baratron: (aibo)
Last night I dreamt that I was a werewolf and that my father was the Alpha of our pack, that he got kidnapped and I had to invoke the magic of the pack to rescue him. So far, not very surprising - I've been reading my way through Patricia Briggs' modern urban fantasy series again. But why was my father Nick Clegg?


I did not win NaNoWriMo. Actually, I barely wrote anything. Actually, I've barely been writing anything, anywhere. My new friend from Elder Scrolls Online was sad that I hadn't added her to my livejournal friends list yet and I said "I haven't written anything friends-only recently!". Not enough coherent brain to finish all the half-written stuff flapping around the place. Literally all I've written recently is a description of all my ESO characters and a writeup of an ESO Guild event.


I am sad about Lemmy and David Bowie's deaths, and very sad about Alan Rickman. With Lemmy and Bowie, I'm sad for my friends who were fans of them and for all the musicians I know who were influenced by them. Whereas I was actually a big fan of Alan Rickman myself. We watched Galaxy Quest at the weekend, mostly because we couldn't find the Dogma DVD in the mess that is our house. Fuck cancer all round, anyway.


My mattress is completely knackered, so I am waking up most days with extreme back pain and sometimes back and hip pain together. Woo. We have ordered a new one but it's going to take 8-10 weeks to arrive, since apparently companies don't keep "super kingsize" (6 foot/180 cm) mattresses in stock. Don't even ask how much it's costing. Dunlopillo latex beds for people who are allergic to dust mites are Not Cheap. We tried lying on Tempur mattresses (which are even more expensive) but found them very weird and far too soft. I thought I might like them if I had a pain issue where it hurt for me to be in contact with the mattress, but as it is I roll over far too many times to be on a mattress which completely contours to me, and fighting the mattress would simply make my back hurt more.

In related news, I have been back to the Pain Management Clinic. There is nothing wrong with my hip (which I suspected anyway) and they are going to do some more facet joint injections into my evil sacro-illiac joint. I look forward to being in less pain soon.


Shifty is coming to visit me on 8th February for two weeks! Yay!
baratron: (NaNoWriMo)
I am. Didn't start until 11th November because of illness, so I've no idea if I'll actually finish or not. But I feel accomplished anyway because I got past Chapter 16 in my story, which I have been blocked on for almost two years.

Honestly, Chapter 16 and I were not friends and I am so pleased to have got myself past it!

Since I started so late, all my NaNoWriMo stats are screwed up. Especially the "At This Rate You Will Finish On", which currently says May 11, 2016. I kinda hope I'll finish before that, or I might just go insane.
baratron: (boooooks)
What am I reading now?
Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs. Actually, I'm sorta cheating with this - I have read everything but the last two chapters in order, and flicked ahead to the end to find out what happens, but I don't want it to end!

I adore Patricia Briggs' modern urban fantasy - you know, the kind of story set in a world that's almost exactly like ours, except it has werewolves or vampires or whatever. But I really, really love her traditional fantasy, set in a medieval-type world with dragons and dwarves and so on. The characters are just awesome.

What have I read recently?
Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs. And then I went out and bought it.

The Alpha and Omega series: Cry Wolf, Hunting Ground, Fair Game by Patricia Briggs. Modern urban fantasy set in the same universe as the Mercedes Thompson novels. I really like the way she writes werewolves, and that she doesn't gloss over the bits that don't make sense about lycanthropy. The werewolves themselves comment on how they break physics by suddenly gaining a load of extra mass when they transform!

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett. I've only had it out since *cough* February. The whole reason I hadn't got round to reading it before was because it's a hardback, and I can only read those sitting at a desk or in bed. I enjoyed it even though it's about football, fashion, and celebrities - three things I have no interest in ;) All of the recent Discworld books have been excellent - basically, since it turned from "fantasy" into a parody of our world, though I do wonder how much of it makes sense to readers outside the UK.

What am I going to read next?
Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs. Also a couple of books of short stories, after which I will have read everything by this author in the whole of the London library system. I'm going to have to search second-hand booksellers for her other stuff.

