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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Ten Days Off and an M-Type Thing

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Ten Days Off and an M-Type Thing

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hermione
Today is the first day of my second summer break, which because it combines with Labor Day this year, means that I have off for ten days. It is needed. Even though the students weren't there this past week, it was a rough week, and I was ridiculously busy in addition to being stressed over myriad stupid things that went down at work (some of which I've written about in previous entries).

In any case. This is the first time in a while that I've had a chunk of time off without Bobby, so I'll be spending the week trying to get as far ahead in my cosmology class as possible. I'm (surprise!) already pretty far ahead. I'm hoping that, this week, I can finish reading the last book for the class, finish my biographical essay, and make a good start (or maybe even finish?) the outline for the final essay. That would leave only the final essay to do, and we're only at the midpoint in the class. I also need to do my Mythmoot proposal (which won't take long), have a beta to do, and really need to do something to get the B2MeM ebook put together. (Remember that? Yeah, look no further than this chick here as for why that hasn't been done yet.)

So I'll be busy, but in the interest of occasionally allowing myself to have some fun, then I am doing the meme seen over at rhapsody11. Throw a letter or few at me if there's any questions you'd like me to answer! If you do the meme yourself, please let me know so that I can throw gently underhand toss a few at to you as well.

ETA: Following keiliss's lead, I'm going to cross off the ones I've been asked in this post to make it easier for people to not duplicate. :)

ETA2: Since we're having conversations about all and sundry in the comments--totally normal for how I run things around this joint!--then I'm going to try to link to answers as I post them so that they're easy to find.

A. Describe your comfort zone—a typical you-fic.
B. Is there a type of story you’ve yet to try your hand at, but really want to?
C. Is there a type of story you wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole?
D. How many fic ideas are you nurturing right now? Care to share one of them?
E. Share one of your strengths.
F. Share one of your weaknesses.
G. Share a snippet from one of your favorite pieces of prose you’ve written and explain why you’re proud of it.
H. Share a snippet from one of your favorite dialogue scenes you’ve written and explain why you’re proud of it.
I. Which fic has been the hardest to write?
J. Which fic has been the easiest to write?
K. Is writing your passion or just a fun hobby?
L. Is there an episode section of canon above all others that inspires you just a little bit more?
M. If you could choose one of your fics to be filmed, which would you choose?
O. If you only could write one pairing for the rest of your life, which pairing would it be?
P. Do you write your story from start to finish, or do you write the scenes out of order?
Q. Do you use any tools, like worksheets or outlines?
R. Stephen King once said that his muse is a man who lives in the basement. Do you have a muse?
S. Describe your perfect writing conditions.
T. How many times do you usually revise your story/chapter before posting?
U. Choose a passage from one of your earlier stories and edit it into your current writing style. (Person sending the ask should make suggestions).
V. If you were to revise one of your older stories from start to finish, which would it be and why?
W. Have you ever deleted one of your published stories?
X. What do you look for in a beta?
Y. Do you beta yourself? If so, what kind of beta are you?
Z. How do you feel about collaborations?
AA. Share three of your favorite fic writers and why you like them so much.
AB. Do you accept prompts?
AC. Do you take liberties with canon or are you very strict about your fic being canon compliant?
AD. How do you feel about smut?
AE. How do you feel about crack?
AF. What are your thoughts on non-con and dub-con?
AG. Would you ever kill off a canon character?
AH. Which is your favorite site to post fic?
AI. Talk about your current wips.
AJ. Talk about a review that made your day.
AK. Do you ever get rude reviews and how do you deal with them?
AL. Write an alternative ending to a fic you've written (specify by title, link or general description].



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/346134.html
  • M. If you could choose one of your fics to be filmed, which would you choose?

    H. Share a snippet from one of your favorite dialogue scenes you’ve written and explain why you’re proud of it.
    • Sorry for butting in like that, but I LOVE your icon! And I love that movie to bits :)
      • Totally OT but ... last episode tomorrow!! D^:
        • YES! OMG, an era is coming to its end. I kind of can't believe it on one hand, but on the other I'm so upset with the writers at what they have done with my fav TV shows of late that I'm glad it's ending.

          What do you think about this season?

