thewhitelily: (Default)
 I was talking to Hubby about my latest story, which gives Mary's perspective on John and Sherlock's reunion in The Empty Hearse, and he said to me--said these actual words!--"So, why is Mary even interested in John at all?  I mean, he's just a mildly incompetent sidekick..."

*splutters*

*splutters some more*

*can't even*

In other news, first prompt of [community profile] watsons_woes  July Writing Prompts is out, and we're off and running.  Still not sure how seriously I'm going to take this month, probably less seriously than last year.  Then again, last year was so incredibly fantastic for me in terms of my writing fluency, confidence, and in terms of managing anxiety issues, and besides, I don't know how to do anything without doing it all.  So I guess we'll see.  

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to see about injuring John.  Mildly incompetent sidekick indeed.

Done

Jun. 8th, 2017 10:06 pm
thewhitelily: (Default)
It is done: I have submitted it.

First original story to an original story competition.  It's been a ridiculous psychological roadblock; I know perfectly well that people are just people, and fan-people are just the same as snobby-original-writer-people (and possibly even less snobby than some snobby-fan-people), but... yeah.  It's been difficult, and scary.  Absurdly difficult for something that's only 320 words long.  I'm hoping, through practice, it will become less so.

I'm really proud of the work I wrote, and I think it fits the brief.  Most of all, I'm super, super proud that I did it.
thewhitelily: (Default)
This post brought to you by three different wonder women: I shall deal with the most personal one first:

I have completed my 36th challenge in a row for fan_flashworks, which makes an entire year of challenges I've posted at least one entry for, notwithstanding rain, hail, shine, real life, or severe lack of inspiration. I've always been pretty good at writing when the inspiration takes me--less good at maintaining the effort over the long haul, but I've found it's been really good for me, for my output and for my mental health.  In a year of entries I've earned the following badges:

Badge goodness )


That second last badge there, the crown? That's the Hardcore Finisher, for earning six different skills training badges for writing different genres, all with different fics. Apparently earning that one gives me the right to brag about my superior badassery to my friends for ever and ever. :D (Honey, you should see me in a crown. XD)

Wonder Woman the second: I went to see the movie, and it was brilliant. I'm a sucker for superheroes, Superman's always been my all time favourite, although I've been less than impressed at DC's latest movie efforts: too smashy-fighty-collateral-damagey and completely devoid of plot or believable character arc.  Anyway, despite my love of supers, until now somehow I've never really seen or read any Wonder Woman at all, although my sister is a BIG fan. (And if you're wondering how that works, she's 11 years older than me, so by the time I was old enough, she was way too cool for superheroes, and by the time she was old enough to realise that she didn't have to be too cool for superheroes, we weren't living in the same house anymore.)

Anyway, I loved every moment of it )

Highly recommended.  :D :D :D

Wonder Woman the third: I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned the superhero naming convention our cats? All cats in our vicinity have always got a formal name and an informal name. So, a couple of years ago, the old lady next door got a kitten, and she would regularly wander over to play with our boys because she needed a bit more stimulation, and go mental in the way kittens do, and so we used to call her 'Supercat'. Then we noticed from a white Persian visiting from further up the street, and we dubbed him 'Supervillain Cat'. When we got our new kittens, they had to follow the convention. Officially, they are Cassandra and Diana--but being Siamese, they are fully fitted with built in masks to hide their secret identities--and unofficially, we refer to them as Batcat and Wonder Cat. (Cassandra, for those who are not up on their DC comic heroes, was one of the Batgirls.) Now that the new movie's come out, I'm even more glad we've got a Diana in our house.  :D

Cat Picspam )
thewhitelily: (Lily)
Yes, I know it's April.  I've been a bit... focussed on writing, and unable to really lift my eyes recently, but I've finally got around to filling in my word count spreadsheet since about September last year, and starting a new one for 2017.

Final numbers for 2016 are:
Words written: 142,266
Words posted: 125,089
New posted stories: 41
% posted: 87.9%
Lifetime words written: 803,446
Lifetime words posted: 348,018
Lifetime % posted: 43% (up from 33% at beginning of the year)
Lifetime posted stories: 58 (counting an old drabble series as a single story)

My goals for 2016 were:
1) Write and increase my portfolio, posting at least one work every month, and working on fluency and finishing things rather than half writing and wandering away when the going gets tough. (I'll have to call this one success beyond my dreams!)
2) Read fic, when I read, like a member of a community and not a 'next fic' zombie (success mostly)
3) Read one book per month (fail--I think I managed five in the year--but that's still a massive increase on last year)
4) Finish Futureproof (fail)
5) Finish NaNoWriMo (fail)

All in all, I'm happyish.  I'd have to say, I'm doing great as long as I stay in fanfiction.  As soon as I head off into original, I fall apart, and I need to prioritise my mental health.  I'm pretty pleased with the sheer quantity of new stories I've written.  In the pretty much exactly 18 months since I came back to fandom again, to today, I've written 72% of my lifetime posted work.  But only 31% of my total words written.  It's the result of an incredible concerted effort to follow through, and I'm very proud of myself for acheiving it.  Given my trouble last year with original, and the way it did my mental health in, I'm not as certain anymore that my eventual path is to transition to original fic.  I'd still like to try, but I think I'm happier with the idea that perhaps it's not for me and I'll be okay if that's the case.

My goals for 2017 are:
1) Write and post like the wind as the new season of Sherlock was coming out and increase my fandom visibility.
Very much acheived.  I wrote and posted 16 new stories in January, and I've got a number of new followers as well as a number of new fandom friends.  :)
2) Keep writing for fan_flashworks every challenge
Going well so far.  I've even started properly claiming my badges, which is very satisfying, and I'm (given the mods asked me to only claim three or so at once) two or three challenges off being completely up to date.  Keeping up my challenges-in-a-row streak most motivational for keeping writing, and a couple of times having to pull myself up and write something to post has really saved me from disappearing into an anxious huddle.    (Although given the nature of my deadline-driven motivation and the time offset in Australia, I've woken up in cold sweats quite a few times in the horrified conviction that I've accidentally missed the deadline.)  The streak currently stands at 30.
3) Keep trying out writing different things: female characters, descriptive pieces, different genres, different fandoms.
Doing pretty well, I've got two pieces from female POV so far, and I think they worked well, and a couple of metas.  And I wrote my longest humorous story ever, which was in a bit of a different format breaking the fourth wall, which was absolutely tremendous fun and has been very well received.  Most different of all, I've accepted a position for at most one day per week as a research assistant for my best friend the university lecturer, writing up her papers for her.  We'll have to see how that goes.
4) Try out writing some original short fics, rather than staying all in on fandom all the time, to stretch and build up the original fic muscles without launching straight into a novel and hitting the trigger for a nervous breakdown.
Mmmm, sort of.  I've written two biographical short stories for fan_flashworks, which is a start.  And I have avoided giving myself a nervous breakdown thinking about it.  I've done a bit of research for short story competitions that seem doable.  Deadlines, prompts, etc.   Which made me realise the Vogel awards deadline is at the end of May and--it occurs to me that given I'll turn 35 in October, this is the last year I'm eligible to submit.  I'd always thought I might submit Futureproof for that when I finished it, but... less than two months away.  Hello, nervous breakdown.  I keep thinking... I could try.  But I'm pretty sure at this point I could only fail, and that would be very much not good for me.  I'm also pretty sure that what I write isn't really the right genre, so... let it go.  Let it go.  Focussing on some short stuff is, I think, very much the way to go.
There's a couple of competitions coming up--one I'm thinking of in particular which is for maximum 1500 words on the theme of "light" open only to Australian residents and a first prize of $5000, due in in two weeks.  It seems like an extremely attractive competition and should be well within my capabilities to finish something to submit, and best of all the winning entries available from previous years seem like my style.  I'm going to give it my best shot.
5) Don't obsess and have fun
Yeah, going pretty well!  I've been having anxiety issues touching a couple of other things--but I've been writing mostly freely and without too much obsessing.  Fingers crossed I can keep it that way.
thewhitelily: (Lily)
It seems like a new season of Sherlock has nearly sneaked up on me!

