azurite: dream BIG (dream big)
 I remember a few years ago reading part of Jonah Lehrer’s “Imagine” -- because I tend to devour any sort of book on creativity. I have an entire shelf devoted just to writing books. 

What ended up pissing me off about his book was the notion that in order to be a creative person, you have to be inherently depressed, angry, or some sort of addict (whether it’s drugs, alcohol, or something else). I hate that idea, even if history seems to support it.

I just finished watching a Fuji TV program called “Ghostwriter” on Crunchyroll. It’s only 10 episodes, but it’s easily one of the most dramatic, unpredictable shows I’ve ever watched. That it’s about something I love (writing) made it even more watchable.

I’m not sure how accurate a portrayal it is of the Japanese publishing industry and trends when it comes to writers (for example, there aren’t a lot of works by co-authors, or ghostwriting is considered extremely taboo there), but the suspense kept me binge watching, practically Netflix-style.

Read more... )

azurite: Life is short, talk fast (life is short talk fast)
Every time I go away from Dreamwidth blogging for a while, Dreamwidth goes and gets more awesome. I decided to nix my Premium account because even though I love the site and service, I was using it so rarely I couldn't justify the expense, especially when I've got my own domain and am often trying to post to my various WordPress-powered blogs on sites there.

The problem is, my sites are so new, so thin on content, that I don't have that built-in community.

This gets crossposted to LiveJournal, and why? Well, LJ has been around even longer than Dreamwidth, but LJ also had so so so many issues when Six Apart sold it (even before that, when Brad sold it to Six Apart). I really didn't like a lot of those changes, and I saw a lot of my fellow LJers move over to Dreamwidth. The communities sometimes followed, but not always.

I have a permanent account on LJ, which means it's not supposed to go anywhere, ever. Theoretically, all the interconnected services there are these days should mean that it's EASIER to cross-post and always stay up-to-date, but the real experience of LJ and DW are the Friends List/Reading Page, and these days, if I'm reading anything for a prolonged period of time, it's Facebook. Yes, there are fan communities there too, but it's very much NOT the same.

I never really divided my fandom self from my "real" self-- I'm not afraid to tell people who I am on Facebook or deviantArt or wherever, and I've never particularly cared about "IRL" friends or family finding out about my fandom activities.

"Judge not, lest ye be judged" I guess.

Long-winded entry continues here... )
azurite: (cat and mouse)
I'm finally getting around to working on Indigo Ink, my portfolio website and online resume. I've been tinkering with it in various small ways for a while, but a recent decision to re-watch and actually DO the tutorials in a Lynda.com lesson, "Building an Online Portfolio with WordPress," got me actually working on the project.

The Lynda.com lesson uses an example chef to build the portfolio, making custom post types and taxonomies for recipes, photos, and videos. These post types make sense for a chef, but what about for me? My portfolio has three different types of content: writing (the biggie), graphic design, and website designs.

I made three custom post types to reflect this, but now I'm struggling with the taxonomies. Whereas regular blog posts have categories (hierarchical sorting) and tags (non-hierarchical), what would I use for my three new custom post types?

For the example chef in the Lynda.com lesson, the recipes, photos, and videos all have some common ways of organizing, such as meal type. Then it can be further sub-categorized--hint hint, this would be a hierarchical taxonomy, e.g. a CATEGORY--into things like breakfast, dinner, dessert, and so forth. And even those can be further sub-categorized, into things like meat, vegetable, and so on.

But what about my writing?

Well, I have articles--ones I've written for university publications, and ones I've written for GamingDead.com. I have essays. I have fiction. There might even be further ones. But are these categories? Can I break down the writing custom post type into a category of articles, and then further into specific KINDS of articles? Or would it be better to have something like a "purpose" category, which can span across multiple custom post types? That way, I could say, my reason for writing this article, or designing this website was "school assignment."

I'm trying to find example portfolios that have custom taxonomies that might provide an inspiration as to the architecture or structure of how I should organize my content, but so far, no luck. Any suggestions?
azurite: (fiction - have written)
Dragonfayth, my site for Azureshipping (Seto Kaiba x Anzu Mazaki/Téa Gardner) fanfiction from the Yu-Gi-Oh! fandom, has recently been inundated with spam. I've deleted it all, but as of right now, there's no solution for the problem as a whole.

The people behind the software aren't that numerous, and the package is pretty customized--after all, a fanfiction archive, while something hugely popular, isn't as mainstream as blogs. So it takes a while for updates to go through, patches and mods to be made, etc. And since the software is free, these people all have day jobs that take away more of their time.

I can't blame them, but I've reached the point where I'd rather pay to get a better solution, or use something else.

Since I don't really have the money or budget for hiring someone to make and teach me/maintain such a site for me, I'm stuck trying to find another solution. Finding software ready-made for fanfiction is harder than it sounds. Fanfiction.net and AO3's software is proprietary--not released to the public, not available for free. Same with FicWad, may it rest in peace. And don't even get me started on MediaMiner.org.

Most people who want their fanfiction archives use eFiction. It's been on version 3.5.3 for ages now; the supposed release of 4 hasn't happened yet, and I'm teetering on "lost hope" for it altogether.

Enter: WordPress.

I'm already using it for the new Seventh-Star Network (the main site, seventh-star.net, I'm building a What Doesn't Kill You site for my biggest fanficton project ever, and I've started making subsites for all my other sites for the various fandoms I've been involved in over the years. I've been using WordPress for ages, not just on GamingDead.com, but for sites that I've built for class projects, like Chixflix.

There are plenty of people who post their fics on WordPress.com, but making a fanfiction archive is a bit different.

I've already got a WordPress Multiuser installation setup for all my other sites; it wouldn't be a headache to set up another site with multiple authors (similar to GD) with open registration (still approved based on captcha codes to eliminate spam sign-ups), and utilize everything like making pages for fanfics, using tags for ratings and warnings, categories for...well, categories, and so on and so forth.

It's very, very tempting, but I don't know if I even want to try starting it as an experiment if it's not a good idea.

So, some questions for you:
1 - What does a good fanfiction archive REQUIRE? (For example, the ability to leave reviews)
2 - What separates an okay fanfiction archive from a GREAT one?
3 - If you have experience with WordPress, what do you think its limitations are for posting/sharing fanfiction?
azurite: Part of the "What Doesn't Kill You" series of fanfic icons (wdky (general))
At one of the Borders Going Out of Business sales (*sigh*) I got a book I'd been eyeing before, "The Daily Writer," by Fred White. It's got a lot of daily prompts that should encourage you to write, but what I find interesting about it is that they're not just phrases or interesting facts or pictures or things like that--it's a short "study" on something, like experiences and how they affect your character, or what fantasy and magic do for us as humans.

On August 9, the topic was "The Opening Sentence," and on August 10, I actually cracked open my notebook while riding on the bus to work and started writing. I have a lot of opening sentences from various works--fiction and non, fanfic and original--but because it's my current project that I am Trying To Get Done Already, I focused on "What Doesn't Kill You."

The activity asked readers to write 10 openings for an already "finished" story (which WDKY technically isn't; I haven't written the end of it yet, but the beginning is pretty much set in stone), and 10 for a story that is simply "in the works," or being planned.

I didn't quite get around to that part of the activity yet, but I might shortly.

In the meantime, what the entry on opening sentences, their impact and their purpose, had on me while riding the bus:

Another one rides the bus )
azurite: (sailormoon - pgsm senshi)
I have this nifty tool on my Mac called beaTunes 3 (it's available for Windows, too!) that helps you take better care of your music and make better playlists. If you're missing information (genre, album artist), if information is misspelled, or if it's inconsistent (Utada Hikaru sings in Danish?!), it can fix it for you. It can also provide interesting information about a song, such as its "color" and what key it's in.

The color is supposed to help you organize your songs. For example, red songs tend to go better with other red songs.

This reminded me of how folks make fansoundtracks and fanmixes for fandoms, characters, pairings, and so on. There's a huge mish-mash of music out there that I never would have heard had it not been someone putting it together for the sake of this fandom we have in common!

With that in mind, I propose a challenge for myself and anyone else who wants to try and take it on.

Pick one of the following colors:

Red
Orange
Yellow
Green
Blue
Indigo
Violet
Magenta
Brown
Black

I will pick five songs that fit into that "color," and you will tell me what fandom to write ficlets or drabbles for them in.

So for example, if you say "Red," you might also say "Sailor Moon," and I have to find five songs that I can somehow relate back to "Sailor Moon," and possibly (somehow) explain why that song fits a "red" color. And I shall do it with fic! You can also give me other information to work with, like a character or pairings, a period of time from canon, etc. (Just don't be overly specific, otherwise it'll be like a commissioned fic or something...)

The only rule: A fandom can't be repeated with the same color.

If you do pick a fandom, please pick one that you know that I know...(as in, have watched/read), even if I've never written for it before. Otherwise it might be too challenging! :P

So, here's what we all get out of this:

Me: practice writing again, a sense of excitement
You: a fanfic or five that you've helped create, some suggestions for interesting songs that fit your fandom/character/pairing of choice! It's like a mini-fanmix!
azurite: (sailormoon - usagi sweater)
Sometimes my devotion to canon irritates me. It's a like a mole I can't remove without surgery. In the spirit of my new class in Instructional Design, here are a few facts:

Given a birthday of June 30 for the character of Usagi Tsukino/Serena from Sailor Moon
AND
Given a typical start month for new school in the month of April in Japan (with the exception of university, which starts in September)
AND
Given the need for high school entrance exams that typically take place in February or March (presumably right before the April when high school would start, but I'm not sure...would they be taken the February/March the year before? That would imply that Year 3 junior high students already know what high schools they've gotten into!)

How is it even remotely feasible for Usagi to be age 16 and still in junior high?

I don't think it is.

The Japanese school system generally follows this numbering: 6, 3, 3, 4. There are six years of primary school (elementary grades 1-6), three years of junior high (grades 7-9), three years of high school (grades 10-12), and four years of university.

If Usagi was 14 years old, as she stated in the first season's early episodes, and in the eighth grade, in 1992, that would give her a birth year of 1978. If eighth grade is her second year of junior high, she still has a year left.

Thus:

Age Range/Year Grade Sailor Moon Anime Season Equivalent Only 16 Universe Date Range for Usagi/Serena
12-13 7 (Year 1) N/A; only Code Name: Sailor V manga N/A; only Code Name: Sailor V manga June 1990-June 1991
13-14 8 (Year 2) Season 1/Classic, part 1 of Season 2/Returns Season 1/Classic July 1991-June 1992
14-15 9 (Year 3) part 2 of Season 2/Romance Season 1/Classic, part 1 of Season 2/Returns July 1992-June 1993 (high school entrance exams in Feb/March 1993 for
the O16 universe)
15-16 10 (Year 1/HS) Sailor Moon S, Sailor Moon SuperS part 2 of Season 2/Romance July 1993-June 1994
16-17 11 (Year 2/HS) Sailor Moon Sailor Stars part 2 of Season 2/Romance, Sailor Moon S, Sailor Moon SuperS, Sailor
Moon Sailor Stars
July 1994-June 1995 (high school entrance exams in Feb/Mar 1995 or SuperS
season in the regular SM universe)
17-18 12 (Year 3/HS) N/A N/A July 1995-June 1996


...So, if I've got all this right, even if Usagi is a bit older than her classmates, being born the June before, and for whatever reason, she wasn't a younger student in an OLDER class (e.g. the year before Ami, Makoto, Minako, and Rei at their schools), there's still no way she'd be 16 and still in junior high.

