nyagosstar: (golden swirl)
copied from [livejournal.com profile] sainnis and reposted because betas make writing better.

I've been thinking fandom-esque thoughts this evening, and it occurred to me that this world would just be a lot less tolerable if not for betas. A good beta is so many things: a cheerleader, an Obi-Wan, a stylist, a Sherlock Holmes, a New York Times Book Section critic, and occasionally a confessor.

A good beta doesn't merely catch mistakes; she helps reveal better writing. While it's easy to let style and dynamics slide when writing fanfic, having a beta keeps you accountable. It's true we're having fun and splashing around with our fannish galoshes on in the glorious puddles of other people's creations, but even the silliest fluff fic will benefit from a reading from another pair of trustworthy eyes.

I'm learning more and more that no writing experience is a wasted one. Fanfic is, by nature, not for profit. Sometimes it's for laughs, sometimes it asks 'what if,' sometimes it's love letter, and sometimes it's all for that one missing scene. It's a chance to try on another style, another world, another mindset. Even though it's not saleable, and even though your English teacher isn't watching, it's also an amazing chance to become a better writer. A good beta can help you get there.

So thank you, betas, for putting in all those missing commas, for saying 'Um...it sort of falls apart in the middle,' for cutting the exposition that wasn't needed anyway, for reading it one last time before it gets posted, for being honest, for being willing, and for taking the craft of writing seriously, even while reading the silliest and smuttiest of things.

Fandom is lucky to have you.

P.S. thank you [livejournal.com profile] sainnis and [livejournal.com profile] halfacork. Everything is better because you've touched it.
nyagosstar: (we're here to kick your ass)
this morning, there was a notice in my old, mostly junk mail email account from GeoCities. They'll be shutting down the site on the 24th of October and they urged me to start transferring anything i might want to save now before it's gone from the internet forever.

there have been stretches of time over the last two or three years that i've completely forgotten i ever had a GeoCities page, which is bizarre considering that there are hundreds of pages of star wars fanfic living there. there was a time, about eight years ago now, that i lived and breathed tpm. when i knew obi-wan and qui-gon's voice as well as i knew my own. when i would have hour long conversations about plot and character development and talk about them as though they were real. i remember struggling over the decision to make bel-san a healer, and give payter at padawan and to take away slade's master. i remember falling in love with our original characters more than i ever loved obi-wan and qui-gon and wishing i could watch the movies and see them there, or watching the movies and expecting to see them there.

when i was a newbie to fanfiction i remember reading a comment from an author who seemed surprised to find a story on her hard drive that she'd completely forgotten she'd ever started. i remember thinking how it seemed impossible to forget something i wrote. and now here we are, five years after our last update telling our readers that we'd be stopping the series. our site holds almost six hundred pages of fiction, multiple drawings and years of my creative life and this morning, i struggled to remember the web address.

in the end, i grew to love our original characters more that i did the ones that drew me to the fandom. i'd written myself into a corner where all i could see where the imperfections of the star wars universe, the cracks in the foundation and the looming destruction that was only ten years away from characters i loved so much it almost hurt. i couldn't find a way to write myself out of that corner and at the same time persevere the integrity of the time line that gets us to A New Hope. because as much as i loved obi-wan and qui-gon individually, it wasn't enough for me to want change the farmboy, the smuggler and the princess out to save the universe.

on october 24th, GeoCities will shut down and we'll let Elementary Jedi fade into the echoing memory of the internet. i loved them more than anyone can ever know. i wrote more for them than we ever posted. i lived and breathed with them for years but it's time for them to be done and strangely, i feel okay letting them walk off into the sunset. i have some regrets--their story is left unfinished--but in some universe, everything worked out for them; it just wasn't a universe i could write for them and for that i apologize. you deserved better in my hands.
nyagosstar: (golden swirl)

that is the number of words of the first draft of the story i started for nano, took a six month break from and then finished this month.

it's rough in places, decent in others and the last chapter totally blows. i have re-writes and massive revisions ahead of me. i need to expand some sections, cut out others entirely. I need to give all of my characters LAST NAMES because that sort of thing is apparetnnly important in modern fiction. I need to pick a city they live in becuase i don't think i can get away with them living in an unnamed one.

