ladyofastolat: (Default)
I've been musing lately on the issue of enjoying a work of fiction despite not believing in its premise.

Long ramblings within )
ladyofastolat: (Default)
One aspect of book fandom that I've never been able to relate to at all is the casting game - i.e. suggesting which actors should play the characters in a hypothetical film of the book. I never have any ideas at all. I don't clearly envisage characters as I read a book, but just have a vague, impressionistic sort of image of them. I can certainly look at some actors and say that they don't match my view of the character - e.g. if they're short and solid when the book says the character is tall and lean - but I can never say that someone does match it.

Also, if a film version does end up getting made, until I watch the finished product, none of the still photos of the actors look remotely right to me, since my impressionistic image of the character is too dependent on hair and costume - something, strangely, which I do tend to envisage quite clearly - and the living, moving feel of their character. In my vague imaginings of a character, the actual facial features that are a blank. No actor can be quite right, since I imagine a vague ideal, and they're a real, concrete person.

Anyway… This just came to mind in light of various discussions on face recognistion and face blindness, and I was wondering if people who are good at remembering faces are more likely to have clear visual images of book characters, or if it's something unrelated.
ladyofastolat: (Winter is coming)
I don't normally post about things that make me sad, so just to get them all out of the way in one go:

- As those who read his journal know, Pellinor got made redundant shortly before Christmas. They're giving him a large enough lump of money that we're not going to in any financial difficulties - not for a good long while, anyway - and I know that many other people have lost their jobs in far worse situations, but it's still a worry.

- My computer is on its last legs, and has been refusing to boot up properly for the last few weeks. Every time I switch it off, I wonder if it will be for the last time. Pellinor has been taking it apart and fiddling in its innards, which usually allows it to limp through one more day, but I've had rather a lot less computer time these last few weeks than normal - one explanation for the fact that I've been far worse than normal at updating and commenting. We do have a laptop as back-up, but for some reason, things I read on the laptop never seem quite real, and I've never got the hang of writing on it at all.

- This whole business about LJ possibly vanishing is worrying me. Even though I don't post as often as I used to, I'd be absolutely lost without it.

- I normally avoid writing about fandom things on this journal, but the final episode of Stargate Atlantis is airing on Friday. I know full well that the show is flawed, so please don't tell me how you never liked it, but, for whatever reason – partly because of those flaws and gaps and lost opportunities - it sparked my imagination and made me write more prolifically and more enthusiastically than I've ever done before (going on for 700,000 words in around 18 months.) And now it's going. I still have stories to tell, and I'm not ready to give it up, but I'm watching the fandom fade away before my eyes, and it makes me sad.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Conversation with my mother:

Me: Pellinor's off bar-running
Mum (entirely serious, but puzzled): Is that jousting on foot?

I think this says more about Pellinor - about the things I normally tell her he's busy doing - than about my mother. He's got a date with a neighbour to put up new fence panels (once the neighbour recovers from cracked ribs.) I'm looking forward to telling her "Pellinor's out fencing," just to see if she thinks fences, swords, or stolen goods.

And, totally unrelated: There's Thomas the Tank Engine fanfic on! What next? Angst-ridden Very Hungry Caterpillar fanfic in which he deals with self-loathing and his eating problem? A torrid slashy cross-species romance between the bear in "We're going on a bear hunt" and the dad of the family hunting him?
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Sorry I've been silent lately. I've been very busy editing up and posting one chapter a day of a long fanfic, which is taking up most of my mind, and the rest of it has been full of worrying about Pellinor driving a van on the Big Scary Mainland, and with dealing with the news of the cancellation of Stargate Atlantis.

Oh, and Monday, which I had off work, rather accidentally for dominated by playing Guitar Hero Rocks the 80s, one of the games we accidentally bought when killing time while locked out of the house. It's a lot easier than the others, I think - or maybe I'm just getting better. I got five stars on every song on medium first time round, and five stars on about half the hard songs, too. I've not finished expert yet. I say "yet" with rather unwise optimism, since I've not finished expert on any of the games yet.

