vixenmage: (existentialist)
I made it all the way up to Cryoburn. Then I had to stop. I don't think I'm psychologically prepared for the ending of that book. I know what's coming. I just don't want to face it. I'll give it a few days and maybe think about it again.

I have not yet slept tonight. Crawled into bed at two in the morning, laid in bed awake until now. Yaaaay.

There's a young, earnest, and not-entirely-normal marine biologist wandering around in my head. He stumbled across interesting things, and he wants to know more. He's about to fall into a heap of trouble, too.

Sometimes I feel guilty that my protagonists are most often male. But I figure, I'll try crossing over some other time. I wonder sometimes if it's terror of being called a Suethor, having crept subliminally into my brain, even while I can't mesh with the PPC on that point. I hope not. I don't know how long those things last. I suspect it's a lifetime. And that would suck. But I find myself more and more just straight-up not giving a flying rat's tailfeathers about who says what I am and am not allowed to enjoy/create. I wrote a Stu. Nobody said anything. I'll write Sues. I read Sues and Stus, too, and it's getting to the point where I do wonder if it's anything more than jealousy - "Your character is allowed to be only so awesome." I know it's more than that. I know when people complain - at least, the people I know - what they mean is "Everything goes right for this character, and it becomes boring to read about." In fanfic, there's the added subversion of the canon characters.

But I maintain that the way to respond to that is A) click the 'return to home' button and try again, or put the book back on the shelf and try again, or B) click the 'review' button and, gently but honestly, point out the issues you have with it. NOT "Oh my god this is a flaming sue, rewrite the whole thing OR ELSE," but... correctly. I dunno, once I found a Tortallan assassin who... eh. It was pretty bad. She appeared in Jon or Thayet's window, turned Alanna into a deranged anger-bot, immediately commanded the fear and respect of George and Jon, had the trust and care of Daine and Numair, was somehow related to Jon but had been brought up in a secret assassin's school and trained from five years on or so, had killed thousands of people after graduating at thirteen (was seventeen), politically significant... I winced. I wrote a review that basically said "Hey, I feel like the Tortallan court would be a lot more hesitant to trust a random-but-feared assassin who popped up in their palace at night, and also the math of your assassin doesn't quite work, she'd be a lot more believable of a character if you toned her back a little. If she's killed thousands of people in four years..." and crunched the numbers.

She got back to me over a year later, and thanked me for being honest, said she'd put a lot more thought into the story since and was working on the logic of it. Made me absurdly happy. I wish the kids I see in the PPC blasting "badfic" and leaving bad reviews would focus on concrit - at this point, they don't even concrit each other. It's a thing that older members have frequently grumped about - when people plug their works, they tend to get a "Great job, more plz, I laughed," reaction. Almost never a detailed... review. Something helpful. I don't bother plugging there anymore - most people don't bother reading stuff that's neither badfic nor a mission, and besides a handful of oldbies, I doubt I have a wide, breathless audience looking for more about the Cafeteria workers. Alas.

I am having fun with them when I write, though. Their only missions involve the purchase of food - the only on-site work I've done with them mostly was an excuse to have someone fling durians as a projectile weapon. (Yes, it is brought up that as cafeteria workers, they really should not have found themselves involved in a combat of sorts.)

The community... well. I'm holding my tongue. I would point out, though, that "Power corrupts" is hardly a 'new' philosophy, let alone a juvenile one. And it seems disingenuous to have a nice, long thread discussing how the community has meant so much to so many people, how it's saved some people from suicide or other terrible things, helped us through life drama and tragedy... and then have people talking about how 'real life' government principles, like checks-and-balances and balance of power and not putting 100% authority in any one person or group's hands - how all of that doesn't apply because this isn't important enough to warrant careful handling, I guess.

I would also point out that it's not so much disingenuous as flat-out dishonest to say you agree with a policy or decision, act like it's a good idea, never speak out against the rules and, in fact, set up a nice long topic of discussion so people can all talk about the rules... and then dismiss the entire system as 'sheer spite for authority' when the next authority crisis comes up. Not to mention the incredible bad faith it implies on the parts of, oh, I don't know, everyone who worked on it. And I cannot help but notice that that topic is something that has only come up in a room with very few people in it, and fewer actually paying attention - rather than a concern brought to the attention of the community.

So I guess I'm not holding my tongue after all. I think saying anything much above this, though, would be more venting my emotional reactions to the various factions and parties than saying anything of value. And if there's anything I've learned about online journalling, it's that your emotions are the part that should not come out.