I've been thinking for a while, how cool it would be, now that I'm active in at least the fanfic side of fandom and clearly capable of churning out flashworks, how cool it would be to actually take advantage of the new-season rush and write a fic-a-day challenge or similar during January.  I'd love to create a whole lot of new content, and it'd be fun to contribute to the early speculations of what everything means.  And I got a whole lot of new followers while I was doing JWP solely for spending so long near the top of the 'recent additions' pile--I would imagine the result might be simlar while there's new content being actively paid out that people want to start exploring.

I'm thinking about it, anyway. I don't know if it would work, or if I could spin stuff out while I'm still reeling from being hit with it.

And I don't know how the new season will strike me.  I'm a bit concerned, to be honest, because one of the things I like best about Sherlock is how much of the angst and character development lives under the surface.  How the craziness and the fun and the physical and intellectual action of the cases almost drowns out those fleeting glimpses of deep soul underneath the masks and in between the cracks in the relationships, leaving the fans freeze-framing and spinning crazy theories to prove it was real, and gasping for more.  The S4 trailers... do not look like that.  Which is somewhat of the nature of a TV show as it goes along.  The network of interelationships between every character becomes more complicated, the deep dark secrets become deeper and darker, and the whumps need to be whumpier to register.  Still.  I'm hoping--very much hoping--that they've cherry-picked the trailers for a particular effect, and that the Sherlock I love is still in there.

I should trust the Moffat.  And, I should remember to approach it in the best way I've discovered to approach any new instalment of canon in my current favourite fandom: as another layer of fanfiction--which does not have to provide me with the perfect canon anymore, because I already have that (hint: they had me at Reichenbach).  They can't take that away from me just by outdating it--that's the best thing about fanfiction.  If I want, it can always be 2011.  Season 4 will not automatically be better than every fanfic idea I've ever read, nor will it even be better--to me--than many of the ideas I've written.  But what Season 4 will provide is a whole new set of fresh, alternate ideas to explore about the characters, stories and ideas from the best freaking author in fandom, stories that I'm allows to play with too, if I want!  Yes.  In that light, I am very much looking forward to Season 4.

And we can just see how the writing idea goes.  I'd like to produce some new content as it goes, let's just leave it at that.

In the meantime, it is the last week of December, and Hubby's got the week between Christmas and New Year off.  It's the only time of year it ever happens.  We don't go away: the end of the year is the time to take a load off, relax, blob around at home, eat pizza and fish fingers, let the kids watch as much TV as they like, and let the house get messy.  Last year I had a whiplash injury and spent the whole time laid up in bed while Hubby raced around like a frantic chicken trying to keep the kids out of my hair and ended up less rested than he'd started, which was... not ideal.  This year, it's absolutely perfectly blobby for both of us.

And I've been getting wonderfully into some writing.  Mustn't forget to post Hubby's song for the flashwork amnesty before the end of December--but mostly I've realised I should be getting onto crossposting some of the fics I've been hoarding before S4 puts them Officially Out Of Canon.

Throughout this year I've been doing flashworks, and a lot of them.  It's been awesome, for keeping my hand in and keeping my head out of my rear end.  Publish or perish, as they call it in academia.  And a lot of them have been pretty short--I've been increasingly managing to make them pretty short, which is good for my sanity--but a few have taken my inspiration and run with it and ended up a little longer.  (The Wrong Kind of Snow, I'm looking at you.)  I've fallen into a pattern, which I've liked, of tidying the fics up before crossposting one when I get a spare Saturday morning.  Which is lovely, and I've been enjoying, for the little fics, but a couple of the longer fics (The Wrong Kind of Snow, I'm looking at you!) have sent me into panic attacks at the idea of going back to edit them, so I've left them to simmer in their own juices until I'm ready.

And this week, I've been ready.  I was brave enough to open up The Wrong Kind of Snow, among others, and do a readthrough and realise it's really not as bad as I remembered.  Too big a concept for the time limit, is the only problem.  When I edit it, it'll probably double or treble in length.  That's fine.  It's got some great content, and the bits that I thought dragged weren't nearly as draggy as I thought.  (Which is good because when I edit it, those bits in particular will probably expand tenfold.)  There's things it's missing, narrative absences and character motivations that haven't been set up.  But it's a solid framework.  Thumbs up me, I'll be back there, and I'm looking forward to it.

Mostly what I've been working on this week is Good for the Soul (as I titled it on fan_flashworks) or (as I accidentally copied it according to my working title on AO3) Five ways to confess to your flatmate.  I'm still not sure if I should go to the trouble of changing the title, for a few reasons.  First, because as it turns out it's got seven, maybe eight chapters?  The next one due to post has absolutely zero confession content in it.  Which, I could smush into the next chapter and post them together, but the story is screaming CHAPTER BREAK at me and sometimes you just plain have to listen to a story when it says that.  Perhaps I could subtitle it as an interlude.  Okay that at least works, and further excuses the slight shift in tone for that section.

I also kind of like the idea that it's a spiritual successor to Five ways to look after your flatmate (although I haven't set up a series), and look, a few weeks ago, it kind of was.  But then everyone got so excited when I posted the first chapter, and I kind of freaked out at the thought that what I had mightn't be satisfying, or... no, less than that.  Just that I knew it could be more satisfying, and I could just tidy up a few obvious things and make it a bit better.

Famous last words for The White Lily.

So I thought, why don't I fill this case out a bit better, flesh out the OCs, pay out my clues a bit more carefully rather than dumping them all in the second to last paragraph, stop treating this as a silly cracky thing and give it some substance.  And I did.  Oh, I did.

Except all the oomph I found is angsty oomph.  (Colour me surprised.)  And now my fic has schizophrenia.  Instead of light silly loveably-oblivious-narrator stuff going on--or alongside it--the case has gritty true-life issues and Macbeth references, and I have absolutely NO idea to bundle up the ending in a neat little go-away-now-case-because-it's-time-for-John-and-Sherlock-to-snog bundle.

See, here's what I'd kind of forgotten in my zeal to make the case worthwhile: investing John in some of the characters was a great way to bring some life to them and set out the dramatis personae of the case... but the previous resolution kind of hinged on John (and the reader) being substantially emotionally UNinvested in the case.  It was a side-note, and it worked that way.  But now it's more than that, and unless I change the way this thing works somehow, this case is going to rip John's (and the reader's) heart out--and a happy-silly ending simply doesn't work anymore.  Something's gotta give.  This story ain't big enough for the both of them.

The next chapter due to be posted--the one with no confession content in it--is the point of no return.  It's entirely new content, and it's good.  Or at least I like it.  But then I've got a bit of a sour-tooth.  *grins*  I want to make this story work somehow, without having to lose any of this new substance I've given the characters and new material I've given the story.  And also without losing the lightness.  And--thanks to some of the disconnected rambling here that's still here, and some that's since been deleted--I think I've worked out how to do it, in a way I'm pleased with.  A way that will even have a happy ending.  *fist pump*

Thanks for listening to my incoherence, folks, as always it's been a pleasure.
thewhitelily: (Lily)

Am a headless chicken at the moment. Too many projects, as is usual for me at this time of year.

