juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Because I just received a set of glowing reviews on the Conflict Made Flesh/Desires Become Real fics (DBZ, Vegeta/Future Trunks, NC-17, be ye warned), and because I am sick and sad and stupid (I slept through most of the day and I'm about as brilliant as a very bright slug):

I have been rereading these fics.

So. Lessons learned (and be ye warned again for discussions of fictional explicit homosexual incest):

1) I find Conflict harder to read, so much so that I almost skipped it. I think it's the combination of repetition (stylistic, mostly) and first person (so that all sentences begin with I). I've developed increasing issues with first person since then, and now rarely read or write it—but whatever my issues, the beginning of that fic certainly aggravates them.

2) I fall victim to a couple of noob writing quirks, things like calling blood "crimson life fluid" and describing two events in the same story as "inconceivable." That tendency towards purple prose and penchant for exaggeration had, I think, more to do with fanfiction and erotica as a genre than my personal quirks and weaknesses as a writer—which isn't to say that I in a vacuum would be entirely free of them, but they're easier for me to correct and avoid; I feel like a lot of them pop up in my old works because as a fledgling writer I almost felt like they had to be there.

2a) Holy dialog tags, adverbs, and typos Batman. Never trust spell check. All it tells you are lies.

3) My other writing quirks and weaknesses are remarkably unchanged, even after all this time. I have a fondness for repetition (everything must be in threes!) and parallel structure (nevermind my young self's inability to quite nail it) which can lead to redundancy, and a tendency towards a cool, distant, terse POV and precise word choice, which is overshadowed here by the first person narration but is still apparent. These are things I still struggle with, because together they can make my writing impersonal and slow. In a way, the first person narration is almost a blessing because it contradicts many of those instincts—and so it makes me wonder if I should try writing more of that, nevermind my personal dislike, to see if it helps me improve.

4) I stand by these interpretations. I've long had the desire to write a third and final installment to this series, and if I did it may be stylistically different (and perhaps more refined), I would tone down the exaggeration, but the underlying character interactions would not change. I may be a slash-begoggled fangirl then and now, but I think these feelings could exist in these characters, these events could play out between them. There's a certain glee in sex for the sake of sex, a sometimes-problematic fetishization of gay sex and incest, and I embrace both of those things and loved them even more as a hormonal adolescent. But what really matters to me, then and now, is the subtext of people and relationships: the potential for these things, what might happen if it were realized, and what both say about everyone involved. I was just seeing an inkling of that then, it's what I value most now. Seeing it hold true in my old work, therefore, is almost a triumph.

5) I write a damn good Vegeta. A good Trunks too, for that matter. The latter is more important but more subtle, given that the stories are in his POV. The former is what I love most. As silly and unrefined as the fics may be (and they are!), there are things—like the conversation about Trunks's dream, like Vegeta's "Of course you do, brat. I'm your father."—which are ... it's hard for me to say exactly what they are. They are a further view of the Vegeta that I love, the Vegeta that I watch the show for; they're a part of him that the show can't include, of course, but a part of him that's there. It feels self-congratulatory to applaud my writing for being in character, especially when the character is my FAVORITE EVER OMG, but there you have it. Vegeta has my heart of hearts and he is what I come to see; that I can come to see that, another incredible part of that, here in my own writing—I do consider that an accomplishment.

6) I have been watching about four shows lately, three of which with subtitles (which means I can only watch them sitting up, which limits my watching time), so I've been going barely at a snail's pace through DBZ. I refuse to go back and edit my old work, at least this work, because it has such potential that it wouldn't be a quick and dirty find and replace like I did with the The Bonded (DBZ, Vegeta/Goku, Trunks/Goten, NC-17, do not go read that it is horrible)—it would be a in-depth reworking and my life and patience are both too short for that. But in the show right now, Vegeta and Trunks are currently in the Room of Spirit and Time, and it would be a lie to say that I am not tempted. There is a third, there. And right now I sorta want to write it.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
Today I watched Room in Rome while EV training a Pokémon (don't judge me), and it was a surreal experience—not just the combination of an erotic lovestory and Pokémon battles, but the fact that Room in Rome is the sort of story that I would write. Not its specifics, but its generalities are elements I often revisit:

A love story that, rather than being a romantic comedy, has an unsettling or pensive vibe; containing explicit sex, queer sexuality, and probably at least a glimpse at issues of sexual orientation; containing also character development that is revealed by but partially independent of the romance and probably has a dark bent; in a limited narrative POV, maybe something of a lush style, with a possible side helping of esoterica; ending negatively or ambiguously, especially if it's a passionate love affair. If it were my story there would probably be a more explicit power dynamic (Room in Rome offers some—Alba's fears of Natasha, the power of truths and lies—but its not quite up to my preferred levels) and something a little more strange or socially unacceptable than Natasha's heterosexuality in the context of a homosexual relationship (see: my fetish for unusually intimate relationships), but for the most part the movie was my id, fragments of my stories, on screen.

For all that I'm not sure if it was good. Or rather, yes, it's quite good, it's intriguing and beautiful and at the very least it's competently told and therefore surprisingly watchable, given its somewhat unusual aspects (constant nudity, explicit sex, artistic cinematography, bold music). But was it great? I don't think quite so (the way that truth, lies, and character development pans out is a bit overdrawn, and the film occasionally gets lost in its own style, especially near the end); I also don't know if I fell in love with it. Sometimes I think that I create the stories that I want to encounter, that I wish I could encounter, but encountering one of the stories I might create it felt almost ... passé. I may not have put out much in the way of a finished product, but I've told that story, I've seen those characters, give or take the specifics; there was little new for me there, and I guess I do want someone new to me in other people's stories. But then again, the fact that it hit my id buttons but didn't quite hit my gut may mean that it wasn't better than good, wasn't great.

(I think my other holdout is that in plot structure, themes, and the fact of its unique presentation, it reminded me a bit of the fantastic Conversations with Other Women. They're hardly so similar as to be redundant, but I loved Conversations unequivocally and so it can't help but overshadow Room in Rome.)