His name is maybe Farid. He's single. He was in a relationship - getting ready to propose - but his research took him to the other side of the world, and he decided to break off with the girl rather than ask her to wait for him. (No, he didn't sit down with her and discuss it. Yes, he is a bit of an idiot sometimes.) His research is in the ecosystems of gulf streams, maybe, and he comes across, one way or another, something very interesting about some migration...

It's a bittersweet tale in the grand scheme of things. I think I know how it ends - on the main, actiony plot, anyway. I'm not sure how his personal life ends, and I suspect that's going to be important. I think I will be doing some research before I start this thing, too. I do not want to make marine biologists or physicists cry.

I am yawning, but somehow I doubt I will get much sleep in the remaining two hours before I have to get ready for work. Yaaaay.
vixenmage: Beautiful bird which people dislike because it is a crow-related animal (grackle)
Actually, although that's the title my brain came up with for this post, I'm not sure I agree. A huge piece of my life takes place online. The lion's share of all communication with my boyfriend (no, that word will never be easy to type, because my brain will never accept it. Boyfriend, it tells me, is a word that happens to other people. Such strange worlds, we make for ourselves. I'd also argue that it's a stupid word because, like most of this language, it's too vague. But anyway.) takes place online. The numerical majority of my friends are online. Home is where the laptop is.

Anyway. The title was spawned when I realized I'd rather skip filling my tank this week, and walk/not go anywhere requiring driving than have the internet bill go unpaid and risk losing wifi. Which may happen anyway, because I don't know if I can afford to pay it, and the busy season still hasn't kicked in, so my hours are shrinking instead of growing, and I'm at the point where I'm wondering if I should get a second job. But if I do get a second job, and then the busy season kicks in, I will be quite frankly screwed. And if it doesn't, I will miss job opportunities for the Christmas hiring season. There is no right answer!

For now, I'm just praying business picks up.

There are other things I'd like to talk about, but I don't know that I have the spoons to tackle the laundry list of insecurities that are whining at my coattails like leaden koalas.

So! This is my laundry list of projects!
Firstly: [personal profile] thulcandran , which is my new Dreamwidth for the ten-minute prompts I've decided to do every night. (Life promptly smacked me with emotional drama and guilt every night, of course.)
Secondly: Currently Without Link, my project to transcribe the over-a-century-old tome of Arabian Nights my grandparents gave me. It's from back when Muslims and Christians regarded each other as "Like us, but weird," instead of "Doomsaying Evildoers of Darkness, Kill On Sight." And it features djinni as characters in their own right, the spirits of immense power that they were in legends of old, rather than just Deus Ex-Machinas tied to a lamp.
Thirdly: The PPC NaNoWriMo project! Dann came up with a prompt/setting for this year-- every day, 3% of the world disappears. We're going to try and have a mini-anthology when all's said and done.
Fourthly: ...I think this had something to do with the chalkboard on my door, but I don't remember.

At any rate, I'm off-- gonna take some Autumn pictures before the season starts winding down.
vixenmage: (existentialist)
Habit to get into: gonna spend ten minutes a night on Write Or Die, before I go to bed. Five hundred word goal, for now. And then I'm gonna start a blog thing to put everything. No matter what I've written that day, no matter how late it is, every night, ten minutes.

One of these days, I'll learn to stop making decisions like this on the up side of the cycle. I'm not manic, so that's good. But this is one of those "Yeah! I can totally do this!" things that I just know is going to hurt like hell when it inevitably fails, and I'll start going crazy depressed into the "I couldn't even do this one thing, I am worthless," but for now, I am going to try it anyway.

My plan is that if I wind up with occasional continuity, to tag everything for canons and such. Anyway.

Here's what I wrote last night:

The Last Day )

DML mentioned that I should clarify subjects. The conversation between the captain, the engineer, and the AI gets sort of muddled. I remember being careful when writing that not to be too specific, because I was in an abstract state of mind-- but it does need fixing.

(Oh, also? I've become addicted to Terra Nova. Holy shit that show is awesome. And Taylor, ye gods Taylor is win, and just, yay. And the cast is diverse, which is awesome, and features women in kick-ass roles, not just supporting, and it is just all kinds of win. They really hit their stride this episode. The potential was there, the pilot and last week, but this one blew me away, straight up. Damn near cried a bit. And yes, totally fangirling Taylor, (in a nonsexual way). It's... complicated. And led to a personal epiphany which is way too raw for a post like this. But. That show. Yeeeeeey.)
vixenmage: Vimes, lighting a cigar with a dragon; from Wikipedia (Vimes)
So I think, after NaNoWriMo and the month of editing thereafter, I am going to try my hand at writing a romance novel. Even typing that sentence, I have an immediate mental cringe. See, here's the thing. I know it's arrogant. I know it's presumptive, I know I'm oversimplifying, and I figure about one week into this experiment I may very well go "AAAH NO NEVERMIND THIS IS HORRIBLE," but I... um. See, I look at romance novels, ones that are laying around here and there, at my stepmom's house, in the library, in Barnes & Nobel, and I go 'man, i could totally write something way better than that,' and I have done that so many times. "dude! It's so formulaic! if that's all it takes, I could do the same thing but with better language and less cringe-y sex scenes, i've seen better stuff on Harry/Draco slash."

