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sakon76: (Sakon)
Normally I think my classmates in my writing class are relatively intelligent, sane people. Well, with a possible caveat for the one person who takes Fox News seriously.

But tonight, somehow, the topic of colleges putting trigger warnings on works for literature classes came up, and I am AGHAST that at least one of my classmates and the teacher were comparing this to censorship and book banning.

What. The. Merry. Fuck.?!

How the hell does saying "this work contains scenes of rape/incest/racism/ableism/name-your-social-ill-here" equate to changing or removing a single WORD of that work? All it does is warn those people who might be hurt by it that they need to either shore themselves up or have a word with their professor.

To boot, the classmate who was against it blamed the ACLU.

She has been in a wheelchair for years.

I guess the ACLU is only useful when it's putting in wheelchair ramps, not when it's taking care of people's psychological health?

I am just, ARGH, I have no words. Frothing at the mouth at the cruelty and callousness of people I like. You can BELIEVE I argued my point.

Maybe it's because I'm younger (by a generation or two) than these people, and cut my writing teeth on fanfiction and the internet, where warning tags are more notable in their absence than their presence.

But saying "this story contains these things" is NOT censorship. It's not book banning. It's saying what's in the story.

When did common courtesy become oppression?
sakon76: (Sakon)
I... am probably not going to be posting any fics on Christmas Day this year. I want to, I just don't have the time/energy/concentration to write. The reason I've been doing so much quilting this year is that sewing is a creative outlet that withstands interruptions. Being dragged away from the machine by tiny hands? No big deal. I can pick up where I left off later. Writing, however, is completely different. To get into the zone, I need uninterrupted time. Not much of that around here these days.

That said, I am the quilting boss of everything at the moment. After realizing that the main present for someone was not likely to arrive on time, I pulled out a finished quilt top, put together a backing, basted it, and spent the last three evenings madly quilting it. From like 9pm to past midnight each night. It's not a small quilt - 75" x 94". And it is now DONE and chugging away in the washer. Compare that to me needing weeks to do something roughly the same size a year ago. So on that, at least, I'm pretty chuffed. And I'm going to sleep sooooo well tonight....

Tomorrow, more gift bags. And the library. And possibly seeing Star Wars.
sakon76: (Sakon)
So I've been in a Halloween-y mood recently. (Wonder why. ^_^) Today's reading material was Pratchett's Johnny and the Dead, which left me with thoughts about its relations to Good Omens and The Graveyard Book.

I've also (finally, finally!) been back in a writing headspace. Which I haven't done much of today because of The Squiddle. But perhaps this evening...? We'll see. Maybe fanfic (probably RotG if so), maybe Field of Stars.

And somehow these interests have converged to cause a really good RotG fanfic to rise again on my radar. And, bonus of bonuses, it's now finished! Which, well, it didn't have the swiftest of update schedules, so it's now less frustrating to try to pick up plot threads after weeks or months between chapters.

In short, if you're in the Rise of the Guardians fandom, and want a seasonally appropriate fanfic, go check out So Darkness I Became. It is well worth the read, and the ending is one of the best uses of the autumn trope I've seen.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Oh fracking frack

New realization for Field of Stars happened in my sleep. Characters A and B left the country to the north for my main country some years ago. Character B had a toddler (father known, and sort-of dead; out of the running anyway) and was pregnant at the time. Has had serial lovers since, and children by some of them.

Now the country to the north has sent a six-man diplomatic party. (Well, two parties. Rival factions and all that.) One of them is the father of that second child. And doesn't know it. Yet. And both the mother and father in this scenario have Ratchet-worthy tempers. (Fandom Ratchet, to make it worse.)

Time to see if I need to go back and insert any hints, and also to slip a card into my rotating stack about this plot point.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Squiddle's taking an early nap today. I should be on the bike right now, but I just can't. I've been being very good about doing it five days a week, but I'm also suspecting that's what's causing the persistent ache in my left calf, and until I can stretch that away, I'm giving myself some slack.

The Santa Ana winds are blowing today. Joy. I should've suspected it when I looked at the weather forecast and saw it was going up into the 80s this weekend. Luckily, I did a spot of gardening yesterday which included watering everything. And also putting bean and parsnip seeds into the ground. I apparently had three packets of parsnip seeds. I used up the oldest, spreading the seeds liberally down the rows, and will see what sprouts in the next month or so. Of the seeds I have going in flats, right now the zinnias, alyssum, cucumbers, and the second round of corn are sprouting. Oh, and one jalepeno. :/ But the radishes in my radish-and-carrot rows are also poking their heads up, and if I can clear the space in the bed this weekend, the first round of corn is ready to go in the ground.

