elaby: (Watson - Writers read)
This spring, as we drove home from the Fairie Festival, Rachel and I talked about how we could make our lives more like how we felt when we were there. We decided that we wanted to rearrange some of the rooms in our house; one of these plans was to make the guest room on the first floor into my library/office and move the guest room upstairs. Rachel has her studio, and before this, we'd said that the Temple Room upstairs was my space, but I never completely got comfortable there. As lovely as it is, it it's a hassle to keep temperate because it's stifling in the summer and unheated in the winter.

We wrote up how we'd do it, complete with graph-paper models of both rooms and a step-by-step moving plans. Last week, we set the plan in motion.

Pictures galore! )

Lyrical

Jul. 18th, 2014 08:30 pm
elaby: (Writing hand)
I've long had a love affair with poetry. From the moment my mother read me The Hobbit, I was awestruck by the way meter and rhyme can twine together to create this lyrical, evocative thing, like the lovechild of music and prose. For years, I held onto the notion (snob that I was, and still sadly have the capacity to be) that poetry could only be that which has both meter and rhyme. In high school, I was enamored with Edgar Allen Poe, particularly his most musical and metrically perfect poems like "Ulalume" and "Bridal Ballad". In college, I took numerous courses on the Romantics, treasuring especially the storytelling poems of Coleridge and Wordsworth in Lyrical Ballads. I came to recognize that poems that didn't rhyme were sometimes even more complexly meaningful than ones that simply sounded beautiful. However, I rejected my professors' assertion – and still do – that a poem that portrays complex ideas necessarily has more value than a simpler poem constructed for the purpose of pleasing the ears.

A few years ago, a friend of mine recommended a poet named Amy Lowell. Lowell was a nature-reverent woman who loved women, writing in the early 20th century. I borrowed a book of her poetry from the library and started to page through it. There was no meter, no rhymes.

And I fell head-over-heels.

I look back with embarrassment on my former belief – if only privately proclaimed – that the only poetry worth reading was that perfectly constructed, metrical rhyming sort. Poetry doesn't need these things to be beautiful, to be valuable, to be a worthwhile pursuit either in reading or writing it. The flexibility of poetry seems uniquely freeing to me: in writing prose stories, I still believe that there are certain elements that must be executed with skill in order for the writing to be high-quality. With poetry, though, anything goes. Even the accepted rules of punctuation and capitalization, which I would never purposefully violate in prose writing, can be stretched or completely ignored when writing poetry. As someone who is frequently paralyzed by self-imposed standards of quality when writing prose, poetry is a delectable escape.

Because of my depression, I had written practically nothing since winter. In May, after the Fairie Festival, I came home and the world was blooming. There was so much beauty, now more easily visible to me with the help of medication and therapy. I had been deeply longing for quite some time for a way to express my adoration and appreciation of nature, but writing stories felt exhausting and pressured, and my attempts at botanical drawing fell short of my standards. As much as I've loved reading poetry, I've very rarely written any, and my prior attempts at perfect meter and rhyme were too constricting for sustained enjoyment.

One day in May I took my notebook and I went out into our yard. I sat down beneath our maple tree, in the grass amongst the clover and phlox and bluets, and I wrote a poem. And then another. They had no meter and no rhyme, just the natural flow with which the words slipped onto the page. Without the goal of writing a certain number of words or setting up a coherent story, and without the confines of meter and rhyme, I could focus on choosing one perfect word after another. Refining the final draft, tweaking each sentence so that it reflects precisely what I mean, has always been my favorite part of writing. When I write poetry, I can do that from the start.

My notebook is slowly filling up with poems. I don't feel pressure to excel when I write them, just the desire to reflect what inspires me. It occurs to me that this is what art is all about, but for so long that's gotten lost in my expectations and yearnings and "I should"s. Predictably, it's helped me write prose again, too. Rachel and I are writing together in the carefree way we used to when we were in college. It's blissful.
elaby: (Writing hand)
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who liked to tell stories. Sometimes she told them with words and pictures, and sometimes she told them with just words. From the time she could pick up a pencil, she wrote stories and drew pictures to go along with them: early evidence remains of the adventures of Bobby the Alien, written and drawn on flimsy 3x5 notepad paper and carefully stapled together; pages-long fantasy epics penciled on yellow lined paper and bearing a striking resemblance to The Neverending Story or the Lord of the Rings; countless half-page beginnings of worlds in which sphinxes lived in hollow trees and girls found doors to another realm hidden at the back of department store dressing rooms.