If she's 16, it's past June 30, 1994. If it's past June 30, 1994, but the other girls are still in junior high, then it's not yet February/March of the year they take their high school entrance exams. So how...? Or do I just have to "screw it" and:

a) Make Usagi 15
b) Remind people that the Silver Crystal "reset" time-space, and the year or more that was filled with the Dark Kingdom's activities essentially got "done over"
c) Have Usagi be older because she flunked a grade or had something wrong with her as a child that kept her from going to school on time
d) use a different school system--one that starts in August/September or so, instead of April.
e) Change the title

How do I handle this? I really don't want to change the title, but I don't want it to be a "pointless" title, either. At some point in the story, Usagi's got to be 16, but if she's 16, then the exams would have happened and she (and the other girls) would be in high school! But the high school entrance exams are a huge thing in Japan (where the story DOES take place, even if I do use dub names...or have used them in the past, I'm still undecided on whether I want to use them for the "Only 16" revision), and I don't want to add that kind of stress onto Usagi, or handwave it and make it non-existent.

The only other option I can think of is for Usagi to NOT go to high school, or, if it's possible, to go to high school late. Somehow with all her friends and everyone, I can't see THAT happening either, but I don't see how else to make the timeline work.

I think I've painted myself into a corner. Help!
azurite: (believe in subtext)

I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!




I feel like I should recognize this name. Shame on me for not. Am I missing out?
azurite: (fiction - have written)

I write like
Edgar Allan Poe

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!




I want to see what result I get when I input a chapter of WDKY, but Dreamweaver refuses to open up. *sigh* I really want to get that 8 GB of RAM now...
azurite: (all muses are busy...)
These tend to be fun, even if I should actually be, yanno, writing fic.

Stolen shamelessly from [livejournal.com profile] rose_of_pollux.

To fic or not to fic: that is the question! )
azurite: (bunninated!)
Ripped in its entirety from [livejournal.com profile] dqbunny

Give me a person or 'ship and I will write one sentence of each of the following ten genres for them. The genres are:

1. Angst
2. AU
3. Crack!fic Plot
4. Crossover
5. First Time
6. Fluff
7. Humor
8. Hurt/Comfort
9. Smut
10. UST

Note: I will skip over #9 if the pairing is not appropriate, either due to age or situation, for that category.

Not cool

Mar. 1st, 2010 02:11 pm
azurite: Part of the "What Doesn't Kill You" series of fanfic icons. Original art by Mamono! (wdky15)
From a recent review for WDKY:

Look, you have had this story up for a while now and I have not seen an update. I don't know if maybe your lazy or what but if you don't update soon I'm deleting this story from bookmark. Your just taking way to long to do a simple update, its sad really.  I hope you don't have writers block or something, but even if you do get over it.  If your not going to continue the story please say so, just tell us that the story is discontinued.

Hope you get off your ** and write

from a soon to be lost reader


I don't know why I'm even acknowledging a review with such godawful spelling and grammar, but it's the message that counts: WDKY is not discontinued. I know I take a long time to update, but that's because--horrors! shock!--I have a real life. I've recently graduated from university, am pursuing a second degree, moved away from my home for the last five years, and am now looking for a job.

Also, yeah, I'm a bit uninspired. I think about WDKY and my other fics a lot, but I can't make myself sit down and write. The bug's just not there. I'd rather not write crap when I know that my writing can be great IF I put my mind to it.

WDKY27 is probably 75% done, but I'd rather not further extend what I've already stated is 36 chapters just because what I have done is "good enough" but is not the complete story I want for that chapter. I'm going to write the rest, and I'm going to get it beta'd, and it's going to take as long as it needs.

It sucks if I lose a reader, but honestly? I don't write to cater to their demands. I've never been that kind of a writer, and can't see myself ever becoming one.

If you, dear reader, would like to see what I have of WDKY27 so far, I'd be happy to put it up here and get some suggestions, advice, critiques, motivations, whatever. I'd love to get it done, especially since my self-imposed deadline of finishing the whole damn fic by graduation (May 18, FYI) isn't going to happen.

I'd say that getting a job is more of a priority, considering how broke I am, but I also know that having a job means having LESS time to work on WDKY, so anything I can get done would be a god-send, even if I have to work out of order, work on other fics, or even work in other fandoms to get my muse going again.

But reviews like these? Yeah, they don't help. I get guilty enough from the good reviews that actually are polite and nice and thoughtful, let alone mean ones that accuse me of being lazy or mean.
azurite: (Default)
Bad News: Yesterday I bought The Sims 3 at $20 off MSRP from Target. I opened it up this afternoon with the intent of installing it only to discover...no DVD! I thought at first that maybe that's why they give you the "plumbob" USB drive, but nope: nothing but music, wallpapers, and other such extras on that. I also didn't get the green carabiner as shown on the box.

I wonder if I have to go back to the exact same Target to switch it out? I know I'll have to open the new copy in-store, since I don't want to go home and end up gypped again.... yeesh.

Also, Frustrating News: still no solution on getting my bookmarks OFF my Android myTouch 3G phone. All kinds of ways to get my bazillions of computer bookmarks ON THERE, but that's not the point. I don't care about that. I want my bookmarks OFF, and I can't even do it when I plug in my phone to my laptop, because of all the data recognized when I mount it, none of it seems to be "bookmarks." Maybe it's hidden, or under a weird name or strange file type...any suggestions? My Google-fu has failed me in this regard. It's no good if I have to get another phone browser, unless it can IMPORT the bookmarks from the default phone browser and then allow me to export them elsewhere. There are bookmark apps, but none I've seen with export. Does this mean I just have to wait for Android 2.0 or a Bookmark Sync feature from Google? *le sigh*

Good News: I did finally get a gel skin, a wrist strap, and a new protective screen. I still intend on switching out my ZAGG screen that got fuzz-covered for a new one, but maybe AFTER I've gotten more settled here. Hopefully this means the back of my phone won't keep coming off and letting the battery pop out.

More Frustrating News: Still no solution as of yet for how to edit my custom Layer Style on LiveJournal that I use for getting an RSS feed of my Friends' Page, even the authenticated entries. NetNewsWire is the only RSS reader I know that lets me log in and stay logged in, and while it's been working mysteriously good for the past few weeks, it's annoying trying to decipher entry subject lines among HTML. Other RSS readers convert it to actual links; I don't care either way. I posted to [profile] everything_lj, but no response yet. :( I'd try figuring it out myself, except I don't want to break the layer altogether, especially not when it's actually working!

Good News: I started reading a new Egyptian historical fiction, Michelle Moran's "The Heretic Queen." So far, so good. I'm actually getting somewhat inspired for CO7, which is better than nothing. I'm starting to develop the opinion that to write something--anything--is better than to write nothing at all and be stuck in this rut of "have to write in order!" At least if I have some scenes down, I can work with a beta or someone to fill in the blanks.

Eh News: I've got a few ideas for some GD articles, but they're comparable to the form of clouds: light and wispy. I'll need time to get them solidified, and in the meantime, there's homework!

Oh! News: Turns out my DeVry professor was right about the whole Photoshop slice badge thing in my last quiz. It was a trick question; the slice badges CAN display whether or not a slice is linked, but only in the optimization process, not with normal slices (although the question probably should have specified that, using "normal slices" instead of just "slices" in general), and rollover effect badges aren't seen since ImageReady went the way of the dodo. So...yeah, layer-based. Whoop-de-doo, it's only 2 points. I'm still getting an A. And it feels good to at least have clarified and asked, because otherwise I would still be confused and a little angry.
azurite: (smallville - lois: you got pwned!)
A few days ago I had a dream that I was relocating a bunch of gold chains (like the thin kinds used for necklaces) from one box to another. They were very shiny but had no pendants on them, and they were pretty tangled up. I looked up the meanings of "gold," "necklace," and "chains," but the meanings were all so mixed I don't know what to make of the dream as a whole.

Also, very much into Smallville now. Very bad, since I should be thinking of WDKY and writing the rest of that, but instead I'm reading lots of Smallville fic (well, what little "good stuff" I can find, and putting up with a lot of mediocre stuff to pass the time while finding "good" things) in-between homework assignments, NSLS stuff, and being sick.

Yeah, I'm sick. Grandpa says I have the flu, but I have yet to get a fever: just a horrible phlegmy cough, lots of body aches, and many, many headaches. It sucks, to put it mildly, especially since flu shots are impossible to find here, regular OR H1N1. Needless to say, I hope I just have the regular flu, if one at all. I've been sleeping it off, mostly, and I do feel better now than I did earlier, but the aches are still present and they make me want to just curl up in bed.

Being sick means that I feel like I'm not getting anything done, even if I should just acknowledge: I really am. I just have MORE to do. Like, I still have DeVry Web Design class homework to finish up (zip and upload, really), stories for my Senior Narrative Seminar to read/write, and 1919 and Johnny Got His Gun to read. Gaah.
azurite: Part of the "What Doesn't Kill You" series of fanfic icons (wdky (general))
If I've got a story -scenes, moments, whatever- in my head, should I just get it out of my head by writing it, instead of writing outlines of the scene in a file and storing it away until later?

It bothers me that I keep thinking of these other stories, other ideas, other universes other than WDKY, because I REALLY want to get WDKY done. But whenever I think of it and its characters, I get off-topic and go to this other story (you can probably tell by now that the characters are the same, but the story is different).

Maybe I should start becoming the sort who writes fics and posts them when they're done, instead of being this insane WIPer? I wonder if that'd help keep the hair in (on?) my head.
azurite: (twilight - literary syphilis)
So I was reading [livejournal.com profile] fanthropology when I stumbled across this little gem comparing the "Twilight" series to the "Harry Potter" series. In there is the exact reason why I like HP (and JKR) more than "Twilight" and SMeyer:

Twilight fans can criticize Potter for the plethora of deaths, but I'd rather have sadness that makes you grow and develop and completes a story than to completely stagnate the story so that nothing bad happens to the characters. SM could have given Edward and Bella and even Jacob a happy ending without resorting to the ridiculous.

And also, something that got me thinking about "style," and why certain books or authors with their particular style of writing, are "addictive" in nature, like you can't stop reading/can't put the book down:

Small details, minute details from the first few books became vitally important in the last several.

I like doing that with my own writing. I try and think of my stories as spiderwebs, where I'll drop a detail here, a detail there, and you won't know if it's important or not until later-- maybe not even until the next story. But I wouldn't include it if it WASN'T important, because that's a personal policy of mine. Why include extraneous stuff anyway, when it can just distract or detract from the overarching story?

Problem is, because I tend to write longer stuff, when I try and limit myself to one-shots or fluffy pieces (these days), it's difficult-- I can't make a complex "spiderweb" story with a one-shot! It's probably why I'm having such issues with ILB's fic-- the idea's all there, but when I try and translate the idea into prose, I don't know how to put it.

With WDKY26, it's similar, but not the same: see, I have the idea completely mapped out, I even have plenty of scenes written or at least vividly imagined, but I tend to think of scenes for the WDKY series out-of-order, and when I have to write in one of those scenes where the other scenes (that come before and after the scene in question) are already done, I worry about "Is the style going to be the same?" and "Is it going to read out of place?" It's not so much a matter of the scene not really being important, or me not knowing what details to drop-- often it's a choice between a lot and a little, not all or nothing. So I wonder if I should drop Detail A or Detail B here, or maybe both? How to do it? And then I get to thinking "WHY is Detail A or Detail B so important anyway? Is it worth including here when it won't get explored fully until # chapters later?"

Back to that article, I'm shocked by how many people misspelled "Stephenie Meyer" or various other elements of the "Twilight" series, e.g. "Cullen's" when they're talking about the whole family, and not a particular character's possession of something. I wonder if bad fiction breeds bad spelling?