I'd recommend it, though. Films like it I think are rare, and while it sometimes treads towards pandering (sometimes in the visual style, more often in the sex scenes) that rareness makes it valuable. Room in Rome, as well as Conversations with Other Women, are currently on Netflix Instant, so if you use the service and are looking for a film, you may want to consider checking them out.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Pairing Pendragon/Merlin (the anon meta-Merlin fic that's been making the multifandom rounds) has made me want to create something cooperatively. The fic is about the romance between a fanfic writer and his beta, and it's entirely adorable and idealized—the creative writer, the insightful beta, and the spark, both creative and personal, born in the discussions between them. Of course it makes me want to make that spark with someone else (if not in a romantic sense). Of course that spark is hard to find. And people are people, and a two-person project requires two people's free time, two people's work ethics. And the create process is hard, it's messy and high-stress and projects go unfinished at the best of times. And even if that spark is there, it may not lead to fire—to stretch the metaphor.

But that doesn't kill the desire to write back and forth with someone. As two writers, I think, rather than as writer and beta. Probably original material rather than fanfic (but ideally something that still felt like fanfic—a spinoff of our established characters, perhaps—so that writing was more a guilty pleasure than a piece of work), because my fandoms are weird and I'm not feeling the pull of fanfic right now. But a cooperative piece, compiled in a single documents, where the line annotations, the ideas and critiques and personal notes from one person to the other, are as important as the writing contributed by each.

I've been at a bit of a creative standstill. Part of that is it seems that for years and years, I had concepts but no characters, and so my work was lifeless; these days my head is full of characters and more specifically of character interactions, they're what I'm drawn to in all media, I literally collect lists of my favorite dynamics, but I have no setting or plot to put them in and without plot, the story lacks motivation. Part of it is that I feel a bit cowed by the creative processes of others, the stories they have to tell, the fact that they feel lost if they don't do so—and I don't have that: failing to tell a story makes me feel unproductive and frustrated, but there aren't stories in me screaming to be let out, and if they don't need to be told ... are they really worth telling? Part of it is the simple lack of time, effort, and perseverance put into storytelling.

I've been trying to come out of that standstill. I may be succeeding a bit, I don't know. I wonder if I even need to—if I even need to be a storyteller. But I do know that writing like that—as an interaction, as well as a creative process—is one hell of a seductive fantasy.

It may be an idea to raise to [livejournal.com profile] century_eyes, when she's not busy driving to Portland every weekend. Does it appeal to anyone else? Call this a tentative offer, if you will. I still think it's more fantasy than possibility, especially while riding high on the idealized version of the concept in Pairing. And I am hardly the most reliable person for a joint project. But it is, at least, a nice idea.

In the meantime, the fic's not a bad read. It's pure fluff driven by strong characters, a good balance of cute and heartwarming without veering into the dangerous world of sap. And, yes, it's accessible even if you don't watch Merlin (I don't).
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I am trying to edit a document ([livejournal.com profile] azhure, before you worry, this isn't yours! though I need to hurry and get to that) for someone that doesn't use the Oxford comma. I know that to use or not use it is a personal choice, and that each option is valid, and so on, and so forth—

And it still makes me cringe each and every damn time.

It just sounds wrong, you know? It throws off the pacing, it lacks clarity, it looks bad and it's driving me up the wall.

Speaking of personal choices and valid options: Can't we more or less agree that double spacing sentences is obsolete? My bias is showing here because I was never taught to do so, and so I'm not inclined to cling to the practice with the fervor of some, but really: it's dead, isn't it? Fonts these days render the practice obsolete.

Hell, LJ doesn't even render double spacing.

The real problem with this document I'm slaving over, however, is not the writing conventions—it's the writing. There's two paragraphs, two long paragraphs in the middle of this letter, which are such a right mess that just trying to pick them apart turns my thought into a mess as well. Line edits are useless, because too much needs to be redone—but the text begs for line edits so that the author can see why the paragraphs need redone. Providing a general revision plan is a bit easier, but I still rather feel like I'm confronting the Gordian Knot with a dull pen knife.

Hey, look, a solution! A break or three and some angrier, more upbeat music, and suddenly everything is much easier. But the rant still stands.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I'm editing something so I can post it, trying to make the language a little less like ... ah, well.

Trying to cut out a few of the two dozen semicolons (and taking out a few of the dozen colons, too). Trying to cut some of the parallel structure, because I overuse it to the point of repetition. Being especially brutal with the parallel structure when it uses colons and semicolons, because the combination is almost recursively idiosyncratic. Pity that's not like a double negative, canceling out itself; instead the piece just ends up all the more complex. Murdering my darlings, which for me is often the em dash. Trimming down a bit of length, tightening and tautening—but it's things just like this which get me, you see: I love wordplay, a touch of consonance, pairs and triplicates of the similar-but-unique; I revel in and depend on excessive punctuation to draw boarders 'round the edges of my long sentences. This is how I think and talk, and so it is how I write.

In other words: I am editing a piece of my writing so that it is a little less like me.

That sounds inherently negative (preserve and value self-identity! of course), but it's not. My love of punctuation really is excessive. My penchant for repetition really does slow pacing. (Some of my moderately old fanfic pains me to read, now, because it's become so obvious that if I'd trimmed it just a bit, it would have improved quite a lot.) These changes are changes for the better.

But each time I excise an em dash or rearrange or redefine a sentence to avoid a semicolon, a little part of me—the part which knows "kill your darlings" means also "they are your darlings"—cringes. This piece needs this level of editing, because it's somewhat strange in its own right and doesn't need to be overly complicated by my stylistic eccentricity, but as much as I know the third colon-separated, semicolon-divided list needs to go I end up staring at it for a bit first, thinking, "ah, but it is such a pretty sentence—and it matches the others so well!"

Still, it has to go.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
The key to success: give up.

I don't know why this works, and I almost wish it didn't. But it does, invariably: If I lose something, I find it as soon as I stop looking. If I'm waiting for Devon to get home, he'll walk through the door as soon as I shrug my shoulders and start up a game. If I'm stuck in a project, inspiration will come only after I decide to give up for the day and tackle it again tomorrow.

Would that I could do these things immediately, with hope and intention, rather than having them sprung on me just after I've stopped trying. But at least this means things get found, the boyfriend returns home, and projects—

Like Ghost and Aaron fic—

Go from good intention to forward progress in a flash of inspiration come just a minute late.

Scratch the above: I can guess why it works. When I'm concentrating my frustrated energies on something, I run out of options and ideas; when I divert my energies, the problem stews in my hindbrain, uncovering new solutions—which then pop forefront and get me back on task. (Except the boyfriend, of course: his timing is just a sick joke played by the universe.) Writing is part effort and part alchemy, or at least it is for me: the energy spent sitting down and forcing oneself to write is a big part of the work, but the fire of inspiration is just as important—and often makes the first part much easier. I've been stewing over this storybit on and off all day—editing the pictures of the scene, determining if it was the right piece to include, tossing around ideas, opening scenes, pacing. But the last few hours it's been like beating my head against a wall: painful, with little forward progress. I knew what it had to be but couldn't manage the leap from premise to product. So I started up Paranormal Activity (good alone-at-night movie, y/y?), checked my email one last time, sat down to watch—and had that flash of inspiration, and soon after had 400 words.

