Archive for October, 2011

whistling while you wait

October 31, 2011

I am on literary tenterhooks right now.  Just waiting to submit fic for fest.  Then I can breathe a sigh of relief and be done for the next 24 hours until NaNo begins.  I’m kind of tired from writing this past month already.  We’ll see how far I get.

In other news, W said that maybe he and I should start a book club together, just the two of us.  I think he was joking, but it became kind of serious when I agreed.  It would be nice to read books together and talk about them.  I have no idea how we’d choose them, because our tastes are so different, but it would be a nice thing to do, once we get the time.  I don’t want it to become an assignment, for heaven’s sake, but the idea of sharing something like that might work.  I do know that he does offer me books sometimes, which I usually put off because it’s a topic that either doesn’t interest me very much, or is very interesting and I’m afraid I’ll learn something I don’t like about the topic.  (I’m a bad person.)

Books we have liked in common: some stuff by Christopher Moore.  I’ve had to listen the entirety of the Lord of the Rings on tape, and big chunks of The Wheel of Time  (which is a Waste of Time, if you want my honest opinion).  We’ve started King Dork (which is very funny, and I only picked up because my sister had a huge thing for the author when he was in the punk band the Mr T Experience), but somehow, never got very far.  It’s probably my fault because I keep falling asleep while it’s on.

My reading list is quite sad.  Cookbooks, fanfic, some blogs, and the occasional nonfiction with a splash of technical reading for work.  (Writing it out like that seems really bleak.  Just a desert of bleh.)

Anybody have recs?

Of course, recs are welcomed at any time.  Just know that next month, I shall be busy, presumably writing and won’t be able to talk about it at all.  (I can’t even be serious about it, because it’s so serious to me.  Sorry, says deflecting blogger, who isn’t really blogging and doesn’t have a fanfic hobby of any kind.  No children or husband, neither.  It’s a wonder, really, where all this material comes from.)


NaNoWriMo – Write No Mo?

October 27, 2011

Okay – I signed up for NaNoWriMo – National November Writing Month.  I don’t have high hopes of completion, because on a good day I’ll manage a few hundred words.  But I think it will be an interesting experience, so I’m doing it.  I’ll probably be writing fanfic.  (Which almost seems not the point of NaNo, but that’s all I’ve got.)

I expect there will be a glut of words, most of them unrelated to each other.  I’m thinking of doing either the steampunk thing or the space opera thing.  Or maybe both, if all the ideas crap out short of 50k.  (Which again, isn’t quite the point of NaNo.  But again, all I’ve got.)

In fest news, I think I’m mostly done with the rough draft.  It just wouldn’t come together, and wouldn’t come together and I spent all this time trying to make it happen. Really I did.  I didn’t spend that much time snacking and thinking and surfing the web, trying to avoid the fic.  Really.

With both NaNo and fest fic, I imagine something out of Little Women.  How, you may ask, am I drawing parallels?  There’s this scene where Meg is making jelly, and she bursts into tears because it just won’t gel.  (And English, I blame you for jelly <> gel, what the hell is that?)  There’s all these ingredients, and you keep adding sugar and fruit and pectin, stirring, and adding heat and adding more sugar and pectin and heat and it still won’t gel, dagnabbit!  So, fest recipient, you might get jelly water and not jelly.  My apologies in advance.

This is because I love my themes (leitmotifs?) and they were failing me.  But it’s hard for me to write anything of length without one – because I’ve got nothing to hang these ideas and words on.  I wish it made me look all clever, but it’s because I am lame.   It’s not very literary, it’s just framework – ideas laid out by someone else that I’m just hijacking for my writing.  And repeating throughout the fic.  I suppose this makes my writing dense and unreadable.  I can accept that.  But hey, I’m finishing stories!

People who write plot and make that work without themes – you’re great.  I envy you deeply.  But I can’t do that.   The problem is that I often don’t figure out my theme until I’m halfway through and it is really hard work to figure out what I mean.  (And this is me vs my brain!  What do my readers (all 3 of them) think?  They must think I’m an ass.  A clueless ass.)  Then I have to basically re-write toward this theme, and then figure out a title and a summary (what is this really about?) and all that.  I am incredibly inefficient.  It’s a bit of a downer, if I really think about it.  (It’s not like anybody notices.  And the re-writes are bloody tedious.  Stupid themes.)

And lo, this is the mindset of my NaNoWriMo.  Wish me luck!  Or Themes – that would be better.


October 26, 2011

Is it a problem when I start tearing up to a Madonna song on the radio?

It’s “Papa Don’t Preach,” which I hated when it first came out. And I’m just not a Madonna fan. She’s okay, but never anything special. Just thinking about it now, though, and with a daughter of my own….sigh.

Stupid song.


October 25, 2011

Maybe this sort of thing happens all the time elsewhere, but I can’t think of a suitable analogy right now.

