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Wednesday, 1 January 2020 08:00
lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Default)
Drop me a line about anything here.
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
This is a story of how Person of Interest worked three long seasons to earn its surveillance dystopia, when other shows of the genre failed to show their work.

This week, Person of Interest returns to the screens for its fifth and final season. After a four season emotional roller-coaster, fans are eager but understandably apprehensive about the conclusion. No one promised us a happy end. In fact, as the show wore on, it became clear that its premise, which initially relied on crime drama with a thin dusting of ambiguous sci-fi, had become radically transformed. Viewers entering the fourth season now knew that the show's world presents a freshly budding dystopia dominated by a conscious and independent artificial intelligence.

Read more... )

Crossposted to hazelgold.net.
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
Diversity and representation have been climbing up the public agenda of late. When it comes to writing disabled characters, there are a few recurring pitfalls that I’d like to address.

Be Specific

You want to write a disabled character. First, you need to know what their disability is. “In a wheelchair” is not a disability. A wheelchair is a mobility aid, one of several different kinds available to the mobility-impaired. That’s your character, by the way. Did you mean, perhaps, that your character is paraplegic? Paralysis due to traumatic spinal injury is, again, one of many conditions that require or warrant the use of a wheelchair. Are you certain that you want your character to be paraplegic? True, this is the thing that most abled people think about (or avoid thinking about) when conjuring the mental image of a wheelchair. However, it is far from the only reason for someone to use a wheelchair.

Read more... )

This essay is not an encyclopedia; it’s barely an introduction. I hope, however, that it has given its readers some food for thought, for engaging with their own writing as well as the media they consume.

Crossposted to hazelgold.net.
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
I wrote like a thousand words this morning. Like. Yeah. A thousand-plus super-gay words about super-gay fairies and time-travelers.

So yeah, I guess maybe the holiday weekend is getting off to a good start.

Holidays

Thursday, 21 April 2016 11:01
lea_hazel: Kermit: OMG YAY *flail* (Feel: OMGYAY)
Passover was approaching with giant, menacing steps and I didn't even have time to make a post about it before it got here and now it's basically here OMG.

Holidays are stress, everyone knows that. I basically have two modes, 'I have to worry about that' and 'I don't have to worry about that yet'. The problem is, once something gets slotted into the second category, it tends to get stuck and stay there too long, until it bubbles up to 'I have to worry about that RIGHT NOW' or 'it's too late to worry about that'. Which sucks.

My medical chores went poorly so that's another things I have to worry about again. And it's the holidays, which means I have to carry all of my mother's stress in addition to my own. And my apartment is so dirty because I am always too tired to clean.

Now I have to choose to forget everything so that I can spend the rest of the morning writing.

Progress

Friday, 15 April 2016 13:02
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
Like most forms of progress for me, this one involved a lot of forgiving myself for things that are not actually crimes/sins.

I am still working on half a dozen projects in parallel. I am still behind on my personal writing missions (i.e. update my Patreon rewards to something more reasonable, queue one blog post per week, editing milestones, etc.). I am still stretched thin between work, school and my writing schedule.

I have, however, collected a few tangible reassurances regarding the basic fact of what I owe and to whom.

Some medical issues have also made themselves apparent, but right now only at the testing stage.

My running projects, for the record, include two Twine games (one more gamey and the other more storyish), three short stories in Hebrew, one short story in English and a blog post. Oh, and the card game I've been trying to play-test for something like six weeks. Which I will probably bring to Olamot later this month, for those to whom it's relevant. And I've started dabbling with ChoiceScript, which is like Twine but more viable.
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
Last night was sort of the pits of the funk I've been in lately. I talked it out with someone and I feel a little more optimistic. It's the feeling of being trapped into a course of action that gets me down more than anything else. fortunately with enough forethought and creativity I can usually come up with an alternative. And so that's what I'm trying to do now.

Yesterday was also the deadline for Strange Horizons' special queer issue. To which I did not submit a story, as a cause and consequence of the funk I mentioned. I did write yesterday, though, and something I am fairly pleased with. And this morning I drafted my next blog post, the one about writing disability that I've been mulling over for so long. I dread the possibility that it will expand into a series of posts.

Now I have a short break in the workshop which hopefully will allow me to catch my breath a little. And there's Olamot over Passover which is OMG! SO SOON!

Life Update

Saturday, 9 April 2016 18:32
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
"There's no reason why I can't work, study and write at the same time."

Later: "I can't work, study and write at the same time."
lea_hazel: Angry General Elodie (Genre: Games)
Masques and Murder is a dark historical revenge fantasy taking place in Renaissance Italy. The historical setting lends the game a richness of language, combining with the art and music to give the game its particular aesthetic. The plot is as grisly as requisite. You play a young woman whose family was murdered in a power-grab, where the combined goal of the game is to extract vengeance, as well as escape the prospect of marriage to one of your family's murderers. The game's atmosphere is meticulously put together.

