dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
Horror can stop working as horror if the reader has a sufficiently different cultural background from the author, because what horrified the author may be mundane to the reader. Alternatively, what the author accepts as good and right may horrify the reader in ways the author never intended. This can happen over time as well as across borders.

I recently read Arthur Machen's The White People. Not only couldn't I find any horror in it (beyond the mundane horror of how badly Machen treats female character in general), I had trouble finding any plot or even what the hell was going on. I can't say I agree with H.P. Lovecraft's analysis of "what was going on"--it's not really in the text and I think HPL pulled it out of his aft. Machen's idea of horror seems to be Women With Agency Doing Things, which really, really doesn't age well.

And then there's H.P. Lovecraft, who wanders freely between cosmic horror of "man was not the first, and won't be the last being to rule the Earth, and they will return when the stars are right", the existential horror of losing your identity to undeath, body-theft, gender-change, or species-change; and the racist's abject horror that Those People live in his neighborhood, possibly even right next door!. Guess which aspect of HPL's horror has not aged well?

Writers need to pay attention to the classic horror tropes they're using, or they might find themselves saying "Genocide is morally good" or "Slaves are by nature inferior beings whose lives and desires are worthless and meaningless" in the themes of their stories. (Looking at you, Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft). Or you, the writer, could think about those tropes and deconstruct them instead, giving us wonderful stories like Elizabeth Bear's "Shoggoths in Bloom".
dragoness_e: (Echo Bazaar)
I'd forgotten how hard it is to actually get words out in quantity. Writing feels like it's flowing along, but then I do a word count check after a few hours and find out I have a whole 600-odd words.

Good thing I'm only aiming to complete a short story, not actually complete a 50,000 word light novel.
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
Last night, Elsa's medicine must have kicked in, because she suddenly felt LOTS better. Unfortunately for everyone except Elsa, that meant she felt like it was time to party and play all night, after sleeping all day; e.g. no one got to sleep. I ended up taking today off, pretty much, because I had too little sleep to drive safely.

It didn't help that I started reading Sansûkh, a massive Tolkien fanfic that Becky had recommended some time ago. It sucked me right in and I still can't put it down. By the way, AO3 lets you download EPUB versions of fanfics directly to your book reader, and Chrome will hand them off to any program that understands EPUB, like, oh, say... FBReader. Handy. Saves me the trouble of downloading to PC and firing up Calibre to download to the book reader. I may have to start doing that for Seanan Mcguire's short stories, because I keep forgetting to move them to my reader after I download them to PC.

I also played around a bit more on Cybertron; Becky, if you want to take any of the enchanted books in the bookcases by the disenchanter machine, feel free. I have lots. Making preparations to move my smelter down a floor, as it is blocking traffic on my main floor.

No SDV; Minecraft has been more interesting lately. As for Starscream & Co, no writing on that today (blame Sansûkh), but I don't think I ever told anyone except Becky what I am doing. There is one major story arc I want to tell for Starscream, and then I think I am done with TF fanfiction. I decided a while back that, instead of a massive chaptered fic, I would break it up into related short stories, or, at most (I hope), novellas. I always feel so guilty and pressured if I leave a chaptered fic hanging, and if I release it one chapter at a time, it's harder to rewrite things if I've written myself into a corner when half of it is already published. If I release a complete, shorter story, no one gets left hanging with an unfinished fic, and I make sure it hangs together before releasing it. That's the theory, anyway.
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
It's about time I got back to posting on this thing. John Scalzi started his "Whatever" blog to keep in practice writing a daily column, and it would benefit me to practice writing a daily dairy or opinion piece. So here I am.

I won't talk about work. That leaves hobbies and Real Life and opinions. Hobbies are all over the place, but mostly involve gaming and RPing, these days. Also modding, which is writing software for games. At one time, I used to write little software utilities for tabletop RPs, but that was a long time ago--like, when DOS and Turbo Pascal were things. I had a nice little elaborately detailed treasure generator for AD&D, based on the tables from Powers & Perils. I also wrote a weather generator based on the tables in the back of the AD&D Wilderness Survival Guide, and I still have my huge Traveller sector generator program based on the Megatraveller system generation tables. Anyone see a pattern here? I'm actually porting that Traveller program to Java, as Java practice, and combining it with a very ancient X-Windows C program to draw pretty maps of sub-sectors. It should scale up to sectors if done properly. Much of the aforementioned crap was done decades ago, but the source code is upon my website somewhere. Along with archives of ancient Megatraveller ship designs.

These days, my hobby programming is primarily Minecraft modding, and putting together the occasional Minecraft modpack. Most of what I'm modding are other people's mods that I took over when they abandoned the Minecraft modding scene. I never did get back to my own mods, as Simple Ores and akkamaddi's stuff takes up all my leisure modding. Of course, I've rewritten them so much they might as well be my mods.

