shadowkat: (Default)
[personal profile] shadowkat
1. There's an horror/sci-fi novel out there entitled Amish Vampires in Space and according to smartbitches its not that bad and not a parody.

The plot seems to be about a transport crew that picks up a cryogenically frozen scientist and her wrecked lab along with a bunch of Amish colonists, out in the reaches of space. One of the crew members fiddles about in the scientist's lab and gets bitten by something -- which turns him into a vampire. He feeds on the livestock and most of the passengers and crew, until before you know it -- you have Amish Vampires in Space.

LOL!

2. I couldn't think any more or focus on anything or listen to anyone by the end of the work day. Felt a bit like I'd been hit by a Mac Truck. So nixed going to the Psychology Lecture - entitled Mad World. (I honestly didn't care, I wanted to go home and be a vegetable.)

Tried to write some during downtime, but brain fog made it difficult. Haven't been sleeping well, which may be part of it. Don't know.

3. Current state of politics is confusing and headache inducing, so I've been ignoring it for the most part.



I honestly can't tell if last night's snap election in Great Britain turned out well, or if its up in the air. One thing tells me that Labor Won, another that no one won, another that the Conservative party is still in charge and now a nasty alt-right party got seats at the table. (Apparently they are the party from Northern Ireland -- sigh, why hasn't Britain just let Northern Ireland leave already...they appear to be more trouble than they are worth. I never understood why the Brits couldn't let go of Northern Ireland. I honestly think if Great Britain (and other European countries) had been a little less into imperialism and colonizing, they'd have had a lot less problems later. All that colonizing seems to have come back and bitten them on the royal rear-end. Then again, I probably wouldn't exist if they hadn't done it. Oh by the way, we have a schedule in our Federal and State construction contracts where a contractor legally confirms that they aren't doing business with and/or investing in Northern Ireland, it's required the MacBride Act. Somewhat dated, but still there. Also have an Iran divestment schedule.)

And I've no clue if the Comey hearings will get Trump impeached or just continue the status quo such as it is at the moment. The problem with Comey is...he was a bit of an idiot in how he handled things regarding Trump and Clinton. So, it's hard for anyone including the media to take him that seriously. Although it's not like he hasn't said anything we don't know already. The whole thing reminds me of the Watergate hearings, which I have a vague memory of, considering I was maybe five or six at the time.

My mother keeps saying he won't get impeached. But she didn't think Nixon would be impeached either and look how that turned out. (Technically he didn't, he resigned before they could impeach him and Gerald Ford pardoned him. I'm sort of hoping they impeach Trump and horse he rode in on. Best case scenario, he dies in prison for treasonous acts against the US. But I realize this is wishful thinking.)

All of this just makes me want to go hide in a cabin up in the mountains or do a Thoreau. Hell is other people.


3. Riverdale

Well, the season finale surprised me. The resolution of the Jason Blossom mystery didn't, I sort of figured out who killed him some time ago. Although they did plant a few clever red-herrings.

The show is sort of a hybrid of various genres, noir, mystery, teen soap, and a bit of the Surreal Twin Peaks/Graphic novel. The parents or adults are the villains in the piece.
With their kids navigating the stormy waters of their secrets.

I'm sticking with it. Rather enjoyed it. Doesn't require that much attention, I like the characters, and find their subversion of the bad trope interesting. Jughead is the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, but he's wickedly bright, not strong or tough at all, and a bit of a nerd, who loves to sit in a corner and write. A sensitive soul. And slight of build. Betty Cooper is the quintessential good girl next door, except she has a dark side, and her own secrets.

None of the kids look like kids of course. They all look like they are in their 20s. I think Stranger Things might be the only television series I've seen that employs actual teens.

4.) I have written 279 pages and 147,700 words on my novel to date. Which could prove problematic when I decide to publish it. If I publish it. At this rate, it may well clock in at a little over 350 or 400 pages and 199,000 words or thereabouts. I tend to write books about that length.

I am not a short story writer. And, while I dabbled with fanfic, I find it difficult to write.


