Wednesday, September 11, 2019

It's not quite a greatest hits collection, not even close really, but maybe you'll find something to enjoy

First off, computer problems again.  I won't know how bad they are until a new charger arrives on Thursday.  (Trying to troubleshoot with the battery worn down beyond all comprehension doesn't work well.)

Second, I did actually get something written, and I'll share it soon, but if you can't wait have a link to Fimfiction.  That's the first chapter, which is the new thing, you might want to read the prologue first, though.  The name of the story, by the way, is Anon-a-Missed.

Third, in this time when I can't write, I've been looking through old stuff.  Some of it I rather like.  Maybe others will too.

I was surprised to find that Grokking the Divine actually holds up pretty well.  It was something I wrote quickly because I didn't like something I'd read.  I haven't thought of it much since then.  It wasn't forgotten, but in some ways it might as well have been.

I read it at Fimficiton, and as I read I fixed some typographical errors and such.  So, until I edit the one here, it's actually better there.  (Story page, actual story)

I discovered that my primary The Horse and His Boy rewrite actually covers the entirety of canon-Chapter 1, which I'd completely forgotten.  (Content notes for slavery, child abuse, lack of self worth, and things like that.)  Here are the relevant posts:
The first introduction isn't analogous to any part of the original book.  That's why I put it in parentheses.  The rest of it, though, is a straight ride through my version of Lewis' first chapter from beginning to end.

What got me rereading my HHB stuff was a scene from much later in the same story.  I looked up the times I'd used the word scorpion here at Stealing Commas (for reasons that make sense in context) and came across this fragment: Invoking Tash after the battle, which I'm still proud of.

I've rediscovered some turns of phrase that I rather enjoy (though they may be too cute for others.)  Actually they tend to be longer than phrase.  Extended metaphors that are, I guess, turns of paragraphs.  I then forgot all but two of them.  (Or maybe there were only two to begin with.)

The first is from the prologue of a story I already mentioned, Anon-a-Missed:
Her will to go through with that plan, though, had not merely been ground down. It had been sacked, hoisted, de-sacked, dropped through the hopper onto millstones, thoroughly ground down, resacked, sent through the whole process again (being routed to different millstones via automatic processes, of course), and finally exported for sale as ultra fine grain.
(If memory serves, I looked up the actual process of grinding down grain in order to write that.)

This is from Actually, guitars can go with bows OR Finding a friend in the band room:
“Well . . .” Sunset began as her posture changed.  Most notably she reached an a arm behind her back and grabbed onto her opposite elbow, but truly everything about how she was holding herself suddenly screamed, Bashful!

Or, at the very least, Sunset's posture meekly opened the door, cautiously stuck its head into the room while hiding most of its form behind the door frame, whispered:
        Um... I'm bashful, if anyone . . . you know, is interested in that information
paused a moment, added:
        Sorry for bothering you
shrunk back a bit at any attention, real or imagined, it had gathered, quickly finished with:
and sprinted away as fast as its figurative legs would take it.

Because posture like that doesn't really scream anything.
Not quite the same thing, but this is from the already linked to Invoking Tash thingy:
The sense of a smile, one at having an idea that pleased oneself, was conveyed to all who could see Tash's face, though Tash obviously did not smile. A beak cannot create a smile. Yet all those who could see his face felt as though Tash had smiled.
At that point I ended up binge reading Edith and Ben, which is why this post wasn't made yesterday (or was it the day before?)  Have some excerpts:

When you're lying bleeding on the ground, realizing that the thing flowing from your body isn't so much blood as it is the hope that you'll live to see another day, and trying desperately to control your heartbeat out of the silly belief that maybe, just maybe, if it weren't beating so hard and pushing the blood out of you so fast you'd live long enough to be rescued --because it might not be a realistic expectation but at times like these you grasp at whatever presents itself-- you find that the situation is actually remarkably conducive to reflection.
Fun fact: it is impossible to shake a thought from your head. No matter how vigorously you shake your head, the thought never actually falls out.
I was going to respond to that, but then I realized something. "You're evading."

"That's because I don't want to answer the question."

"Obviously. But you know I'm not going to drop it."
 And, I think, that was around when I stopped rereading my own stuff.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Would anyone like to pre-read/proofread something for me?