But as said: better late than—and in the large view of course it's not late, because I can't finish the picture portion just yet anyway, and I've no schedule to stick to or anything. And it sure is nice to have an inroad.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
I've been meaning to post a couple things, but have been occupied and preoccupied enough to procrastinate for days. No time like the present, I suppose. How many things is it that make a post, again?

1) This line began as a typo* in a story I've been scribbling, but it's a typo that froze me when I caught it, and I have not the heart to delete it. Edited and isolated, then:

"Is that really what scares you?" I ask, whispering because this question, all of this, is meant just for you.


2) Speaking of scribbled stories (tangentially), I've been sitting on a pair of IOGraphs for a while now. I posted one of these a while ago, but my on/off obsession with the program continues. IOGraph is a simple program that tracks and records mouse movement. Lines indicate movements; circles indicate pauses—the bigger the circle, the longer the pause. Click through for larger versions and notes. Yeps, I'm a dork—but it's oddly fascinating, ain't it?

IOGraphica - 1.9 hours (from 13-08 to 15-09)
2 hours writing/transcribing fiction.

IOGraphica - 10 hours (from 15-26 May 17th to 14-53 May 19th)
10 cumulative hours general computer/internet use.
(Sometimes I paused the recording when afk, and sometimes I forgot.)

3) As mentioned, [livejournal.com profile] century_eyes visited last weekend; that weekend was also Devon's maternal grandparents's 60th wedding anniversary. No huge post from me, this time; I came away with something perhaps more vivid but less revelatory: comfort, simple comfort. It was a busy weekend: Dee got in late because the Memorial Day traffic was hellish; we spent all day together on Saturday, and Sunday I split into social thirds: breakfast with Dee, early afternoon anniversary celebrations next door, and a long last conversation with Dee in the afternoon before she drove back (Sunday evening, to avoid traffic on at least that half of the trip). I went into Sunday wary and tired, but the family event was surprisingly enjoyable (Devon's grandparents were adorable, and had the chance to talk books with someone) and that last conversation with Dee—in Starbucks, in the early evening, with weather wavering between muggy and sprinkling rain—was my favorite part of the weekend. Conversation flowed, the atmosphere was lovely, and when Dee stayed a little big late for a little bit more time together...

It was a twilight time. Overcast weather and evening coming on made for literal twilight, but there was a sense also of the in between, of neither here nor there: the moment stretching on, intimate and shadowed, delicate and timeless. That's a rare thing, a magical thing. Quite beautiful, indeed.

So, yes. A good weekend, a good visit. Devon's threatening to ship me up North to visit her, sometime before too long. And, romantic rhapsodizing aside—and this does make me a geek, I know—but goddamn is it good to talk Sims, in person, with another simmer.

4) Today Maddy scratched on the bedroom door. Maddy is Madison, one of Devon's family's cats, although I think she's turned changling, been abducted by aliens, brainwashed or something, I don't know—because after a few minutes sniffing the corners of the room she found a corner to curl up in and slept there for a few hours, then switched to the bed for a few more. Little circle of fur and purr, warm and adorable, drooling all over my black sweater—it was pretty adorable. My life feels empty, my heart feels empty, without a cat of my own, but having one's not an option right now; since I go bereft, afternoons with Maddy are blessings, every rare one. It made for a good day, despite the fact that today was also spent installing Sims 3: World Adventures. And then uninstalling it, and the base game, and reinstalling it, and the base game, and setting up a new mods folder, and removing AwesomeMod because it doesn't work with the current patch, and then playing a few hours of Ghost and Aaron: Things Which Never Happened in France (and Riverview). There are many awesome Sims posts coming, let me tell you.

5) I think it's five things that make a post, but as I flip back through my notes and open tabs (and having finally finished the review which made up half of said notes), it appears that I've taken care of most I had to say. But when forced, I can pad with one more: I'm finally moving out of my women only music playlist phase, in part because Sims stories beg a different soundtrack but mostly because of the new How to Destroy Angels EP. HTDA is Trent Reznor's new project, a dreamy dark addictive sound. Check out and download the EP for free on the HTDA website, or first check out "The Spaces in Between" (although "BBB" is my current favorite):

Under the cut. )

* The typo, for the curious, was the last word—"you" was meant to be "her."

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!
juushika: Photograph of a row of books on a library shelf. (Books Once More)
I have a habit of scenting the cloth bookmark of my Moleskines with BPAL. I'm about ten pages way from filling up my 3.5x5.5 pocket ruled notebook (and therefore am in need of another, sometimes soonish—because the size is so convenient to carry, and because I'd like to stockpile a few backups) which I've been using on and off for about two years now. The ribbon was scented with Haunted (soft golden amber darkened with a touch of murky black musk, my amber holy grail), and the scent has lasted these long two years—perhaps because the bookmark is often tucked in the book—a persistent, gentle thread of soft and powdery golden amber.

Its replacement is a 5x8.25 large ruled notebook, which I hope will be easier to write in (my scrawl gets even messier at the bottom of the pocket-sized pages) and hold more text—because I've been chewing through pages these days, since I've started using it to handwrite just about all my drafts. The scent, this time, is Boomslang (Snake Oil with cocoa, teakwood, and rice milk, my most beloved cocoa, my favorite non-skin scent)—in part as a simple celebration of the oil because I now have a backup bottle (from [livejournal.com profile] century_eyes) and so can use it with abandon, in part because there are fewer delights as simple, as pure, as ever-welcome, as the dark dark heart of cocoa absolute.

Somehow, the fact that I have enough content to write a post about Moleskines and BPAL brings me as much joy as the scent of cocoa wafting about me right now.

(Now if only I were well enough to take my lovely cocoa notebook to a coffee shop and get some use of it, but no—I have taken a turn for towards snuffly and stuffy, and I wouldn't be polite company for the world at large. Devon can put up with me instead, while I finish reading a subpar book.)

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Today is the day of the fanfic. The reposts I mentioned are complete, after too many hours of editing epithets and adverbs from .txt files. I'm grouping the rest of these together, because they are technically reposts, and because they aren't as good as 'This is the world in its true form.'. Feel free to skip over them as it suits you, of course.