On Wednesday I danced at a rainy carnival, before wandering over to a nearby pub for our second spot... only to find it absolutely heaving. Someone who worked there had died, and she was obviously hugely popular, because there were hundreds of people packed into a marquee, all celebrating her life in a way that involved a lot of booze. Dancing there was... interesting.

Pellinor went on Wednesday and won't be back until Tuesday. (He and [ profile] chainmailmaiden are feeding the five thousand at a LARPing event. Their food and drink plans sound scarily ambitious.) I always worry when he goes off alone on Big Scary Mainland roads, but was particularly worried this time because he was in a manual van, and he's not driven a manual for many, many years, and has never driven a van. "Phone me whenever you can to say you're still alive," I said, which he chose to take literally. "Pellinor phoned," someone told me at work, when I returned from a trip out to a library. "He says to tell you he's alive."

Anyway, I have a couple more new games to try this weekend, and a couple of new books, and I have a few months of fanfic reading to catch up on, so it'll be a relaxing weekend alone, if not an exciting one.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
When I'm 99 years old and living on the moon, I bet I will still feel a little spark of recognition and significance when I notice the clock reading 11.21

*considers adding explanation for those not in the know*

*decides against*

*smiles mischievously*

EDIT: Apparently nowadays a time of 11.21 indicates that you're about to get up, leave the computer... and stand on a dead mouse. :-(
ladyofastolat: (Default)
It's quite unsettling when the workmen you were expecting to turn up at 8.30 appear not much after 7.30. At least I was dressed, though had it not been so unfeasibly hot, I'd probably have been still in my dressing gown. "Oh, we'll need all this stuff moved before we can work," they said grimly. "I know," I said, polite, but through gritted teeth. "If you hadn't turned up an hour early, it would have been moved in time."

Actually, it's quite unsettling to have workmen turn up at all, when, until yesterday, you'd thought they weren't starting until Tuesday, and had thus arranged your day off (in lieu of Saturday) for Monday, expecting a nice quiet day of writing. I finished a fanfic about ten days ago (a historical AU complete with pictures and folk songs) which was far away the most enjoyable writing experience I've ever had, and has also gained me the most ecstatic feedback I've ever had. I was feeling quite flat early last week, fearing it would never get as good again, but I do now have an idea I was looking forward to doing some more planning on today, and perhaps even taking a stab at a first scene. However, writing never works when I'm in the wrong mood, and I think that having workmen stomping around just yards away will prove too distracting. (Although perhaps in this I'll actually be helped by the fact that I've been deaf in the left ear for the last five days. Must make an appointment about that...)

They're here to fix the shower in the en suite, which has leaked so much in the past that the wall beside it has gone rotten; pretty much the whole en suite needs rebuilding. They're also re-tiling the kitchen floor, and tiling the hall, where the carpet's been badly catted. "You do realise you won't be able to walk on the kitchen floor for 24 hours after we do it," they say. "Oh. Er. Yes. Yes, of course," I say brightly, having totally failed to realise such a thing when I bought a week's load of dinners that require the involvement of an oven. Not that an oven is a particularly good thing, what with the aforementioned unfeasible heat. I've been Far Too Hot to sleep for several nights, and it's only May...
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I've not posted for a while, but I still exist. A fanfic has hijacked my life and is eating my BRAIN. It's not just the writing; it has drawings, paintings, and requires a tonne of research. I'll be back in perhaps a week.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I've been quiet lately. Blame being in the closing stages of a long fic (just finished ten minutes ago!) and discovering forums...

I had a debate with my parents at Christmas, and another one with people at work today, about when one says "up" or "down" with respect to directions - e.g. "I'm going down/up to town." "I'm just popping up/down the road for five minutes." "Go down/up the road for 100 yards, then turn left." We have concluded very little logic to it.

