partly: (*gah*)
I'm going over some old writing/critiques and I've come across the comment that I use the words "he/him" too many times. The scene has only one character in it -- it's a struggle to survive. Not sure how to write it with out using he/him. I understand that I need to vary my sentence structure so I don't start out each sentence/paragraph with the "He ---> whatever action he does" (and I did watch that) but I'm really at a loss as to how to write the scene without using he/him quite a few times. I wonder if it would have the same impact if I was telling it from the first person POV and was using the pronoun 'I' instead of 'he'? I checked, there were sentences, complete paragraphs even, without the word he. Of course, the notation on those is that I spend too much time on description, that I need action to move the scene along. *headdesk*

I was also told that I shouldn't write scenes with only one character in it. Okay...

I had several very hard critiques with my writer's group and shortly thereafter dropped out. I wasn't writing much and didn't feel like I was getting anything out of the group except the knowledge that I would never measure up. I will admit that there were many other things going on at that time, such as losing my job, so I'm not sure how much of that feeling was accurate and how much was my insecurity, but I do remember one of the members saying, basically, that she didn't care about the characters, found the plot boring, had a difficult time envisioning my world and that "she didn't care enough about anything to keep reading".

I'd like to imagine that my style just wasn't matching theirs but it's hard to hold onto that when they don't like the writing, characters, plot or setting. I used to be better at self-visualizing; perhaps I was just better at self-delusion.

What brought this on? I was thinking of doing NaNoWriMo this year, just to get me back writing. Of course, I say that a lot and the fact that I haven't ever managed to do any writing should make it glaringly obvious that I'm not a reliable or believable source of... well, anything.

Not a complete non sequitur: I don't do "to-do lists" because they inevitably become a "look at everything I failed at" list. I find that true of the run-of-the-mill lists like "do dishes, fold clothes, clean house" and it seems so much worse when applied to something like writing. I doubt I need more in my life to demonstrate that I'm not quite up to snuff.

Wow. I'm a bundle of cheer, aren't I? New rule: don't read the critiques. I would say that I should just focus on the positive parts of the critiques, only the aren't any. I kid you not: In the four crits that I have reviewed today, there is not ONE SINGLE comment on something that I did well. Not one "good word choice" or "good description".

Better idea: Tossing the old critiques without reading them. Perhaps I'm just being insecure about all this, but better insecure that completely depressed, right?
partly: (See What I See)
I follow Jeff Eastin (creator of White Collar) on Twitter and he had been posting bits of White Collar scripts in the days leading up to each new episode as the season came to an end. I read these little script-bits because I'm always interested in see the creative process at work.

Script writing (like most writing) is done in drafts, but scripts for plays or shows or movies is not a "pure" art -- as in the end result isn't the vision and work of just one person. Rather everyone who is involved in the project adds a dimension to the written words. The best work comes when the parties involved work together and share a common vision. Everyone brings something extra to the project and you end up with gestalt-- the final "whole" is much greater than the sum of it's parts.

The scripts Jeff Eastin posts are the shooting scripts. The words and actions on the page are actually the words and actions on the screen when I watched it. Yet the scene I read on the page is so very different than the scene that I watch on the screen. On the screen it just works. On screen, it has more depth, more feeling, more purpose than just words on the page.

And I get that. When you write a script, most of the details are in the writer's head. Only the dialogue and most basic directions are put on the page. All of the emotions, the connotations, the meanings are in the minds of the writers and the directors and the actors. It's the cooperative talent of all those people, sharing and refining the vision, that makes the finished product a work of magic.

Which is why trying to understand the appeal of a show or of character based on scripts/transcripts is almost impossible. And why writing fanfic for a show based solely on scripts/transcripts is unadvisable.

Even worse is to watch a show through recaps and reviews. I'm not even talking about recappers and reviewers who get the actual details wrong. And that's happens a great deal. I've seen recaps that actually quote dialog wrong. That have actions in the wrong order. That put people in different places then they were in the show. I've read some recaps and really wonder if the recapper had watched a different show than I had.

Of course, even if all the details are right, the recappers job is more than to just tell what happened. The recapper's job is to entertain while recapping. To share their views and opinions, even if only in a general way. If it's not entertaining or clever, it's not part of the recap. Even the most objective of recappers will bring some of their own personal opinion into the recap. (I've written recaps, I know this is true.) Recappers will often leave out small parts that deal with characters they don't like or a subplot they didn't enjoy. They will interpret lines to fit their own preferences in the show. I've seen recappers take what I saw as a casual, throw-away line and interpret it into a scathing condemnation of character. Or soften a line or two to make a character they like be more sympathetic.

When the recap is mixed with a review, well, the problem is compounded. Then controversial plot lines and writer choices suddenly become fair game to spin. This is most often seen with OTPs. Nothing like looking at a show through "romance goggles" to skew a show. Of course, the same can be said when the recapper/reviewer loves one character above all others.

That's the point of reviews, I suppose. The fun in writing and reading recaps. The problem is, they aren't actually true representations of the show.

I read a lot of crossover fic. A great deal of the crossover fic deals with shows that I don't watch. I have, at times, gone back and read reviews, recaps, or summaries of the shows to get a feel for the characters and events that are being written about. Later, when I can, I find and watch the shows. It's rarely the show I thought it would be. I watch an episode looking for a scene that is focused on in fanfic, and I often find that it isn't at all the way I had understood it to be. I meet a character and I'm surprised to find that they aren't at all the way they were portrayed in the recap.

This is one of the reasons I love Netflix so much. I can watch these shows and see for myself what they are like. I mean, if the scripts, written by the creator of the show, doesn't manage to capture the ambiance and milieu of the show, how can I expect a viewer to do so?