Like I said, there's a pervasive arrogance to it. But, uh. If I'm right? If I can handle that, if I can write a halfway decent romance novel, maybe even one that isn't horribly degrading in creepily pervasive ways, maybe something even empowering... man, that would be really cool. And maybe I could make some money off of it. Which would be really nice.

(If I am going to move out next summer, which I basically have to, and continue to take classes and go to college and so on, I really, really need to be making more money than I am right now. And part of that will change in November/December, I really really hope so, anyway, it always has in the past and up until August this was a good year, and I mean if things are looking really bad in the spring still, I can start looking for a second job again. (This time, one without a lot of 16-20 year olds who act like 14-16 years and think that hooking up with your coworkers/boss is totally acceptable, and think that life is better when you treat it like a soap opera.) But it would be nice if I could do something that kinda proves, to myself more than anyone else, that Yes, I Can Do This Whole Being A Writer Thing. Writing a genre I'm not super interested in would be even better for that, really, because it means I'm more likely to be able to cover subjects I don't care for in journalism. ...Right? Right! Totally.)

So yeah-- my situation right now, in case that paragraph was horribly convoluted (*checks* ...Yup.) and hard to follow, is that I'm going to class, working 30ish hours a week, worried about the future of the place I work at, and living at home. At the end of this school year, my dad is going to sell the house and move in with his girlfriend, my sister is going to college, and I can either go down with them, fifty+ miles or so away from everyone I know and my job and my school, or find a place to live up here. Which means that, unless I can glean substantial financial aid, I may have to start making really difficult choices about whether I want to take the course load that will get me to where I want to be, or whether I want to pay rent and eat. Unless I have a second job, or am making more money from something else (like a romance novel, for example). And if I have a second job, I may wind up choosing between the course load I want to take, and sleeping. Or gas money.

And, well, fuck. If I'm right, and not just being arrogant and rather ignorant, then I'd be getting paid for something that improved my skill as a writer, (otherwise what on earth is the point) rather then getting paid to babysit a heroin addict who routinely steals things from the kitchen, throws up in the garbage behind the prep sink, openly discusses her perception of her boss's sex life and how him and his partner getting married was Wrong and UnAmurrican ("It's different for you kids, in my day things like this were different" "HE'S OLDER THAN YOU ARE"), and is also my supervisor.

Yes. ALL OF THOSE THINGS happened at the last Second Job I got. Also two of the other kids who worked there were actually heroin DEALERS, sometimes to kids younger than eighteen, and everyone smoked pot (except me and like one other person) and one of the managers actually hit me with her car on the way home from work after smoking the joint she rolled on our back counter and one of the guys was thirty and hit on this sixteen-year-old who worked there all the time and thought our (afore-mentioned gay, married) boss was hitting on him ALL THE TIME even in front of his partner and the eventual general manager was a neurotic wreck who talked to everyone as though they were two-and-a-half (in tone, vocabulary, and frequency) and I just, no. Never again.

So! Gonna write a romance novel next year.

Alas, no.

Sep. 25th, 2011 11:44 pm
vixenmage: (it's a heron, most likely a great blue, from the shape.) (statue)
So it's quarter to eleven, and I just had a shouting match with my sister (BUT ANYWAY), and I have to work a full shift tomorrow (it's complicated, I'm not sure how we're going to work out the timecard this week), but I have had this idea in my head and it won't go away and I don't actually own all the characters, so I can't do it anyway.

It would be amusing, though. The scene begins thusly:

Professor Freeman is in his office, preparing the lesson, or scrying for something or other - it's what he does. As he peers into the circle/mirror, the vision clouds over, and two vivid yellow eyes stare out at him with an unblinking concentration. After a moment, the apparition greets him in Arabic - a dialect that hasn't been commonly spoken for a few milennia, at least. It inquires, in tones about as honeyed as a roaring chainsaw, if he is acquainted with the young son of a djinni? Arrogant fellow, prone to biting off more than he can chew, more charm and cleverness than actual wisdom or care? Hair about this long, a couple long tooth-mark scars down his torso?