I think that a strong physical slope trumps other considerations on the small scale. From our house, it's a steep hill down all the way into the centre of Cowes, so of course we'd talk about going "down to Cowes." ("Daahn Caahz" is the local way of saying this.) If your road is slopey, I suspect "popping up the road" and "popping down the road" would have clear and distinct meanings. In the absence of a slope, it seems to be personal preference. Some people say they would always say "up", others would always say "down", and others opt out and say they'd say "along."

I think that a clear and obvious north-south thing trumps other considerations on the large scale. I'd say "we're going up to Newcastle" or "we're going up to Scotland." Once there, I'd probably talk about going "back down to the island". Would I use "up" and "down" if talking about going from Cornwall to Kent...?

North is "up north" and south is "down south", of course. But one always goes up to Oxford... which is in the south. Presumably Oxford is on the top of a very tall and thin pillar, so it's even more "up" than the north, despite being in the south.

I wonder if Americans see this differently from British people, what with the whole "downtown" thing. (My Dad knew an American who'd arrived at Cheltenham railway station - rather out of the town centre - who got taken by a bus driver in totally the wrong direction, due to said American and the bus driver having totally opposite interpretations of what "downtown" was.) Hmm... American towns are like funnels, that go down towards the centre. British towns must be like cones, with the centre at the top.
ladyofastolat: (Ni)
Day off today. Day off tomorrow, too. Long weekend in London coming up, too - Spamalot (tomorrow night), British Museum (just another installment of the free bits. We decided not to pay in order to join a conveyor belt of humanity looking at the terracotta warriors), Forbidden Planet etc. It also seems that I've not got a cold for my birthday, which is amazingly unusual. Result: I'm feeling content.

Contentment is increased by having an almost-good night's sleep last night, under a new duvet. A goose feather duvet. A half-price goose feather duvet. I'd forgotten just how much better feather duvets are. It clings. It snuggles. It's also quite loud and crinkly at the moment, so when the cats walk on it, they pick their feet up gingerly and look as if they're walking on a minefield, which is quite amusing. The main down-side (this might be a pun) is that I can't keep from mentally singing "last night I slept in a goose-feather bed, with the sheets turned down so bravely, oh. Tonight I'll sleep on the cold, hard ground, along with the wraggle taggle gypsies, oh" whenever I see it, which doesn't always help with the sleep thing.

Contentment was also briefly increased by the enormous decadence of buying lunch from a cafe! (I can't shift the idea that this is something that only millionaires do.) Admittedly, it was just a take-away baguette, but it was brie, bacon, cranberry and tomato, and very lovely. The down-side is the fact that I've needed to drink gallons of water ever since, because of the copious bacon. Lunch was also rendered annoying by the fact that I idly put on television while eating, and saw a very annoying quiz show, which I could rant about, but won't bother.

Contentment has recently been undermined by not being able to do the last two songs on Guitar Hero at expert level, though I've done all the rest, which is good. It was also undermined by having a sudden urge to watch Firefly, but finding that it wouldn't play on our new DVD player. Pellinor solved this two nights ago, so I've been spending happy hours watching old favourites. I also finished a medium-length story (55,000 words-ish) on Sunday, less than a month after I started it, and am half way through writing my first ever Secret Santa prompt - something I was a bit nervous about, since I've never tried to write something to someone else's specifications before.
ladyofastolat: (shallow fangirl hat)
I wrote this weeks ago. Wonder why I didn't post it...

I've been thinking back on my differing experiences in different fandoms over the years, and in particular how technology has changed things for me. I am making no general statement on how fandom has changed over the years, just on my own personal experiences, as shown by three different TV shows, viewed roughly a decade apart.