That said, I think all the people that believe that "Twilight" is a richer/more complex plot than the "Harry Potter" series are living under a rock. Yes, the "Harry Potter" books are long, and there are many more of them than "Twilight" books, but it's the HP books that are still being discussed and examined; it's the HP books that have little details that spring up to great importance later on in the stories.

Not so with "Twilight," where Meyer takes the details she establishes in the first book and throws it away in the second or third or fourth one. And the Volturi are evil, not good, not different. They EAT CROWDS OF TOURISTS. They see themselves as the god-overseers of all vampires! WTF!? People are trying to say Voldemort is a wooden, stereotypical villain character because he kills and likes to kill, but how is that any different from the Volturi? Besides, at least Voldemort had follow-through; the Volturi in "Twilight" were like neutered vampires-- all this build-up of them being so scary and fearsome, but in the end, Bella just stood there and stared them down and THAT WAS IT. The decision to do that rather than having an epic fight only did two things: it made the Volturi look pathetic, and it made Bella even more of a Sue.

It goes on. )

But I'm still questing to find out what my "style" is. I think you can only "learn" to write (well) by reading a lot, and so I am. I'm examining a lot of what I've read and trying to figure out what I liked and why. Fiction, non-fiction, fanfiction... anything goes.

I like JKR's writing because she makes every detail vital. Even heroes aren't perfect and don't try to pass themselves off as such, not even to their mentors, classmates, friends, etc. In the end, you have to know what really matters most: those people you cherish. You only have one life to live, and it's worth living to the fullest because of that.

I'd like to think that in my writing, my heroes and heroines have similar attitudes and personalities in that they come across as human and therefore relatable. Not just "I want to be him/her! OMG!" Even in series with a fantasy-twist, I've always liked exploring the more "human" element: the drama and the angst, the romance and the comedy that come as part of everyday life, the life without the magic.

Life is a great story just waiting to be told, isn't it?

 Cleric Preston by Klaus Badelt from Equilibrium (Rating: 0)
azurite: (Default)
I'm typing this on steph's iPhone. So not much to say now except I want one! Not on the AT&T network though. I'd rather wait for that partnership to end if it ever does. ILB, I'm still working on your fic. I'll try and get it (and Scrib's prologue to AoA, too) by new year's eve. It's all planned out but I don't like the prose I wrote so far. What is my "style" I wonder?
azurite: (all muses are busy...)
Spam-posting today, sorry. Trying to force myself to study, and it's not that easy to do.

Give a gift; tell a story. - [livejournal.com profile] vilify's got several prompts to choose from; all you have to do is comment (you can comment anonymously, and IP logging is off-- you don't even need to be a LiveJournal user to do this!). Write at least one paragraph of non-fiction text relating to the prompt. Share your story.

(This is kind of a meme, but kind of not. It's just something that encourages participation, so if you like memes, consider yourself tagged.)

[livejournal.com profile] guardian_kysra, I wonder if we could do something like this for a holiday fic exchange? Obviously, in our case, it would be fandom, not non-fiction, but we wouldn't specify anything but a word or a phrase, and let anyone pick/choose from them and respond to them. We could ask people who were going to participate to give us 3-5 prompts, so that everyone would stand a chance of getting at least one story for "their" prompt.

(Obviously, the problem with this concept is that without specifying a fandom, some prompts might inspire fics for a fandom that the prompt-creator has no part in. So maybe we could have a master list of "allowed" fandoms or something, fics that everyone might enjoy?)
azurite: (xmas - hanging pink & green ornaments)
Ah, I miss Usenet.
What a crazy thing to say, huh? But in the search for some Sailor Moon images, for some reason, the first thing that popped in my head was NOT to do a Google Image search or go to The Oracle or whatnot, but to see if alt.binaries.sailor-moon was still around (assuming I got that name right).

Alas, the vast majority of ISPs these days have discontinued their NNTP/Usenet access service (probably because they never made much of an effort to advertise that it even existed, meaning new users didn't even KNOW about it), and that includes the ones in use (or formerly used) by my grandparents and Mom/Gary. For many alt.fan or rec. groups, access is still available for free from places like Google Groups, but it's not quite the same... plus, there's still the overwhelming problem of SPAM, and in Google Groups' web-based interface, there's diddly-squat you can do about it.

The only other alternative --for general Usenet access to binary groups AND for NNTP access in news programs (Apple Mail doesn't even support NNTP, which had me temporarily thinking I might switch back to Thunderbird... then I wised up and realized that an extra piece of software isn't ALWAYS a pain in the ass, especially with my lack of an NNTP server in the first place)-- is to buy it. Giganews seems to be the one of choice, but I don't have the dough to shell out for Usenet access when it's something that's more of a whim to me.

But I do miss those good ol' days when I could hop on Usenet and find image floods of fanart, or character-specific art, or art themed around a certain event/holiday. It'd be pretty helpful for me now, in my search for Sailor Moon Christmas images. (I know, I know, The Oracle has a whole gallery devoted to it, but it's only 58 images! I *know* there's more than that out there!)

Speaking of SM, I did sign up to be a Sekkret Stalker on Aria's Ink this year. Participation seems fairly low so far for this point in December, but there are still FOUR MORE DAYS TO SIGN UP! Why not?

Plus, [livejournal.com profile] guardian_kysra and I want to do a holiday challenge or something this year, so why not throw your hat in and volunteer too? We'll probably do something that covers different fandoms-- maybe a Secret Santa or Fic Exchange where all you do is specify a list of fandoms you'll write for, genres/ratings/pairings/warnings you prefer, and up to 3 "plot prompts." How does that sound?

Also, I got an invite from someone named Loki to join [livejournal.com profile] the_circlet and its sub-communities, [livejournal.com profile] silver_circle and [livejournal.com profile] gold_circle, along with a few related comms. It all sounds/looks fairly interesting, but I think I still need a bit more clarification on exactly what is DONE there. [livejournal.com profile] baine, care to comment? I'm confused!

Also, I haven't written SM fic in AGES and going back to Aria's Ink (Loki also reviewed "24" there, which is probably one of my better SM fics to date) and checking out these comms... it's all made me very nostalgic! Hey, maybe we can revive the [livejournal.com profile] smrff in time for the holidays!? That'd be so awesome.

I'm only up now because (as usual) my sleeping schedule's off. I went downtown tod-- er, yesterday to get a December Fast Pass and eat some delicious Tex-Mex. I got "approached" by a very enthusiastic girl from Greenpeace who kept me from getting to Chevy's that much sooner. I'm all for saving the planet, so:

DO NOT BUY KIMBERLY-CLARK PRODUCTS. These are the makers of Kleenex, Cottonelle, Scott tissue, and many other products. Why? Because they're clear-cutting (meaning cutting without care to the re-growth of future trees) thousands of ancient Canadian trees. The CEO has reportedly even said that his consumers "don't care about environmental issues." Show that pig he's wrong! Also, find out if your job/school has a contract with KC. Then get them to CANCEL it. There are more environmentally-friendly companies out there.

Accion Y Reaccion )
azurite: (twilight - literary syphilis)
Not that I will, but IF I DID, any "Twilight" series fics I write would have the following plots (or answer the following questions):

* Why Bella is in love with Edward

* Bella acts more like a normal teenager: when she decides she might like Edward (note: not "irrevocably in love with" yet), she opts to try some very teenage ways of "getting his attention" as well as testing his limits around her (once she discovers the truth about him, but maybe before she confronts him about it/he tells her), including trying to seduce him.
- Does Bella even know she's doing it? Ohhh yes, especially when (by accident -er, happy chance- or some actual THOUGHT), she discovers he's stalking her in her bedroom at night.
- She also teases, which may end up answering the question "How do vampires get hard-ons?" My ideas of tease are not like fandom's, I would think, but then again, venturing too far into that fandom is like walking into the Jaws of Death, so....

* Bella had dreams of a career once... and watching [cable] TV reminds her of them. What does Bella consider being -despite being a vampire, or before, or...? (This one would obviously depend on which book/movie it took place in or between.) Bella as a CSI? A chef? A therapist? (If Carlisle can be a doctor, why couldn't Bella feasibly find a job? Or would her youthful appearance be her downfall in getting one and keeping one -at least, a live, in-person job where she DIDN'T travel, MIGHT be out in daylight, etc.?)

Fic, in this case, is not to show what wasn't seen in canon, nor does it exist to take some fascinating characters and put them in another universe (whether that's another canon or another universe altogether). It's to answer questions or explore characters in ways that SHOULD have been done in canon.

Twilight, thematic messages, and Meyer's injections of LDS lore into the books )

You know what would be awesome? If there was a site (or if FFnet did it) where people had their fics and you could add your real-time commentary as an overlay-- a'la Nico Nico video.

Because seriously, the commentary I'd be leaving on the FFnet section of "Twilight"? So much more worth my time than an actual well-thought out REVIEW in that fandom. I'd get lambasted if I even tried to give what I consider true concrit (which, in my mind, is not a synonym for "endless praise,") and I know it's not worth the effort. But quick-play commentary with full anonymity? I'd tap that. Somebody, make it happen!
Such an idea might come back to bite me in the ass, but I think overall it would help people improve and give those readers who never review a chance to say just WHY they don't usually bother, whether or not they've got more than the usual "LOL UPDATE PLZ" one-liners.
azurite: (azureshipping - love to hate)
So, I haven't updated in what seems like ages (that HSM post doesn't count, because I'd written that more than a week ago and just saved it, hoping for a time when I COULD post it) because The Powers That Be were conspiring against me or something, and Murphy's law was in full effect-- all that jazz. So I decided to start doing something about it.

Keyboard Mayhem! )

Michael Moore is hard to find )

A little lost memory card and some movies )

Noconnectlink )

An HTC Dream G1 deferred )

MELTING, MELTING! and other problems )

Fics that like to f*ck with your brain )

And that, as they say, is that. For now, anyway.
azurite: (all muses are busy...)
Okay, I want to take a ruler and thwap all the people that write HSM fics. I really do. I'm too old to be doing this. I'm too old to be in this fandom. I like it, but when I try to "get into it," the badfic just makes me gag. LITERALLY.

HOW TO WRITE A HALFWAY DECENT HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL FIC (according to Azurite) )
azurite: Part of the "What Doesn't Kill You" series of fanfic icons (wdky (general))
So, it's officially November 1st, and an awful lot of people on this FL know what that means. Once again, any plans I may have had for participating in NaNoWriMo (and me, here in the hometown of NaNo, likely surrounded by places to write and fellow writers!) are sort of... well, up in the air. See, I have no ideas for any full-length novel, and any of my half-baked ideas from years past are still just that: half-baked.

I'd like to do NaNo on my own terms, because hell, it's not like I'd be thinking of submitting a manuscript after NaNo's done.

As I delivered my ballot to the mailbox this afternoon, I thought, "What if I made it my goal to finish WDKY?" Shit, some single chapters of WDKY have been more than 50,000 words. (SRSLY: chapter 7 in both its parts is 46,745 words; chapter 8 is 32,393, and chapter 10 is 50,180! Of course, some of those words are author's notes, but not much of them!) So even if it was just ONE more chapter, it'd be an accomplishment, because it would mean I was updating more than once a year, which has become my pathetically small growth rate for WDKY.

It'd be funny if archives had "growth rates" the way Enthusiast 3 does for fanlistings. I would see something like "Growth rate: 0.005 chapters per day" (actually it'd be less; a chapter a year is a growth rate of 0.0027397, if my calculations are correct) and feel like pond algae. Maybe that's what I need. Some PHP calculator embedded into Dragonfayth so I can hate myself for not updating, and use it as motivation to update before that growth rate slips into the infinitesimally small zone.