          Love your icon!
          • Thank you! I like yours too! :D The Precious VikingTM is always icon-worthy in my book. ;)

            I have been invested in TB for a few years now and at times very intense about it, so it will be sad to no longer have new seasons and episodes to look forward to. At the same time, I feel like the show has run its course, and it runs the risk of becoming stupid if its stretched out further (like Bilbo's analogy of too little butter over too much bread ;). So I don't want to say I'm glad that it's ending, but I think it's reached a good ending point, if that makes sense.

            I feel like up through Season 5, the show became increasingly complex by becoming increasingly inane. The number of subplots that really had no bearing on the main storyline and often felt like something to endure before returning to the main storyline was becoming annoying. I felt like last season was mostly aimed at reining in the excesses of the previous director and seasons, bring the number of plotlines back to a reasonable number, and shifting the focus back to the central characters (not werepanthers, not the custody battles of werewolves, not fairy quadruplets).

            Also, part of the fun for me of TB is its absurdity--it truly feels like a guilty pleasure--but that absurdity was becoming even too absurd for me. I mean, Billith? Really?? What did that whole subplot even accomplish?

            With the reining-in mostly accomplished last season, I've generally enjoyed this season. There have been eye-rolling moments--I could have done without Violet altogether and the ongoing kids-in-peril!hijinks of Adeline and Bubba (or whatever his name is)--but I have loved seeing the main characters in almost every episode again, and I adored the backstory for Fangtasia and all that's come with that. At the end of each episode, I have usually laughed uproariously, slapped my forehead, and said at least once, "Dawn, you have better taste than this!" ... but then I can't wait for the next episode. Classic TB response for me. :)

            How about you?
          • Like you, I've loved this TV show since I first saw the first season (and since I read the first of the books). I can go on forever why I love it and rant forever over the downhill quality-wise. Yes, it very makes sense that it has reached the point when it should end.

            I have to say I had high hopes when season 3 ended and my dream never came true. Since the writers decided to further stray away from the books, and it only worsened the entire plot. Season 4 was, as I see it now, the last coherent and consistent one.

            I agree with you over the Bilbo analogy. I have this unpleasant feeling that the show we're watching now is like the 10th cup of tea made using the same teabag. Some subplots were unnecessary, but the writers "had" to make the show more attractive. They flattened some other subplots, or twisted those taken from the books (like the werepanthers -- totally offroad and idiotic). Now they try to put those threads together and they kill their characters, i.e. Alcide, Tara. She should've died at the end of season 4, btw.

            Instead of a million of subplots leading nowhere (Jesus' talking head anyone?) I would love to see more flashbacks, like Pam's backstory or ever Nora's one, though I didn't like Nora at all. I liked the Fangtasia subplot in season 7. Ginger rocks ;)

            But generally, I can't wrap my mind at how the thing once so good turn mediocre and boring at times. And Eric naked on the mountain slope was so absurd it made me teeth hurt. Don't even get me started on Warlow or Billith...

            So I'm in two minds about the whole thing. I'm upset and angry at the writers that they destroyed the show in seasons 5 and 6. Because to me, it was a disaster. I still love the 3rd season the most and I would love seeing this current one take on a similar turn, have the same vibe.

            I'm insanely in love with Eric but at this point I don't even care if he will end up with Sookie. I don't even hope for as little as a goodbye kiss, let alone a joyful get-back-together romp. I'm bitter here, yes. And I hate this whiney Bill!

            If you'd like to read a good TB/LotR crossover, my friend Neume writes one. Let me know, and I'll pass you the link.

            OMG, what a long response.
          • So, what do you think?

            The look of utter disappointment on Eric's face while he was sitting on his throne mirrors my own perfectly.
        • No to be so OT:

          T, please :)
          • T. How many times do you usually revise your story/chapter before posting?

            I am an ongoing-reviser, which is the hardest part of NaNoWriMo for me (since it explicitly discourages that, or at least used to). Every time I sit down to work on a story, I reread what I did last time and tinker with it. That gets me back in the right headspace to continue the story where I left off. Sometimes I will go back further than the prior day's writing and revise that too; sometimes, I will start from the beginning (which doubles in refreshing my memory as to whether there were any threads I hinted at and might be worth pursuing) and will revise the whole thing.

            Often, while writing, I will stop and reread what I've written and revise it then and there.

            Once the story is done, I will usually read it through in its entirety once and do a final revision. If I'm feeling insecure about it, I'll sometimes wait a day and then repeat that process, just to make sure I've done what I wanted to do. That's usually it.

