June 07, 2014

How I'm wrtiting fanfic?

 How I'm wrtiting fanfic?

I sit down to write. I have the themes, the concept, from which usually flows the structure and the style, I have some dialogue, a couple key scenes, and that's about it. I go back to my first paragraphs and start from there. I write the story from start to finish, usually in chronological order, with a few breaks [that never include work, ever, which doesn't endear fanfic to my colleagues].

The story takes over my life, and there's nothing to be done until it's written. There are a few exceptions. Well, it was difficult in that instance -- I tried to be as honest as I could, as open as I could, not hold anything back, or gloss over the mess that was John -- but the difficulty wasn't technical.
As soon as I'm done, I print the whole thing, and make edits on paper. The edits are mostly deletions (because I tend to ramble), and I go through each verb and adjective to make sure that each word is as close as it can be to what I'm trying to express. My thesaurus is my best friend, although I don't need it much anymore, which comes with reading a lot, I suppose. I also dislike using the same adjective twice in close proximity if I can help it. A lot of it is about rhythm, the number of syllables, the equilibrium of a single sentence, which translates into the equilibrium of a paragraph, and eventually the whole story. The words sound out loud in my mind. Sometimes, they even rhyme. It's important that the mechanics serve the content [sharp, broken sentences for action, run-on babble for a hallucination, etc...].

I send off to the betas, get it back and make the corrections [added to a few more corrections I've made in the meantime]. The only beta suggestions I probably won't take into account are points of characterization. That's not something I feel the need to have a second opinion on. I need beta for grammar, the typos, punctuation [waaay too many commas], a word here and there, and sentences that are much too long at times.

The final draft is never radically different from the first one. I've never had more than three drafts, including the final one. All in all, it's pretty straightforward. Not very intellectualized. The plot just comes. The structure appears out of thin air. Then it sort of writes itself.

So much for interesting insight. It's not unusual for the whole process to occur inside a week. Incidentally, it works exactly the same way when I write original fiction, although it's spread across a longer period of time.

May 03, 2014

Slowly weaning off the anti-anxiety meds

My brother is slowly weaning himself off the anti-anxiety meds, and he's relapsing. He should have asked me first. I would have told him to wait for the summer, and I would have explained about withdrawal. Of course, this sent my mother right back on her what did I do wrong? Although, to be fair, they're both getting better at handling the situation, getting some perspective.

My brother said he didn't feel normal, and I almost laughed, which -- thank God -- I didn't. Normal in mental health is only ever defined by the average, the majority, the bell curve, and I have no end of ontological and epistemological problems with that. From a purely subjective point of view, I'd be hard-pressed, looking around, to find someone, anyone, who hasn't been/isn't involved in some form of therapy, or hasn't been prescribed/isn't taking some kind of anti-anxiolytics or other antidepressants. That's when they're not self-medicating with weed. So if normal in Western society is the average, the common behavior, my brother is quite, quite normal.

Strange calluses. I can't look around and not see this. Then again, I'm the girl who goes to the pub and gets drunk by osmosis. I can't walk in the street and not pay attention. The casual hurts are inflicted like papercuts. All the time, everywhere, everyone. It's so stupid, could so easily be avoided, but never is. We are careless with each other.

Ironically enough, mental health professionals would not fit that curve. Not that psychologists and psychiatrists are less messed up than the rest -- quite the contrary, in fact -- but many of them intensely distrust therapy as a means to address their own problems, and so hide in plain sight. I'm spying on the enemy from the inside.

I don't know what it is. Perhaps, again, my Jungian blinders coming to the fore. Depression and anxiety as I observe them feel more like the internalization of an external (societal) malaise, than anything resulting solely from education, or individual stressors. And if some experience this malaise and others don't, it's because some haven't developed calluses, while others have.

You're used to dealing with it, so they can deal too. You ask a friend how his day has gone, because that's the way the conversation starts, but by the time he opens his mouth to give an answer, you've already moved on to something else. You think nothing of the perfunctory nod, the disinterested tilt of the head, but he notices, and it probably doesn't hurt for more than a second, before it's forgotten and swept under the rug. But it did hurt. It's dozens of those papercuts every day -- stupid, stupid thoughtlessness, and everyone knows the rules, and no one remembers how to object. By the end of the day, you're kind of sore. By the end of the week, you're bruised...

August 28, 2013

We Can Dance If We Want To

We Can Dance If We Want To

Went for a walk with Wife and the boys to the park. They played, we read. Wife's trying to finish re-reading Prisoner of Azkaban before Friday. I'm still working on Master and Margarita.

M and M's a good book, but it would be a lot more entertaining if I were a 1930s Muscovite Communist. Like what WOULDN'T be more entertaining if I were a 1930s Muscovite Communist, right?

I wish men still wore hats. I'd dig a felt fedora. Maybe a bowler.