Freeman, being no fool, would most likely wonder why, exactly, the apparition was looking for this person, and what he would be doing by attempting to contact them?

Oh, nothing much, the vision clears a bit, and a reptilian-looking fellow steps out from the murk, staring unnervingly at the scrying professor with the intense focus of a honed predator. It's just that he happens to owe me a favor. If you do see him - his energy signal seems to be all over your location - just let him know Husam is looking to collect a debt*. Agreeing to this message, the connection is cut. Freeman makes sure his wards are set up and he will not be spied upon, and sets out to find Shihab, and possibly wring his neck.

The young half-djinni in question is currently in the library, having snuck in through the ceiling tiles as is his wont, and poring over old blueprints of biplanes. Freeman uses different tricks to get in, probably, and finds a Shihab-shaped shadow (in stealth mode, and therefore very difficult to see, unless you're looking carefully-- tends to appear as a trick of the light, due to translucency and absorbing light, rather than reflecting it) at a table, notebook and quill working away furiously. The student doesn't notice the other shadow until it's three or four feet away, and has decided, graciously, to clear its throat. Then he freezes - act natural, maybe you haven't been noticed?

Alas, no. "Shihab, have you been making deals** with demigods?"

's as far as I've gotten. It's too bad SDA went under; Dann playing Freeman there would be massively fun (and a great deal more convincing than I can pull off).

*How I would actually write this:
It will not be
of a troubling matter,
I think.

His energy is near to
your location,
which explains the misunderstanding.
if you happen across
his path,
I would appreciate your passing on
a message.

Professor Freeman raised an eyebrow. "I can do that. And the message would be?"
Tell my young friend
wishes to collect
his debt.
"If I do happen across him," for example, as soon as I can get the idiot in strangling range, "I will let him know."

Thank you.

**I think I wound up cutting this from the final version, but Shihab trades three favors for information he needs, after establishing that Husam will not 1) ask him for something lethal, like his life's blood, 2) ask him for something literally impossible, or 3) use this to enslave him.
vixenmage: (existentialist)
This is a bit of the Minecraft mythos I've begun. In the vein of my usual tricks and gambols, I decided to plant a garden underwater. Why? Why not? I died three times, but only once did I lose everything. This is often an issue with me - early in Dann's map, I put up a lava stream on a chunk of ice-field. Then there's the hole in the ocean (to be fair, that was accidental - I was only trying to plant a few trees underwater), and the cloud-forest (which still needs to be expanded), and the fact that my home base is almost always a schizoid sort of tower, and the part where I -was- successful building a tree underwater... at any rate.

This is the story of the birth of Fli, who guards the madmen and artists of the Minecraft world. Every lunatic twisty tower, or sculpture of ice and fire, or ridiculous project of tomfoolery is protected by him, and his symbol is the mushroom. He is the son of Nua and Ark, the god of clouds and goddess of trees, respectively. It's not done, but it will be! Only a bit to go. Read more... )

* * *
vixenmage: Beautiful bird which people dislike because it is a crow-related animal (grackle)
Continued from this post, the beginning of a slice of origin story for Shihab, one of my SDA characters. Cut mainly for length )

Also, I agree with Penny Arcade on this movie. First, are you serious? He's scarred and tattooed and pierced WOOEE IS ME SO HORRIBLE. Secondly, I really hope they were trying for an over-the-top very clearly not realistic at all high school. I think so - fairy tales did that with kingdoms, so it kind of works. Thirdly, the only way this plot would work for me is if he stays that tattooed, scarred, pierced person. Flashing back to the curly blond prettyboy would just be a cop-out, especially if she decides to stay with him. Ugh.
vixenmage: (icarus)
It's Complicated: A Bruce Almighty Ficlet. )
vixenmage: (coexist)
[Several Hours Later...]

Okay, the proper approach isn't working. Let's try something... interesting.

This paper needs to be about privilege, because that's what widespread information pokes holes in. The printing press poked holes in the clerical grip over the world; the internet is poking holes in the first-world superiority complex. Right now, the internet is going all over the world, connecting hackers in China with protestors in Egypt with politicians in America. People are downloading music, legally and illegally, and reading blogs that make their blood boil and their heart sing. The gap is closing, between privileged and unprivileged - that Jamaican girl you passed on the sketchy side of Main Street last night is a moderator on a WoW forum, kicking your son's friend out for the night because he said something offensive.

