laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Jul. 11th, 2014 07:41 pm)
As much as I like your story, there are times when you go off in “left field”and lost me. The characters are set off by the slightest things, and immediately start on 5 page monologues in which the topic changes constantly. I understand that you are trying to give needed insight into the lives and personalities of your way you describe different details in themselves are really quite interesting. However, too much detail takes away from your story. In the future, please find a balance so that you’re not losing your audience in the process.

No.

I’d be lying like a cheap rug if I said I didn’t love readers and write things in the hopes that people will see, enjoy, and respond to them. I do, and I wallow in reviews of any kind like a pig in slop.

But here’s the thing: I don’t write for you. I write for me, because it makes me happy and gets me out of bed and keeps me from giving up. I write because I want to, and if I spent time worrying about everything that might drive a reader away, then I would never write anything. So, if I want to write five-page monologues of digression, I will. Because the story is mine. You don’t have to read it, but don’t dictate to me how the story should go if it wants to hold your interest. I care, yes, but it’s never going to be my primary concern, and we’re both going to be disappointed.

Don’t like my story? Hit the back button. There are millions more from which to choose. But you don’t get to decide how mine is told.
Tags:
I know I'm a blunt, cantankerous old biddy who often blunders straight past the rules of current social etiquette, but I found this today while scanning the reviews of a Priest fic I'm reading:

How Ruuuude!

The review that caught my eye was that left by Sebastian, which reads thus:

I just want to start off by saying I think your writing style is excellent. The way you develop your characters keeps the audience guessing, and I like that. Don't let criticisms hold you back from writing the story the way you see fit. I'm not naming names, but I've read some reviews on here that are just plain rude. There is a difference between stating constructive criticism and being just plain, outright rude. People like that take the fun out of writing, and it's a downright shame. Good authors are constructive, not cocky. I just wanted to tell you to keep up the good work, and don't let negative, ignorant comments drag you down.



It's no great leap to surmise he's referring to my reviews because mine are the only ones more substantive than, "Ooooh, update soon!"

Look, writing is a very personal thing, and hearing strangers nitpick the warts and shortcomings of your bouncing baby brainchild is like watching them club a baby seal while eating baby bunnies raw. It's painful, and embarrassing, and you want to defend and explain. Sometimes, you stew and mutter under your breath about how the Philistines simply don't get your genius, damn them.

But here's the thing: Once you put something out there, the Philistines can react to it howsoever they choose. They can love it and write paeans to its awesomeness and clamor for more. They can not give a damn. They can also think it's a steaming pile of shit. For me, it's a toss-up between which of the last two stings more. Most of the time, it's indifference, but occasionally, there are those comments that cross the line into plain gleeful nastiness and personal attack, and those can be like a punch in the face if you're not ready for them. People who disguise personal attacks as legitimate critique are assbags.

But I don't think anything I said constitutes rudeness or an assault on the author or her right to write. It's the truth as I see it. It *is* ridiculous that a woman with no combat training who previously shrieked and flailed at the sight of a vampire can suddenly take down four of them plus a bevy of familiars simply because she prayed once. Honestly, that devalues BH's training and years of sacrifice and isolation. If any jackass who says, "Please God," can suddenly have His blessing and Grace, then why do priests need to suffer the way they do? The answer is they don't. Therefore, she's undermined one of the fundamental precepts of the world.

There are POV switches within paragraphs, which are fundamental no-nos in writing. The vocabulary is repetitious, and the constant use of "his eyes fell" conjures images of disembodied eyeballs tottering unsteadily on tiny little legs and faceplanting on noses. Any aspiring writer who wants to be published someday needs to have an extensive, varied vocabulary with which to convey thoughts and ideas. Period. Her mechanics are faulty and sometimes sloppy. If she's going to set the world on fire with her ideas, she needs to know how to convey them clearly. That's what writing is supposed to do.

As for her characterization, it's idealized and flawed. She tells us that Tessa is a smart, composed woman with experience with life's unfairness, but she behaves like a nineteen-year-old who's never left the safety of her dorm room and is playing with concepts from her Intro to Philosophy class. She's mercurial and pettish one minute and wise and even-keeled the next. Rape is apparently no big deal. The story tells us that she's left covered in semen from her assault, but later in the same chapter, she tells Black Hat there is no danger of pregnancy because none of her attackers finished. Uh, if he's wiping spooge from her nethers, then, yes, they did.

She loves BH so much, but doesn't listen to him when he tries to explain. Because the story needs her to be obtuse for dramatic effect. It's not an organic outgrowth of events but a plot contrivance of narrative necessity. Additionally, she takes Priest's part as if they were old friends despite knowing nothing about him save what pre-vamped BH told her. It might be morally satisfying to believe people behave that way, but they don't. People protect their own, even when they know they shouldn't. Tessa isn't a realized character; she's a walking ideal. Lots of writers do this to some degree, but most of them disguise their avatar a bit more cleverly. Some of them disguise them poorly, and professionals are not immune to this trap. Stephen King has his very own Marty Stu in Roland of The Dark Tower series. In later volumes, he's just dropped all pretense and is merrily wallowing in the Stu-ness. When you're wiping your ass with pressed gold bullion, you can afford to indulge.

