queenlua: A wolf resting. (Wolf: Resting)
i've mused, in the past, on how it seems like being too close to your subject can make your writing quality suffer. now i'm musing over a highly-related but possibly-distinct concern: being too close to any one character.

Read more... )
queenlua: (Unicorn)
(This post is spoiler free!)

So I don't like Game of Thrones.

I had so many friends who were screaming about it for so long that I figured there must be something to it, and I was finally compelled to start watching when I wanted to know what the hell everyone in the office was blathering about all the time.

The briefest, simplest way to explain my dislike is this: everyone in this universe is either (1) so unlikable that I don't care whether they live or die, or (2) so fucking dumb that I know they're going to do something super-dumb and die at some point, so I don't care1. (If any of the dumbfucks do happen to live, that won't improve matters; I'll just be thinking "okay he's a fine guy but Jesus who the fuck let him hold power what the hell.")

But the root of my discontent lies deeper, I think. When people explain to me why they like the show/books so much, they generally say something like, "It's fantasy, but it's more realistic, you know? It's not hokey or good-versus-evil, and there's not even that much magic," and I get all frownyfaced.

oh god how did this get so long )
queenlua: (Default)
What would you say is your greatest strength about your writing? Or, alternatively, the weakness (if you think there is one)? from [personal profile] lavendre

Turns out it's way easier for me to think of weaknesses than it is strengths, heh. Here's the ad-hoc list of "stuff I could come up with when thinking for a few minutes":

Read more... )
queenlua: A mourning dove (Nageki) reading a book. (Nageki Reading)
  • There's probably an interesting discussion to be had about the influence subject matter has upon style, and vice versa. For my practical-writing-exercise-purposes, I determined that, while Mishima could by definition sit down and write nutty neodruidic-inspired-postapocalyptic-science-fiction in his own style, it's probably not possible for me to write nutty neodruidic-inspired-postapocalyptic-science-fiction in Mishima's style, since so much of what I understand about his style comes from what I've seen him write about. So I wrote some rich 21st-century American teenagers instead of rich 20th-century Japanese teenagers, which was Close Enough that I felt like I did a workable job of emulating him. (If any of that made sense.)

  • In hindsight it's breathtaking how much Mishima establishes in the very first chapter of Spring Snow. We get his mom, his dad, his grandma, Iinuma, the snapping turtle motif, hints around the Russo-Japanese war, and a really keen sense of Kiyoaki's personality and upbringing, all in the space of ~15 pages. The way he takes what is really a giant pile of scattered scraps of exposition and weaves them together in this seamless, elegant way that makes you feel like a dreamy-but-important story is being told is just, wow. And I love the bit the chapter closes on: "Iinuma was repelled by these frivolous words, by the absence of any sense of responsibility, by the tearful look of rapture in those eyes, by everything" it works better in context but just it's so Iinuma and so good and ah

  • The writing is not nearly as elegant-simile/metaphor-laden as I remembered. It varies based on the content of the passage, I bet; I remember the more passionate-less-exposition-y scenes were rife with them.
queenlua: (Default)
Well since Rethi and Raphi are doing titles, and since it's been a few months since my last titles infodump, might as well do another one :D

Titles pt. 2 )

Also the last time I did an author's-notes-type-thing was last October, since I never have enough thoughts on any one story to make an actual post about, but here's a roundup of random thoughts on stories I've written since then.

Errata )
queenlua: (Default)
Fandom secret: a large part of my motivation to start writing fanfic was simply to force myself to finish a lot of stories. Prior to my fandom debut, I'd written very little for about two or three years, and it occurred to me that, while I had lots of half-finished stories lying around, I had very few actually-finished stories lying around, and I didn't feel like I had a great grasp on how I could brainstorm, outline, and produce something coherent when I did come up with something I wanted to write.

So, thoughtdump on what I've learned about my writing process so far!

Lua's General Algorithm for Story-Writing
  1. Have a vague idea for a character or plot point you'd like to write.

  2. Write down basically all the possible scenes/ideas/etc you have that are related to that character or plot point.

  3. Figure out what the "central tension" is going to be.

  4. Write down a bunch of scenes that could plausibly be involved in that central tension.

  5. Write these scenes and awkwardly mash them together until coherency happens!

I've subconsciously followed some version of this algorithm for most everything from Remnants of Restoration chapter two onward; I have no idea if it is similar to or different from most folks' writing processes. It's hard for me to "just write" before I have something resembling an outline, and when I'm outlining, I make some effort to make sure that every scene goes toward developing whatever the central tension is (to the point where I'll sometimes make notes in my outline that explicitly describe the point of the scene: "this scene develops Volug's affection for Nailah," "this scene introduces a frightening, previously unknown aspect of Tellius," etc).

You can sort of see the first few steps of this process in the earliest notes I have for "White Like Bone":

White Like Bone (long) )

Delicately, Madly )

Titles

Sep. 17th, 2012 04:46 pm
queenlua: (Default)
There's a famous quip in compsciland: "There are only two hard problems in computer science: cache invalidation and naming things."

The same thing totally applies to story-writing. (Well, the naming things part. Cache invalidation, not so much.) I think titles are hard, and I guess I'd like to blather about some of my title-ing adventures, and hear about how y'all do this sort of thing?

The story behind some of my fic titles )
And, a charming aside: I once read an interview with the creators of Dungeons & Dragons about how they came up with the game's name. He said he and his partner had been sitting around trying to come up with all these cool, pretentious nnames (think of the titles of awful fantasy trade paperbacks you see in the dollar store)... but it was actually his nine-year-old daughter who came up with "Dungeons & Dragons." Adults tend to overthink things, he said, and have too much stuff in their heads; kids have a knack for simplicity and elegance.

So yeah, titles. How do you guys come up with them? Do you normally think of them at the beginning/middle/end? Have any particularly interesting title-ing stories? etc
queenlua: (Default)
So there's this blog called Letters of Note that's been popping up on Hacker News lately (I have no idea why it keeps popping up on Hacker News, as it has nothing to do with hacking, but whatever). Basically, the blog posts various interesting letters and notes—mostly letters written by famous folks, but there's a few cute randos in there as well.

Anyway, today's letter of note is a fantastically blunt letter Ernest Hemingway to F. Scott Fitzgerald—evidently Fitzgerald asked what he thought of Tender is the Night, and boy did he ever tell him:
[...] Goddamn it you took liberties with peoples' pasts and futures that produced not people but damned marvellously faked case histories. You, who can write better than anybody can, who are so lousy with talent that you have to—the hell with it. Scott for gods sake write and write truly no matter who or what it hurts but to do not make these silly compromises. You could write a fine book about Gerald and Sara for instance if you knew enough about them and they would not have any feeling, except passing, if it were true.
The full letter is here, and if this is your sort of thing I highly recommend following the blog. He posts lots of writers' letters—the most interesting ones I recall being posted recently are from Jack London, C.S. Lewis, and Kurt Vonnegut.
queenlua: (Default)
I love looking at artists' sketchbooks and works-in-progress — there's just something so fun about seeing the lines and shapes in a rough sketch, or watching how a project progresses and changes as it gets closer to completion.

I really love looking at the writers' equivalent, too — drafts, outlines, notes, and so on — but for whatever reason, writers don't really share such things nearly as readily as artists do.

Anyway, I thought I'd share some bits from my notebook, written while I was planning "Dog in the Vineyard," for anyone who's similarly interested in such things.

Spoilers for aforementioned fic, obviously. Also, images ahoy! )

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