Ramblings )
ladyofastolat: (scribe)
I have seen quite a lot of writing practices condemned as "manipulative." However, isn't fiction writing all about manipulation? Authors do not recount a sequence of events in cold bullet points - although I have to admit that I now feel challenged to try - but deliberately write it in a way that will encourage their readers to react the way the author wants them to react. A story without manipulation, I feel, is dead.

However, I think there are certainly things that go too far, and become unacceptably manipulative. There are things I used to do in fanfic ten years ago that I deliberately stopped because I felt they were over-manipulative and unfair to the readers. In my opinion, there is an unwritten contract between writer and reader, and there are some things that a writer should not do. (In fanfic, this is complicated by the fact that the contact is often written, in that it has become expected that certain plot twists will only be included if advance warning has been given… but that's a whole other issue.)

My musings about manipulation have covered quite a few different issues, so I'm splitting them to avoid overwhelming anyone, myself included. The rest of this post is on cliffhangers: Cliffhangers )
ladyofastolat: (Ronon doh!)
Note to self: When one wakes up with a bad stiff neck, it is not a good idea to immediately hie oneself to the nearest pre-school and read From Head to Toe by Eric Carle to a bunch of eager 2 and 3 year olds.

"I am a penguin and I can turn my head. Can you do it? I can d...ow! I am a giraffe and I can bend my neck. Can you do it? I can... 't do it."

Thanks to those pesky penguins and giraffes, I now can't move my head at all along the forward/backward axis (which is unusual. I normally get stiff necks that affect the looking-from-side-to-side axis.) If I walk with my head held in a way that would delight deportment teachers, I'm okay. If I move in any other way, pain stabs through me and makes me feel quite sick.

I'd hoped to write tonight, but sitting at the computer hurts my neck, so instead I think it's a very vertical night on the couch. Sky is currently showing the top ten Atlantis episodes, as voted for by viewers, as a lead-up to season 4 starting next Tuesday. (Yay!) I'm enjoying trying to predict which episodes are going to be shown. Last night was 10 and 9, both of which were episodes I'd predicted would feature somewhere in the top ten. Tonight is 8 and 7. I also enjoy seeing how many seconds it takes me to identify an episode. (I also enjoy playing this game with re-runs of the X-Files. Despite sometimes not having seen an episode for ten years, it's surprising how quickly I can often identify it from a random ten second clip from half way through.)
ladyofastolat: (scribe)
I've felt very boring these last few weeks, LJ-wise. When I look back at my journal a few months ago, I was posting most days, often long posts reflecting about some issue or other. Over the last month or two, my frequency of posting has fallen rapidly, and the posts are shorter, often diary related.

I know exactly why this has happened. )


Sep. 4th, 2007 05:45 pm
ladyofastolat: (Boo)
Frustration is: Writing the dialogue of a four page scene fluently and word-perfect in your head in the shower... and then forgetting every last word of it as soon as you get out and are sitting at your computer again. Grr!
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Displacement activity involving euphemisms, guns, strippers, cross-dressing, adultery and murder )
ladyofastolat: (Wraith snarling)
One of my characters is sitting on my narrator and I can't get him to shift. It's hard to narrate a story when a very large warrior is sitting on your chest, pointing a knife to your throat. I bet Jane Austen never had this problem. I really wish I knew how to get my characters to behave. In the natural pecking order of things, me, the mere author, appears to come very much at the bottom. I have also spent two pages trying to order another character to walk from A to B, and he just stands there at A talking about everything under the sun. Another one keeps trying to have a say in things despite the fact that they're supposed to be unconscious. Anyone know of any good obedience drugs? At the moment, I want to slap the whole lot of them into kingdom come. I would also like to them shut up from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. every night, so I can get some sleep.