But she hasn't earned that right yet. Tessa was never grounded enough to support those indulgent flourishes. She's a paper doll wearing whatever outfit a given scenario needs her to, regardless of logic or internal consistency.

It's maddening, and you know why? Because there is talent there. It's cracky and ridiculous and melodramatic and unrealistic, a telenovela of the first water, but it's also compelling. I find myself reading chapters over and over again and checking every day to see if there's another update. I don't want her to stop. I want her to finish because I need to know how it all turns out. But just because I want her to succeed and finish this crazy, glorious Frankenstein, that doesn't mean I can't point out where it strains credulity for me as a reader.

And just between you and me, I'm being rather restrained, I think. A professional editor would tear her to shreds and feel not a pang of remorse.
Eight hundred and eighty-four words on Saturday.

I found an adorable word count meter at Writertopia with which to keep track of my [profile] almosthumanbang progress. And yes, I have started, albeit a few days later than I intended. I can't tell if it's a fig or a turd, honestly, but the art is whimsical, and I'll take any carrot to keep me motivated.

One thousand and twelve words today.

I'm just muddling through this chapter right now, and it's driving me crazy. I'm constantly haunted by the fear that I've lost the talent I once had. I'm second-guessing my instincts; I never used to do that. I just wrote until my gears wound down and trusted the output. Now I fulminate over every word choice and turn of phrase. I don't know if it's the canon or a more general creative anxiety. Both, maybe. Tolkien fans can be extremely prescriptivist and rabidly defensive of the source material, no doubt, but that can't solely account for my incessant indecision. I sometimes find myself fretting over the composition of these post, for criminy's sake.

Maybe it's because my writing stands as the last reflection of my intelligence, my worthiness to be a part of the world. School fulfilled that role for me for many years, and without its ultimately meaningless but tangible marks of accomplishment, I'm adrift. Being a student wasn't glamorous or a mark of prestige, but it carried the potential for greater future accomplishment, and it was better than being nothing, a reclusive, socially-maladroit shut-in with few friends and nothing to show for my existence but reams of fic that few read.

It's maudlin and stupid and hampers enjoyment in my chief hobby. My writing isn't me, but it will be all that remains of me when I die or am carted off to some nursing home to live out the rest of my days in haze of bedsores and isolation and meatloaf Mondays. If it's all that I can leave behind, then it should be good, the best I can make it. And then I remember that I'm pinning my legacy on two hundred thousand words of an exiled elf pining for her absent husband or ten thousand words of John Kennex fucking his gimpy neighbor across the hall because she's there, and then I feel like a fool.

The winter blahs suck.
One thousand and and nine words today.

Every time I sit down to write, I'm sure that this time, I won't be able to do it, and every time, something always gets written. It might be terrible or sloppy or less than I wanted, but it's something, and that's reassuring. The terrible stuff gets chucked, the sloppy stuff gets spruced up, and the rest eventually becomes part of a story. Every time one story gets finished, another stirs in the back of my mind, and soon, I'm haring after it, an exuberant pup after a rabbit.

I don't talk about writing much these days, but I've noticed themes and patterns in my work. Apparently, my basement dwellers kink on epic romance, undying, unwavering love in the face of adversity, and heaps of angst and regret. Throw in some anguished pining and the secret certainty that this incredible love with be snatched away by cruel fate, and oh, buddy, I'm there. I've tried writing frothy fluff, but the shadows always creep in. Maybe part of that stems from writing disabled characters; it's hard to be completely secure in yourself when you have to worry about pooping your pants for want of an accessible toilet. So even the pluckiest, smartest wheelchair-wielding woman is going to have moments of weakness and doubt and shame and self-pity. It's a hard but true byproduct of the world they live in and the bodies they inhabit.

I can't change me, and I can't change them, so at least I can make sure they get a good lay out of the deal.
Last night, I found myself wondering why I was so tired despite getting more than eight hours' sleep. This morning, I woke to find the Red Bloat had come in the night. Mystery solved. So now I'm doped up on Advil and clicking through LOTR fanvids. Some are terrible(like the Legolas vid set to a Kanye West song, wtf?), but some are good, and if nothing else, they remind me of how gorgeous those movies are. The charge of the Rohirrim gets me every time, as does Eomer's arrival to Helm's Deep. The combination of the stunning cinematography, the elegiac music, and Gandalf's splendor as he leads the charge just makes me weepy. Even when I'm not bleeding.

The deleted "Mouth of Sauron" scene is a favorite, too.

Mouth: ::smartass remarks::
Aragorn: ::rage::
Gimli: I guess that concludes negotiations.

I'm on track to finish Lost Tales, Vol. I tomorrow. I have Vol. II, but I'm going to hold off until I've indulged in a bit of lighter reading. Right now, my intended reading lineup looks like this:

-two CSI tie-ins
-The Talisman and its sequel, Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub
-The thriller sent by [personal profile] schwester_grimm for Christmas
-An historical account of The Mayflower's voyage
-The book from [profile] caecus_parvulus
-A Lincoln biography

That should keep me in the literary clover a while, and when that stack's finished, I've shelves more waiting.

I managed another thousand words of Haldirfic today. Would that I could clock twice that, but I've noticed that one thousand seems to be the limit of my physical stamina and concentration. Beyond that, I start making glaring typos and egregious continuity errors. So, a thousand it is and shall be until I either get a better vessel for myself or start a cocaine habit. Neither possibility is likely.

