Nov. 20th, 2012 10:54 am
darklyndsea: squitten (Default)
I am going to be so dead in the spring semester. There's no Latin 4300 class, so I'm signed up for graduate-level Latin instead. Dead, I tell you. At least the rest of my classes should be only lecture-reading-tests classes, not any of those terrible ones with essays or projects. And they're all classics! Well, one of them is "Northern Myths and Legends", which isn't, but...mythology.
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There's this verse writing itself in my head (isn't there always? In this case it's the SWCI-verse, of which I've only written one fic so far). And you know how it always goes when the fic writes itself: you keep getting surprised with new bits that get thrown at you, that you have no ability to change...or at least that's how it goes with me. Fortunately, my muse usually either comes up with reasonable bits (for a slightly odd vallue of reasonable) or comes up with reasonable explanations when prodded hard enough. This time...I don't even know.

So, my muse informed me that in this verse Xander has been turned into a woman (physically) several times in the past, at least one of them long-term, and that he's going to get genderswapped (in the conventional sense of the word, not its more literal sense) again, probably for a year and a day. So far so good; it's certainly a reasonable enough piece of backstory, and I think it works inside the story as long as he's not transformed by a human...but wait! My muse insists that Xander's completely fine with it, even on the inside, and no, he's not even a little bit gender-fluid, or gender apathetic, or anything other than solidly male on the inside.

So I have to admit, I'm more than a little bit confused, because by all rights he should be at least uncomfortable with being in a female body. Sure, he's been through enough transformations of his body over the years that he's not too concerned about his body remaining the same, as long as he's physically capable of doing all of his normal activities, but again, he's not gender apathetic. Maybe that's just how much he's stopped taking appearance as anything important, except for matters of choice? But then, clothing is a matter of choice, and when he goes out to buy his new wardrobe he chooses to buy skirts as well as pants., and he doesn't even have anybody with him to encourage/force him to. And he doesn't have all the female friends here that he did back home; he totally could have gotten away with wearing the exact same things he did when he was male, with the addition of a bra and possibly some dresses for the fancier events Marcone goes to.

This makes my head hurt. Thanks, Muse!

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My History of Rock and Roll class is poltbunnying me for Supernatural like whoa, so I'm finally getting around to watching it. I mean, not that I'll be able to write the verse that she wants me to write, anyway, because I don't know enough about music, but at least it'll get her off of my back a little. But Supernatural is hard for me to watch (visually and auditorially, not due to subject matter), so to make myself watch it I've decided to write reactions to every episode I watch.

1x01: Pilot )

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Mostly I'm talking about werewolf fics, but this applies to anything similar, where the characters get some sort of instincts relating to interpersonal relationships/society.

Have you noticed that, 99.9% of the time, they immediately start using the vocabulary of their new society--like in werewolf fic, they immediately call themselves a pack and the leader the Alpha. It's one thing if the characters are previously aware of this hierarchy or are given an introduction to the way things are run by somebody who previously knows/uses the vocabulary, but it's a completely different thing if they immediately, without any thought on the matter, start using the terminology without that introduction. I mean, yeah, if I got bit by a wolf and started having instinctual reactions to people, it wouldn't take me long to start calling people alphas and pack simply because that's the terminology I know, but it would still take me a while before I started to use them. Maybe just a few seconds, if it was fairly obvious what had happened, but I'd still start out fumbling for words to describe what my instincts were telling me. And I'm not unique--anybody would react the same way in that situation.

And, again, you have to consider the situation; if you want to skip the whole "learning about being a werewolf" stage (which could be good for a outsider "wow, you've changed completely and yet you don't seem to be freaking out at all" reaction), you can make it so that the instincts tell them everything they need to know, including the terminology.  But be smart about it.  If they're stumbling around in the dark, they're not going to automatically know the terminology.