For dinner, I've put a pork shoulder in the slow cooker along with some homemade applesauce-based barbeque sauce. Hopefully it will turn out well and we shall have pulled pork for dinner. First time trying the recipe, and I had to make a couple of substitutions. And ran shy on paprika, alas.

Time to go make a sandwich for lunch, and then either convince myself to bicycle, or work on Field of Stars.

ETA: Wrote ten pages during the Squiddle's nap. 2239 words. Booyah!

ETA 2: The pulled pork recipe shines. This one's going in the keeper pile.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Broke my refrigerator tea jug yesterday, all over the kitchen floor. Right after I'd filled the jug, of course. On the upside, at least it was the plastic jug, not one of the glass ones I actually brew the tea in. And at least the kitchen floor is now much, much cleaner! But this means I'm now putting the glass brewing jug in the fridge, and it just doesn't fit right. Plus it has a slow leak through the spigot. So I guess I'm hitting The Container Store sometime soon and seeing if they still stock the things. Shouldn't've tossed that coupon last week, but I thought to myself, there's nothing we need from there.... Ah well.

Tonight I make my triumphant return to writing class, and have all my prep done for that. I'm debating whether or not to start bellydance class again this weekend. The money for that becomes harder to justify to myself when I don't have an income.

words

Jan. 6th, 2015 03:30 am
sakon76: (Sakon)
December ended up being a decided no go on the novel writing thing (though I did manage to squeeze out three fanfic chapters for Christmas), mainly because of the Squiddle being jealous of &/or wanting to use the laptop himself. That being said, this morning I managed a page and a bit of novel writing (343 words) before everyone came downstairs and conversation and breakfast became a thing. No promises on further writing today, though.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Read Ysabel. Now have read both the books I brought with me, and finished 3/4 of the craft projects. I may ask to go back to the local craft shop, if it's not inconvenient, just to get something to do with my hands. Because I can only write in silence, and while I love my inlaws dearly, the television is always on. At the moment I've retreated upstairs to the guest bedroom to try to clear my head and see if I can find my words.

Yesterday's trip to London was mostly a success. I can report that Chipotle here is very nearly as good as the one at home, with just a hair's difference of quality. We did Hamley's, Liberty, Harrod's, failed at the V&A because I'd forgot to check opening hours, went to Trafalgar Square and saw the 65-foot Norwegian spruce Christmas tree, and took a look at the London Eye.

Squiddle, unfortunately, threw up in the sandwich shop in Harrod's, and again on the train going home. Other than those two minutes, however, he was in good spirits. He didn't have a fever last night, and has had no recurrences today, so we think it was just a tummy bug. And fortunately there were two changes of clothing in his diaper bag.

After hauling a stroller up and down stairs and escalators through London, however, we have concluded that handicapped access is a distant dream in the face of the Underground. Between three of us adults we were able to handle the one infant and pushchair. A wheelchair would simply not be possible.
sakon76: (Sakon)
I'm really hoping this won't be one of those trips where I never adjust to the time difference. Because after getting up to nurse Squiddle at 1:30, I laid in bed for three hours, trying to get to sleep, before finally giving up and coming downstairs for tea, toast, and internet.

The weather here has been cool and damp, though we haven't actually got rained on yet. The BBC weather reports are including 50-foot seas in the Outer Hebrides, though, which pokes my bunny brain into thinking "Hey, I can use that..." though I have no idea how or where. The Hebrides, of course, being where Berk is fictitiously located.

I have been able to poke at some writing over the last couple days, though setting myself anything like a number of words to do a day is useless. The editing program on Laptop-chan is SciTe, which has no word count function that I can find. Also, the Squiddle is not fond of me reading or typing or, in fact, holding much in my hands that is not him. Still, I'll have at least one piece to post on Christmas this year, and have managed to read my way through American Gods, which was more to my taste than I'd feared. The blurbs which mentioned horror elements had me worried, but apparently for naught. So now I'm two books behind on my 2014 book reports.

