opera142: (towel)
Pretty sure this is the first time in my life I've a seen the same movie twice in a first-run theater.

My original opinions pretty much stand: Black Widow is awesome, the action is superfly, it probably should have been two movie-- one of unstoppable evil Winter Soldier with hints at him being more than he seems, and one of redeeming Bucky (a third, mostly of WS Showering and having angsty flashbacks seems necessary too though I don't know how reconcile dick shots and pg-13) and the Taking Our Freedoms is Bad Mkay message is heavy-handed and diluting itself by trying to appeal to all sides of the ideological fence. Additionally, I struggle with the unquestioning certainty of American Freedom(s). We have a lot of work on that front too, and it's just a weirdly tangled up in shitty stuff as it is in other countries.

However, heavy-handing message aside, I love the story. So much agency for everyone, so many bad decisions biting everyone in the ass, so much punishment not fitting the crime. The story got better (for me) on the second watch, sadder and creepier.

Pierce. Holy Hell. To listen to his conversations with Fury and Captain America on the second go-round, to hear how he manipulates every single exchange, the constant sniffing for information with the most seemingly small-talkish questions, the way he says stuff knowing how those words will be heard... the conversation with Captain America in Pierce's office after Fury's death is so manipulative and threatening and wrong.

My reactions to some of the conversations on the second go-round unsettled me. I went into the movie intent on paying attention to action and the beats. On the first watch, I wasn't super impressed with a lot of dialogue-- most of the jokes are meh, everyone is too nice, the big line "Who the hell is Bucky?" felt flat to me--- yes, I know it's from the comic, but I also feel the Winter Soldier doesn't jibber-jabber with his targets. (though, I can buy some other response from WS because reading reactions is a matter of self-preservation for him, and Cap gave him a too-honest reaction to ignore, but that is a 1258742145235 word post for another time; along with The Chair Scene Why Fangirls Are Interpreting It Wrong And What I Have to Say About That).

Anyways, the action. Maybe it's my lack of movie viewing showing, but the action makes me gaga. Everywhere I expected X, I got Y+. When WS rips the steering wheel out of Sam's hands, holy cats. Logically, I know it plays into a huge fear of mine (drowning in my car after it goes off a bridge. I live by lots of lakes and icy roads.), but what an efficient way of compromising your targets. Lots of competency-- especially from secondaries, one of my favorite bits was Sam on the bridge taking potshots at baddies--- wasn't using his wings, wasn't being a superhero, he was just a dude doing the right thing with his skill set.

And I like how simple-- very cool and stylized and amped and brutal, but simple-- a lot of the action was. How the characters planted their weight, block shots, reacted to counter-strikes, all of it simple and elegant and fun to watch.
opera142: (crayons)
Whenever I get to feeling too smarty-pants and competent, along comes a lit-crit book that sends me to the dictionary every other paragraph and reminds me that smart is a constantly sailing ship, of which glimpses of its backside against a softly-lit and far way horizon is as close to it as I'm ever going to get.

Anyway, among the pile of words I had to look up was "lambency". It means, the state of being lambent which has four meanings. One sent my brain spinning, and I spent long, meta-y minutes gazing at the picture of a giraffe hanging above the bookshelf upon which the dictionary lives.

Definition #3 of lambent: giving off a soft radience.

My brain-spinning was set off by that definition playing bumper cars with my writing m.o's. In general, if something can stated in fewer words without losing any of my intent, I will choose the fewer-word option. I will use "crooked" over "bent oddly", I will use "wail" over "cried loudly and despondently". But, my first thought about lambent was why not just say "giving off a soft radience"?

Now, I know that was stung-ego talking. What makes lambent any less satisfactorily succinct than crooked or wail? Other than until a few minutes ago, I knew the definintion of latter two, but not the former one. But, in my defense, crooked and wail are common words. Lambent isn't, as far as I know*

So, finally, my point and my question. Assuming no restrictions from style or the like, what's your way of dealing with uncommon words? Trusting in your ability to enable a reader to suss out the meaning? Whatever, if he or she is dumb like you Opera, they can look it up like you, Opera? An unwillingness to send your reader to the dictionary? Something else?

Obviously I'm asking about something both very subjective and personal. So any poking I do at your reply is simply me gathering more info in order to formulate my own solution rather than a pressing you to defend your stance.

*Though, now since I've seen it, it will pop up a bunch of time in the upcoming week.