I’m a late-comer to writing online and to my fandom.  I often come across old stories (many of them abandoned – that’s the fanfic way, it appears).  I try to leave reviews, especially to writers that have touched me in some way.  It’s like reaching back through time, trying to touch ghosts.  It’s a peculiar exercise – leaving reviews for old fic.  I think it’s nice to do, and there is some part of me reaching for that communication, even if I’m pretty certain no one is going to reply.  I’m just throwing pennies down a well – waiting for the unlikely event of the well throwing them back.  (Very stretched idea – anybody read any of the Mouse Tales from Arnold Lobel, like I did as a kid?  That’s where the idea came from.)

And when an author abandons writing – or goes to another fandom – or just disappears – I just want to yell – “Throw me a line, buddy!”  Because I would follow.  I would.  Not to be stalkery – but because the chance of meeting/talking to someone who might understand what touched me about something is kind of rare.  I want to extend that scarcity some.  Maybe it’s not even the topic – it’s the way the the things are communicated that I appreciate.

But being writers and all – it makes for the chance of real interaction potentially awkward.  Because one does not become a writer because one is awesome at social interaction – not all the time, anyway.  And almost definitely not with strangers.

Not that this is going to make sense to anybody else.  But writers whose stuff I have loved and who are lost to me now – I miss you, never having known you.

It also makes me sad.  It makes me question my own writing – my own desire and direction.  What the hell am I doing with my life?  Shouldn’t I be writing my own stuff?  What is wrong with society and my sense of self that I need to have excuses for my hobby?  Isn’t this enough?  Sometimes it is.  Sometimes, it is not.  But I wonder if it wouldn’t be any different if I were “genuinely” published.  At least I’d get paid.  Maybe.  But is that enough?  (Then I wonder, am I even talented enough to have these stupid ideas of “value” and “art” and “commerce” anyway?)  These are ideas for another post – when I have enough energy to submit myself to this post-existential self-doubt.

All I know is that before fanfic, I couldn’t even get it together enough to finish any one of my many ideas.   I don’t know why.  It was just hard to do, for whatever reason.  And now, I post fic like it’s going out of style.  Sure, it’s mostly short-story dorky rom-com about fictional ninjas in somebody else’s universe, with bare hints of action and a fair amount of (homo)erotic (sub)text, but I’m finishing, damnit, and 3 people are reading, and that feels amazing.  (Never mind what I consider my big work, a 40+K story which took me a year to finish.  And I am quite pleased with it.  But I don’t know if I can submit myself to that kind of discipline again for a while.)

my co-pilot

October 21, 2011

I mentioned the possibility of writing something steampunk with W recently. We talked about how awful the Victorians were. And then how I was still getting sucked into the idea of an airship pilot thing – but yet how I was driven insane by the idea of how much training each person must have, how big a ship could be, the ranks on an airship, what background knowledge a pilot of that period must have. W was then later pretty cute. He handed me a book from his personal library about Darwin’s first ship captain – as an analogue for some of that kind of thing. I guess I’m just going to have that write that thing now.  (Yes, this is how we do cute.  We trade books.  Don’t judge.)

I have the outline scratched out already. It’s turning into a regency romance, but with airships. I don’t know how this happens with things in my head, but there you go.  (W might be conscripted into reading draft – but I’m not certain this is his cup of tea.  Too bad, W.  That’s what you get for being so cute.)

And in another news, I think I’ve mostly finished my first attempt at exchange fic. Now I’ve got to finish up second attempt and figure out what to do with it. Can I submit it, do you think? Would it be worth hurrying up to do so? Hmm. Deep questions. The kind of questions that require something starchy and sweet to ponder. Maybe a babysitter too.

tho thor

October 19, 2011

(WARNING: movie spoilers I’ve been told about.  I haven’t actually seen the  movie.)

My brother saw the movie Thor recently.  He was really mad that they turned Thor from a deity to an alien.  I had two distinct thoughts.  1) it’s a movie, what do you expect?  they’ll change all sorts of crazy crap for a movie, and 2) awww.  It sucks to be demoted from a god to an alien, even for a movie.  I mean, couldn’t they have pulled out the old trope – “I was once mighty, but have few worshippers, so am less mighty now?”

I couldn’t ever take comic book Thor seriously.  Dude was blond.  Canon Thor was red/orange-haired – like fire.  Yes.  I’m a nit-picker, but you all knew that.   It’s that level of detail that takes me out of the story.  Like making Anne of Green Gables a blonde.  It’s part of the character, people.

Maybe I’m like this because I actually went to Iceland and the status of the old Nordic gods make so much more sense there.  First, I saw the Book.  It amazes me that I saw the book (or one of the few remaining books – the Prose Edda, which was safely behind glass) upon which everything people know about the Norse gods is based.  Second, being in Iceland for pagans is like being in London for royal-watchers.  Everything in Iceland is based upon this mythos – names, origin stories, travels, how the people lived then.  It makes sense – how people related to these deities/forces outside of themselves with their immediate environment.