What the printing press did was end the limits on books. Suddenly, you didn't need to be a priest to read. And when people can read, people can write, and people can nail theses to church doors, and publish pamphlets about government, and write books about why a unified Italy, or Prussia, is a good idea, and power is no longer held in the hands of the bishops and arch-bishops who get to decide which monks' works go out to the church, and which saints' ideas are passed on to the public, and suddenly, opinions are everywhere. It's hard to argue against an effect like that; I don't think the internet is an argument against it, but a carrying on of that same mantle, that same brick-by-brick destruction of the status quo. It's a jump-start to the momentum and inertia of revolution.

Why yes, I am a writer.

Now I'm getting somewhere. I'll keep on and write this, and then write the paper that says it more formally, and then I'll have something other than a blank page, at least.


Jan. 27th, 2011 01:28 am
vixenmage: St. Francis wiv a bird on 'is haid! (Default)
It's one o'clock in the morning, snowflakes tumbling up and down through the darkness outside the window, I can only see them up close, obscuring the distant glow of the streetlight, tossed and turned by the wind, and they remind me of a wild joy, they remind me of standing beneath the lights in the park, watching that eternal dance and laughing for the joy of life, and I am here, and there's an empty grapevine on the table, and a sheet of numbers scrawled between the edges of feathery, sharp, black and swirling sketches, writing that looks more like conspiracy every day, and bed looms in the colder corners of the house, full of wood shavings and fouled sheets and oddly shaped footprints on the floor, and piano lurks in the edges of my mind, lulling me to wakefulness.

It's like standing in the middle of a road, no landmarks anywhere in sight, wondering whether you were on the right side or the left before things started spinning, it's like looking at the sky for leading stars in the daylight, all too bright to care about your perceptions, it's like singing in the city, where the air is full of smoke and corners, watching, see you don't invade their space, a concept only cities could've dreamt to being, and the people wonder at the dreams of their own places, the space that takes up just a little bit of life, you'd never miss it if the story hadn't pointed it out, belike.

It's the drawing of the graph of something you don't know the meanings for, it's the sketching of the abstract, rather than the numbers you were told, it's the patterns in between the meanings, it's the patterns in the pages in the lines in the cubic space of three dimensions, where the clouds are more than shadows on the horizon, where that grain of sand has more angles than the snowflakes that we draw, where the possibilities are only as endless as the lenses can bend them into being, it's the fractal beauty of life in the space outside the minds' confines.


Dec. 13th, 2010 01:36 am
vixenmage: (icarus)
"Don't even think about it. You're surrounded, Dak. We've had you right where we wanted you for months now."

The officer slowly let his hands fall back to his sides, as though he'd never reached for the button on the wall, as though it'd never been a move for the trigger, as though nothing had happened. He gave his longtime comrade in arms a lopsided smile, shrugging. "Oh, you know me too well. It's all harmless, Johan. It always has been, you understand-- of course you do." There was no question, no hesitation-- it was a sure thing, in his voice, the kindness of his eyes. That he was trustworthy, that the man standing at the door knew this, that no harm would pass between them, it was all in order, a basic fact of life.

Strangely expressionless, Johan said nothing, regarding Dak intently for a while before he stepped aside from the door. Dak did not look relieved, nor grateful-- he merely stood from the chair, ready to walk through. The helmeted, masked guard stepped into the room before he could, and the gun was immediately leveled at his chest.

Johan met his gaze evenly. "Did you know where I was?"

A nod-- wordless.

"I thought you might. It's not a myth. By the way." He studied his old-- friend? He'd thought so. "Tell me, Dak-- you had plans for this place? For me? Was I to be your pawn, or your sacrificial lamb?"

Dak said nothing still, did not blink or twitch, gave nothing away.

Johan looked away from him for a moment, then back. "Was I your equal, Dak? Did you care about me, about this, our endeavors? Did--" he broke off, swallowing, and resumed. "Did you ever actually care about me?"

His face remained closed, but Johan no longer needed him to speak. "You have no idea how much this pains me," he said quietly. With an abrupt gesture at the masked gun, he left the room. After a bare moment, the guard followed him out, the weapon returned to its holster.

When Dak collected himself and went to the doorway, they were both gone-- vanished, as though they'd never been at all.
vixenmage: St. Francis wiv a bird on 'is haid! (Default)
Yes, I'm finally writing a spin-off. The only question, at the moment, is whether I want to do assassins or cafeteria workers/foragers. I'm leaning heavily towards the latter, but time will tell.

An Introduction. )


vixenmage: St. Francis wiv a bird on 'is haid! (Default)

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