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Aug. 5th, 2008 09:22 pm
owl: pen handwriting; use it for journalling (writing)
I've just put my name in for the DVD commentary challenge. It's a change from the other commentary meme; someone else does the commentary. Off to find one to do myself...some of you sign up so I can do yours.

I don't think I'm going to watch Bonekickers tonight; I don't think I can bear to watch the destruction of all artefacts in the team's vicinity.

DVD-style commentary on Rebel Heart, chapter five, for [ profile] ankaret. Sorry I've taken so long!

Read more... )

Okay, anyone up for any more? Fanfic's under this tag.

DVD-style commentary for A Distant Sound of Cannon, for [ profile] rodlox, as requested here.Spoilers for all three Pirates films )

Oh dear

Jul. 19th, 2008 09:01 pm
owl: (Don)
So two out of the three reviews I got for Things We Can't Untie on accused me of writing St Charlie and Bad Don.

I was more shooting for Confused and Unhappy Don and There Is a Reason I'm Outta This Job Megan. Charlie wasn't even in the fic, although of course the issue was going to come up.

I do hate it when I fail so miserably at getting across what I mean in fic. And of course the negative reviews are all anonymous so I can't reply to them.

I do think that Charlie is closer to right than Don in this case. Don's rulebending is in the direction of interfering with suspects' civil rights, while Charlie's is in support of freedom of speech. Looks like is full of neo-cons, then.
Would any of you US-ians mind Ameri-picking/betaing a couple of Numb3rs one-shots for me? Knowing the programme to be able to beta characterisation and canon would be great, but if anyone feels like fixing my dialect and typos without it, that would be fine too.
Other people do method acting. I seem to do method writing.

I've been writing fic from the pov of an American character this week. Today in work my team-mates were highly amused to discover that I had dated all the screen dumps I'd printed on Tuesday "4/1/08".

Beta request

Jan. 23rd, 2008 11:08 pm
owl: Miles Vorkosigan: We have advanced to new and surpising levels of bafflement (milesbaffled)
I have a couple of Ivan-pov short fics that need beta'd. They're about one or two thousand words in total, one is set at the end of Warrior's Apprentice and one at the end of ACC.

Any volunteers? Also, I am constitutionally unable to think up titles, so any help in that line would also be much appreciated.
I was reading someone's feminist essay recently (Can't link it, I've forgotten where it is). The premise was that our stories are missing archetypes. It's okay to be a Princess or a Warrior Maiden, but not a Queen or a Mother, because once you hit 30 or give birth, you become a nonentity. There are no mothers in fairy-tales.

Looking at Star Wars, it fits the bill. All the mothers die. Shmi dies, Padmé dies, even Aunt Beru dies. I don't think it's an accident that the woman are killed as the Empire grows stronger.

Rebel Heart-I mean the Rebel Heart that exists in my head and on scrappy bits of paper, which I've never got around to posting on the net-RH doesn't fit terribly well to that; in fact it's the opposite. There isn't a single adult male in there who possesses a personality.

My protagonist I think is a Warrior Maiden (although a distinctly geeky one) and therefore not interesting to the purposes of this discussion, although I find her interesting. Her mother, sadly, goes neatly into the stereotype, including being offed by the Empire; even worse, she's not only dead, she had premarital sex-though the big issue was the premarital conception-and died. (She was in the Alderaanian counter-espionage and when K. was about 2 years old it got a bit good and the Imps took it out). The reason for this was partly that I wanted Keiten to be able to remark to the relevant Skywalker, "My father could be Palpatine" and partly because I always knew she'd been brought up by her grandmother.

Said grandmother, Shamma, née Miridh Eredesa, walked into the fic, and my head, with her personality complete from the beginning. She started out as a penniless orphaned teenage aristocrat, and finished as CEO of Abram Trade and Transport, wealthy, powerful, and a trusted associate of Bail Organa, having survived poverty, husband's death, the Clone Wars, daughter's death, raising 4 children, a granddaughter and Bail Organa, but unfortunately not surviving the Death Star. She's totally committed to the Rebellion, willing to use her company and her family in its service. She's very intelligent, tough, she has iron self-control, is somewhat abrasive, and she's expert at managing (or manipulating) people. If she was also young and nubile she'd be a giant Mary Sue, but when your character is 73 years old you can get away with these things.

