icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
I've taken time off to write fic. I find that Jim and Kirk will not get down to business. No, no, they want to talk about Vulcan, and the Vulcan perspective on humans:


"Checkmate," Spock said, placing his final piece.

"How is that Vulcans play a human game?" Jim asked.

"There are those on Vulcan who feel the existence and popularity of chess on Earth demonstrates that there's hope," Spock explained.

"Hope for?—ahh," understanding dawned on the captain's face before he even finished the question.

"Yes. Hope that, one day, humans may embrace pure logic."


Of course, Jim can't resist prodding at that, does Spock think it likely?--and really, guys, there's a plot that's supposed to happen. I realize it's not much of one, but interesting as you are, you're interrupting.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
I seek a few readers of cabin porn.

Well, not that kind of cabin porn, though I'm perfectly willing to write it.

Rather, I mean cabin porn of the "ski porn" variety: The "oh, now I really want a cabin where I can curse the plumbing and sit out on the deck with a glass of wine after I say 'fuck it' and instead watch sun set over a perfectly calm lake."

A few of you have read my father's amusing cabin journal entries.

He has friends, and me, telling him he should arrange these stories into a book, illustrate it (he's a professional illustrator and cartoonist), and look for a publisher.

He doesn't believe me. Or them. But he's sniffing around the idea.

He would like an unbiased opinion. Are these stories of his worth turning into a book? He has a 21-page sample.

Would anyone like to read it and give him their clear, untainted by daughterly rose-colored glasses, opinion?
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
"But novels are never about what they are about; that is, there is always deeper, or more general, significance. The author may not be aware of this till she is pretty far along with it. A novel’s whole pattern is rarely apparent at the outset of writing, or even at the end; that is when the writer finds out what a novel is about, and the job becomes one of understanding and deepening or sharpening what is already written. That is finding the theme." - DIANE JOHNSON

So true.

Out Of Bounds is about learning how to be a good student.

The current story, I think, is about giving up control.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Writing a Big Bang is different.

The Atlantis Big Bang is my first. I've written four novella-to-novel length stories (Out Of Bounds, Beg Me For It, Primer to the Dark Arts, The Walls Of Jericho), but even though I wrote one of these in six weeks ... a Big Bang has it's own crush of pressure.

I found that because of the length and short time frame I've had to change how I write.

I Changed From This...

1. Normally I write a few scenes (sometimes at disparate points in the story). Get a feel for my characters and story. I'll post these as a WIP and gauge the response.

2. Then I write my outline.

3. I stand back from the story and look at the outline to determine the theme. When I'm doing well, I zero in on the theme right away. I can tie each scene to my theme and throw away anything that doesn't drive the story forward. When I'm not doing well, I stay fuzzy about the theme and it's hard for me to trim the story.

4. At this point I might stop writing and do some research for a while, if I find that I don't know enough to finish my story.

5. Next, I start writing in earnest, writing scenes out of order, whatever is hot at the moment. I treat each individual scene as it's own short story.

6. I have the scenes beta'd as I go. My betas and I work closely, scene by scene, as the story is produced. We polish each one and make adjustments along the way. I'll post the story as as WIP or, in the case of Beg Me For It, post it as separate stories in a series.

7. Throughout I keep standing back, rewriting my outline, rechecking and discussing my theme to see if it's changed or deepened in the writing.

8. Finally, I add transitions to tie it all together. My story usually ends up being a third longer than I first expect.

...To This

I've found that in writing a Big Bang I've had to make a few changes.

1. I write a few scenes as usual, get a feel for my characters, etc., etc. But these aren't posted because a Big Bang is not a WIP. Instead I posted descriptions of the story to gauge audience response.

2. I write the outline. But then I have the outline beta'd before I do any serious writing. I learned this from [personal profile] mad_maudlin and [profile] auburnnothenna. Major changes are made in the outline stage.

3. Then I look over the outline and adjust according to my theme as usual (with all the usual difficulties).

4. But I can't stop to do research because of the Big Bang time frame. The deadline is looming.

5. I launch directly into writing my scenes, often out of order. In lieu of research time, I leave placeholders for details to be polished up in the final, put in [X]s for minor character names, brackets for what I need to look up.

6. I end up with a full-length (very) rough draft with all these placeholders and question marks. There is no time to polish individual scenes. My betas read a whole story, swiss cheese though it is, in one bite.

7. I have only a month left to fill in these details.

And now... glug, glug... help.

This is the point where I am. I'm overwhelmed. I've never stared down a massive rough draft like this. It's not how I usually write. I've been poking at this huge 57,000-word text for days and I can't get any traction on editing it.

Help...? I thought I'd just read it beginning to end and write as I go but it's got me beat. My betas aren't getting back to me (maybe they feel the same?). What do I do now?
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Yes! I now have two bookshelves, relatively cheap, solid wood, on sale.