Shortest version:
Willing to read something for me and give feedback?  Leave a comment to that effect.

[Story description after the first asterism ("⁂" symbol).]
[Short but not shortest version of what's going on after the second asterism.]

So, this is a little different.

Deadlines can be very helpful to me, provided they're not ones I set myself.  External deadlines I have no hope of changing can help me to break through my blocks and actually write.

I think I started writing for My Little Pony (Friendship is Magic and Equestria Girls alike) because I was hoping to use that fact with regard to the first annual Sunset Shimmer Shipping Contest.  It didn't work, and my attempted Sunset/Luna fic for that never got written enough to actually share anything.

Now, I called it the "first annual" but at the time it wasn't, to my knowledge, scheduled to recur.

The second one produced this, which I like a lot even though it's a prologue without a story attached.  (I would love to write the whole thing someday.)

We're now in the thick of the third, and quite possibly last one, and I have kind of a problem.  I'm actually writing pretty well, but I can't sustain writing without feedback, and I'm not ready to publicly share anything.

The short version is that the word count limit is killing me.  I write long things.  I squeeze absurd amounts of description into small in-universe timeframes.  When I do dialogue, for example, I talk about pauses that other writers would never even make note of.  To tell the story in 15,000 words or less I'm going to have to butcher the ever-loving fuck out of things in the editing process, and I don't feel right about putting up chapters that I know I'm going to have to massively rework.

That's at Fimfiction.  He're I'd just leave the old versions up and it'd be no problem (why I have three versions of the second chapter of Life After), but I don't know if it's precisely kosher to post the story to another site before the contest is over on the site where the contest is taking place.

So . . . If I can get some people giving me feedback now, I think I can finish the story before the September 15th deadline, but I don't feel comfortable publicly posting the "I'll almost certainly have to change this, quite possibly in extreme ways" first drafts right now.

Thus I'm asking for prereaders.  I'm going to put the details after a break just so I can make them easier to find.

Since it's a shipping contest, it needs to include a romantic relationship.  The theme is "endings" and that specifically (explicitly) means that the romantic relationship in question has to end.

This is the plan for the story:

One character has lost her friends and is being bullied by the entire school, this is left her in a deep, at times suicidal depression (there is no actual self harm in the story, just thoughts of it and considering it.)

The other, partially because she's shy, but mostly because of a magical artifact, has never had much of anything.  She's pretty much completely isolated, and at this point it is (because magic) difficult for people to notice her in the first place, and difficult for those who do notice her to remember her.

(Both of these things make sense in universe.)

At the start of the story, they're already dating.  They thing that's because they have romantic love for each other, it's actually an unconscious coping strategy for their depression.  It's basically non-pharmaceutical self-medication.

That's actually, mental-health-wise, a dangerous thing, for a variety of reasons.  That's not really going to come up, though.

The story is going to be about the two of them getting better, and (as they do) seeing their relationship fade away.  That'll be kind of angsty for them, since for a long time it was the only thing that kept them going, but it's (supposed to be) a positive story, which will end with them realizing that:
     a) it's not a bad thing (they're just discarding a no-longer necessary cooping mechanism),
     b) they still make good friends, and
     c) when their choice in romantic partner is based on "This person and I actually have a romantic spark" instead of "This person is the only thing that makes me happy because they're the only one to care about me" things are actually a lot better.

So, that's the plan.


My hopes of researching/brushing up on the ways that things go wrong and are unhealthy (without being anyone's fault) in depression-based pseudo-romance haven't worked well.

Apparently it's much easier to find information on "How to have a healthy relationship" than it is to find "These are the patterns usually present in this very specific kind of unhealthy relationship."

That said, I have heard first person accounts in the past (and while I haven't done that specific thing, I am intimately familiar with depression) so hopefully I can do that part without being massively insensitive.

The short version:

I'm writing a story; the goal is for it to be done by September 15th; I'm the kind of person who needs feedback to keep writing; I'm not ready to release any of it publicly.

As such, I'm looking for pre-readers.  Do you want in?  Make a comment with your preferred method of being privately contacted.

(If all else fails, I'll just give you my email address; I'm trying to post it less frequently, but any email finding spam thingy probably already has it.)