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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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external manifestations of angst
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
Last night, winterlive was kind enough to read a draft of a fic that weirdly enough, I ended up finishing, mostly because I ended up writing the main storyline first linear and am going back to write the non-linear bits in later. This showed me three things.

1.) I didn't need about three of the past scenes I'd thought I'd need--I'd covered those in the main text. This is a mixed blessing. They were really fun scenes and at least one was the reason I wanted to write the story. But they would have, in retrospect, added length without adding to what the entire thing is leading up to at the end.

2.) It's so much easier to finish something if I just don't bother getting up to eat and have a three day weekend. Bathrooms, however, are a requirement.

3.) At some point, I've translated my pov character into another part of the setting, with the same changes I make to setting to follow mood.

The third part of this was actually funny--she's still reading and I'm editing and she pastes me a bit of it and I look at it and frown, because every so often, there's something in the text that I have no idea why I put there, and that reminded me that I wanted to go look at about ten sentences on page twenty. No, really. Ten sentences.

For the life of me, I had no idea why that was there; it's a fairly pointless moment. However, it was something I'd been practicing randomly since Smallville, in using the external world to reflect the internal feelings of a character, and let me say, I'm not subtle about it. You may note the number of storms that pop up randomly whenever a character has a startlingly porntastic revelation on their feelings. Mostly, it's just fun to do. Weather == emotional state. Pretty much everyone uses setting to do it, so it's not like I was making magic.

One of my favorite examples of the universe conforming to a person's inner weather is Cartography by Touch by rageprufrock (and in a very different way, History of Maps), which was one of the most closely, damply claustrophobic stories I've ever read. I had to read it twice, because for a story where John's mentally stuck in a room of rising water, externally, it moves around a lot. That doesn't change the feeling of walking ankle deep and watching the water flowing in with no way out. It's also one of the ones that give me a vague aversion to the ocean for a while.

(this actually makes me wonder how many writers have this hard wired into them; after the color thing at VVC, I noted how much color work I do in writing that follows that pattern and didn't even know it. It has to be something about how we interpret visual media and translate to textual.)

I'm curious what fic anyone's read that had that feeling when you were reading. I remember rivkat's Clark/Lex always had a sense of background inevitability--no matter what anyone was doing, saying, or hell, just sitting there, the background noise was always roaring behind it, like every good decision was temporary and every bad one fated to last long after the decider was dead. Ruat Caelum can still make me twitch if I don't read straight through; I feel jittery for hours after. For both this and Pru's, it's not even just mood; setting combined with secondary characters acting as mood rings for the pov character is pretty damn cool. And I cannot get to my rec page right now and cannot cite more examples from memory, though dammit, I have several, especially in SV and SGA. Jesus, especially SV. I don't know any other fandom that really did shift the the universe on how Lex felt about his father on any given day.

ETA: And now I am re-reading Cartography by Touch. Again. *curls up* I really, really need a puppy.


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Woof?

Huh. I'll have to look. I don't think I use weather all that much. Or atmosphere. Or...hell, I don't really know what I do, it just happens. Except for this last piece that I'm gonna post soon, because it kicked my ass, and now I'm trying to get the SONG down that goes along with it, because it would add to the ambiance with the whole the dance o'realization and it's making me insane, I tell you.

People keep telling me I'm really good at touch and voice and so I'm trying to get out of my comfort zones a bit and say, but, well, I really see in 3-D! Honest!

Bugger all this for a larke, I say. ::pulls own hair::

I might be a wee bit cranky this morning. Ahem.




*eyes you* The entirety of Checkmate practically drips with comfortable, warm, domesticy happiness. Weather, in this case, is contented domesticity, which, okay, check it, Rodney's POV:

John, eyes half closed, smiled and stretched, belly arching toward Rodney, a move that Rodney couldn’t help but be charmed by whether John was man or cat.

Waffles, breakfast, early morning, sleeping in bed, domestic happiness. Rodney's content, and his universe reflects it back to him, from the food to the man to the cuddling in bed.






OH, well. Yeah. M'not very good at parsing my own work.

And how touching and Rodney's hands and the little noises he makes take over "Slow Braille of Touch."

Soooo, I'm over thinking this? ::is kind of limp with relief::


I can do better--I started overthinking in teh middle of writing last night. *head under desk* I was questioning myself seriously on why I had the character sit down. Was he showing submission to a higher authority? Was it symbolic of his difficult relationship with relgion. Were his legs tired?

Never. Gonna. Write. Again.

*mopey*

Oh god, I've had actors do that. You need to step. away. for a moment and go walk around the block or something.

Now, come back. Watch him walk into the room. Watch him sit down. How does he walk? How does he sit?

Did he adopt a praying position or did he put his head in his hands because he was discouraged. Was he so desperate that he might have prayed?

You'll be fine, pooka. Now come over here and hold my hand because I'm trying to learn how to read and write music because this little song in my head that drives the whole fic would be an enriching experience for the reader.

Because of course it has to be arranged and not some baldly sung melody. (Also I can't clap at the proper tempo and sing at the same time, so I figured I might as well.)