I can finally unpack my boxes.

Writing ... okay, pokey sticks work. I wrote some. Well. I edited some.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
I have at least three stories I need to write, including my SGA Big Bang. I was hungry to write today.

Couldn't get myself moving.

*hands out pointy sticks*

Motivate me?
icarus: (Happy Rodney by Monanotlisa)
For Out Of Bounds...

... I'm looking for an insulting Rodney-esque nickname to use on a skater who, in 1986, was an aging and somewhat too heavy has-been competing past his prime.

I offer home baked internet cookies, writing credit, and doe-eyed gratitude? Kind of stuck here.
icarus: (Happy Rodney by Monanotlisa)
Last day for writing Out Of Bounds, and then school begins tomorrow. I got a lot less done than I planned. Progress on Out Of Bounds, though I'm stuck on the breakthrough scene still. Didn't get the 2007 Flavor of the Year essay done. *sigh*

Note to self: when writing, turn off email, turn off all internet access if you have to unplug it from the wall.

Now to push ahead on more competition stuff, and more Radek.

I just wish I felt more... creative... today.

*puts on music to see if that helps*


ETA: Dang. Just caught myself checking the f-list. *swats with ruler*
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
The section I planned to post on Out Of Bounds was supposed to be longer but one scene isn't working out.

Just sent a complete re-write to my betas. I'm not happy with it at all. In fact, I'm less happy with it than I was before. May have to reorder some scenes as well.

The good news is that two (far, far in the distant future) scenes did come out well. Those are beta'd and ready, parked in the driveway with their engines humming. Of roughly 25 scenes for the summer, 12 are written and ready to go.

Just held up by the other scenes strung between them.
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
The scene I planned to post yesterday still needs a complete rewrite. But two more scenes popped out of the ethers and hoo-rah -- although I have an essay and a presentation to prep tonight, I've got one of them at the betas now.

Out Of Bounds is still doing that patchwork thing, giving me a scene here and a scene there. Yes, yes, I anthropomorphize this story.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Why can't I do everything I want to do? What is this necessity for sleep that wastes five or six hours a day? Why can't I just hook up an IV and forego eating?
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
What I've learned about writing this week:

From the Japanese film director Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, Ran). He says he sets a scene "like it's a silent movie, with a minimum of dialogue. I find dialogue boring."

From Neil Gaiman (via [livejournal.com profile] libitina's LJ). "When people tell you there’s something wrong with a story, they’re almost always right. When they tell what it is that’s wrong and how it can be fixed, they’re almost always wrong."

From personal experience. Do not stay up until four am writing or you will miss your morning class.


In RL: I spoke to my mom on the phone for five hours last night after being out of contact for two years.

After four hours, she finally asked how I was. *rim shot* Thank you, folks, my mother.
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
I was in front of my computer, writing the next part of Out Of Bounds, when I hit a point where I had too many options. Tilt.

I tried going to Hugo House to be all "writerly" and think it through. But that writer's den was too den-like and there were too many people.

I went to the park, put on my "Icarus looks cool" shades and made a beeline for the children's wading pool, the skies blue, wind just cool enough as the sun warmed my arms. I basked by the side of the glittering pool that was shaped like a turtle, contemplating my many options and watching the young mothers with their kids.

Then a guy in a lawn chair tossed tennis balls into the pool.

One.

Two.

Three.

They floated in a random triangle in the center of the pool, almost equidistant from each other. And I thought, "Okay, that's my approach."

I took three possibilities and wrote them down on three sheets of paper and folded them. I walked over to one of the young mothers and explained, "I'm writing a story and I'm stuck on a scene. I've written three possibilities down on these slips of paper." I held them out to her daughter. "Pick one."

The little girl was shy, dipped her head and buried her face against her mom's knee. So I said to her mom, "I guess you'll have to do it."

She picked one, her smirk somewhere between amused and bemused. I grinned when I opened it. It was the one I'd wanted to do, and I thanked her.

I went back to my seat and began writing the scene. The guy who'd thrown the tennis balls walked by. It turned out he was an employee of Seattle City Parks there to test the PH of the water and add chlorine.

I explained what I'd done, thanking him. "It was the tennis balls that gave me the idea."

He was very amused and grinned through the rest of his task.

Now all I have to do is type the scene. I'm strangely reluctant, like committing it to paper will let out the magic of the afternoon like poking a hole in the bottom of a paper cup full of water.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
In the midst of not-so-great finals, there's one piece of good news:

My first published short story is out. It's here, in my hand, published on actual paper. Also, the college journal is really nice.

Here's the story. I was at the bus stop when I bumped into Adam, a friend of mine from creative writing class (also, such an excellent writer). He mentioned, "Oh, hey, I'm the editor of this journal. I don't know if you're interested but the deadline's tomorrow. You have any short stories lying around?"