1) Writing (well, re-lyricing) and recording a song for a Christmas present for Hubby.  (No soppy stuff, he wouldn't like that anyway.)  Stay tuned, I'll post it for the fan flashworks amnesty at the end of the month, it's gonna be awesome.  :D  But of course this means that I'm fiddling around with:
    a) writing lyrics (I've got three out of four verses written, a couple of concepts/lines for a fourth, and there's a few dodgy lines throughout that could do with improvement--but I'm so distractable by process-orientated stuff that I'm having difficulty focussing past the smorgasboard of distractions available),
    b) learning my way around the software and post-production filters I'll need to get the sound right and blending in with my backing track (Audacity, which I've used before many years ago, third party high-pass, de-essing, compression, autotune and reverb filters, which I haven't; it's a song for programming to, so I want to do my best to make something that'll sound all right in with the rest of his playlist),
    c) pulling together and learning my way around the hardware and setup I need for recording (an at least forty year old microphone from the cupboard which I hope will work better than my phone microphone solely because it will have a decent size diaphragm (although the phone mic I've been testing on sounds pretty decent for the style already, so I can fall back if it's no better (ETA: Hubby asleep, the old school mic is working and I think it does sound like it's got a rounder tone even if I don't want to try singing too loudly with the house asleep, and look I'm still not writing)), pop-filter made from a coat-hanger and a stocking, account created for Unspecified Purposes on Hubby's computer (which has an audio card with an actual microphone jack, what a blast from the past)),
    d) finding time with no one in the house to actually record it (Saturday morning, I've got a couple of hours and I'll need to get everything recorded in the one session, which I KNOW will be aggravating because I don't know what the hell I'm doing with a microphone, so the chances of recording anything clean are almost nil and I'll only really find the dodgy parts in post-production when it'll be difficult to do more takes--also I really really need to have my lyrics finalised and given some time to cook before then),
    e) explaining to my four year old what the word "bitch" means after he's heard me singing along with the original song one too many times in the car, and
    f) repeatedly thwacking on the head the idea that, given I will be an enthusiastic participant in two Kinect dance parties in the next week with my large tribe of awesome dance-loving nieces and nephews while they are all in town, and I have access to the dance game that covers the song I'm covering, and wouldn't it would be super super awesome to go all out and make a music video to go with it (What the hell, brain?  It's hard enough overcoming the self-consciousness to sing all out without thinking about actually dancing!  Plan: first, write lyrics!  Then, do other jobs!  Then and only then, if there's time, think about taking over the world with DANCE!!!)
So, yeah.  I always promise myself I'm not going to get obsessed with some kind of creative endeavour for a gift for someone this year.  And I ALWAYS go back on my promise.  Always.  Sigh.

2) Not getting too caught up in the above project (ha!) because the prompt at fan_flashworks this week is "Naked", for which the very very obvious fill means another chapter in the Were-John verse (he loses his clothes when he transforms, thus the nakedness), which I soooo want to write.  But I always find sequels are sooooo much harder than pulling something out of the air, so who knows if I'll need to pinch-hit for myself.

3) Also Psycho!Jim is on my mind, of which I want to write more of but is getting too big for its britches.  Much like the protagonist.  *forcibly removes Jim from brain with crowbar*  And The Wrong Kind Of Snow is still living in my brain wanting to be cleaned up and cross-posted, but now is NOT the time.

4) I'm also cleaning up and crossposting "Five ways to confess to your flatmate".  After the first chapter, everyone seems so excited about where it's going that I've been driven into a kind of anxious despair that where it's going isn't good enough, and I don't want to disappoint so I've got in a vicious editing loop that I have not the time to break myself out of.  *puts aside for now, people will have to wait for the next chapter*

5) I have a whole stack of wonderful new comments on Living Conditions, which I still think is the best thing I've ever written, and I always want to get right into the meat of replying to, but it is an all-consuming universe when I go there, so I'm just going to leave that until the new year.

6) Christmas.  Apparently I have children?  And all sorts of responsibilities for thinking of/buying/wrapping presents for other people as well?  *headdesk*  I think I'm only missing one christmas present, assuming everything I've ordered online on the last possible posting day arrives, plus a visit to the cheap shop to get stocking fillers.  Late night shopping tonight; maybe I can do it then and it will be off the stack.

7) Speaking of which, Christmas holidays.  All the kids (who I love very dearly) in my face, all the time.  Aaaaaghh!

8) We've got some christmas craft projects.  Decorations, and presents.  At some point in the next week, I'll have to make time to do that with the kids.

9) All four of my sisters and all of their families are in town at the same time for the first time since before I had children.  Obviously I want to see as much as I can of them.  I'm hosting two lots of Christmas parties, one of which will have 27 people, the one on Christmas day only 21.  I have to feed people.  And keep the house clean.  And organise enough tables for everyone to sit down together, which hasn't happened since we grew too big for that, but I am keen to do.  Our pool is safe to swim in (it's 35 degrees out at Christmas in Brisbane), but the water is still a little hazy--only to be expected because we had to replace the filter earlier this year, and they don't clarify the water as well until they're properly dirty--but I'm babying it in the hopes that it will start properly sparkling before everyone comes around, and that is So.  Much.  Work.

Right, so that's my brain dump.  I always laugh when people wish me "peace" at this time of year. No time to lose, stuff to be done.  In the last thirty-six hours, according to my fitbit, I've done 34,000 steps and got 4 hours and 3 minutes sleep.  See you on the other side.  Or not.  Because I may well be unconscious.

thewhitelily: (Lily)

So, this year's NaNoWriMo's going to be a little different to the other years.  (For the record, I've attempted three times: won in 2006 and 2007 and bowed out for health reasons 2008.)

Read more... )

For some reason, I've been writing the opening scene, which is not at all my style to start with, but it's the most vivid thing in my mind.  One of my characters is living in a treehouse, skulling vodka and trying not to acknowledge that the other has climbed up 60 feet and is banging on the trapdoor trying to be let in.

There's words coming.  1,149 of them today, which is a start.  And at least some of them are the right ones.  NaNo 2016... let's see where this one goes.

thewhitelily: (Lily)
Oh Em Eff Gee.  Does my muse not see the title of this document I'm working on for the Honey flashwork?!  "Short and sweet" it says.  Short.  And.  Sweet.

And so of course it's completely diverged from the drabble I'd originally envisaged where Sherlock has a mildly metaphorical dream about being a bee trapped outside the hive in the cold and back in Baker Street John pulls a blanket over him, and it dived *straight* for grief and mourning and angst and there is no freaking blanket in sight.  At least there's no Reichenbach.  Yet.

And it's refusing to end, so I'm going to have to keep writing until something vaguely resolvey happens.

---

Perhaps it's not surprising that my writing's off track, because I'm having... issues at the moment.  Mental health ones.

I should have known it was getting out of hand after what was happening with The Wrong Kind of Snow.  I'm having what I might call an episode, and it's been quite bad for the past few days.  It's getting to the point where the nameless dread just overwhelms me until I feel like I'm choking.  Where the procrastination gets so bad that I can't achieve anything at all until the very last minute or into overtime.  Where I can't stop what I'm doing and go to bed because somewhere in the whole falling-asleep process there would have to be a non-zero period of time where my mind would have to stop focussing on something and sit at its own mercy, so I stay up all night reading fanfic and not enjoying any of it because I feel too awful for even that to blot it out--to blot me out--but I can't stop because if I do then it'll all come rushing back all at once and that will be so much worse.  Where when a bad thought comes--and they come often--I confuse the kids by shouting or having a mini-fit at myself with my attempt to drown it out of my head before I can feel it.  Where I don't even know what I'm so desperately mortally afraid of because it's too terrifying for me to think.  Where I stop actually feeling like a real person so much as a robot inside a puppet body.  Where I sit next to my kids on the couch and read them a story and I can't feel them touching me and I can't feel any empathy with them and I can't do anything other that wish I that didn't exist.

Yeah.  Last few days it's got pretty bad.  To be clear, I'd never harm myself (or my kids).  I'm not that particular kind of unwell.  When I get like this I'm just... paralysed.  And empty.  I blot myself out mentally, any way I can.  And I still appear completely functional from the outside even when everything's gone white on the inside.

I know what the solution is, because I've been through therapy for this before.  The time when I went convinced I was going to have to be medicated for OCD, but the solution was simpler than that.  I don't need medication, I just need to be brave enough to let the monsters out into my head and look straight at them.  To let them do their worst, and put them in perspective so I can see that it's only the brain chemistry feedback loop that's winding them up to seem so bad.  And then start practicing mindfulness again, because as much as I hate doing it, it works.  But it's hard to get to a state where you can face being mindful when it physically hurts to consider stopping what you're doing long enough to let a genuine emotion cross your mind.  And it's hard to make myself do it when I know the solution's so simple that I could do it any day.  Perhaps even tomorrow.