In elementary school, the girl won awards for her writing. In middle school – with the arrival of the home computer and her much-faster-than-by-hand typing speed – her stories grew exponentially in length. In high school, she discovered the glorious world of the internet, and her stories migrated to its role-playing message boards, where she learned the joy of collaborative storytelling.

When she went to college, she met the most amazing girl: cool, smart, so funny, absolutely beautiful. And this girl was a writer too. With their forces combined, our heroine wrote more than she ever had in her life – character upon character, twisting storyline melding with detailed backstory until all she wanted to think about was her writing.

And she loved reading other people's writings. She loved it so much that she decided to pursue a graduate degree in literature rather than in creative writing. Writing for enjoyment filled her with happiness, she reasoned, but the atmosphere at her university wasn't particularly warm toward genre fiction and she considered her love of analyzing other people's writing to be more sustainable.

That was when the avalanche hit. A crushing, icy cascade of self-criticism poured onto her from the Mountain of Doubt. Spending every waking moment critiquing the writing of authors far more prestigious than herself made her see her own stories in a horrible new light. Not only were they technically amateurish, they were – far worse – indelibly tinged with privilege, spiritually meaningless, and offensively ignorant. She wrote countless papers, clinging to any tenuous grasp on the concepts her professors urged her to use, but their feedback on her success was often incomprehensible to her. She became paralyzed. Carefree writing no longer satisfied her, but anything more complex brought on fears of contributing to worldsuck instead of fighting against it.

So she crumbled. For years, she wrote only here and there, slowly repairing the pieces of the joy she used to feel. Her friends kept her writing afloat with safe spaces to write, as infrequently as she wanted, in obligationless fun. She participated in Nanowrimo, but only made it to the goal twice in the six tries. She had a brief, passionately prolific period in which writing Sherlock Holmes fanfic and pastiches satisfied her impulse to write. Writing was a large part of her day job, but it was a cold, technical, repetitive sort of writing. Time and again, the need to create worlds of her own design and tell her own characters' stories broke through.

As she learned more and more about the movement to fill in the gaps left by authors who only told the stories of male protagonists, or straight protagonists, or white protagonists, her desire to write found a partner in her desire to contribute in some small way to society's improvement. She was awed and inspired by luminescent stars and appalled by hatred and ignorance. The doubt is always still there – remember how many projects you've abandoned? – but nevertheless, she came to a decision.

It's been six years since I completed my MA in English Literature. I learned a lot in graduate school, and some of the lessons took years to kick in. One of the most important is this: the possibility of failure is no reason not to try. That's easy to say, but very hard to come to terms with. I won't say I've accomplished that, but I'm through with unfinished projects. I'm through with "maybe writing isn't my thing". Writing is my thing, and it always has been. I thought I needed to throw away some interests in order to improve at others, but I don't believe that anymore.

I'm working on a story right now. It started out as my Nano novel last November. Normally, I take ages to figure out what's going to happen in a story. With this one, a general plot outline, beginning to end, fell into place in one evening. I have my doubts, as I'm sure I always will, but I'm determined to finish first one draft, and then another, and then as many as it takes.

I'm horrible at talking about my stories to other people. No matter how I describe them, they always sound boring and stupid to my ears. So I typically don't talk about them at all. That's something I want to work on.

I'm writing a YA fantasy novel about two girls fighting against a supernatural plague that threatens everything from their families to their identities to their entire country. It's also their love story, and the story of the profound effect each has on the other's life.

It may take time - but I'm going to give myself that time. Wish me luck. <3
elaby: (Starsky & Hutch - Dance)
This is an issue that seems to be popping up everywhere right now, so I wrote a post over on my blog, Tea Under the Pine Boughs.

There have been a whole bunch of cool resources making the rounds on Tumblr lately on writing outside of your own identity experience, particularly on writing LGBTQ characters if you’re straight and/or cisgendered. I think it’s awesome that people are writing these – queer* authors aren’t the only people who can write queer characters! We need all of the queer characters we can get! – but I keep running across a particular piece of advice on writing gay and lesbian characters that, while I consider it valid, needs more exploration and expansion.

Read the rest at Tea Under the Pine Boughs...
elaby: (Little My - Skates)
All I can say is YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES.

