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Wednesday, 1 January 2020 08:00
lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Default)
Drop me a line about anything here.

Purity

Wednesday, 9 August 2017 20:21
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
The more I write (and I've been writing for more than fifteen years, half my life or longer), the harder it is to ignore the murkiness of the writing endeavor. I write original fiction and fanfiction, and I also write reviews. The things I look at when I write reviews are sometimes the same as what I examine when I'm writing, but just as often totally different. That can create an absurd type scenario where I criticize a series of books or games for repeating variations on a certain trope, but still be writing that trope into my own original fiction. Not even (necessarily) to subvert it, and on the whole as a media consumer I prefer aversions to self-conscious subversions.

The most obvious case that comes to mind for me right now is a multi-chapter fanfic from years ago that I never finished. This included both a love triangle and an antagonistic, hate-to-love type romance, all wrapped up together. And this was at a time when I had an even stronger aversion to both than I do now. And these were the central threads of the plot, not some supporting B-plot. More recently -- I even wrote a DW post about it -- I was writing a nation of inhuman people as analogues of a real cultural group (my own, but still), which is a thing I've strenuously objected to in the past.

And now there's my Yuri Jam game, if it gets off its feet. When I was coming up with the concept, I was mainly thinking about a cutesy idea of "mad scientists", a kind of character trope that has lost all credibility to the point where it's automatically camp and humorous, in a self-aware way. At least in theory. It's impossible, however, for me to ignore the underlying creepiness of the story, even if I'm trying to tell it from a point of view that places value judgments on the protagonist's choices, and even f the game is built in such a way that it locks the player out of making any truly outrageous character choices. I have to find a way to write around and through it, and address it head-on while still allowing the game to be a little funny.

And I find myself wondering how it is that I keep finding so many corners to paint myself into.
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
This week so far has been a chain of irritants that have put me disproportionately out of shape, more so with each one that came at me. I don't even wanna get into it because I don't want to enshrine that petty shit, which is one major way that I have changed for the better in the last decade. So, go me, I guess.

In better news: if you're at all interested in my game-writing effort check out my idea thread for a Yuri Game Jam entry I am hoping to gear up to this summer/fall.
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
"Concerning the Mystic Marriage of the Earth and Sun to Beget Works of Great Virtue and Power...

The title went on for another half page."


The Mystic Marriage is a historical fantasy taking place in the fictional European principality of Alpennia, beginning in the year 1821. Both a romance and an adventure, its primary plot revolves around Antuniet Chazillen, last daughter of an Alpennian noble family that has been disgraced and all but destroyed. Antuniet's life is bleak and devoid of most comforts and securities she'd been raised to. She'd been a scholar and her access to continuing her studies is severely restricted so, like many young women in her position, she makes a strained living by tutoring more wealthy students. The only bright spot in her life, if it could be termed such, is her single-minded quest to redeem her family's reputation through the art of alchemy and her discovery, mostly by chance, of a singular alchemical text.

Read more... )

Heather Rose Jones' Alpennia series consists of: Daughter of Mystery, The Mystic Marriage, and Mother of Souls.

Crossposted to hazelgold.net.
lea_hazel: Angry General Elodie (Genre: Games)
I've written before about the Dark Parables series of hidden object games. They're great games and I revisit them pretty regularly, especially since I started them out by buying the standard editions and was quickly converted to the more expensive collector's editions, which contain an impressive amount of additional content. I still haven't completed my collection, which means I haven't played all of the bonus games. Since my PC crashed and burned in March and I'm operating on a new laptop, I decided it was time to get back to the games again. New installments of Dark Parables come out reliably once or twice a year, and there had been two new games released since I'd last checked.

Read more... )

Crossposted to hazelgold.net.

Links of interest

(no subject)

Wednesday, 19 July 2017 15:52
lea_hazel: Kermit: OMG YAY *flail* (Feel: OMGYAY)
Finally starting to catch up on my reviews.

