Writing

May. 29th, 2011 10:14 pm
opera142: (Default)
A great simile came to me today, and that should be cause for celebration, right? Except that it's a simile I've been futzing with for a couple of weeks. Always auditioning words and concepts, never liking any of them. Until today's great one.

Why does my brain work like this? Why have a let weeks-long pondering become a habit? Why am I so precious? And why does always work out in the end, so that my brain has incentive to keep its m.o? ERGH.

Writing

Apr. 19th, 2011 07:48 pm
opera142: (crayons)
Okay, kinda almost over my bout of writing panics. Had a horrific run of nasty self-talk during the drive home from my last writing meet-up. The worst part of it is, it was triggered by correcting a bad sentence. I found a clunky run, I fixed it then proceeded to trash myself for the mistake.

I took the weekend off. Read a terrible novel, ate a snickerdoodle (sounds like a vulgar British term), caught up on roughly 45 billion hours of TiVo'd wrestling. LOL, Matt Hardy stands between Abyss and Bully Ray so he looks skinny, and RVD stole my "Girls, girls. You're both pretty" line. Also tried to play with Sophie and Mazy who are still in the OMG THAT LADY IS BACK! BENEATH THE COUCH! IT'S OUR ONLY HOPE! stage.

The only writing-based work I did was create a list of everything I didn't like about the draft I'm revising and everything that makes me doubt the quality of the writing. It's a big list, but at least it's clearly defined goals with minimum nasty talk.
opera142: (The Precious)
Today was failure compounding on failure. Trashy failure, no less, as the inciting incident was the realization I forgot to pay my cc bill. I'm too embarrassed to go into the comedy of errors, and now I feel like I fail at life and I'm a big, fat failure turtle.

I am home, and Moe brought pizza. Let the carb-induced circle of despair spin all night.

Tears

Nov. 21st, 2009 11:21 am
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
The most wretched realization to a writer: continuity error

Le sigh. Six lousy pages of porn, and I managed a continuity error. One so big it requires a major re-imagining of the ending--- the ending I already once totally gutted and re-wrote from the blank page up. Third time's the charm, right? Right? Tell, me right?


Onto to draft # 27 or something.
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
I realized today that the timespan between me thinking OMG, I have an awesome idea! and then compiling mental lists of why the idea sucks/is unwritable/is beyond any skills I'll ever have is about 10 minutes.
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
a bit of sad background: I grew up in a racist family. Crazy racist, appallingly racist, any disappointing adjective you can add to racist, that was my extended family. I was an adult before I heard brazil nuts called brazil nuts. I've heard terms that to this day, I'm not sure which group was being slammed. My family also invented horrible terms, because I guess, there weren't enough racist slurs to go around.

I struggle with that upbringing when I try to discuss racism or homophobia or being a decent human being. Because, while I know over-the-top racism, I'm pretty tone-deaf about the less-obvious ones. Moe had to clue me in on "oriental describes things, not people" Shamefully, I should have known that, and I've never used that word that way since, and I'm not trying to dodge any "oh Opera" I deserve, I'm just trying to explain that my thinking was "I'm trying to use a "good" word instead term X, Y, or Z."

I'm not proud of that moment Moe had to correct me, but it did solidify my position on slurs. They aren't about the speaker; they're about who they're aimed at, who's hearing them. My intent really doesn't matter if it has the capacity to hurt someone. A proper reaction isn't "I didn't mean it that way"; it's "I'm sorry."

The "wifey" secret and one of the series of replies at Wrestlesecrets triggered that in me. "Wifey" bugs me for a lot of reasons: way to perpetuate heteronormality you transgressive slashers you, way to devalue friendship (especially between women) by suggesting marriage should be the ultimate goal of relationships (and its high point), and mostly because (and this is where I'm worried I'm making a super fail)I feel like it totally shits on people who can't get married.

Fandom likes to wallow in wangsty-ness about two people, deeply in love, who can't marry. Love disrespected is awful, yes. But the true crime in the gay marriage problem is the socio-economic impact. The easiest way to marginalize a group is to stymie them economically. To make the issue totally about relationships mocks the economic kicks to the teeth people take. It mocks real struggles and real deprivation-- deprivation that doesn't have to exist. It's not about love or "finishing each other's sentences"; it's about the fact that some people get tax cuts and no-hassle health insurance for being straight and some people pay more tax and possibly go without health insurance because they love someone of the same sex.

So, to me, calling each other "wifey" on the internet seems like a shitty co-option of a term other people braved physical danger and social trauma and economic deprivation in order to say in the privacy of their own homes.
opera142: (crayons)
I'm struggling with two things in my quest to gain the grammar skills of a reasonably educated 3rd grader. The first is that the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know, and that gets daunting and make me question every grammatical choice I make. It also encourages chickening-out and just using words/sentences/punctuation I know. I'm working on making myself look up things, double-check things, learning them once and for all.

That plan, however, is stymied by my other issue. I grew up hearing awful English. My family, our neighbors, said things like "Them apples are rotten." Grammar wasn't "taught" as a correct/incorrect thing, but as a class issue. Yes, really. There was the way hoity-toity rich people (and the wanna-be's) spoke, and there was the way we (us real people) spoke. Because the crappy elementry schools I went to didn't much in correcting that, I grew up believing grammatical issues were choices. Snobs used "whom" and "as", real folks used "who" and "like".