At this point, i still have a ton to do, but today, this day, July 22, 2009, i am done with my first draft and from here? it feels pretty fucking good.
nyagosstar: (simon in blue)
but first--watchmen was awesome. i went to the midnight premier and saw it on the imax screen and it was pretty much everything that i wanted. i had a great time, was really happy, with they exception of the dude who got his hands cut off--i didn't watch that part--and think i'll probably be going to see it again sometime soon. the only thing that wasn't awesome was that with imax you don't get as many previews, but if you're only going to get one, at least it was harry potter.

tagged by [livejournal.com profile] mustanginblue

Comment on this post and I'll tell you five subjects/things I associate with you. Then you post them in your lj and elaborate.

Bookstore god i love bookstores. and not just my bookstore, any bookstore. the shiny new big box ones, older used bookstores, even the independents with their snooty attitudes. i love books and i love that i get to work surrounded by books. it's not all sunshine and puppies, as it is still retail, but it's book retail and that's not a bad thing.

Octavian Nothing i wish more people would listen to me about Octavian Nothing. those books leave me almost at a loss for words. they moved me profoundly and i feel like they should be required reading for all living people. M.T. Anderson has been a fav of mine for a couple years and it just fills me with such glee that he did something so spectacular, that he's really come into his own as a writer and that these books particularly are so amazing. so, yeah, go read Octavian Nothing.

My beta (when I am not lazy and actually write) there is something almost sinfully delicious about getting to read something before it's out there for public consumption. it's doubly wonderful when it's written by someone who has a wonderful grasp on characters and the flow of language that [livejournal.com profile] mustanginblue has. i love being able to suggest thigns that make a story not better, necessarily, but that help focus down what the author is trying to say so that it translates better from her brain to her audience. total love.

Simon he's walking in front of my monitor as i type this, actually and i've had to put him on the floor two times since i've started writing this. he's the best cat in the world, the cutest, smartest and most engaged cat ever. i am not biased. he's funny and a total pretty boy and i love him to death. i do however, think about Demetri Martin's hot/cat graph about how there is a point at which no matter how hot a girl is he doesn't want to hear about her cat anymore.

GAG or GA *grins* things are going really well. i'm having a good time, we're getting to know each other and i'm actually writing this as i kill time waiting for her to come over. nerds are awesome!


Dec. 4th, 2008 12:25 am
nyagosstar: (pretty boys)
Roommate: Come on, you've got an hour. You could write a fic in an hour. Mmmm, jack/ianto. you could bang that out in an hour. you could call it 'banging it out in an hour'.

me: yeah you went there (fistbumps)

rm: yeah i had to

the sad thing is i am considering it because i could knock something out in an hour and the prompt is really good.

but torchwood is a dark and twisted slippery slope. do i really want to go there?
nyagosstar: (Default)
so, it's nearly the end of october and since the middle of march, I would say that i've written, perhaps if we're being generous, ten pages. ten pages of fiction spread out over maybe four different pieces and none of it good. that's seven months of doing basically nothing on the writing front.

the trick, i have found, to writing is to do it every day. or at least as close to every day as possible, because the further you get away, the harder it is to get back to it. seven months is a pretty big gap. and while not overwhelming, is certainly exhausting to contemplate.

the original fiction i had been in the final edits of is, for various reasons, on hold. basically, we could turn in what we have now and it would be fine, but i don't love it and i wouldn't be proud of it. i love the characters and i love the setting and i always will. it breaks my heart to walk away from them, even for a little while, but the thought of working on it is again, physically exhausting. i don't love the plot. we're not telling the story i want to tell or saying anything i think is important and i don't have it in me to work in it right now.

part of me wonders if this is some kind of self-sabotage. we're so close, we have interest and a solid idea and i honestly think it could be published. but i, personally, don't think it's good enough. and in the end, isn't that what matters?


this year i've been thinking about nano. despite the fact that in past years i have privately mocked nano--but that's because i'm an asshole. it's sort of my default setting. anyway, i've always been of the mind that you shouldn't wait to do things. you shouldn't wait until january to make resolutions if you want to change something about your life, do it now. if you want to write a novel, do it now, don't wait until november.

this is why i shouldn't mock things.

i don't think i'll be signing up officially, because, well, i'm not much of team player. but i do like using november and this idea of writing 50000 words in a month as an impetus to get my ass in gear. i have a couple ideas and i'm going to make some lists today of what i could possibly be working on. it won't be fandom, no matter how tempting it is. fandom would be an easy way to break this routine, but also not really helpful in the long run.