Time to finish my tea and see if I can find any of that elusive sleep before dawn.
sakon76: (Sakon)
I was considering doing NaNoWriMo this year. Or as much of it as an active toddler would let me. But then I realized that there are other things I want to do instead. Like prep for next month's vacation. Currently I'm sewing the Squiddle a coat. He has never been in cold weather and will need a good coat for England. And for me it's a treat - I pulled some 100% wool out of my stash. I've never sewn with wool before. So I got to research how to pre-shrink it without felting it. I'm also stretching my sewing skills by using tailor's tacks for the first time! Also a press cloth. Hopefully by the end of the week he'll have a quite smart gray wool coat with red baby rickrack trim and a sky blue silk lining to keep him warm. And after that there are a few other things I want to sew in the mornings and evenings and while he naps.

So I've decided to shunt a month of writing to next month. When we'll be in England and my inlaws may be persuaded to play with the baby for a stretch of time while I attempt to pound words into the laptop via keyboard.

But for now to finalize my voting choices.
sakon76: (Sakon)
I am, once again, frustrated by my writing class. Seriously, this is like my theme every Wednesday night! I ought to start a drinking game or something. "One drink if Kristin thinks her teacher needs to pay attention." "Two if a classmate fails to actually read the words on the page." Etc.

Tonight's bout of consternation is brought to you by the eternal struggle of "you have too many characters." Which about half my class commented on. Mind, I don't know how many of these comments are add-ons in class and thus basically "me too!"s following the teacher.

The thing is, though, the book I am writing is high fantasy. It's about an international war. It's continuing with both the upstairs and downstairs characters from book one. I have a goddamn game plan, I know where all these plot threads eventually lead, NO I NEED ALL THOSE CHARACTERS. They're not throwaways. Go read Lord of the Rings. Go read Game of Thrones. That's my genre. But no matter how many times I say this, it never seems to sink in.

For whatever reason, genre writing limits my audience. Being a genre reader, I don't get it. I can read mainstream and get it, I can read scifi and get it. It's all good. Similarly, those of my class who get it, GET IT. They realize I'm not writing Waiting For Godot, or a romance novel that only needs two people plus some distractions. But for whatever reason, over half the class has problems with "different genres have different rules and expectations." Now, granted, whenever the time comes, a romance or a mainstream book would probably be easier to sell. But that's not the book I want to write. It's not the book I want to read.

Which leads to me being frustrated by half the feedback I'm getting, and subsequently having long conversations with Wonderful Husband about this series and why I'm writing it and if it's worth it. Sorta. Something along that line, anyway. I am seriously considering whether I should stop submitting this book to the class, and eventually give them something else instead. Even I can only bash my head against a wall so often before ceding to the headache.

Sigh. I don't know. At this point I'm just vomiting words and frustration onto the Internet. I should go to sleep, and tomorrow hopefully I'll find some clarity.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Things that let you know you're a parent:

--the soft crump of Cheerios underfoot
--realizing that before a year ago, you had never washed your hands so much in your life, whereas now it's at least a couple times a day thing
--opening the outer pocket of your purse to discover the baby's secret stash of star puffs that he put there for later.

And, on a different emotional tack, things that I just can't even bring myself to feel angry about: last night I had my writing class. We had a low review load. Three hours, five submissions to get through. (The usual is seven to eight, like this week will be.) So everything was leisurely, and everyone got a half hour to forty-five minutes. Until the teacher looked up and realize there were two minutes until the end of class and there was still one manuscript to go.

Mine.

So I got like five minutes of feedback. I'd be pissed off about getting the really really short-ass end of the stick, but by this point I know there's no point. This isn't the first time I've been shorted this badly, it won't be the last. Getting angry about it is like pissing into the sea.

Though the classmate I walk to our cars with was talking afterwards about how maybe we need to set timers for each submission review. So it's not just me noticing this has happened more than once.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Adventures in YA Contests has posted round two of the "Pitch Plus Five" contest. This time I'm entry 23. I beat out twenty-five other people to end up in round two, which is nothing to be sneezed at!

Though I did wonder about the two (anonymous) blogger judges I got for round one. One said "Loved this!" (literally, that was the entire comment) while the other made comments that made both Wonderful Husband and I scratch our heads and wonder if she'd actually bothered reading what I wrote. Most puzzling.

Round two, though, is where my revised first five pages (no major changes, just a bit of tightening up) and my query pitch get read and commented on by professional authors! And of the twenty-five of us in this round, only ten will move on to round three. Nervous....

I feel a bit strange asking people to read and comment again, but if you can, and are so inclined, I'll love it, and any of the other authors you leave feedback for will also really appreciate it! (And, if you're curious and want to compare the drafts and revisions, my first five pages from round one are here.)
sakon76: (Sakon)
Too fragging hot today to do much. Fortunately, last night's find that I'm in the second round of the Pitch Plus Five competition shifted things around so that my priorities are (1) revising my first five pages, and (2) coming up with a 150-word "query pitch" (which are usually two different things). Which are both due tomorrow by 9pm PST. While dealing with the distraction of Squiddle playing with his new noisy toys.