And no, Richard, I haven't forgotten you:



Mmmm, sublime. And the picture's composition is fabulous, too.
Another thousand in the books. I hadn't planned on writing today, but Roomie wanted to play football on the Xbox, and I had no yen for reading, so I opened up the old word processor and got on with it. So now Sprache XXI has a few days' work left, and then I'll have a glut of fic to post at the end of the year.

As for new projects, I'm deciding which tense to use for my upcoming Haldirfic. Pluperfect was an experiment I don't intend to repeat. I'm leaning towards present, but there are more than a few pedants who declare that the story is ruined--ruined, they tell you--if it isn't in simple past. Some of them have supportable reasons, such as finding the relentless immediacy exhausting or being unable to suspend their disbelief, while others carp that stories should be written in simple past because it's the way it's always been done. According to them, present tense is the hallmark of tweens, hacks, rank amateurs, and MSFers with the attention span of a gnat at the talent to match.

I don't believe this specious argument; a good story is a good story no matter when it's told, but I haven't written in the preterite in a very long time, and like any skill, technique atrophies when neglected. We'll have to see what the story demands.
The Written? Rammstein! hack for Written? Kitten! has caused a welcome surge in productivity, because hey, who doesn't want to ogle Rammgents and blurry concert stills?

What I don't want to ogle are members of Rammstein tribute bands. They might be very nice blokes, but the guy who looks like Tom Cruise's cousin's head has been bludgeoned with croquet mallets and Photoshopped onto a younger, fitter man's body is not Till Lindemann, and I don't care what delusion that guitarist is laboring under with his eyeliner and mohawk and black capri shorts from Men's Express, he is not Richard Kruspe.

Yet up these posers pop every five pictures or so, and for a second, I wonder when Flake gained so much weight.
Just in case any Rammstein fans needed incentive to finish that nagging writing project. Apparently, with a little tweaking, you can get Written? Kitten! to show you pictures of whatever you want. It doesn't seem to work with proper names, though. I tried it with quotes around the individual members' names, and it didn't work, but maybe I should try it sans quotes instead.
I was reading the Flacknum opus on which I'd been working in order to pick up the thread of it before resuming the tale that Richard's porn so rudely and lustily interrupted and was dismayed to discover four typos in a paragraph. Even in paragraphs as long as mine, that's an alarming number.

Note to self: No matter how awesome it feels to write fifteen hundred words a day, do not write when you are tired. Words will come of it, yes, but mayhap not the ones you intended, and you might find yourself staring at the screen in numb incomprehension the next morning while your brain tries to figure out what you meant when you typed the immortal phrase in no shame to resume their interrupted tryst or why your turn of phrase seems to have snapped its pithy leg on the backspin and now reads like a drunken soliloquy offered up by a barfly with a mouthful of stale peanuts. A thousand good, comprehensible, usable words are always better then fifteen hundred words of sloppy gibberish.
No, brain, you absolutely do not need to write a story wherein Calliope has angry revenge sex with Christoph after Richard makes a jackass of himself.

I love creating fictional lives and filling them with rich and often painful histories, but one of the biggest impediment to their eventual realization is my imagination's penchant for conjuring every conceivable spinoff and AU scenario for a given action. I'm hopelessly addicted to what-ifs. I might set out to write a straightforward story about Character A falling in love with/betraying/hunting down Character B, but before long, I've wandered off the intended path and entangled myself in a thicket of ors and buts, and soon my characters are scuffing their toes in the dirt while I beat back a horde of ravenous plot brambles and spit my shattered teeth onto the parched earth. Sure, my heart wants love and cotton-candy schmoop, but it's also a dreadful sadomasochist that wonders what would happen if A chose B over C because they thought it was the honorable thing to do, only to have that relationship implode shortly thereafter, and call B when they discover they have a critical/terminal illness. It's got a kink for wrenching emotional whump. Which reminds me that I should totally resurrect Et Tu, because that was a megadose of emotional agony.

A possible solution to this conundrum is to write the multitude of AUs and lock them away as digital drawerfic in a separate locked journal. Because as long as I'm immersed in my fictional sandcastle, the momentum carries me from milestone to milestone, but the second I disengage to take stock, my attention is diverted and interest wanes, and before I know it, a promising idea is dead in the water. If I'm writing the nettlesome AUs, then at least I'm not getting distracted by another imaginary world entirely.
Amazingly, I put paid to a huge swath of Sprache XIX last night. If the current rate of progress continues, then the writing will be finished today and the finished product will be posted Monday or Tuesday. Score one for me.
Tags:
I watched a bit more of the Castlevania: Lament of Innocence walkthrough. The fight mechanics are still hideously monotonous, but the Medusa boss fight was entertaining, and I loved the music for the Thunder Elemental miniboss battle.