I like looking at shows from different angles. I enjoy tension and complications. I love the small details of interactions and the subtle play of inflection and body language. I prefer a show that makes all the characters sympathetic, flawed and real.

Recaps, reviews, even scripts, because of what they are, can't deliver that. You can't judge a show based on those things. And you certainly shouldn't dislike a show based on them.

But it sure is fun comparing them all.
partly: (Love me)
I was reading through my flist and ran across several year-end fic memes where people talked about the fic they wrote this year. Usually, I skim the lists and wish I had written enough to do one. Then it occurred to me that I may have done so.

To my surprise, I cam up with this year-long total of 39 fics. This includes drabbles, but I also think that I may be leaving off a fic or two.

How could that be, you ask? It turns out that I write fic for comms or contests but never get around to posting them. Of those 39 fic, I'd say only half are any place that I could actually link to them. I'm working on changing that, but it actually requires more effort than you would think.

Anyhow, once they are all up where everyone can read them, I'll do the complete meme. However, just because I really find it hard to believe that I actually wrote this much, I'm doing a summary:

Total fics:

By Word Count: I wrote most of these on a 1000 word limit
100 (drabbles): 5
101-1000: 24
1001-5000: 6
5001+: 1

By Fandom -- It turns out I'm a totally multi-fandom girl
Crossovers (Not listed separately): 14
24: 1
Bones: 1
Leverage: 1
Walking Dead: 1
White Collar: 6
Burn Notice: 7
Supernatural: 8

I've also come to the conclusion that I really need a beta reader. While most of my fics have been for competitions and I can't have them betaed before I post them there, I should really have them betaed before I put them someplace else. I suck at line editing.

It's a good enough total, really. I'm hoping it's better next year.
partly: (Don't)
I have many thoughts (thinky meta-type thoughts) on this season of SPN, but I thought I'd better write up my opinion on what's up with Sam before the show comes along and gives it's explanation. I'm prepared to be invalidated, but the show hasn't disappointed me even when it doesn't do what I want it to. Need I warn you that this is long?

First of all let me state that I really want Sam to be Sam. )

I realize this is a lot to ask from a television show. But I'll be happy if they just address a part of it. If it's the background theme to the overall story arc and MOTW that appears, like Free Will was last season. I'm usually happier when a show doesn't explain it all because I'd rather fill in the missing bits than have to deal with something that I feel doesn't work. So far the show hasn't let me down.
partly: (Pigsfly)
Dear TV writers:

I know that part of the writing process is to make the viewer feel empathy for the characters on the show. This is especially true for crime shows and the desire the writers have to make the viewers feel a connection to the victims because this make the show better. I also understand the in TV writing you have to take shortcuts and it takes work to establish empathy. So instead you choose to make the viewers feel vulnerable and exposed in their real lives -- the whole this could happen to you! schtick. No empathy needed when you lead with FEAR!

But please, make your characters smart/observant enough to be relatable. Now I get that my life experience makes puts me at odds with most TV characters (and by extension, I guess, most viewers). For example: when being chased by someone on/in a vehicle, people on TV run straight down the road. I mean really? You totally have the advantage on foot if just make the sharp turns and head off road. Have these people never played chicken with someone on/in a vehicle? Or driven one themselves? Even if you don't have a handy patch of woods to head to, the sidewalk is always good. Despite what you see on TV, a curb will take out a lot of vehicles -- there's not a 12 or 13-inch rim that can handle one and at speed even the 14 or 16-inch rims will be damaged. (Keeping in mind the variables of height of the curb, speed and the angle at which the car hits the curb.) And even if the tires hold, suspension and steering are probably messed up and that goes to your advantage. Don't believe me? Ask anyone who's ever hit a curb or even driven onto/off one at speed. It's all bad.

I understand that people don't think straight in panic situations. )
partly: (Crazyworld)
I belong to several "Last Author Standing" communities and in order to vote on the fic, you have to read it all. Now, unlike when I go off looking for fic to read for fun, I don't read the warnings or headings on these fic because, one, I'm going to have to read them all no matter what they say and, two, I don't want to go in with any expectations. I don't have a problem with this because while my heart belongs to canon-compliant fic, I have no triggers or issues that would make reading blind dangerous.

I've read a lot of different fic lately, stuff I would have normally skipped do to its warnings and descriptions. I've come to this (probably very obvious) conclusion: I don't see the world the same way most fic writers do. I'm not just talking characterization here. I know I tend to see my characters as stronger and slightly more well-adjusted that a lot of fans. No, I'm talking that what people understand as happening when they write the words is fundamentally different from what I understand is happening when I read the words. This is most obvious when it comes to slash.

There's been any number of fics that I've read that I've been totally shocked to find out were classified as "slash". There was no slash in these stories. None. There wasn't even a generic profession of love that could be taken as slash. There wasn't any internal thoughts of romance or desire or any like emotion. There wasn't any outside POV explaining how slashy the scene looked to them. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

I understand that I don't see slash in the shows the way a lot of people do. But this is fic, people. Stories that, presumably, the author intentionally wrote with the desire to have a slash relationship going on. Either they aren't writing what they think they are writing, or I'm really, really dense. It's a small thing I know, but right now I have the urge write these authors and point out that they really aren't writing what they think they are. It's not romance without a romance. It's not a death fic without a death. It's not porn without sex. In order for it to be slash, you have to write in a slash relationship. Just sayin'
partly: (Sempre Fi)
Title: Refuge
Fandom: Burn Notice
Characters: Michael, Fi
Rating: PG
Word Count: 243
Warnings/Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: Fanfic, for fun, not profit.
Summary: Written for a challenge in [ profile] caperland of a prompt of a picture of an exploding car. My fic won the challenge and I got this cool banner (which features the promt pic):

Noise roared though his head. The bitter taste of ash coated his mouth. The world was a churning smoky nightmare. Something hot and burning bit at his arm. Things hard and sharp jabbed into his side. He was on the ground. Heat radiated through the smoke. He needed to move, to get away. He rolled to his knees and fought through a wave of nausea. Pain echoed at the edges of his consciousness. He struggled to his feet. A second explosion, hot and deafening, battered him from behind, tossing him to the ground again. He rolled with the blast and fought not to breathe in the overheated air. Debris clattered to the ground. Pain laced up his arm where a piece of flying metal sliced it open. He pushed himself back to his feet and staggered away from the raging fire.

