You know what's really, really nice? Thinking to yourself that this week your goal will be to finish Chapter Four of your WiP, and then when you open up your working document and write the last couple of lines of the scene you'd left unfinished the previous week, you look at your page count and realize that... hey, I just finished Chapter Four!

So this week my goal is to make good progress into Chapter Five, instead.

Anyway, I said yesterday that I was going to talk about my attitude to writing, which I described as "literary busker". As you'll know if you followed the link from last night's post, I see myself as standing on an imaginary street corner, strumming (or in this case, typing) away in the hope that somebody, somewhere, will like what I'm doing and toss me a few coins of feedback.

Of course, now that I'm working on original fiction, I naturally look forward to receiving a few coins of the literal sort as well. But I didn't get into writing for the money (nobody in their right mind does), and dreaming about advances and royalties isn't what motivates me to keep writing, either.

No, it's all about the readership -- which is what has led me to the realization of what I'm finding most difficult about profic after several years of fandom. It's not the challenge of creating my own worlds and characters, because I'd already written two original novels before I got seriously involved with fanfic.

It's the lack of an immediate audience.

Let me explain... )

My experience in fandom -- where I went through a similar process of writing a chapter every week or so, sending it to my beta-readers for comment, and making revisions accordingly before starting on the next chapter -- served to cement my feelings about the value of feedback to my personal creative process. I am a storyteller, and a storyteller needs an audience. I want to know that someone is listening to the tale I want to tell, and that they're interested in hearing more about that world and those characters even if the story isn't perfect. I want to see their reactions, good and bad and indifferent, so I have an idea whether the direction I'm going is a good one or whether I should stop and retrace my steps. Of course, I know that the story is ultimately mine and not theirs, and that not all of my readers are going to like everything I write. But if there seems to be widespread agreement that a certain element or character either works or doesn't -- yes, that is going to affect me, and it should.

I am not recommending this approach generally, mind, and here's why... )

In my case, however, I write coherent first drafts, and I also know a fair number of insightful folk whom I can trust to tell me if a story is really working, or not working, or just Not Their Kind of Thing. So I'm thinking that perhaps I should put out an APB and see if I can enlist a small but dedicated audience (say, three to five people) who would be interested in reading Touching Indigo chapter by chapter as it's written, and letting me know what they think.

This wouldn't have to be a major commitment, either. All it would take is being willing to read the chapter more or less promptly when it arrives, and say something about it afterward. The response could be anything from an in-depth critique with suggestions for improvement to a simple "I'm hooked! Write more!", depending on the reader's inclinations and ability, but I would like to know that when I send out a chapter I can count on some kind of answer within the next few days, and that the people reading it are genuinely interested in the story and not disappointed that I'm not writing something completely different.

Any takers? ETA: I has peeps! Thanks to my new band of brave and possibly foolhardy volunteers.
I've had a request from one of the people involved in the next Accio conference in the UK to design a new logo for them, since TPTB have been balking at the one they used for the previous conference. I can't take on the project myself -- I've got enough on my plate right now already -- but I told her I'd post a heads-up on my LJ.

Anyone interested in exercising their mad graphic design skillz for eternal fame and glory, or at least the profound gratitude of the conference organizers?
As I'm struggling through the opening chapters of First Draft in 30 Days I find myself more and more drawn to the idea of interleaving Karen Wiesner's method with Randy Ingermanson's snowflake method, especially as the former seems highly plot-driven and I like the more character-centric approach of the latter.

Anyway, one of the exercises I'd like to try is that of interviewing my characters. But in order to get them "talking" and find out more about them, I need to think of some good questions to ask them -- and to avoid "leading the witness" by asking them questions which I already know relate directly to the plot. So that's where you come in...

Give me one question to ask my characters in an interview that you think will help me really get to know them better.

Those of you with a bit of background knowledge on Thea and Leith Faraday may be able to come up with questions that are personalized rather than general, but even standard questions like "What's your favorite color and why?" would be fine. I can use the more generic questions for some of the secondary characters as well.