All of these stories are hosted at my FanFiction.Net account.

Title: The Bonded
Fandom: Dragonball Z
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: VegetaxGoku, TrunksxGoten
Summary: Years ago, Vegeta and Goku spent one intimate afternoon together. Now, in the wake of a newly revealed relationship between Trunks and Goten, they are drawn together again. This fanfic was originally published in 2001, and while it was popular then, it really no longer represents my skills as a writer. It has its good moments, and its painfully bad ones. I have done a cursory edit, but read at your own risk.
Word Count: 40,000
Warnings: Violence, explicit sex, moments of really bad writing, gratuitous sex scenes.

( The Bonded on FF.N )


Title: Conflict Made Flesh
Fandom: Dragonball Z
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: VegetaxMirai Trunks
Summary: The night after his first trip to the past, Mirai Trunks receives a visit from his father. This fic was originally posted in 2001, but it better stands the test of time.
Word Count: 3,000
Warnings: Incest, explicit sex.

( Conflict Made Flesh on FF.N )


Title: Desires Become Real
Fandom: Dragonball Z
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: VegetaxMirai Trunks
Summary: A sequel to Conflict Made Flesh. Mirai Trunks returns to the past and spends a year in the Room of Spirit and Time with Vegeta, prompting unexpected consequences. This fic was originally posted in 2001, but it better stands the test of time.
Word Count: 4,000
Warnings: Incest, explicit sex.

( Desires Become Real on FF.N )


I also posted A Beautiful Man (on LJ) (Gackt, PG-13, 800 words) and The Night Before (on LJ) (Gundam Wing, Alex/Mueller, NC-17, 1000 words, and this one is actually quite good) to FF.N.


The Bonded may be good for nothing more than a laugh, but still I wanted to get it online somewhere other than that old Geocities account where someone backed up for me—for posterity's sake, and in case someone wants to read it. Conflict Made Flesh and Desires Become Real are both, in my never humble opinion, actually not half bad. Although I wrote them some time ago, the subject is more interesting and the writing is much tighter and more polished. If you read DBZ fic and don't mind incest, you may even want to check them out.

I welcome reviews on everything, here or on FF.N, and if you do chose to read them, I hope you enjoy. Feel free to quote and ridicule the worst of The Bonded. Someone has to.

Aaaand... Me tired. Me go bed now. Sorry for the flist spamming. I promise I'm done.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Title: 'This is the world in its true form.'
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Riku/Roxas, slight Riku/Sora
Summary: A retelling of the second half of the battle between Riku and Roxas, just after Deep Dive/Another Side, Another Story. Riku defeats Roxas and then takes Roxas back to the mansion, to determine if Sora is truly somewhere inside him.
Word Count: 7,700
Warnings: Dubious-consent, swearing, explicit sex, channish, partial AU. Spoilers for Deep Dive/Another Side, Another Story and Kingdom Hearts II.

Riku knees Roxas in the chest, knocking him down. His shoulders hit the wall and it stops him, but Riku has climbed onto the bed, his knees on the outside of Roxas's thighs, his hand fisted again in Roxas's collar. He lifts his shoulders from the wall, then slams him back down so that his head hits it with a crack.

"I said," he says, "shut up." And then, as soft as two single drops of rain, he adds, "Sora."


( Read 'This is the world in its true form.' on FF.N )
The fic is posted on FanFiction.Net because I'm afraid of LiveJournal's new policies and TOS.

Or ( Read 'This is the world in its true form.' on LJ )
The fic is friendslocked because I'm afraid of LiveJournal's new policies and TOS.

X-posted here on [livejournal.com profile] khyaoi and here on [livejournal.com profile] rikuroku.

Feedback welcome anywhere. Enjoy!
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I'm no longer sick! I think the death of the cold can be timed to about midday yesterday (it's 4a? now the day before yesterday), but it was certainly gone by this morning (now yesterday morning). It left as quietly as it arrived, though much faster, thank goodness. Period has also passed, and with it my cramps. Back still hurts, but it's normal hurt now, and so easy to ignore. So, on the whole, I am back to my old self: achey and whiny and headachey, but without the chest cold or the dizzy spells. Yay! Thank you to all of those that wished me well. ^_^

On the other hand, the boy has been complaining of congestion and sneezing, and it seems to be more than just my piggies, so he seems to have picked up my cold. But he looked better today than he did the day before, so methinks he's fighting through it well enough—and definitely faster than I did. Fingers crossed.

What else does no longer being sick mean? I could wear BPAL—and smell it! Today was Jack, because it's autumn (true Halloween pumpkin, spiced with nutmeg, glowing peach and murky clove; this is very light and sweet and innocent on me, almost creamy but mostly waxy, like the smoothness of a candle with a pale orange pumpkin scent) with just a dot of Casanova to bring out the spices (a rakish blend of leather, anise, lavender, bergamot and amber with tonka, lemon peel and lusty patchouli, which still makes me sneeze on the drydown but is my ideal spicey layering scent). It's wonderful what just a touch of Casanova does—it gives a spicy, deep brown edge to sweeter scents, and worked wonderfully with Jack. It's interesting—Casanova was a frimp, and yet I have a deeper relationship with it than almost any other BPAL perfume. From layering it with Antique Lace to having it bite my finger to layering it with other sweet scents like Jack ... well, it certainly has proved useful. And, since I just add the smallest little tiny dot of it, I really never have to worry about the imp running out.

Anyhow.

I went out on a walk through the nearby wetlands preserve today. Of the walk to the preserve, of the preserve itself, and of autumn and death. )

That's enough lengthy and grandiloquent wordsmithing for a bit, wouldn't you say?

Other wordsmithing is going wonderfully well, which is to say I wrote just over 2k words today, typed about 1.5k, and know where I'm going next with the novel. More than that, I'm delighted with my work, and will probably do a bit more of it before I sleep. I was surprised by how smoothly it came today—I could not write fast enough, and only got to an ending point when I ran up on a few paragraphs that I had scribbled ahead of time and now have to slightly resituate into this altered setting. I felt like I could have kept going for quite some time. I also managed to work out a surprising number of kinks without quite noticing: where they are (well, what it looks like and why; I did at least know where they were going ahead of time), how they got there, and what trouble they're in now. There is still some more dekinking to be done before the end of the novel, the biggest of all is, um, how does it end? But on the whole, today's progress was exceptional and I'm feeling confident, again, with where I'm going.