"Michael." His name echoed though the dimness. Familiar hands, pale under black soot and ash, pulled at him. He stumbled forward, into equally familiar arms.

"I have you." It was Fi's voice, more welcome than the clean, cool air. He leaned into her arms, as they fled from the flames. His head still rang and the pain grew stronger, but he focused on the strength in the slender body that held him. In the steady voice that continued to sooth him. "Just a couple more steps, Michael, and you'll be safe. I have you."

In the end, Michael knew, she always would.
partly: (Auggie)
I totally fail at writing Haiku. At least I totally fail at writing Haiku tonight. I've been in a writing slump, which is odd because I've gotten a few warm, fuzzy feedback things lately. Real life is frighteningly real right now, though, so that may be the problem. However, because I can do so, I am going to ignore real life in my LJ. At least for right now.

I was surprised to get a note from GateFic Awards saying that my fic Necessary Sacrifices was nominated for an award. Yay, me. I love that fic. I think its the best fic I've ever written and I'm thrilled that people are still reading it. Especially since it's so damn long. All I'd have to do is make some graphics, throw in a music mix and I could claim a big bang entry. It's a lot to ask people to read a 53k fic.

Myr won't read it because she don't like that I have bad things happen to Jack. Oddly enough, I don't think I was all that mean, but I choose to take her avoidance as a compliment. I'm very happy with some of the POV things I did and I liked some of the little details I put in. I just read it through again and I didn't hate it, so that's a plus.

I want to finish a little White Collar/Burn Notice fic that I started on a lark. Right now I just have Elizabeth Burke meeting up with our favorite burned spy down in Miami. I've fallen in love with the idea and I'm going to try to work through my "I can't write" feelings and see if I can get it done.

And I have to how off my Auggie icon. I love the tattoo. I love the character. And you can never have too many icons of good-looking men. Or at least I can't.
partly: (Be Evil)
*eyes shift* I'm back from vacation. Had a great time. Yay, family. Lots to talk about, really. Pretty sure I won't do that soon. I know. I fail at getting back into the swing of things, I acknowledge that. I'm not sure that will ever change. I apologize to all those who'd like to know more about my life.

I have been doing some things. I wrote some short fic for the land comms I'm on. The pieces are not polished yet, but I plan on posting them by the weekend. They aren't really complete stories, but they're fun.. I like the land comms, they are getting me writing, even if it's small. More than that, Land comms are all about the love, baby.

However, my team on [ profile] xoverland needs serious help and I'd appreciate it if you would lend a hand. Go here and write "I support Team Day" as your comment.

If you need an incentive... How 'bout this -- once you've posted "I support Team Day" over there, come back here and I will write a crossover drabble/very short fic for you. Just tell me what shows/who you want your crossover drabble/very short fic about and I will write it for you. It's not bribery, it's a thank you! (Since it's a crossover comm, I think I should write crossovers. Besides, I love them.)

Feel free to pass this along to anyone who you'd think would like a fic. The other teams are way ahead. In all honesty, Team Day is a little... lax on these things. We'll get points for coming in last, but I really think we need more than one comment. Thanks!

Besides, I feel like writing fic, so this will be good.
partly: (Easywriting)
I've been writing fic with word limits lately (drabbles, double-drabbles and the like). I get the base of the story in and then I do a word count. I get really excited when it's under -- "Woo-hoo, I've got four words!" You can do a lot with four words, baby. Even more exciting is 12 words - that's a whole concept, a theme, a mood.

Yeah. I'm spending way too much time on these little bits of writing.

I will, however, share them all with you at some point.
partly: (Fanfic)
There are some fic headings that just confuse me. Things like "Gen, slash if you squint". Huh? What does that mean? If I squint at the screen, suddenly the words "I'd do you in the backyard if I could" would appear? Maybe if I look at it cross-eyed the line "He loved him so much his heart would burst now if only he could have sex with him on the kitchen counter" will be visible? Either you write it slash or you don't write it slash. You can't control what people infer when they read your fic. Sexual innuendo is everywhere, that's what makes sexual innuendo so much fun. You don't need to give your readers permission to see slash in your fic any more than you can keep people from reading a slash subtext if that's what they see.

For that matter, if you intentionally write it, it's really not subtext. If you point out that it's there, it's not subtext. Subtext is a subtle layering of the story, it's there for the reader to interpret in their own way. If you bring the subtext to the forefront, it is no longer subtext, it is actual text. Subtext is that brave world in which an author allows the reader to create part of the story for themselves. It's where the writer releases control of what the reader sees and each reader can bring their own experiences, interests and desires into the story to make it uniquely theirs. It's what makes a good story great and allows the story to touch each reader equally, but differently.

Another one that confuses me? "Pre-slash". Isn't that just gen? I mean, if it's before the relationship, if there is no slash (ie no same sex romantic/sexual relationship) it has to be gen, right? Usually I find "pre-slash" means "much longing, angsting, sexual desire, and romantic cliches, but no actual sex." But isn't that slash, just PG rated slash? When that's not the case, it usually means "It's gen, but I want all the people who will only read slash to still read it". Quite honestly that probably what "slash if you squint" means, too.