            I have a hard time motivating myself to go back to work on a story once it's finished. So I've learned to perfect it throughout the writing process so that I don't have much to fix once the story is finished.
          • This is very similar to what I do. =D (I was pondering how to explain it, as I think I got the same question for this...supposedly I'm going to answer them this evening).

            The idea of revision and writing being two distinct processes always has an exotic tinge to me, as I've never worked like that, aside from the final read-over/revision.
            • I'm not even going to pretend that this won't take days for me to answer! :D I reward myself by answering them. Read a chapter for school; answer a few meme questions. Rinse and repeat.

              Writing is very experiential for me. I have to be in (or get in) the right frame of mind. Then I feel like, mentally, more of me is in the story than in the real world. Given that, it's not like I can just drop in later and "revise"; I have to get back into the right headspace. It's not hard to do this, but it's not exactly a dash-in-dash-out state of mind--once there, I'm there for a good while after--nor is it something that I can generally manage for multiple days in a row. (My NaNoWriMo numbers, when I do it, are always very interesting: huge spikes every two or three days with modest word counts in between.) So revision is much easier while writing.

              The idea that one would just slop any ol' thing down and then go back and redo huge bits of it during revision is weird to me!
              • Yes to all of that. I find I tend to relate a lot to much of what you post about your writing process.

                The headspace, especially. This is why "write every day" is just bollocks Writing Advice for me personally.
          • That's a thorough editing proces :)

            I think I usually do a similar thing, however I don't really know how many times I revise the chapter before posting. It probably depends on the material (my TB fic get revised a lot because of all those strictly American details and stuff). But, I have a hard time keep my editor's red pen away from my already posted stuff ;) Once an editor, always an editor.

            I couldn't do NaNoWriMo. I would probably go mad from wanting to correct the thing, lol.

            Thank you :D
      • Great movie--such a visual treat also.
    • M. If you could choose one of your fics to be filmed, which would you choose?

      Probably The Work of Small Hands. I am not a plot writer. I spend a lot more time delving the minds of my characters or playing with language, symbolism, and theme, things that don't necessarily translate well onto the screen. But The Work of Small Hands actually has quite a bit happening in it--people go places and do things! Other than staring into their own navels. There are also a lot of images in that story that I could see translating well to film: the scene when Eärwen throws up the apple and hears children scrambling in the dark to eat it, Anairë's upright posture and perfect hairstyle (that belies her fear and uncertainty), the terror of passing through the Calcirya in the dark ... those images come to mind right off the top of my head as images that I could imagine working well in a more visual format.

      H. Share a snippet from one of your favorite dialogue scenes you’ve written and explain why you’re proud of it.

      This one was hard, as I don't view myself as a very strong dialogue writer. I'm going to kind of cheat a little and use a scene/dialogue that has been identified over and over again by AMC readers as one of their favorites (and it is one of my favorites as well). From Chapter 19:

      Macalaurë pops one of the brown lumps into his mouth, even though it is still so hot that his face pinches with the heat and he has to bounce it between his teeth to keep from burning his mouth. "These are good, Atar? What are they?" he asks around the lump of hot food rolling around in his mouth.

      Carnistir pecks Fëanáro on the lips, then bites into one of his braids when he turns to acknowledge Macalaurë. "They're snails," he says, setting Carnistir on the floor to help Nelyo remove them from the baking sheet. "A Telerin delicacy."

      Macalaurë retches and spits the half-chewed snail onto the floor. Carnistir scrambles over to it, and before I can say, "Ah no, Carnistir, don't!" pops it into his mouth and chews with a contemplative look on his face.

      "Maybe we've found the secret to getting him to eat," Fëanáro says, scraping the snails from the sheet and into a big ceramic bowl. "Maybe we have to half-chew his food for him."

      "This is good, Atar," Carnistir tells him earnestly, chomping the snail in his back teeth. "They taste better cooked."

      "Have you eaten them raw?" Fëanáro asks casually, without looking at Carnistir.

      "Yes, Turko told me he'd give me a gold necklace if I ate one. It was slimy except for the shell. That was crunchy, like eating a bug."

      Macalaurë gags so hard that I have to pat him on the back. "Carnistir, please," he moans.

      "He never gave me the gold necklace either."

      "Well, we'll have to ask him about that, won't we?" With a towel, he lifts the bowl of snails and starts toward the dining room. "Is the table set?" he asks me, to which I can only nod and pat poor Macalaurë harder on the back.