It's not even the things themselves that I'm worrying about, it's the chemical state I've worked myself up into by being too frightened to let myself worry about things for fear of discovering my worries are right.

Futureproof has such awful power over me.  Awful, awful power.  But it's just a book.  In it and all the other decisions that I'm trying to make that have brought me to this, they're just decisions.  Not about anything that matters.  Not about anything I can get wrong.

Opportunity cost versus the opportunity at hand.  Those are the worst kind for me.

There's a pair of gorgeous Siamese kittens that I've found.  We've been looking for a while for some that suit us.  In personality and colour and gender and location and the environment they've been raised, these are simply perfect.  They're both blue point, which are definitely among my top three colour preferences (being tabby point, lilac point, and blue point).  Blue's possibly my favourite, my favourite colour is that edge where a soft seagull grey fades into white, which pretty much describes a blue point siamese down to a tee.  (But then again, stripey tabby point is so striking, and we've already had a blue point.  There was a lilac tabby who we almost got, but... reasons, which I'm still a bit devastated about.)  Possibly it's even nicer that they're both the same colour.  (Although, high speed cat chases, and not being able to tell who is who at a distance.  Although... two identical kittens curled up asleep together.)  Seriously, brain, why are you worrying about this?

Colour doesn't matter, because personality personality personality, and personality these two will have in spades because they've been raised by a family with small children and regular handling, they sleep in a six-year-old's bedroom, they're a bonded pair of only two in the litter, and they're not the least bit skitttish at chaos.  (Although who knows with cats, are we doing the right thing going for a pair of girls?  Last time with a boy and a girl turned out disastrous, and they grew up to hate each other.  Like, really hate.  Two girls are meant to be more trouble than mixed pairs--but I never want a cat that expresses itself by spraying ever again.  And Siamese really do best with a partner, even in a high-stimulation household like ours.)

They'll be ready to go home on my birthday.  My actual birthday, despite not looking for them for that particular purpose.  Clearly, they're meant to be ours.  This should be a happy thing, because we want them, because the kids will be over the moon to have their begging finally pay off.  But I can't enjoy the excitement because I can't stop turning it over in my mind.  And what's worse, I know it won't stop when we get them home.  Choices suck because they literally never settle in my mind.  I'll always look at these two and think... we could have got different cats.  Maybe we should have got different cats.  Maybe different cats would have been better.  Or maybe they wouldn't.  And maybe I should have called them by different names.  Because naming them, that's going to be a whole nother kettle of worms.  Which so doesn't matter because in the past our cats have always ended up being actually addressed by a pair of easy-identify monikers such as boy-cat and girl-cat or white-cat and grey-cat.  (Only these two will be almost freaking identical.  Thin-cat and thinner-cat?  Lighter-cat and darker-cat?  Who knows what they'll end up with.)  We've got three pairs of proper names, the kind that actually go on collars, as frontrunners, and I just can't face the idea of choosing despite how very little it matters.

Because there's something fundamentally wrong with me that I can't even look at our children and call them by their names without thinking "I could have called you something else, maybe I should have called you something else, is it really really too late to change your name, I mean I like your name, but I'm not sure I liked it more than some of the other options, but now it's too late isn't it, I can't change your name, I just wish I knew whether it was the right decision."

Writing, at the moment, is like making that choice on every single word.  Like walking through a world where every choice screams its potential to get it *wrong* at me.  It's hard.  And it's not fun writing like this.

Fuck anxiety.  Seriously, fuck it.  What right does it think it has to intrude on my ability to love my kids like that, and with my ability to do the things I love?  To make me feel like a passenger in my own body?

Only the right I give it.

So yeah.  I'm going to have to stop being such a wibbling wimp, face my shit, and put mindfulness back on my daily habits list.  *sigh*

---

I've sort of been writing this in parallel with my flashwork, which is now finished and posted.  I was hoping that finishing a sweet little flashwork might help settle my mind, but despite making a very conscious effort to restart and go in a different direction and writing the start of literally twenty different takes on the prompt, still the only place I got to was angst.  But it's good angst.  Apparently I was carrying around more feels about the end of our last cat four years ago than I realised.  I was the one who took him to be put down when his heart failure progressed, and I held him while he died.  Possibly that's one of the things that the prospect of new kittens has been bringing up for me.  But I wrote it and--as happens for me--after people started reading it, I started feeling it, properly.  And maybe that's better for me than writing something happy.

And then, this evening, I made myself take an hour-long bath with no reading material and no urgent tasks or plot point obsessing, and I let the thoughts come.  And they were yuck.  And it felt awful.  But they were just thoughts, and when I let them come they really didn't make the anxiety worse.  Because it really isn't about them, it's about me, the way I work myself up to be more terrified of what I might think than I would be of the thought itself.  And even if I don't feel much better yet, I thought the thoughts and I'm still here, and that has to prove something.
thewhitelily: (Lily)
Yay, I have solved a major plot problem.

This is better, this is perfect, this makes sense of everything, both narratively and structurally, and this stupid scene that hasn't been working for me?  Poof!  It's awesome now!  AND I've got worldbuildy threads to pick up later for a couple of other bare scenes I know are coming up.  Things that make me build this world up more are veeery very good.

Of course, it means some rewriting but not actually that much, just tweaking a couple of mediocre scenes one chapter back in ways that should actually make them better, and maybe sliding a little more worldbuiding in earlier on my next pass.  The research I had to do to get to this point also meant I got to spend last night's approximately biannual date night debating awesome sci-fi concepts with Hubby, which was great fun since we're both massive geeks and... well, the way we get when we're talking about this kind of stuff?  Well, there are many, many reasons he's the love of my life, but this is definitely one of them.  :)

High five, Brain.

Milestones

Sep. 21st, 2016 09:54 pm
thewhitelily: (Lily)
I spent a few minutes this evening updating my word count spreadsheet, which had recently fallen by the wayside, and I'm very glad I did.

At a total of 6K words, posting The Wrong Kind of Snow has put me over two somewhat related milestones.  I'm now up to 104,823 words of fiction I've written this year, which is, like woah.

When people started talking about Get Your Words Out goals at the beginning of the year, I looked at the targets and I laughed and laughed.  And then I cried.  Even the 75K disability goal, if I counted anxiety and stress migraines and toddlers, seemed completely out of reach.  But hey, look at me!  Over 100K, it's September, and I'm still planning to do NaNoWriMo... I could have signed up for the 150K goal after all!

Possibly more importantly to me, I'm up to 101,916 words I've actually finished and posted this year.  (Yes, I started the year with about 12K words already written on things I've since posted, but that's possibly even harder for me than writing new stuff to post.)

Go.  Me.

I think I'm particularly proud of the ratio, because my real goal when I started the year--and the eventual reason I decided not to sign up for GYWO because writing more words was not actually what I wanted to focus on--was to stop half-writing things, stop hoarding and chewing on them forever, to finish writing them and to get them the fuck out of my head.  Because it's pretty damned crowded in here, what with the plot bunnies and the brain weasels and trying to remember my kids' names and all.

Discovering that I've passed such a massive milestone in both at exactly the same time makes me pretty bloody pleased. And I've been making progress on long term writing projects which are not postable as yet, so I'm totally chuffed.  If I can finish off Futureproof, keep up the flashworks, AND do NaNoWriMo, which is still my at least moderately realistic goal, the two might even finish the year not too far apart--but with words I've let go in the lead.  Now that's a goal to strive for.

So, now I'm finished the latest flashwork, it's time to put my nose back into Futureproof.  There are seriously only five scenes left that I am deeply unhappy with and/or are absent because I was deeply unhappy with them and in posession of a delete key.  Five.  A couple of them are big scenes, all are central to a dodgy point in some plot thread that runs through the whole story, but still. Five.