I also enjoy the ever popular "pairings to be determined later", "possible sex in later chapters" and "rated: PG (for now?)". If you're writing the story, you need to know what the story is about. I know that a great deal of fanfic is crafted so that the writer receives the maximum amount of positive feedback. I also know that it's fun to write a story that fits someone else's requirements. But even then, you have to have a story in mind. It's not even just a case of having too many cooks, rather it's that each cook has her own recipe. No matter how good the ingredients are that you put in it, the result is going to be a mess. Sorry. Just the way it is.

Then there are those that a just confusing, like the one that prompted me to write this post: Rating: 15+ (T, PG-13). Vague sex. Profanity.

Yup. It's rated PG for vague sex. How, exactly, does that work? What constitutes "vague" sex? Quite honestly the words "vague" and "sex" don't go together. Would it just be descriptions of shadows on the wall? Perhaps, right in the middle of a scene, it switches to volcanoes erupting or trains going into tunnels. Is that how vague sex works?

Heh. There are times when the heading/warnings on the fic are better than the fic itself.
partly: (Rat)
I'm completely caught up on Supernatural (both happy and sad about that). My other current obsession is Criminal Minds. A show that I didn't like when it first came out, but that I adore right now.

Unfortunately, in my effort not to think about the uncertainty of my future, my brain has decided to come up with crossover plot bunnies for Supernatural and Criminal Minds.

This is not a good thing.

I haven't written anything in months. I have these ideas but I feel totally incapable of writing them (or anything, for that matter). Needless to say, this suddenly makes my fun escapist television all stressful and insecurity inducing.

Gads, I hate my brain!
partly: (SaveWriters)
Come one, come all! Short writing/style poll. Only five questions. I know you all have opinions... I want to know what they are.

Clicky for poll! )
partly: (Search)
A comment from [ profile] donnickcottage on my last writing post got me to thinking...

Writing for the love of writing is the way to do it. People talk about how writing "flows" and how wonderful it is, how they "love" writing.

I don't know if I can say that I love writing. I know I can say that I don't not love writing.

This is me searching to understand.

I know that I think about writing. I sit at my computer and I plot and plan and think about writing. I love to read writing books. I enjoy being part of my critique group. I absolutely adore it when I finally get the words down.

Characters, plots, dialog, scenes -- they all float around in my head. I just have problems with the translation to paper. My fingers don't seem to have the same desire as my mind. Or maybe my mind can't string the words together in order to share my ideas with others.

It isn't about recognition, exactly. I've written a piece that has been widely read (in it's fandom) and has even won an award. That was amazing, but what's most amazing is that it's a story. Something I created and holds my ideas and thoughts and beliefs and concepts. It's a story, a part of me -- complete and on paper.

Maybe that's what I'm looking for: "completion". When it comes to writing, I'm flighty; I drift from one thing to another. I'm easily distracted; I never finish anything, not to the level the idea deserves.

There's a line from one of my favorite songs Breathe (2 AM) by Anna Nalick. It goes: I'm still awake writing a song If i get it all down on paper it's no longer inside of me threaten' the life it belongs to. My compulsion to write it down on paper isn't that strong -- I wish it were. I wish I had that "drive" to write, a compulsion that allows me to push everything else aside and write. It would be easier. It would allow me to do what I need to do.

Right now, I feel "incomplete" and I don't know what to do about it.
partly: (Easywriting)
I am reading through a book on writing that I recently picked up. (“Book in a Month”, by Victoria Lynn Schmidt.) She lists five secrets for completing a book in a month and number four is "Self-Esteem".

She writes: Never guilt or shame yourself into writing, or put yourself down too harshly for not writing. Guilt and shame never helped anyone’s self-esteem, and self-esteem is what you need to complete a book in a month.

Self-esteem allows you to commit to your goals, and it allows you to take time for what is important to you. Self-esteem means you can say to yourself, “I matter, and so do my goals.”

She then lists 19 statements that have to deal with writer's Self-esteem. She says if you check more than two of the statements, your writing self-esteem could use a boost.

Here's the list, and I'm going to do three different things: Strikeout those that definitely don't apply, bold those that definitely do and italicize those that I feel the need to clarify before I can give an answer. (As Myria has often said, I need to stop arguing with books). To save the flist, I'm putting my explanations behind lj-cuts.

  1. I blame someone or something for not being able to write.No – or rather, )
  2. I constantly blame myself for not writing enough, even if it's not my fault. Blame is not a word I would use )
  3. Instead of finding time to write, I do what others want even when I don't want to. It's not that clear cut of a choice, most times. )
  4. I don't express myself enough in my writing to avoid upsetting, hurting, angering or offending someone. ("What would my family say if they read this?") Not in my fiction writing, but )
  5. I allow people to critique my work before it is ready to be critiqued. I think my writing is critique-able at anytime )
  6. When someone criticizes my work, I feel like they're criticizing me.Only for the first couple of minutes, then )
  7. I am jealous of successful writers, or I'm easily angered by their success. I've had a chance to work on this lately. )
  8. I secretly want my writing peers to fail so I won't be left behind. I never wish bad luck on people. )
  9. I'm reluctant to set and announce my writing goals for fear that I won't attain them or that I will be ridiculed. Yes. Yes. YES, to the former. No, to the latter. )
  10. When I tell people I'm a writer, I feel special. While this is partly true, )
  11. I use this "writer" identity to feel better about myself, so my self-worth relied on me maintaining it. I can't fail in any way as a writer. I think I have the opposite problem. )
  12. I'm filled with big writing dreams and goals, but I just can't get started or follow through. Hell, yeah )
  13. I give up at the first hint of rejection. Rejection is just another word for criticism )
  14. I make excuses for my work before I show it or read it out loud. ("This is just a draft; I'm not finished with this scene yet.") I wouldn't use the word excuse )
  15. I'm embarrassed to send my work out to have others read it. Never. I mean that. )
  16. I don't really know what I want from my writing career. ("Why bother?") I know, another two-part answer. )
  17. I here my self saying "yes, but" when talking to other writers about opportunities. Maybe. )
  18. I feel like I have no control over my time and how I spend it; writing is always pushed to the wayside. No… and yes. )
  19. I really don't see that I have many choices in life to do what I want to do. Not true )

