Archive for February, 2010

dang it!

February 24, 2010

My normal writing process is to basically throw everything I’ve got onto the computer.  Then I print it out, revise on paper, and move the edits to the electronic version.  Then I repeat.  Over and over.  (Not a very efficient or environmentally friendly process, but there you go.  It’s the only way I can make sure I’ve synthesized everything into a coherent mass. )

I have hit a bump in that process.

I left a manuscript at my parents’ house a week ago. I don’t think there was anything critical or deeply intellectual in that draft, but it still worries me a little bit. If I were to update what I have now and not be looking at those sheets, would I be missing something important – something that would affect the plot later on? Probably not. And yet, I wonder and worry and maybe not be able to write further because I’m worried about this. Grrr.


guns and boys

February 23, 2010

Henry has figured out there are guns in this world.  Also “stupids” and “dummies”  and “bad men.”

I don’t like any of it.  I knew it would happen someday, but it just seems so early.  Sigh.  We try very hard to shelter him from that sort of thing.  But I guess if we want him socialized and not act like we’ve been trapped in a bomb shelter since the 1950’s, then he will encounter it.   (Throws up hands. )

So now when he ‘shoots’ his ‘gun’ (his thumb and forefinger in an L shape), we try to indicate that is not something we like in our house.  Then he says he’s just squirting water from a hose.   Where he got that, I don’t know, although I have to vaguely admire the creativity.  (It’s not funneled in the direction I like, but still, it’s something.  And you don’t want to stifle the kid completely – otherwise, I’d be afraid he’s be an easy victim to cults or something.)

If it’s not one thing, it’s another, right?  Right?

this post is OOC.

February 22, 2010

OOC = out of character.

Writing a fanfic with characters that have only the barest semblance of the character you say he is (Gilligan, say, is a genius greater than the Professor) is very much looked down upon.

I’ve read reviews that talk about loving some author’s version of character.   Is that saying they interpreted the character well, or is it saying that despite everything that is different, the reader like this rendition of the character?

It’s just individual perception, of what a character would do or think in any given situation.  Then there needs to be synchronicity between these perceptions of reader and writer.

I’m trying to explain the difference between those things and what one might want a character to do but absolutely would not.  (i.e.  the Skipper and the Professor having a sexual relationship.  You can argue with me, but I really think that’s out of bounds for them.  Even if it were interesting to contemplate – just not within their psyches – too big a reach as to why that’s possible – that’s crack, as far as I can tell.  This is opposed to more likely things – i.e. the Skipper and Gilligan as a couple.  Oh come on – all that ‘little buddy’ stuff has got to mean something!  Or is it OOC?)

And there is some allowances going on that allows for some changes in personality/behavior if adequate explanation is given (say, Gilligan swam through a pod of nuclear fish and got bitten which caused his brain to mutate and become smarter than the Professor and more domineering than Mr. Howell).

What I’m trying to say is:  By the very nature of writing fanfic, do we as fanfic writers change what we try to honor?  And how valid is any review discussing whether or not justice has been done to a character?  I’ve done this – and then I think that my opinion isn’t any better than any one else – who am I to say anything about other people’s work/interpretation of a character? Then I feel bad – so, people to whom I reviewed about their character being OOC, I’m sorry.

small things done dirt cheap

February 20, 2010

I just bought and installed some of those little clear plastic button things that are used as bumpers to keep the handles of my cabinets from banging into other parts of my cabinets. This was immensely satisfying. It’s so dumb and simple, though. Buy bumpers, peel and stick. Feel awesome.

This reminds me of a friend who had been annoyed by a loose button on a shirt and finally sewed it back on. With a great sigh, she finished and admitted an outsized sense of accomplishment relative to the task.

Why? Maybe we just like to get this stuff out of the way so we can get on with our more serious business (we think, whether or not it gets done is something else again).

I finished some correspondence yesterday very late that I’d been putting off because there was some sick kids in the house. (It sounds very formal, like I was writing the Queen, but no – it was just some emails.) But it was just great to be done with those tasks, however pleasurable they were – because it was time to stop worrying about it.

Sort of like how I feel after each post, actually. I enjoy it, but glad it’s done in the interim.  (You know, just checking stuff off a list is very satisfying.)

Maybe I’m alone in this.

Fan history – elfquest?

February 16, 2010

Fandom has given me a few new modes of expression and vocabulary.

Furry – I guess it’s when people like to wear/pretend to be animals or anthropormorphic animals.  May or may not be sexual in nature.  First saw/heard of it during a CSI episode.  Man, those CSI guys do random stuff on that show, don’t they?

Anyway, I’ve been re-thinking a lot of my old fandoms.  I came across an Elfquest picture recently – and the memories came whooshing back so hard, it parted my hair.  You know what?  While I had a tough time accepting the concept of a furry – I realized something.  I am completely familiar with the concept.

My first encounter with this sort of thing was back when I was in Elfquest fan mode – well over a decade ago.  Maybe closer to two decades ago.  Oh, I loved Elfquest something serious.  I was desperate to know how it all turned out.  Skywise was totally my man.  (Some people love the main character – I love the side characters with all the great lines and the potential/sad/tragic love stories.  I had a total character (probably a self-insert if I analyze it for any length of time) for Skywise to be friends with but not necessarily hook up with.)

I can’t believe I remember all of this stuff!  Especially my original character.  I remember drawing costumes and everything.  So crazy.  Kind of embarrassed about it now, actually.

Anyway – Cutter was part wolf.  Seriously.  His great-grandfather was a wolf  (if I remember the genealogy correctly).   Not doing any looking up on this – because I want to see if I’m right.  (I was not right – 10 generations ago father).  Then, Winnowill got it on with a troll – and had a half-troll baby – crazy interspecies sex.  Especially if you think that the elves had such a hard time procreating.  (Also really intrigued by Winnowill’s son – the mad genius (had to check for his name – Two-Edge).  Not like, but the character is just interestingly messed up.  Who may or may not have had relations with his mother – I mean, ick.)