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I've been watching The Mentalist lately, so here, meta:

The Mentalist is one of those classic stories with no possible good ending, or at least not much of a possibility of one.  Of course, seeing how it's on TV, I'm sure the producers won't ever let it have the terrible ending that it should have, but the only logical endings are bad.

Red John kills Jane (not likely at all, since he seems to like the games he plays with Jane)
Somebody other than Jane kills Red John.  Jane commits suicide.
Jane kills Red John, then either kills himself or continues with the CBI
  • nobody finds out--again, not likely, judging by Jane's personality.
  • Jane gets arrested & goes to prison
  • Jane gets arrested, but gets off somehow (self-defense, technicality, people covering for him); possibly a happy ending, but probably not if they cover for him
  • somebody in law enforcement shoots Jane because he's acting crazy, just killed a guy, and won't put down the knife; or because Jane forces it
  • one of Red John's people kills Jane
  • Red John kills him as he kills Red John
What really gets me about this show is that, even during the filler episodes, you can see Jane working towards his goal.  It seems like every episode he's testing and/or tempting the team, nudging them into a state of mind where they won't stop him from killing Red John.  And Lisbon and Cho, at least, know that it's all going to end badly (Rigsby and Van Pelt, maybe, maybe not), are expecting it to end badly (didn't Lisbon say, straight-out, that she thought that one day Jane would go too far and she'd be out of a job?), but they still go along with it.  (it amuses me horribly how Cho almost always says a very firm no to Jane's schemes and then the very next scene shows him carrying them out)
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The titles of all of my WIPs? Um...

Read more... )
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So, I got bored and started translating The Voyage of the Dawn Treader into Latin.  I was going to do The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but apparently it's MIA and I'm too lazy to put more effort into finding it.  As with most of my non-NaNoWriMo projects, it'll probably fall by the wayside, but you never know.  Maybe if I call it NaNoTraMo...?

The translating's pretty easy so far, except for a couple of words that weren't immediately findable in my dictionaries.
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This probably sounds like the most obvious advice ever, but you'd be surprised: the best way to get better at writing is to write. Set a daily quota to reach, and consistently hit it. If you need a jump-start to get going, do something like NaNoWriMo.

Read more... )
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Since I posted last (yeah, that was 3 days ago O.o) I've written 3 fics in the Becoming Eliot Spencer 'verse (in which Xander Harris from Buffy the Vampire Slayer remakes himself as Eliot Spencer from Leverage) and posted them on AO3:  Still no Obvious Colclusion To The Series fic, though.  Muse doesn't want to write it, and I can only hope she has a plan.

Leverage has pretty much completely taken over my writing.  Fortunately it's easy to write for, but I can only hope this is a passing obsession for my Muse because she already has me writing kid!fic.  The Leverage crew raising a kid is kind of horrifying.  Oh yeah, and there's also the fact that I was in the middle of writing the Saucy Reboot (again).  And I need to revise Greatest Glory (and get a better title, but I always need to do that).
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This month...I have actually written!  I know, shocking, isn't it?  I started doing Inkygirl's 1,000 word a day challenge on May 27 because I was tired of not writing anything at all.  Judging from my experiences with NaNoWriMo, I should have guessed that it would go very, very well.  I mean, I'm not hitting every day, but 27/35 days is pretty good, especially considering I had travel and work lost when my computer unexpectedly restarted in there.

I find that the more experience I have writing, the more I tend to rewrite, especially when I'm working on longer things.  "Saucy Reboot" is currently on schedule to use 3,743 words out of the 17,893 I've written because I keep rewriting it to deal with plot and characterization issues.  I still don't have much of a plot on this one.