Work.

Friday, 7 July 2017 13:39
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
My work agenda is getting complicated. For one thing, I want to finish my editing, proofing, changes and additions to my route on BookSLEEPer so I can pass it on to the rest of the team, finalized. I have some story drafts laying around gathering dust, which I need to decide what to do with and/or where to submit. I've started putting together an outline for another game, in Twine form, and it's looking good but still needs a lot of work before I can treat it as proof of concept. I still need to get Wreath of Roses to an editor, too, and I have a short story critique I need to make a decision on.

Then there's all the books and games that need reviewing.

All in all, though, having a lot of work to do is actually a good sign. I just need to keep reminding myself of this.

Name Generators

Tuesday, 4 July 2017 12:51
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
As a writer, RPer, and all around nerd, I have a whole bunch of name generator websites bookmarked, and am always on the lookout for new and exciting ones. Of course I have also tried my hand at creating some small, primitive generators myself, like this one.

But one of the best qualities of worldbuilding, whether in games or in books, is the ability to simulate greater depth than you actually have. No one can build a world as rich as the real one, and if you tried to do it you would never have time for writing the actual stories taking place in this world. The trick is to make it look like the gaps in your knowledge are full of something that you just happen not to have mentioned. Part of it is investing more work into the things your characters have knowledge and interest in, or rather the reverse: make your characters proficient in something you're interested in developing.

What all that means is that most SFF writers aren't conlangers, and they don't need to be. You can simulate the richness of a unique language to the satisfaction of most, usually just by creating a quick-and-dirty phonology guide, and then staying out of your own way by being careful about idioms, puns and wordplay. The reader's (or player's) imagination provides the rest.

Part of my process is that I find it terribly difficult to write about characters if I haven't named them. This means I'll usually have a string of names before I have any kind of set phonological rules to follow. It also means I find it very hard to change those names, even if they were only meant to be working products. What I would like to be able to do is design a naming tool that you could input a string of names into, and it would break them down into an approximation of individual syllables, and then use those units to construct a series of new names.

I'm pretty sure I have the skills to do this, but it would take time and a fair amount of thought going into designing it, instead of just jumping into tinkering with code like I'm used to.

I'm open to feedback on the technical aspects of this project. I'm also interested in discussing the meta theory behind it, but based on the premise that I laid out. I'm not here for "everything you said is wrong, you're not a real fantasy writer unless you build your own language from scratch". Or anything along those lines. Comment at will, if you cross a line I promise I'll let you know.

Deep Summer

Monday, 3 July 2017 17:25
lea_hazel: Arthritis: It does the body bad (Health: Arthritis)
We're having a deep summer heat wave in Israel this week. Not the first one of the year and not likely to be the worst one, either, but it's fraying in the way that weather extremes can be. For me, it means a bunch of different things. For once, my chilly half-buried apartment is not quite chilly enough. I tired easily.

And two things that I forgot about Deep Summer Heat: one is that it makes me angry, literally. The other is, for some reason, hot weather makes me susceptible to motion sickness.

(no subject)

Thursday, 29 June 2017 21:20
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
I've started taking something OTC to try and help get my sleep schedule unfucked. I'd forgotten how much I hate the smell of it, though.

(no subject)

Sunday, 25 June 2017 20:46
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
I'm on my third book! *\o/*

I got the LGBT+ BookBundle.

(no subject)

Friday, 23 June 2017 11:11
lea_hazel: Arthritis: It does the body bad (Health: Arthritis)
*Prof. Farnsworth voice* Good news everyone! My cortisol levels are normal. Near as I can tell this means there's nothing wrong with my kidneys, but, you know, doctors never tell me anything.

Reading is hard...

Wednesday, 21 June 2017 11:56
lea_hazel: Pride flag (Politics: GLBTQ)
I've been book-blocked for months, now.