      I like this scene because I think the dialogue advances it beyond what is immediately obvious from the plot, which is pretty basic. Macalaurë's uptalk to Fëanaro suggests his uneasiness, his underconfidence, especially in his father's presence. He is the anomaly in the scene--the only one grossed out by his little brother eating half-chewed snails off the floor--and this reflects how he sees himself. Tyelkormo isn't even present, but we get him as a somewhat chaotic element; Carnistir lacks an ability to sense what is appropriate in behavior or speech. Fëanaro has long reached the point of not only not sweating the small stuff but also in embracing serendipity whenever it may make his life easier. (I get the sense that he might actually half-chew Carnistir's food for him if it eliminates the meal-time shenanigans.) He exudes calm in the midst of chaos.
      • Dawn! Of all of your visually stunning pieces--that one is all in the dark! For me a viewers nightmare.

        Sluglines from the scrip:

        (INT.) Eärwen's house. Total darkness except for a candle.

        (EXT.) Streets of Tirion. Dark, except for the faint gleam of a torch in the distance.

        Wow! I would have picked Another Man's Cage. So much there for a filmmaker. Lots of first person POV in your fics gives the visuals one needs to make a great film--an epic TV series (with the production values of a major motion picture) would suit it better, with lots of location shots. One of the problems with adapting a book to a film is too much dialogue. I think there is plenty in AMC to hold the scenes together. A script writer might have to add a few, but fewer than you think, I imagine--one can do a lot with a camera.

        --little Findekano stiff and uncomfortable in his formal clothes and tight braids, contrasted to grubby Tyelkormo and Carnistir romping around and behaving badly.
        --Feanaro and Nerdanel--alone in their bedroom, packing or in bed together.
        --Feanaro talking and walking around doing things, with Carnistir on his hip.
        --the entire family on the road to Formenos--the landscape and horses and closeups of faces.
        --Findekano and Tyelkormo "lost" in the woods.
        --Nelyo in his fire costume.
        --Rumil in his mask.
        --Nelyo and Macalaure on the ocean at sunset.

        I could on for a thousand words! Now those scenes are all incredibly filmic.

        That is a really funny scene you chose for the dialogue and memorable, but "Ewww!" I can hardly believe that is a fan favorite. It is flawlessly done. I'd have to dig around to decide what is my favorite.


        Edited at 2014-08-23 11:45 pm (UTC)
        • See, I think the use of light to film a story that, yes, is set entirely in the dark would be beautiful and leave a lot of room for artistry. AMC is way too long, in my opinion, and way to introspective into the headspaces of too many characters. To make it work, I think it'd have to focus on a character more than the novel does and the plot would have to be tightened up a lot.

          Now I could see AMC working very well as a single season of a TV series ...

          People find the snail scene really funny, which is why it's so popular! But it is definitely the most commented-upon scene in that story and therefore probably all of my stories. I guess you have to have my sense of humor, which to be fair, never matured much past age 9 or so! :D
          • OMG! I am so fucking neurotic. I like to think I do not have a lot of squicks! But you actually hit two of mine back-to-back: 1) films that have many scenes set in semi-darkness (thinking of an entire film in the dark literally makes me shiver); 2) food humor. Oh, well. I am much better at tolerating this now than I was at nine. Then I used to room screaming from the room if someone took a pie in the face. But the Carnistir element made that one easier for me. He can do almost nothing wrong for me in the AMC story-verse. (I wonder if he reminds me of myself?)

            I am almost tempted to write an AMC script to prove you wrong--but I couldn't, of course! I just want those oceans of fabulous visuals to be filmed. And I want to do the costume design!

            I would love to see Nerdanel's body if it were realistic. I love the somewhat imperfect female form. I do not find the perfect just-past-adolescent form particularly attractive, nor the super worked-out and/or surgically-enhanced look, or the Hollywood hyper-thin, long-legged only stereotype. Women come in all sizes and shapes.
  • G. Share a snippet from one of your favorite pieces of prose you’ve written and explain why you’re proud of it.

    M. If you could choose one of your fics to be filmed, which would you choose?


    As Oshun already chose that I will go for

    C. Is there a type of story you wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole?




    Edited at 2014-08-23 05:47 pm (UTC)
    • G. Share a snippet from one of your favorite pieces of prose you’ve written and explain why you’re proud of it.