From fuckyourwritinghabits.tumblr.com, copied in full:

Sigh

Imagine you’re reading a book, or watching a movie, or flipping though a comic. Imagine that these stories are great and wonderful, but you keep noticing the same thing over and over again. None of the heroes look like you, not even remotely. In fact, the only time someone does look like you, they’re either villainous or from some “savage” culture. Oh, and everybody’s straight. Not even a hint otherwise, not even from the tiniest of characters. Even though you yourself might like boys, girls, both, neither, etc, your stories all end up with the same sexuality each time.

How does that make you feel?

Nobody is taking away anybody’s straight white fantasy characters. Nobody is, in fact, saying they are a bad thing! But in a genre where you can literally have anything happen, dragons and elves and magics of all sorts, why on earth can’t you have not-straight, not-white characters?

But it’s based on a specific time period! Yes, with elves. Or magic. Or dragons. Those are all possible, but a non-villainous POC isn’t?

But my characters aren’t human! Then why do they all have to be straight? Wouldn’t non-humans have different orientations too?

But I don’t know how to write gay people/POC/women! You never will if you don’t try.

But the tone was mean! And I’m gonna write a five page post on how you can’t tell me what to write! Well, this is the internet, a wonderful place where everybody can express their own opinions. And the thing about the internet is that I’m not telling you what to do, nobody is, because we don’t know you. Opinions are being typed out to the ether, expressed in various ways to a general, not specific, you. Sometimes that is easy to forget, because we see something that makes us angry, and when we are angry, we want to speak out.

Nobody is telling you what to write. I, personally, am not telling you what to write. I’m just saying, there’s a good lot of people out there who would love to see people like them in the genres they love.

So why not consider it the next time you sit down to write out your fantasy story? Someone out there will be happy you did.
elaby: (Clover - Rainbow)
Summer is going by so fast (July already?!), and here are the things I've been up to lately:

The House
Housework, predictably, takes up more of my time than it did when we had the apartment. The big difference is that I don't mind doing it nearly as much as I did there. I sort of enjoy vacuuming, guys. It was SO hard to vacuum at the apartment because there was barely floor space to do it in, and I had to find places to move all the things on the floor before I could really vacuum, and then every few minutes I'd have to stop and cut all the hair out of the carpet attachment. We have no carpets at the house, except for small ones beside our bed, and it makes it SO much easier to keep things clean. Doing the dishes sucks, as it always will, but our sink is so tiny that we do them more often, which makes things easier. I just get more satisfaction out of keeping the house neat than I did the apartment.

We've also been doing a lot of work on the house aside from day-to-day chores. Rachel painted our cellar door a beautiful green, because it's a little short hobbity door, and we're going to put a sign on it that says "Bag End" :D We finished unpacking the temple room yesterday, and it looks so beautiful (see Rachel's post for pictures). I can't wait to start arranging our altars. Rachel had the awesome idea of turning one of the closets into a meditation nook - I love enclosed spaces and a cozy closet decorated with pretty things would be perfect for meditating. I can't wait to make that room into a spiritual haven.

Weaving
I'm working on my second weaving project, a scarf. The warp is black and the weft is a vibrant rainbowy yarn, and the colors have been transitioning really nicely. Scarves go really fast! I'll need more yarn for my next projects. My heddle is a 10 epi heddle (that's how many holes and slots per inch are in the heddle) and I discovered this time that worsted-weight yarn is almost too big to fit through those holes ^^;; So I think I'll confine myself to sock yarn and lighter weights in the future. Weaving is so much fun :3 I find it very fulfilling, and it gives pretty quick results, which is helpful for someone who's just beginning in the craft.

Writing
I've been working, very slowly, on my Camp Nano novel, and I think it's coming along well. It's about Cora, who lives in a treehouse and is self-sustainable and wary of magic because of events in her childhood, and Ellspeth, who goes to an art school in the nearby city and was raised in the wilderness by sentient wolves, and is a secret unlicensed magic-user. There will be exciting locations and attempts to reveal Ellspeth to the authorities and memory-magic, and I'm looking forward to writing it.