I pulled myself out of the creative doldrums and resumed work on Sprache XIX, and that has lifted my spirits. Writing always does, and I should know better than to neglect in a fit of useless melancholy. The very act of writing, of imagining and translating that imagination into keystrokes, is therapeutic. It distracts me from the fears that constantly gnaw at the base of my brain and gives voice to the demons that refuse to be exorcised. I feel clean after I write, relieved, as if I have purged something noxious and terrible. The dread and the loneliness always return, but until they do, I am light-hearted and can let myself believe in happily ever after. People need the hope of one-in-a-million chances and happily ever afters. It gets them out of bed in the morning when all else fails, and it's the spoon that never tarnishes and slips from your hand. Humans are a doggedly hopeful lot; we even hope for life after death, for another ride on life's carousel.

I hope when I write. I hope to taste of love and desire and loyalty. I hope for chance encounters that will never happen. I hope to touch someone's life deeply and leave a positive mark after I'm gone. I hope to be somewhere other than where I am, and for someone to miss me when I'm gone.

Writing loosens my tongue and lets me share feelings and dreams I would otherwise bury for fear of mockery and petty cruelty and simple-minded hatred. It keeps my own bitterness and hatred in check, robs them of their power and allows me to move on and forward. It does not banish my wounds, but it keeps me from dwelling on them, and such a gift is crucial for someone who must necessarily fixate and obsess just to accomplish the most mundane tasks, like peeing and managing my meager finances.

Writing is the safety valve that the government can't legislate away, and that an overweening public can't wrest from me "for my own good." Not even my mother, hateful harridan that she is, can steal it from me. If I were banished to a desert isle, I would ask for a stick with which to write in the sand, and if the waves washed my words away, then I would write them anew, unceasing and intransigent. The ocean would win in the end because it is eternal and I am not, but its victory would come only when the stick fell from my hands and the dust of my bones mingled with the sea foam.

I have long thought that writers die only when they have no more stories to tell, and though my cage is small, my hope runs deep and long.
The laundromat was, in fact, crawling with people, most of whom were using three or more machines, so we quit the field and decided to go back tomorrow, which is traditionally their slowest day. Then we went to the grocery store and picked up enough food to get us to departure day. Now we're home, eating burgers and watching hockey.

My latest book is Ghost Road Blues by John Maberry. I discovered it through Goodreads recommendation system and decided to give it a whirl. So far, I don't regret it. Maberry's mechanics are sometimes clumsy--he appears staunchly anti-comma when it comes to offsetting dependent clauses, for instance--but he's created a cast of sympathetic characters for whom you want to root as they fall victim to the Dark Forces of Evil, and the aforementioned Dark Forces of Evil are genuinely creepy. The atmosphere of foreboding and doomed inevitability is incredible. I have an inkling of where the story is going--when you're a dyed-in-the-wool horror fan who's read thousands of horror stories, you develop an eye for patterns and narrative tropes no matter how sly the writer thinks themselves--but I'm eager to see how it plays out.

I will say that Maberry can't write sex scenes to save his life, but then, there are few writers who can. Maybe he's hampered by the fact that he's a man. For some reason, scenes written by men seem to go like this:

Kiss(this will satisfy those clamoring for romance)
Undressing(ditto)
Urgency
Boob
Sweat
More urgency
Thrusting
Immensely satisfying orgasm for both parties
Afterglow

And it all happens in a paragraph and a half. Maybe this is how men experience sex, but it reads as perfunctory, almost obligatory, as though he's doing it simply because he feels he must in order to demonstrate the depth of the True Love between his alpha couple. It's not titillating in the least; it's boring, and more often then not, if I get a whiff of cornfield sexin' on the horizon, I will skim over it rather than endure the constipated erotica masquerading as plot development.

Sex scenes written by women are often terrible and plagued with their own problems, too, but wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am isn't usually one of them.
Last night, it occurred to me how grateful I was for the advent of modern word-processing. Because of my poor coordination and spastic fingers, I am constantly making typos, and because my brain moves faster than my fingers, I often leave out words. Thanks to the miracle of Word, I can remedy these mistakes with the press of a button. Not only that, but I can delete and rearrange text with a few clicks.

My first writing machine was an old IBM Selectric typewriter. It was a sophisticated bit of equipment at the time, bought by the school so that I could complete written assignments in a legible fashion. It even came with correction tape. It hummed loudly, and it sounded like a rock crusher when it "corrected" a mistake. I loved that machine, as did my poor teacher, who no longer had to torture his eyes in order to decipher my scrabble. My mother brought home a similar typewriter from work. Ostensibly, it was to do my homework on, but I spent a great deal more time recording the pictures in my head. Since I wasn't permitted to leave the house and had few friends with the time or the means to escape even if I were, I spent entire weekends clacking away at this old rolltop desk just off the living room. It smelled of ink and varnish, and the typewriter smelled of warm plastic. I was very young then, so those early stories were innocent stories about a TV show called Stingray. Since romance and sex weren't yet on my emotional radar, they were filled with car chases and dutiful recountings of what characters were wearing and what the protagonists were eating for breakfast. I remember a particularly breathless description of the hero's "runny eggs".

Sex and romance wouldn't make an appearance until two years later, and then in the guise of dreadful NKOTB h/c fic that featured a few fumbling kisses. I wouldn't write my first sex scene until I was almost fourteen, and even then, it was vague and horrible because I was a sheltered child whose only exposure to sex had been the under-cover fumblings of couples on primetime TV. Because I was disabled, it was assumed by everyone, including my mother that not only would I never have sex, but I would never want sex or experience sexual urges. Thus, I was never given the Talk. The only sex education I received until adulthood and exposure to porn came from a nice but repressed Christian-school biology professor who told his sniggering charges all about "turgid penises", and the more worldly girls at the local Girls' Club. It wasn't until I saw my first porno at sixteen that I realized sex lasted longer than a minute.