So that's only one definite "yes", but two qualified "yeses" and three "I need to think about it's". The book doesn't really give any good advice for solving the problem, outside of "think of successes" and "only get positive feedback". I'm not sure that is exactly my problem, though. I think a lack of time management skills, problematic prioritizing and bad procrastinating habits are my problem. The book doesn't give me any helpful advice on those problems, either.

Conclusion: I need to think about this more. Not much of a conclusion, really. Perhaps I should think of it as a writing goal, only I think I've concluded that I'm not very good at that.
partly: (SaveWriters)
2007 could best be know as my "Year of No Writing". I didn't write anything last year. As in.... zip. Nada. Nothing. I'd be hard pressed to come up with more than 1000 words of fic -- be it original or fanfic. As of late, I write so seldom on LJ that I’m not sure that I can even consider myself as writing anything, in any form.

I've been giving serious thought, these past several months, to giving up on writing. As in, giving up on the idea that I should write and just spend my creative time doing something else.

And it's not really a question of enjoyment, really. Writing has never been "easy" for me. I fight over the words I use, I obsess over nuances of character and, as one writing professor told me, I plot like a 19th century novelist. Still, I enjoy doing it; the same way I enjoy any hard work that produces a solid result.

In many ways, my problem is a philosophical one. )
partly: (wondrous)
In response to my Drabble Meme, here is a non-fandom drabble for [ profile] donnickcottage, who wanted me to "write of wonder".

A Wintry World

The sky raged with snow, as if stirred by an all-powerful hand. At the apex of the storm nothing could be seen but swirling flecks of white. The storm waned and small houses could be glimpsed as the heavy flakes slowed and settled.

A scene evolved from the chaos. A tiny hamlet of houses, brightly decorated with snow covered awnings and dark evergreen trees. The last of the snow drifted to the ground, peace reigned.

A small child clapped and laughed, wonder and joy filled the small sounds. “More, p’ease. More!”

The mother smiled and shook the snow globe again.

It's not to late to get a drabble. Ask and you shall receive!
partly: (Fanfic)
I will write you all a drabble:

The first fifteen people to comment on this post get to request a drabble from me. Feel free, if you want, to post this meme in your journal. But I will write a drabble in any case.

Fandoms I have in my interests are: 24, A-Team, Blake's 7, Bones, Bourne series (movies), Chuck, Cowboy Bebop, Criminal Minds, Dead Zone, Die Hard, Doctor Who, Dresden Files, Due South, Early Edition, Equalizer, Eureka, Firefly/Serenity, Forever Knight, Harry Potter, Heroes, I Spy, Journeyman, Lord of the Rings, Magnum PI, Man from Uncle, M*A*S*H, Quantum Leap, Simon and Simon, Sliders, Stargate, Stargate: Atlantis, Stingray (NBC series), Touched by an Angel, Winnie the Pooh

If you want something that I don't have listed, ask. I probably know enough about the fandom or characters to write a drabble.

And I love crossovers, so if you want one of those, I'll write that!

If you have no interest in fandom, I'll write you a 100 word story on the setting/emotion/theme of your choice.

That should cover everyone *grin*.

(Gakked from [ profile] amilyn)
partly: (No One Gets Hurt)
I watch "Criminal Minds". I want to like it because I totally love the characters in it. They are interesting, 3-dimensional, likable, yet flawed. They are great as a group, yet can be individuals, too. Their cases focus on the psychological aspects of serial criminals, and I totally love that stuff. There was a reason I studied psychology in school -- I even went the whole criminal psychologist route for a bit.

However, I find their actual stories often lack... something. Some of them are brilliant, sometimes I'm left feeling that the writers didn't have a point other than to write a story about a serial killer -- and that gets old the first time they do it. The stories lack an underlying theme. I'm not talking message, I'm talking about the underlying idea that the writer uses to frame the story.

Framing puts things in context. Photographers use framing in order to make sure that the picture portrays the subject in a way that accurately shows what the photographer sees. Framing, in writing, is the way you set up a story so that the reader/viewer knows why you are telling the story. Without framing, there is no point to a story, no matter how well plotted, acted or delivered. Without framing, a story lacks purpose and resonance.

Criminal Minds stories often lack resonance; they lack a "soul". This became clear when I watched an episode of Due South that had a story that had many of the same story elements and plot dynamics. But whereas the Criminal Minds episode was flat, the Due South episode packed one hell of a punch.

Read on McDuff, for an example and explanation )

Looking back on the stories that have really touched you, the ones that have really stuck with you over time, I will bet that that story has a frame.
partly: (Shadows)
The sign-ups for the next Yuletide are open.

I'm still not sure if I want to participate. I don't enjoy most of the fic created from it, even though quite a bit of it is wonderfully written. I often feel like I'm venturing into a foreign country when I drop into Yuletide -- a land of people who look at fic differently, who read and write it for different reasons and purposes, who focus on different aspects of characters, people who almost speak a different language.

The only reason I'm considering joining is because I really liked the story I wrote last year. Some of my best writing, if only because I managed to say what I wanted to in under 1500 words. If I do join, I think I'll do it in order to be challenged to write something outside my usual comfort zone. That, of course, is a drawback right there. I'm completely aware that I don't see shows or characters the same way most fans do and I'm always afraid that they won't be what the requester wanted. For that matter, I'm always uncertain if my requests are the kind that people would enjoy writing.