On the other hand, I killed another pen, and now only have one that's comfortable in my hand, and the ink seems reluctant to flow well for me, so—I may need to go pen shopping. I suppose there are worse evils.

Wordcount: 110,000+ typed, 7,500 handwritten.

Previous Accomplishments: Getting to the vampire city, getting writing in general back on track, more male characters (yay!)

Upcoming Challenges: How quickly should they get to where they're going within the city? How long does this New Male Character stick around?

Currently Reading: Dracula, Bram Stoker; Season of the Witch, Natasha Mostert; Tales of the Witch House and Other Weird Stories, H.P. Lovecraft.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
I'm sick! More specifically, I have a cold of some sort, causing fatigue, dizziness, runny nose, headaches, and a few chills. And yes, this is actually good news, because it means those symptoms I was experiencing earlier are neither sources nor psychosomatic. Instead, they have a source and they'll also pass. In the meantime, I'm sleeping a lot and feeling vaguely miserable. The backpain was and is unrelated to the rest—it's partially the same chronic pain that I've been dealing with every day for six years, and partially my own special brand of premenstrual cramps, which appear not in my stomach but in my back, causing spasms. Luckily, cramps too shall pass, so the end is at least in sight for this current bout of feeling physically miserable.

I do owe major kudos to the boy through all of this—he has been absolutely perfect (he even claims I'm cute when I'm sick, the little liar) and is making sure I'm getting foods and rest and other good things.

I've gotten back on track with my writing, though unfortunately I'm hugely behind in the typing and what I do have typed is spread over two computers, so I haven't the wordcount to show for it. Honestly, I have little idea how far I am along—I have 3k typed on this compy, and I know I passed the 100k mark on the other, so I'll approximate from that. I did manage about 1500 words yesterday, so that's something. I also sat down and outlined what I know of what happens next (which isn't as much as I would have hoped, but is more than I imagined), so now I have no excuses, but must simply continue to write. I do feel like I'm forcing myself at this point—forcing out the words, forcing through the plot—but I think that's the result of taking a break and feeling offcolor. I do love the characters that I'm dealing with right now; hopefully, as I warm up to the writing, it will come easier once again and feel worthwhile. I am so close to the end now—there really is no excuse to fail, now, and so I had best push forward.

Food, boy, and brother are now here, so I'm off to watch Halo 3 (I really am the world's best gamer's girlfriend, because I like watching—especially online rounds, especially ranked skirmish matches, especially territories). Oh, and eat, probably a lot.

Wordcount: 103,000+ typed, 9,300 handwritten.

Previous Accomplishments: General plotting on the road to the end; introduction of male characters; resolution of early plot point.

Upcoming Challenges: Figure out how the book finally ends (vampire city onward) and get back into the flow of writing.

Currently Reading: Dracula, Bram Stoker; Ironside, Holly Black; Tales of the Witch House and Other Weird Stories, H.P. Lovecraft.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I've been meaning to post for ages, I swear, but my writing has consumed me, and when I'm not writing, I'm reading (and since I made another trip to the library during their front-step booksale, I'm doing even more of that). So there's no huge landmark to announce here—I passed 90k, and haven't quite yet hit 100k, but I'm pretty damn close. Either way, the novel is proceeding apace, if by apace we mean very rapidly indeed. I've reached the wolves section, which I wrote pretty early on in the progress of this novel and marks the change from the inside safe world to the outside dangerous world and, with it, heralds the read developments and the approaching end of the novel. It's also a huge chunk, and for a while I was uncertain where the story went after that, but an epiphany and a half later, I now know precise where the story goes next—and how it gets there, and what it means. All that's left after that is figuring out the what and how of the end of the book—I've known the why since the beginning.

And I am thrilled with the progress, and having one hell of a great time writing it, even it part of me is still itching to start that next novel.

I am constant pleased by how this novel exposes itself to me, and I'm not sure who to be impressed with--the novel, or myself. )

Worries like that sure won't keep me from writing it, though.

I've finally named another character: Adora, the vampire. I've been playing with two names for a while, but finally decided on one because, um—to be honest, the boy likes it more, and I've been at a draw, so that's a good enough reason for me. I was considering the name Delilah (Hebrew: languishing, lovelorn, seductive) for the story of Samson and Delilah, but went instead with Adora (Greek, Old German and Latin: a gift; beloved; adored) for the Leanan Sidhe, the fairy lovers and muses of artists with, as popularized by Yeats, vampiric tendencies. Leanan means sweetheart, as does Adora, and is a fitting name for the character and her role in the story. Plus: it sounds pretty.

This leaves me with just the protagonist (currently NAME) who is in dire need of a name. She's a cat-hybrid, apprentice witch, and is (self-)isolated, insecure, somewhat haughty, and afraid to admit her mistakes. The whole story revolves around her, so her role is wide and varied, but basically: she must go to the palace, untrained and uninformed, to discover the threat to her kingdom and how to save it. And (as I'm sure you've been expecting): name suggestions for the protagonist are more than welcome. Any language root, any length, any meaning, any sound—I just need starting places.

In non-novel related news, I'm in love. This is no new big thing because I'm just in love with the same boy I've been in love with for years now, and it's not a huge revelation, and things aren't perfect. But, lately, they've been good, and that's enough for me.

Wordcount: 94,223 typed (377 pages), 3,400 handwritten.

Previous Accomplishments: Reached the wolves, which means that the first two thirds are now officially and completely written and typed. Figured out where the story goes after the wolves, and how to get there; began writing it.

Upcoming Challenges: Figure out how the book ends, and try to write the final third in fewer than 5k words.

Currently Reading: The Rose and the Beast, Francesca Lia Block; War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells, Tales of the Witch House and Other Weird Stories, H.P. Lovecraft.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Fuck!)
Adventures in BPAL: I wore Casanova today and lord almighty but it nearly killed me. Casanova (A rakish blend of leather, anise, lavender, bergamot and amber with tonka, lemon peel and lusty patchouli) was a frimp from my last lab order. It's one of their more masculine scents, but the forums mention layering it with Antique Lace (A soft, wistful blend of dry flowers, aged linens, and the faint breath of long-faded perfumes, a fairly sweet, white scent) to help bring out the feminine qualities. So I think: perfect, sounds great. In the bottle, Casanova was knock your socks of strong, so I dotted it on (literally: poke with end of the application stick). Let try, layered with my usual double swipe of Antique Lace.

All was well. Wait five minutes.