Fic Meme

Apr. 1st, 2012 10:19 pm
opera142: (crayons)
Fic meme

1. Go to page 7 of your most recent WiP
2. Count seven lines down
3. Copy and paste the next seven lines of text

Okay, I fudged some. Exactly seven lines down meant a mess of sentence fragments and an odd ending point. So I picked a little further down the line and went a bit longer because of my ginormous ego because it wound up being an amazing summary of the whole fic. Whateva rule-followers, I do what I want.

[AJ] sucked in his bottom lip, vowing right then to put the brakes on he and Daniels’ latest means of killing time during car rides: coaching AJ on The Dignified Arts of Verbal Sparring and Silencing Cretins. For the most damning comebacks, Daniels told him to simply, “agree with the premise but return the onus back onto your opponent.” AJ asked what onus meant, then looked it up later to make sure.

It didn’t mean a kind of donkey, which had been AJ’s first guess. Onus meant blame, but fancier. Likely there were other details involved-- Daniels dealt in two-faced vocabulary, the kind that lured with sweet, convivial sentiments, then pounced on the first stutter. Christian spoke it too.

AJ jerked but Christian held tight and asked, “What are the Lord’s feelings on sodomy?”

“Nothing about it in the Commandments.” AJ said. Half a stone tablet about coveting though. A bit of his heart scarred over, and he asked again, “About my title shot.”
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
Anxiety-filled writing session last night. One those--write a line. Squint at it. Delete it. Re-write it word for word. Re-write it word for word except exchange "bobbing" for "floating". Tilt head, frown, and wonder if the "bobbing" in the same sentence as "bubbles" is a)beautiful alliteration, b)off-rhythm and weird, c)crap-- kind of nights.

Ended up with an advancement of two or three paragraphs. Me and the glaciers, man. Slow as shit, and disappearing. Ugh
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
The Panics hit me hard today. I'm at the early-draft point where the story seems huge and tangled and flawed and a re-hash of all my ruts. I am running around the den, flailing like Lucy from the Peanuts while Moe, Schroeder-like, plays piano Mass Effect 3 or something.
opera142: (crayons)
26,500 on Nano. A little bit behind, but I'm feeling fine about it.

It's weird. It started out being this totally self-indulgent thing. Crammed full of all the minutiae of daily life that I love, pages and pages of drunken dinner parties full of snark and filthy conversation, an accounting mystery, and a mostly empty library, the last of its books having having hilariously wretched, proto-goth titles. So gloriously self-indulgent. I snicker while writing it.

As it is, it will likely never see the light of day. To revise it would be a thorough gutting. I doubt 80% of it would survive-- too much noodling and backstory. My main characters have only just begun flirting, and it was the kind of flirting which sets back a romance by fifty or so pages. No one wants 30 pages of Opera noodling before the plot finally waltzes in. No one.

What intrigues me, is how much fun I'm having writing it. I can pound out 700 words in 45 minutes. Terrible, non-descriptive, to-be ridden and "there was" studded sentences. The dialogue, as usual, is the only thing saving this work, and even it is shamefully silted and clunky. Normally, this much terrible would shame me into stopping and give me writers' block like whoa. Now, only the thought of someone else reading it shames me. I can pound out terrible words and be okay with typing (DECEMBER ISSUE) afterwords-- meaning I can gut and cut and angst come December.

EXCEPT, oh the manic-tempered except, by clearing out all my darlings, I have been a plot-creating racehorse. The plots I have been coming up with. I have a whole notebook full of ideas for my next project. I feel like I just cleaned out my closet and forced myself to give away a ton of beloved clothes. Now I'm staring a rack of Whole New Possibilites.

opera142: (whee)
Awesome run at the keyboard today. Highlights include:

-revising an okay sentence into a much, much better expression of the character's mood.

-finally, finally FINALLY polishing a scene that refused any and all previous attempted at refurbishing. I had taken to calling the scene Fuckleberry Sinn, which is funny and relevant only to me. That damn thing fought me at every word. I WON.
opera142: (whee)
Awesome run on the keyboard this morning. I turned a 250-word, dead in the water paragraph into a thousand word scene. And! And other than one word that I'm not fond of and one visual that I can't find a lively word for, it's crazy good for a word dump.

It's funny! I smiled while writing it. I'm proud of myself.
opera142: (crayons)
This week's writing issues:

1. So much abstraction and navel-gazing. So many paragraphs blathering on and on about sin and goodness and guilt and temptation. 1793* called and they want their moralizing novels back.