That was some hard stuff for a young teen to take – never mind the nudity and generally loose sex – there was an orgy scene as well.  Man!  Wow, it was hard to believe I did all that reading – and so glad my parents never looked too closely at the comics I was looking at.  That was some hardcore comics, I tell you.

Although, I have to say, it did sort of confirm my concept that even beautifully drawn characters, like elves, look terrible in orgy scenes.  You never know what body parts go where – too confusing and sweaty-seeming.  (Maybe because I have a suspicion that random body parts are just drawn in wherever – like an arm here – and oh, a leg might fit here.)  Never mind what humans probably look like.  Yuck.

Bonus thought:  Wendy Pini was the first person I was aware of who did anything like cosplay.  I saw a photo of her dressed as Red Sonja and showing off her  appendix scar as a battle-wound.

Bonus thought, part deux:  They later said all of the sex stuff was because Elves were aliens, so differently relatable than humans.  Yup.  That includes Alien morals and Alien sex.

Bonus thought, part trois:  Holy crap, this comic had everything!  No wonder I was so hard to shock later in life.


February 15, 2010

That emoticon on the previous post – I didn’t do it. I just pressed colon – pipe. The software put that in there! I don’t know if that’s cool (emoticon, yay!), embarrassing (because I have no idea how to do that – I don’t know how to do anything, really) or if I’m scared (blog machine taking over the world wtf?).

80’s video game cluelessness

February 14, 2010

Whatever happened in my childhood – one cannot say that I was ever particularly clued in.

I went on a bit of a rant in front of W and my sister – about how did Mario get a brother, how did people know he was a plumber, and when did people find out what the name of the princess was and when was there a second princess anyway?

Then my sister was sort of like “I always knew.’

I began a rant on DigDug – but both my sister and W looked at me like I was from Mars. They had independently come to the same conclusion that DigDug was an astronaut (check out the spacesuit) who dug on alien planets. I never got that. Geez – was I the one living on another planet this whole time?

Of course, this leads me to wonder who else has a backstory that I didn’t get.  QBert, maybe?  Or Pong?  Or that ship in the middle of the Asteroids game?

My sister very helpfully commented that Donkey Kong was actually a take off of King Kong. And Frogger – that was a frog trying to cross some obstacles to get to a pond.

Thanks, Sis.  😐  Really.

New title/old job

February 6, 2010

So we’ve got all these big plastic bags (I love them so much – the ones with the slidey closing – like a giant sandwich bag) full of kids’ clothes stacked in our guest room.  I’ve sorted them by age and sex.  But somehow, it isn’t enough – we might need that room someday.  So I’m thinking of unloading the ones we really don’t need anymore, but that might require a little more work that I’ve put in with the initial sorting.

In honor of this effort, W has appointed me Curator of Children’s Clothes, Past, Present, And Future.

What an honor.

Call me Madame Pink

February 5, 2010

I saw something very pink in the wash this morning (W started the wash before he left for work) – and for a moment I was like ‘whut iz dat dar?’

I don’t have a lot of hot pink in my wardrobe, and with 2 males in the house, really girly colors have not been particularly prominent in our laundry for the past 3 years.

I pulled it out and then I realized – it’s a shirt for Baby Girl J.  It’s funny.  I’m still surprised by something like that – still getting used to something so feminine in the wash.

Vaster than empires? Or just more slow?

February 4, 2010

Am wondering about  world-building when one is writing.

I think Ursula K. LeGuin did it very deliberately in the Earthsea books – she had a real geography she was working from – but her first in the series “A Wizard of Earthsea” was all about travel, so which came first – the story or the world?

Tolkien worked from the Finnish sagas, so there was something of a world already there.  One imagines that the original creators of the sagas worked from what they knew, and their surroundings were a huge part of that story.

Anne McCaffrey?  Yes for the Dragonriders books – the Pern books.  The name is an indication already that it’s about a place.  (Although I haven’t read her books in ages.  And I never read anything past the original trilogy.  Time travel really doesn’t do very much for me, unless it’s done in a particular self-conscious way.  But that’s a whole ‘nother post.)

I don’t think Peter S. Beagle does it purposefully, but it happens.  Because there’s a sense of this “writing in the universe of” say, “The Last Unicorn.”  But because he doesn’t have a lot of work in any one “universe” exactly, and none explicitly named outside their respective novels, I think it’s hard to say he does.

This “writing in the universe of” business – for people who are unauthorized (like yours truly), this is fanfiction.  So is writing in an alternative universe really awful and unfaithful to the original work?  Yes, probably.  Can it even be judged on the same level as people who write fanfics “in universe?”

I wonder about that, hunched over my keyboards, researching my topics, thinking about the characters I’ve snatched from their original home and stuffed them into the new universe.

Just thinking how much I should go into detail about these alternate universes.  Too much description is dull and slows down the pace, not enough and the characters are floating out in space.   I’m more about plot, really, so I want to be careful.  Maybe too careful.

This is one reason, for me, that fanfiction works as an exercise – the world is already there, so I can work on characters or plot if I want to; or the characters are already there, work on world-building.  Still, hard to know if you’ve hit that sweet spot where plot, character, world-building all come together.  This is true in fanfic as well as original stuff, of course.

In a contemporary AU, it’s easy to hit on things people can relate to – everybody knows what a car is, even if they don’t know how it works.  Or everybody knows what a giraffe is, even if they haven’t seen it in person.  Maybe that’s why I’m working in contemporary AU right now – it’s easy in a way in the universal sense.