Downstairs, working on my desktop, and all the sudden it's hard to breathe. Spices--anise in particular--so strong they were billowing around me, making my throat burn. I'd never had a BPAL scent ... "blossom" so hugely before. It was like a swarming mass. I thought I was going to die. I'd heard of this phenomenon, but never have I wanted to scrub off a scent quite so desperately.

Breathe shallowly and infrequently. Watch the clock. Consider scrubbing. Wait five minutes.

The good news? After it had some time to heat, develop, and then even out—really just the five minutes, I swear, but it felt like longer—the scent was wearable. More than that, it was quite lovely. The solid sweetness of the antique lace on top had a lovely underscent of spices and shadows that gave it a great depth. Was perfect for what I wanted to wear today, actually. And about twelve hours later, both the Casanova and Antique Lace are present. I can smell them without even sniffing my wrist, and they're pleasantly combined. But, for the future, now I know: Casanova is one strong, spicy bugger, and the drydown period is not for the faint of heart.

In other news: I'm considering the title The Twilight Prophecies for the book. I don't know yet even if I'll use it as a working title, much less if it'll stick to the end, but I do know that I like it so far, for both sound and themes/reference to text. The catch for me is that I'm not a huge fan of "The ____" titles, and this is certainly one of those. Anyway. Feel free to let me know how you like the sound (and, better: would it make you pick up the book off of a shelf at your neighborhood bookstore?) and I'll sleep on it a bit more and then see if I like it enough to use it in place of "the novel," as I've so fondly been referring to it.

Speaking of sleep: it is about time for me to try just that.

Wordcount: 76,608 typed (306 pages), +400 handwritten.

Previous Accomplishments: Research on court roles and etiquette; brainstorming on title, current events, and the (possible) end of the book.

Upcoming Challenges: Filling in the gaps between the parts I've already written; bringing the prince back out from the shadows.

Currently Reading: The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories, H.P. Lovecraft; oh, I have to pick a new book—will probably be Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
New color scheme over at [livejournal.com profile] juushika. I've been intending to change it for a while, now that I'm updating my overall journal layout to reflect my friends only to public changes. It is brown. It is still pretty close to the previous layout. It makes me want chocolate.

Oh. Good Lord. I spent all day typing up the handwritten draft of the novel. Why? Because now that I've hit the middle third of the story, I need to know where I stand regarding my fictional court and its appropriate etiquette, which means knowing where I stand in the book, which means unifying all the various drafts and versions a bit. In the attempt to avoid getting wrapped up in idea vs. action, I don't want to do more research than necessary, so knowing where I am in the story is crucial.

It also lead to an entire day spent pounding away at the keyboard, rushing through pages upon pages upon pages of the handwritten draft. 10,000 words worth, to be a little more precise. All of that, while battling the worst back pain I've had in about a year—so bad I took meds for it. (I don't take medication, OTC or otherwise.) It was worth it, because I'm now a mere 1.6k words away from the end of the handwritten manuscript, and then I can get back down to business as usual.

Things I have learned from the massive typeathon:

I will lose a big chunk of the wordcount when I edit, especially in the first third of the book. This is actually somewhat of a relief, because this would be an exceptionally long book without that editing. As it is, the first third is quite repetitive, a result of not plotting out the story in too much detail before I began writing. Characters repeat themselves, themes repeat themselves, plot points repeat themselves. Also surprisingly, I'm actually looking forward to streamlining this section because now, in retrospect, the changes that need to be made are quite clear. I'm not doing a word of editing until the first draft is completely finished, though, so that will just have to wait.

At my current rate, I expect the finished first draft to be around 120,000 words long. As stated sometime previously, plus this new massive typed update, I now have the entire first third of the book, the beginning of the middle third of the book, and the beginning of the third third of the book written and typed. Taking into account the length of the current draft plus the fact that a lot of the repeating waffling bulk is done, now, I figure there's about 50k left in the story—enough to fill in the gaps and get to the end. 120k is longer than I want the finish text to be (no, really?) but I'll lose a lot of that in editing.

And now. I really deserve some sleep.

Wordcount: 72,060 typed (288 pages), +1.6k handwritten.

Previous Accomplishments: Typing, typing, typing some more the written draft into the typed draft. 10k of it. Also: determining how the beginning has progressed and figured out some more pieces of where the end will go.

Upcoming Challenges: A little bit more typing, and then some research, and then I get back to the text. Filling in gaps in the story without getting too bogged down by streamlining may be difficult, but mostly because it conflicts with my anal-retentive nature.

Currently Reading: The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories, H.P. Lovecraft; Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
There was a little bit there (a week?) when my writing flagged somewhat and I was worried that I was losing interest in the book, despite every attempt not to do that this time. To my pleasure and surprise, I've now swung back to the other end of the spectrum. I am totally engrossed by my novel and loving it. I'm back to writing a strong 1.5k words each day, typing a good 1k each day (the difference there explains why the typed draft gets further and further behind), and thinking about the novel constantly and with great pleasure. All of which means that this entire entry is dedicated to blather on the working novel. My apologies.

I just finished reading Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely (review forthcoming ... I have so many of those to catch up on, once again) and I watched the film The 13th Warrior. The former, especially when combined with the fact that I read Marr's LiveJournal ([livejournal.com profile] melissa_writing) gave me that much needed sense of "I can do this." That why writing is a skill, it is not magic. Not everyone can do it well, but authors are still human, writing is still work. And that much, at least, is accessible—yes, even to me. And that renewed my interest and dedication. The latter, which draws on Norse culture, had a few little atmospheric and informational tidbits that made me want to spread along to the final third of the book, and so it renewed my passion as well.

It's been interesting to see, as the book develops, the location and the culture/atmosphere of the book develop. The setting is based loosely on the Pacific North-West, the world is based loosely on Pre-Christian Celtic lands, in particular Scotland. I chose the Pacific NW for setting because I live here—and so I understand the what and why of the land layout, weather systems, etc. I need a river, some farmlands, at least one mountain range, and a cold north in the story, and I get bonus points for a nearby sea—so this territory adapted itself well. It also means that I know why the farmland is fertile, and why the royal city is a port city. This allows me to add some realism to the book without tying up too much of my time in research.

The culture and overall world is based on the ancient Celts because I've studied them—which the intention of following the religions therein, which provides a lot of relevant information for the story. The days of power follow Celtic holy days, it explains the major presence and roles of the fey... Although the book takes place in a very different world from our own, and also fairly different from the world in ancient Celtic myth, that sort of basis provides a wealth of ideas and makes it a bit easier for me to figure out how all of the competing powers and roles interact. And since I just worked in a bit of Norse influence, well—that aspect is really knitting together.