      I love the ending of my story Rekindling about Fëanor and Nerdanel at the end of the world. I think I did a good job on it. It still makes me cry to read it.

      The plain of Valinor was a wreckage of fallen bodies and twisted steel. We have won, thought Nerdanel numbly. Near to her, a fallen Elf stretched upon his belly, his eyes closed forever and his blood staining the earth red. His hand still gripped a sword unstained. Someone's mother, wife, child will receive terrible word tonight, she thought.

      Fëanáro stood at her side, his hand loosely clasped in hers. His face was placid as he surveyed the same scene as she, but she could feel the tumult of his thoughts, and knew that one thousand memories of battles past were springing from the fertile ground of his mind. She stared into his face rather than look again at the battlefield. She did not have long before he would again be relegated to memory. Let that time last forever! she thought. Let each moment I have left with him traverse half the space to the end so that I always approach but never reach it. Let him have the honor of his sacrifice but let me keep my husband.

      But it could not be done.

      Maiar bearing the Silmarils from the earth and sea were coming forth, and Eärendil was sailing slowly from the firmament, a light of purity forgotten blazing upon his brow. It was almost time. At the center of the battlefield, the Two Trees twisted, remaining only as blackened husks. But not for long.

      Nerdanel willed herself to hate them. Tears soaked her face.

      My beloved. His kiss landed next to her ear and moved across her face, drying her tears. They had made him perfect, as she remembered from her first sight of him, before cares and fears and madness had lined his face; before his body had borne the scars of striving relentlessly toward perfection. His hands clasped her, massaging warmth into flesh gone cold.

      How are you doing this? The words burst across her thoughts. He circled her with his arms, and she felt his breath tickle her ear.

      "Because the only fear I have left in me is the fear of losing you."

      Eärendil had unbound the Silmaril, and the Three lay waiting. Fëanáro kissed her one final time on the mouth--

      No! Do not let this moment end! Let me hold him forever!

      --and then he was gone.

      Someone's wife will receive terrible word tonight. Silently, she wept.

      Nerdanel perceived the rekindling of the Trees as a burst of red light through eyes squeezed shut and a scream of silence that was the ending of his thoughts in hers. The earth shivered beneath her feet, and the Pelóri were borne to the earth with a whisper. Light surged across the sea, touched the crests of the waves with gold, caressed each withered leaf and upturned, weary face long-deprived of it until all of Arda blazed within Eä as might--

      "A Silmaril," she whispered.


      I like this scene because it is very emotionally raw to me. As someone who loves deeply to where my worst fear is losing him, I tried to put into words what I might feel/experience in Nerdanel's situation. I like the juxtaposition: the scream of silence, the mountains falling in a whisper. I think that worked well for what I was trying to do.
      • I love and hate this story! I was devastated when I read it. It certainly is effective.
      • I think that worked well for what I was trying to do.

        I think it did, too. (Cue a case of serious trying-not-to-sniffle during a Sunday morning lay-in. ;))
    • My long "snippet" made me have to reply in two comments!

      C. Is there a type of story you wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole?

      I don't think that there is. There are some kinks that would be very hard to invest myself into writing because I don't personally get them and so would have a hard time feeling as though my work was authentic, but if freelancing for a living for a year taught me anything, it was how to treat writing as an assignment when needed. :)

      There are topics I don't write because I don't currently have a lot of knowledge/interest in them (First Age Men, Hobbits, Gondorians ...), but reading about and studying them would probably eventually inspire me in some way.

      Probably the only thing I wouldn't be able to write is the kind of "canon-compliant" story that basically connects the dots between what we know from the texts in the most direct and least offensive way possible, or essentially just rewrites what Tolkien has already said. The joy, for me, in writing fanfic is getting to explore characters, perspectives, and ideas that Tolkien chose not to tackle. I like challenging myself and my audience, and that kind of story has never been my cup of tea because, for me, it does neither.
      • Re: My long "snippet" made me have to reply in two comments!

        Probably the only thing I wouldn't be able to write is the kind of "canon-compliant" story that basically connects the dots between what we know from the texts in the most direct and least offensive way possible, or essentially just rewrites what Tolkien has already said. The joy, for me, in writing fanfic is getting to explore characters, perspectives, and ideas that Tolkien chose not to tackle. I like challenging myself and my audience, and that kind of story has never been my cup of tea because, for me, it does neither.