Read more... )
lea_hazel: Wonder Woman (Genre: Comics)
I made a professional call that I have to seriously step up my self-promotion efforts, if I want to continue nurturing my writing career. Like a lot of people I know (a lot of people in the creative milieu) I find this daunting. It's something that I have to keep insisting to myself that I must do and I will do, or else I will easily let it fall by the wayside while concerning myself with other things.

By far my largest following right now is on Tumblr, so that's where I'm concentrating my efforts.

I want to drop some links here, too, because I know that there some bloggers on Dreamwidth who never took to the fandom style of social media.

My blog: Hazel Gold, science fiction and fantasy reviews. Also found for easy following on Facebook and Twitter. My unfiltered personal Twitter account is anthologyofwhat (the name of my old Tumblr blog), and of late I also have a Pinterest board. Please click the links if you wish to support my writing endeavors. Cross-posting to Dreamwidth is not automated, so following the main blog really is the best way to stay up-to-date on my new reviews.

Speaking of which, I should get back to generating content...
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
The latter part of the winter has been pretty busy for me. I work part-time, I have a writing workshop, classes have started up again for the spring semester, and I always have a stack of writing deadlines waiting, not to mention keeping up with blogging. One of my main missions for the writing workshop has been to pare down my works in progress to something less menacing, mostly by setting aside my incomplete works and moving on. Writing is difficult work and if I don't focus, I'll never finish any of my projects.

I love feeling like a versatile writer. I write in different styles and genres. I've been getting into both interactive fiction and game-writing. I've gone back to writing in Hebrew as well as English. Trying new and different things is exciting, but it has to come at the expense of something. As I narrow down my criteria for what stays and what has to go, I've had to consider my own investment but also my potential audience in the calculation of what works and what doesn't.

Which is all just a roundabout way of saying I'm putting the Collar of the Damned universe on ice. This doesn't mean I'll never write in it again. More like, if I'm being realistic, I haven't been writing in it. Of all the projects I've been preoccupied with in the past few months, CotD has occupied a very low rung. Just high enough to weigh on my mind and affect my productivity, but not high enough to write and publish. My last story was published in August. Everything else is half-finished or barely-begun.

Not much will change. I am just formalizing what has been the objective reality for a while now. Much as I love it, CotD has no audience and my affection alone doesn't generate enough interest to sustain it in the long-term. My time is better spent on original short stories, games, and reviews. All of which I will continue to publish to my writing blog and my philome.la account respectively.
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
Stories I have written for workshop, which are delightful in their own way, and yet lack enough cohesion to be exposed to the public:

1) A story about a woman living with the ghost of a WWII-era German Templar.

Read more... )
lea_hazel: Angry General Elodie (Genre: Games)
Queen at Arms, a strategy and romance visual novel, first became known to me under the working title 'The Silent Princess'. Thankfully this title was dropped pretty quickly since, despite being accurate in the literal sense, it gives an entirely false impression of the game's content. Read more... )

Ultimately I would say QAA is a compelling game, although not an excellent one. What recommends it is that it tries to bring something new to the table, and in the experience it can offer to the player. Despite multiple romance paths, achievements and hidden secrets to discover, it has limited replayability value. Recommended with reservations.

Crossposted to hazelgold.net.
lea_hazel: Angry General Elodie (Genre: Games)
I am still "dabbling" in Twine fairly regularly. I like playing around with randomizers and variables and trying to figure out the right balance to make a game playable. Not too difficult to be fun, not so easy that there's no tension, with enough variability to keep from being boring, but not so random that the player feels helpless.

And I like trying out different ways to structure the games. I've enjoyed playing around with a timer. Now I'm looking for something else to hold my interest.

My attention-span seems to be Twine-sized.

(And I had fun dropping a tiny cryptic reference to the Zionist moon colony project.)
lea_hazel: Wonder Woman (Genre: Comics)
This is the story of how DC comics depowered Barbara Gordon.

For twenty five years, Barbara Gordon played the role of Oracle, a master-hacker and world-class information broken, leader of the Birds of Prey and a revolving roster of superheroines, and one of the smartest people in the DC universe. This Oracle persona was developed by John Ostrander and Kim Yale after her spine injury in the famous (or notorious) storyline The Killing Joke. This storyline was rightly criticized for treating Batgirl as a prop in a story that focused on the relationship between Batman and the Joker. The Killing Joke is commonly included in lists of “fridgings”, brutal plots visited on female characters, for the purpose of providing motivation for male characters.