I discussed it with my father once, who is also a writer. (I think it's the Irish blood, half of his side of the family are frustrated self-published writers). Anyhow, he said that he couldn't do it either -- he found it difficult to write about someone else's characters, world, or plot. It felt like you were playing their house with their toys, and there was just something almost...weird or discomforting about it. (It's probably worth mentioning at this point that neither my father nor I like to stay with people. We feel like we are imposing on their space. If he visits people, he will often insist on staying in a hotel and not with them. And we're both just a little uncomfortable in another person's space.)
So if you consider or think of fanfic as invading another writer's house or space without their say-so, it's like that. I have written it, and I've read a lot of it of course, but I always feel a little uneasy about it. The uneasiness is not helped by my background in copyright and intellectual property law -- which for the most part permits fanfic, just not for commercial purposes unless the work in question is in the public domain.

There is by the way a lot of commercially published fanfic out there, from works currently in the public domain (of course). Recently saw a novel entitled "Mr. Rochester" -- basically his life story, before Jane Eyre. There was also a book about his first marriage - The Wide Sagrasso Sea. And there have been novel's written about Moby Dick's wife, Mr. Darcy, PD James wrote a mystery novel starring Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. And don't get me started on the wide number of Sherlock Holmes fanfic novels that have been published, the latest that I saw, was by Sherry Thomas, entitled Lady Sherlock. About a female Sherlock Holmes. Or rather a female sleuth named Holmes, who is called Sherlock, with her own Watson.

I think they've saturated the field with Jane Austen fanfics, Sherlock Holmes fanfics, and Everybody's Human Erotica Twilight fanfics (seriously you would not believe the number of Twilight inspired everybody's human AU erotica books that have been published.) I think the trend lost some steam. I no longer see shelves devoted to them in Barnes and Noble.

Anyhow, I think this why I'd have troubles writing for comics, television or being a hired fiction gun - script doctoring, ghost writing, or game writing for someone else's verse. I couldn't write a novelized version of a film or television series. Because I don't like being hemmed in by someone else's rules, boundaries, and world guidelines, it makes me twitchy. My Dad said the same thing. (So maybe this is genetic too somehow? I wonder sometimes how much of our personality is dictated by DNA.) I want to make my own when I write. I want to create my own characters, with their own voices, and shapes and sizes, I want my own crazy assed world. And I think...to an extent, it's about my characters speaking to me. They don't always or do it in spits and stretches of time. Someone else's characters don't speak to me as well.

The fanfic I've written, always felt off somehow. Discordant. Like some rhyme or beat was out of sync.

A friend told me once that he envied my discipline to sit down and write, and I responded, it's not discipline, it's a drive. A need. A craving. An itch. I get edgy if I don't. My Dad wrote on airplanes, hotel rooms, and trains when he was working 120 hour weeks. Traveling to and from meetings and consultations. He had a family, wife, a full-time job, but he had to write. And he's written until he can't any longer. He can't now. My heart breaks for him. But my Dad isn't a whiner, he seems to accept things, and just plow on. For me? I've written on trains, on planes, at my desk at work, in the bathroom, and at home. Sometimes I'll plot it out in my head and then jot it down later.

Writing for me is a bit like breathing or eating or sleeping. It's not..something I decide to do so much as must. I don't even know sometimes if it is any good or that any one will read or care about it. Just that I must write it. And when the muse gets blocked, the story stops, I feel this sense of...being stuck or constipated or at odds. Creatively backed up somehow.

It's hard to explain to someone who doesn't feel the same way. I think the drive to write sometimes is a curse. I was actually a better drawer/artist/painter than writer when I started out. But somewhere along the way, I fell in love with painting with words...far more so than colors or crazy drawn lines sketched haphazardly across a page.

I am a professional writer. I do a lot of writing for my workplace and everyone at my workplace views me as an excellent writer. Which makes me happy. It's not fictional writing per se, but it is writing.

Date: 2017-06-10 05:00 am (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
The UK election is actually very simple. The Conservatives won, just by a smaller margin than expected because the polls were wrong. Everything else is just noise.

NI is not a simple matter of nasty imperialism and letting anybody go - the majority of NI citizens wish to remain part of the UK and they are both very welcome and perfectly entitled to stay as long as that is the case. If there are ever signs that the majority wish to leave then they will hold a referendum and decide their own future. Nor should the DUP be described as extremists by anyone except their political enemies.