Well, here's the thing. First, I'd need to finish WDKY26, because I've had the bulk of that done for some time. You can't work on something that's already partially started, it's against the rules of NaNo! I'd actually be bending that rule a bit, to be working on 10 remaining chapters but not a whole new story.

I think writing a whole new story would doom me, especially with all the other multi-chapter fic ideas in my head. And all the other WIPs, like TJOY.

To make matters worse, rather than working on WDKY26 these past few days, to make "finishing WDKY within NaNo" an even remote possibility, I've been revising "Only 16." Yeah, that ancient fic for a fandom that I'm not even that active in anymore? One of my first fics, and my first multi-chapter fic? Yeah, that one.

THAT ONE.

On the bright side, it is coming along, and it's kind of refreshing to revise that fic, because to be honest, so much of it sucked. It's one thing to leave it up as testament to how far I've come as a writer, or as a fan, or whatever, but I see nothing wrong with constant revisions. If people liked it 10 years ago, they might like it even more now, now that I bother with single point-of-view, forego the plot devices and dues ex machina, and that I expand on stuff to keep it both realistic and in-character.

What to do, what to do? I think I'm going to finish the revisions to "Only 16," chapter 1, publicize that a bit, and GET MY ASS BACK ON WDKY26. Must, must, must. And then see if I can miraculously pull any more chapters of WDKY out. Month or no, it'd be freakin' fantastic not to have another year between updates. I feel like scum for letting that happen with WDKY. Why is it that the multi-chapter fics that I fall in love with and think I plan to the umpteenth detail end up doing that to me? (Only 16 did too, for the record. And the revisions very well might, considering I plan on revising the last part in a major way, but I don't know what "way" that is just yet.)

And of course, school work. Can't neglect that. Have classes to register for in... 23 days, too. Geh. So many deadlines, so little time.
azurite: (cat and mouse)
I should also be doing school work (studying, writing my essay, working on my geology assignment), but I can't. This is weird, because it's different from the very distinct lack of motivation I've had before (like in junior year of high school). I want to do the work, but the inspiration, the idea isn't there.

So in the meantime, I'm perusing CSI: NY fics, and I'm noticing there seem to be a great deal of writers from the UK. I can tell because I'm seeing fics chock full of
kerb
tyre
litre
meter
best mate
torch
and stuff like that. I'm usually okay with that sort of thing, because I know what they all mean, but it's still jarring to see it. Why is it that there are Britpickers who'll come down on anyone writing in, say, the "Harry Potter" universe and not using proper British terms, but Americans don't do the same for decidedly American fandoms like CSI?

Would it make us seem stupid to complain?

Thing is, the particular fic I'm reading is from Stella's point-of-view, so I walk into it thinking "this is a story that I'm reading as if Stella herself were talking to me, or if she'd emailed me a transcript that she'd typed out of her week." So I don't expect Stella, an American woman, to spell "curb" as "kerb," or "tire" with a y. It just comes across as awkward.

I mean, it's not as if any of these words are particularly mysterious in their "American" equivalent. You've got
curb
tire
liter (gallon if it's gas, and other varying amounts depending on what else might be discussed, e.g. medicine, blood)
yards/feet
best friend
flashlight

*sigh* My brain's still all muddled and not much is helping. This sucks.
azurite: (blue flower)
Another day and I'm here to tell the tale. Well, not a "tale," but at least I'd be here to tell it if there were one. At least I managed to get some sleep last night. The day before that, when I took that sleeping pill (at 7am), I ended up sleeping nearly 12 hours. That was only HALF a sleeping pill, mind you-- actually, there was more painkiller in the pill than there was sleeping aid! But when I took the other half last night, I slept and woke up within a decent amount of hours.

There were a few times when I heard noises and woke up, but generally everything's been the same as the way it was before all this mess happened. Life's moving on, I need to as well.

Last night was the first time I had a weird dream. Normally the sleeping pills mean no dreams for me, but I had a dream that CSUN was on a train (as in, the school itself was a train... or was on wheels, or something like that) and for some reason, there was a hallway from the library that had two laundry machines. They were right up against some long windows, but the windows were kind of dirty and hard to see out of. There was only one washer and one dryer-- nothing fancy, just the plain ol' white ones you see everywhere. I dreamed I put some laundry in and then went to get my basket, but got lost-- clearly it wasn't just the CSUN's main library on wheels, it was some kind of dream labyrinth. I started to feel sick and went to find the bathroom, and even though I thought I did, when I looked around, I was in a regular train seat, complete with people across the aisle in front of me! I was petrified! I had to get up and find my laundry machine! But then I woke up.

...Very strange. No doubt somehow related to last night's horrific news that two trains collided not too far from my house-- a Metrolink train and a freight train. Already 18 people are dead, over 100 are injured, some in critical condition, and the news reports are saying it's because the Metrolink engineer failed to see the red light on the track. Bzuh? Like my mom suggested when she called this morning, aren't there supposed to be back-up procedures for that sort of situation?

Anyway, since I slept almost all day yesterday, today I'm hoping to get some more card-replacement done. I'm trying to get my life back on track and normal.

If there's any good thing that's come out of this, it's that now I can channel the feeling of "uselessness," and "powerless" into WDKY26. It's bizarrely good timing, considering the chapter content. You know me, I always try inject a bit of emotional realism into my fics, and now WDKY26's going to get it.

Dad called the locksmith that charged us $1500, and they sent a digital invoice so we could clearly see what was so expensive-- each lock was $250. I certainly don't remember anyone (either the estimate agent or the actual locksmith) telling us it would cost that much, and I'm pretty sure if someone had told Grandpa that, I would have heard him yell "WHAT!?" instead of it just happening and us finding out after the fact (and Grandpa "blaming" it on me, as if I asked for the most expensive lock). Hopefully we can either get it covered by the homeowner's insurance or the company can negotiate a lower price, considering the circumstances. Even with all this extra brou-ha-ha, I don't necessarily feel safe in my own home.

I'm hungry.
azurite: (azureshipping - fantastic)
Inspiration is a funny thing. Some people claim to have muses, others don't. Some people "believe" in writer's (or artist's, or whatever) block, other people don't.

In trying to write WDKY26 over the past almost-year (11/7/07, according to the publication date on FFnet), I've tried a number of things to get my tail on the road and writing again. Certain things have worked, other things haven't. I'm sure it's different for everyone, whether they're writing fic, painting portraits, shooting photos, or something else. What works once may not work again, and what doesn't work the first time might work the 367th time, but none of the times in between.

I've actually been managing to write more of WDKY26 in the past few days, but I'm far from satisfied with it. I definitely want some betas to look it over and help me "trim the fat," so to speak. But fat (excess, weird writing) is better than nothing, or better than simple notes from my planner file. At least there's prose, even if it's pointless, non-descriptive prose! A step in the right direction, I think. And what's gotten me here? I wonder if I could make a ranking chart of what's worked well, what's worked only a little bit, and what hasn't worked at all.

I've tried it all:
* Listening to music - works some of the time. It depends on the music. See, I've got a playlist of music for WDKY. A good chunk of it is made up of songs that have directly appeared in the fic, e.g. "Why Can't I?" by Liz Phair, "All The Things She Said" by t.A.T.u, and so on. Those are all chapters in the past, and any music I have for other chapters tends to be UPCOMING chapters-- not the one I'm working on. It's a pain in the neck to be stuck working on one particular scene, but my choice of background music has me thinking of scenes in the not-too-distant-but-still-not-part-of-this-chapter's-future. Every now and again, if I pick a particular artist or just listen to my whole library on shuffle, I'll get lucky and come up with a scene or prose for my current scene that fits with the music. It doesn't always have to be something lyrical, which is why I might try listening to instrumental stuff or other BGMs, like, oh Yu-Gi-Oh!? I mean geez, what better to listen to, really.... But like I said, it only works some of the time.

* Working on some other fic project - Rarely works. If I'm working on another YGO fic, I'll see my own author's notes about how WDKY is my major project, how I want to finish that first, etc. I'll see all the fics I've started when WDKY got stuck, and how ALL OF THEM ARE STILL STUCK. It's the same even if it's a brand-new idea that's never made it to prose form, a challenge (see [livejournal.com profile] guardian_kysra's super-belated birthday fic which I can't seem to finagle ANY ideas for!!! ARGH!!), or something else. The guilt will creep up on me and then attack! To be honest, I haven't tried to do much in other fandoms, mainly because my mind just sort of stares at the idea(s) and goes "No comprende." I've been in the Yu-Gi-Oh! fandom since 2003 and have found it very hard to get out of it completely. I don't think I WANT to get out of it completely until at least WDKY is done, let alone the other 2 stories in the saga which I have planners for, but nothing more.

However, it's possible that working on future chapters of the same story/saga might help. Sure, it doesn't get "what I need to get done" done, but it's something. It might help the muse (or whatever) just to get the prose out, even if I end up scrapping it all later (like I did when I was working on Prophecy Girl and TJOY, two other fics that came along the same time as WDKY). I may have mentioned in the past, I already wrote the final scene for WDKY in Ch. 36 AGES ago. Mainly because THAT ONE SCENE was stuck in my head and wouldn't get out until it's written. Lately, it hasn't been one scene, but more like "acts," or snippets of a single scene. Sometimes it's only a sentence to start off, and I have to try and go from there. I don't like writing out of order, because I feel I end up losing my focus, but maybe if I look at it like "organizing my mind," and sorting things away to where they're supposed to be, it can bring the ideas I truly want forward, so I can get working on them.

* Working on some other project - Kinda-sorta works. I recently switched a lot to working on my shrine for RPGClassics, on Star Ocean 3: Till The End of Time. I got a great high out of getting so much done for the thing, but then when I stopped (because it is tedious, is a different kind of work than web design, graphic design, and fic writing), I'd be like "Yeah, but it's still not finished, it's another huge project I've started, and I'm STILL no closer to getting any ideas for WDKY26!" So the feeling of accomplishment dwindled pretty quickly. Plus, actually playing the game might only serve to distract me temporarily, because I'd start getting ideas for that fandom, for more things to do for the shrine, etc. etc. And I'd get frustrated because I couldn't accomplish certain things in THAT game, either (e.g. getting all 100% on Sphere 211's maps, because I'm only 4% away but I can't find where else on the first 5 levels that I could have missed ARGH!!!)

* Looking at related fic ideas/planners, reading previously posted-chapters of the same fic - This seems to have worked the best. I would see something that reminded me of a fic or fic idea, and I'd want to see what I'd written for it. So I'd bring up the file, read the fic or the planner or whatever, and I'd start to think "Hey, this kind of writing style I had back then..." or something like that, and I could switch easily into WDKY26 and start working on it. I might not be satisfied with it, but it's something. But what helped best of all was reading previous chapters. For example, I needed Seto to recall something that had happened in the previous chapter. In order to do that, I needed to read the previous chapter and find an appropriate line. And THAT really helped, because I knew exactly where I was in the continuity of the story, everything that had brought the characters to the point(s) they were at, and what sort of "style" I'd been writing with in the past chapter. I might just re-read the whole fic to see where that gets me.