Have I mentioned that I'm not allowed to wear a baseball cap to work on casual day? Apparently the small amount of respect I've earned from the users would be shattered if they were to see me with a hat on. That's what happened to barbershop quartets, you know. They used to bigger than Jesus. Then they started wearing those straw hats and no one cared for them anymore. True story.

I'm, like, backwards.

I nearly died at birth.
I got married at 19.
I first had sex at 25.
Now at almost 32 I'm getting into collecting comic books.

Next year I may well be wearing diapers.

August 17, 2013

Tell me if you think this is weird

Tell me if you think this is weird:

Two things in writing that really turn me off - "he chuckled" and "she giggled." One sounds Santa Claus-y and the other sounds bimbo-y. Unless you are writing about 1. Santa Claus or 2. Pamela Anderson the words are just not good.

[You are welcome to put this down to a weird and idiosynchratic reaction to characters who laugh. I won't hold it against you. I'm thinking it's weird and idiosynchratic too.]

I'm reading John Stewart's America: A Citizen's Guide To Democracy Inaction. Goddamn, but it is FUNNY. And educational! I am learning all about American history and the processes of government. Mmmmm... edifying...

And speaking of amusing, I was searching for a biography for Justice Mary Gaudron (first and only woman to serve on Australia's High Court) and I found a speech she gave to the Women Lawyers of NSW in 2002 that started like this:

Some of you will remember Yossarian, the main character in Joseph Heller's Catch-22, who, hoping to live forever or, at least, until he finished his tour of duty as a bomber pilot in the Second World War, pursued a life of boredom on the theory that, that way, time would go more slowly – perhaps so slowly that he would live for ever. It may be that, tonight, I will be able to extend your lives by the same process.

Yes, she's a bit of a comedian as you can see. But, dear literary flist, who can tell me what is wrong with that paragraph, hmmmm?

After you wrote me two fabulous stories I feel somewhat lacking that I have nothing for you. Will you take an IOU? But let me say "bon anniversaire!" (which is about the extent of what I remember from high school French) and hope you had a great day - I figure it's over by now). Hope you bought beer or something. :)

August 08, 2013

The wife wonderful

The wife, wonderful though she is, is having what I like to call a "bad couple of days." She made mashed potatoes last night using her new immersion blender. They didn't come out as she expected and she was very distraught about it all night.

About an hour ago she baked some cookies. She's not been forthcoming with the details, but she wasn't happy with them, either. She even threw a little tantrum and shut herself in the bathroom. That's a little extreme, don't you think? They tasted yummy, though, so she's calmed down considerably.

Still, I'm treading lightly. I hope for all our sakes that lunch doesn't surprise her in any way. That would be bad. But it does explain where Older Son's perfectionism comes from. Which was very puzzling to me as I'm hardly home.

We're trying to trek to the park later. Some fresh air should do us all some good. Right now, everything here at network update ground zero seems nominal.

I'd just like to take a moment to say something: Moving, copying, backing up and verifying large amounts of data takes a long time. Now, I can't stress this enough. It takes a long time. No, really. The amount of time that you're thinking of? Is not long enough. Longer. Longer than that, even.

It sounded simple enough to us all. But hell if there's not about seven hours between that comma and the third step. But, it's done now. The data finally got backed up and the final phase of the evening's work is underway. It was a little stressful there for a while, but we made it.

But for future reference, planning is key. I'm underlining that in my notes so that hopefully I'll remember next time. Also underlined: Breach hull, all die.

August 02, 2013

Well, you called it

Well, you called it. I'm hanging up my meat hooks.

At first, packing meat for a living was a dream come true. But, man, it tires you out. I just don't have what it takes to pound, pound, pound for ten hours a day. I asked the other guys how they do it, and it turns out I'd have to take up doing a lot of drugs. I'm open to that option, but can't afford it.

So I've switched to a slightly less lucrative, but much more energy efficient career. I now work at Souplantation. I toss salads.

Yeah, it's... unsavory. But rewarding. It makes people happy. I get great tips. It's a job that's hard to go home and leave totally behind, but still.

Anyway, I was tossing this one particular salad when I had a revelation. A flash of truth, telling me why I'm here. Why I live and breathe this tortured, sexy existence: to poop on asshole's car door handles and windshields for money.
I've taken about seven naps this weekend. Bliss, I tell you. You should give it a try some time.

I sleep, therefore I am.

I watched Solyaris last night. It's an interesting look at what constitutes life and humanity; a subject that's always fascinated me. If you haven't read it, you should check out Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

What's funny to me is that the issue is almost entirely masturbation. We don't have sophistocated artificial intelligence. What we do have doesn't remotely seem human. But it's still a hell of a lot of fun to think about.

In high school, I had a friend named John F.. John was the coolest, and the most anti-establishment guy I've ever known. He ran for student body president. He put up these awesome posters of himself holding up a wooden stake with nails through it. We had two assemblies for the candidates to address the student body. During the first one he gave this moving speech about political machinery and stuff. For the second assembly, he decided to sum up. All he said was: "Masturbate. It works."