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I'm an experienced Matron of Honour. I'll be reprising my role tomorrow, at Hubby's sister's wedding.

Even if I do say so myself, I'm a good choice to have on one's bridal team, because I sew. You need a flower girl dress? No worries, I'll design one to suit your needs. Your size 16 bridesmaid has quit with a month to go, dresses all ordered, and been replaced by a size 10? Perahps, given there's a size 12 and size 14 bridesmaid in between the two of them, we could alter the size 16 dress to fit the 14 maid, the 14 dress to fit the 12 maid and the 12 dress to fit the 10 maid? No worries. Seriously. Stop stressing, I've got it under control. (And I won't mention that this is my second night with absolutely no sleep *getting* it under control, because I don't want you to stress, right?) You need hems hemmed? Wraps made? Panties installed with an easy-access panel to allow for loo trips without disturbing assorted corsetry? No. Worries.

I'm used to dealing with sewing emergencies. I'm not so used to dealing with flower emergencies.

But then my mobile rings. It never rings, which means no one ever hears my Bad Horse ringtone, and even less people understand it. )

AAAAAAARGH!!! Have these people EVER done a wedding before?!?! But we're all cool here, it's going to be fine, in fact it's going to be lovely. Flowers are very commonly arranged the day before required and left in the florist's chiller to keep them fresh and perfect for tomorrow, and they should be none the worse for their short trip across town. After all, we wouldn't want the bride (or in this case, since the bride herself is as chilled as the florist's fridge, the mother of the bride :P) to stress.

And I'm up writing an LJ post at 1am the night before the wedding, because venting cures stress-related insomnia, and I just wish I could shake the feeling that bad things (like all things, come to think of it) come in threes.

Fingers crossed a for threeless tomorrow...
thewhitelily: (Default)
Futureproof (whose working title was Return to Sender) is nine scenes away from complete second draft. Perhaps five to ten thousand words all up.

Not all the rest of it is as polished as I would like (that would be third draft, for weaving and threeing), but it's more than adequate to support the story. Nine scenes, though, are pretty close to empty, with notes on things I need to happen there. A follows a reluctant B home. X dies. Y makes a stirring speech that contains crucial exposition and character development (ack! No wonder I'm having trouble with that one!). P gets manipulated by a guilty Q who can't help himself. All are in the third quarter of the story; the second half of the second act, where we're past the midpoint and the plot thickens with every word, but we haven't yet reached the point where the ball starts rolling inexorably onwards.

It's all important development, and each individual scene is incredibly close to reaching critical mass, where enough components fall into place that there's only one path and the writing simply takes care of itself. I feel like with enough brainstorming, it should just fall out. All I need to do is get back into it, put my head down and use the snowflake technique rather than the stare at the page until I think of something to write technique, and stop getting distracted by the shinyshiny rest of it.

Still. Nine scenes. Three times three.

I think my manuscript might be mocking me.
thewhitelily: (Default)
I'm beginning to realise anew that the most truly horrifically powerful scenes are ones where the point of view character is undisturbed by events. And that contrasting reactions to similar (to the reader's mind) situations is an excellent way of exploring a protagonist's moral code and exposing the path for growth.

In related news: Return to Sender is now closed for new characters. Please do not turn up in my narrative expecting a substantial supporting role, because in addition to being quite enough, nine is a nice round number. Thank you for your cooperation.
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I’ve realised one of the reasons why I’m usually disappointed when I consult a thesaurus looking for whatever that word is that I’m really looking for—what I’m usually looking for is much closer to a word association dictionary than anything else.

For example, at the moment, I’m working on a paragraph that begins: It was like kissing a squid.

I love the image. For starters, squid is an excellent word in this context, because it’s short and punchy and the squ sound is uncommon enough to bring a little surprise to intensify the humour and onomatopoeically bring to mind a host of appropriate unpleasant words like squish, squelch, or squeeze. It’s creepy and unnatural and undignified; it’s a confusion of flailing limbs; it’s cold, wet, and impossible to escape the suction to surface for air. And don’t even get me started on camouflage, grotesque intelligence, coiled arms, inky eyes, beaky noses, or cold fish.

The word use is coming really easily; I’m having to rein it in with both hands and my teeth to halt the descent into madness. That's no problem. I'll pick a few (perhaps three?) of the best, and then scatter a couple of the more subtle ones into the remainder of the scene, the reader’s mind will fill in the rest.

But finding the words doesn’t always come this easy, and it’s obvious, now I think of it, why I hardly ever find it helpful to look in a dictionary, thesaurus, or even an encyclopaedia for help with imagery. None of them are close to the actual relationship between the words that I’m looking for, which I guess is why it’s so damn hard, and why it’s so damn awesome whenever you find a writer who pens excellent images.

Surely there’s a niche market out there, though, for an imageaurus? Something like Visual Thesaurus, where you can follow the links to relations of relations, to go from squid to ink to black, or squid+ink to cloud, etc.