Date: 2017-06-10 01:05 pm (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
They will be partisan and trying to delegitimise the DUP. Look, I'm sorry but I don't really have the emotional energy to explain at the moment. Maybe if you look at some of our mainstream media instead of social media it will become clearer? I am still deeply in shock that someone as repugnant as Corbyn has been supported by so many people - I guess I now empathise with how you guys felt after Trump. I feel like all my ideas about my own country and the reliability of democracy have been undermined. And I really need to stop myself talking about it and try to de-stress.

I'm sorry for joining a conversation and then being rude and having to leave it. I hope you will understand.

Date: 2017-06-14 11:42 am (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
May will be forced to resign.
Having survived the weekend and her Monday meetings with the Cabinet and something called the 1922 Committee (google it if you want to understand) she will now survive for some time. She will most likely stay as PM until we leave the EU (March 2019) then resign and be replaced in a proper leadership election (not the rushed job we had last year).

Labour won.
No, they really didn't. They did well when everyone had expected them to be routed, but they didn't get close to winning. But the ordinary left have been on the back foot for about ten years now, and the hard left (Corbyn's lot) for decades, so I imagine that the gains they have made seem like an absolute triumph to them.

The reason this is confusing from a US perspective...is here it doesn't really matter if the President won by a narrow margin. (See GW Bush in 2000, and DJ Trump in 2016). But we also can have a Democrat President and a Republican Congress.
Yes, your system is very different in this way. Because our system is parliamentary not presidential the only thing that matters is how many votes a party has in the House of Commons - everything else follows from that. The Conservatives have the most MPs by a considerable margin, and by combining with the DUP when needed they can have a majority. (They also incidentally won the popular vote on a big turn out, so in one sense they have the biggest mandate of any government for ages.) But the Conservatives have suffered a bad blow - governing is going to be much harder and the future less economically secure. But we are where we are and we just have to get on with it. We've been through far worse :)

Date: 2017-06-15 08:41 am (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
Well nothing is ever certain, but I personally am in a safer place than if Labour had actually won. And I guess we've got some time to try to turn public opinion around. Politics does feel more existential these days than it did a few years ago. I can't work out if that is a result of the internet or just the way the wheel has turned.

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Writing

Date: 2017-06-10 05:15 am (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
I love reading writers' thoughts on writing :)

For me fanfic worked because it gave a framework to start with and something to push against. My creativity nearly always springs from a question I want to answer, and the canon and accumulated fanworks of a show pose lots of questions so they stimulate me.

But after a while the framework does become too restrictive and my world building builds further and further away from the original until I am writing original fic.

It's rather like starting with chess - very strict rules, very restricted possibilities - and then moving on to proper wargaming - still some rules but hugely flexible. Both require thought, strategy etc but one is much more freeform than the other. The only difference in the simile is that in writing it is the 'wargaming' that is respected while the 'chess' is marginal :D

Writing for me is a bit like breathing or eating or sleeping. It's not..something I decide to do so much as must. I don't even know sometimes if it is any good or that any one will read or care about it. Just that I must write it. And when the muse gets blocked, the story stops, I feel this sense of...being stuck or constipated or at odds. Creatively backed up somehow.
I don't have this, and I envy those who do. I had it very briefly for a few months in 2001. Then I got ill and that sense of 'must' has never come back. So I don't think of myself as 'a writer' in the way you can, writing is simply one of my hobbies and like all my hobbies it is sometimes an active one and sometimes on hiatus.

I think the drive to write sometimes is a curse.
From my brief experience of it, I tend to agree. But it does produce much better output than my laid back alternative.

Re: Writing

Date: 2017-06-11 07:25 am (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
I wrote 500 pages of meta on Buffy, every character, analyzing the story and characters from every angle imaginable.

That is impressive! Is any of it still available online?

I wrote a lot of meta as well as fanfic. Some of it is still on my AO3 account, most is long since lost in the graveyards of the internet. I don't rmemeber ever making a cosncious decision to explore something in meta rather than fanfic or vice-versa. That is partly because my processes for both are very different and the questions I am answering with fanfic are more character based while in meta I am normally expounding on some detail of anachronism, continuity or plotting. But there are exceptions in both directions.