State of the RP: I sometimes play Dead End at The Wake. Fellow Transformers fans may remember that I used to write Stunticon fanfiction; I still like the crazy boys. I've also tried my hand at playing Hellbender again at Cyberformed, but I'm just not feeling him. He played best off Becky's Hook and Ladyboss's Shockwave, and it's not the same without them. Fortunately, Cyberformed has almost no AC, so I can just coast until I get sorted out.

Writing: I haven't been. Perhaps I should set my computer up to boot to Linux first, instead of Windows, as Linux-side is where I keep my manuscripts. Windows is where the games dwell. When I get back to writing, Starscream is still waiting for me to continue "Spearmaker". Certain original characters are waiting in the wings, as well--Shani the Nubian would like me to recount her adventures across the ancient Hellenic world. She'd also like me to figure out a true Nubian name for her, instead of random Swahili, and change the name of that idiot Greek merchant she travels with. Characters can be so picky! I've also got villains who want me to put them in stories, but they do need me to find heroes to stand against them. (Seth Kane insists he makes a fine villain protagonist and his enemy is worse; I'm like, nooo... let's find a real hero somewhere, then you can reluctantly help the hero by way of double-crossing your enemy. Also, let's pick a less-obvious nom de guerre. Seriously.)

Gaming: ooh, boy. I watch Direwolf20 videos, which get me fired up to play Minecraft, then go play Stardew Valley, which has eaten my evenings. Awesome game. It's also a relaxing contrast to the usual action/adventure MMORPGs I play. The little bit of combat is pretty simple, especially if you luck out like I did and get the Galaxy Sword right after repairing the bus. (Best weapon in the game, and I got a prismatic shard out of a geode from the quarry, right after it opened).

There's a new expansion out for the Everquest2 Time-locked Expansions server, Stormhold, where Steve & I play: The Shadow Odyssey. Early word is they actually got itemization, progression and balance right this time, so maybe more people will be happy. I just know that it opens up a bunch more furniture recipes that my carpenter needs to grind faction for--I like decorating, okay? I still need to get 2 of my big 4 crafters to cap and do their tradeskill epics. Not to mention work on leveling Sammie, my highest-level adventurer. And I have so many houses to decorate! Oh, and then there's the live server I still have characters on, and there's a new expansion, with more tradeskill stuff....

Becky & Tai are playing WoW, which has me somewhat interested. I at least installed the free Starter version and am playing around now and then with Bedywyr, a human warrior. It's deja vu all over again, because the last time I played 'free trial', I had a human character... and humans always start in Northshire/Goldshire. Same hand-holding quests. I would have been bored to tears (and briefly was), except that I finally figured out how to open my crafting menus and play around with crafting. Yay! I don't know that WoW-boy will get much play, because of so much to do in all my other games, but you never know.

I just finished re-reading Diasporah by W. R. Yates. As far as Google can tell me, it was the only book he ever wrote. My guess is it was his first novel, it tanked, and he either stopped writing, or wrote his 2nd novel under a different pseudonym. Sadly, it was not good. It was not as bad as a few published things I've seen, but it wasn't good. The author was way too fond of showing off all his world-building and research, and pacing suffered badly from it. Also, possibly because I had read it before, the "big reveal" at the end was quite obvious from all the clues dropped. Foreshadowing is normally good, so things don't come out of left field and make no sense, but when they make the climax of the story entirely predictable, that's not good. Finally, the author's pro-Israeli politics were downright anvillicious and character-distorting--all the Jewish characters are interesting, three-dimensional characters, Israel's massive paranoia and arm's race is entirely justified, and all their enemies are stereotypical anti-Semites or stock totalitarian thugs. Except for, of course, for the stereotypical Japanese who were allies. Boring. The author would have been better off taking some of the word-count devoted to the engineering of the Svengild and spending it on showing us in more detail why the U.N. was a ruthless dictatorship and why the French space cities were viciously anti-Semitic and actively trying to destroy the Israeli orbital city while the U.N. looked the other way. (The reasons were told in a few sparse lines somewhere mid-book--and since the virtual undeclared war by the French space cities drove the whole damn plot, a little more detail about the whys and wherefores might have been helpful.) All in all, it was a useful review of 'mistakes not to make in writing one's first novel'.
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
Posting stuff on FF.net is pretty easy--pick a rating, and a coherent enough description that people know what the story is about, and maybe list the characters for shipping fans.

Re-posting stuff on AO3, I find myself not only doing the mandatory tags and rating thing, but considering the optional tags.

....and "In Past Regrets" has acquired more nasty tags than anything short of "Hannibal" fanfic, I suspect. I knew that story was brutal, and only for mature readers, but... yeah. Genocidal Saiyajin mixing it up with Gloranthan Chaos cultists, writing both as evil as they are meant to be, is some serious ugly.

