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It finally stormed on Thursday.

I had been waiting for this for I can't even tell you how long. In Winston (to say nothing of Milly) I remember it storming much earlier and more consistently through the spring. Spring storms in the NC piedmont have a habit of turning up around midnight, about the time I would typically be finishing up whatever I was doing. The storm would roll in and I would put off going to bed so I could sit on the covered porch by my open door and watch the light show. And more importantly, breathe that cool, de-pollinated, sharp-smelling wind.

I like storms because they are transient and dangerous and beautiful. They are scary for a reason; they feel like a knife's edge between light and dark.

Thursday night it was storming in Rosman or thereabouts, meaning it was all visible and audible from the field behind my house but the danger of lightning was nil. I stood out there at midnight in my raincoat until I was soaked from the knees down, then retreated to the porch where I could stand underneath the eaves. The wind tasted like the first fresh air in months.

I have trouble articulating why I feel this way about a fairly common and often troublesome meteorological phenomenon. When I finally went inside I got that feeling where you don't know the story, but you know the first line. And so I didn"t-quite-fictionalize it...badly.Collapse )

Then a funny thing happened: it turned into a fic--in this case, a little study of Rose. (I posted a LOT of stuff today--well, by my standards--so...shameless self-promotion.) I can't say I've never bits of my life into fic before; in fact, one of the storms in the story above actually serves as the setting of one scene in a DW fic. But I try not to project my experiences onto characters. It makes me kind of itchy when a character's actions or speech too closely mirrors my own, and I start feeling like it's time for a game of literary whac-a-mole to purge "me" from the story (I attribute this to the scarring number of Mary Sues that blanketed the internet back in the era of Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings dominance around 2002). This is probably why I shy away from even attempting to write Martha Jones: she is the companion who is most similar to me.

I digress. I was pleased with how the fic version turned out, more pleased than I am with the serious stream-of-consciousness flaws in the original version. Actually I'm pleased with the model in general and might attempt a similar structure for other characters (think "A Brief History in x" for y character). Prompt me if you have a suggestion. I'm looking for phenomena that are a little unexpected for the character, with the exception of Ace. I knew the minute I finished this story that there is "A Brief History in Explosions" waiting to be written. :)

In other writey news, I keep dithering about the Massive Hypothetical Time War Fic. I've decided it's both too complicated and too character-driven to be one story. I think I joked in my last entry that it feels like an entire season arc. I discovered today, through some very messy scribbling, that for the character development in my story that is primarily about some very significant changes in the characters to work, it basically has to involve a number of distinct adventures. Add the plotty arc in there, and suddenly the most logical format is about eight different stories, some fairly straightforward and a couple essentially "double-length"...in other words, about 11 "episodes". So I actually wasn't joking about the season thing. *Sigh*

Unfortunately, the more I dither, the more I want to write the story (or, I suppose, series). I love the show for its characters, and this fills two Huge Character Development Gaps. So here is the thing I need halp! with: I went ahead and pulled together one chapter that I suspect is about two-thirds to three-quarters of the way through the overall tale, and posted it as a sort-of-standalone here. If you want to give it a glance and tell me what you think, I would love to get some input on the tone, the place I'm taking the characters, and whether this is a totally harebrained escapade. I'm also curious as to whether more than two or three people on earth would read Rose/Eight (I write for myself, but I do enjoy sharing). Full disclosure: this chapter is pretty dark, but like I said, it comes late in the arc. The early stories would be significantly more lighthearted, gradually becoming more serious and then taking a sojourn to hell towards the end. Thanks!

Fandom question...

Fic writers on my flist: how many of you are on AO3? If you are and your penname is different from your LJ username, could you let me know what it is? I find AO3 much easier to read on a mobile device, and I can keep up with fic better that way...


I foresee a return to the land of actual LJ activity, and possibly redemption from my post-NaNo strike from typing anything I didn't absolutely have to do for work. Yay!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Well, halfway through the month, I had less than 15,000 words. Today, on the penultimate night of this insanity, I have almost hit 47,000 (and I'm not done for the evening).