The Awakening and The Hunted by L.A. Banks, the two immediate sequels to Minion. I seriously do not know how I'm going to feel about them. Flicking through them suggests that BABIES!!!!11! are going to feature heavily in the plot, which might drastically reduce their appeal for me, depending on how it's done.

WANTED:
Recommendations for fantasy novels featuring queer characters - especially "traditional" dragons/dwarves/elves-type fantasy. Ideally not books that are the size of telephone directories either. Preferably books that are available in print in the UK, because I still hate eBooks. Though characters are everything, and I will read an enormous weighty tome if the characters keep me interested enough.

This is basically "research" for the book that I ultimately want to write, when I have time and health. I've figured out how to take my characters from the video game universe where they originated into a universe of my own creation (known for now as Generic Fantasy Universe 43). But I want to know what has already been done. I have a horrible feeling that the only gay fantasy books out there are self-published because of it being seen as a niche market, but... prove me wrong?
baratron: (NaNoWriMo)
The first six chapters of my NaNoWriMo novel (including one which only came into existence on Tuesday) are now up on Archive of Our Own. Feel free to read it and comment.

I cannot honestly tell you how much knowledge of the Elder Scrolls universe it needs. I think it should be entirely comprehensible to people who have only played Morrowind or Skyrim, but I don't know how it reads to someone who hasn't played the games at all. I hope it's at the level of Generic Fantasy, where there are names of creatures and places and ethnicities and gods which you're not familiar with but which are eventually explained somewhere in the plot. Hard to know considering that I wrote it, so feedback on that would be interesting.

Now I've reached the part which needs extensive editing, and it's rather difficult. I need to throw away material that I personally like because it lags the plot unnecessarily. It almost reads as "Look how clever I am - I've done so much research into the game Oblivion, I'm including so many minor characters." I don't want people to read it and think that I'm trying to show off! So it needs scrapping, and URGH.

In other news, I have woken up today with a raging sore throat. I think I must have slept with my mouth open for hours. Well, I hope it's just that and/or allergies, and not going down with anything. I'm not aware of any BiCon Lurgy, and that's usually spread by snogging rather than simply being in the same place, but I'm now sneezing and ARGH. Do Not Want!
baratron: (NaNoWriMo)
In other news, while I was away, I worked out exactly what needs to be done to my NaNoWriMo novel to make it work. I'm not sure it's something I can explain quickly, so I won't bother, but it involves rather more scrapping of existing content and rewriting than I am happy with. Oh well. NaNoWriMo is an exercise in proving that you can write 50,000 words - not an exercise in writing a perfect 50,000 words that need no editing. If you're a published author on your tenth novel, you might be able to write something that needs minimal editing - I'm not, so I can't and shouldn't expect perfection.

I also had a very amusing time yesterday. People on irc were going on about personality tests (like the Kiersey Temperament Sorter/Myers-Briggs, etc), and I did the test with both Alix and Martin. (It didn't take me 20-30 minutes, more like 5 for each of them, but then I read really fast). It was quite hilarious because Alix's answers were almost all "Completely agree" or "Completely disagree" whereas Martin was more measured. Apparently my version of Martin Septim is INFJ, and Alix is ENFP. And then I laughed my arse off when I discovered that those personality types are each other's perfect romantic partners. Awww.

(I did not bother to do the test as myself because I would come out as ENFJ. I always do, unless I'm depressed enough to flip into introversion. Similarly, Richard is about as INTP as it's possible to get. Apparently our personality types are also perfect matches for romantic partners, which is quite, quite amusing.)

Also, here is a picture of Martin which [livejournal.com profile] stellarwind drew for me. It is epic, featuring both his human and dragon forms. Honestly, you should look at it even if you know nothing about Oblivion or Skyrim but simply like dragons.
baratron: (Oblivion)
Found this on Tumblr today, and it's awesome: A Character-Building Question Meme.

I'm surprised how utterly easy it is to answer every single question for some of my characters, and how hard it is for others. Although I guess I shouldn't be: Martin actually Lives In My Head, Alix has been around for months, and Dariel's brand new.

If anyone's interested in my answers to any of the questions for any of my characters, feel free to do what that poster suggested and leave a comment with the question number/s and the character name.