Fics I have worked on:

  • Everything, at least a little.  Sometimes I can't decide what to work on.
  • Greatest Glory, almost pure Buffy, Saucy, 11,908 words (complete).  This is technically the prologue/prequel to all of the Saucyverse fics.  After Marcie Ross unexpectedly appeared in it, it grew to 12k words and I actually finished it.  I think this is the first time I've had dialogue that's really worked and felt easy to write.  Now I need to rewrite, and find a beta reader.  Which, by the way, I have no idea how to do.
  • "Saucy Reboot", Buffy, Saucy, 3743/17893 words (WIP).  Lots and lots of rewriting with this one, still no real plot even if the premise is strong and I have a few ideas for what I want to happen and my very first subplot.
  • Miscellaneous Saucy side-fics, Saucy, (WIP).  This verse keeps surprising me, and the more I write in it the more I want to write about Saucy itself, even though it's very peripheral to the main stories.  It's very odd.
  • Vocation, Mulan, Dinosaur, 249 words (complete).  A oneshot leading into Mulan's role in the Dinosaur'verse.  Meaning, of course, that it's before her First Death, so it's only part of the verse because I say it is.  Once it's been a few days I'll see if it needs editing.  Of course, I'm not putting any of this 'verse up anywhere other than my Blogger until I have more of the main stories in it, which is kind of aggravating me.
  • Becoming Eliot Spencer, Buffy/Leverage, [untitled verse], 581 words (complete).  Xander becomes Eliot Spencer.  There will (hopefully) be another fic in this verse, of when Leverage canon starts.  And maybe a third, when his past comes to the fore, but that's more doubtful.  I have no idea where this came from.
So...success!  How's your writing going?
darklyndsea: squitten (Default)

Due to a surprise birthday gift of a laptop (his name's Edmund), I've been making an effort to write more by participating in Inkygirl's 1000 words a day challenge. It's been working well, except for that part where my muse doesn't like to write before it hits midnight. Oh well, at least it's summer.

But the more I write, the more I notice the fact that my muse knows stuff I don't. I mean, I'm just writing, and bam! in slips something that tells me more about the character/world than I figure out in thousands of words, otherwise. I'm not talking about parts I plan, but just the phrasing of some parts implies so much that I didn't know. Like, Xander treated Buffy more cautiously than he had to in the scene I just wrote, and suddenly I knew he had reason to, because something happened where she shot first and asked questions of the corpse.

How does that happen?  I mean, I might be currently working on this fic, but I don't really think about it, and I don't get the feeling that my muse is working on its plot in the back of my head, either.  But this just springs out of nowhere, out of thin air as far as I can tell.  It's very weird any time it happens.  Weird but good.

darklyndsea: squitten (Default)
I'm so excited.

My ultimate goal with regards to Latin is to become fluent, or at least as fluent as I can become (speaking realistically, there are probably limits to this due to lack of native speakers, the fact that I don't really know anybody who's into Latin, and the relative scarcity of books in Latin).  Periodically I check my progress towards this goal by randomly going to the Latin Wikipedia and seeing how much of it I understand (and can pick up through context clues).  Apparently two semesters is the magic amount of Latin I need for it to not be completely frustrating to attempt to read Wikipedia.
darklyndsea: squitten (Default)
So, in the past few years, thanks to doing NaNoWriMo, I've realized that, while I may be able to write 50,000 words in a month on a yearly basis and as a bonus even have it be halfway coherent despite the random explosions I write in on the 5th of November, I kind of lack certain novel-writing skills.  Like, how do you divide it into chapters?  How do you write a good ending (i.e., one that doesn't just stop suddenly)?  And the thing is, it's next to impossible to find how to write guides for those of us who have mastered the basics (NaNoWriMo-related evidence to the contrary).  It's very aggravating; about the only resource I've found that I like is Show Some Character!