* Reading other fics in the same vein (e.g fandom, pairing, genre) - Works well, but not spectacularly. I re-read [livejournal.com profile] mmagnet_ff's "The Night Before," because apparently I missed an update to it late in August, and with a fic involving so many flashbacks, I didn't want to forget "when" I was in the story, so I re-read it from the start. It's still deliciously tantalizing, and, like any good fic, had me hypothesizing about what might happen next. Sure, my idea is crazy and bizarre, but it was fun. Dissecting my idea (whether in the context of the fic or not) was fun, and got me brainstorming about WDKY a bit. This was also true of [livejournal.com profile] rose_of_pollux's "Folgen Sie Ihrem Traum," one of the few mystery-genre Seto x Anzu fics in the fandom. I'm definitely coming up with hypotheses for that fic too, but because it's so different a genre and the characterization works differently than my own in WDKY, it doesn't really help me with WDKY so much to read it. But at least it keeps me "in the fandom, in the pairing," seeing how different authors interpret the same characters. It helps to be able to step back from a fic or a chapter after you've read it to "dissect it," so to speak, the way you might a piece of literature for class. I can ask myself "Why did the author choose to phrase it that way?" or "What impact has the chosen perspective and tense choice had on the story flow?" Thinking about a fic critically can help me analyze my own writing in that same manner. I tend to write as the ideas flow-- not write for my audience, not write so that people will "analyze" WDKY in a particular manner, but still-- I have a point, I have a purpose, I have a story to tell. So I tell it, as best I can, and if I re-read it (or other stories), and it leads me to think "Nah, it can be better," at least I have an idea of where to go next.

* Read other books, manga, etc. - Hardly works at all, but it's fun! I read all kinds of novels, from mystery and suspense-thriller to Victorian England romance novels straight from my Baba's "trashy" collection. *grin* Sometimes you can read a story and think "Oh, this would be perfect in a fic verse, starring Character A and Character B!" But I've learned to stop doing that, because it's rarely original. The temptation is there to more or less inject two characters from one fandom into another fandom-- you lose sight of characterization, which is the only thing that makes those characters who they are, recognizable, interesting, and fun! What's the point of putting Seto Kaiba into Anakin Skywalker's shoes and Anzu Mazaki's into Padme Amidala's when everyone KNOWS Anakin and Padme's story, and there's nothing particularly interesting about it that applies to or changes Seto and Anzu? So I wouldn't do it with the intent of getting inspired to work on WDKY or any other already-started fic. But it's a nice break from a fic that seems to bash the insides of my brain into jelly.

What do you do to try and "inspire" yourself? If you've ever been "blocked," how did you get out of it?
azurite: (all muses are busy...)
Today was a pretty good day at work, considering it was the 4th, and I expected it to be way busier. But maybe everyone was over at Disneyland, or out seeing violent action films. (BTW, I saw "Wall-E" and loved it; haven't seen "Hancock," but want to, and of course will be getting my advance tickets for the earliest possible showing of "The Dark Knight" over at Downtown Disney as soon as I can find the time to swing by there... maybe tomorrow afternoon, before I work my first shift Southside.) I got my special Cast Exclusive 4th of July 2008 pin, and quite honestly Pin Trading can be a very expensive, addicting habit. Just getting the free cast ones is tempting me to get a lanyard, maybe eventually get of the few pretty ones I like, such as the rare Mulan ones, some of the Hidden Mickey Tink ones, etc... but no! I'm broke and can't afford it! BAD! BAD!

What I can afford to do is set aside an hour of my time -maybe not every night, but perhaps every night, and at least once a week- for what I'll call the "Ficcing Hour." I'm sick of the fact that I have so many ideas and even though I spend a good amount of time on my computer, I don't feel that it's productive time, or time well-spent. Hell, I'm behind on my FL here on LJ, and why? It's not as if I've been swamped with my Disney classes (I haven't started the Harvard track of my choice yet). I'm actually going to start on the aforementioned class (I've selected the Harvard "Creativity" track) now, but of course, stupid Disney/Harvard (I'm assuming it's more Disney than Harvard... at least, I would hope so) only likes IE. Not Safari, not Firefox, JUST IE. -_- Words cannot convey the "headdesk" I am feeling right now. But I want to be ficcing.

More importantly, I want to be getting fics DONE. It's not enough to spend an hour perusing planner files, or waxing nostalgic about old fics (which should be rightly renovated), or even writing review replies. That's not fostering any creativity, and that's not getting any of my fics "done" or "out there." So, I hereby declare that I will spend a MINIMUM of one hour each week for the duration of this summer (as humanly possible) writing fanfiction.

This fanfiction may be:
* Chaptered fanfiction
* Oneshot fanfiction
* Previously-written/completed fanfiction that needs revision (e.g. Only 16)
* Previously-started fanfiction that was not completed (that includes chapters of a story, e.g. WDKY, TJOY, PG, etc. or a rough draft that never made it to "chapter" status)
* Brand-new fanfiction (e.g. from planner files that never made it to rough draft status, challenges, prompts, or similar "on the fly" writing)

This SHALL NOT INCLUDE:
* Creating "apocrypha" like soundtracks, fanart, icons, banners, etc. It has to be writing, it has to be prose (no poetry -as if I'd ever write any- and no screenplays/scripts -see previous statement)
* Writing new or adding to existing planner files
* Time spent researching and/or distracted by other things, e.g. iTunes songs, web pages, instant messages (in fact, during the "Ficcing Hour" I will either be off my instant messenger or have an away message indicating what I'm doing and why I won't respond. You can probably gauge when I'll be back based on the "Away Since:" time that everyone probably has access to)
* Reading emails, including reviews, beta feedback, etc.
* Writing emails or review replies, LiveJournal posts, or begging messages to various people to be my beta (again)

I hereby also declare that, if I begin my hour working on one thing, but find myself "stumped" or otherwise unable to complete the portion of a particular project that I have started on (e.g. the most recent scene I've written in WDKY26), I shall:
a) write a different scene in the same chapter, if it is a chaptered story
b) write a different chapter in the same story, even if that chapter is way far away
c) work on a prequel, sequel, or other prose story that is "related to" the current project, SO LONG AS IT IS FANFICTION, and not any of the aforementioned "apocrypha"
d) work on a brand-new fanfiction, whether it comes from a planner file, ideas list, prompt, challenge community, or elsewhere
e) work on some other fanfiction, including completed work that needs to be revised

Finally, I declare that this "writing" may be done either by hand (old-fashioned paper and pen/pencil) or on a computer, using any appropriate, accessible program (most likely Dreamweaver). It shall NOT be done via instant messenger, LJ, forum/bulletin board, or any other non-text-based "word processing" program, such as a browser, etc.

Signed this day of 5 July, 1:49 A.M.
--Azurite
azurite: (bad grammar. no cookie!)
I just finished reading "Bless Me, Ultima" the other day, and it's often reviewed and celebrated as being one of the best pieces of Chicano literature out there. So of course, the pages are liberally sprinkled with Spanish. Not all of them are translated within context, mind you-- I had to look up the meanings of many words to really understand just what it was some of the characters were saying.

Now, I know there's a difference between published literature and fanfiction, but in terms of writing in general, why is it acceptable to use foreign languages (e.g. that of a character who is speaking or thinking) in literature, but not in fanfiction? Why does the use of Japanese in an anime fanfic (assuming said fic's canon takes place in Japan... maybe Yu-Gi-Oh! or Sailor Moon, for example) make it "Fangirl Japanese?"

I understand practically every language in the world will have a number of words that don't translate perfectly to English. Even if there is a passable English equivalent, that doesn't mean it'll "sound right" in the context of a particular character speaking/thinking, or in a particular situation.

For example, it's always awkward in Sailor Moon fic when you're trying to emphasize how Usagi's English isn't so great. How can you do that where the reader will understand Usagi's struggle, but the words she says still aren't properly constructed?

I was just as guilty as the next "fangirl" of using Japanese back in the day, but I stopped after
a) I learned Japanese
b) I learned more about writing
c) I realized that most Japanese words and expressions have a perfectly good equivalent in English and, at the time, there was no plausible reason NOT to use the English equivalent

I wonder if there might be certain words that are fine to use in the original Japanese, because they don't really translate over as well as people think. I know off the top of my head that miko and kami fit the bill to me-- a "miko" isn't EXACTLY a priestess, and "kami" isn't a god-- not exactly, anyway. Plus, the honorifics don't translate over perfectly: "-san" is not = Mr. or Ms., "-sama" is not = Lord or Lady/Master or Mistress/etc. and many of the others (-dono, -chan, etc.) don't even have anything REMOTELY close to it in English!

So, what's your opinion? When might it be okay to use Japanese --without it being of the "fangirl" variety?
azurite: (textually active)
Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] obabscribbler

How about a brief introduction for yourself?

I go by Azurite (heck, even one of my uncles has been calling me that), but anyone from my early Sailor Moon fandom says knows me as Andi (short for "Andromida"), and I'm not too shy anymore about telling people my real name: Meredith.

Fabulous! And what got you into fanfiction to begin with?

Sailor Moon was my first fandom, and as most people know, there was a huge wait between the the first part of Sailor Moon R and the second, let alone the three remaining seasons (the fifth and final of which still has not been formally licensed and subtitled). So I started to go on the Internet to look for spoilers or something, and I ended up reading this story about a "Sailor Milky Way." I thought it was genuinely a synopsis of episodes to come. I later found out that the image was just a flip-flopped one of Hotaru Tomoe (Saturn) from one of the artbooks that I'd never seen in the States, and Sailor Milky Way was just a fan's invention... hence, my first encounter with fanfiction.

The idea of writing ideas as I saw them, and then sharing them with other fans to see what they thought sounded pretty appealing. I wrote my own horrid first fic, which was my take on just who Haruka and Michiru were (this was back when all I knew of them was what I'd seen on stickers that I collected), joined the SMRFF, learned from some masters, and eventually wrote my own Sailor Moon fics.

From there, it's history.

I see, so what kind of fanfiction do you like to write?

When I first started out, I genuinely thought fanfiction was meant to fill in the holes that canon created. Of course, if you have a canon where things DO finish, and DO go a particular (agreeable?) way, then you can have fun writing about alternative universes or timelines/realities, and all number of "what if" scenarios. Originally, I wrote WAFF --warm and fuzzy feeling fanfiction. I couldn't see myself ever writing something angsty or full of dramatic tension. Nowadays, that (and the blend known as TAFF, or Twisted and Fuzzy Feeling) is more my style, and I aim for drama and realism (in terms of characterization or development) in all that I write, regardless of fandom.

I can't really do oneshots or drabbles and the like-- I babble A LOT, and when I get an idea, it tends to be the multi-chapter type. Even right now, with a 36-chapter fic in the works, I have plans for 2 sequels of equal or near-equal length, plus a myriad of other multi-chapter fic ideas, ideas for other fandoms, revisions...

Do you find writing easy? Hard? What are the most difficult aspects of writing you struggle with?

I find it in-between. It's always hard to develop a simple idea into workable prose, something that isn't just "this happened and that happened, the end." I use fanfiction as a way to improve my own writing, because even though I'm using someone else's characters (and often scenarios, because hey, there's no such thing as an "original story" anymore, right?), it allows me to discover new ways of thinking and writing in general.

I'd like to think fanfiction has helped me come a long way from taking just plain stupid ideas into really fully-developed stories about a character's growth or experiences, about his or her feelings about some event or other person.

Also, a lot of what I've learned comes from snippets from craft writing books or kits, things like "nothing you say should be useless, everything you say should have a reason for being said."

Write a few sentences or so of your favorite pairing or character.

I'm an Azureshipper for the Yu-Gi-Oh fandom, which is my primary OTP (I do enjoy a classic Revolution or Peachshipping piece every once in a while, and Azureshipping also tends to read better when there's a side pairing. I've seen Stumbleshipping done pretty well too, among others.), but in other fandoms I may waver-- I like Usagi x Mamoru *AND* Usagi x Seiya in Sailor Moon, but also Haruka x Michiru. Even if I don't write it, I may read it (provided it's well written). For other fandoms, I usually like one pairing exclusively: Kaname x Sousuke from Full Metal Panic, Ranma x Akane from Ranma 1/2, Inuyasha x Kagome from Inuyasha, etc.