LotRO
I love this game so hard. Lord of the Rings is very important to me: it's been a formative influence on me for over twenty years, from my writing to my art to my ideas about storytelling and literary criticism. Almost as much as the characters, the world itself is what keeps me coming back, and getting to run around it and experience it with my own characters at my own pace is incredible. Even if there was no storyline - and the storylines range from epic to routine to fun to adorable - I would get pleasure just from exploring the landscape. Back when I'd never played an MMO before, I don't think I really appreciated the scope of these games. Yeah, Final Fantasy games are normally pretty gigantic, but you can't always just run around them wherever you want. You have story paths you have to follow and places you can't get unless the story has taken you there. Zelda's been the same - you can't just walk somewhere without having followed the story there. In LotRO, you can pretty much go ANYwhere. You may get squished by a troll or scorched to death by a dragon or eaten by a warg that's seventeen levels bigger than you, but you can go there. There are a couple of exceptions, but for the most part, you can go where you want. The game developers and writers are very meticulous about their lore details, and it's a hardcore Tolkien nerd's dream come true. I've had to defend my choice to play this game to people before (both in terms of dedicating some of my free time to it and in terms of occasionally spending money on it). Video games are, for some reason, seen as "lesser" forms of entertainment by some people. Nobody would give me weird looks or say "I would never spend my time/money doing THAT" if I substituted "going to the movies" for "playing LotRO". And what do you do when you watch a movie? You experience a story, you watch moving pictures, you think about what's going on. When you play video games, you experience a story, watch moving pictures, and think about what's going on - and you're forced to make choices, think critically, make decisions that will effect the outcome. I'm not saying that video games are better or more worth my time than movies or TV shows, but for me, they're on the same level of quality and worth.

Rachel is playing now, actually, and I think I'll be off to join her :3
elaby: (Anthy - Rainbow)
Mia McKenzie, writer of the blog Black Girl Dangerous and award-winning author, is raising money to organize a writing workshop for queer, trans, and gender-non-conforming writers of color. This is an incredibly worthy cause that I, as a lesbian and a writer and an ally examining my privilege, want to do as much as I can to promote. Besides that IT SOUNDS AWESOME. Part of the reason I'm putting this up here is because I need it to remind myself to donate when I get to a secure internet connection, but the larger part is because I want to spread the word. Here's some information about the project from the page.

I would like to offer 4-week intensive and 1-week super-intensive workshops, as well as monthly 1-day workshops, for queer, trans*, and gender-non-conforming writers of color in Oakland, Philadelphia, and Toronto, over the course of six months, beginning in July. We will workshop stories, novels, memoirs, essays, articles—whatever prose our writers are working on and need support for. Together, we will get our stories ready for the world! Each 4-week workshop will end with a reading salon where writers share some of the work they created in the workshop with our community.

Workshop is essential for writers. It provides both the structure a writer needs to get the work done, and the feedback and support a writer needs to make a story great. Black Girl Dangerous Workshops are about that and much more. I am working very hard to create an environment where queer, trans*, and gender-non-conforming writers of color can feel safe and nurtured, not only in terms of creating and sharing literary work, but also sharing ourselves, our experiences, our wounds, our truths.


This would be such a good thing for so many people. Spreading the word always helps even if you can't donate!
elaby: (Roxas)
Feel free to ignore any "woe!" undertones present in the below; just writing it down yesterday made me feel a lot better, and I think the tone is a little overly serious reading it over now XD

The new year is always a time of mixed feelings for me. On the one hand, it gives me a culturally-sanctioned opportunity to "start over" and change things about my life that I want to change; on the other, though, is the knowledge that I've never kept one "New Year's Resolution" that I ever made. Maybe the problem is in the term "resolution" that [livejournal.com profile] coastal_spirit pointed out in her recent post – it doesn't allow room for failure or for making great progress but not attaining your exact resolution. Though it's an arbitrarily chosen date, the start of the year gives me a good reason to make changes, but there's always the doubt that I simply won't.

And what do I want to change? That word "want" needs a lot of unpacking. Rambling Katie is rambly )

So here's the master list of things I'd like to do differently, or do at all, to be updated whenever I get ideas. This isn't a "I resolve to..." kind of list, but more like a way to keep track and remind myself of the things I want to make an effort to do.