In short, we get wonked out by the weirdest things. ::pets you::

Slow Braille would actually be a really good example of watching the setting switch with mood, even when they stay in the same room. That was pretty cool.

::nods:: I don't realize I'm doing it until it's over. And then I say avery Sheppardian, "Cool." And then sometimes I tweak it to make it more.

I think it's because I've read so much in my life and watched so many movies, that it's all in my muscle memory now. ::nods:: Otherwise, I have a team of production designers in my head,squeaking and sending me set dressing ideas, which is a bit scary.

Also, you can always contact me via email or IM if you're bugging out. I'm nearly always here, or will be briefly until I become strong like an amazon again. Grar.

I'm a very atmosphere-aware writer, but it's something that I usually feel like I ought to be at least somewhat subtle about, because otherwise you end up with the fictional equivalent of "mood wind" (my sister's and my sarcastic term for wind in movies and anime that only blows when the hero's coat needs to be whipped around in a suitably menacing fashion). Or the storm that conveniently traps all the murder suspects at the old mansion (or the crashed ship, as in "Killing Frost"). I honestly have no idea to what extent the interplay of setting, weather, emotion and climax comes through in the finished story -- I just know that it's definitely there in my head, though not always on a conscious level.

I also find that, in most of the stories I write, setting and mood, weather and mood tend to play against each other; it's a constant give-and-take, with the external milieu reinforcing or subtly altering the mood of the story in ways I often don't even realize until I'm done.

I sometimes refer to a strong sense of "place" being one of the major things I look for in other people's stories, but I think what I'm actually looking for is, to a large degree, an interesting or personally resonant mood evoked by a place. In a well-done story, the setting and the mood it evokes will stick in my head at least as powerfully as the plot -- for example, "Deflection" by ltlj; my "takeaway" from that story is a really powerful sense-memory of the autumn ruins and the way they evoke John's sense of isolation and loss, at least as much as the story's actual plot.

That one! Thank you! I knew I had one on my rec page. That one reflects John perfectly.

As a reader, I can remember being creeped out by environments (although, like you, I'm blanking on precise examples). When it's done so well that you have no choice but to imagine yourself there and, with my choice of reading topics, usually ending up unsettled and disturbed.

As a writer, if I do it, I'm usually oblivious to the fact; I am a fabulously non-visual writer -- I see nothing in my head (not even people, which is why some of my OCs have never been described and why others only got visuals when other people provided the impetus). It's something that actually worries me when I write -- the story with the ice, in particular -- and I always feel like I'm doing the fanfic equivalent of black box theater.

*thoughtful* I don't think so, or I wouldn't be able to read you at all. The neat thing about third person close, which you do, is that it allows the character to reflect the world back; for me, the best examples are when you do multiple character points of view, and how the universe is really different between each one. I know Qui Habitat does it, but that's really long so I can't get good examples, but especially John's view of Atlantis in how you shape the text to setting was one I noticed that was radically different than reading Lorne's--enough that it could be two separate places.

I also think the Mars planet and its red dirt's a fairly good reminder of why they have to live there in the first place.

Oooo. Thank you for pointing this out - I do it without thinking about it, but thinking about it could be exactly the punch I need for some of my writing.

I think most people do and only notice *way* after the fact--I'm kind of grumpy I noticed, because now it feels self-conscious adn I'm not done editing, so I'm worried if I'll overthink it. But it *is* neat to see during last stage editing, I admit--a lot easier to strip and re-emphasize what is already there.

I'm a very visual writer. I can't write if I don't know what the characters and surroundings look like. This'll be immensely helpful to be aware of.

- that reminds me (by a circuitous route), I need to go beta the fic a friend of mine wrote.

1.) I didn't need about three of the past scenes I'd thought I'd need--I'd covered those in the main text. This is a mixed blessing. They were really fun scenes and at least one was the reason I wanted to write the story. But they would have, in retrospect, added length without adding to what the entire thing is leading up to at the end.

Well, since you're one of the instigators of DVD commentaries, I'm surprised you haven't realised the possibility of the 'Deleted Scenes' extras, or perhaps the 'Writer's Cut'.

Personally, I can't wait to see the `Blooper Reel' for Crimes Against Humanity :-)

Personally, I can't wait to see the `Blooper Reel' for Crimes Against Humanity

*seconds this, omg!*

There is that. I can do them as tiny separates and they can be easter eggs!

...the blooper real for crimes. Actually, there are some, I think, depending on if I end up needing to use them or not. Or maybe I'll just ask for volunteers to write some. *mulls* Which right now sounds really good.

Oh gosh. You've made me re-read it too. *curls up with you*

This is a mixed blessing. They were really fun scenes and at least one was the reason I wanted to write the story

Yep, you gotta kill your darlings, as the man said. I get so pissed off about that every time. You sound remarkably calm.

I had my near-tear fit when I went back after to see where the flashbacks would go and realized that every damn one that I'd wanted to do were pretty much useless for the overall story.

You know what's worse? The one I don't wnat to write, like, at all, that one is still gotta be written and that's just wrong.

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