On reread, it's occurred to me that that above paragraph may not make one word of sense to any one—and still might not make sense if the book is ever published. Ah, oh well. My journal. My rambling place. And trust me—it makes sense to the author.

I would like to note that the major downfall to all of this productivity is that my back hurts. It hurts to sit. It hurts to stand. It hurts to lay down, hurts to type, hurts to bend over, hurts to lean back, hurts to walk. It just hurts.

Oh! I also finally got around to my first major character name. I have this bad habit of 1) not naming characters (so that they're called NAME and OTHER NAME in the draft) and 2) using my working titles for final titles ... which is why my website is "Title Here" and this journal is "Working Title."

The character I finally named is the protag's mentor, a practicing and learned witch that I've been referring to as, um, OTHER NAME. And since ON starts with an O—I looked for O names in my baby name index of choice. There are blessedly few O names, and surprisingly many of them are lovely. I picked Orane, for the O beginning, for the sound, and because the name (French, with Latin root) means "sunrise." The setting and rising of the sun and moon is a major part of character construction, timing, and themes in the book, so this was a really lucky find. I'm pleased with it.

And I lost about 204 words when I transitioned from OTHER NAME to Orane. Yes, the book is that long.

Speaking of wordcounts...

Wordcount: 62,717 typed (250 pages), +7.8k handwritten.

Previous Accomplishments: Catching up to more and more already-written section; by handwritten text, protag has moved onto second third and is now in royal city; by total written length, the first draft is about half done! I am so excited about all of this. Also, named one of the major characters, finally.

Upcoming Challenges: Have a lot of typing to catch up on and the next section takes place in the royal court. May need to do some research on court etiquette to make it seem the smallest bit realistic. Still need names for protag and vampire.

Currently Reading: The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories, H.P. Lovecraft; Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I rewatched the anime film Spriggan the other day and was just about thisclose to writing fanfiction. Spriggan is one of the smaller fandoms—by which I mean incredibly tiny—but since I first saw it, the characters have appealed to me. In this rewatch, I was impressed by how my understanding of the characters had matured. So impressed, in fact, that I wanted to write about: to dabble with them, play around with them, see what I can make them do. I, of course, mean a fanfic.

The problem then is this (other than the fact that I'm writing a book): Wanting to play around with characters does not a plot make. In this case, even being a rabid slasher doesn't help with the plot. What I really want to write is an introduction, a bit of character exposition, and some hot hot mansex. Exciting. Also no longer my scene. So I decided against it.

But I did write two paragraphs and it sure was nice to get into a different voice and mindset. Refreshing, really, which makes getting back to work on the rest all the easier. But I still have these paragraphs hanging around on my computer... And for lack of anything better to do with them, I'll throw them here.

If you don't recognize this film or this fandom—no worries, you're really not supposed to. Mostly I'm just indulging myself. And so, with no further ado: two paragraphs, in there just-barely-retouched state.

Two paragraphs of a Spriggan fanfic. )

And for the curious: I do highly recommend this film. It has some hokey bits, but the characters are lovely and ohsogay and the plot is clever. It's an enjoyable film.
juushika: Photograph of a row of books on a library shelf. (Books Once More)
My back hurts. This is my own fault for working on the laptop in the bedroom (on a mini-bookshelf working as a table, used while sitting on the edge of the bed), but I'm more productive on the lappy, so. Interestingly so, this holds true even with Guild Wars installed—probably because Guild Wars is both full screen and pseudo-real-time-ish, so no multitasking there. And a good thing, too, because Guild Wars is like crack. It's good not to be able to play it all the time.

But more to the point.

Happy very very belated birthday to me! My birthday was on the 18th, although it stretched out on and off over three days, and all of it was wonderful. Saturday the 18th, Devon and I went to Salem for lunch at a real, good Mongolian grill. The food was great, and goodness have I missed it. (There was one in Portland that we loved, but since the move—no good Mongolian). Then we picked up a copy of Guild Wars, then we went to my parent's place for dinner and dessert (chocolate cupcakes, which improved also with freezing). That evening, my first of my two most recent BPAL packages arrived. Talk about good timing. Sunday the 19th we went to see Stardust which was quite good. I disapproved of the little changes from the book (Hello, Captain Shakespeare? What happened to you, man?) but approved of the major changes because, as was the intent, it made for good movie watching. Um. Except that Tristan's mother looked like a cheap whore. On Monday the 20th, we went to Borders to spend the gift card that my grandfather and his wife sent me for my birthday. This gift card purchased:

Persuasion, Jane Austen
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson (three quarters of the way through this book and entirely and absolutely blown away)
The Time Machine, H.G. Wells
Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
The Call of Cthuhlu & Other Weird Stories and Dreams in the Witch House, H.P. Lovecraft (finally! and goodness but he is good)
Wicked Lovely, Melissa Marr
& just enough left over to purchase my next impulse book.

It was one very productive $100 gift card. Between it and the library, I am reading about 4 books a week and loving it. I'm keeping a list of all the stuff I want to read in the back of my moleskine and working off of that. May I say: I have marvelous taste.

All in all, it was a wonderful birthday. I turned 22, for the curious, and I am now a successfully unemployed & unpublished would-be-author & college dropout. Yippee! Also I am well loved and tolerably spoiled, and although 22 isn't a landmark year, it was a surprisingly fulfilling, happy birthday.

I mentioned above that I made a new BPAL order. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is, for those that don't know, my drug of choice. It is the only line of scents I have ever worn and probably will ever wear. I love them. For my birthday and because I, um, "needed" some warm-weather-friendly scents (most of my favorites are dark, rich, incensey, slightly sweet scents, none of which work for warm days), went and bought some more: one shipment of six imps from the lab, one bottle and two imps from a user through [livejournal.com profile] sinandsalvation. These I will put behind a cut, because I know that not everyone is interested. Needless to say, I have now received both packages and am super-duper-freakishly thrilled with both.

My new BPAL smellies! )

As it goes, that wasn't a bad way to spend $26. It's certainly made me happy (over and over and over again) and I still have scents left to try.

Still writing the book. Working mostly by hand, then typing, trying to catch up with the handwritten stuff. Have been slacking a teeny little bit but aim to change that this week. Am a bit bored with current section, but looking forward to the next, so may get through just by pushing myself forward to the palace. Then comes the time that I need to start plotting the fullness of the journey afterward (I have one section written and vague plot concepts, but no detailed understanding of what after what after what is supposed to happen).