- Meditate daily. No, really, Katie, I mean it this time. If daily doesn't work, try as often per week as possible. I know it makes me feel better, so there's no reason not to.
- Start writing the Eadswith and Deue story. Research is all well and good, but books don't get written without actual writing taking place.
- Draw more. Whatever I want, no obligations of quality required.
- Participate in mori girl fashion, whether it be through my own clothes, doll clothes, drawing, or just looking at pictures online.
- Keep track of what I eat. Counting points using iTrackBites, an iPhone app, seems to be holding my attention well. Even if I don't stay within my points, just keeping track helps me lose weight and feel healthier.
- Keep up with the laundry, dishes, and tidying.
elaby: (Cheburashka - Juggling)
This Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] caitirin and I went to the Clipper Merchant Tea House in Limerick, Maine. It was our second visit, and it was so delightful. It's in a beautiful Victorian house filled to the brim with interesting things to look at, and each room is themed. The last time we went, we ate out on the China Room, which was decorated with Chinese antiques. This time, we ate in the Scottish Thistle Room, at a little table for two in a nook by the window. The banner on this part of the website is actually a picture of the table we sat at. There were paintings and photographs all over the walls of people in traditional Scottish garb, there was a tartan garland over the fireplace and lace doilies everywhere, and the bookcase behind us was filled with books on film history. All of the dishware is different, too, so every time we go, we get to see new teacups and plates. It's the most relaxing environment, like you've stepped back in time.

We both had warm cranberry-almond scones with butter, lemon curd, and clotted cream. This is the only place I've had clotted cream outside of England, and I LOVE IT SO MUCH OM NOM. For tea, we had African Honey Bush Crème (mine) and Chai Crème (Rachel's) and they were both delicious. I don't usually find tea "delicious," either, just pretty good, and these made me want to drink buckets. Rachel had a Caesar salad with little knots of bread and I had cranberry chicken salad in a croissant (with Sun Chips! :D). I'm incredibly picky about chicken salad, and mine was perfect. Everything had its own little dish and spoon, and the individual teapots had circular wire stands to set them on with tea lights to keep them warm.

It made us want to have our own tea nook :) When we get a house, we're going to set up a corner with a little table and a lacy tablecloth and other lovely things.

In other news, the state of my Nano. Warning: It ain't pretty. )

Interestingly, unlike other Novembers, doing Nano this year hasn't left me wanting to take a break from writing for a while. I still want to write – just not that story. In fact, I think it's time to start my Eadswith and Deue story - my semi-magical sort-of-romance between a Saxon girl and a Briton girl in 5th-century England - in earnest. The first order of business is to put aside my fears that nothing except Sherlock Holmes and Vocaloid I create myself can hold my interest for any significant period of time.
elaby: (Gankutsuou - Don't look back)
I keep thinking of things I want to post, but then when I get home from work I've either forgotten by then or I have the post-work-anti-computer braindeds. So! That's what weekends are for!

Gone with the Wind historical fandom story, found on Wikipedia. I <3 fandom history. )

~

Creative projects )

~

Navel gazing )
elaby: (Holmes - Leap the couch)
WAAAAAAAAAAAI XD

A few of you may remember back in late 2008 when a call for submissions went out from Lethe Press for a GLBTQ-themed Sherlock Holmes mystery anthology. I wrote a short story, which some of you (thank you so much!) edited/reviewed for me. I submitted it early in 2009, and in the summer, I received an e-mail that my story had been accepted. This is the first time I've submitted anything for publication, and I was elated. I didn't want to say anything here, though, in case there were delays or problems encountered with the publication, but now I think it's safe... because my copy of A Study in Lavender came in the mail this weekend :D

Katie's BOOK!

This one is my story :3 It's the third one from the beginning! BWEE! )

It's totally on Amazon and on Barnes & Noble's website. I kind of can't believe it, even though I've been doing the revisions and communicating with the publishers for two years.

Here's the summary of my story, written by Joseph R.G. DeMarco, the editor:

Watson, newly reinstalled as a roommate on Baker Street, accompanies Holmes on a case of the disappearance of a young woman. A possible kidnapping or worse, this case finds Holmes at his deductive best and delivers an unexpected side to his ideas about crime and justice. Raynes subtly shows the depth of the connection between Holmes and Watson in this tale. Interesting revelations are not only to be found in the details of the case in this adventure.

We just had champagne and strawberries, because I have the best wife in the whole UNIVERSE. HEEEYAAAAA XD
elaby: (Gankutsuou - Self-sabotage)
*shamelessly ogles own icon*

Today is a good day for bulleted lists.

- I just had a Lush bath and now I'm utterly covered in sparkles. *turns to and fro, glitters*

- SCREW YOU, UTERUS. I don't need you!