Yeah, I know it's a lot of introspection over fanfic, but writing--writing anything--does that to me. It's totally beyond me why I want to do something that makes me feel so insecure and completely inadequate.

Yet, I do. I'm sure there is a mental illness that covers that.
partly: (ActionHero)
Here's a question for my flist on the acceptability of women in fight scenes: Can our hero fight a woman and not be seen as misogynistic? For that matter, is it ever acceptable for a woman to be hit/fought against, even if that woman is a bad guy and quite capable of dishing out as well as she receives?

I ask because I just got back from seeing Live Free or Die Hard again and in it Bruce Willis' character of John McClane (our beloved hero) has this incredible fight scene with Maggie Q's character of Mia (a kick-ass bad gal who kills without hesitation). Now I've read a lot of reviews on the movie and quite a few of them, even when they like the movie, thought that the scene was overly violent and unnecessary, some have even went so far as to say that it shows the "misogynistic" side of John McClane.

I've seen this movie twice now. I didn't think it was overly violent the first time I saw it. In fact, I thought she matched up well to any of the villains that McClane went toe-to-toe with in any of the first movies. I wanted McClane to pound her into the pavement -- as I would any worthy bad-guy opponent. This time, after reading the reviews, I specifically paid attention to the fight scenes between them, trying to see if they were a "statement in favor of violence against women". I still didn't see it.

McClane doesn't physically attack her, only fighting after she manages to disarm and attack him. Once she is down, he (foolishly, IMO) leaves her laying there and turns his back on her. When she attacks again, he fights her once more only to end up getting tossed down several floors. It gets more "action movie" after that with McClane taking a car and driving it through the room... it ends up with both of them and the SUV stuck in the shaft of a freight elevator. All the while she is the one who gives out more punishment than she receives (as typical of a Die Hard movie where McClane only wins a fight because he's lucky and too stupid to give up). She dies, not by McClane's hand directly, but because she (and the SUV fall to the bottom of the shaft).

Does the fact that McClane fights this woman, make him less of a hero? Is it ever acceptable to have a woman (evil or not) "beaten" (in a physical fight not in the abused sense of the word)? In shows such as "Buffy", the main hero is woman and because of that, all those who fight her are bad guys. Since they were evil, having them fight a woman only added to their "evilness". Of course, Buffy had special powers that made her physically superior the average human being. Does that make her one-on-one combat with men more acceptable? If McClane would be fighting an "evil Buffy" would that make a difference in whether or not he's misogynistic?

When I write a evil female character can I ever have a good male character fight her without damaging his character? Or is it only possible to have a good female character take her out?
partly: (Eye of the beholder)
I am watching the commentary on Die Hard -- the subtitled commentary, not the verbal one. I've had the DVDs for years but never watched this commentary. However, I'm on a Die Hard kick and thought I'd see what it had to say. It's very will done, interweaving comments from the director, writers, actors and reviewers, etc.

At one point, while discussing the character of Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman's first film role) De Souza (one of the writers) comments: If you want to get technical, John McClane is really the antagonist of the movie. The protagonist of the movie is Hans Gruber. People mix up hero, villain, protagonist, antagonist. This is where most screenplays go wrong. The hero isn't always the protagonist. The villain isn't always the antagonist. The protagonist is the person who starts the ball rolling, the protagonist of Die Hard is Hans Gruber when he decides to rob this building. You write a movie like this by asking, "What does the protagonist want? What does he have to do to get it? What does the antagonist do to thwart him?" This film works so well because everybody working on it knew the difference between the protagonist and hero and because we always go back tot he protagonist to see what he does to offset the counter-move by the antagonist, who is the hero!

This is an interesting concept because )
partly: (Dayslikethis)
I signed up to do a Sam Carter fic thinking that the assignment I get will give me the plot, all I have to do is write it. It’d be fun playing in the SG1 universe. However, the assignment really didn’t give me a plot at all. Instead, it listed a couple of requirements that would happily fit any fic I’d write: Team interaction, Sam as scientist and soldier, a little action, a little humor, no ship, no bad endings. There is no plot in that. Now, I have come up with a dozen different ideas, but none have any teeth. When I start writing them, they don’t even give me a scene!

I know what the problem is, too. I just don’t understand Sam. I love the character, mind, but I don’t understand her. To be honest, I have a really hard time understand most female characters on television, which is why I always write the guys.

Without an understanding of the character, I have no story, no flesh to hang on my skeleton of a plot, no reason for the characters to do anything at all. I need a plot to have a story, but I need character motivations to have a plot.

So, in an attempt to figure out how to write this story, I give you Sam Carter as I see her:cut for those not interested in Sam )

I know all these things, but I don’t know why she is all these things. Why did she want to be an astronaut? To explore, to help humanity, to see Earth from orbit? Why does she stay a soldier when she is so obviously perfect for being a scientist? What is her center, what keeps her going, what stopped her from “settling” for Pete? What are her insecurities? What holds her back? More importantly, what drives her?

I know what drives Jack, Daniel and Teal’c. I even know what drives Jonas and Cameron. But what drives Sam? A thirst for knowledge? A drive to succeed? A quest to explore? A promise to someone or herself?

This is the key to writing Sam (or any character) and I’m completely missing it.
partly: (Easywriting)
A grammar question, please.

When writing dialogue and wanting to end a sentance in mid-thought, is a dash (--) or an ellipse (...) used? I've had sources that contradict each other. Should I choose one and stick with it?