Overcoming that isn't as easy as realizing how dumb that sounds and setting myself to learning proper grammer 20 years too late. I struggle with grammar because I so rarely heard it used correctly (because I never did get to hear it right). It's not natural yet, and I don't have years of correct usage to guide me (not to mention that years of hearing incorrect speech has made incorrect sound.

So when I look up a rule, all I have is as much information as that rule gives. Take like/as. The rule says, as is followed by a verb, like isn't. An apple tastes like mush; drying is as much work as washing. But what if the verb is implied? What if the verb comes 8 words later? I don't have years of hearing the correct choice to fall back on and I like to split hairs and fret about my writing. It gets frustrating.

***

I read an awful short story this week, and it revitalized me. Which, I guess, is terrible. But, I hope, it won't be so terrible once I finish explaining myself. I realized that I don't want to write like that-- prose clogged with to-be verbs, details that describe nothing, cliches instead of characterization, a story the reader can't "see".

A while ago, I made a choice about the way I was going to write. And me being me, I've doubted that decision ever since. I mean, I left most goals vague and loose and able to be pushed aside in service of the story, but I still felt like I was putting style above story. Or that I chose to follow a path that's headed straight towards a dead end. Or that somehow, someway it would stymie me or set me back or lead to V. Bad Writing. Or that I'm so in love with writing that way that I don't see poor verb choices clogging the prose, details that sound pretty and describe nothing, clarity sacrificed to avoid a cliche, a story a reader can't "see" because my writing is in the way.

It's not that the awful story assured me my choice was absolutely correct or that my way of writing is the ne plus ultra of awesome. But it did show me that the basic goals I've set for myself are contributing (for now) to me writing well.

I don't suck in every way possible. Yay.
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
I'm frustrated with the opener of a story I'm working on. It goes against two common bits of writing advice: start the story as late as possible, and, don't describe the usual order of business.

The starting the story as late as possible advice has always given me trouble. Exactly when is that? I understand the basic concept. I don't need 18 pages of backstory/history about a character to care whether or not he/she has a gun to his/her head. But-- and this is where my confusions starts-- I do want some connection, some understanding of their dilemma, some clues about why this gun-pointing is more dramatic and interesting than the pages of generic gun-pointing available for me to read about in the newspaper.

Fanfiction has a few built-in shortcuts (we know the characters, we know their alignments and habits and motivations and backstories), except with wrestlefic, that's not always the case. There's a difference between backstage!Hunter and arena!Hunter, and his current TV alignment (heel, face, tweener) isn't necessarily the alignment he's going to have in any given fic. Even though I have my pre-set notions of characters, I go into fics willing to be told who is the protag and who is the antag and what their deals are.

Some story time is necessary to do that, so I get confused/fretty over this late-starting business. I don't trust myself usually to judge what's necessary and what's me being in love with the backstory. I like the mundane and the everyday and the emotional baggage character's lug around with them. Provided it's well-written and lively, I'm happy to read it. And because I like to read it, I write it.

A lot my stories begin in a similar manner: introspection by the POV character, then another character shows up to cause trouble. The current fret-causing fic begins that way. In one draft, it takes 8 paragraphs for the troublemaker to show; in another he shows up in paragraph 3. Neither feel right, and while the obvious answer is Write Draft #3, I want to think on the problem first, not just write in the dark.
opera142: (crayons)
Giant Hail storm today! Everyone stopped helping the needy and watched chunks of ice dent our cars. The PT escaped dents. It did not escape branches. My rear windsheild wiper is busted :( Better than the glass itself though.

This happened around 9:30 this morning, and when I left at 11, a dent-repair company had already left card on everyone's windows. In a crisis, auto-repair shops mobilize!
opera142: (bleach)
When I start finding meaning in goddamn U2 songs, it's time to quit dwelling on shit.
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
Sometimes when I'm stuck writing-wise, I'll grab my thesaurus, open to a random page, and try to make a sentence using the first word I see. Just now I did that, and under the header: NONACOMPLISHMENT my word was: "unfinished".

-_____-
opera142: (crayons)
So I filled a request for the wrestling kink meme (http://community.livejournal.com/meme_power/4701.html) and I feel kind of out-of-sorts about it.

The writing's not so great. Some stuff I did to "disguise" my writing--- not that anyone over there knows me anyway, but I thought a little disguising was part of the fun.

Moreso than the writing was the content. Maybe I'm putting too much of my own experiences with wants and frustrations into this, and maybe the OP isn't anywhere as picky and fussy as I am, but, I can't help feeling like I ignored the implied aspects of the request.

The OP requested cross-dressing, and I delivered it. But, you know how fandom (usually) thinks, and I'm pretty sure she wanted the bottom cross-dressing, and I wrote the top as the one in drag.

I wanked before about how stuff that comes close to one's kinks but misses is more disappointing than badfic. I feel like I delivered the equivalent of Taker/M. Hardy with M. Hardy sobbing through the whole thing while Taker plans their wedding.

I don't know. *I* like the story (well the idea. The writing shames me), but kink memes reallly aren't about the author. I feel bad.

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