        I would like to frame this. It's exactly what I feel!
        • Re: My long "snippet" made me have to reply in two comments!

          I'm shocked! I always thought you wrote endless L&C-compliant retellings of the marriage of Aragorn and Arwen, complete with quotes from the LotR appendix sprinkled throughout.

          ;^)

          People often get attached to particular interpretations, pairings, et cetera to where they cannot fathom writing something that doesn't comply with those. I've never been that way. I have my interpretations that I think are correct, but I could write the opposite too. Fanfic, for me, is mostly a thought exercise, and to me, JRRT has left us with a phenomenally open playground in which to build our sandcastles.
          • Re: My long "snippet" made me have to reply in two comments!

            JRRT has left us with a phenomenally open playground in which to build our sandcastles.

            I think that is why it endures, perhaps. I've certainly never read anything that was so 'open' and have had no desire to write fanfic for anything else; maybe because they are much less 'open'.
            • Re: My long "snippet" made me have to reply in two comments!

              I agree with the openness. I have trouble imagining that I could ever tell all the stories in my head based in this world.
              • Re: My long "snippet" made me have to reply in two comments!

                Me too. I think I'm going to kick the bucket before I finish telling all of my stories, and I plan to live for a long time.

                What is the art in your icon? Is he eating Feanor's hair? (I thought I invented that! :D)
                • Re: My long "snippet" made me have to reply in two comments!

                  I can only find it with Russian caption and links. He is definitely chewing Daddy's hair! Maybe it is fan art of your concept.
                  • Re: My long "snippet" made me have to reply in two comments!

                    Thanks! :)

                    Kasiopea did a sketch once of Carnistir chewing Findekano's hair from AMC. Definitely one of the highlights of my time in fandom! :D

                    I've found Felakverse-inspired art by accident before. I don't care, of course (and my fanfic is under a Creative Commons license that allows for all of that besides), but I always wish they would tell me about it so that I can squee appropriately!
  • P. Do you write your story from start to finish, or do you write the scenes out of order?
    L. Is there an episode section of canon above all others that inspires you just a little bit more?

    Come on over and lob a few my way.
    • P. Do you write your story from start to finish, or do you write the scenes out of order?

      I am very much a start-to-finish writer. I am not a plot writer, so I often haven't figured out what will happen in a story before it happens, or what I think will happen might change as I get to know the characters better.

      I have scenes "written" in my mind that I would often like to use in stories. But I don't put them down on paper until I reach that point in the story. Usually, they form a point to aim toward (but because they're not written down, they can be changed or discarded altogether if need be. I am very averse to making major changes once something is written down!)

      Also, writing, for me, is often cumulative (that's not the precise word I want, but it's the closest I can find!) I have to get into the style and voice I want for a particular story. I will sometimes make allusions that I end up picking up in greater depth later. For those things to work for me, I have to work start to finish.

      L. Is there an episode section of canon above all others that inspires you just a little bit more?

      Definitely the Fëanorian stuff, which I know makes me about as original as rain in London! :D But the original question that made me want to write fanfic--which I had never done before--was, "What made them fall and so far?" The idea of someone so passionate and gifted and beloved by many who knew him fall to where, when I mentioned Fëanor as my favorite character at Mythmoot last year, someone said, "But wasn't he evil?" is a subject that has fascinated me for ten years now with no signs of slowing.
  • A, E, and F.

    (Mine's here.)
    • A. Describe your comfort zone—a typical you-fic.

      House of Finwë. Aman, pre-Darkening. The story would be character-driven without a lot of plot complexity so the characters would have a lot of freedom to move within the story. The conflict would likely involve either tensions within the family or with the Valar. There would probably be a lengthy, detail-intensive description of a location. There would be sensuality but not likely graphic sex. There would be a lot of introspection. A lot of metaphors. Way too many modifiers.

      E. Share one of your strengths.

      My greatest strength as a writer is characterization. It is what drives my stories and what I hear most often from readers that they like about my work. I think this developed somewhat as a survival mechanism. When I was young, I was not well-liked by my peers and had trouble forming social relationships. This was just a skill I didn't have, so I spent a lot of time observing people, trying to figure them out and how they were so comfortable together where I was not. I was also very attuned to body language, voice, et cetera as a means to determine if a person was "safe" or not. This fascination, as I grew older, became more oriented to observing how people's behavior changes in various environmental and social situations. It eventually turned into a psychology major, which put labels and theories on many things I'd already discovered for myself.