Also why so much pluperfect tense? And the modal verbs. I sound like Ric Flair when I moan "Oh God" during edits. I am a better writer than "should", "could", and "would". My use of "ought" however is a sign of genius.

2. The prose lacks umami. Don't know what the literary equivalent is so I'm calling it umami. The basic taste sensation that's sorta meaty, sorta savory and all about complexity. To abuse the food metaphor further, think about a really good spaghetti sauce. Garlic, basil and oregano are perceptable, but what really, really makes the sauce great is how all the flavors blend; the whole is rich, heady, savory. Right now, my prose is four hundred tiny hot fudge sundaes. Yummy, sure. On the sentence level, some of the lines are my best writing ever. Gobble, gobble. However, after the fourth or fifth bite, even though they're super yummy, they also come off as one-note-ish, uncomplex and uninvolving.

3. Part of the above comes from, I hope, my self-challenge to write longer sentences. Oh, the sprawling, wandering messes I've written. Some are terrific, believe it or not. Balls awesome. Musical, clear, clever. I can't believe I pulled them off. The thing, though, is that well-done long sentences are such complete thoughts. What needed to be said, was. Every speck of it. And, I find it difficult to build the next sentence because nothing is wanting from the last.

4. Expansion. Geez brain. Every sentence I write seems to open an entire scene that wants to be written-- the more sidetrack-y the better. Seriously, a character reflects on a roadtrip and the WHOLE DAMN TRIP wanted to be written about-- the driver's obsession with his CB radio, the assface riding shotgun, the sleeping dude, the passing scenery. I wanted a two or three sentence fond memory, my brain was like how about some total recall. Doubly annoying is the story itself is already flashback, fond memory, navel-gazing heavy. Quit writing more. Just make what's there more meaningful and active.

5. I'm writing for myself. Not in the selfish sense (or rather, the most obviously selfish sense like here's the unedited, ungrammar checked guide to my fetishes and story buttons), but in the

a)I'm making shit up when it suits me. I'm trying to be diligent about dates and PPVs and other verifiable crap. But with other stuff, I'm doing what I want. I doubt the character was brought up as religious as I'm making his past. The wrestling business does not operate like I'm protraying it. Let's hope some people aren't the dicks I'm writing them as.

b)I won't call this autobiographical, but there is A LOT of me in this. I'm counting on the whole What Seems Baldly Obvious To Me Is Nothing No One Else Will Catch Onto, but meh, I still feel stupidly exposed.

c) is tediously Operafic even without the point above. My current MO seems to be Let's See If I Can Turn Even The Most UnOpera Story Into a Totally By Opera story. Sometimes I worry that all my little writing projects within a story (write long sentences, write ugly characters, write characters no one would expect me to write) isn't just a self-deluding cover-up to avoid acknowledging that all I write is the same, snarky-smarky, dismal stories over and over.

*Take that, 1999 fic.

The Panics

Aug. 26th, 2011 05:32 pm
opera142: (crayons)
The Panics are rising. My most recent way of keeping them at bay -- this is not a first draft concern-- isn't valid anymore, as I'm in editing mode. So, I'm listing them with the hopes of leaving them here so that I can have a decent run during my writing session tomorrow.

In no particular order:

Too many metaphors and similes? I'm a raccoon of ineptness pawing through the garbage can of picturesque speech. Hundreds of metaphors lay dying in fields of text like so many civil war cosplayers cos-paying the ultimate price on a fairgrounds Gettysberg. Yeah.

The voice of the story, the "twang" I like to call it, went wonky. At first, it was so honey-on-biscuits. Now, it's overworked, overbaked Perkins muffin. Where did the lovely not-drawl go?

Is AJ coming off as holier-than-thou? Judgemental? willing to blame everyone but himself?

Too much internal dialogue/flashbacks, which also means too much telling instead of showing?

Is this a story, or am I trying to gussy up a slice of life? Ugh.
opera142: (crayons)
Choose five lines of description/non-dialogue and five lines/exchanges of dialogue from your stories that you consider to be favorites, or that are especially meaningful/important to you. Don't agonize over this: go with your first instincts!

Okay, then )


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.
opera142: (whee)
I had a very good writing session last night. Not much in word count, only a couple of hundred. BUT, I got some major structure issues resolved, and a I cut about a page and half of placeholders/filler. I love that moment when the story's path clears, and culling the bramble gets easy.