Her sister-in-law Kerith is a similar formidable old woman, which is probably why they don't get along too well. Even though she's against the Empire, she puts ATT in front of the Alliance and her family in front of ATT. Most of said family are terrified of her.

Aunt #1 was created to plague Keiten about Wimmin Stuff, ie clothes. Being married to an Avram, she designs them and has several boutiques. She has occasional aspiration to domestic goddesshood, during which her ungrateful offspring turn up on Shamma's doorstep looking for "normal food". In default of a daughter of her own, she likes to dress Keiten, who is sadly uncooperative.

Aunt #2 is an historian. She took time off to have her sons, and found on her return that the Palpatine Revisionist Text had come in the meantime. She is understandably bitter about this, as it seriously damaged her chances of publication. She went off and had Arkos and after he was in school concentrated on sneaking subversive ideas into her students' heads. Integrity is very important to her; she's completely straightforward. In any trivial matter you can rely on her to have the opposite opinion to Aunt Shosha. For example, clothes are just a means of keeping you warm and covered. She's a little sorry for Keiten, and tends to worry about her.

Assorted other second cousins, great-great aunts/uncles, cousins once and twice removed are mentioned, or have walk-on parts.

Now look at the men:

Keiten's father: He's not Obi-Wan Kenobi. Really. And he's dead.

Her grandfather is dead. He must have had a personality in order to survive life with Shamma (mind you, he only did so for 25 years), but I have no inkling of it. He did well by Avram Trade and Transport however.

Uncle #1: a Strict nonentity. Manager in ATT.

Uncle #2: a Nice nonentity. Accountant for ATT.

Uncle #3: a Complete nonentity. Possibly doesn't work for ATT.

Oh dear. However! There are 6 male cousins.

Lusar is the eldest; he's 5 years older than Keiten, and she hero-worships him. He's basically a good kid: does well at school, looks out for the younger ones, studies law at university (it'll come in handy for ATT to have a lawyer of their own in a few years), marries a nice girl, has a kid and gets blown up by the Death Star.

Phenn is a bit of a problem child. You won't catch him joining the family firm; he studied language and literature at university, but he doesn't go into academics like his mother; he joins the Rebellion, but has a tendency to wander off in the middle of missions and argue with his commanding officer. He's smart-mouthed and short-tempered and, like a lot bright kids, a little lazy.

To make a snap comparison, Avrams are pragmatic and Eredesas are idealists. Phenn is Darth Eredesa (although, let's face it, Shamma it's exactly your sweet old granny either). Dan is Avram to the backbone. He's quiet and gentle and reserved. Keiten and he are only a year apart, and they get on well together. He likes maths for its own sake (he tells his family interesting facts about numbers), but due partly to emulating his father and partly due to a desire to be employable, ends up doing accountancy. He gets sick in space travel, which might possibly have something to so with why he doesn't go off hauling cargo to the Rebellion when Phenn and Keiten do. He feels guilty about this, even though his talents are really in creative book-keeping. He suspects he's actually a coward, although he'd never say so to anyone.

The other three are younger than Keiten. Ged is the son of the Strict nonentity and the clothes designer. He's about a year and a half younger than Keiten.

Benedh and Arkos are about the same age, and they hang out together. They're quite young when Alderaan is destroyed, and I have a feeling they sit in their rooms listening to emo music.

In other characters, there's the canon crew, and Keit's friend's Ari and Vega. Vega's another Warrior Maiden, I suppose; she's tender of her friends and is fond of a good gossip about the X-wing pilots.
Ari-well, Keit thinks Ari is pretty near perfect. He's caring, funny, cute, he doesn't annoy her the way Phenn does and he doesn't complain about doing the washing-up. Sadly, he's a bit oblivious in the romance department. He still doesn't really count as an adult male, though, as he's only 23 at latest appearance.

So there it is, the opposite of canon SW: the fathers are all dead. Although when the canon characters appears, it reverts: Bail has a character and Breha is a nonentity. Mind you, when I wrote the fic, we didn't even know her name, and I'm don't like guessing and being Jossed.