It's still one of my best stories. But damn, it's scary just to look at the tags on that sucker.
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
Finish draft of "Ereshkigal"
Write the last Dead End 28.
dragoness_e: Dreamwave Dead End (Dead End)
For those of you who like Dead End ficlets, there's ONE claim left in my ancient 28 Dead Ends meme: On Vacation. Go for it!
dragoness_e: "Just a GHOST of myself" Starscream (Ghostie-Scream)
Last night I watched a bunch of G1 season 3 episodes for the first time in quite a while, all the way through "Ghost in the Machine", and realized something.

My attitudes toward the episodes and the characters have changed... )
dragoness_e: Dreamwave Dead End (Dead End)
Something I haven't posted in quite a while: another Dead End 28! Down to the last few, actually.

Excited Dead End
[G1 Transformers] Wildrider inflicts more "culture" on Dead End; this time, it's the Arena. Dead End is bored; Wildrider tries to make it more 'interesting'.

Also, for those of you who overlooked it, last week I slipped in Disheveled Dead End in my 28 Dead Ends.
dragoness_e: Fanart of G1 Starscream with F-22 kibble in robot mode (Starscream F-22)
[G1] Sometime after the events of "Ghost in the Machine" (and several of my stories as well) Starscream is up in the mountains for some privacy and time to think about where he's been and where he's going... so what's with the remarkably conversational giant wolf?

Conversations with a Trickster
dragoness_e: Dreamwave Dead End (Dead End)
Another Dead End 28:

Why We Don't Let Dead End Give Combat Briefings, aka Obedient Dead End

[G1] Dead End is ordered to give a combat briefing by Starscream. This was not a good idea.

Set just post-season 2, with an early S3 framing sequence.
dragoness_e: "Just a GHOST of myself" Starscream (Ghostie-Scream)
[G1] Skywarp learns about the concept of 'Trick-or-Treat' and plans an elaborate, sadistic prank on Starscream for Halloween. It would have worked, too, if not for those meddling Autobots!

Leave Your Body at the Door
dragoness_e: "Just a GHOST of myself" Starscream (Ghostie-Scream)
A short character study for y'all:

[G1] What does Megatron see in Starscream?

View from the Top
dragoness_e: "Just a GHOST of myself" Starscream (Ghostie-Scream)
[Transformers G1, late S3] What does Skyfire see in Starscream? A brief glimpse into the heart of Skyfire. Set some time after "Lost and Found" and "Loss".

Heart of Fire


May. 24th, 2007 02:19 pm
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
Rejection of one's creative efforts hurts. Whether it's a story turned down with a form letter, artwork deemed not suitable, a character application declined, a software program you wrote canceled by management... it hurts. You put your effort and creative zeal into a project, it's yours, your baby--and "they" don't like your baby. It's not beautiful to them, and all the heart and soul you poured into your creation is so much trash. It feels like it's you that's being rejected.

That hurts. Sure, you may know intellectually that you'd better get used to rejections, you'll get a lot before and between acceptances, but it doesn't stop it from hurting. You can either give up from the hurt, or pick yourself up and try again... but it's still going to hurt every damn time. Climbing back into the saddle doesn't make the fall from the horse hurt any less.

You get over it, and move on--if you can. Sometimes your creation was tailored for one specific audience, and if that audience rejects it, there's no place for it to go. Your baby is dead, stillborn. That hurts even more.

Sometimes you're told "if you change this one thing..." you'll be accepted. Sometimes the one thing is something that will improve your creation, and that's well and good. But sometimes, to get acceptance, you'd have to change what makes your creation special and precious to you. What then? Do you lobotomize your baby to make him fit in, or suffer another stillborn creation? Either way, it hurts, and the decision itself is pure poison.

Creation is pure joy, but the price is pain. Sometimes it's a hard price to pay.

[fic] Loss

May. 16th, 2007 09:05 am
dragoness_e: Fanart of G1 Starscream with F-22 kibble in robot mode (Starscream F-22)
[G1, post-TFTM and long, long ago] Skyfire asks Starscream what happened after Skyfire was lost in the ice, and learns about guilt, and the changes that happen when you are too long returning home, and what happened to those who tried to erase Starscream from history.

dragoness_e: Fanart of G1 Starscream with F-22 kibble in robot mode (Starscream F-22)
[G1, post-TFTM] Sequel to Friends No Longer with Me. Starscream's unexpected post-mortem reunion with Skyfire leads to conversation between old... friends?

Go to Lost and Found
dragoness_e: "Just a GHOST of myself" Starscream (Ghostie-Scream)
Here's one of the other stories that came out of writing Autobot Angels. My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ravenclaw_devi for some heavy-duty beta-reading and critiquing.

Decepticon Ghosts

[G1,TFTM] An offbeat tale of the death, afterlife, and life of Thundercracker and Skywarp. With flish. And Starscream gets his two cents in.

April 2019

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