Thanks in advance to anyone kind enough to participate, and -- fire away!
I forgot the main bit! [/Mr. Bean]

I am compiling a soundtrack to help me get into the right headspace for writing Indigo. Peter Himmelman's Synesthesia album came first to mind, as did various selections from Talk Talk and David Sylvian. Are there any other artists or songs my f-list can recommend that have the right feel to them? I'm looking for stuff that's atmospheric, complex and slightly dark; experimental yet still melodic; nothing too angry or dissonant, but nothing too fluffy and simplistic, either.

Suggestions, links etc. welcomed in comments.
I need to change the name of a minor character in Knife, because her present name is depressingly common in fantasy literature, and it really isn't giving me any idea of what she's like. Since she's going to become a major character if I write a sequel, this is a potentially serious problem. And yet... since I don't really know what she's like at this point, I'm having difficulty choosing a new name for her.

Therefore I have decided to -- you guessed it -- take a poll.

Before you vote, here's all I know about this character:

- she's got medium brown, curly hair, and brown or hazel eyes;
- she is not particularly tall;
- she's a faery, of the small and winged variety;
- she's intelligent, thoughtful, and somewhat quiet (I think); and
- she's going to have to leave her home (reluctantly, I think) and strike out on a long, dangerous journey, to look for something her people need.

I won't tell you her present name, because those who've read Knife probably know it already, and those who haven't won't find it helpful, I'm sure.

[Poll #874744]
But I have actually written an HP fic that does not involve Snape.* Even wilder and wackier (for me, anyway), none of the major characters are over the age of seventeen.

In fact, it's a Harry fic. With Ron and Hermione, and lots of Ginny. It's fairly short -- just 40K -- and I've put [livejournal.com profile] lydaclunas on it for a beta, but I could still use one or two more people with a good eye for characterization and dialogue, and/or the ability to pick nits with grammar and style as needed, to help me out with the final polishing. Any takers?

--
*Well, he gets a mention. But he doesn't appear on stage, nor does he directly influence the plot.
I have been looking for hours, literally hours, for a site that has up-to-date 24 screencaps. I can't find any. All I can find is UK sites that are ten weeks out of date. I want a Michelle icon! Specifically, I want an icon of her pounding the glass to get the guard's attention (ooh, it would be cool to juxtapose that with an icon of Irina slamming the glass in S2 Alias to get Sydney's attention... but I digress), which would require screencaps from the most recent episode. Only nobody seems to have them...

Somebody must be capping the new episodes. Please, oh please, those in the know, where should I be looking?
Tags:
I know there's at least one of you on my flist, so I thought I would beg for some assistance. My husband's family are all German, and his uncle, who lives in Germany, died last week. We want to send a sympathy card to his widow, but since my husband's German is purely verbal (he left Germany at six and only learned to read and write in English) and I have no German at all, I don't know how to write what I want to say.

In English, the message I'd like to write in the card is "We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you." Any reasonable approximation of those sentiments (I know that exact translation is seldom possible) would be greatly appreciated.

And before anybody suggests using Babelfish for the German translation, I should mention that I tried that once with a thank-you card to my husband's parents, and the reaction was not exactly positive. Apparently my original "You are so kind and generous -- thank you! We love you!" came out as something horribly officious and impersonal, like the sentiments you'd get on a form letter from your local bank thanking you and several million other customers "for your valued patronage". Needless to say I won't be doing that again...

Oy.

Oct. 21st, 2003 08:03 am
rj_anderson: (RJA Adult!Hermione)
You guys, you've got to know you've spent too much time in HP fandom at large when I suggest Snape/Luna and you worry I'm angling for a remake of Lolita. :)

Let me try that again. Snape and Luna, interacting in some positive fashion involving mutual understanding and respect. [livejournal.com profile] peacockharpy's just-written ficlet is a lovely example.

But if the story's set post-Hogwarts, bonus points for UST. Because actual Snape/Luna is the real challenge, I think.

Better now?

*wanders off shaking head ruefully*
It needs a home, and I refuse to give it one. But the idea refuses to leave me alone, and I admit to some curiosity as to whether anyone can pull it off successfully. Drabbles welcomed, no smut please, time period of your choosing, but I'd be interested in seeing a kind of HP fic I can't seem to find anywhere on the net --

Snape/Luna.

P.S. Please don't hurt me.

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