Questions copied below for ease of access. )
baratron: (Warning: Sick!)
So I had the choice of three different End of the World barnights/birthday drinkies/Christmas drinkies parties tonight, at three different pubs in central London. And instead I am at home ragingly ill with a cold. Probably caught from going to see The Wildhearts on Monday and freezing my tits off on the way home (despite a pair of leggings, a pair of jeans over the top, legwarmers over those, thick winter boots, a mesh top, two t-shirts, a thick hoody, a big winter's coat, a scarf, hat, and gloves - and then borrowing one of Richard's hoodies as a blanket!).

It's the sort of relatively low-level infection that, if I were otherwise healthy, I probably wouldn't be bothered by at all. As it is, it's enough to turn me from "coping" to "non-functional". Sigh. Haven't been able to get my blood test done because too ill to leave the house. Have to do that next week.

In other news, I finally like the story that I've been writing with Someone who can make themselves known if they want to. It doesn't suck anywhere near as much as it did last night, since he fixed the bits that weren't working and just generally improved the dialogue and characterisation. I made a couple of minor corrections today, as soon as my brain was working, and yeah. It's done.

Mildly NSFW, though not very. )

Update: Eeee! Someone on the Skyrim Kink Meme specifically requested me to write her Not Porn! Snuggly friendship fic between my two characters before they were lovers! Eeee! I'm famous! :D
baratron: (NaNoWriMo)
Apparently my brain is still stuck in NaNoWriMo mode. Yesterday I wrote 2008 words of a brand new story. Today, a further 2554 words. Alarmingly, I wasn't even expecting the whole thing to be more than 2000 words, but I now reckon it'll be closer to 6000. Very odd.

I am clearly much less ill than I have been. On Saturday I went out to meet complete strangers in the pub: one of the London "end of NaNoWriMo" parties. Frankly the only reason I could even contemplate it was that I'd been to that pub before and knew it was accessible. Was anxious as all hell before getting there. The stupid bus driver failed to notice that I'd hit the "stop requested" button, so went past the stop I wanted - but that was actually GOOD, because it meant I got off by a load of shops, and bought mints, which helped with the anxiety-nausea. I spoke to maybe 7 or 8 people out of the 30 or 40 that were there, which I guess is success. There was one girl almost exactly the same age as me who'd also written fanfic, and we got on really well.

This is kinda amazing because for the past 6 weeks or so, I've been basically a hermit - so introverted that even being around Richard was too much sometimes. Introversion isn't a problem if it's the way your brain is naturally wired, but for me it's a sign of serious depression. I usually need a certain amount of human contact to function. Now I have to contact all the friends I've been neglecting (or they can contact me, if they read this). I must also be better since lately I've been woken up by my stomach, rather than sleeping way past hunger - sometimes to the point where I then don't wake up because my blood sugar is too low. I guess this shows that the med increase is working, because I'm back to behaving like me again. Still don't feel absolutely perfect, though.

Also I need to seriously reboot my brain back into "work" mode. I've been neglecting everything due to anxiety and/or no functioning brain. Really not sure how to do that.
baratron: (mages guild)
Dear friends,

You make no sense! On Thursday, I posted about something very, very important to me - and received 4 comments. Yesterday, I posted about something incredibly annoying, yet trivial in the grand scheme of things - and received 7 comments.

Guys - I WROTE A BOOK! I know I've written books before - technically my MPhil thesis is one; but this is a novel, and I've wanted to Be A Writer for years. And now I am one! Maybe you think it doesn't count because I borrowed the plotline and characters from a video game. Well, lots of people borrow plotlines (a certain Terry Pratchett has been known to borrow liberally from a certain William Shakespeare), and I've taken perhaps all of 3,000 words from the game. The rest of it is mine.

Maybe you were waiting to congratulate me until I finished it completely? I dunno. I'm pretty proud to get to the end of the 50,000 words. Given that I'm feeling better and am likely to be back doing College work next week, I don't know how long the rest of it is going to take. A while. Certainly longer than another month.

...People are strange.
baratron: (NaNoWriMo)
I have written 53,563 words this month.

Despite being broken and sick the whole time.