i know i owe several of you gift fics, but hang out a little longer and i promise they'll be on the way. i just need to get back into this groove and get my head around the right way before i get to them.

i live in hope
nyagosstar: (Default)
I spent most of the day writing for the first time in a long time and i'd forgotten how really, really good it feels. seriously. i feel brilliant.

it's weird because i'm editing and i usually really hate editing. it's a soul killing activity for me, but today has been a good day, i think because the characters are really speaking to me. the dolls are at the table and the tea party is in full swing. metaphorically speaking, of course.

on a side note, can anyone tell me what it with the tw fandom's crazy obsession with writing in white type on a black background? seriously, at the end of a fic i feel like i'm going to go blind.

and additionally, does anyone else feel like torchwood is the new sentinel? remember when everyone and their brother was in the sentinel fandom, regardless of whether they'd seen an ep or not? every time i turn around i see tw icons in places i never expected to see them. it's a little unsettling after living in a tiny--though brilliant--fandom for so long.
nyagosstar: (neverending story)
tonight is my store's inventory. the good news on that account is that i'm not due in until five. the bad news, you just never know how an inventory is going to go. if i'm still there when the morning crew gets in at five, that means it's been a bad night. i'm hoping for better things.

i got sort of(?) good news on the writing front yesterday, which means that those of you who read this journal for my fma fic will likely be in for a bit of a dry spell in the coming weeks. it wasn't exactly an acceptance letter, definitely not a rejection, more along the lines of 'i like this, and want to see more.' which means the bouncer at the bar in my mind just called closing time and started kicking out the characters who don't belong to me. everyone's being pretty good about it, because, well, fanfic is what i write for fun. it's like the sugar in my diet, the candy bar at the end of the day and as much of my own original fic as i write, i always have and probably always will write a little fanfic on the side. it just means there isn't a full service bar at the moment cause me and my oc's are going to the park, or possibly the beach because they don't like the bar atmosphere :)

oh, and i watched labyrinth for the first time in ages, high school i think was the last time, and dear god, ignoring the sometimes embarrassing special effects and david bowie's not so awesome songs and david bowie in tights--it's a children's movie for god's sake, put it away--there's something quite magical about it. jim henson was so fucking brilliant, he was such an amazing storyteller and every time i see one of his movies i think what an awful shame it is that he died so young and i wonder what ideas died with him. because brian henson? not the man his father was.
nyagosstar: (books)
a close turned around to an open is still no fun, even when the close is an hour earlier. but the good news is i have the day off tomorrow. i'm not a huge fan of having my days off split up, but this week it hasn't been so bad.

on the fic front, after thinking about the prompt my beta didn't like all day, we got another chance to talk about the piece and turns out she'd been thinking about it all day, too. looks like i gave too much prep for reading and she was too tired on her first read through to understand what the hell i was doing. i feel much, much better about it, some of the language needs to be cleaned up, but overall, it's a good piece and i like it a lot.

also when a book is mostly pictures, it takes hardly any time at all to read it. )
nyagosstar: (david in the sun)
since i can't really do anything else while i'm waiting for tickets, i think i want to talk a little about writing this morning.

i had the day off yesterday, which was kind of cool as i can't remember the last time i had a sunday off without it being part of a vacation. anyway, i had the apt to myself and a ton of laundry to do so i spent the day writing and doing wash, which, if you're going to have a day off, is a pretty good way to spend it.

i'm working on 30_wounds because at this point, i feel like they're this weirdly heavy weight hanging on me and i just want them done. not that i'm not enjoying writing and working on them, but i am always aware they are there and not finished. so, in the length of my day, i finished two prompts that i'd already started and completed a third, which isn't so bad.

here's the thing. the last one i wrote is odd. it's sort of an experimental piece, a little on the strange side, but i think interesting and a bit funny and i really liked the way it turned out. my beta, on the other hand, really didn't like it. i think it's the first time i've ever written anything that she didn't like. all right, let me qualify that, it was the first time i'd written something that i liked and she didn't. we have a really cool ability to point out to the other person when something isn't working and for each of us to say 'yeah, i knew that wasn't working but i hoped you'd let it go.'

i'm not quite sure what to do with the piece because i do like it. i think it's interesting, it's not the kind of thing i normally write, sure, but i like it. i'm trying not to stew, because it's maybe a thousand words if i'm lucky, so you know, not the end of the world, but distressing all the same.
nyagosstar: (Default)
well, here it is, the last day of july. overall, it was better than june, but i'm looking for improvement in august.