- I hit the jackpot at Barnes and Noble yesterday. I had a gift card from work (yay recognition!) and I hadn't used it because every time I went in, they had nothing I wanted. This time, they had:

+ Kobato, vol 2
+ Kuroshitsuji, vol 2
+ Bleach, vol 1 (I've been enjoying the anime so much! XD But I didn't see most of the first season, so I really want to read the manga. It's pretty awesome so far.)
+ Extremely cheap, gorgeous notebook with pretty girl and trees

And I still have $15 left :D

- Watched first half of Two Towers the other night. Resisted urge to fast-forward through the Frodo-and-Sam parts. Laughed like a fool when Legolas stated where the orcs were taking Merry and Pippin. Remembered how much I <3 Eomer OMG. Also, Theoden FTW.

- [livejournal.com profile] astillac has this cool book about how to be your own creativity coach, and how to motivate yourself and talk yourself through artistly self-beatings. We decided to do each exercise as she reads about them. This week we assigned ourselves the first one, in which you have a conversation between yourself as artist and yourself as coach and try to tackle the difficult questions, such as "why does my work matter?". It was really, really cool, and I found it very helpful. A brief synopsis of the outcome, in bulleted list form! )
elaby: (Banged by Byron)
Spent an hour revising fic tonight. Wrote like probably 50 words in total XD But they were good words!

Writing fanfic is so weird, because you (and by that I mean I) spend the whole time alluding to this vast well of shared, already-known information. When I write fanfic, my intent is to make subtle, or not-so-subtle, references to elements of the original. Sometimes it's a very obvious reference, like "A week after Holmes came back from the dead, Watson was reading the newspaper..." But I take joy in putting tiny little hints in my fic that people will recognize if they've paid particular attention to a part that I also happened to pay particular attention to. On the one hand, that narrows your audience, but on the other, it strengthens the bonds between the people who do know the source material, or certain parts of it, well enough to get the reference. All I have to do is say "We're not jealous of you" and a segment of the Holmes fandom throws up their arms in squee. When you're writing original fiction, you have to give people the source material before you can reference it.* And it's awesome when you do that, but I don't write fanfic long enough for it, and that's not even what I write fic for. It's to see how subtly I can allude to things in canon. But even though I'm reading LotR right now and it's fresh in my mind, I can't expect my readers to remember every tiny detail, and so I get caught up in figuring out how much to tell. I know that, personally, only a handful of scenes stand out when I haven't read this series in a couple of years, and all the rest blend together in a big blurry lump categorized by general geographic location.


*Unless you're Roger Zelazny, and then you send readers scurrying for Google with seeming non-sequiturs like "The sedge wasn't withered, but he was right about the no birds." I wasn't a member of the "had already read Keats" contingent.
elaby: (LotR - Aragorn stormy skies)
I didn't want to blog today XD [livejournal.com profile] caitirin is making me. It's Writing Night, which is SO MUCH AWESOMENESS, and I wrote Janey and Daitan stuff with [livejournal.com profile] caitirin and worked on my LotR fic. The LotR fic mostly consists of debating individual words and trying to say what I want to say in a sentence without making that sentence eighty words long. Aragorn, your angst is troublesome.
elaby: (LotR - Rohan Gondor map)
[livejournal.com profile] caitirin has enrolled me in Creative Boot Camp, which for us means that I am to do one creative effort per day for a week. There are several options and rules, such as:

- I have to write at least 400 words, or
- I have to spend at least an hour on writing revisions, or
- I have to draw at least one complete picture ("complete" to be decided by [livejournal.com profile] caitirin; detailed busts are fine. Turtles in party hats are not. Unless they're extremely life-like turtles.)
- I am to journal about my Creative Boot Camp experience, publicly or not.

Tonight I worked for a little more than an hour on something from the dark depths of my computer: LotR fic. It's taken me years and years to work up the courage to even write any of my ideas down, let alone contemplate posting them anywhere (eeugh). The one I'm working on now has the most likelihood of seeing the light of day (out of the whopping two I've ever written), and it's still pretty... eeugh. LotR doesn't come easily to me, in spite of how I love it, much in the way that Utena fic doesn't. But I'm enjoying myself and finding my work fulfilling, which is what it's all about :)
elaby: (Holmes and Lestrade - Handshake)
These are the sort of things that get caught in my brain:

In the phrase "Give me a couple extra", "couple" has a different grammatical role if you omit "of" after it. You'd have to say "Give me a couple of extra cookies" or whatever you meant to be the direct object. Why is that? When you say "Give me extra," you're using "extra" as an pronoun, like "more," am I right? I say a pronoun because that's what my dictionary tells me "more" is when it functions that way. If you add "couple" before "extra," it doesn't change extra's function, but if you add "couple of" instead, it forces extra to be an adjective. You need a noun after it to act as a direct object. What is it about "of" that accomplishes this feat?