Move it, Lily.  Even if all you do is paste wallpaper over them and whistle loudly enough that nobody notices.
thewhitelily: (Lily)
I'm trying to take a quick break from Futureproof to work on the second in my Transport series, tentatively titled "The Wrong Kind of Snow", in which an asexual Sherlock takes the next step in a sexual relationship with John.  It's a series that's close to my heart, because reasons, and it's frustrating me that it keeps diving off in a direction I don't want.

It's not supposed to be a talky fic.  I don't want vast long relationship negotiations that fix things, because (1) it's not in character and (2) it doesn't fit with the source material I'm transforming.  But I do very much want to convey the complexity and the nontraditional joy of the relationship. It's the same tug of war between narrative causality and truth that I had to put up with while writing Carpooling, the first fic in the series.  Only now I've got a third player in the tug of war which is the 'feeling' that's been laid down by the first story.

In my source, the way the relationship progresses between someone who doesn't really understand that they're asexual and someone who's assuming everything is normal, there's a lot of miscommunication.  And some messiness, and confusion and shame and accidental button pressing and all those things, and there's some dysfunctional unsatisfying sexual encounters, but also an increasing propertion that might seem dysfunctional but are satisfying on all sides in their various ways.  And there's some communication which lights things up, but not much because everyone's just guessing what the answers might be.  Mostly, it's two people struggling along in the dark, trying to understand themselves and each other, making each other's lives better in all sorts of myriad ways, because they want to and they can.

Aces can and do have satisfying sexual relationships, because they experience what's called secondary sexual desire.  They can desire to have sex with someone for a reason other than their own sexual pleasure.  And that?  Is totally okay.  But I guess I'm finding it hard to convey the okayness of that.  I guess that's why I started writing the story, because that's the okayness of that is the story I wanted to tell.

The first story is pretty firmly show-not-tell, very close POV, and it's left a little ambiguous.  There's very few lines of dialogue, and I like it that way.  And Sherlock is a faintly unreliable narrator, disconnected enough from his own experience that no one including him is quite certain what he feels, which I love.

This story's not like that.  It's getting looooong, particularly for a 'quick' flashwork before I get back to what I'm supposed to be working on.  It's over 5K words so far of the stuff I'm fairly certain I'm keeping, which is... a lot of writing in a fairly short time, for me.  Which is good.  And annoying.  For some reason, despite what I set out to write, in this story my keyboard wants them to talk talk talk talk talk.  And John's doing a lot of being patient and understanding and mildly horrified, and Sherlock's alternating between petulant sulking and making frustratedly awkward romantic declarations.  Except when he's being passive.

I'm tearing out my hair.  I've written the same conversation at least four different ways, and there's a lot of great lines and great interactions to cherry-pick, but I'm not sure I want any of them in the story.  Because... the whole point was the not talking.  This is going to fall out differently to my source, because you know what?  The people involved are different to the characters in this story.  And that's okay too.

Now I think about it, I've had this very same happen before, when I was writing Ring Truly.  The problem there wasn't about the story not being true enough, but I guess I had similarly fixed ideas about forcing characters to follow a storyline that didn't come easily, forcing them to be happy when the ideas felt a bit angsty.  All Lex and Clark wanted to do was talk it out, which while it immediately fixed all the problems, did not work for their characters or the story.  The solution then was to kill Lois, which sent them straight back into a deep and not-talky connection, and to ruthlessly kill all the explainy OOC dialogue.  No Lois here to kill, although it occurs to me I've disappeared Mary by unspecified hurtful means, I could lean further into that..

The OOC dialogue has to go.  And I have to find a way to do it all through body language and experiencial incidents.  Sherlock needs some fire.  So does John.  And apparently I have to find a way to let myself write happy sex scenes.  Me.  Writing sex where no one's crying on the inside.  /o\  I don't think I'll ever be able to write sexy sex.  But I guess if I'm ever going to be able to write at least happyish sex, it'll be this story.  I've got most of two scenes, I don't know how they play for other people, but they're fine for me.  I think I need a third, too, but okay.

You know the other thing I need to do?  Stop obsessing about what's wrong with this story, and just write it.  Even if it's wrong.  Leave the dialogue.  Fill in the gaps, tidy it up, get it done.  Not perfect; out the door.  Enough with the pointless, euphemistic excuses for why it's not right.  Do the thing.

Yeah, yeah, I already knew that.
thewhitelily: (Lily)
I may not have said this recently, because I've been too busy panicking about the bits that didn't work, but Futureproof seriously kicks arse as a story.  Like, there are so many amazing moments.  So many wonderful characters, with amazing, human motivations.  So many awesome plot complications, little bits of worldbuilding that first seem tangential but after turning up a couple of times suddenly interconnect with a host of other things to drive everything onwards.  And this pass I'm doing is making everything so much better, too.

It's finally come alive in my mind again, and I love this story.  It's also just tipped over 70,000 words, which is awesome, and I'm getting great feedback from Pear which is even better.

I'm almost half way through what I'm callling my 'second draft', although it's a bit nebulous how many times I've edited it, really, given how sporadic my efforts have been over the last ten years.  It's probably at least third.  It's much, much more than that for some sections, because I love to polish my shiny objects, but also the occasional difficult scene which has been ripped out and rewritten and needs to be ripped out again is barely more than an outline.  This pass is about sharpening characters and plots and foreshadowing and filling in those continuity gaps to make it smooth, so everything come together all inevitable and shiny.  Next pass after this will be focussing on incidental worldbuilding and visuals.  Then the final one is the spelling/grammar check.  No, there's no way I'm going to hit my ten year deadline for those two - but hope I can make it to the end of this edit in time.  Maybe even the one after that, and have it be my deadline to send the whole thing off to a couple of people who can give me final-draft style feedback.

But... I'm about to strike the next unhappy valley where what I've written gets a bit dodgy.  Where the plot has changed since I first wrote the section and doesn't quite fit any more, or sections where I've never quite managed to write something I felt entirely pleased with.  Where I'm not entirely certain how I can make point A flow to point B.

It'll be okay, as long as I can keep a handle on the fact that it doesn't have to be perfect.  Done is better than perfect.  Done gets it out the door, so the golden moments can light up for people, so the characters can walk into their hearts, and the sly incidentals that turn out to be not so much so can blow their minds.  Occasionally, hands can be waved.  This is a story, not a mathematical proof.

All I have to do is a little bit of plumbing to connect it all up, and it will be golden.  These dodgy scenes don't have to be amazing.  The story is not only as good as its worst scene; quite the reverse.  Of course every scene won't be as amazing as the most amazing ones that carry their own freaking spotlight with them.  That's not every scene's job.  Some scenes are backstage workers, their jobs simply to say what they're there for, set everything up, and then get out of the way so we can move on to the payoff.  Not just for the reader, but for the writer too.

Futureproof is an amazing story, and it's not the incredible scenes that wrote themselves that will get it out the door.  It's the other ones.  The difficult ones.  The unsung heroes of any story: the bits that didn't feel quite right, but got written anyway.

They're not going to feel quite right, no matter what I do.  But I need to write them anyway.
thewhitelily: (Lily)
1) I am now officially up to date in MCU. YAAAAAY! It's been a long time coming
Spoilers! Because now I'm the one with the spoilers HAHA! ) Anyway, I'm up to date now, so I can safely read the shoobies' snippets without my head exploding.

2) I have finally, finally managed to open Futureproof to resume my second draft editing. Chapter 3 and I have been having an epic mexican standoff in my brain for... wow, is it only four weeks? It seems longer! ... which has in any case at last, like in the last few hours, spilled into shots fired in an actual word processor. I'm officially done with listening to its excuses, and this afternoon I made a first edit through to the end of the chapter. I'm going to stop trying to cram in things that don't go there. If I'm having this much trouble, now is clearly not the time for those revelations. I'm drawing a line. Moving on. It'll be off to Pear for review tomorrow night, and the next stop is editing Chapter 4. In which Gary is woobie and put upon, and we're back to the other plot arcs with the character who doesn't drive me nuts, so that should be easier, right? Right?