On Monday I broke that block by tearing through Seanan McGuire's Every Heart a Doorway like it was my damn job. I may have actually started reading it the evening before, I'm not sure. Regardless, I finished it on Monday night and felt that familiar hollow feeling of having finished reading a story before you were quite ready to let go.

I like her Toby Daye books a lot (I'm about five books in) but this one felt more personal. God knows I rarely feel myself connect with YA books, so it was quite unusual in that respect. I still have some thoughts to mull over but I will definitely review it eventually. Even though it's been nominated and won awards and probably everything's been said about it already.

Since my book-block has been magically cured, I'm figuring out what to read next to maintain momentum.

I had a technical difficulty with my phone app that required me to reset the account and set everything up again, but Kobo were actually quite helpful with the resulting mess.
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
About six years ago, I spent six or seven months writing an "epic" multi-chapter fanfic anonymously on an LJ prompt meme. I was sunk so deep into it. I was obsessed with it. I was madly in love with it.

I never finished it.

I was writing other stories in the same fandom at the time, the fandom that ate my life (another recurring story for me). I got caught up in other things so that thinking about updating the story had me unbelievably anxious. I spent a long time after (what turned out to be) my final update scheming and guilting myself about how I would eventually finish it. Some time after I ghosted on the fandom altogether, I spent a fair amount of time telling myself that I would clean up what existed of it and post it to my AO3 with a final note saying I was out of the fandom and it would never be complete.

Today yesterday I was going through some outlining guides for writers and trying to take notes about how my different stories fit into the mold or don't. Part of my ongoing attempt to create some sort of writing style for myself that I can apply reliably to writing long-form. I was going to note this fic for its planned resolution (which I never reached, but still had an outline for), and I realized I had completely forgotten its name. For a while I had kept the document I was writing it in on-hand, and in my Dropbox, but my desktop of the time died and the doc is now buried somewhere in my backup drive.

I did finally locate it and add that note. And that fic is still to this day one of my most successful attempts at longfic. Which is rather tragic I suppose. Since then I've ghosted on at least two more major fandoms. And I have made peace with my tendency to leave stories unfinished, although I still try hard not to let it happen.

(no subject)

Wednesday, 7 June 2017 19:05
lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Default)
I feel bad about things but it will (probably) go away.
lea_hazel: Wonder Woman (Genre: Comics)
Diana and the Amazons of Themyscira


On Saturday night, I finally watched the Wonder Woman movie. It's been highly anticipated in general, both because of Gal Gadot's short but redeeming performance in last year's appalling Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but also because of the revolving-door rumors about a WW movie, and its many years in so-called development hell. It took me a long time to become a fan of the character myself, given the nature of creative work on a shared universe like DC Comics' universe. Writers and artists come and go, each one wanting to leave their mark on the character. With each change in creative teams, you never know what version of your favorite character you're going to get next. At the end of the day, every fan has their own idea of what Wonder Woman is, or should be.

Fortunately, this is an idea that the movie takes a strong stance on. Wonder Woman is a character full of contradictions. She's a superhero, a princess, a warrior, a mythological figure and an ambassador for peace, and none of these roles, no matter how conflicting they might seem, can be elided and still remain true to form. An explicitly feminist character from her inception, Wonder Woman was initially conceived as a superheroine who fights evil, "not with fists but with love". There's a great deal that might be said about William Moulton Marston and his ideas of gender, and how they gave rise to the Diana we know. Whatever else might be said, though, what persisted is a profile of a heroine combining strengths stereotypically both masculine and feminine.

Read more... )

Instead I will close with this: Wonder Woman is a five-star summer action film which approaches its subject matter with a little more finesse than is typical for the superhero genre. It fulfilled every expectation I had for it and then some. I fully see myself rewatching it, and finding more to see and love in it than I did in the first viewing. I recommend it whole-heartedly and have high hopes for a sequel.

Crossposted to hazelgold.net.