Anyway, that wasn't my original point. My point was the old IBM Selectric. As great as it was, it had its limitations. While it could erase words as long as the correction tape worked, it couldn't move text. Nor could it go back and add lines. If I suddenly decided that one paragraph worked better above another rather than below it, the only remedy I had was to rip out the page, roll in a fresh piece of paper and retype the entire page. Depending on the magnitude of the changes, I had to retype several pages. It was laborious and frustrating. Sometimes I worked on the same pages for weeks just trying to correct all the mistakes and incorporate minor changes in position.

And even if all that were to my liking, there was still the problem of listing text. I could never get the paper to roll into the typewriter evenly, and as a consequence, most of my manuscripts looked as though they'd been banged out on a fishing trawler in the middle of a death roll. It drove me to distraction because I wanted it to look as neat and clean as it did in all the books I read. Plus, I had dreams of being a famous writer someday, and I thought that no one would read my books if they looked like they'd been written on a teeter-totter. I went through ridiculous amounts of paper in my pursuit of perfection, so much that my mother ordered me to start using both sides of the paper. You can imagine how well that went over. Between natural teenage melodrama and the heightened sense of suffocation that comes with being disabled and so reliant on others' better natures, it was The End of the World.

I thought of all this while I was writing last night, listening to music and effortlessly shifting lines within a paragraph and revising bits of dialogue. Changes that once took me hours and sheet after sheet of white paper were effected in mere seconds, freeing me to continue the story, to reveal more of the watercolor in my head. A highlight here, a drag-and-drop there, a backspace down there, and the lines become clearer, the faces more distinct. The picture became truer, more real.

I know that writers wrote long before computers, but if someone ripped the laptop from my hands and said I must find another way to paint the pictures behind my eyes, then I would be lost. I couldn't do it. The energy expended would far exceed the energy regained. I would be utterly silenced, an aphasic who knows the words but loses them on the road to her mouth, voiceless even as the words kept crowding and screaming in my head. Technology lets me present the face I feel beneath my skin and not the twitching, disordered, discombobulated wreck my errant fingers insist that I am. I'm not lovely or even pretty. I might even be ugly and unpopular. But at least my words are not prisoners of my mouth and stupid, slow fingers. At least they no longer cut my throat for want of release. At least they are clear enough to be heard
Last night, it occurred to me how grateful I was for the advent of modern word-processing. Because of my poor coordination and spastic fingers, I am constantly making typos, and because my brain moves faster than my fingers, I often leave out words. Thanks to the miracle of Word, I can remedy these mistakes with the press of a button. Not only that, but I can delete and rearrange text with a few clicks.

My first writing machine was an old IBM Selectric typewriter. It was a sophisticated bit of equipment at the time, bought by the school so that I could complete written assignments in a legible fashion. It even came with correction tape. It hummed loudly, and it sounded like a rock crusher when it "corrected" a mistake. I loved that machine, as did my poor teacher, who no longer had to torture his eyes in order to decipher my scrabble. My mother brought home a similar typewriter from work. Ostensibly, it was to do my homework on, but I spent a great deal more time recording the pictures in my head. Since I wasn't permitted to leave the house and had few friends with the time or the means to escape even if I were, I spent entire weekends clacking away at this old rolltop desk just off the living room. It smelled of ink and varnish, and the typewriter smelled of warm plastic. I was very young then, so those early stories were innocent stories about a TV show called Stingray. Since romance and sex weren't yet on my emotional radar, they were filled with car chases and dutiful recountings of what characters were wearing and what the protagonists were eating for breakfast. I remember a particularly breathless description of the hero's "runny eggs".

Sex and romance wouldn't make an appearance until two years later, and then in the guise of dreadful NKOTB h/c fic that featured a few fumbling kisses. I wouldn't write my first sex scene until I was almost fourteen, and even then, it was vague and horrible because I was a sheltered child whose only exposure to sex had been the under-cover fumblings of couples on primetime TV. Because I was disabled, it was assumed by everyone, including my mother, that not only would I never have sex, but I would never want sex or experience sexual urges. Thus, I was never given the Talk. The only sex education I received until adulthood and exposure to porn came from a nice but repressed Christian-school biology professor who told his sniggering charges all about "turgid penises", and the more worldly girls at the local Girls' Club. It wasn't until I saw my first porno at sixteen that I realized sex lasted longer than a minute.

Anyway, that wasn't my original point. My point was the old IBM Selectric. As great as it was, it had its limitations. While it could erase words as long as the correction tape worked, it couldn't move text. Nor could it go back and add lines. If I suddenly decided that one paragraph worked better above another rather than below it, the only remedy I had was to rip out the page, roll in a fresh piece of paper and retype the entire page. Depending on the magnitude of the changes, I had to retype several pages. It was laborious and frustrating. Sometimes I worked on the same pages for weeks just trying to correct all the mistakes and incorporate minor changes in position.