My creativity comes from I place I can't quite explain. A friend of mine thinks I'm channeling, which, uhm, I'm agnostic or highly skeptical of.
An interesting question. Channelling a strong personal emotion can certainly make the process of creating easier. Whether it produces better art and whether it can be done at will are other questions. Generally speaking I have a rational mind and dislike expressing emotion, but learning to use my emotions in my music has shown me that it can achieve things that are utterly impossible any other way, and is extremely pleasurable as well. In music, writing and art I would never wish to completely give up the control and attention to detail that my rational mind enjoys. But I am also discovering that allowing oneself to use emotion is one of the most powerful tools in our toolboxes, and possibly the only one that can make a difference between craft and art.

A creative writing prof said I was rather interesting as a writer -- since I was most interested in exploring the difficult motives of people, or the why.
That is a good motive to have! I am slightly envious. I also think it is interesting that the prof implied it was unusual. I would have thought that he had many students whose motives were character based, but maybe it is much rarer than I assume.

All I can say is the characters start talking to me and I have to get their stories out. I've told myself stories orally since I was 5.
Whereas I'm a world builder, and characters only exist to populate the world. I think this is why I will never be an addictive writer and why I will always envy those who see writing through character not place.

Is any of your writing available online? I would very much like to try whatever you consider your best work.

Re: Writing

Date: 2017-06-12 07:05 am (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
Thank you very much indeed! And I hope that wasn't too much work rounding up the links. I will start to check them out when time permits.

Re: Writing

Date: 2017-06-14 11:19 am (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
Most, not all, of the major meta writers were/are frustrated English Lit majors or professors. Or so I discovered. A few classicists. A couple were philosophy majors or professors. There was one economist/mathematician - TCH, who is also writing a lot about British politics and economics on his LJ. And a Buddhist monk, who was sort of interesting. Ran across a few geneticists - who looked at everything almost a wee bit too literally, and a social Darwinist who pissed everyone off. A lot of lawyers, like myself.

I never had much to do with ATPOBTVS, partly because I was always a season behind and partly because I hated the formating of the board. It is one of my regrets though because the standard of meta there was so high.

I have met a lot of scientists and mathematicians in fandom, covering just about every speciality. I am aware that there are an awful lot of English Lit graduates out there - I probably knew half a dozen librarians in my peek fandom days. Never knowingly met a lawyer before. I am the only blue-collar manual worker that I know of, but there may be many others out there keeping a low profile as to what they do.

My degree is in Geography and I didn't study any English lit ever, not even an O Level, so my meta and fiction were entirely self-taught and so probably have quirks accordingly. But fandom provides an excellent amateur training in every aspect of fiction so it was a good learning environment. I even learnt to punctuate (I didn't know I couldn't until a beta reader broke it to me that my punctuation was dreadful).

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Re: Writing

Date: 2017-06-14 11:24 am (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
I was specifically taught not to do that.

One of the great advantages of never having been taught is I don't have the voices in my head telling me I'm doing it wrong :D

I world build because I like the worlds. That is the geographer in me. I like how things fit together and how things work. There are similarities in writing historical fiction to writing fanfic - there is that same necessity to use a framework. But even my purely fantasy worlds still have a framework because I am building them on fundamental ecological principles.

That's actually the reason there is such a negative view of sci-fantasy in certain academic circles -- because a common mistake is to forget to populate the world with believable and relatable characters. And a lot of established sci-fi/fantasy writers make this mistake.
That's very interesting. I have observed the snobbery about certain genres but have never seen any explanation for its origin.

Re: Writing

Date: 2017-06-14 12:18 pm (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
I have known Herself for years and I can no longer remember where we met. I also can't remember if we were ever archived on the same site. Probably we were.

I never had much to do with BAPS. And I can't recall what Tea at the Ford was - was it that invitation only place? If so, I think I never got invited :D

Date: 2017-06-10 11:24 am (UTC)
londonkds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] londonkds
The DUP are not "alt-right", they're on the style of the typical US fundamentalist protestant right-winger who doesn't otherwise exist to a very visible extent in the UK.

And as peasant said, the DUP represent the substantial portion of Northern Irish citizens who seriously want to stay in Britain for religious, political and other identity-based reasons (and have in the past turned weapons on the UK army when upset).

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