But. I've got a first draft of the query pitch done, and some thoughts for what revisions I want to make to the first five pages. Onward!
sakon76: (Sakon)
I'm through to the second round of Adventures in Young Adult Publishing's Pitch Plus Five contest!!!

I need to stare at my first five pages, figure out how, where, and what I want to revise, and also come up with a 150-words-or-less query pitch by midnight Monday.

*Kermitarmspanicflail*

ARGH

Apr. 25th, 2014 03:35 pm
sakon76: (Sakon)
I've got a project started of going through the foot or so of reviews from my writing classmates that're stacked on my desk, and condensing down the edits I want to make to my copy of each ten-page section. And a number of the edits are good and thoughtful.

But then there are the sticklers for grammar who keep going "no semi-colons in dialogue!" and I just want to bash their heads in. WHY THE FRACK NOT? Some I take out, but some, I would genuinely speak that way, so I'm leaving them. (I find it hilarious when they circle semicolons with that note about dialogue, without bothering to realize the bit they circled isn't dialogue.) Also bugging me in the category of "slavish adherence to the rules" are the people who swap phrases around so that every single fricking sentence ends on the strong word. (They do this in their own writing too.) And I just look at it and wonder if they've tried reading some of the sentences aloud, because the way they phrased it does not sound right in English.

Of course, there are the classmates who comment that my writing is "smooth like old whiskey," and I just stop and take a moment to savor that. Because my writing has improved, particularly in the last hundred pages of this book, to the point where I'm enjoying each section as I edit it to turn in to class.

Mind, I still have to go revise the first two-thirds of the book to the same par....
sakon76: (Sakon)
The funny thing about being in the hospital, and on enforced medical rest, and worrying about the state of your uterus and the little person inside of it, and, oh, by the way, the very real possibility that you might at any time suddenly start bleeding to death... is that you don't really feel like writing. All your energy is focused inward, yes, but in an entirely physical way, as opposed to the cerebral way that wants to know "What would happen if...?"

Last night I started writing again. Not much, just a scene and a half of Jamie lost in the woods, but oh it felt so good. It felt right, it felt like I'm finally getting back to normal (or at least what passes as normal for me).

I hadn't realized just how much I'd missed the movies playing in my head, and fitting the right words together so that others could see them too.

No promises on fanfiction delivery dates, but hopefully soon.

ARGH!

Apr. 10th, 2013 10:12 pm
sakon76: (Sakon)
I have a list of reasons my writing class teacher frustrates me. (Yes, I know I've ranted about her here before.) But high on the list is the fact that she just doesn't pay attention. At least not to my submissions.

"Who is this character?" "It just said, Maralys, in the paragraph above this one." "Oh." Grr....

Honestly, when it gets to the point that she reaches one of her own notes for a correction and says, "Oh, well now that I've read it, that makes sense," I just want to throw something at her.

I realize she's a senior citizen. I realize she does not read or write my genre, and thus has no knowledge of its vocabulary and conventions. But when she doesn't even respect my writing enough to bother parsing what the words mean, I get a wee bit testy.

Of course, I was also cringing when she was talking about one of my fellow student's family history (sorta memoirish?) submission tonight. Particularly the part where she was talking about one of the people in it as a character, and I had read ahead to find out the "character" in question is my classmate's grandmother.... There is a certain discretion and respect one should be able to expect when talking about kin. Even when they're framed in written words.
sakon76: (Default)
An intriguing difference between writing original stuff and writing fanfiction: I can tell the moments I am writing good stuff in my novels. They're the moments I go "Wait, what? How the-- Where did that even COME from?!" They're the moments the world I'm creating throws me complete curveballs. I delight in these moments. (They're also part of why I cannot plot things minutely or in fact to the end.)

Fanfiction, I really have no such gleeful markers to tell me when I'm doing good. I pretty much have to rely on my knowledge of my own base writing/creativity level to know that the story is okay.
sakon76: (Default)
Start: 17,719
End: 18,637
Daily total: 918
Monthly total: 4,673

Got through a card and a half. Started setting up stuff that will become relevant and Very Very Important later on for Max and Owen. Went back and smoothed some of this month's writing. Falling asleep on feet, and I have writing class, which I'm not submitting at, and not looking forward to, tomorrow night. Joy. 'Night, all.

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