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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Ten Days Off and an M-Type Thing

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"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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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!

  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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