I think I might actually make it. Maybe. I have to work tomorrow and then drive to Winston, but considering that less than one week ago I was at 21,000 words (I had a 9,000-word day on Sunday, and I am NEVER doing that again), I'm pretty pleased with myself.

I thought the challenge would be getting the word count, or not bloating up past 50,000 so I couldn't stop. But no. The problem is that at about 46,000 words, I ran out of plot. The story ended. So now I'm expanding scenes and bashing away at places that lack good imagery and all kinds of nonsense, TRYING TO GET THE WORD COUNT.

This has been a very, very educational experience, and while I'm not exactly thrilled with the final output, I feel good knowing I have a somewhat original story that may be ugly and uneven, but its bones are good. There's a thing in there (if I can finish), and it's mine. MINE.

Still, I'm going to be glad to go back to fic in a week or so. There is NOTHING like writing original fiction to make me want to write fanfic!
Word count: 16,787, but we're not going to talk about it.

Here's something fun: a semi-coherent synopsis of what I'm actually writing!

New York City, 2010: Mozart and Buddy Holly are busking in City Hall Park. Cassandra of Troy is a semi-official seer. A futurist named Gene balances his first rule--noninterference--with running an agency charged with careful intervention in possible future events. The thirteenth floor of the former headquarters of WWII British Intelligence is occupied by a Council that governs the border between what is and what never will be.

Outside, life goes on.

This is the world of Charity, a Neverwas who's torn between a desire to play by the rules and her own sense of right and wrong. Then Charity receives a strange message--"Live"--and finds herself staring into the eyes of...herself, the woman she might have been, or might yet be.

It's a world unknown to Alex, an ordinary law student at NYU...until she meets a woman she never was outside a burning building. She suddenly finds herself two years in the future, a relic of a choice she didn't make, invisible to everyone she knew. Charity, on the other hand, is Temporal--stuck in Alex's life. And the Neverweres really aren't pleased about the situation...
Current word count: 15,486

So maybe slightly more than 11,000 words behind now. I am basically no longer allowing myself to do anything on my home computer other than write. And occasionally berate myself in a public forum like LJ or Facebook.

And I'm only just now getting to the complicated part. Thank God I already wrote the end so I have somewhere to go with this madness.

London does not believe in free wifi

...it really doesn't. And when it does, the connections are terrible (like this one, which is slow and only works in the hostel common room, where I'm typing with The A-Team going at top volume behind me).

I could write about gobs of stuff, but in pulling out the computer, I remembered that my last online act before I left the US was to sign up for NaNoWriMo. I actually have an idea! Whether I have 50,000 words' worth of time (and specific ideas) is another question. Only problem is, I signed up specifically to motivate myself to write this novella-length idea I've got--but I wrote a couple of scenes this past summer, and now (according to the official NaNo rules) I can't use them because they were written before November 1! Fraktastic. This is super-depressing because the idea of starting over makes me want to run away--I've never done NaNo and it's kind of scary. Anyone with experience know if there's a way around the November-only rule? Or have I actually got to start over?

Anyone else doing NaNo? I'd love some company!

I have to put down some more notes about the trip soon, but I want to hook my camera up and my batteries are all going to die at the moment...

OMG really?!

Yay!! My fic Relics (DW, Amy, Eleven, implied Nine/Rose) got first place in the most recent challenge at who_contest!!! I'm so excited--people read it! They liked it! They even voted for it! I hate bragging, but for three seconds here, I'm bragging, because WOW!!! If you read it and voted, thank you!

OK, done now. :)

Roundups: RL and Recent WIPs

So right now I'm supposed to be immersed in the background of the letter to the Romans, but I'm rebelling. A few observations from the past couple of weeks:

  • All professional conferences should include at least one hour of silly games involving all attendees. I don't know why professions that aren't experiential ed haven't gotten on board with this trend. Pac-Man Tag. I'm just sayin'.
  • All professional conferences should also include free food. (Yes, it was a really good conference - see here!
  • There is never enough chocolate in the world; when there is, I will have eaten it all (ooooh...). This is hereby called the Miranda Cacao Paradox.
  • I don't know what to do with weekends. When I have them, I kind of sit around aimlessly and say "whoooooa..."
  • I need a new laptop, damnit--say one that runs Safari and Word at the same time, holds a battery charge for more than 20 minutes, and does not require saving everything to a thumb drive because I'm afraid it could die any day. It's not the poor thing's fault, but it's almost seven years old.
  • Due to the IRS' failure to give me a tax refund and the North Carolina treasurer's decision to demand $200 extra, I will not be getting a new laptop. [Insert pointless rant regarding extravagant taxation of people who make diddly-squat working for nonprofits here.]
  • I may not have a new computer, but I still can't get over the awesome versatility of my shiny shiny Christmas-present daypack, bigger on the inside (and, in fact, the bluest blue ever) but still ideal for running through airports AND carrying piles of wilderness medical gear.

And then there are observations for the next couple of weeks:

  • It's a damn good thing I bought the more expensive air mattress, since I will be sleeping on it for the next 18 days or so.
  • See above Cacao Paradox: we're not there yet, but damn straight I'm going to be working on it.
  • I love wilderness medicine, but it's still time-consuming at the wrong point in the year.
  • My colleagues are all going to understand why I'm so crazy when they meet my grad school advisor next week. I can't decide whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Now then. I don't want to talk about that. I would much rather talk about the things I am writing.

So I will. Fic ahoy!Collapse )
...it's because what passes for my Muse hates me.

This is the DW story I'm presently writing. Yes, it is outlined on notecards taped to the wall. Every horizontal line you could draw through a set of these cards? That's a possible timeline or parallel universe that occurs at some point but then doesn't. Mostly. Each universe/alternate timeline is arranged according to internal sequence, but the perspective the reader follows doesn't always experience alternate timelines in the right order. Essentially, this story is totally not canon, almost completely canon, with major (and no) character death. Significant, life-altering events happen that don't happen at all. Poor Rory has a headache, and SO DO I. Damn you, timey-wimey.

And on top of that, the whole piece began with one random scene (which at one point was saved on my computer as "Oops, I [SPOILER VERB] [SPOILER NAME]" because I truly thought it was just a brain fart) and developed something resembling plot late in gestation. Thus far it's 20 pages long, massively uneven in tone and pace, pretentiously angsty at the beginning and kind of witty at the present point. I would throw up my hands in despair and write something less ambitious and more lighthearted, but it's bizarrely compelling in a masochistic way. And I can't seem to get anywhere with it at all unless chocolate or chocolate stout is involved. And while that's good for getting the little gray cells going, it's not good for MAKING SENSE.



Sometimes holiday chore time turns into something brilliant...

I"m in ur compost, exterminatin" ur banana peels...Collapse )

How I plan to amuse myself this Christmas

So, in case anyone hasn't seen it, Amy and Rory are leaving DW at the end of Series 7.

I can't say at this point that I'll be terribly sad to see Amy go (Rory I'll miss). Amy has been the longest-running companion in New Who, which is unfortunate because she's the least interesting character. Rose...well, no question how I feel about Rose. Donna was brilliant and her tenure was far too short. Even Martha, whose lovelorn mooning during series 3 got really old, went through significant personal development, and I loved her reappearances in series 4. I'd be excited to see her and Mickey again (though not as excited as I'd be if Ten2 and Rose fell back into the prime universe for a mad adventure...that level of excitement would register on the Richter Scale). Amy, though...oh, Amy. Two years we've had her; she's gone from ten to her early twenties, been dead, been in stasis for two thousand years, been abducted, had a kid without knowing it, lost her kid, gotten married, reinvented the sonic screwdriver, and I still don't feel like the heart of her character has changed much. She's just static. Rory, who generally gets sidelined, has much more potential than Amy.

But then, all the characters (even Amy) have much more potential than the writing this past season allowed. And that's a rant I've already ranted.

None of that is what I intended to post about. I just happened to open the TV listings and there it was. Anyway.

I've got piles of half-finished (or half-started) fic eating both my physical desk and my desktop, and really the last thing I need is a writing project. Problem is, I need a writing project. Starting next Thursday, I will be gallivanting, if you can call it that (hint: you really can't) across eastern North Carolina with the fam. The immediate fam: lots of fun. The extended fam: not so much. So.