EDIT: But I love 'em, really. I'm completed three short stories in 6 days, and my inspiration hasn't run this wonderfully for years, so really I'm not complaining. Characters with minds of their own are good, really. I think.
ladyofastolat: (shallow fangirl hat)
Yup. I read too much fanfic. I just came across a new teenage novel called Escape from Genopolis. All I could think was that it was clearly a story about a few valiant shippers trying to get out of a city where it was forbidden by law even to contemplate romantic or sexual relationships between fictional characters, except when said relationships were explicit in canon. "You linked two names with a slash. The punishment for that is 50 lashes." "One day, son, you will get to that beautiful land where it is not illegal to dream of love, but I will not see it. Go now. They are coming. Ergh!" (That was a death groan, by the way.)

Actually, I do sometimes feel that my fandom life could be described as Trapped in Shippopolis". It gets pretty lonely, not doing pairings. People tend to forget we exist.
ladyofastolat: (Wraith snarling)
While putting up a display on a windy field in a military installation today, as one does, I was musing on a fanfic issue that I initially thought was a small, specific point, but which I have now realised is a large, general point.

Swearing in fanfic )


Jul. 13th, 2007 04:12 pm
ladyofastolat: (unbowed)
Yay for shiny new fandoms! I've just finished a 9000 word story, all but 3 pages of which I wrote today. I have another short story raring to go, as well as vivid ideas for the first few parts of an epic, and copious notes on the rest of it. I woke up at 6 with dialogue so clear in my head that I had to get up and write. Stories are gleefully chattering to me as I drive, as I shower, as I lie in bed. I just want to write, write, write. (Okay, I still do the procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate thing before I actually write the first sentence, but once that's passed...)

I haven't had this feeling for ages. I wondered if I'd ever get it again. I've been 10 months slowly plodding through a 250 page story (now finished), and it was a hard slog. I'm pleased with the stuff I've written in the last few years, but, except in the case of occasional one-off humour pieces, the joy had gone. I looked longingly back to my X-Files days, and, even more than that, to my days of writing stories just for myself and for [ profile] evilmissbecky, with no thought of posting. That was the pinnacle of the joy of writing. I dated most of my stories, and I can see that I was writing 200 page stories in one a wild, happy month, and sometimes less. Unplanned, poorly structured stories, yet, but words flowed in my sleep, kept me awake, got me up early. Characters tapped me on the shoulder at all sorts of awkward moments, telling me that the story needed to go just so, and what on earth did I know about it?

I felt something approaching that today. It wasn't the same as it used to be; I doubt it ever will be. There's so much more stuff out there now than there used to be, and I can't just write for 6 hours, pausing only to make coffee. Every now and then, as I pause in a scene, I find myself checking LJ, or hopping around a few websites. But, still, I've done ten hours of fairly solid writing. Yay!

The only downside: I now have to go and do the week's shop, just as town clogs up with all the home-time traffic. Not yay.

EDIT: By the way, lest anyone get the wrong idea, I should add that I'm off work today, because I'm working tomorrow.


Jun. 13th, 2007 02:49 pm
ladyofastolat: (shallow fangirl hat)
I've been wondering whether my tendency towards obsession with certain works of fiction is good thing, or a bad thing. I don't mean in terms of morality, or anything, but merely my own enjoyment. Does my tendency to get rather obsessive about TV shows and books enhance my quality of life, or detract from it?

Self-indulgent ramblings )
ladyofastolat: (scribe)
I wrote this some weeks ago, but wasn't going to post it, since I didn't want to get accused of sexism. However, an email from my Dad has made me reconsider.

First, the email from my Dad:

"I'm hoping you would be willing to give me your honest opinions about something which has come up in Book Group, where I am the only man. The initial question was whether a male writer could create a convincing female character, but I'm more interested in what was said afterwards.

"Basically all the women contend that men and women are radically different, some of them even suggesting they are almost separate species. When one woman said no man can ever understand a woman, all the rest vociferously agreed. They distinguished it from the sense in which no one person can ever have total understanding of another. What do you think?"

Then the piece I'd coincidentally already written: Lengthy musings on men writing women, and women writing men )
ladyofastolat: (scribe)
I actually wrote this a few weeks ago, just after I made another long post about fandom, but I forgot to post it then.