Dec. 4th, 2010 03:41 pm
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
Well, I didn't win Nano. Finished the month with about 35k written. Which is awesome for me, considering I spent most of last year on one 7k short story. So I'm pretty content. Only about about a third of plot got written out. Of course, during nano I threw every detail/plot point/bit o'backstory in "just in case I'd need it", so now comes the hard work of figuring out what belongs in the story and what gets excised. And making myself leave the editing alone until I get the last 2/3rd written.

That chumk of plot remains very half-hidden. I have the ending in mind; it's the getting there in an interesting manner that has me fretting. Also fret-worthy: will anyone want to read a gothic? Is my scary scary enough? Is the mystery mysterious enough?
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
Starting wordcount: 0
Ending wordcount: 722
Eats/keyboarder enstickyinger: Iced Tea, chicken quesadilla.
Internet time-waster Research: olive oil, how the f is it made; faux-gothy name for a Franco-German castle.
Tyop du jour: ducky for duchy
Things accomplished: Figured out how to mingle theme with seemingly ordinary description of a covered bridge. Then derailed myself by wondering what the purpose of a covered bridge is, as opposed to an open one. Also, calling the bridge Baylon's Bridge as a shout-out to Martin, but will likely change that.


Oct. 25th, 2010 10:43 am
opera142: (crayons)
I'm debating whether or not to do Nanowrimo this year.

The Cons
1. Nano doesn't really teach what I'm most open to learning right now: well-crafted stories. Nano teaches you text dumping, which is good. But I'm more interested in practicing good transitions and clever plot twists and OH! descriptions and enchanting word choices.

2. Last time I participated in Nano, it drained my creativity. Sucked the words right out of me. It took months before I was happily creative and looking forward to writing sessions agains.

3. I don't attach to my work until I believe there's some awesome in it. An amazing line or a POW! run of dialogue. Nano is about plunging forward, going forward, not backward. Upward, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards 50k of words. I am not super eager to spend a month going hardcore on something I'm meh about.

The Pros

1. I kinda-sorta feel like a good old-fashioned text dump might be the thing I need. I get v. caught up in making stuff awesome that my writing has slowed to tiny drips because I'm hyper editing during the creation stage. I'm sick of that. My creativity used to be a ferocious eagle, soaring, diving, killing smaller birds. I want my fucking CAW back.

2. Meet ups. All my writerly friends have given up. I need new writerly friends.

3. I have an idea for a story that I know my brain with MOCK MOCK MOCK. In Nano, there is no mock, so my brain can STFU.

Right now, I'm leaning towards DO IT. Mainly because the cons are stances of fear and the pros are stances of progression. Also, when I was talking about it with Moe, he said, "Try it, if you don't like it, you can stop."
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
Writing panics of the day:

a)When writing 3rd person POV, I spend way too much editing energy on fretting over whether a character's name or his/her pronoun works better in each use.

b)I've been working on the re-write of a placeholder paragraph for a week now. UGH. It's missing that one image or idea or idk-what that makes it CLICK. It feels unwhole somehow, like there's a gap in the logic.

c)Setting/background noise is giving me no end of hand-wringing. Sometimes I feel like my characters are yakking away on an empty stage. Othertimes, I feel like the story is way too cluttered. I guess it's a matter of finding/including the right details rather than a certain percentage, but UGH. Setting has always been my weak spot, and most writing how-to books just talk about the big picture stuff and authenticity. Which matter, but do not help me much with this particular story's setting problems.
opera142: (Default)
This morning's writing session: not productive at all. One good line, the rest stumbles and wanderings through the crap forest.

The problem, I think, is I can't quite figure out the character's stance on his problems. Right now, everything is very abstract and faux-grandiose concepts. Nothing is bleeding.

If I could just get him to say, in plain, easy english "This is bothering me because ..." I know this story would start moving foreward again.

C'mon little guy. You've got a great opener and some killer dialogue. Don't chicken out on me now.
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
I used some variation of "slop" 5 times in a 7-page draft. Verb, adverb, adjective, adjective, adverb.

No crime in slopping up a draft mucking up a draft, and hooray! for noticing the repetitions. But, it's like pulling fingernails trying to make myself swap out those 5 "slop"s. I <3 them all.


opera142: (Default)

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