What I really need to do is build a web crawler that examines text for words commonly found near “squid” (and every other word, of course) and ranks the strength of their relationship based on number of hits and proximity. Of course, it wouldn’t go all the way to producing original and compelling images, any more than a dictionary or a thesaurus does. It would probably even contribute the problem of having every kiss described as ‘passionate’ and every villain described as ‘evil’, but I think it’d be an awesome tool in the hands of a good writer...

On second thoughts, what I really need to do is to find that someone else has built this exactly as I want, with minimal effort to me.

Who said all the good ideas were taken? :P
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Spent the evening drinking red wine and discussing the state of the world with the parents-in-law.

Returned home to find the answering machine blinking with an unprecedented three messages, as follows:

From Mum: Hi, it's just Mum here, wanting to talk to Lily. Nothing important, just haven't caught up for a while. Bye. Beeep!

From Mum: Oh, hi, Lily, I went over and had a look, and it seems the audience are on chairs on the stage. I couldn't see all that well, but the guy said they were all comfortable, but it didn't look as if there could have been much audience there. Beeep!

From (unidentified male): Aachen*, it's easier to process sixty tickets. *muffled giggle* Beeep!

* Some debate ensued over the exact spelling of this word. Possibly more like "Ah-um", possibly "I think", but seemed closest to the German city. The context (or complete lack thereof, even as far as I'm concerned) makes it difficult to work out which is more likely.
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Meme from [ profile] the_zaniak: three radically different pieces of fiction, showing my breadth as a writer. I suspect he had me in mind when he made this one up - he knows I can't resist the threeness. :)

First, we have a poem: Wanderlust )

Next, a drama-ish flashfic which got the usual obsessive non-flashy Lily treatment: Lemons )

Finally, we have some humour. ZOMG, Lily writes humour? Yes, yes she does. Unfortunately, it’s hard to sustain, so the story this has been clipped from is unlikely to ever make its novellength way out to being posted. Ginny’s introduction from my crossoverfic )
thewhitelily: (Default)
How did anyone write in the days before spreadsheets?

Cut for the shrunken spreadsheet of DOOM! )

If I were to print this out in eight point font and put it up on the corkboard above my desk, it would take eighteen A4 pages. Sweeeeet. Admitedly, six of them would be more like third-pages, but I'm claiming them anyway.

Since I shrunk it down so much, a rough explanation might be necessary: Chapters go down the left, one row each. Starting from the left, they have the number, the chapter title, the summary, then known carpet-gnawing bugs. Across the top go all the plot threads and directly under their titles, any specifics I've worked out need to be added but am not yet certain where. Each cell where a plot thread appears in a chapter is shaded the darker grey, while each cell where it's merely mentioned is the lighter grey. Text is red where I'm talking about what should be there, black if it's what is there.

So now I have a bird's eye view of the plot, the pacing, the foreshadowing, and the backstory. I've assigned proper plot threads to all the characters, concepts, and other bits and pieces that were important.

This means I can trace all my major and minor plot threads forward and backwards, spotting connections and parallels between previously unrelated bits and tying them into each other and the backstory. I can skip from here to there as my brain storms over the plot and slide ideas straight into place so that they're in just the right spot for if/when I want to write them. I can make sure that each individual character has their own story that makes sense from beginning to end, no matter how minor. I can keep an eye on each chapter to make sure there's enough stuff happening in it - and if there's not, find something appropriate that could do with a bit more meat and tie it in. I can keep an eye on threads that go too long without cropping up again, those that appear too late in the piece or have a twist that might not be adequately prepared, and those that don't seem to be related at all to anything else and need to be totally cut.

Aaaaaah. From here on, editing should be all downhill! :) Well, maybe not. But making decisions about what needs to go where will certainly be a whole lot easier!

So do I rock almost as much as Excel? Or am I a neurotic control freak with no artistic soul? I'm thinking both!
thewhitelily: (Default)
The bottle of champagne my grandparents-in-law brought to my birthday party, which we cracked open to celebrate the departure of everyone and the completion of the dishes was... intoxicating.

Yes, that's right, I, The White Lily, your beloved fandom friend, is currently completely and utterly smashed.

As in, fingers-are-numb, typos-are-rampant, drink-lots-of-water-because-otherwise-boy-will-you-regret-this-in-the-morning, drump. I mean, drunk.

And yes, I just made a grammar error, two paragraphs ago, which I can still identify in this state. But no, I can't be bothered fixing it, unlike the last eighty-five typos. Particularly because I can't work out whether it actually is a grammar error. Should it be "am" for "I", or "is" for "The White Lily/your beloved fandom friend"? *ponders* *thinks it should be "am"* *decides doesn't care* *moves on*

What was it I had to say to you all?

Oh, that's right. )

That's all I had to say, I think. Aside from things I've decided not to say, like Hubby suddenly deciding that the way to attract my attention is to croon "threeeeeeeeee" in my ear...

Okay, so I'm a sad, sad case. I already know this. :)


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The White Lily

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