I had a wonderful, involved, complete, even plotted dream that is begging to be another book (it's too long for a short story). Have the dream written down, and refuse to touch it at least until this book is nearly done because, seriously, I want to get something done, not just skip from project to project. But, if all goes well—that dream will make it in full form to paper sometime, even if it is a little too close to The Fountain for my sense of originality to handle.

And soforth.

Wordcount: 56,089 typed, + 4k handwritten.

Previous Accomplishments: Training plus some more training, and managed to interweave some interesting moments alongside. Also caught up with two sections I'd written way early on.

Upcoming Challenges: I'm bored of training, so finishing it up may be a pain. Oh, and, surprise of surprises, characters still do not have names.

Currently Reading: Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson; The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories, H.P. Lovecraft; The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
I sat down and wrote by hand to day with exceptional success. Finally using a blank lined book I've been sitting on for about a year, now, and it's a pleasure to write in. But moreover, I think I may have to write by hand more often. It is a little more time-consuming because I have to type it up after, but it's worth it: the trade off is that the writing comes faster and smoother and that there are far fewer distractions. I used to write all my drafts by hand, everything from fanfiction (including every bloody word of The Bonded) as well as essays for school. I stopped because of the time lost in typing up handwritten work, but now I find it hard to believe that I did. Handwriting is far more fluid for me. The daily 1k words came in about an hour and a half, rather than the usual minimum of three hours that it usually takes. Moreover—this was a section I was having problems with, and it yet came out as easily as my favorite completed parts of the story. Now that, I think, is a good sign.

But I'm really writing mostly to say that I broke 40k today. That's about 170 pages and, while not a huge gigantic landmark, is still a significant one, and I'm happy with it—and look forward to the next, what? 60k+ of the book.

Wordcount: 40,975 (actually a bit more, but I haven't typed up the rest).

Previous Accomplishments: Conquered the verbal battle and with much success at that; have introduced some doubt and a whiff of danger.

Upcoming Challenges: Developing a new pacing style for the long time in short text that follows next. Oh, and my characters could still use names, as we can add SISTER to the list of the unnamed.

Currently Reading: The Robber Bride, Margret Atwood.
juushika: Photograph of a row of books on a library shelf. (Books Once More)
The stats that follow are a tiny bit out of date because I wrote them on Friday before my day of writing began, and it is obviously now Sunday. But that's how it goes.

Took the weekend off from writing again, and it's not as painful as last time—even with Devon out and about for most of the day. My interested in Second Life wanes and waxes these days, but lately it's waxed pretty full as a result of some wonderful new releases and the fact that the grid is actually operational (to think!), so I've been spending my weekend time making outfits and going shopping, yay. ^_^ I also get more interested in SL when I'm feeling a little less antisocial on the whole, so that's probably been part of it. But the text keeps sitting in my head, and I know where I'll go with it when I start again on Monday. I am at the cusp of a verbal battle between the protag and her sister, and even though I know where this battle needs to end up, I'm not sure when or how to bring it there. But because we write best when we write what we know—and since I've a sister of my own—I shall do my best.

Speaking of writing what we know: it seems a bit bizarre to apply that truism to a story where the protagonist is a cat-human hybrid studying magic under a witch in order to help save the kingdom from a vampire threat, but I'm amazed at how true it constantly turns out to be. The plot events are one thing, and honestly I think those are the easiest tales to spin. The magic. The twists, the turns. The nature of the world it takes place in. Races, spells, study. It's things like place and person where we are best served by writing what we know. The first few sections of the story take place in a fertile valley bordered by plains on one side and mountains on the other. A river runs through it and slowly veers west, towards the sea. And while making my reference sketches of the place (and reminding myself why I'm neither artist nor cartographer, because WOW are they ugly), I've been basing the landscape very loosely on the Pacific Northwest--where I live. Why? Because I know this place. I know the weather patterns, I know the landscape, I know what valleys are like and what makes them fertile.

More importantly, the protagonist and some of the important secondary characters are also true to life. This isn't to say that they physically resemble anyone (except that the protag shares the cat ears and tail that I have in Second Life, although if I'm honest I found the freedom to grant the to her in Gaiman's Stardust). In fact, the whole of their mental/emotional responses aren't based strictly on a single person, either. Rather, the key interactions and key traits are often based on things that I have seen happen in my own life. When the protagonist, to use the above example, has a fight with her sister, it's because her sister feels like something else is overshadowing what she believes should be important (and she has a point). Instead of saying "I just wish you loved us/me more" she says "I think you have your priorities wrong." And that's not quite what she means, but anger gets in the way. Does that make sense to anyone else? But the point is, I've seen arguments like that play out ... moreover, I've been in arguments exactly like that with my sister. And while I'm changing subject, character, setting—the things that need to ring of truth are still drawn from little aspects of my own life.

Discovering that has been pretty cool—and it gives me more hope in that story, because I want the veracity to be there. "I still have this uncontrollable urge to go up to people and say: 'My mother left me when I was seven' as though that will explain everything." (from The 10th Kingdom)—which becomes one of the most meaningful moments in the story because it is true—it may be created, it isn't only true in the world of the nine kingdoms, but one of many essential, human truths. And so it has meaning.

Ah, but where was I?

The other roadbump that I really need to get over is character names. I'm bad with names, which is why it always amazes me that Dink, Kuzco, and Alfie all worked out so well. I'm unimaginative, picky, and uncertain. So, currently, my characters are NAME (the protagonist), OTHER NAME (the mentor, and no, I'm not kidding, I really do call her that), VAMPIRE (the... vampire, of course), and tidbits like WOLF and WOLF 2 or GIRL. So far, one single character has a name: the protagonist's mother, whose name is Madge. I've been brainstorming (sometimes with help) on some names, and I think I have VAMPIRE and WOLF [4] pinned down. If y'all want, I can give some character info/sketches and you can throw out names ... or you can throw out names regardless ... or I'll just struggle through them in due time. ^^ But it will be nice to go through the 40k and change all my all-caps to actual words.

Wordcount: 38,229

Previous Accomplishments: Finished with the wolves. Figured out where, and at what pace, to begin the story, so I've jumped back to the very beginning.

Upcoming Challenges: I have a verbal battle to write and I see it posing some difficulties; wouldn't it be nice if my characters had names?

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juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
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