I said yes, thinking, only if fanfiction counts.

Well, I did have a couple original fics that I didn't particularly like, and I had one fanfic story I thought I could de-fanfic. I said, what the heck, it can't hurt to try. I took an hour and de-fanficced Liar's Chair, just because I happen to like that story. I de-fanficced The Other Man as well.

I will add that my de-fanficcing was done with a very light hand, and the changes are transparent. Though I did change the background to a vision of the near future where countries' have sent the military into space to claim every habitable planet for one nation or another, regardless of whether they can be colonized.

To my complete and utter surprise they accepted the new version of Liar's Chair.

Now it's published. On paper. Right here in my hand. With my real name on it.

I like this. I think I'll do this again.


P.S. I'm not getting comments, so if I haven't responded it's because I haven't wandered back to my posts to see if anyone's replied. Also, oh god, I'm not admitting how much I have to do. Tomorrow's the drop dead deadline for everything at school.
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
At the moment I am empty-handed on the next scene of Out Of Bounds.

Do we resume on the ice, do I run with the section with Doctor Beckett, or let Rodney's search for outside help jump in there? Yet again the characters have train-wrecked my outline. But as [livejournal.com profile] auburnnothenna points out, what do you expect from a story called "Out Of Bounds"?

Hmm. Where it wants to go is 4am, Monday morning, and John's next session on the ice.

Here's a great article in Locus Magazine: Cory Doctorow: In Praise of Fanfic.

This massive fanfic database project... remember when you opened your first fanfic story? You had no idea where to go, where "the good stuff" was (or even that there was a distinction). So you just picked one at random, which is a little like saying, "Hmm. I'd like to read some lit-era-ture" and then grabbing a book at Barnes & Noble and ending up with some celebrity's ghost-written sob story. And it's so bad it nearly sucks out your eyeballs.

We need easy to find rec-lists, so people can hit the good stuff first. Because we who are deep in the fandom know where the good stuff is (though there's always the problem of opening the door to new writers). We surround ourselves with our favorite writers and forget what it's like to walk in blind.


ETA: Great quote from Cory Doctorow -- "Each person who retold Pygmalion did something both original — no two tellings are just alike — and derivative, for there are no new ideas under the sun. Ideas are easy. Execution is hard."
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
I know that this is how I wrote Primer to the Dark Arts. The "day after" scene was written first, then the Harry/Ron attic scene, then the opening scenes, then it leapt ahead to the love potion. Chapter nine (of 27) was written last.

I realize that the final chapter of the Beg Me For It series was posted two years before the rest of the story.

Still. It's frustrating to have two scenes of Out Of Bounds written and ready to go, but un-postable because I have all this other stuff in between unwritten -- and what happens? I have this chick Sonja show up (because I'm learning more about skating and now have to deal with certain realities). And it's at least two scenes away from what I need to post next.

The Walls of Jericho spoiled me. Everything in that story was written in order. Largely because I had no outline or clue what was going to happen next. Of course, I write outlines because I write scenes out of order and then have to string it all together.

Also: all ye writers, learn from this. Always, always, always write down those bits of dialogue and scenes that popup right away. Because in addition to this story being completely out of order, I didn't, and now I'm having to scraaaaape my memory for what was once perfectly clear.

I hate everything I've written. But that's how I feel about all writing right now, including stories that I love, so I'm ignoring my feelings as best as I can.
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
Tinkering with Out Of Bounds. The next part is giving me some trouble (experiment doesn't seem to be working). In the process however, I have a You Tube clip that's pretty close to Rodney's showy-playful skating style.

Christopher Bowman 1991 Gala.
icarus: (Out Of Bounds 2)
After all the excellent writing advice you guys offered I started first reading fanfiction. I discovered that I was critical of all writing at the moment, even stories that I love.

That took a lot of pressure off, convincing me that this is all in my mind.

I went to the figure skating performance (the Nationals are still coming up) and got a scent of something... indefinable... about a skating performance. I limped along trying to describe the experience to [livejournal.com profile] amothea in chat and came up empty.

In response the many suggestions to just write, I began carrying my writing notebook again. I'd stopped, to my surprise, and discovered this fact when I was at the figure skating competition intermission, wanted to write some more to Out Of Bounds -- and found no notebook. For the first time since 2003. I scribbled a little on the back of an envelope, and filled a page of notes this morning. I'm keeping it loose, as [livejournal.com profile] yin_again offered, letting the blanks be blanks.

The music yesterday helped spark a (very silly) scene, and I feel myself thawing -- especially since Sunday's skating event.

Yeah. I think this is going to work. I'm letting myself skip ahead on the story.

Guys, thank you for help giving me my stories back.

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icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
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