Out of all those, it's usually the female who I feel most attracted to, and I would detest seeing any of them characterized badly. You'll notice that, even in my romance fics, I tend to focus on the female half-- I suppose that's on account of me taking to heart the phrase "write what you know." So even if I have no experience with Millennium Items, massive mecha, gender-bending water-activated curses, demons, etc., I still KNOW what it's like to be young, female, and wanting love, so I tend to write about that.

Are there any fanfiction clichés or trends you’re sick of or just can’t stand?

I'm going with [livejournal.com profile] obabscribbler on this one: Bashing. I hate, loathe and abhor character bashing.

Are you guilty of any fanfiction clichés you hate? Or any other ones?

Well, of course when I started out, I was guilty of making the characters OOC, or exaggerating one or two of their qualities into their whole WORLD. I am guilty of the "trite" plot-- the plot device that is overused to death, but I like to think I can put a new twist on it, just as a challenge. WDKY supposedly fit that bill, because the idea of killing off Anzu's parents was a common one for any fics starring her (at the time I started writing it), and it's a lame plot device to get two people together. But, all things considered, it's still worked out pretty well despite that.

What was the first fandom you wrote for, and do you still like/participate in it?

Sailor Moon, as mentioned above, and yes-- but very rarely.

Name your OTPs or most frequently written pairings/characters and explain what it is about them that you love to write.

As mentioned before, Anzu x Seto (Azureshipping) is my OTP for Yu-Gi-Oh, but I've been known to enjoy a few others with Anzu involved. I adore dramatic love triangle (or polygons), too. To keep talking about them, rather than going on about those other pairings I like and already talked about, I like Anzu and Seto because they have SO much potential. They never struck me as characters who hated each others' guts and were wholly incompatible, nor were they characters that had never or could never meet and have any sort of relationship. They HAD interacted, they HAD opinions about one another. Neither of them were the "star" of the show though, so fanfiction about or involving them meant digging deeper into what little glimpses of characterization the canon offered, and developing it into something interesting and unusual. I love to write either of them in such a way that people feel that my Seto could very well be the canon Seto, if someone else had just taken the reins of Yu-Gi-Oh and written it for a different audience.


What would you call your writing “style”?

Long. Except for this answer. :P

Do you read other people’s fanfic? If so, what do you find yourself reading the most?

Oh, whenever I can. I prefer to read by recommendation, but when I discover or get into a new fandom and I don't know anyone there, I do the usual "hunt and peck" search for it. And that usually involves me Googling a fandom's fic archive or FFnet and scouring C2s or the filter system-- but even then, there's a lot of Back-clicking involved. I find myself reading Romance and/or Drama the most, because I love to read the styles and genres that I myself write. It's great to see other people taking the same basic idea (Romance or Drama, etc.) and then veering off with it in an unexpected way.

Name one thing you’d LOVE to write, but have been too afraid or shy to do.

Smut. :P The temptation's there, the IDEA is even there (anyone here remember "Kaiba the Virgin Sacrifice"?), but I just can't get the lady balls to do it. I keep saying I won't start anything new (especially anything long and potentially multi-chapter) until I finish WDKY, anyway.

Do you have trouble taking criticism? Or worse yet, do you have the dreaded bloated ego?

I don't think I have a bloated ego, because almost every review, even if it's short and not littered with praise, flatters me that it even exists. It's so cool that someone took time out of their day to say something about what *I* wrote. I love thinking I've made someone think or feel a certain way due to my writing (style, ideas, etc).

Sometimes, though, I do feel I take things a bit personally, especially when I interpret critique one way and the writer may have meant it differently. But I guess that's bound to happen with all kinds of reviews: being online means you're not psychic,you have no way of knowing what sort of "intent," if any, was behind the review. I can't stand anyone who attacks a writer personally based on their writing though-- that is flaming, and I find it senseless and stupid.

When you write, is there anything that helps? Music? Quiet room?

Music, almost always. A lot of my fics have unofficial soundtracks as a result of that, and some of them even read as being "songfics" because I found them so inspirational. I don't like to fall into the trap of writing fics that essentially rehash the same story from a song, or use a song's title, but it has happened.

What inspires you?

Who the hell knows? My ideas hit me like bolts of lightning, and if I don't write them down immediately, I lose them. WDKY was just a random idea that came about one day when I was working at the box office of a movie theatre. I had to try and write every bit of the idea down on small scraps of paper that I didn't have nearly enough of, or enough room for in my too-tight regulation pants. About the only thing that job was good for was the inspiration I got during the dead hours.

Lastly, how would you sum up your fanfiction experiences and yourself as a writer?

I'd like to think I've come a hell of a long way since I first wrote fanfiction WAAAY back in the day (I think my first fic was titled "The Cosmic Rebirth Series"), and I've certainly been able to write new and different styles, and MORE of it (I have chapters that are almost novel-length). But I'm always looking to improve, and for that reason, I can't really see myself leaving fandom completely. It's always great to meet new people and brainstorm, too. Honestly, my life's been changed by fandom, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tag six friends because they’ll hate you for it.
[livejournal.com profile] guardian_kysra
[livejournal.com profile] atlantian_magic
[livejournal.com profile] bewareofdogz
[livejournal.com profile] svelterose
[livejournal.com profile] a_white_rain
[livejournal.com profile] dqbunny
azurite: (screw it trashcan)
Some writers say "Write what you know." Sage advice, maybe, but kind of obvious. I think it's pretty impossible to write a story (or essay, poem, whatever) without a SINGLE bit of something that "you know." I mean, there's always going to be some opinion or some bit of emotion you've felt in whatever you write.

We've had directed writing in my advanced narrative writing class (ENGL 408) the past few weeks; last week I spaced because I didn't really understand the topic (even though it ended up being really easy, and I developed an idea... I just never went anywhere with it), and this week, I was completely blocked for an idea for the first part of our workshop-- just something 3-5 pages, with the potential to become more. I did START writing something (late), but I got to the third page and was disgusted. With it, with myself. The last time I'd done something like that (a few weeks prior, when all my feelings were all I could think about, so writing was the way I channeled them, and tried to deal), I remember being surprised when one of my group members talked about the protagonist as "she." It shocked me, and served as a moment of disconnect, because it occurred to me: yeah, why would they know this is a true story? Why would they know that the protagonist is ME? And isn't that kind of creepy if you tell them? Then they don't look at it as narrative anymore.

I told myself then that I wouldn't do any more of that --try and write what I was feeling, but in some fancy prose narrative format. I've written enough about it here, and I want to try moving on.

I attempted to use some of my MANY (I have soooo many) writer's tool kits and inspiration books and the like, but everything I looked at just gave me this "Blech" feeling. So now I don't know what to do, and the writing is late, and again, I'd have nothing to work with tonight if I didn't do something. Something is at least better than nothing, but my brain is on empty, stalling.

Here are my options, as I see them:
(1) Write what I know. Write something that I'm feeling or have felt, and fuck it with the weird sense of disconnect or any other bizarre feelings. Some of the world's most compelling stories are true because we can connect with them. (The question then becomes, what, of my agonizing experiences, whether recent or otherwise, is worthy of being fictionalized? RDRR!)

(2) Write something fanfiction-esque, where in my head, it's not me or anyone else I know, but characters (or archetypes, maybe?) that I feel familiar with. Change a few facts, and don't depend on outside information (like 'fic does), but make it work. (I actually did this with another story in the same class, and it came out like a cross between a mystery/thriller and a piece of WDKY. People liked it!)

(3) Write something from a prompt, just mashing shit together until it resembles a story.

Ug, ug, Mer mash story bit! You become story now! Ug, ug.

...Help.
azurite: (sailormoon - galaxia sun)
Today I finally got the time to go to the mall and pick up a few things. First stop was Macy*s, for my Clinique order. Now, the reason why I shop at Clinique is three-fold:

(1) Dad bought me Clinique makeup as presents, because he has a Macy*s card. I liked the gifts, so when I ran out or wanted another color, I went back there.

(2) When I wanted to do something about my rather haphazard acne-defense plan, I went to the Clinique counter just to see what they would offer. One person helped me completely, let me explain my situation, and let me dictate what I wanted (read: what I could afford). From there, I got started on the 3-step system. My face has never been clearer, which proves their products work. They're also affordable.

(3) The service. As mentioned in (2), I got to speak one-on-one with someone, who explained to me everything, from ingredients to pricing. Some cosmeticians and counter salespeople seem driven by an invisible commission (afaik they're not commissioned at Macy*s), and I hate thinking they're talking down to me. That's NEVER been an issue at my Macy*s, and as a result, I know several girls by name: Summer, Rachel, and Lauren, and all have helped me out immensely, been honest, and made me look and feel beautiful and wanted at their counter.

That's an example of a GREAT shopping experience.

Okay, now let's go to JCPenney. I need some new flats, because the American Eagle ones I picked up at Payless Shoes Source a while back are falling apart. The right shoe's strap lining has come undone, and the left shoe's button is loose. The toes on both are peeling upward, but that's a bad habit of mine when I sit (with my toes on the floor, rather than my feet FLAT on the floor). In any case, they were cheap, so I don't mind getting a new pair. JCPenney's selection is mediocre at best, but I have a 15% off coupon I'm determined to use. I finally find a small wall with Arizona Jeans flats, including a single pair in my size. No straps, but they still fit better than anything else
I've tried on (and I did go to LoveD and check out Macy*s sections first). So I get them.

The girl at the counter is obviously distracted, talking to someone behind her while she's ringing me up. She leaves the coupon on the counter after she's bagged my shoes, and I wonder if I just take it back, would I be able to use it again in another department? I decide not to (even though I could probably print up the same coupon again if I wanted) because I'm the honest sort, and also because JCPenney has never offered me a) clothes in a size that fit for me... leastwise, they haven't for a while; and b) because I don't like the "experience" so much. Instead of fun, it feels like a chore.

So, while I did get what I wanted for a reasonable price, it wasn't something I enjoyed doing. I guess that was an "OKAY" shopping experience.

Next item on the list: new boots. I'm super-picky about my boots. Point in fact, if I'm wearing it on any part of me, I deserve to be picky. It's not just the image I project to others, it's the image that helps me feel a certain way about MYSELF. I'm petite, have medium-sized breasts and a bubble butt, and if I wear the wrong clothes, I look like a lumpy dwarf. Obviously, the clothes I wear should make me feel confident, sexy, and hot-- not like I'm a lost cousin of Snow White's Seven Dwarves.

So I go to One Thousand Steps, a newer shop in the mall with a rather interesting architecture. Like I do at most stores, I start by wandering around. I'm not exactly Miss Gold Card, but I do always appreciate when someone comes up to me and asks if I need any assistance. What I tell them is supposed to send a message about just how much "help" I need. When I walked into this store, I looked at the boots-- nothing that really caught my eye, so I headed to the back. A salesgirl almost appearing to block the way asked if I needed anything, so I threw her a line: yes, I wanted to find boots, but I guessed they were all up front. Okay, yes. So she showed me several boots, and based on those, I let her know what I wanted: about knee-high, black, not patent leather, and preferably without any fancy designs, rouching, etc. She had a few good suggestions, but she didn't seem to understand when I didn't like something and wanted to move on, or look on my own. She also committed what I consider a heinous salesgirl crime: comparing me to another customer. YOU DO NOT DO THAT. I am not some other woman. I do not have her looks, her height, her money. For all I know, that other woman could have been 4'10" or 6'1", fat or skinny, rich or poor. It doesn't matter. But I'm not her, and I shouldn't be treated as such. What one woman buys to look good with her dresses will NOT look good with me and my tailored pants.