And even if all that were to my liking, there was still the problem of listing text. I could never get the paper to roll into the typewriter evenly, and as a consequence, most of my manuscripts looked as though they'd been banged out on a fishing trawler in the middle of a death roll. It drove me to distraction because I wanted it to look as neat and clean as it did in all the books I read. Plus, I had dreams of being a famous writer someday, and I thought that no one would read my books if they looked like they'd been written on a teeter-totter. I went through ridiculous amounts of paper in my pursuit of perfection, so much that my mother ordered me to start using both sides of the paper. You can imagine how well that went over. Between natural teenage melodrama and the heightened sense of suffocation that comes with being disabled and so reliant on others' better natures, it was The End of the World.

I thought of all this while I was writing last night, listening to music and effortlessly shifting lines within a paragraph and revising bits of dialogue. Changes that once took me hours and sheet after sheet of white paper were effected in mere seconds, freeing me to continue the story, to reveal more of the watercolor in my head. A highlight here, a drag-and-drop there, a backspace down there, and the lines become clearer, the faces more distinct. The picture became truer, more real.

I know that writers wrote long before computers, but if someone ripped the laptop from my hands and said I must find another way to paint the pictures behind my eyes, then I would be lost. I couldn't do it. The energy expended would far exceed the energy regained. I would be utterly silenced, an aphasic who knows the words but loses them on the road to her mouth, voiceless even as the words kept crowding and screaming in my head. Technology lets me present the face I feel beneath my skin and not the twitching, disordered, discombobulated wreck my errant fingers insist that I am. I'm not lovely or even pretty. I might even be ugly and unpopular. But at least my words are not prisoners of my mouth and stupid, slow fingers. At least they no longer cut my throat for want of release. At least they are clear enough to be heard.
My corner of the world is quiet and still, and I find I have very little to say. Rammfen have slipped into a torpor from which I doubt they will emerge until the release date for the Best Of is announced, and CSI:NY fen are quietly awaiting the commencement of season eight. Aside from the customary flouncing and bed-shitting from the DL contingent in the latter, who have eagerly dug their cherished persecution mantles by Armani from the storage closet, there has been precious little excitement.

I'm beginning to suspect that the Rammstein Best Of compilation isn't going to be released in September as fans had hoped. If it were, there would have been some word by now, and surely Amazon, that great benevolent god of e-commerce, would have listed it for pre-order, and I would have pounced on it like a nympho on a three-dicked spider monkey. I'm betting on a mid-October release. Any later than that, and they're going to have a great deal of trouble touring on an album that no one can buy. Yes, it's just a rehash of their older catalogue, and fans will still know the words and still eat it up with a spoon, but the whole purpose of touring is to attract new fans and convince your loyal ones to buy your swag and whatever you're promoting with the tour. If there's no CD on the shelves, then why bother loading up the trucks?

As a fan, I know why they should bother: because I want to see them again, and to see them perform their older songs in their older costumes. I would gladly pay them fistfuls of cash for the opportunity. But from the perspective of the bean counters, why would you mount a tour to promote a product that is not yet available? Maybe they've realized the extent of their worldwide fanbase and further realized that a vast majority of them are rabid diehards who would pay to see them perform Sesame Street jingles on the side of the highway, new release be damned. Maybe their arcane arithmancy has shown that to cover touring costs and earn a tidy profit, they must needs only back up the merchandise trucks to the venue, open the doors, and wait. They might not need a new album in order to mount a profitable tour, but I'd be lying if I said I weren't panting shamelessly for one. I've been waiting for the DVD especially since it was announced, and just between me and Rammstein, it would make a ripping birthday gift.

I'm still grinding away on part XVII of Sprache. Two hundred words here, three hundred there, eight hundred pounded out the day before that. It's not the fluid elegance of one thousand words every day, but it's progress, ugly and herky jerky as it might be, and that's more important. Nothing dooms a story in progress faster than the loss of momentum. I've lost too many excellent fics to its withering predation. Too often, I've opted not to write anything for the day because I couldn't write everything I thought I ought, and then one day of neglect and procrastination became two, and then three, and before I knew it, a week had elapsed with no progress, not even a quick line or two to keep the characters limber and fresh in my mind, and before long, I'd lost the plot entirely, the characters and settings rough and foreign where once they had been smooth and familiar.

I'm determined that Sprache not suffer the same fate. Unlike previous long fics, which have been written without an outline, I have made notes to remind myself of important plot and character details and set malleable goals for where I'd like the characters to be by X chapter. A margin of error of plus one or two is acceptable; plus five, not so much. This has helped keep me on track and limit the number of digressions the story takes. Anyone who reads it can tell you that there are digressions and internal musings aplenty, but there are still far fewer than there might have been had I not drawn a crude map beforehand.

Most importantly, though, I'm maintaining precious momentum by writing something every day, even if it's a page of dialogue, half of which will be rewritten or discarded entirely the next day. I'm keeping the characters vibrant and pliable and the story hot-blooded until I regain the energy and discipline to resume my former habit of a thousand words per day.