I have the feeling that I should know this, but it's so slippery. Brain go 'splody!

In other news, I was bitten by a strange plotbunny that wants me to write a young adult story about the aftermath of (one wave of) the Saxon invasion of England, from the point of view of a girl whose Saxon father - after invading/razing/pillaging, etc. - sends for his family to come and settle in the southeast. There would also be a girl of native Briton heritage, though possibly partly Germanic so they would have a chance of speaking the same language, for her to have conflict and adventures with.

On that subject, I wanted to ask all of you brilliant people if you know of any books about the history and culture of England in the 400's-700's that would talk about what people's daily lives might've been like. I know I have some books around here somewhere about the history, strictly kings and conquerors and battles, but that doesn't tell me what people wore or ate, or how they made a living. I know there are few contemporary sources for this time period, too, so I'm not sure such a thing exists... but there's so much out there!

Remind me why I didn't get my MA in history again?

Random Holmes and Lestrade icon, BECAUSE I CAN!
elaby: (Holmes - Livanov smile)
I like this fic update thing! Thank you to all of the brilliant writers on my f'list whose lead I'm following in doing so :3

Skating fic: 564 words of absolute fluff written. Fluff will continue unabated, and will most likely get fluffier. I found a bunch of articles on www.victorianlondon.org about ice-skating that I'll have to read in more detail.

Post-Hiatus Holmes-and-Lestrade fic: I probably need to find a shorter label for this one; "the H&L have a giant row fic" also fits, but is equally long. I was kicked in the head by this idea this morning. It needs a lot more planning than the skating fic. Why, Mr. Lestrade, do you demand a full-fledged mystery plot every time I attempt to feature you largely in a fic? 120 words of actual prose in mostly disconnected sentences, 363 words of notes.

I also want to draw tonight, and maybe start one of the pictures I promised people in that meme way back when. Whee!
elaby: (Watson - Hee.)
So I've been working on this one Holmes fic for a few weeks, and I'm almost done with it, though I'm kind of not satisfied with the darn thing on the level of the plot. It's one of those situations where I just don't want to work on it anymore, and it started out as "just for fun" and as I wrote, I realized that there were all kinds of holes and plot points that could stand to be less unoriginal. But the Holmes-and-Watson I'm happy with, which is all that matters to me in this case, because that's what I started writing it for.

And then yesterday while I was reading articles on www.victorianlondon.org, I was - in the common parlance - bitten by a plot bunny that wanted me to write about the strange silence and deserted streets heralded by snowstorms in Victorian London. And this morning when I was babbling to the ever-patient [livejournal.com profile] caitirin about the Victorians and ice-skating, she said she wanted me to write a fic where Watson forces Holmes to go ice-skating with him, and Holmes is terrible at it and Watson is fondly amused and afterwards they buy hot roasted chestnuts or something from a street vendor. And how can I refuse her something like that? Like I can ever refuse her anything.

So XD That's one almost-done fic and two drabbley things I have on my fannish schedule. *does a little anticipatory dance* But first, yoga!
elaby: (Writing hand)
[livejournal.com profile] story_lottery
0/7
02. # - crossword puzzle 03. # - jump rope 14. # - cards
19. # - swings 22. # - chess 26. # - poker
07. BONUS PROMPT! 30 - Lego


Ah, well, considering the other prompts included "hula hoop," "Playmobil," and "Rubik's cube," I ought to count myself lucky that a historical fiction/fantasy writer such as I managed to get some of the least current-era prompts.
elaby: (Watson - Writers read)
Hey, all of my writerly friends! I'm in need of some submission advice.

If I'm going to be submitting a short story in response to a call for submissions in the U.S. (not sure if it works differently in other countries), how should I format my submission? Double spaced, with italics or underline for italics/underlined things? The CFS itself has no specifications other than it's going to be submitted on paper and not electronically.

Also, I hear there's a thing called a cover letter I might need. Does anyone have any advice in this area?

Thank you all very much in advance ^_^

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March 2016

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