I went back and read a bit of RH and realised that, heh, not much of this stuff actually appears in the original fic. Must get around to the Extended Edition sometime. Mind you, it's not that there were any adult males in the original, it's just that apart from Shamma, there are hardly any adults at all. One character who's nicknamed "Grandfather" Keit guesses to be "about thirty", and she's probably overestimating, given that she's 17 at the time.

I'm a bit bothered by the fate of her mother now. She still has to be dead, but should I change the illegitimate bit? K. still can't going to have a father around (she has quite enough relatives around already, thanks, and she has to stay an Avram).
This week I remembered that I've never put my entry for the Vorkosigan ficathon up on (Especially disgraceful seeing as it's been translated into Russian—the first fic I ever wrote that's been translated. It's extremely humorous to run it back through Babelfish.)
I'm still not quite satisfied with it, though. It's hard to let go of something, to say, 'ok, finished', especially when the source material is of such high quality.
I've almost finished my Bujold ficathon entry. Half of it (3400 words!) is typed, and I just need an ending. Oh, and a beta. Preferably someone who'll do more than just proof-read, who'll say, 'That doesn't work' or 'I can't see Gregor saying that'.

Every time I enter a ficathon, my fic always ends up turning into The Son of War and Peace (or Vor and Peace, in this case. Ow.) And the sort where you swap fics—it's like Christmas. You always end up with socks. And I always have a mad panic, like the current one. WHEN AM I GOING TO TYPE ALL THIS!!!

ETA: In a big mad frantic session. 7564 words. My wrists hurt. And it still tails off feebly at the end.

Doctor Who is apparently on at 6.35 tonight. Or maybe 7.25. This means I have to keep checking the television. And there will be some stupid presenter who really annoys me (Please, Auntie Beeb, taking Graham Norton out of the slot before the Doctor. I can't stand him, or Strictly Come Making an Idiot Of Yourself, either.)

In good news, my company have finally corrected my NI number, after five weeks and three time of asking. Yay.
Dear Cordelia: Will you please, just for a foolscap page or so, just shut up psychoanalysing everyone? Thank you.

Dear Gregor: Talk to me, dammit.

Dear Aral: I know you're the strong silent type, but can you work with me a little on this one, please?

Dear Miles: Sod off. You've been very clever and your parents are excessively proud of you, and Count Piotr and Bothari are dancing an underground jig together, so will you please go away now? Let Gregor have some attention for a change.

I've spent the early part of the evening digging fungus out of the flowerbed. It's pale brown and wrinkled, sort of ear-shaped, and it came in the sand that's underneath the flags of the path. Now it's moved into the soil and it grows at a quare rate of knots. I dig it up, three days later it's back.
The big issue of the last week or so was the case of Lori Jareo, who self-published her Star Wars fanfic and put it up for sale on She's probably the most notorious fanficcer in the world by now. Most of Star Was fandom and the ficcing world is talking about her, generally using synonyms of "stupid" and "idiot".

The responses I wanted to talk about weren't from ficcers, who were mostly concerned about the bad name this fool would give to the rest of fanfic. I was surfing a couple of blogs which have a wider audience, and I kept coming across comments like these:

She should have replaced the names and called it a homage, like real first-time writers do
Er, no. If your hero uses "the Power" to hypnotise people and move rocks around, is an orphan from a desert planet, with a long-lost twin sister and a mysterious enemy with a bad breathing problem, then no publishers will touch it, and even if they did, Lusasfilm would slap you down so hard, you bounce. Do you think it's going to fool the BBC if your thousand-year-old alien with as many lives as a cat travels through time and space in a red telephone box called the SIDRAT, and his mortal enemies shout "ANNIHILATE" before they zap people dead with their dishmops?

You can probably "file off the serial numbers" until the story is about "war in space", "crazy time travellers", or "wizards at school", but by that time, will it be interesting? People who want to write about Yoda or Daleks won't be satisfied with producing generic SF. The "serial numbers", the instantly recognisable characters and settings, are what draws them. They want more Doctor Who or Harry Potter, not something vaguely reminiscent of it. Anyway, even if all the bits that employ copyright lawyers are removed, what's left is probably as derivative as The Sword of Shannara.