i posted every day this month, with the exception of the blackout day, which still kind of bums me out. i'm not sure how i feel about it, in some respects it was good for me to get some thoughts out on paper, as it were. at other times, i really felt like i was reaching for anything to say. and in a testament to my laziness, i still have pics of my knitting i wanted to post and never did. there is now a hat that's been completed, yay!

things i've learned: i think about work too much, harry potter ate my brain, despite the fact that i don't spend that much time watching television, it takes up an inordinate amount of my posting time, i should be reading more, july was a great month for movies but from the previews i got, this fall will not be, WILL STANTON IS NOT AN AMERICAN, ahem. oh, and botporn is still an awesome if disturbing word.

so, instead of sitting here, talking about the things i did, or didn't do, i'm going to finish my mountain of wash, get the rest of my room in order, give simon a bath(shhh, don't tell), go to the knitting shop and find out what i need to make a small afghan and buy hot fuzz, cause it's out today and buddy cops = love. oh, yeah and write about thirty pages because the birthday the story should be done for? yeah it's in two days. way to procrastinate, asshole.

and that will have been july.
nyagosstar: (eli's coming)
i'm going to do a couple quick things now, and then more tomorrow. it's late, but it's been a few days since i've posted and i'm not really tired yet.

my faux-weekend was pretty much made of awesome. I caught up on bleach, which is turning out lovely, i'm particularly a big fan of ichigo and ishida's dads. they are so cool.

spent a good amount of time with holly. last year was the year of 'omg, we have such a good time when we hang out, we should do it more often, and then never do'. this year, we are making an effort to actually hang out, which is good. me getting out of my apt. is a good thing, even if it makes me vaguely nervous. which is ridiculous, because i go to hang out with people i like, and yet.

anyway, we ate good food, she and sarah watched total crap grays anatomy, which is 1) a medical drama(a. ew, and b. there is only room in my life for one of those and it's called house) 2)uber soap opera-esque, but i read magazines and wrote a little porn, so all was good. there was a minor crisis after we left, but we had bananas and were able to talk hol out of her crazy tree.

interestingly enough, we did an almost exact repeat on sat. night, but this time we made food and watched bad movies instead. if you have never seen, or in my case, not seen in a long time 'pump up the volume' with christian slater, it's hilarious. i think i was in junior high when it came out, and you know, nothing like my hs experience, but was still fun--to make fun of anyway. also because i have a hard time seeing christian slater and not thinking of him as will scarlet.

mmmmm, robin hood. it's hot, see, because he gets shot through the hand. clearly i have issues.

there was preliminarily, possibly, early early early good news on the writing front, though i'm taking a very fight club kind of stance on this. the first rule is...

though, actually, i'm finding the first rule is 'don't even think about it', because just writing this little bit is making me sort of nauseous.

had my meeting friday, and what a waste of a day. the only good thing i can say about it was i was done early, which was good because apparently the fucking arctic has decided to descend on pennsylvania. it's cold. i know i've said it's cold before, but apparently, i know not from cold because this? this is the end of the world.
nyagosstar: (hello your bird can't talk)
so, it's late and i'm not tired, so i thought i'd post about things i meant to mention earlier this week but forgot.

of course being me, and being that my life is clearly overrun by media, what i have to chat about is tv related, i don't know how interesting this will be, but you know, it fills the day and makes me feel better about the journal and to be honest, i can't imagine more than one other person reading this anyone, and i hope she'll forgive my rambling. (grins)

first off, studio 60.
letter 1 )

letter 2 )

in other news, we're trying hard to resurrect the shambles that is our writing group, even if it's just going to be sarah, holly and myself. holly really wants to start writing which i think is awesome and sarah always does better when she has someone to pat her head along the way and tell her what an amazing job she's doing. i think if she could write in front of a stadium like a rock star, she'd be set for life.

so, we picked ten prompt words, set a five hundred word limit and will reconvene next week some time. i'm all kinds of excited about the five hundred limit, as sarah and i are working on one thousand word limit at the moment and it's really, really hard. i mean, i've written sixty prompts set at five hundred words over the past two or three months and i've gotten very good at it. a thousand words is either too much or not enough, and i'm having a hard time finding a good middle ground. i'm not giving up, but i am excited about the mini reprieve.
nyagosstar: (sighing toby)
so, Wave X for Kira's From Dusk Till Dawn Severus Snape/Harry Potter Fuh-Q-Fest is starting soon. and because i'm a crazy person, i looked at the challenge for this time around.