I haven't managed to combine this with College or earning money, but that's as much due to the way I've been ill as anything else. It's hard to go into College when you're too exhausted and anxious to move.

I do wish I hadn't been quite so utterly introverted this month, since I've been neglecting some of my friends terribly - but again, that's been due to the way I've been ill :S I should be a little more sociable now my meds have kicked in.

I'm fairly sure my stats page isn't actually right, but you can see the progression fairly well, anyway.

The scary thing? These 53,563 words, or 72 pages of A4, represent about 40% of the story. I'm not quite at the level of DualKatanas and his 532,640 words, but I'll definitely have written well over 100,000 words by the time I finish. Huh.

Is anyone very, very bored? I need some beta readers. I want to start publishing this on Archive of Our Own a couple of chapters at a time, even before it's finished, since I know exactly how it's going to end (have already written the ending!). Do realise that you'd be committing to reading 72 pages of my dreadful rambling - or rather, Alix, my main character's dreadful rambling ;)

Statistics so far )
baratron: (Skyrim)
WTF? According to IMDB, the UK isn't getting Wreck-It Ralph until 15th February 2013. That is just ridiculous. The Disney official site says 8th February 2013, but that's scarcely an improvement. Does Disney not realise that in this day and age, people have friends all over the world? Three months is a long time to wait.

In other news, I have assumed that my weird illness last week was down to side-effects from increasing my dose of venlafaxine. Everything that was wrong was a thing mentioned on the leaflet. If I'm not all the way better next week, I'll worry about it then.

Sutton Hospital have sent me an absolutely ridiculous packet of questionnaires that need to be filled in and taken to my appointment on 11th December. Seriously - I haven't counted the sheets, but we're talking at least 15 sheets of A4 paper. Do they not realise I have chronic fatigue? Damn them.

Also, my NaNoWriMo "novel" has reached the fabled and mythical 50,000 words status. I shall submit it for checking in a few days. The story is approximately half-finished, so I need some other word counter software to plot a little graph to show how I'm doing relative to the idea of N words per day. I'm absolutely sure I could do this in OpenOffice or Excel, but I like the public-ness of the NaNoWriMo site. Anyone know of an alternative that exists all year round?
baratron: (richard)
Richard's opinion on my NaNoWriMo novel: "This thing's been going on for HOW MANY pages and they still haven't got it on? You're crap at writing porn, you are!"

I had to point out that it isn't supposed to be porn :) It's a friendship story that eventually becomes a love story, but it takes them a while to realise that they both feel the same way: what with all the Evil Demons Trying to Destroy The World inbetween.

Also, he didn't like the scene I was writing. I explained to him that I couldn't talk because my characters were busy having an argument and I needed to get it down before I forgot what they said. "You're creating stress!" he told me. I said "What, so you think I should write a story where they meet and are happy and fluffy forever until one of them Massive spoiler for Oblivion Main Quest )

In other news, I really need to stop writing this story backwards: scene 4 followed by scene 3 followed by scene 2 followed by scene 1, because then I have to go back to what I've already written and make continuity corrections. It's most annoying, but I just can't seem to help it. I write what I'm in the mood for and what the characters tell me to write. There're a couple of scenes right at the very beginning of the story that are absolutely plot-essential and which I cannot be bothered with at all, so I'm likely to get to the end of the 50,000 words without having written them. Ah well. No one said it had to be coherent or complete :D
baratron: (bi_pride)
I realised last night, I'm on page 37 of my novel and there hasn't been a single female character yet. Not one with actual dialogue. One's mentioned in passing and the other is a horse - I hardly think this counts. The only exception would be if you don't know that I Only Write Slash and assume that the first-person narrator is a woman. Damn!

This is doubly annoying since it's fanfiction, so I'm stuck using the characters who exist in canon. In the scenes with the Blades (the Emperor's bodyguards), I've tried to use the female ones, but there are only two of those. Even worse - and for this I really am a bad feminist who won't be getting any biscuits, my original character Alix moans about a couple of female Mages Guildhall heads. Both of them are incredibly annoying & incompetent in the game: one, who only cares about her own research, not about the welfare of her fellow mages; and another, who has virtually no magical ability whatsoever and only got the job because of who she knew.