Read more... )

Crossposted to hazelgold.net.
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
The first half of February was pretty intense.

I had one exam at the beginning of the month which I very nearly fucked up, but managed to rally for on time and will probably be all right on. I missed the deadline on the last two assignments on my other class. Hopefully though I have still accumulated enough credits to sit the exam, which is in a week.

I started a part-time job.

And I'm starting another writing workshop.

And next month I start my next math class. Joy.

Meanwhile I have been plugging away at a few ongoing projects, a Twine game and a card game (yes, real paper cards in your hand). I have a project in Hebrew which I've been working on translating. And I have a blog post drafted that needs proofing before I post it next week.

I am reading Seanan McGuire's One Salt Sea and I got pretty close to the end before stalling for mysterious reasons. I've also picked up Inkheart, which I've had my eye on but hesitant about for some time. And I've been playing Queen at Arms.

This week, though, I've mostly been dedicated to Fallen London on account of the Feast of the Exceptional Rose. And the fact that I'm finally making progress on becoming a notable person. There's a certain unusual joy to playing an agender poet and detective who's "irresistible, compelling and sagacious" as the game phrases it. Hell, playing an agender anything is pretty compelling.
lea_hazel: Angry General Elodie (Feel: RAEG)
Casil has immersed herself fully in a flawed understanding of disability that I tend to think of as the “character balance” fallacy. In a tabletop RPG, character types are generally written to be balanced, so that each player will have a fun and interesting experience. A swordfighter might be better at up-close combat but vulnerable to magical attacks, for example, while a mage might have the ability to shoot long-distance firebolts but be unable to wear much armor. Ideally, characters have equal advantages and disadvantages. Some games even have systems where you can “buy” advantages with disadvantages. Want more points to spend on more impressive spells? Find something that will make your character’s life more difficult, and maybe you can make that work.


Excerpted from Human flaws and disability: NOT the same thing by Tili Sokolov, because it struck me that it was an unusual but apropos perspective. I got there via Jim Hines' No, We’re Not All Disabled, a very even-toned takedown of the original blog post in question. Note that the original post, which Hines quotes extensively, is the kind of ablist bullshit that makes a weird vein pop in my forehead, so. Content note to those who don't need that toxicity in their lives on a Friday afternoon.

Now this just reminds me that I need to write more about "how (not to) write disability" and I've been putting it off.
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
Since I'm not blabbing details or intending to talk (type?) anyone's ears off, this is a public game progress post, not a filtered one. (If you want in on my game-writing filter now's the time to comment and ask.)

I wrote on the ongoing game last week and today. I hope to keep working on it later this week, even as I step up the studying for exam period. Studying entire solid days didn't so much for me last time I tried it.

This game is, to remind, a "skeletal" text only version of the story in question, with much of the potential features left undeveloped or left out altogether. The idea being, if I can complete a fully-formed narrative branching story that makes sense, and people play it, and enjoy it... then I can consider making it into a visual novel.

Because visual novels require art, and music, and other assets. And that requires more work, and work of different kinds. And probably hiring an artist, since that's what most game writers seem to do. At least, as far as I can tell. And I can't risk doing any of that unless I know that I'm capable of creating a branching story.

So I am writing in Twine, because that requires only the skills that I have. Although the style of writing needed is different from most of what I've done so far, so there's still a lot to develop and learn. What I've done on Twine so far is much lighter, smaller and more humorous, not counting an unfinished story that I started on a whim and never did any planning for.

My twines are stored here on philome.la, the great fee Twine repository. So far they consist of two simple games that operate exactly like programming homework assignments -- which is good news! Basically looping game algorithms with very little writing or code. I have a longer (humorous) story that I created for workshop, which I am in the process of translating into English. When I'm done I will put up both versions, if only so that my page looks less lonely.

If there is an intermediate between the unicorn games and the size of game I'm working on now, I don't know what it is. Yet.

It is needful.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016 16:07
lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Default)
This version is which links. It's like the fangirl trash equivalent of a bucket list.

This is literally an HTML table of 7KPP shipping options. That's it. )

Chill

Saturday, 23 January 2016 17:48
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
I slept away the morning, spent the afternoon eating "breakfast" and catching up on TV, and now the early evening is dedicated to talking down my stress levels. There's a lot going on. I'm not very good at dealing with so many things in parallel.

Next week it's supposed to snow in Jerusalem. It's an inconvenient time for me because I need to get to Tel Aviv and back twice this week, and while I do have the option of staying in Tel Aviv that might be... complicated. Also, I have open university assignments due tonight and tomorrow, after having put them off far more than was reasonable -- because there was so much going on.

But hey, the premiere of The 100 was great.

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lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Default)
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