it's all about them meeting in different circumstances, so my pride and prejudice rewrite would work beautifully. it couldn't have been a more perfect challenge.

here's the thing, posting deadline is jan. 20. which seems not so bad, it's months away, but i'm not a two page story kind of girl. this mother is going to be long. and complicated. still, a couple months, that's not unreasonable. but it's christmas season in retail, which is when i lose my mind, and the fifty to 75 pages of whatever it is i'll be writing for sarah for christmas this year, plus whatever editing we'll need to do to get the original fic in shape.

i'm worried about committing to something i won't have time to finish, but the damn bunny is nipping the hell out of my heels and i'm so damn tempted.
nyagosstar: (Default)
myself as a thoughtful person.

not thoughtful as in kind, but thoughtful as in introspective. it’s kind of the way I imagine myself to be better at languages than I am. in my head, I fancy myself as a much better learner of language. in real life, I’m ass at them

the thing is, that I don’t really think all that much about myself or the life I’m living. every week or two I talk to my parents over the phone and catch up with what they’re doing. and every week, my dad asks what I’ve been doing with my time other than going to work. honest to god, I can’t ever give him a good answer. I mean, I know I fill my hours somehow, I don’t sleep all day or watch endless hours of television, but damned if every week I can’t think to explain exactly what it is that I do with my life.

I think that part of the reason goes back, of course, to a star wars reference and how people are either unifying or living force. strangely enough, most people I know and am close with are living force. they are totally about the moment, living each one completely and fully. of course, the down side to this is that if the moment happens to be a bad one, it’s been bad forever and will continue to be bad until the end of time. it also means that good moments are elating. those of us who are unifying are all about the long term, about seeing what’s coming next. this means that when there are bad moments, they can be bad, but there is always something coming along after that is bound to be better. conversely, good moments never seem as good as they do to the living force set.

all this means that I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the moments that I’m in and what purpose I have in that moment and how I affect other moments around me. for me there’s always something just over the next hill, and while this one might be beautiful, the next one could be magnificent or it could be deadly.

one of my favorite quotes about writing—which I can’t remember where I heard it or who said it—is that writing is easy, all you have to do is sit at a typewriter and open up a vein. I love the image of it and how it conveys the process of writing as putting something onto a page that comes from within.

the thing is, it also conveys the sheer torture that good writing can be. and I can tell you that I’ve hardly every had that expereice. I love writing for the sake of writing. it calms me and fills me with purpose. sometimes I can make myself laugh or cry or cringe, but it’s hardly ever painful and I have to wonder if it’s because I don’t really spend any time self-examining.

take for instance the fact that I can write you a m/m sex scene with no problem. an hour or so and you’d have a decent scene that was pretty fleshed out. it’d be difficult, because they’re mostly description and ugh, I hate that, but it’d be done and I’d probably be happy with it. however, I have yet in my life to write an f/f scene, which is something that I actually have experience with. I keep telling myself that I should just sit down and write one, get it over with and then it wouldn’t be a thing, but it feels too personal. like it’d be me on that page instead of a character. it’s uncomfortable and unsettling, and I kind of think that’s what really good writing should be like for the author.

i don't know, it's just something that has been on my mind lately.
nyagosstar: (Default)
another problem i have with ep iii is that it makes me feel guilty.

when all the shit is coming down, all i can think of is elementary jedi and how i abandoned it.

and i see bel-san, payter, kerge, slade and all the others who i loved and spent so much time with and they are all dying with the other jedi. i couldn't save them, i couldn't think of a way out of the fate that was coming. it was one of the reasons that i stopped with the snippets, because the universe was too fractured and as much as we tried to shore it up, they were sandcastles in the face of a hurricane.

i wanted to make tpm better for myself, but the problem is that tpm leads into aotc and into rots and then into the other three and the weight of those movies is now greater and more real than it was six years ago when i was pissed that qui-gon had died and there was no real relationship between obi-wan and qui-gon.

i won't ever go back to elementary jedi, i just don't have the energy or the faith for it anymore, but i still feel guilty about it. i still feel like i failed them, that they're waiting in limbo for me to come back and fix it.

and the truth is, i don't know that i was ever capable of fixing it for them.


nyagosstar: (Default)

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