Fanfic is a waste of time. It's not even any good for teaching anyone to write original work
You know, I've never met anyone who says, 'I want to write an original novel, but I've used up all my writing ability on fanfic!' Of course there are people who keep saying they're going to do an original but never start (like me), but are they any different from all the people who talk about their great novel idea they've never got around to writing? If you really want to write an original, and have the ability to do so, fanfic isn't going to stop you. And it might be a better novel. Beginning writers often perpetrate annoyingly flawless protagonists, purple prose, sloppy plotting and poor characterisation. However, if it's do as Malfoylvrr88, the situation is not irretrievable. If you are a writer, if you are becoming a writer, then you write and you write and you write. If you are trying to improve as a writer, it doesn't matter if you're practising on fic or originals. All right, fanfic isn't going to teach you worldbuilding. The backcloth is already in place. But the mechanics of writing, on the levels of prose, plot, characterisation, and structure—yes, if your betas know their job, and you are able to view your own writing with a critical mindset.

The thought of a first novel written by a twenty-four-year-old does not tend to inspire confidence. But a twenty-four-year-old who's been writing fic for ten years—Writing fic gets you past the Mary Sue stage. It can teach how to produce coherent prose in a recognisable language, how to avoid the azure orbs school of descriptive writing, how to structure a paragraph, a chapter and a novel, how to handle several subplots, how to write an action scene, how to gain readers' sympathy, how to write a consistent character. It doesn't matter if the character was originally written by someone else; if you can write Hermione Granger of the Fifth Doctor so that they're recognisable as their canonical selves, then you can probably create a self-consistent character over the length of a novel. At the very least, it's a stretching exercise, like writing 500 words in the style of Hemingway or Tolkien.

That is in the best case, where a writer wants to improve in fanfiction, where betas and concrit do their proper job. We've all seen little ego-stroking societies of mutual adoration, or authors who treat criticism like an attempt to mutilate their children, or mediocre writers with hundreds of fans. But this isn't confined to fanficcers—Ann Rice? Dan Brown, anyone? No matter how bad your fic is, there's always an archive that will take it (the Pit of Voles, for one). It doesn't have to rot in 87 slush piles, and you needn't get any rejection letters, unless you submit it to a moderated archive. But the rules of the real world still apply to some extent. If it's crap, people usually won't read it. If it's ludicrous, it will be mocked. If you submit it to a an archive, you may get an email saying 'it's plagiarised/dreck/we don't take Pokemon cross-overs'. Such is life. Bounce off that a few times, and hopefully you won't send death threats to publishing houses that turn down your magnum opus.

Fanfic 'dilutes' the original creation. It will lose the original creator money.
Oh, tosh. The writers and readers of fanfic are the ones with borderline-obsessive interest in the source material. They're the ones who've seen the film 18 times, own all the DVDs, the collectable figurines, the magazines....Fanfic is the methadone they go for when they can't get enough of the real thing. It fills in the gaps and extends into the happily-ever-after and past into the past, explores the scenarios that never happened. It's not going to replace the original work; it's always still there, and the vast majority of the money-paying public don't even know it's there and wouldn't be interested if they did. Sure, you can cut your epic Rise of the Sith into 100-word chunks on Powerpoint, shove it into a data projector and try to get people to pay to see it instead of Revenge of the Sith. Good luck.


Apr. 8th, 2006 10:21 pm
owl: Guard your honour. Let your reputation fall where it will. (And outlive the bastards.) - Aral Vorkosigan (bujold)
I've just signed up for the Bujold ficathon. Going by the likely amount of writing time I have before the deadline, this may have been a mistake.

(no subject)

Apr. 4th, 2006 09:16 pm
owl: (doctor 10)
I don't know whether it's the sheer perversity of life, or something psychological, but I seem to write much more when I've got a job or something to do. Perhaps it's because the frontbrain is occupied, leaving the unconcious to to what it likes. I've fished out an old Doctor Who fic I'd abandoned last year and I've written two pages more of it. Perhaps I'll have it done before the new series starts.

The way I write in Doctor Who is quite different to the way I write in Star Wars or Harry Potter. There, I usually have an idea of what the ending is going to be, and even chunks of the dialogue, verbatim. With Doctor who, I start to write without much idea of where I'm going at all, and just let the story wander on. It seems to have worked so far, but it does produce some rather odd fics. The current one is turning out to be one of those bizarre ones where you perceive the constructs of your own subconscious images of what you're expecting to see. (I've expressed that badly; does anyone understand it?) I thought I could never write anything like that. Oh, well, it's stretching me as a writer!