This really sucks and I don't know how to fix it. There is a female alchemist, and Oleta, the country's best Restoration trainer, who both have to be written into the chapter I couldn't face writing - oh, and a woman town guard. That's about Chapter 3 of this, if the novel was structured like that. Oleta comes up again in the second-to-last chapter when Alix is completely broken following [MAJOR SPOILER]. There's also a female archivist in the Mages Guild Library who has a part somewhere around the middle. Apart from those, I'd be adding women for the sake of adding women. Hmm.

In other news, I will be at neither the bisexual activists' weekend nor Birmingham BiFest. My body is beyond broken right now. In fact, I've had so much time for writing due to being completely unable to sleep because of pain :/ Right now I can walk about 5 m, and it's fricking agony. Dragging my arse into College today for the first time in two weeks, then home to collapse with the laptop. Urgh.
baratron: (boooooks)
Hmm. I've caught myself overusing a word, and I'm not sure how to avoid it. Have a snippet from my current work in progress:

Despite wanting to be respectful, I couldn't let that comment slide. "So worried that you didn't even see that he was injured?"

"What?" gasped Jauffre. "Injured? Is he all right?"

"He lost quite a bit of blood, but he should be fine in the morning." I didn't add "No thanks to you". That would have been childish.

"I didn't even notice..." The monk was now quite concerned. Unwilling to torment an elderly man, even one who irritated me,...


Yes, I have somehow used the word "even" three times in a very short passage.

Are there any synonyms for "even" in this context? I did look in a thesaurus, but couldn't find anything... since I'm not even sure (ho ho) what part of speech "even" is in this context. Is it the adverb meaning "not merely this but also"? I think it is, but the synonyms given for that are all useless: indeed, nay, truly, verily, yea.

Any ideas? Go ahead and rip the passage to shreds, I'll try not to be upset. This is only the first draft anyway and I'm not hugely married to these words yet.
baratron: (poly)
So, I had this situation in one of my ongoing sim stories. Unearthly Tormented and her girlfriend Willow Midlock went off to university, and decided to "date other people" for a while before settling down. Of course, it was my decision: I was getting thoroughly bored with the idea of sims meeting each other as teenagers, going steady, going to university together, and then graduating and getting married. I didn't think that was very realistic (not that much of Sims 2 is, but that was worse than usual!). So I took the Age Transition Fixes - Teens Keep Loves hack out, and swapped in the other version.

However, what happened was that Unearthly dated a bunch of other people, but didn't fall in love with any of them. She just wasn't attracted to other sims, and all her Wants stayed attached to Willow, even though they weren't in love anymore. Meanwhile Willow had quite a heavy relationship going with a dormie called Candice - a girl with high Body skill who liked to beat people up. I'd always planned for Unearthly & Willow to get back together eventually, but now there was Candice in the picture as well.

So, me being me, I chose the "Embrace the power of AND" option. Flipped all three sims over to being Romance sims, let them all fall in love with each other, then flipped Unearthly and Willow back to Knowledge. As I have the Romance mod and all three girls have Playful + Outgoing + Nice > 15, this enabled them to be a polyfidelitous trio. Their mutual love stops slapping from occurring. Willow and Candice both ignore the other two making out in front of them, while Unearthly, who's the most Outgoing, actually nods with approval when Willow & Candice make out in front of her! Compersion, from a sim. Who'd have thought it?!

But then I had to come up with some elaborate plot device in the story to explain the idea of a three-person relationship to people who might not have ever encountered one before. This was rather difficult, so the story got abandoned for a few months while I worked on other chapters that were easier. Today, I decided to come back to it, and this is what I came up with.

Yes, it's really over the top. It's supposed to be!

Unearthly considered her options. It did seem that the "dating other people before settling down" experiment had run its course. She hadn't found anyone she liked better than Willow, and she didn't think she was likely to. However, Willow was now firmly attached to Candice. Did she REALLY want to upset a girl with such a powerful right hook? Plus, there was the fact that she rather liked Candice too...

So she collared Willow and Candice one day after supper. "I've been reading about this new relationship style called lesbian polyfidelity..." said Unearthly, entirely without ulterior motive.