3) Also, we have no milk. I think Sherlock's done something to it. My only other theory is that the kids drank it all, and that just doesn't seem plausible. I have, however, discovered that cream is not half bad in tea. Much better than powdered milk. And substantially better for the putting-on-weight campaign, because if I have a couple of spoons of cream in every cup of tea throughout the day, that adds up to quite a bit of cream--surely eventually some of it will stick to my bones. I might keep up the cream even when we have milk again.

Speaking of Sherlock: My fanvid. Which I am pimping all over the place because I am so damn proud of it, but it's my livejournal and I'll pimp if I want to. :)

thewhitelily: (Lily)
So I've just got to the end of the crazy business that has been the last couple of months of my life.

There was July Writing Prompts, of course, and the associated burned-out mental exhaustion.  Mr. Two Years Old's birthday party.  And then today was Mr. Four Years Old's birthday party.  Attempt two, because as our first date approached it became clear that our house and our family were a biological contamination hazard, and we would all require worming tablets and a week's worth of conjunctivitis medication before we were fit to recieve company.  Yeuch.  In any case, all better now, so that's a relief.  And we got to have a Zoo Party!  I did an amazing cake, as usual, and also carved a watermelon to look like a hippopotomus, which I've never tried anything similar before, and went down a treat.

In the meantime, I had to do a whole lot of terrible, horrible, parent homework in videoing and editing Mr. Nearly Six's oral presentation for school about the construction of his house.  It took a long time, but apparently went down well with the class.  He was the only kid in school who did part of his video from on the roof of his house, which earned him lots of cred in school (and coincidentally made him forget to be a grumpy teenager-before-his-time for long enough to make at least *some* eye contact with the camera for that part).  So yay.

Same child went a bit scissor mad a month or two ago and cut 1) some bedsheets (actually, that was a while previously), 2) an electrical cable, and 3) one of the seatbelts in the car. Not happy, Jan.  Consequences have had to happen, which has been making him very grumpy, but we are now we are out the other side of that and he's got his scissor privileges and his iPad priveileges and his lap-sash belt privileges back again, the car is roadworthy again, and things are more settled with him.  Then of course I discovered Mr. Two Years Old running through the house while attempting to give himself a haircut with some pilfered scissors ("Nip! Nip! Nip!"  "OMG GIVE ME THOSE!!!") so....  Scissors are good for development of fine motor control.  Yes, yes they are.

I've made a couple of new online friends I've been getting to know, which has proved interesting, as it always is.  I think the thing I love most about online friendships is the way they go deep so quickly.  You don't know how the other person looks, but you know how they feel about the things that matter to them the very most, in words they've had time to consider.  It's cool to make that connection with something real rather than, you know, just mums in the schoolyard commiserating about how tough life is with kids and day to day trivialities, oh I know, etc.  Which, yeah, but it's different online.  Maybe that's just for me.

I've been keeping up with fan_flashworks, and now I've done eight challenges in a row.  Loving the way the urge to keep my streak going is forcing me to keep up the flashwork momentum, making writing and finishing little things just another part of life rather than a Big Deal.  Thinking of trying something a bit different for this one, an idea I've had niggling for a while, so an amnesty's perfect to actually do it.

And I've partnered up with Wild Pear to work on Futureproof.  She's both acting as my arbitrary deadline to get chapters finished, and looking at chapters as I send them to her, reflecting back what she gets from my characters, telling me where it gets a little bogged down or confused... and omg, it's so good. So reassuring.  So affirming.  And so inspirational to hear those little edges of things she doesn't see in the characters and the things that resonated with her that she does.  *loves*  If I'm actually going to get this thing done by my self-imposed deadline, I really need to focus on drawing lines and getting it out the door.  But there's so many distractions and other things I can just get done first, there's always a good reason not to do anything on it today.  New rule: my ten minutes writing per day isn't ten minutes in general, I know I can do that: it's ten minutes of Futureproof.

Speaking of Futureproof, I've spent the last week battling brain weasels again.  I've been alternately super busy or super exhausted by it, and I guess I've been caught up in my own brain researching... stuff.  Things I'm questioning about myself that don't really matter in the scheme of things, but that have activated the must-research-and-question-absolutely-everything mode, so I haven't managed to get the downtime I need to keep a lid on my anxiety and I haven't been sleeping well, and it's all just been snowballing.

I managed to write it out with the last flashwork--despite the fact that my writer's brain insisted the story should go a different direction to what I felt would be truthful and real.  It was an interesting conflict to deal with, usually the only battle I have to fight is 'this is wonderful, but am I really comfortable revealing that?' rather than 'this is something that I want to explore, but it is narratively unsatisfying'.  It made the final few lines very difficult for me, that battle between true and right, because unlike anxious wibbling which must be crushed, both of them are good reasons in their own right.  If the story doesn't... come full circle, to a satisfying ending, then is it really a story? How can I stop writing it if it doesn't end?  But if it doesn't tell the story I want to tell... is it really doing its job?  And I was super busy with party preparation and just needed to post it and stop obsessing, which I did.  *pats self on back* Apart from a couple of nods to narrative causality, I ended up making it the story I needed to write for me, even though the ending felt weak. I'm pretty sure the catharsis it made me feel doesn't come across in the same way to a reader who doesn't live in my brain, but ambiguity is part of the joy of an unreliable narrator anyway.  It reminds me a little of On Becoming an Axiom, which people seemed to think was a sad story, when to me it was a shiningly glorious truth.  I might end up tweaking the end a little when I crosspost, if I can think of something that unites the trueness and the rightness a little better.  And I've also left it open for a sequel if I need to do any more soulsearching along the same lines, so... good enough is good enough.  Out the door and posted, and out of my brain, for now at least.

I've got a couple of emails and a couple of comment replies still waiting on my to do list, which I need to just do rather than continuing to find them daunting.  Someone asked an insightful question on one of my stories which I am trying to to write an epic essay in response to the fact that I'm intrigued and not really sure of the answer myself.  The comments on my stories that give me most joy are always the hardest to respond to, but I'm working on just doing it without trying to do it justice.  And hopefully with a few of the real-life jobs out of the way, and with Pear backing me up, I can get things back under control and focus properly on Futureproof again.
thewhitelily: (Lily)
My masterlist of the stories I've written for [livejournal.com profile] watsons_woes July Writing Prompts.  I'm amazingly pleased with most of these given they all ran the gamut from idea to completion within 24 hours, but I've bolded my top favourites.  All are in the BBC Sherlock fandom.

The Stratford Stabber - a single, prompt-guided story, where each chapter is semi-standalone [drama, action, (b)romance, h/c]
  1. Just Winded (’Tis But a Scratch) [100w]
  2. It's how you get your kicks (Roll The Dice) [100w]
  3. One deduction too late (A cardboard box) [221w]
  3b. Physician Heal Thyself (A cardboard box) [221w]
  4. The Surgeon's Knife (Horsemen of the Apocalypse) [442w]
5. Oh Better Far to Live and Die (A False Moustache) [728w]
  6. The Least of These My Bretheren (Food, Glorious Food) [559w]
  7. Penicillin for a Crime Wave (Epidemic) [887w]
  8. The Wonder of Our Age (The Wonder of the Age) [500w]
  9. Rationality and Rationalisation ("Please stop petting the test subjects.") [394w]
  10. Turning in their Foxholes (A higher power) [337w]