      Writing backward-engineers this for me. I know how a character is feeling, so I match that up with a behavior that communicates it and use style and language in such a way that, hopefully, also communicates that character's particular emotion or experience.

      Although I still test as 100% introvert, if you met me in real life, you'd probably never suspect it; I've trained myself well. :) But the habit of observing people and using those observations in my writing is lifelong now, and I do it constantly and without even necessarily realizing it.

      F. Share one of your weaknesses.

      Plot. Honestly, I can't even remember the plots of stories very well: my own or other people's. I'll remember the people or even lines or images, but ask me what happened, and I can't tell you. I go back and read my own work and am surprised that certain things happen in the story that I don't remember writing. I have a student who likes to borrow books from me, and he'll often ask what I thought of a particular scene or ending of a book, and I'm always embarrassed to say that I don't remember that scene or how the book ended. I still have to look up certain events at the end of the Second Age and beginning of the Third because I can't remember the order they happened in.

      This is why my stories sprawl and lack cohesion for their length. If I want to write a story where certain things need to happen plot-wise, then I have to write a brief outline at the beginning of the story, listing what those things are and the order they should happen in. Otherwise, I get so involved in the story that I forget what I wanted to happen, or my characters carry off in a completely different direction than where they need to go. The little plot outline reminds me at the beginning of each writing session where I need to steer my characters.
      • I will absolutely agree that your characterizations are fantastic. Plot means nothing if you can't care about the characters, and you've yet to make me hit the back button out of boredom. And why you're so good at it is interesting, too. (I'm also good at body language, but it wasn't anything deliberate on my part.)

        But your stories work without the lack of plot. The characters make them, which is the type of story I'd rather read. So it may be a weakness, but I don't see it as too much of a downside.
  • Q and S. :)
    • Q. Do you use any tools, like worksheets or outlines?

      Appropriately enough, I just hinted at the answer to this in my answer to Indy, in the comment above yours. I am not a big user of writing tools. When I was in middle school, graphic organizers were a very popular teaching tool. We learned to plan our writing and organize ideas with all manner of webs, diagrams, and flow charts. I hated it, with a passion. I thought it was stupid and redundant because it was just writing down what I was already doing perfectly well in my head. I didn't know that most people didn't think like me and that such tools benefited most of my peers. In high school, outlines were my peeve. We always had to turn in the outline, then the essay a few days later. I wrote the essay first and made the outline based on it.

      However, I do use outlines in a very limited and specific sense. When I am working on a long story or a story that must follow a certain plot, then I will often jot down a very brief outline at the top of the story so that, when I open the file, it is the first thing I see. Then I am forced to see where I am going next and where I need to steer my characters. As I just noted to Indy, this is because I cannot remember plot, and so I will either forget what needs to happen in the story, or I will give my characters too much rein, and they won't end up where they need to be.

      Otherwise, what one might call "prewriting" still occurs almost entirely in my head. I will imagine out whole scenes and even "write" lengthy sections mentally before sitting down to actually write.

      S. Describe your perfect writing conditions.

      I am very lucky that I can write almost anywhere. I wrote much of my NaNoWriMo novel one year at the ice rink where my husband played hockey. I wrote all of Another Man's Cage at my workplace at the time. I have written in moving vehicles, hotel rooms, the beach, pitch dark, and perfect silence.

      But what I need is to be left alone. There can be all kinds of commotion going on around me, but as long as it doesn't involve me, then I can block it out well enough to write. Writing involves going deep into my own mind, which blocks out most external stimuli, but that means that I can't be interrupted. It is also best to write late at night; I cannot write before noon (I've tried), and the later in the day, the easier and better my writing tends to be. I think it is less to do with the lack of outside stimulation as it is a lowering of my inhibitions that makes me feel more able to take chances, both in terms of the story and characters and stylistically.
      • Oh, wow. I don't think I could ever have the mental strength to write in such places. I definitely need to be alone when I write. :)
  • B, D, Q? (And I posted the meme myself earlier today, so if you feel like asking, please do!)
  • I'm very interested in (V). Also, bonus question: have you ever been seriously tempted to do this, beyond just a hypothetical "if I had all the time in the world" sense?
  • AL and eum.... AJ :)
  • U!

    (I also did this meme: http://dreamflower02.livejournal.com/664212.html)
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