I NEED YOUR HELP. Presuming anyone is reading this. Here's why:

I need one writing project that I can focus on, a simple story that requires filling out characters and setting more than plot development. I can't do plot development when someone is telling me I want to eat a cookie every five minutes (extended fam: also very into southern cookin').* I can, however, do characters. And that's what I want to do. Multiple characters, multiple fandoms (and original); the same story, seen through the experiences of different characters in different universes. It'll be my personal Holiday From the Holidays Ficathon. If it can be a ficathon with only one writer...

Nifty idea, huh?** I just need to find the right story. I'm thinking simple storylines: fairy tales***, myths, classic stories that aren't too plotty, other stories that aren't too long (Harry Potter would be a no-go). So please help suggest stories! You do not have to have even the remotest interest in fanfiction. That's OK. If I do a story you suggest, I will write you an original, no-fan-knowledge-required, retelling.

If you want to suggest a fandom, particularly a fandom in relation to a particular story, yay! I will definitely be writing Whofic for whatever story I choose, and likely Sherlock as well. Buffy and Firefly are also possibilities, but I'm very open to suggestions, provided I'm familiar with the source material.

If anyone wants to join me in this fun game, please do! I can promise moral support, positive peer pressure, someone to whine with, etc. My personal goal is to choose one story and write at least three fics in different fandoms based on it by January 1. They won't necessarily involve the entire plot, nor will they be long. If I get more than one story suggestion that I think will work, I'll use the others after the December Insanity has passed.

* I have in fact had dessert forced on me when I just had dessert, or even while I'm still having dessert. One is literally expected to have another kind of pie with one's pie. It's like visiting the Keebler elves, or hobbits on a sugar kick. WE CANNOT GET OUT. THEY ARE COMING.

** For which I wish I could take credit, but it was actually an assignment in a college writing class. We had to pick our favorite author and retell The Three Little Pigs in his/her style.

*** I'm not doing Beauty and the Beast, btw; it's been done to some level or other in most fandoms (if not in canon: see DW series 1, which is actually an interesting little role reversal and has been filed away with Fairy Tale Retellings I Will Write Papers On One Day), and I've got three or four or eight original retellings of it sitting on my bookshelf. It's a great story and I love it, but I have nothing original to say about it. I'd rather do a bunch of rewrites of Jane Eyre, which is like Beauty and the Beast with a side of Bluebeard and a dash of proto-feminism. It's much more interesting. But I'm not, because the plot is pretty much Beauty and the Beast with sides of The Little Princess, Bluebeard, and Cinderella. In other words: too complicated.

Footnote to the footnotes: This is turning into Robin McKinley's blog, which typically has more text in the footnotes and the footnotes to the footnotes than actually exists in the body of the entry.

ADORATION (and a fic)

Everyone needs to go read this right now. It's gorgeous. And it's for me!!! Yay secret Doctor Who Santa!! It's my red bicycle when I was twelve!

Title: Cause and Effect
Author: Someone awesome and I look forward to telling him/her so personally before reading everything else s/he ever wrote
Characters: River and Rose, with cameos by Ten, Lorna Bucket, Rory, Amy, and Ten2
Genre: Frakkin' awesome
Summary: Their timelines cross and diverge and cross again, their fates bound up together and entwined with the Doctor’s.

Read it at dwsanta...


There is a rat. In my house. Or it was in my house. Because, you see, the only thing worse than a rat you know is probably in the house is a rat you can't find.

And yeah, this is only my second (non-sequential) weekend at home in the last two months. I will be spending most of it ANYWHERE BUT HERE (namely, rotating between local coffee shops), and God willing, the rat trap will do its job.
I would swear this is the last crazy thing I'm going to do with a weekend for a while, but I know I wouldn't keep the promise. So: three days, ten hours of driving, two trips through a cave, lots of wind, COLD, and nineteen kids whose names I don't know. Gad.

I do this because I like it, really, but sometimes I deeply, madly miss my central heating.

In an effort not to whinge about other, less-pleasant aspects of my job, I spent the evening trying to sort out the project I wrote fifteen pages of and then realized I had no idea where I was going with it.

Please excuse this detour into my writing process. It amuses me...Collapse )