And on to the individual stories:
11. There's Three of Us (Threesome) [drama, angst, h/c 1114w]
12. Pirates of the Faroe Islands (Image) [humour, (b)romance, 221w]
13. The Science of Decomposition (Nature is red in tooth and claw) [humour, 622w]
14. Five ways to look after your injured flatmate (Rehabilitation/Recovery) [friendship, humour, h/c 2650w]
15. The Boxing Builder from Islington (Make a literary reference) [humour, casefic, 1290w]
16. Faithful Companions and Tellers of Tales (Include another great British character) [character, friendship, 1019w]
17. Coordinated Action (Teamwork) [friendship, 473w]
18. Love Letters for the 21st Century (Handwritten) [character, (b)romance, angst, 1842w]
19. Predators and Prey (Great Minds Think Alike: AU with Creatures of the Night) [friendship, action, 2303w]
20. Trouble in Paradise (There are tides in the affairs of men.) [character, casefic, 1548w]
21. Conduct Me a Rainbow (21 song salute: Make Me Rainbows) [character, casefic, 372w]
22. How to Win Friends and Influence Goldfish (Child POV) [drama, 1020w]
23. The Game is Afoot! (Use a pun) [humour, 1089w]
24. And Baby Makes Four ("Nothing shocks me, I'm a scientist.") [drama, 1151w]
25. Finding an Anchor (Trope Trainwreck) [drama, friendship, 3213w]
26. To Do: Strangle Flatmate, Buy Glass Kettle (Elementally, my dear Watson) [humour, 83w]
27. We're all fine here, how are you? (Thx 4 Nothing) [drama, action, 617w]
28. Midnight Sunlight (In July the sun is hot.  Is it shining?  No, it's not.) [character, 444w]
29. Storming the Ship (Arr!) [action, 1811w]
30. The Adventure of the Cloth Covered Face ("Why exactly do you need chloroform at 2am?") [casefic, 1350w]
31. Playing at Detection (Once more with feeling) [casefic, character, 1233w]
Bonus: That's a Crack Shot You're Looking For Written for fan_flashworks, but mostly written on day 9 and partially inspired by prompt 5 (A False Moustache) [character, friendship, action, (b)romance, 3815w]

Statistics and Discussion )

Update

Jul. 14th, 2016 11:44 pm
thewhitelily: (Lily)
So, I haven't posted for a while.

A few things:
1) I am writing like the blazing blazes, doing [livejournal.com profile] watsons_woes July Writing Prompts month, one fill for every day. Seriously. I don't think I've ever written like this, and I won NaNoWriMo one year. It's not so much word count output I mean, but idea-execution output. Not saying I'm posting Shakespeare every day, but completing, writing things good enough to be happy with them without skipping over some bits and obsessing over others, and some things have been surprisingly good. This is working. It's awesome. Writing 90% decent stuff is getting faster--and easier--and while I'm still working on the not-obsessing over it part, I'm hoping that'll get easier too. There's only so much it's possible to obsess when you're posting every day. Isn't it? Please? In some ways it actually makes it harder to let go, because I know that last line or that title could be better, but time limitations meant I didn't have the time to think of what it should be instead. Of course I'm obsessing over making them better. At least I've only really got room for one obsession at a time, so once I've completed the next 24 hrs story, I move on to obsessing over that one.

I might have to go fanfiction cold turkey at the end of this month, though, if I'm going to get Futureproof done in the following couple of months, which I am determined to do. It is not going to make it a full ten years without completing the final draft. And hopefully, all my practice in drawing lines, saying 'good e-freaking-nough' and letting things go will come into play there, and let me draw some lines and say 'good e-freaking-nough' to the good old albatross around my neck.

2) I've been getting involved in the Holmes fandoms, over at JWP month. It's been cool, meeting people, getting to know a few different people's writing styles, reading ten or so different responses to the same prompt with the same characters and it's... just intriguing. Too see how different all the ideas are, and the executions. How many wonderful interpretations there can be. Because when I've had eight different ideas and discarded seven of them for being too obvious, you'd think one of those 'obvious' ones would have been done by someone else, right? One? Apparently not.

3) I have lost too much weight again. I weighed in the other morning at 47.5kg, which is the lightest I've been I think since... ooh, actually, I do think I hit that when I was wasted with morning sickness on my third child! But before that it was probably pre-adulthood. My current BMI 16.2, which is way, way underweight. I generally try to stay above 50kg, which is still technically underweight but is about all I can manage to keep on no matter what I do. I knew I was down to 48kg for most of this year, because I never really put it back on after writing Living Conditions--and I was thinking I'd bottomed out, but apparently if I keep writing I can keep losing more weight, and another 500g is enough to make me worried. I don't want to stop writing. We're only talking 2.5kg under my goal, but... when you're on the pointy end of the scales, that's the difference between acceptably thin and skeletal. Time to do something about it anyway.

Perhaps I should move away from writing in a fandom where the character I personally identify with doesn't eat when he's working. :P I'd say I should get some more exercise to try to stimulate appetite, but my fitbit says I'm doing 10K+ steps per day just running around after the children, so it's not exactly like I'm sedentary. More likely, if I'm trying to dedicate some time to doing something about my weight every day, I should dedicate it to eating. Instead of, you know, skipping breakfast because I'm in a rush and skipping lunch because kids nap/TV time is the only time each day I get to spend by myself and who wants to waste that time eating?!

I've never had a big appetite. And hunger's never been a strong motivator, particularly when I'm busy or stressed. Unless there's incredibly delicious food right in front of me, I'd just rather do other things. But we're getting to the point where I either have to start making myself eat things, or start putting weights in my undies when I get on the scales. At the moment, my solution is stocking my writing chair with museli bars, and also making a conscious effort to get myself something to eat whenever I get the kids something. That should make a difference, hopefully. But I'll keep the weights in the undies in mind.

4) I was going to do a minor arsehole update, but this is an unlocked post. So, I'll just say things are stable and looking like they're heading in the right direction, and I am stable and managing to keep the boundaries in my head in the right places. Yay.
thewhitelily: (Lily)
So my eldest said to me last night: I can't believe you're actually a writer of stories, mummy! I told him anyone could write a story, maybe he would like to write one. What would it be called? He said he needed to think about it, and then told me, that's the title! I need to think about it! And then he wandered off to do something else, so...

Well, flash fic happened on the whiteboard, for him to see next time he passed.  Reading primer is quite a restrictive style, but I think I rocked it.  :D

 photo 13434690_10208362006680410_7877530915834426806_n_zpss3vahjbr.jpg
thewhitelily: (Lily)
Terry Pratchett is and will always be sorely missed, and his mind would have been taken from us too soon if he had lived to be razor-sharp one hundred and fifty.  But in honour of Lilac Day, in rememberence of The Glorious Twenty-Fifth of May and the far too short-lived People's Republic of Treacle Mine Road, I have written a Discworld fic: Where's My Bath?

Expect none of Pterry's intelligence, or humour, or the skill of his writing, or his unexpectedly poignant insight.  My assignment for the [livejournal.com profile] ushobwri New Frontiers challenge was a piece of unapologetic fluff, something involving a heaving bosom and a baby duck.  I crossed a few new frontiers with this story: new genre, new fandom, new fandom-familiarity, new writing process.

The new process was probably the most interesting of those, as far as what I might choose to repeat.  I wrote in order, or as much as that makes sense for me: keeping the future in the front of my mind and a consistent complete narrative 'behind the cursor' even though I continually ducked (haha) back to fine tune the story I had so far.  I think doing it this way might have made the ending more difficult, although it's hard to tell whether a story like this would have refused to end even if I'd written the ending first.  But it definitely made the process of writing faster--I don't think I've ever completed a story longer than a drabble in less than a week before.  Whether it would work for something longer?  Or something more compilicated?  Not sure.  But it's been an interesting experiment, and certainly something I might try again.

May Goals

May. 2nd, 2016 09:42 am
thewhitelily: (Lily)
So, I had a few March goals for Futureproof, but... well, I didn't quite get there for several reasons.

I mostly mucked around with character charts and trying a single crucial scene a few different ways, to sort out a particular character relationship issue which has a huge impact on the plot.  I still wrote about 5K words on it this month, but... yeah, I'm still trying to work out how much to change it to improve things down the line--and what to change, because it's all a complex thing where I pull one string and the whole thing warps in one direction or the other.  I feel like if I find the right string or set thereof, it should just all fall into place, but... to be honest, I probably just need to force it through.  I'm not very good at doing that.  But I'm giving it a rest for the moment because...