It's not ideal, and it's a far cry from my glory days when writing was as natural as drawing breath, but it's what works for me right now, and so I'll take it gladly.
My corner of the world is quiet and still, and I find I have very little to say. Rammfen have slipped into a torpor from which I doubt they will emerge until the release date for the Best Of is announced, and CSI:NY fen are quietly awaiting the commencement of season eight. Aside from the customary flouncing and bed-shitting from the DL contingent in the latter, who have eagerly dug their cherished persecution mantles by Armani from the storage closet, there has been precious little excitement.

I'm beginning to suspect that the Rammstein Best Of compilation isn't going to be released in September as fans had hoped. If it were, there would have been some word by now, and surely Amazon, that great benevolent god of e-commerce, would have listed it for pre-order, and I would have pounced on it like a nympho on a three-dicked spider monkey. I'm betting on a mid-October release. Any later than that, and they're going to have a great deal of trouble touring on an album that no one can buy. Yes, it's just a rehash of their older catalogue, and fans will still know the words and still eat it up with a spoon, but the whole purpose of touring is to attract new fans and convince your loyal ones to buy your swag and whatever you're promoting with the tour. If there's no CD on the shelves, then why bother loading up the trucks?

As a fan, I know why they should bother: because I want to see them again, and to see them perform their older songs in their older costumes. I would gladly pay them fistfuls of cash for the opportunity. But from the perspective of the bean counters, why would you mount a tour to promote a product that is not yet available? Maybe they've realized the extent of their worldwide fanbase and further realized that a vast majority of them are rabid diehards who would pay to see them perform Sesame Street jingles on the side of the highway, new release be damned. Maybe their arcane arithmancy has shown that to cover touring costs and earn a tidy profit, they must needs only back up the merchandise trucks to the venue, open the doors, and wait. They might not need a new album in order to mount a profitable tour, but I'd be lying if I said I weren't panting shamelessly for one. I've been waiting for the DVD especially since it was announced, and just between me and Rammstein, it would make a ripping birthday gift.

I'm still grinding away on part XVII of Sprache. Two hundred words here, three hundred there, eight hundred pounded out the day before that. It's not the fluid elegance of one thousand words every day, but it's progress, ugly and herky jerky as it might be, and that's more important. Nothing dooms a story in progress faster than the loss of momentum. I've lost too many excellent fics to its withering predation. Too often, I've opted not to write anything for the day because I couldn't write everything I thought I ought, and then one day of neglect and procrastination became two, and then three, and before I knew it, a week had elapsed with no progress, not even a quick line or two to keep the characters limber and fresh in my mind, and before long, I'd lost the plot entirely, the characters and settings rough and foreign where once they had been smooth and familiar.

I'm determined that Sprache not suffer the same fate. Unlike previous long fics, which have been written without an outline, I have made notes to remind myself of important plot and character details and set malleable goals for where I'd like the characters to be by X chapter. A margin of error of plus one or two is acceptable; plus five, not so much. This has helped keep me on track and limit the number of digressions the story takes. Anyone who reads it can tell you that there are digressions and internal musings aplenty, but there are still far fewer than there might have been had I not drawn a crude map beforehand.

Most importantly, though, I'm maintaining precious momentum by writing something every day, even if it's a page of dialogue, half of which will be rewritten or discarded entirely the next day. I'm keeping the characters vibrant and pliable and the story hot-blooded until I regain the energy and discipline to resume my former habit of a thousand words per day.

It's not ideal, and it's a far cry from my glory days when writing was as natural as drawing breath, but it's what works for me right now, and so I'll take it gladly.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Aug. 24th, 2011 12:21 am)
I'm paddling determinedly along on Sprache XVI. It's a hard slog, this one. Usually, my chapters are quite clear in my mind at the outset, and I know where the characters need to be by the end of them. I see them in my mind's eye as friezes etched in marble, wherein everyone has a specific role to play or a specific posture to hold. Now, the characters are often sly and obstreperous, and they have the precocious habit of shuffling positions and shifting postures when I'm not looking. Sometimes this is maddening, because as a writer, I cherish the occasional delusion that I am in control of the crazed circus that inhabits my pages, but often, this turns out to be a very fine thing. The characters know how to get there with more grace than I do, and if I'm smart and let them be, they'll get me there in the end.

In the case of this chapter, however, I cannot see the initial frieze clearly. An arm here, a leg there, a fold of clothing or a corner of a table near the bottom, but the cohesive whole eludes me. I cannot coat their feet to move across the stage if I cannot see where they stand. So I'm writing blind, filling in the middle without being able to see the edges, and it's frustrating and frightening and disorienting, like standing in a dark room and having a disembodied voice tell you that's not a lip you're standing on even though you can feel the brittle, traitorous curve of it beneath your bare feet.

"Just take a step," the voice urges, and you're not sure if you're going to find the ground, invisible yet solid beneath your feet, or if you're going to step off the edge of the world and go pinwheeling into nothingness.

But you take the step anyway because there is no choice and never really was, and because it feels good, a grotty, shameless, sordid pleasure, like touching yourself in a deserted elevator when you know those doors could open and reveal you to anyone standing there. Because you secretly like the thought that you could step out and touch nothing but empty space, that you could tumble off the edge of the world and fall forever, fall until you forgot everything but the rush of air over your skin and the euphoria of weightlessness. Sometimes, you take that step just because you can, because some dark, dangerous part of you wants to find out if there's a bottom. And if there is, you want to reach out and touch it, even if what waits there takes your fingers as the price of knowledge. You take the step because it's the ultimate gamble. Most of the time, you lose and end up with blood on your knees and bones poking through your skin. But when you win, oh...