As for the whole Loki/Thor shipping – pfft.  I don’t ship it.  But, at least Loki is canonically bisexual/furry/mpreg – ish.  It makes mores sense than the whole alien thing, or even making Thor blond.    As for the whole making the other gods not, uh, genetically Nordic, well, it’s a whole ‘nother thing entirely which I put down to Hollywood trying some of its usual crazy race stuff.  (Why whitewash the Earthsea miniseries (which is canonically full of brown people), Sci-Fi channel, and then make the Norse gods, who are based on white people, multiracial?)  Sigh.  Whatever.    Let’s not go there, please.  Thank you.

Of course, you’re talking to the kind of crazy fangirl who did fairly intensive research on 17th century wooden sailing ships for a single scene in a fanfic of a doujinshi and agonized over every single wooden peg, hammock and length of fabric.  In other words, a total loon.

So, hey

October 17, 2011

I’m writing my fest fic, and it’s going okay.  Nearly three weeks in, and it’s sort of a slog now – pushing a really ridiculous length (for me, anyway).  Then, suddenly, I get this idea and I start giggling.  It’s stupid to be starting a new fic for the same person, same general idea, but the execution is completely different.  So, like the stupid I am, I start it.  And I am an animal – pounding it out.  (Through a terrible head cold, even.)  It’s a lot shorter than the first fic, but man, this one, is just dropped like it was hot.  (Or so the kids might say.)  I’m quite fond of it, but I can’t seem to stop messing with it.  What is my problem?  (It is as though I just had to get the first one out of the way to make room for the idea of the second.)

I’ve got to a) finish first fic, or b) stop messing with second fic and finish it and either way I’ve got c) format either fic for the internet, which will be the first time I’ve done something like that all on its entirety.  I wish I could figure out which one I prefer.  It seems stupid – but I can’t choose.  I can’t just propose to show both to the mods and say – hey, you pick one.  Can I?


October 6, 2011

So, it’s been feeling like the autumn around here since, oh, I don’t know, the middle of August, practically.  There was nearly non-stop rain for a while, and then it got hot again, and now it’s raining again.  The end of the week is forecast for our first frost of the year.  Joy.

I can tell W is feeling the season as well.  He turned on the heat in the mornings already.  I’d complain about the cost, but, heck, it’s not as if I’m not enjoying it.

I have been busy with my usual fall things.  Lamenting the end of the sun, praising the end of allergy season, dealing with kid clothes, and making soup.  The slow cooker makes its triumphant return to my kitchen counter.  I used it twice already this week.  Part of that is because I just bought an immersion blender, so now I just grind the stuff in the crock and that is just thrilling.  (If you are the one person who actually reads this blog regularly, you know how dull stuff in my life actually is, so yes, immersion blending = thrilling.)

In two weeks, I’ve made potato leek soup, some Mexican-inspired squash soup, and borscht.  Some of it was more successful than others.   (Potato leek is a winner – the truth is in W’s reaction.  He said he’d eat it again, which is high praise.  The Mexican squash soup, though, not so great.)  As for borscht – well, it sort of turned out like vegetable soup with a lot of beets in it.  I thought it would be, I don’t know, more…exotic.  With a name like borscht, it’s got to be odd.  I mean, it’s red, but that’s about as exotic as it gets.  (Give or take the sour cream.)  My borscht was okay – but it wasn’t a real winner.  I’m not certain if I’ll go bother with it again – but I keep getting all those beets from the CSA, so it might just be a matter of time before the beets find a way into the crock pot again.  I have a friend who’s got a Ukrainian background – it might be time to see if she’s got any tips.

can it be?

October 4, 2011

I think I have found a fandom for which I might be the only person.

Adderly.  It was  late night CBS show that my brother got me addicted to.  I just remember how cute Adderly’s interactions were with the secretary, Mona.  (I looked it up on the internet.  Just because it doesn’t have a visible fandom doesn’t mean there wasn’t anybody watching.)  There aren’t hardly any pictures on the internet or anything about it.

I don’t know if I should be excited or unhappy about this turn of events.

All I can think is that no fic=no squee=frowny-face.

Edited to add: Even Forever Knight has a frickin’ fandom!  (But it’s also about vampires, which has always had an audience.  International superspies slumming it and flirting with their secretaries have less of an appeal, I guess.)

apologies to every good writer, ever

October 3, 2011

So one of the things I like to do to help me along with a fic is to think about another piece – often, it’s a piece of poetry or phrase.  Shakespeare is very inspirational to me, also some of the Metaphysical poets, and throw in some of the Romantic poets as well.

But here’s the problem.  I like Shakespeare.  I like him so much that I’m vaguely embarrassed to be using him in that way.

Joe Queenan has written something that made me laugh my butt off when I first read it.  Something like the quality of the writing of the actual piece is inversely proportional to the esteem in which the writer of the intro quote is held.   So, if I’m using Tom Clancy, then my work probably isn’t bad, but if I’m using Shakespeare, good Lord, is my piece going to be a stinker.

I merely put my inspiration piece notes at the bottom and hope nobody else notices this relationship.  All I have to say is, good thing most of the people I’m inspired by are dead.