I left that store not just out of the want to find boots I really DID like (because this store didn't have them), but also to get away from the pushy salesgirl. That was an example of a BAD shopping experience. (I've had worse, but the fact that I'm classing it with the other "BADs" is saying something.)

In the end, I got my flats, placed my order for the Clinique event starting Oct. 2nd (I support Breast Cancer research with my makeup purchases. Do you?), and got 5 more manga at Borders, along with a few special orders placed (and a few that weren't available... read on). I didn't find my boots, though I went to practically every shoe store in the mall. I didn't go to DSW, but the last time I was there, nothing had grabbed me. Fact is, sometimes you have to spend a lot to get exactly what you want, so I might end up going back to Macy*s and spending $169 on a pair of boots that I thought looked perfect.

As for the books, I placed Antique Gift Shop #3, xxxHolic #8, and Full Metal Panic #4 on special order, but Borders' distributor didn't have:
* Lois & Clark Season 4 boxed set
* Forbidden Dance vol. 1
* Full Metal Panic vol. 2
* I.N.V.U vol. 3
* Antique Gift Shop vol. 5
in stock. If anyone has any of those volumes (or the L&C!), I am willing to trade! Let me know what you're looking for and I'll see if I can supply you. Likewise, if you just want to sell them to get them off your hands, I'll buy them. :)

All of this has me thinking of a previous idea for a novel that I never pursued, mainly because I believe in having a certain amount of real life experience in SOMETHING (whether it's love, sex, or murder) before writing about it. Either that, or do a bunch of research and talk to a lot of people who DO know what they're talking about. I hope that someday I can do one of those two... but I can't reveal the "novel" idea just yet. :D

I do wish I could write a good mystery/crime/suspense/thriller, but that feeling may have just been brought on by the marathon of CSI I watched. I think I've gotten into the show enough where I want to see the upcoming season premiere. Does anyone else have any shows I ought to get into? I haven't watched TV in a while (unless Extreme Makeover: Home Edition counts).

That said, I better get to sleep-- I have early class and work who-knows-when.

That Thang

Aug. 14th, 2007 01:52 am
azurite: (deadlines whoosh)
Blurbs of my day:

-Remembered at 7:29am when I accidentally woke up (I thought I'd heard a computer alarm go off) that today was the Sundial Orientation, which meant no Clubs & Orgs Fair and no work (well, I could have gone to work, but for one measly hour? It wouldn't have been worth the $8.45). I ended up starting work on one of my Sundial stories... (see below)

-Got pretty excited about working at the Sundial this semester-- 2 stories/week minimum might seem daunting, but it also means I'll be getting published regularly. And stories I thought might be sucky or boring AREN'T. My first ones are about the health effects of diet sodas, the upcoming meteor shower on 9/1, local restaurants offering student discounts, a possible third expansion to the Westfield Shopping Center in Topanga Canyon, and the new bookstore complex's food offerings (which, by the way, I saw today. I'll bring my camera tomorrow and take pictures, because IT LOOKS GREAT). None of that seems horrid or boring to me (unlike a CSUN student's murder or some project about mapping the wetlands). My editors so far are pretty cool-- people I know from class and just seeing around. It's a good feeling, and I hope it lasts.

-Finally got to watch "The Bourne Supremacy." It went pretty fast, I felt, and some bits went right over my head. It was also predictable in parts. I'm thinking if I'd rented "The Bourne Identity" WITH the Supremacy, everything would have made more sense, but both Shawn and I had seen Identity; he might have remembered it more than I did. In any case, we just didn't have the time tonight for multiple movies, and tomorrow we're going to some screening in West Hills for a new Owen Wilson comedy. But squee for two date nights in a row! I have no complaints about that~

-Didn't get my financial aid check. Grr. But I did get some of the things I ordered from Publisher's Clearing House (which I've become a junkie of): my new onyx and freshwater pearl necklace, bracelet, and earring set. Their jewelry is gorgeous, and I'm ordering more! Nothing pink, though... :P They wanted me to get some monthly cubic zirconia set that was PINK, and I was all "I don't care if buying this would make me part of your Elite Club, it's PINK!" So blech, no to that. I can wear rose blush and rose sweaters, but I draw the line at pink jewelry. I'm 22, not 12.

-I'm getting involved in a few more online projects too: editing a Draco x Hermione doujinshi, beta'ing for a few people here and there (if they'll have me), trying to work on my OWN fics and websites (always a challenge), and maybe even trying to tutor people (for a fee, of course) with web design-- I overheard someone in the Sundial mention that, so I KNOW there's a market for it, even if it's just a small one limited to the people that think Shapiro's Graphics class is impossible. :D

-Need to remember to call the internship people so I know who to address my cover letter to and how to write it! Good thing I have the book (and the smarts, of course), and even better that Manley (aka Prof. Witten from last semester) gave me a great idea for said cover letter! :D

-Finally reconciled my bank accounts (all four of them) after refusing to touch Quicken for a while. And now I'm relieved that it's done, because a few transactions WERE missing (big ones, too) and were driving me batty (I didn't see them in any of my statements online-- and I have a lot). There's a lesson to be learned in that: always stay on top of your finances. When it comes to money, it's better to be overzealous than lazy. It shouldn't be the touchy, sensitive subject that it is, comparable to asking a woman about her age or weight. People should be more open about their finances, and thus more comfortable dealing with them. If my parents had been comfortable about THEIR money situations when I was younger and just starting to understand it, I think I might have had a better grasp on things NOW.

-Gave the fuzzball a bath. She smells sort of like apples. Anyone want to take bets on how long THAT will last?

-Gotta swing by the optometrist tomorrow to see if they have my new glasses catalog! I "virtually" tried on a few pairs online at FramesDirect, and wrote a huge list of pairs and brands I liked. This is one time where I'm overwhelmed with choices that weren't in front of me-- I think in this case, it's paying to be picky. It's one thing to pay $5 and get an "okay" burger, but if I'm going to pay upwards of $100 for anything, it better be DAMN GOOD QUALITY. And why shouldn't it be? Especially where my health (eyesight) is concerned.

-Cleaned my room up more. Apparently I'm quite lacking in school supplies (well, dividers for my binders, at least). I mean, I have pens, erasers, white-out, pencils, lead, paper and all that jazz, but I still feel like I'm missing things. o_o I wonder if I'm becoming a hoarder! I don't want to end up like my mom in that respect (or in a few others, but I won't go into that now)... I DO need to go back-to-school shopping for clothes, though. I need new jeans and lighter-colored slacks (gray and light khaki, to be precise)! Also, in relation to the finances: throwing out old receipts is not "cleaning" unless said receipts pertain to CLEARED transactions in one's register!!!!!

-Gotta transcribe some of my old stuff from "The Eagle" (zomg) so I can POSSIBLY use it for my online writing portfolio. I'm thinking I should put them in PDF format or something and watermark them. Has anyone else ever done something like this before?

-So thrilled my jaw is feeling better. I had "real" food today-- a donut, pizza, ravioli, a plum, and iced tea! So at least this means if this trend continues:
a) I can at least eat normal for the rest of the week
b) I can recover from intense pain that fucks up my eating habits pretty quickly, given the right pain relievers in big enough doses :P
So I shouldn't be TOO worried about Friday... I hope... (but I want to make sure I get as much done before than as possible JUST TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE)

I should be asleep by now, though. I've been staying up till 2 or 2:30 am the past few days, and it does NOT help when I need to be awake around 10am. I start dropping off like I did earlier today-- even sitting in the frontmost seat isn't motivation enough. When I'm exhausted, I will pass out. I've done it even when I've known better-- and that's been in plenty of places besides college! (I will not start drinking coffee and/or Pepsi, so don't even mention it.) I have to get my Circadian clock in gear for the upcoming semester, anyway. Gotta start somewhere, right?
azurite: (pharaoh = porkchop)
I believe I've mentioned on a few occasions my disappointment with big-name anybodys or anythings. Many of my friends recall how I detested anything related to Harry Potter, until one day [livejournal.com profile] katiat325 invited me to a free screening of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The whole time, she and [livejournal.com profile] schmollieollie were chatting about the things different from the book, the scenes left out, the characterizations-- and they wouldn't repeat a word of it to me, the outsider who hadn't even read the books.

So I read the books-- actually borrowed from my mother. By the time I was leaving to go to CSUN, I was engrossed in the world, and Stephanie got me Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as a going-away present. Now that the final book (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) is upon us (July 21, 2007), I'm looking back on a lot of books that have been hype or tripe. Some books deserve their hype; others (especially those from a famous author or in a long-standing series) don't really deserve the hype they get just because of the name attached.

For example, Harry Potter --both the books and the fandom as a whole-- has disappointed me over the years, because what I originally found fascinating or enchanting is now predictable or pathetic. But JKR is not a poor writer by any stretch of the imagination, and AS a writer myself, I hardly think that a writer SHOULD pander to her audience, even if said audience "pays the bills."

So then I wonder about another famous author: Danielle Steel. Before I left for Japan last year, I picked up her (then) newest book, Coming Out. It sounded different from the steamy romances I'd read from her in high school (I can't remember the exact title, but it was about a Japanese woman in an internment camp in America during World War 2). But then again, in high school, I had a lot lower standards. -_- I remember trying my hardest to read "Coming Out" but it just read like a flat, predictable piece of drivel. It's funny, because when I mentioned something similar to this (though I believe on another comm. or in another post somewhere), someone said that many of her stories have the same PLOT over and over, with the characters merely renamed. That wasn't the case with "Coming Out" at all, and in fact, had some very interesting characters and what I thought was a very interesting plot-- but it's like taking a bunch of baking ingredients and making something terrible tasting with them. There was SO much potential, but...

I ended up returning "Coming Out" and using the money I got in return to buy 3 Yu-Gi-Oh manga. Sure, I don't like what Viz does with the manga (namely their horrid design skills, and how they can't even position a rounded rectangle block of text into a bubble properly), but I still buy from them because I support them bringing Yu-Gi-Oh's original manga to English audiences in the first place. All the scanlation groups that have tried up to this point are sub-par, really. Companies like Viz have the time and money to create something truly incredible, but as with my previous analogy, I think they're taking something with potential and not doing the best they can with it. But rather than creating something "horrible tasting" with the "ingredient" that is the original Yu-Gi-Oh manga, I think they've just made something that's a bit bitter and a touch bit moldy in places. I would one day like to work for Viz, instead of writing them letters over and over ("Are you guys going to do a second edition of XYZ manga where page 10 ISN'T a duplicate of page 5?"), so I'm trying to keep that goal in mind.

Anyway, because of my disappointment with Steel, I have next to no interest in reading her NEWEST new novel, Sisters. It, too, sounds vaguely interesting, based on the description. And people always love to hype Danielle Steel for being such a "prolific" writer, for churning out as many novels as she has, for being best-selling. But what the hell does best-selling mean if not "robbed a bunch of people's wallets?" I mean, it says nothing for the actual quality of the book, only the fact that it sold. You might as well say that the In-Crowd back in high school were model students, representatives of the school or teenagers as a whole.

Yeah, right, and I'm Angelina Jolie. [/sarcasm]

I can't stand two forms of book summaries:
* the non-existent kind (i.e. you go to the back of a book, or the inside flap of a hardcover, and there is no summary-- only a photo of the author, or a short bio, or WORSE, a description of some OTHER book they wrote!)
* the obvious kind ("will so-and-so find true love amidst her family crumbling before her eyes!?")

