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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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so I was a little surprised
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
So I opened up my nanowrimo from November 2006, a month I remember best for being The First Time I Had Pneumonia, which means I didn't remember much about it since through at least one of those sections I was fairly high on steroids and a lack of oxygen. I didn't work on it again until October 2007, when I wanted to finish off a particular section and it was a slow, slow day at work.

Weird thing; I word counted it, I think for the first time since nanowrimo. I honestly didn't remember I'd gotten 38000 words in. Nor that I had actually worked out a plot. Or that it was interesting.

Call it insane; I like original fiction writing fine, but I rarely get the same high off of it. This is a twofold problem; someone once said that fanfic was more cheap methodone to original fiction heroin, but it's the opposite for me. As a writer, I'm more a practical engineer of writing--I like having limited tools and supplies and told to make something. I don't want all of Home Depot opened before me with unlimited credit. I want a card limit to set myself against and see what I can create, what limits can be stretched and changed and altered. There are reasons on reasons I love playing with leggos, building blocks, games with predefined rules. The built-in limitations are what make it attractive to me.

(Stupid Cheese Tricks, people. That right there is the sum of my personality and thought processes.)

Original is an unlimited bank account and a galaxy size outlet mall. Seriously. Bad idea. Anyone who shops with me knows I do my worst and least productive shopping with a credit card that's paid off. Hand me fifty dollars, however, and I can walk out of anywhere with two new outfits that I'll actually like still in six months. Maybe because it's a lot easier to prioritize with limitations on what you need and what you want.

Plus, I'm writing something I don't actually *read* all that often.

But two days ago, before I went to see Caspian, I was--sitting, something at work--and I suddenly thought of it (no clue why; I mean, it was so free-associative I could have been thinking about whale song or Mall Ninja. Actually, I think I was thinking about Mall Ninja) and I suddenly had my ending, and the ending was one I actually liked. I studied it from all sides, considered it carefully, then checked the minimum wordcount for a first novel and had a really awful realization. This is something I can actually finish. Second draft with add a minimum of twenty thousand words for a subplot I'd been kind of thinking on but didn't really feel like exploring before, and some expansion of a few sections for fun and to hit my personal kinks a bit. But finishable.

I have no idea how I feel about that.



This isn't what I ever thought I'd do.

I never ever really thought of writing as something to do as a profession. Yes, I know people do it all the time, but it's my hobby and something I love and I never really seriously connected it with the concept of income. Part of it is the difficulty, but not really; again, I do better with limits and with challenges. Part of it is watching what other fanfic-turned-pros have done and are doing; there's that entire public thing that makes me nervous and oddly exposed. And what if--by some freaky mischance, though seriously, having read the Twilight reviews, I suddenly feel a little more confident that at least it will be read--it's published and it does badly? I don't even know what to do with that one. Somehow, it's a lot easier to deal with not doing it at all than doing it badly.

It also invalidates the arguments I've made about why I write fanfic; this has never been a training ground for me. It's trained me; I think I'm better (I have to admit, when I read my fic Flight, I get huge validation on that score. Wow. That was bad). But it was an end in itself; to create something new out of something that was already here. To do what I was doing with action figures and She-Ra dolls and Barbies through all of my childhood. But this time, with an audience. And a lot more porn.

Hmm. It's like this.

You see, about three years ago, I finished a screenplay. It took about two and a half months end to end. I marked time on it to get to exactly two hours with three cuttable scenes. I rewrote it and polished it. I sent off a copy to a couple of friends. I slashed the two main characters in a three page PWP to entertain myself. Then I lovingly put it in a folder and forgot about it. I did it because Laeta challenged me, because she gave me a concept and a set of limits that I dearly wanted to bend, because that's what I do and what I love, and I accomplished all the goals I set for myself. I bought a book on screenplay writing, borrowed a program for the formatting, and realized writing in present tense regularly is really helpful in this kind of thing. And I got my high in a big way, and I do mean a big way. I have no idea if it's good--it's not bad, but there's a lot of unwritten style rules I'd need to fine-tooth comb it with, at which time I'd need a professional to slice it up and tell me what's wrong. But it went from Point A to Point Z with very little fuss and I think any time I can have a heavily armed elf who likes to be armed is good times indeed.

I still haven't done anything with it. Same with my short stories; packed away in folders and notebooks. Same with my other original novels I wrote in my teens and early twenties that probably only need a lot of editing, since most are solidly plotted, just not as practiced as I am now. I have a plastic bin that I sealed shut full of notebooks of them, and I sometimes look at them or read through them (longhand blue pen on college ruled notebook paper). I'm surprised sometimes by what I see of myself now in then; the ways I was stumbling toward now, the mistakes I made that I saw myself correct in draft two, three, four. My first was thirty three thousand words or so; not a full novel, no. But for fourteen years old, it felt like one. Each draft got progressively longer; by eighteen, I'd expanded it to over eighty and change.

(Keep in mind this is estimate by page count; I took a few pages, did a word count on those, averaged, then took the average and multipled by page. Longhand, people. Wow.)

This one is different, though; I started with the nano challenge limits (did I mention my love of limits? I do. I'd have a freakishly high level of productivity if my job was to just sequel or AU things for a living; I probably wouldn't ever bother sleeping again) and those limits are still there.

Maybe just finishing it will be enough for now. Just to see if I can end it where I want to and fulfill the challenge I set myself.

Also, for those on my flist on that filter, I'll post the new section today.

Forty thousand words. I can slash it when I'm done.

Ah. Now that's motivating.



My Oh John Ringo No! shirt, according to tracking, should arrive tomorrow. Pictures y/n? Provided I can a.) find my camera and b.) the batteries aren't dead.

I don't know what makes me happier; having it, or the fact that anyone foolish enough to ask me what it means gets a link to hradzka's review. I should print cards for it to hand out.

Or I could say "Threesome BDSM" and observe what happens. I'm trying to decide which one would make the best livejournal entry. Oh please, like everyone doesn't weigh that up during RL interactions sometimes. And wish they had a voice recorder on hand at all times. Or maybe that's just me.

ETA: Reminder: if you want a shirt of your own to cheerfully explain to everyone you have ever met, go here. Artwork by vito_excalibur.


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(Stupid Cheese Tricks, people. That right there is the sum of my personality and thought processes.)


For the first time EVER ( And it's been many years YO) you frighten me.

I would kill to have a day with a caterer for a special event where cheese slices are being served. A big event. With lots of cheese.

You could do wedding-cheese-arrangements! You know, instead of cake. It'll be the next big thing.

I am v. excited to read the new section, but I had never seen Stupid Cheese Tricks before and now I am just like, how did I miss that?!

I am proud of my cheese tricks. *g*

I lay it at your door that I was perusing a bookstall on Cambridge (England) market and for the first time ever noticed a John Ringo book and even picked it up...and just how mortifying was it to be thoroughly stared at by other customers when I muttered 'Oh John Ringo No!' ??

:-)

*GLEE* It's the perfect phrase for a WTF moment! I caught myself doing it while reading a fic the other day that took a turn for the bad.

We shall spread it across the world!

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