short, you’re not just learning about beginning-middle-end story structure, you’re learning narration. Scene-setting. Character development AND characterization. Decorative word-choice. Tone. Mood. The texture of language as it rolls off your tongue and how that informs all the other bits.

Even if they’re totally mundane stories, even if you would never submit them (try anyway) keep pumping them out. Practice the revision stage. Learn to identify your own strengths and areas for learning — and exploit them…

KatanaPen… Right… Here’s the martial metaphor. Short stories are individual forms. A combination of stances, strikes, and finite patterns. Your practice over the course of years is like your novel. Drilling the hell out of the small stuff will improve your ability long term. 

Because once you’ve done that five, 10, 30 times (and you’ll also take the opportunity to learn how to EDIT YOUR OWN WORK, an often overlooked skill in an editor-rich environment)… You’ll be able to take all of that practice and knowledge and apply it to the story you REALLY want to tell.

So, no. You’re never done. Not with that piece. Not until your ability catches up with your taste.

Now toss the pile into a drawer or sub-folder, and get back to work. You’ve got honing to do.

Artemisia Gentileschi’s Baroque Paintings – Debunked!

Found on Tumblr. I am putting this here because I don’t want to lose it. xray Susanna and the Elders: Restored (Left)  /  Restored with X-ray (Right) Kathleen Gilje, 1998 For those who don’t know about this painting, the artist was the Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 – 1656). Gentileschi was a female painter in a time when it was very largely unheard of for a woman to be an artist. She managed to get the opportunity for training and eventual employment because her father, Orazio, was already a well established master painter who was very adamant that she get artistic training. He apparently saw a high degree of skill in some artwork she did as a hobby in childhood. He was very supportive of her and encouraged her to resist the “traditional attitude and psychological submission to brainwashing and the jealousy of her obvious talents.”   Gentileschi became extremely well known in her time for painting female figures from the Bible and their suffering. For example, the one seen above depicts the story from the Book of Daniel. Susanna is bathing in her garden when two elders began to spy on her in the nude. As she finishes they stop her and tell her that they will tell everyone that they saw her have an affair with a young man (she’s married so this is an offense punishable by death) unless she has sex with them. She refuses, they tell their tale, and she is going to be put to death when the protagonist of the book (Daniel) stops them. So that painting above? That was her first major painting. She was SEVENTEEN-YEARS-OLD. For context, here is a painting of the same story by Alessandro Allori made just four years earlier in 1606:  image Wowwwww. That does not look like a woman being threatened with a choice between death or rape. So imagine 17 year old Artemisia trying to approach painting the scene of a woman being assaulted. And she paints what is seen in the x-ray above. A woman in horrifying, grotesque anguish with what appears to be a knife poised in her clenched hand. Damn that shit is real. Who wants to guess that she was advised by, perhaps her father or others, to tone it down. Women can’t look that grotesque. Sexual assault can’t be depicted as that horrifying. And women definitely can’t be seen as having the potential to fight back. Certainly not in artwork. Women need to be soft. They need to wilt from their captors but still look pretty and be a damsel in distress. So she changed it.  What’s interesting to note is that she eventually painted and stuck with some of her own, less traditional depictions of women. However, that is more interesting with some context.   (Warning for reference to rape, torture, and images of paintings which show violence and blood.) So, Gentileschi’s story continues in the very next year, 1611, when her father hires Agostino Tassi, an artist, to privately tutor her. It was in this time when Tassi raped her. He then proceeded to promise that he would marry her. He pointed out that if it got out that she had lost her virginity to a man she wasn’t going to marry then it would ruin her. Using this, he emotionally manipulated her into continuing a sexual relationship with him. However, he then proceeded to marry someone else. Horrified at this turn of events she went to her father. Orazio was having none of this shit and took Tassi to court. At that time, rape wasn’t technically an offense to warrant a trial, but the fact that he had taken her virginity (and therefore technically “damaged Orazio’s property”. ugh.) meant that the trial went along. It lasted for 7 months. During this time, to prove the truth of her words, Artemisia was given invasive gynecological examinations and was even questioned while being subjected to torture via thumb screws. It was also discovered during the trial that Tassi was planning to kill his current wife, have an affair with her sister, and steal a number of Orazio’s paintings. Tassi was found guilty and was given a prison sentence of…. ONE. YEAR……. Which he never even served because the verdict was annulled. During this time and a bit after (1611-1612), Artemisia painted her most famous work of Judith Slaying Holofernes. This bible story involved Holofernes, an Assyrian general, leading troops to invade and destroy Bethulia, the home of Judith. Judith decides to deal with this issue by coming to him, flirting with him to get his guard down, and then plying him with food and lots of wine. When he passed out, Judith and her handmaiden took his sword and cut his head off. Issue averted. The subject was a very popular one for art at the time. Here is a version of the scene painted in 1598-99 by Carivaggio, whom was a great stylistic influence on Artemisia: image This depiction is a pretty good example of how this scene was typically depicted. Artists usually went out of their way to show Judith committing the act (or having committed it) while trying to detach her from the actual violence of it. In this way, they could avoid her losing the morality of her character and also avoid showing a woman committing such aggression. So here we see a young, rather delicate looking Judith in a pure white dress. She is daintily holding down this massive man and looks rather disgusted and upset at having to do this. Now, here is Artemisia’s: image Damn. Thats a whole different scene. Here Holofernes looks less like he’s simply surprised by the goings ons and more like a man choking on his own blood and struggling fruitlessly against his captors. The blood here is less of a bright red than in Carrivaggio’s but is somehow more sickening. It feels more real, and gushes in a much less stylized way than Carrivaggio’s. Not to mention, Judith here is far from removed from the violence. She is putting her physical weight into this act. Her hands (much stronger looking than most depictions of women’s hands in early artwork) are working hard. Her face, as well, is completely different. She doesn’t look upset, necessarily, but more determined.  It’s also worth note that the handmaiden is now involved in the action. It’s worth note because, during her rape trial, Artemisia stated that she had cried for help during the initial rape. Specifically she had called for Tassi’s female tenant in the building, Tuzia. Tuzia not only ignored her cries for help, but she also denied the whole happening. Tuzia had been a friend of Artemisia’s and in fact was one of her only female friends. Artemisia felt extremely betrayed, but rather than turning her against her own gender, this event instilled in her the deep importance of female relationships and solidarity among women. This can be seen in some of her artwork, and I believe in the one above, as well, with the inclusion of the handmaiden in the act. So, I just added a million words worth of information dump on a post when no one asked me, but there we go. I could talk for ages about Artemisia as a person and her depictions of women (even beyond what I wrote above. Don’t get me started on her depictions of female nudes in comparison to how male artists painted nude women at the time.)  Extra note: Back in her time and through even to TODAY, there are people who argue that Artemisia Gentileschi’s art was greatly aided by her father (either he helped her paint them or just painted them himself). There are a number of works only recently (past several years or so) that have been officially attributed to Artemisia because people originally saw the signature with “Gentileschi” in it and automatically attributed it to her father. Not only was Artemisia Gentileschi an amazing artist and amazing historical figure, but I don’t want it to be ignored that there are people over 400 years later who are still unsure as to whether or not a woman could paint like this. Via The Brooklyn Museum

Addendum: It seems I have misled you. While the assertions above regarding the erasure of female artists has merit, this particular piece was a modern creation. The restorer, in her own words, explains that she painted and xrayed this work to make a statement; it was not a discovery. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jq2bmbPL7rA&sns=tw