I'm currently working on the BBC Sherlock Rehabilitation fic, which I've written 6K on in the last couple of weeks.  I'm still expecting to end up around 10k total by the time I'm finished fiddling with it, and I reckon I should be able to finish it and get it off to beta before the end of this week, because I'm really not that far off complete framework.  I've only got a few bits to fill in left, really, and my aim is to get *that* done by the end of today, finish the framework, and then spend the rest of the week polishing and bouncing it off my beta.  Possibly not realistic to have it posted by the end of the week, but hopefully no more than another week after that - then I want to get back onto my March goals for Futureproof.

The other distraction, in addition to what's going on with my mum, who has about until the end of the month before she's allowed to weight bear on her leg again, Hubby and I are having Big Serious Discussions about the Future.  Or mainly, Hubby stressed out of his mind and hiding under a big rock pretending it isn't happening while I draw up charts on the whiteboard and try to analyse the unanalysable.  There's a... decision coming up, a fork in the road.  And one way means a lot of stress on him and probably less time to write for me and basically taking the risk on our family of wiping out everything we've built--but seems to really be the better decision financially and with family politics, and it's mainly the fear holding us back.  And the other way means disappointing a lot of people, and... isn't necessarily safer or lower stress, but... it does mean we wouldn't have to take on the weight of a very, very large loan.

Do we want to buy out the family business when Hubby's parents retire, that is the question? Which is two parts, really: do we want the business at all or should they sell it to a third party, and if so... do we want to buy it for lots and lots of money.  Being as it's a family business, we could possibly also officially take over without the very, very large loan.  But taking the very, very large loan has major financial advantages for tax minimisation for the family clan as a whole, and leaves us at an excellent tax advantage for the future, no matter how the business tracks long term.  But... all the risk is on us.  And, it's not like it's a big risk, because we know the business is sound and long-term viable, but... we're talking big, big dollar figures here, figures that dwarf all the equity we've worked hard to build up over the last fifteen years since back when I was working five jobs at once while I was at uni. At least, for the first time, it's being presented as a decision we need to make, rather than an assumption that we will.  Did I mention that the loan would be large?  *sigh*

Okay, back to writing proper.  This is my least favourite stage of writing any story, but if I can get my head into gear and complete the framework today, it'll be done.  And done with it will be a good place to be
thewhitelily: (Lily)
So, looks like I'm currently writing a murder mystery.  Sort of.  And it's an interesting beast.  I tend to have small casts of multi-dimensional, living and breathing characters, but for this I need to be able to sketch a large cast of flatter characters.  I know why the murderer is doing it, and I know why the victim draws their attention.  The victim is also a suspect, and I have at least three more characters.  Maybe one more red herring character.  Which means at least five or six disposable, one dimensional OCs in addition to my main characters, who are the basic BBC Sherlock crew.  This is not a long story (are you listening, Brain?!), I'm currently estimating about 10K words, and to be honest I don't care that much about the mystery itself, it's more of a subplot than a primary plot.  Five plus new characters for a subplot of a 10K word story means that these characters need to be caricatures.  They need to be so incredibly one dimensional that people will 'know' them within a single line of description and then anything on top of that is gravy.  That's a difficult prospect for me.  But probably very good for my characterisation soul.

It's also an AU beginning, which is always interesting in the way that a lot of the dialogue tends to be directly taken from the original.  And I love that about AU beginnings, I love playing 'spot the original line', and seeing the way the more things change, the more they stay the same.  (Not entirely related: I remember reading an amazing Harry-goes-back-in-time-to-fix-everything story where as a minor side frustration to Harry, Lockhart was so self involved that his lines were practically identical, no matter how much Harry tried to redirect the conversation.  It was absolutely hysterical.)  But there's a delicate balance to walk between changing too much and changing too little.  No one wants to reread a lazy copy-paste job, even when the original dialogue is brilliant.  On the other hand, the original lines are the canonical character moments, that are by definition precisely what the characters would say--so in the same situation, it is wrong to have them say anything else.  So sometimes it's hard to make them change direction.

In particular, I'm rewriting Sherlock's initial deducing-everything-about-John monologue in a situation where he hasn't had access to John's mobile, so he's focussing on other things.  I like writing Sherlock's deductions, and I've had people tell me I'm good at them.  I'm super pleased with how far this one has developed over the past 24 hours I've been working on it.

But I'm finding it difficult giving something for him to be wrong about, because the single misconception of Harry's gender is perhaps the heart of John's rock-solid belief that Sherlock has to be for real; how very many logical reasons he had to get to a point that was essentially true in all its intricate detail but technically false because of a mistake he wouldn't have made if he'd found out any other way but the one he'd described.  It was great for a number of reasons, but not least because Sherlock was so repeatedly wrong about it - he refers to John's brother at least three times before he mentions Harry by name, absolutely sets it up as a given to the audience, who also haven't yet been introduced to the idea that Sherlock might be wrong, and John is beautifully blandly noncommital about it.  "Then there's your brother," he says.   "Hmm?" says John.  Gold.  Very much sets up his dry, sly, enjoyment of poking fun at Sherlock's rare missteps.  And then there's the fact that when it comes out that Harry is a woman, it is a humorous misconception. Brother rather than gay sister with masculine name is a totally obvious assumption to have made but Sherlock is so professionally annoyed with himself for making it, or perhaps with the world for being lumpy and occasionally falling ridiculously outside the bounds of standard distribution on something that he hadn't been even a little unsure about.

As Sam Vimes puts it:
He instinctively distrusted [Clues]. They got in the way. And he distrusted the kind of person who’d take one look at another man and say in a lordly voice to his companion, “Ah, my dear sir, I can tell you nothing except that he is a left-handed stonemason who has spent some years in the merchant navy and has recently fallen on hard times,” and then unroll a lot of supercilious commentary about calluses and stance and the state of a man’s boots, when exactly the same comments could apply to a man who was wearing his old clothes because he’d been doing a spot of home bricklaying for a new barbecue pit, and had been tattooed once when he was drunk and seventeen and in fact got seasick on a wet pavement. What arrogance! What an insult to the rich and chaotic variety of the human experience!

That, I think, is what the 'there's always something' moment with Harry adds to BBC Sherlock, because that's part of the suspension of disbelief with Sherlock Holmes that BBC Sherlock didn't require us to indulge in. Sherlock Holmes isn't magic; he's science. The way many of his deductions work is by playing the probabilities, and the thing about playing the probabilities is that--while most of the time, you are right--sometimes you are wrong. ACD Holmes knows this and while he gives some mysterious hints, he doesn't like to say much until he's certain, so by the time he speaks he has accrued enough evidence and narrowed down the pathways enough that when he explains what just happened he's always right.  But BBC Sherlock draws us inside the deductions straight away, shows off and struts like a peacock and drip feeds us his arrogant brilliance throughout the show rather than saving the explanations for the end.  I like it this way; it brings in the suspense, knowing that sometimes Sherlock can and will be wrong.

The thing in my story that's naturally falling out for Sherlock to be wrong about is... not like that.  It's good, character building stuff, but it's not in any way able to poke fun at, and neither is it something compellingly obvious.  It's possible I can fix the second one with some more references to set it up; I'm good at red herrings.  It's difficult, though, because it's not a funny thing, it's a bittersweet tugs-the-heartstrings thing.  In my writing.  What a surprise.  But that means even with Sherlock's lack of social graces, he's not going to be as obnoxiously I-know-something-you-don't-know-how-I-know about it as he was about John's brother.  So maybe I need to find something else.  But then... I wouldn't get to put in my cute little tugs the heartstrings bit that I've worked out how to make John say, as long as he's correcting Sherlock.  So maybe I just need to find a way to alter this bit that I've already got, that I love, to do the job that's in front of it.

So yeah, that's... today's thing to pointlessly agonise over.

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The White Lily

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