I also have one source that says:: "The dash is used to indicate an abrupt break" and "The ellipse is used to indicate that a sentence trails off before the end". To me that would mean I would use both in my writing to indicate two different things.

"Everyone stay down I have a--" A shot echoed through the night and he folded to the ground, dead.

"I don't know what else it..." She chewed her lip, but didn't go on.

Yes? No? The sentences are so badly written I should just shoot myself?
partly: (Rat)
Many months ago, last November to be exact, I submitted a book proposal to Stargate novels. I got a reply saying they got the proposal, and another one (in May) saying that they were starting to send out (rejection) notices. It said: "If you don't receive an email within the next 24 hours, it simply means we haven't read your submission yet (so there's still a chance it could be good news). Please be patient."

I haven't received anything yet. Should I write and inquire? Should I just sit tight and wait? I'm not patient right now. I was flattered at first -- not rejected yet, this is good. Now I'm paranoid. Did they send me a "not what we're looking for" and I just missed it?

I am manic, I know. I've gotten other stuff from them, including announcements about the books they are publishing.

They said "be patient". How much more patient should I be? I used to find the uncertainty cool -- as long as I don't know, there is always the possibility that I still have a chance. Now. Well, now, I'm just want to know.

partly: (Fanfic)
I'm reading fic and it's well written and interesting, but it has an underlying injustice and helplessness to it. Like the person who's writing it has the fundamental belief that good never wins; that the right thing may be what some people aim for but in the end the world is cruel and heartless; the best you can hope is that you accept that and try not to be bitter. While I greatly appreciate that there is none of the usual wallowing in angst over the injustice of life, there is not struggle to make things better either.

There is also the underlying thought that people -- even the people who care about you -- cannot understand you and, therefore, none of their actions will ever, truly matter. It's one of those fics where the POV character is always right and misunderstood and tries his/her best, but the other character's behaviors are always as self-serving, less-than-adequate, and half-hearted. Or else done out of pity and guilt.

That's not unusual for fanfic, as fanfic often takes the worst possible view of everyone's actions or else spins them in such a way that the actions are hollow and meaningless. The unique thing about his fic is that it has a changing POV. Usually the writers of such stories have one character and that one character is the misunderstood outcast that wonders through life being wronged and alone. This fic changes POVs so that there are now five such people wondering around. And, most confusingly, they are alternately, the misunderstood and the one who just 'doesn't get it'.

I get no pleasure from reading such fic -- no mater how interesting the plot is. I understand being a misunderstood outcast, feeling that no one in the world could ever know how I feel or appreciate the aloneness that comes from being unique or living in a area where most have no idea what 'fandom' is. But that doesn't mean I can't relate to them at all, on any level. And it doesn't mean that they can't ever relate to me, either.

Most importantly, it doesn't mean that their actions are lessened by that lack of understanding. If I'm feeling down and someone empathizes and brings me a cup of coffee or a chocolate bar to help me feel better, that action is worth something, even if that person really doesn't have clue why I'm feeling that way.

It's a tendency to paint everything in the worst possible light in order to make the main character sympathetic -- not by having them behave in a sympathetic way, but by having everyone else be completely unsympathetic. It also makes the main character's actions right because everyone else is incapable of seeing the real problem; thereby eliminating the need for the author to truly justify the actions.

You want me to like your character? Then make him/her likeable, don't make everyone else a bunch of jerks. Otherwise, in the end, I won't like anyone.
partly: (Default)
When writing we all know that the current standard is to mark thoughts/interior dialogue with italics (although there are those who say you should underline them).

Anyhow: I have a terrible time determining what is thoughts/interior dialogue and what is just deep third person POV narration. What are your opinions on it? Is there really a hard set rule on what is or is not a "thought"?

For examples and questions )

I tend to write fairly deep into the POV characters thoughts. I never can tell what is thought and what is just POV character narration.

And that is driving me nuts.

I'm also beginning to hate italics.


Dec. 8th, 2004 09:58 pm
partly: (Perk)
Three things of note:

Heard back from Stargatenovels people. They received my proposal and will (eventually) try to read it. They said they'd get back to me in three months. Which is cool. I'm sure they have a ton of proposals. I'm pleased to see that they put the title I gave it in the subject line. AND I'm pleased that I haven't been thinking about it at all lately. Very cool.

I have finished two scenes in my new fic. Good for me. They read well and are off being betaed. I have a good start of several of the following scenes. I feel confident that I'm gonna finish this, which is good. Not sure I'll make the 18th deadline, but I'm gonna give it a shot.

Myria has joined the forensic team at school. Which is wonderful. I was in part of the forensic team when I was in school. She's gonna be much better than I ever was. The only problem: the first meet is the 20. She has to have five practices before then. That is also the day of her band concert. Busy, busy, busy.

But life is good.
partly: (Ideas)
Rambling. I mean it. Just me babbling on about all the things that won't work in my fic. In which I discuss my plot and try to discover a motivation for my fic )

Please ignore. I'm only posting it because it's part of my ten-step program to getting things done. One more thing to check off my to do list.


Nov. 23rd, 2004 01:09 pm
partly: (Easywriting)
I finished it.

Ok. It needs some revision and fine tuning, but it's done.

I have never written a book proposal before and, in that brutal brand of honesty that I reserve for my own work, it ain't got a snowball's chance in hell of making it past the first read.

But I finished it. A complete story. Beginning, middle, end. It needs a little work on the theme through line and I need to tweak a few scenes -- but that should be done by tonight.

I don't have the feeling of completion I was looking forward to having... But that may change once I really do finish it.

In all honesty, I alternate between thinking that it's pretty good and believing it's total crap.

I hate that. Especially since the more cynical view seems to be the one I think more often.