"Lesbian poly-what?" asked Candice.Read more... )
baratron: (pokemon scientist)
Oh, this is hilarious: The Adventurers of Nemesis. Basically it's a poem by Nemesis from Pokecharms featuring various 'Charms regulars in cameos and lots of in-jokes. I turn up as a mad scientist. Muahahahaa!

The bit where I come in... )
baratron: (grinning)
I hate dialogue. I mean, it's important to have dialogue in a character-driven story, because some of the characters' traits only become apparent through speech; and speech allows you direct access to their thoughts. But I hate the need to put words around the dialogue, to explain who said what. I find myself having to revert to the thesaurus just to break the dreaded threesome of "said", "asked" and "replied".

So here is my attempt to be vaguely useful to other newbie writers: 37 synonyms for "said". Read more... )
baratron: (Luka)
As promised, Ten Things You Didn't Know About Freezepop. Every word completely true! Yes, really.

Commiserations to the lovely [livejournal.com profile] meeping, who has reached the age where hexadecimal is less scary than base 10. Hence he is "celebrating" his 1E birthday. I can sound perky only because I don't reach That Age until June. Thank you again to [livejournal.com profile] okoshun for bringing some of the Tim Birthday Present into existence. Yay.

More Mitch & Max story now exists. It's a prelude or prequel or something to the first chapter I wrote back in October. I have a serious soft spot for that story because it broke my "I can't write fiction" belief that had been stuck in my head for going on 10 years. I'm pleased! The whole thing is going to be rewritten as "proper" text without the screenshot photos, just as soon as I obtain a Round Tuit.

Bestest Waistcoat EVAR!. A genuine FCUK garment with the spelling corrected. How cool is that? By [livejournal.com profile] hiddenpaw.

Right, I'm off to bed because my evil gall bladder is still evil, and I have to work at the crack of dawn. Boo hiss.
baratron: (lego)
Am sitting downstairs in the front room on the proper computer chair with the laptop on my desk. This is good ergonomically, but this room is cold in the evening. I also dislike sitting here when the light's on, as then other people can see in from the street, and I don't like having strangers watching what I'm doing. Oh well. My gall bladder is doing its stuff, but my back is ok, and that's the main thing.

Need some help again with writing.

1) I need a synonym for "realise", in the context "he realised that...". Even accounting for the transAtlantic shift from s to z, Merriam-Webster isn't helping me - its thesaurus is mostly thinking of realise in the business sense: "realising a vision", and that is so insanely far from the meaning I over-use that I'm surprised it's even the same word. "accomplish", "actualize" (that's English?!), "gain", "obtain" - nope, "suddenly became aware" - yep. Except "suddenly became aware" is too pretentious to fit into most of the contexts where I have "realised" currently.

2) Can anyone who knows more about drama than me ([livejournal.com profile] kightp, [livejournal.com profile] keldaryth, any of you current English or Drama scholars) please recommend a play or movie with a well-known (marriage) proposal scene? The proposal needs to be gratefully accepted, and the text of the proposal/script needs to be something that I can easily look up online or at the library. Thanks!

Maybe boasting. )
baratron: (introspection)
Do any of you who write ever find yourself procrastinating writing something because you know that something bad is going to happen, and you care about your characters too much to put them through it?

... yep, that's the situation I'm in with all three of my current WIPs. Hence the total lack of update for any of them.

I know I'm the author, and I can direct how I want the story to go - but in each of these cases, I also know how the story should go. Writing light fluffy stuff is all very well, but this next chapter has to be hard - because that's the way the story went. (Past tense intentional - I'm already onto chapter 5 in my head, and I know full well that I can't get there without going through chapter 4, and that the bad stuff in chapter 4 has, effectively, already happened.)

It's very strange to be the director of all this, and yet not be in charge; and I think my subconscious is rebelling to that. Either that, or it really is not wanting to hurt the poor characters. Or myself. A couple of weeks ago, I was in the middle of one of the character's mental breakdown, and had to forcibly wrench my own brain out of the mindset. Scary how easy it would be to get sucked in like that.

Hmm.

And on my friends list today, this piece by Papersky fits my mood.

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