Of course, this rant comes about for a reason; I've been slowly working on The Epic, trying some new things trying to make it good, and it's made me realize how much more I have to learn.  But I think that's how it is for everybody.  If you don't think your writing needs to improve, chances are you're wrong.
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I have Latin and school on the brain, so here, have some of my ideas for my hypothetical geek school:
Read more... )
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So anyway, I really should learn how to NOT procrastinate, because it's always bad when I do.  In my defense, though, this semester has been bad, what with the Art History survey course (which I'm taking for the required fine arts credit), which is SO not  survey course (Professor, I'm not majoring in art history or anything even remotely related to art history unless you count the fact that some paintings have Latin writing in them as 'related'.  Please stop trying to treat me like I'm an art history major) and takes up all of my time because there are like 7 projects in it (WTF?!).  But regardless of my reasons, before tomorrow I have to write one 3,000 word paper on prohibition, and another essay, also for history, on US history between 1908 and WWI- an essay that's the take-home half of a test.

And THEN, on Monday, not only are the essays due, but I have a test in Latin, which I have also been slacking in due to Art History and which I won't be able to study for more than just right before the test, when I'm waiting in the hall for the previous class to vacate the room.  But Latin is easy, so I'm not worried- even if I completely fail this test, I'll be fine since I've only ever gotten A's on Latin tests so it'll average out.  Possibly I also have a physics test this week too.

But seriously, how do people manage to *not procrastinate* so effortlessly?  Without self-bribery and self-threats, I don't think I'd get anything accomplished.
darklyndsea: squitten (Default)
Bold the ones you've read COMPLETELY, italicize the ones you've read part of. Watching the movie or the cartoon doesn't count. Abridged versions don't count either. BTW, according to the BBC if you've read 7 of these, you are above the average.

Read more... )

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Dear toothpaste makers,
Is it really necessary to make it difficult to impossible to find toothpaste which is unflavored, or at least not mint flavored?  I HATE the taste of mint, unless it's paired with chocolate, and I have to read the toothpaste boxes carefully to make sure they're actually not mint flavored, because for some of them you don't label them anywhere except in the middle of a paragraph on the side of the box!  To make it worse, it seems like the toothpaste I actually like is no longer available, at least where I shop.  I know you can't please all of the people all of the time, but I'm fairly certain I'm not the only one who hates the taste of mint.  Please label.

darklyndsea: squitten (Default)
I've noticed a pattern in the characters I like (with a few outliers): I like characters who are smart, sarcastic, and keep others at a distance.  I like characters who don't have all three characteristics; a few I like don't have any of them (or at least they don't in my headspace).  But those are the main three characteristics that make me like characters.

But the thing is, the characters I like are written out of character a lot.  I assume the writers see their behavior as a flaw to be fixed, because at least some of the time everything else about the fic's good.  I can buy a "becoming more warm and fuzzy" plot, but only if it's part of an epic, or because of some trauma.  If the story's not very long, and the character starts out acting nicer than they do in canon, I don't like it.  If I wanted to read characters like that, I'd be searching for fic with different characters.  I like House and McKay and Snape because they're not nice, and they hold all but a few at a distance, not because I want to see them cozy up to Random Character A without being forced into it.

And on a related note, I don't want to see everybody spilling their secrets.  Sure, for some characters it's in character to tell, but there aren't a lot of them.  I'll never buy the Stargate characters (except for the aliens, and even then it depends) telling people without being told to tell them by the higher-ups.  I won't buy Methos telling somebody he's known for five minutes that he's Methos and what that means.  I won't buy anybody doing one of those "this is everything that's ever happened to me" introductions, unless I get the feeling that the character thinks it's necessary (which would  I can't think of any other reason).

Basically, the characters have established patterns of behavior, and we like or hate them because of that behavior.  If you're writing about a character, stick to their usual pattern of behavior or one that can be extrapolated from their usual pattern of behavior.  If you don't like the characters as they are, and absolutely must change them, at least include a warning that they're OOC.

darklyndsea: squitten (Default)
 Rather than writing an essay about the reasons fandoms like Narnia and Farscape (bizarrely less so with Stargate Atlantis, though you wouldn't expect it) tend to have depressing "back on Earth" fics written in them, I shall now link you to an XKCD strip:


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