It will need to be betaed a couple of times--

JennJenn? Can I rely on you to be your usual wonderful beta self? Mean, ornery and hard on problematic commas and messed up tenses?
partly: (Pondering)
I ran across these two wonderful articles on TTT. I found them on TORN -- my first choice for all things LotR.

This first one is one the differences between books and movies and how things need to be done differently in different mediums. It's written by "Quickbeam" over at TORN and you can go there to read it. It has the links to all the original info and such. Of course, because I don't trust links sticking around, you can click here )

The second article is by Johah Goldberg, entitled "Movies & Metaphors". It is wonderful and can be found at National Review Online. While the original work has links to all the articles and references mentioned, but I also copied it in case the link don't work. So, if you want, you can just click here )
partly: (Pondering)
I am often forced to face that fact that I am not as handy with words as I would like to think. My brain seems to get caught up in act of putting little squiggles of ink on the paper (or electronic impulses on a computer screen) and my thoughts -- which seem so fluid and concise in my brain end up crude and mundane once written down.

I'm never really happy with my work. Although maybe that's not completely true. I am, at first, infatuated with what I write. At first glance it seems to have all the snap and verve that I imagined when I first conceived the idea, but once I go back and read it ends up being lifeless and mundane.

Sometimes I think I work the words to death, revising all the life out of them. Other times I think I don't put enough effort into rooting out the right words that carry with them the connotations that will make my prose sing. Too often, I feel my writing is blocky, lifeless and lumpy compared to well written prose that just zings. The prose that I imagine when I think the thought through. Like a house made of baby blocks sitting next to intricately carved sculptures.

Most of the time, though, I just don't finish it, 'cuz that way I can continue to think that I'm insightful and eloquent rather than having proof otherwise.

I don't suppose it help any that I tend to come at things from a different angle than most. It is hard, I guess, to make intricately carved sculptures when the tools I prefer to work with are blocky and solid.

Still, it would be nice to not continually criticize my own work. I'm a hell of a less nit-picky with other people's work. And the comes a time when being self-deprecating becomes rather than a useful motivational tool.

And it could be that that I use all that as an excuse for me not to do the work that is involved in writing.

Do I not write because I feel that I'm not good enough or do I feel I'm not good enough because I don't write?

Circular logic: It is our friend.

Still, lately, I'm thinking I'm just lazy and I just don't want to work. Of course I cover it all with good reasons not to work. Family, work, household responsibilities, and the ever popular "I work hard and I deserve to just relax".

Need to think on that.
partly: (Pondering)
In a discussion group we were discussing TTT and I said that Tolkien had a "rather byzantine writing style" and some one wrote back and said:

Tolkien's text can definitely get convoluted, but I don't think
Byzantine is *quite* the allusion that works best. ;)

Which is fine. But I really want to know why. I realize that Byzantine is used in describing architecture and painting and that it isn't a term that's usually used for writing, so maybe that's the concern. Perhaps it is the religious connotations that go with Byzantine that was the problem. Maybe, from their experience, Byzantine carries with it negative implications that I didn't intend. But why put "quite" in the little ** symbols? And I didn't say that Tolkien was convoluted, I used Byzantine to reflect the layered and intricate wording that Tolkien uses, especially in his dialog... obviously this person got something else from it. And I'd like to know what.

I suppose I could write them and find out, but I really don't want to get into a discussion of Tolkien's writing style. I'm afraid that it would seem like I'm disagreeing with them rather than simply looking for reasonings. I happen to like the allusion, but I'm won't use it if it's wrong or misleading.


Not that I obsess over little things.
partly: (Never)
I've been reading a lot of the comments about TTT lately, mostly 'cuz it's interesting to see how differently people interpret the same film and characters. The most amazing thing, to me, is how upset people are over the changes made to adapt the novels to a film format. I'm also astonished on how adamant some people are that things should not be changed for the way they are in the books. I'm also puzzled on how many people claim that they are "Tolkien Purists" and that the books should not be changed, altered or interpreted in any way.

Tolkien Purism - cut 'cuz it's longish )

I recently heard a wonderful statement attributed to Tolkien (on my wonderful Christmas present, "JRR Tolkien: Master of the Rings" DVD) -- When CS Lewis claimed that myth was made of lies, Tolkien responded that wasn't true. Rather, he said, Myths told something so important that is didn't matter whether it was factually true or not. These books -- and movie -- tell us something so important that is doesn't matter if the details are the same or not, as long as the mythology is true.
partly: (Default)
Henry Blake doesn't die. He doesn't. He gets to go home and see his son. He gets to play with his family and fight with his wife. He lives a long and happy life and dies peacefully at a ripe old age.

And that's my world. It's a happy world. At least it is when I can control the fiction in it.
partly: (Pondering)
I know that I should write more. I always intend to write more.

I intended to write a journal entry telling what a wonderfully normal Thanksgiving I had with my family. But I didn't.

I intended to write a journal entry telling what a wonderful time I had going to see HP with family and friends and Die Another Day with my husband. But I didn't.

I intended to be much further along on my little fantasy story that I've been tossing around in my head. But I'm not.

I intended to write something about my character I have wallowing in a ME RPG here on LJ. But I didn't.

BUT I did manage to write a short piece for the little round robin I joined. Yay, me.

Actually, since this was the first time in over a month I've managed to put words to paper that I didn't immediately disregard as trash, I suppose it could be YAY YAY me. Although I'm not sure such a small effort is so deserving of praise.

But now, since it is 11:30 and I have to be out at my Mom's baking cookies early in the AM, I'm going to go the bed.

Here's hoping that the muse is still with me tomorrow when I sit down to write.


Nov. 1st, 2001 10:21 pm
partly: (Underweather)
I'm not going to write tonight. I've got more things to think about than I can deal with.

I hate being grown up.


partly: (Default)

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