(no subject)

Dec. 29th, 2005 10:14 pm
owl: (star wars)
The cat just used a saucepan as a toilet. Meep.

Could any of you give a quick beta to my entry for the Star Wars gen and het ficathon? It'll be pretty much a proof-read, as it's due on the 31st and I don't have time to make any major changes. It started out as Luke telling a wide-eyed admirer the story of ANH, and has developed, weirdly, into a discussion on the reliability of written accounts, and I'd like to continue it, except, no time.
Meme gakked from [ profile] doyle_sb4:-

Ask me what happens after the end of one of my fics.

Jack fic

Sep. 6th, 2005 09:53 pm
owl: pen handwriting; use it for journalling (writing)
My entry to the Jack ficathon is now, by a conservative estimate, approaching 5000 words, and it keeps sprouting new ramifications and twiddly bits. If I could write concisely I could produce many more stories for the same number of words. This is what happens when I try to introduce plot! Massive great bloated things...

Anyway, I'm starting to type it up now, and I've just realised that I've fallen into a pov trap. I have a character whom Jack dislikes (and vice versa), but although he's snarky and obsessive and not intended to be sympathetic to the reader, he is consistent from his own viewpoint, and understandable to an extent. As I'm writing in tight third-person (Jack's), I find that this hasn't come across at all. A slight re-wriet seems to be in order, but I have no idea how to do it. Has this sort of thing ever happened to you?

We're running out of hours of dial-up this month. It gets renewed at midnight on Saturday 11th (why couldn't it have been one day earlier?), so my time online is a trifle limited. If I don't answer your comments, or comment to your clever and wonderful post, please forgive me.
During the last episode of the series Characters A and B left Character C in a rather unpleasant situation because they thought he was dead (which he was, briefly). This spawned a lot of fics in which A and B go back to rescue C. C is canonically possessed of considerable technical knowledge and resource, not to mention charm. My fic had him getting himself out of the situation (which is what I think is likely to happen in the next series) and going on a desperate wild-goose chase after A and B, and eventually finding them with a lot of luck.

I didn't go into detail of the actual escape, I just stated that it happened and left it up to the readers on the basis that their imaginations would be equal to it. One person got back to me asking about it, and I responded with two of my canon speculations. The reader then responded: Thanks, you should really put these things in your fic you know. Plot holes can grind on people.

Now the point of the fic wasn't 'What happened to C after the series finished'. It wasn't plot driven; the focus of the fic was how much C wanted to find his friends, how happy they were to see him and how C reacted to certain changes in A that also happened in the last episode of the series. It was a character-story, not a plot- or event-story. I might go back and write the event-story, or the next series may fill it in better than I could.

The purpose of this is to ask: was I expecting to much of my readers? I know with torture and sex scenes it's often more effective to fade to black and let the reader's imagination fill in the blank. Can you do that with a bald statement: getting out of there wasn't a problem cos C is so cool? Is it too much to expect that readers can work out what the story's meant to be about?
They're cutting the barley over on the Feney Road, and the silage on Steps. Garry, on the other hand, is spreading extremely foul slurry diluted with creamery waste. Sigh.

I lay out on a rug this afternoon and attempted to continue my Jack Harkness fic. It's got almost ot the action scene, and you know how much I love those. *sigh* Still, if I keep plodding away it'll get done eventually, no matter how disjointed it ends up.

I kept getting distracted by Aldea. I'm mucking about with the verbs, and the pronouns. Like Spanish, nominative pronouns are optional in a sentence, but unlike Spanish, a rudimentary form of it is actually suffixed to the verb form. I ended up sidetracked into the plural forms of adjectives, though. Ones that end in vowels now form plurals in -n. I'm a bit worried lest they get confused with the (singular) adjectives in -en, but as the whole point is for them to agree with their head noun in number (they don't agree in case, btw), I think I'll be okay.
From a review for this: You have evidently deep knowledge of life at sea and your writing style is one in its own.

This is what reading all of Patrick O'Brian will do to a person. *hee*


owl: Stylized barn owl (Default)
only a sinner saved by grace

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