Steel's fall into the second category, though I have seen a few of her books fall into the first, as well. And I'm sorry, but every time I see the cover art of "Toxic Bachelors" I want to cringe. WHO THE HELL DESIGNED THAT COVER!? My grandmother (Baba) has HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS of romance novels. I have seen every possible cover design out there, from the stereotypical (hot, Fabio-like man with his shirt half-torn open, groping or reaching for the woman with her bared shoulders and/or thighs and her hair flowing out behind her) to the tasteful (embossed, shiny text over a simple background, like a lace print, silk, jewels, etc). But the cover of that book just makes me want to cringe. I'm not even a well-versed student in the art of design (that's what my JOUR 331 - Graphics class is supposed to be about), but even I can see-- that's a stupid cover. And like the summary, the cover is what sells. If I see an interesting title or a cool-looking cover, I might just pick up that book! If the summary sounds interesting, I might just flip it open to check out the first page. If I like what I read, I MAY BUY IT!

I wish more people kept this in mind with their writing, even if it's not sold writing like Steel's drivel. I mean, is she like Anne Rice without vampires-- no one questions her authority anymore, she has no editor, no one stands against her? Or do you really have to hunt for the one gem amongst all her crap? I'm sure she has good stuff written somewhere. I hope, anyway.

Anyway, speaking of design... )

I had a series of weird dreams last night, but as soon as I woke up, I couldn't really remember many specifics, only a few impressions. I remembered dreaming that I'd found my PS2 memory card (*wail*), but I also remember dreaming about some BAD things, because I was feeling very freaked out and vaguely "sick in the head" when I woke up. But I think I've managed to recover okay, I just have to watch out and not get stressed. Even though Tuesday is my longest day, I don't have work on Tuesdays, and so far I've been able to handle the workload and even the teachers.

My Media Law teacher doesn't mind me taking notes on the laptop (which is great, because I can type faster than I can write!), and so far I've been able to keep up with my usual pace and style in Japanese class (by the way, Todd and I'm presuming Daniel and/or John returned from Japan today, and Todd stopped into my Japanese class to promote the Tokiwa program... that was kind of funny). Plus I got out of Media Law at 4:00 or so today, and my next class doesn't start until 6pm, so I have about an hour to chill and do whatever I like. :)

Notes:
* Need to get Death Notes vols. 6-10
* Need to watch Hana Yori Dango 2 episode 5 *AS SOON AS IT IS SUBBED* because dayum was Episode 4 good! And the teaser-trailer! :O!!!! Ah, HYD, how I MISSED you!

And to close, a rather random question: at what point did the Stormtroopers stop being clones of Jango Fett? I wonder, because a new Star Wars novel (Allegiance, taking place between episodes IV and V) features a Stormtrooper with his own unique name... though that doesn't necessarily mean he's NOT a clone, I wonder if the Empire would have kept up production of the clone troopers after the Clone Wars. Further, did they bother identifying the clones by name, as a part of their "conditioning," or were they just given numbers (TK-421, why aren't you at your post)? I wonder...
azurite: (anzu & kaiba play the bondage game)
Happy Birthday Shelli!



"If you really want to have a sex scene and yet don’t feel comfortable writing about it from the POV of any of the parties involved, there’s always another solution: write it from the head of someone outside the action entirely. And no, you don’t have to use a voyeur, either. Use a completely neutral party. I like the idea of the evil wizard’s spy-raven watching the hero and heroine thrashing on the grass below, knowing what they’re doing, but not really caring about anything other than the fact that these people aren’t quite dead enough for it to eat yet."

(emphasis mine, for contextual purposes of the following...)

...I blame [livejournal.com profile] a_white_rain for inadvertently conjuring the image of Harry and Hermione doing the thrashing while a non-existent spy-raven belonging to Voldemort spies on them.

I'm not even a H/Hr shipper! I mean they're cute and all, but D/Hr all the way for me! AWR, what have you done to my brain????

(It seems to be working better, can I keep it?)

Oh, that snippet came from here, a rather useful resource on sex in fanfiction, especially for those of us that can't seem to bring ourselves to... well, "do it." DO EET! DO EET NOW!
azurite: (can you hear me now?)
For those of you that ever thought that Valley Girls talked like my subject line, you'd be wrong. They did in Clueless, but not down here where I live, and I am in The Valley. Not that I can speak for the air headed teenage population, but, just so you know, I am a Valley Girl now, and I still have relatively good diction, thankyouverymuch!

Anyway, I am back in the Valley; Dad and I split from Alameda around 11am this morning and got here around 7ish. The drive was amusing, if just because of the following:
  • A recollection of last night, in which I attempted to get friendly with my Dad's cat, Roy
  • I also signed my dad up for eHarmony.com, and we laughed loads over my dad's answers (he was honest, don't worry!)
  • We dined-and-dashed at the Apricot Tree, this horrible road-side restaurant. Service was extremely slow for both waiting, ordering, and serving, plus the usual "can I get you your water/check/ketchup/clean flatware" stuff. If we'd bothered to ask for the check and then get change, we would have been there for another hour. Do I feel bad? No. :P
  • I got to explain all about the tracks I put on last year's Turkey CD compilation. Basically, it's a CD of your favorite songs that you've found in the past year, and Dad had never heard of many of my choices, which went on the 6 "Ultimate" volumes (there were 2 "original" volumes, based off the original Turkey Tapes from the 80s). Dad especially liked the addition of Elvis' "A Little Less Conversation" and John Sykes/Blue Murder's "Cautionary Warning".

Of course, my Dad picked me up pretty early yesterday night (7:30ish), so I had to rush home from Classic Bowl in Pacifica, where I'd gone with Crystal, Maggie, Richard, Evie, Eva, and Harry. Stephanie and Katia had been with us earlier in the day, but they both had other obligations that took them away early. Crystal gave me a nifty new journal, and Katia gave me a new addition for my bookmark collection-- an Aslan (Chronicles of Narnia) bookmark! YAY!

I didn't get to see "Memoirs of a Geisha" like I originally planned; the 5:50 show at the Century 21 was sold out, so that's how we ended up going bowling. I hope I'll be able to see it (and go ice skating, another canceled plan that we'd made for SF) with Scott in San Diego when I go on the 29th; I'm staying through the 2nd! Mom even gave me a nice new outfit and 2 new sweaters to wear down there, plus some hair glitter, a necklace and earrings, and a jeweled barrette. I do think I'll look smashing... ^_~

I ended up forgetting my flash drive there... keeerap! But at least Mom bought my laptop (she already gave me $80; she owes me $920. I shaved about $500 off for her payment toward my Driver's Ed lessons and the bits of money she gave me over the course of two weeks. She'll probably pay in installments, so it'll keep me afloat until I get paid for working at the bookstore (gotta call tomorrow and go in on Thursday, before I leave for SD) and the ITR job (training starts on the 9th). Worse, Jimbo and Richie put Stepmaniamax on my laptop, and I tried to burn it onto a CD and DVD, but the software or somesuch shit wouldn't let me.

So... [livejournal.com profile] staplerx or [livejournal.com profile] richlikesmaids, where did you get Stepmaniamax from? And if I can't download it or get a CD/DVD of it from either of you two, could someone please help my mom burn the CD? ^^; That would be nice...

Long story short (as I'm never good with recalling many events after not updating for a while), I've finished and sent off my fic for the [livejournal.com profile] dmhgficexchange, and I've got my last entry for the [livejournal.com profile] yuugiouxmasfic ready as well (though both are late). I had a good time with my friends, and while I ended up mostly broke (of my own funds) I did leave NOT broke, which is a good thing. I plan on buying Katamari Damacy and We Love Katamari, because I got addicted to it at the party at Bob's house (while I played Jimbo and Marc). I ended up falling asleep at the aforementioned party, during Life of Brian. ;_; I couldn't help it! Mom waking up for work at 5:30am had ME waking up around then too, so I was exhausted by 8:30pm...

WDKY22 is also done, but I'm still waiting for someone to get back to me. LuvinAoshi has updated several chapters of an FMA fic in the meantime; I wonder if I've been forgotten about? ;_; Why can't there be a mass list of people willing to beta for certain pairings in certain fandoms? [livejournal.com profile] a_white_rain, doesn't that sound like a good idea for a community or something? (I ask you because you're in charge of [livejournal.com profile] weekly_ygo)

I would like to thank [livejournal.com profile] pockyken, [livejournal.com profile] schmollieollie, [livejournal.com profile] winterwing3000, and [livejournal.com profile] rhapsody_dragon for cheering me up when I was a bit low at first! Also, MANY, MANY, MANY huge thanks to [livejournal.com profile] guardian_kysra for the faboo present (I will be scanning the pic part of it soon-- can I color it in Photoshop CS, too?) and the New Years Wishes. For any last minute well-wishers, please donate to Kysra's Scanner Fund! Contact me for more info or sort back through my journal a few entries to find the donation post. If we don't get enough by New Year's, I'll donate the rest myself. :)

Mom and Dad really frustrate me at times... for various reasons which I suppose I can get into later. But how many people think that sometimes their parents are much more immature than they are?

To Do:

  • clean room, now that I've brought a ton of stuff with me from SF
  • scan pics, including the unfinished/uncolored WDKY 1000 review/2nd Anniversary pic (inc. icon for [livejournal.com profile] winterwing3000) and Kysra's Christmas pic for me ^^
  • free up disk space for the new Stepmania, Hana Yori Dango j-drama episodes, and Sims 2 again
  • Go to the mall to get Proactiv (anyone use it before? How were your results? Is it worth the $60 for the full package?) and Katamari Damacy set
  • Call the bookstore to let Mike know I'll come in for paperwork on Thursday
  • Free up enough disk space to torrent/seed the Full Moon Sagashite Episodes (probably in sets of 3 episodes a piece, for [livejournal.com profile] ricoddr)

And finally, some fantastic news... I'm published! I think I may have announced this before, but in the time I was away, I actually got the book "Authors of Tomorrow" in which my "Success Comes Second" essay was published. Now I'm competing against 250+ other people for a $1000 scholarship from Elder & Leemaur Publishers! ^^ Wish me luck! (It'd be nice to write a funny short story/1st person POV about my recent adventures, esp. those with dad. "The Journey South" or somesuch would make a good title.)

...I feel like I'm forgetting something... but whatever. Tomorrow: Palomar with Dad and Steve. TEH YAY!

azurite: (lost marbles)
Maaa, I want to watch SARS subtitled version of Hana Yori Dango (the J-drama) now! But it's downloading sooooo sloooooow wavering between 11KB/s and 50KB/s! I've looked up everything about port forwarding, disabling ports in your firewall, tweaking your router... nothing seems to help! Are you supposed to restart after you make those changes or something? And what really is the best range to enable, if the default 6881 to 6899 is so "choked" by ISPs?

Finished my Japanese skit and listening comprehension, memorized L8's new dialogue... response drill should be easy enough, if everyone gets around to it. I updated a few files from Dell for my laptop, though the old ip.ad.dr.es.s thing doesn't seem to be working as fast as it used to. I rarely use the 'Net with that thing, and there are hardly any programs on it, so it really pisses me off that it's so slow and I feel like I can't do anything about it. Photoshop CS froze AGAIN while reading fonts, and I've only got something like 209 on the laptop, MUCH MUCH less than the usual for me. What do I do!?

Geez, I can't believe it's already 1:42am here. I should shower and then go to bed soon... I imagine I'm only still awake because of the slight buzz I had from my Smirnoff Raspberry (^_^ hic!) and the nap I had earlier (apparently I didn't imagine a miniature dog from hell barking like mad and waking me up at 1:30 in the afternoon; it was Pepe, another one of Baba's friends' dogs, and they left ME, sleeping, to "dogsit" while they went who-knows-where).

Oh, and just to prove I'm not completely inept in the non-fanfiction writing department, I was one of 90 people whose essay to a publishing company got selected for publication in a book called "Authors of Tomorrow". If I win one of 10 scholarship awards, I'll get $1000! ^_^v Wish me luck!

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