I have been thinking further today about online fandom. There are a lot of positives in being involved in a community of people who all love the same thing that you do. If there weren't, no-one would do it. But what I have been thinking about today is the negative side of this. Can involvement in fandom actually detract from your enjoyment of the source material?

My musings are not, for the most part, general, but related to my own experiences, mostly with the X-Files back in the 1990s, for the simple reason that this is what I know. Rather long ramble about fandom )

On fanfic

Feb. 17th, 2007 06:32 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
(A continuation, of sorts, of a comment I made on [ profile] parrot_knight's journal. I'm posting it here, since it seemed unfair to swamp his journal with my own rather tangential musings.)

I've often wondered if fanfic is fuelled more by the flaws of the source material than by its merits. Do people write fanfic because they adore everything about the source material, or do they write it because, while they love something about the source material, they are not entirely satisfied by it? More. Lots more )


Nov. 16th, 2006 07:03 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I'm on leave now, and having a drink on your first night of leave is totally okay... but I've only had one mouthful, barely that. It's not the drink, but... I just picked up a book - something that mentioned King Arthur - and I was suddenly overwhelmed with this sense of the great aedifice that is fiction. All these stories, all these worlds... Some of them have lived for a thousand years, with each new generation, each new storyteller, adding their own bit. Some of them are born from the imagination of a single man or woman. Some are being born even now. And they are all so real. There's an entire universe of fiction, like our world, but bigger, better, deeper... not real, but made real by living in the imaginations of so many people over the years. Old themes get reworked by new storytellers. Characters stray into other works, and have resonance, for all the tales they have walked through before. A single word can bring with it a world of assocations and emotions. Whole worlds exist behind a single turn of phrase.

I felt as if I was staring into the face of magic. I felt awed, and I burst into tears. I'm still crying now.

And, really, honestly, I have only had one small mouthful of wine.

I don't normally talk about real emotions. I will be embarrassed by this post soon.
ladyofastolat: (shallow fangirl hat)
Okay, so what is a cult DVD? Looking at my DVD collection I can find a few that definitely aren't (Notting Hill, Sleepless in Seattle), a lot that definitely are (original series Star Trek etc.) and a whole lot that might be or might not be.

Recent debate (some of it after wine on Friday night, so possibly unreliable, though very heart-felt) has ranged over the following issues: When is a cult not a cult? )
ladyofastolat: (Bagpuss yawning)
...who actually likes the new Robin Hood? I'm really enjoying it. Yes, the costume is ridiculous, the historical accuracy is non-existent, and the mail looks like a bad Halloween costume made by a six year old. But I really like it. I enjoy it, it makes me laugh, and it has pretties in it.

And - *embarrassed look* - I lay awake until 3 last night writing my first Robin Hood fanfic in my head. No, why should I be embarrassed? Tired, though. Very tired. I wish there was an off switch in the brain. *rushes off to start writing.*
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Sometimes it seems as if 90 percent of my conversation consists of quotes and references. Sometimes, I think this is a bad thing, because, really, I ought to be saying my own original things. Sometimes, though, I think it's good. I especially like it when I'm in company that has read the same books and watched the same films, and I can let my hair down, as it were, and do quotes and references... and actually have them understood. I have to spend most of time deliberately biting my tongue, because I know the references I want to say will not be understood.

On quotes )
ladyofastolat: (Default)
[profile] king_pellinor is away all weekend, doing I-know-not-what with rubber swords and beer. I have to dance for a few hours this afternoon, and it's Ars Magica this evening, but I had a completely free Saturday. I'd even thought ahead and done the week's shopping on Friday after work. "I can spent all the day writing!" I thought. But I should have known myself better… )

Now, I really cannot believe that there isn't a mood icon for "distracted", "wasting time" or "dithering." These three things seem to be to be the definition of the Internet.


ladyofastolat: (Default)

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