Life Update

Wednesday, 24 May 2017 12:54
lea_hazel: Arthritis: It does the body bad (Health: Arthritis)
I feel like yesterday was somehow several days rolled into one, and in general this week so far feels like there has been a lot of it. So I am doing very little of today. I will go out grocery shopping at some point because I don't even have cornflakes and milk. I have some emails and messages I intend to respond to. I am working hard on tamping down the anxious instinct to mentally recite all the things I "should" be doing Arya Stark style. I am reading a review of Daughter of Mystery, which I've been meaning to read since the dawn of time, give or take (actually September or thereabouts).

I wrote yesterday and I wrote on Sunday, and I have a plan for how to go on, so on the whole I's say that I'm capital-O Okay.

Which is all I can really ask for.

(no subject)

Tuesday, 23 May 2017 10:30
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
I'm making steady progress in Upside Down again. I set it down for a while, partly because of depression, partly from being very busy and stressed over other things. And partly because I read Alyssa Wong's story and it was absolutely-- beyond description.
lea_hazel: Angry General Elodie (Genre: Games)
I tried out the prologue for the new Voltage game. It’s technically a period piece, which is mildly interesting, and it’s prohibition-era, which under different circumstances would probably intrigue me more. Except that there’s already The Blind Griffin, and while it’s very short and has no female love interests, I enjoyed it tremendously the three or so times I played it through. Plus, the heroine of TBG is just fantastic.

Anyway, the new game. Only the first few routes have made their appearance, but the prologue handily introduces all the many, many (many!) love interests. A little clumsily, but at least it’s super clear on what’s going on. There are about seven or eight male love interests, and one woman.

This is the story of a brash and outgoing girl of indeterminate age (if I had to guess I’d say no older than twenty) whose overprotective mother was worried about her hard-partying ways. So she sent her to live with her stern uncle. In Chicago. Which is clearly the best place in which to protect a young girl from the seedier aspects of life, such a good place that they even named a musical after it.

The MC is full of vim, and is meant to be quite clever and qualified. She doesn’t super sell it, though. It takes her the entire prologue to figure out what was immediately obvious to me as a reader, which is that her temperance campaigner uncle is secretly running a speakeasy under his shop. But anyway, she’s a lively and strong-willed girl, and that has its appeal. Runs a little close to “feisty” for my tastes but it’s hard to tell from such a short sample.

Verdict: I don’t know if I’ll get into it. Then again, it’s definitely better than L&L and I read almost a dozen episodes of that before I gave up. The background art is beautiful. The sprites are nice also, a style much more favorable I think than L&L’s had. It also remains to be seen whether there’s an overarching story to the different routes. Bottom line is, Astoria is still the best. If you can’t get more of that, fanfic is the only way to go.

Crossposted to Tumblr.

Life Update

Wednesday, 10 May 2017 11:50
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
I was so productive yesterday despite waking up pretty late and having trouble getting the morning going. And a random nap at 5:30 in the afternoon. But today I slept even later? And that leaves me in an awkward place where I'm not really sure how to get the day started. Plus I have an important thing this afternoon which I just realized is in only about four hours. Routine is hard. I only got to sleep at about two thirty last night, for no good reason whatsoever, and didn't even have the good sense to feel guilty about it. And I am beyond behind on my schoolwork.

I have a doctor's appointment, both for general checkup and to try and deal with my assorted medication-related issues. Doctor's business is getting complicated again the past few months and it's been seriously messing with the routine I had so carefully cultivated, it's a mess. At least I'm writing and editing and refining ideas, and I have a pretty good idea of how I want to move forward with my creative stuff even if it requires a level of patience that's preternatural for me. I've had a good long think and I'm considering the idea that I might need to narrow my sights creatively, instead of chasing after everything at once. Basically decide whether to focus on pure prose, text games or visual novels.

And ICYMI I finally wrote up my response to a discussion on last year's NaNoWriMo boards, on nonbinary gender representation in fiction and associated tropes. This blog post took a good long while to complete, and I'm really pretty proud of it.

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lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Default)
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