When you win...

When you win, you remember why you keep getting out of bed and opening the door to that dark room, why you keep shuffling to that edge and waiting for that voice to whisper in your ear. When you win, you remember what you were like before the lashes and stones found their mark, who you were when you believed that love was possible even for the fearful, shy, and broken and that the world was mostly fair and forgiving when it wasn't. When you win, you catch the scent of roses on the wind and the heat of the sun on your face, and for a while, you believe that your treacherous, twisted legs will bear you up, that if you close your eyes and spread your arms, you will be able to fly, to feel the wind in your hair like a lover's caress.

When you win, you glimpse the face of God and a place sweeter than this squalid ball of dirt suspended in eternal midnight. When you win, you are beautiful, and you can't hear the voices that tell you you'll die alone in some airless room with too much light and not enough love.

It never lasts. Eventually, the anger and the hurt and the tedium between the pages and paragraphs and periods return. That is the way of it, but that is why you go back to the room day after day and take that step. You know that you'll die in that room, that one day, you'll step off that edge and find a bed of broken glass or a cluster of jagged rocks or pongi sticks arranged like stalagmites. You know that one day you will step off the edge for the last time. You step off anyway, and with a perverse fillip of happiness in the center of your chest, because there's a chance that what you find at the bottom is the hand of a stranger reaching out of the darkness and inviting you to dance.

So I can't see, but I'll write anyway, wait anyway, because sooner or later, a voice will come out of the dark and bid me take that single step.

And I will.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Aug. 24th, 2011 12:15 am)
I'm paddling determinedly along on Sprache XVI. It's a hard slog, this one. Usually, my chapters are quite clear in my mind at the outset, and I know where the characters need to be by the end of them. I see them in my mind's eye as friezes etched in marble, wherein everyone has a specific role to play or a specific posture to hold. Now, the characters are often sly and obstreperous, and they have the precocious habit of shuffling positions and shifting postures when I'm not looking. Sometimes this is maddening, because as a writer, I cherish the occasional delusion that I am in control of the crazed circus that inhabits my pages, but often, this turns out to be a very fine thing. The characters know how to get there with more grace than I do, and if I'm smart and let them be, they'll get me there in the end.

In the case of this chapter, however, I cannot see the initial frieze clearly. An arm here, a leg there, a fold of clothing or a corner of a table near the bottom, but the cohesive whole eludes me. I cannot coat their feet to move across the stage if I cannot see where they stand. So I'm writing blind, filling in the middle without being able to see the edges, and it's frustrating and frightening and disorienting, like standing in a dark room and having a disembodied voice tell you that's not a lip you're standing on even though you can feel the brittle, traitorous curve of it beneath your bare feet.

"Just take a step," the voice urges, and you're not sure if you're going to find the ground, invisible yet solid beneath your feet, or if you're going to step off the edge of the world and go pinwheeling into nothingness.

But you take the step anyway because there is no choice and never really was, and because it feels good, a grotty, shameless, sordid pleasure, like touching yourself in a deserted elevator when you know those doors could open and reveal you to anyone standing there. Because you secretly like the thought that you could step out and touch nothing but empty space, that you could tumble off the edge of the world and fall forever, fall until you forgot everything but the rush of air over your skin and the euphoria of weightlessness. Sometimes, you take that step just because you can, because some dark, dangerous part of you wants to find out if there's a bottom. And if there is, you want to reach out and touch it, even if what waits there takes your fingers as the price of knowledge. You take the step because it's the ultimate gamble. Most of the time, you lose and end up with blood on your knees and bones poking through your skin. But when you win, oh...

When you win...

When you win, you remember why you keep getting out of bed and opening the door to that dark room, why you keep shuffling to that edge and waiting for that voice to whisper in your ear. When you win, you remember what you were like before the lashes and stones found their mark, who you were when you believed that love was possible even for the fearful, shy, and broken and that the world was mostly fair and forgiving when it wasn't. When you win, you catch the scent of roses on the wind and the heat of the sun on your face, and for a while, you believe that your treacherous, twisted legs will bear you up, that if you close your eyes and spread your arms, you will be able to fly, to feel the wind in your hair like a lover's caress.

When you win, you glimpse the face of God and a place sweeter than this squalid ball of dirt suspended in eternal midnight. When you win, you are beautiful, and you can't hear the voices that tell you you'll die alone in some airless room with too much light and not enough love.

It never lasts. Eventually, the anger and the hurt and the tedium between the pages and paragraphs and periods return. That is the way of it, but that is why you go back to the room day after day and take that step. You know that you'll die in that room, that one day, you'll step off that edge and find a bed of broken glass or a cluster of jagged rocks or pongi sticks arranged like stalagmites. You know that one day you will step off the edge for the last time. You step off anyway, and with a perverse fillip of happiness in the center of your chest, because there's a chance that what you find at the bottom is the hand of a stranger reaching out of the darkness and inviting you to dance.

So I can't see, but I'll write anyway, wait anyway, because sooner or later, a voice will come out of the dark and bid me take that single step.

And I will.
.

Profile

laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
laguera25

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags