Wednesday, 1 January 2020 08:00
lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Default)
Drop me a line about anything here.
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
NaNoWriMo is over and I need to kickstart my reading habits. I tried to read Ancillary Justice but I'm having trouble getting deep enough in to be swept away, I might put it off until I have some extra mental energies. I have a number of books saved to my Kobo account that I have not yet bought, and I have a stack of TPBs. And, of course, my over-full book shelves full of smart books that I am perpetually too tired to read.

One of the last books I finished was Shira Glassman's The Second Mango but the new releases (from which she actually gets royalties) aren't on Kobo and I'd probably had to get them through Amazon or something. There are four novels in all and one short story collection, I think. But I have a lot of other options.

1. N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season is A Smart Book and also has geological tectonic magic, which is fascinating and extra appealing to me. On the con side, the excerpt I read gives me the impression of dense prose and a difficult narrator voice.

2. T. Kingfisher's (Ursula Vernon) Bryony and Roses is also an award-winner and yet it is also a fairy-tale and has that UV-brand deadpan humor that I find so comfortable.

3. Mary Robinette Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey is a magicky regency romance, and my familiarity with the author's style means it promises to be a non-offensive f/m pairing, possibly in the vein of Sorcerer to the Crown (which was anj instant favorite). Also likely to be light and comfortable.

4. The Golem and the Jinni is that Jewish fantasy novel I have ostensibly always wanted, and also fairly well-reviewed (although it doesn't have the kind of gushing following some others on my list do). A bit of an unknown quantity.

5. The Lies of Locke Lamora. People having been raving about this book for as long as I can remember. Am I in a lovable rogue mood? Who knows.

6. Michelle Sagara's Cast in Shadow which was recommended to me by someone and indeterminate time period in the past. Yay, memory! I downloaded the preview for this on a whim and it gives me a comfortable feeling of a heroine with trust issues.

7. Or I could just get the next in one of the series I'm reading. I have a bunch of those I haven't finished, and that might help me get into a good reading routine.

8. I also have the TPB of Monstress (from Marjorie Liu) sitting on my shelf. And one of the Marceline Adventure Time books, and some Star Wars stuff. They are good for reading in bits and pieces, generally, but less convenient to carry in my purse (I have a purse. I'm a person who carries a purse now.).

Decisions are unusually hard for me lately. Or, like, more than usually hard.
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
This is a terrifying thing to admit, thirty thousand words into a story.

I had started with a couple of rough character sketches and some tentative worldbuilding, and decided I would figure out the plot as I went along. Meanwhile I was nurturing the secondary protagonist's identity crisis, which was supposed to be the secondary, supporting, plot thread. Guess what happened next.

Now I am more than halfway through a story that is not adventure, not intrigue, not mystery, and not even a proper romance. The closest thing to redeeming value in the plot as it stands, is that it could possibly be literary fiction -- if the characters weren't anthro bats.

Like, I'm not even talking "how do I market this". More like, "what the fuck did I just write".

So I stick to the short term, and realize that the next thing that needs to happen is a character mailing a letter to their mother.
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
In two weeks NaNo will be over and I will either have a complete first draft or else I'll have to re-evaluate how long the plot of this story wants to be. Assuming it's the former, I need some way to maintain momentum so that the draft doesn't get relegated to the back of the WIP folder. I want to make something out of this piece of shit, if at all possible.

December has 31 days in it.

Read more... )

Life Update

Friday, 11 November 2016 11:33
lea_hazel: A frowning white theater mask (Feel: Sad Face :()
I spent a lot of the past week or so falling apart. November began on a good note as the 1st and 2nd were writing days and the beginning of NaNo, which I was apprehensive about. It started well, though, and I'm broadly pleased with my writing and enjoying the characters, and I think I will want to stick it out to the end which is a good thing (even if I don't know what that end will be).

Read more... )
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
I had intended, at one point, to keep track of how many hits I was getting on various of my Twine games in a big spreadsheet. Nothing remotely scientific, just to give myself an idea of what draws enduring interest. I was fairly diligent for a while and then I tapered off sometime in late summer when things started to slip out of hand.

Anyway, between 10/9 and 6/11 of this year, I got a total of 245 hits on my games. Most of those weren't me. Although a few of them were. I feel pretty good about this!

In other news, I was just in the process of writing out a totally extraneous character who had served her purpose in my NaNovel... and then her step-mother showed up out of nowhere and she was utterly delightful. Now I have to get rid of her, too, and start focusing the story on the plot. Assuming I know what the plot is. I also would really like to hit 10K at some point, but I recognize that this may take a while. given how far behind schedule I am.

Run down

Friday, 4 November 2016 11:10
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
I'm quite run down and I think getting the vaccination yesterday morning might have done a whammy on me. Went to bed early last night and it helped some. Called the doctor this morning, I have new test results and they look mostly okay.

Working hard to remind myself that eating and sleeping and other things like that are part of my job and help me work better. Also that I live alone and if I don't do it no one will. Now I'm going to rally to make sure I have food in the house for the weekend, also get myself a big bottle of orange juice to make up the difference. Then I think I'll put on sweatpants and listen to the Adventure Zone.

I am doing well on NaNo but I don't think I'll be doing more than the minimum amount of writing today (daily words). Then again sometimes I feel better in the afternoon and I did sleep a lot.
lea_hazel: Angry General Elodie (Genre: Games)
The world of Fallen London was yet again enriched this month with the release of the long-awaited Zubmariner DLC for Sunless Sea. A stretch goal of the Sunless Sea Kickstarter campaign, Zubmariner promised to expand on the hints of sub-aquatic travel lore already present in Fallen London, and take players to a deeper and darker place than ever before. As the surface of the Unterzee already features sea-urchins from space who speak the language of stars, and a malevolent living mountain that’s can’t be permanently killed, it seemed a tall order. Still, the early promotional materials were intriguing to say the least, so as a KS backer myself I was very ready to be hyped.

Read more... )

Crossposted to
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
Tomorrow November begins, and with it NaNoWriMo, the yearly celebration of writers getting together and vowing to hold each other accountable to one promise: write fifty thousand words in a month. I tried participating in NaNoWriMo once or twice in the past, about ten years ago. Although I had free time aplenty and I pushed hard on my novel idea, of which I was very fond, I didn't win either time. Neither did I get a complete manuscript from it. In fact, I've never successfully completed a novel.

For a while, this was a source of great stress to me. When I envisioned my writerly future as a kid, it involved a shelf lined with books with my name on them, and the books were invariably fantasy novels. Novels were are are most of what I read. I didn't adjust to regularly reading short fiction until quite recently, and I learned pretty quickly that it's no use trying to write something that you don't read. Every fiction magazine will quite rightly expect you to read a few of its issues before you even consider submitting.

Last year during NaNoWriMo I was unemployed and dedicating myself to writing more or less full-time. Ostensibly, that would have been the perfect time in which to make my next attempt. But I had determined that my mind was shaped for short fiction, and I was making my stand on a fictional universe built out of interconnected short stories. It was a fairly bold project in its scope, and ended up being less of a success than I'd hoped, creatively or otherwise. It did force me to stretch my muscles, though, and I learned a great deal about what was missing from my writing toolbox.

Now I have determined that it's time to make a similar attempt, but more consciously. Going into November, I hope to put down fifty thousand words of continuous narrative, but I don't fully expect to get a novel out of it. In fact, since I'm entering the race with almost no preparation, I expect the result to be rather an inelegant mess. My challenge right now is nothing more complicated than to start at the beginning and make it all the way to the end. It just so happens that this is one of my major vulnerabilities as a writer, and I'm beginning next month's challenge partly in order to address this unacceptable gap in my toolbox.

Another challenge I've set myself is to write unselfconsciously, to turn off the inner editor, which is exactly what NaNoWriMo is designed to do. I like to produce polished material, of course, but as the saying goes, perfect is the enemy of done. Turning off the inner editor means you relegate her job to an outer editor, which is the person most qualified for the job to begin with. I hope this drive for unselfconsciousness will help me touch on some more sensitive issues, that I have been avoiding writing about for a long time.

Meet me back here in a month or so to see what sort of results this experiment produced.
lea_hazel: Angry General Elodie (Genre: Games)

The Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation runs a yearly competition for interactive fiction called IFComp. Though it’s been flourishing for many years, I hadn’t heard about it before this year, and too late to be able to plan and execute a worthy submission. Still, nothing’s preventing me from browsing the 50-odd submissions and looking for something to catch my eye. As a novice to IF I’ve only had hands-on experience with a very few platforms for writing or playing it. IFComp, though, exposes a whole array of techniques and manipulations that I wasn’t previously familiar with. Needless to say, this affected my play experience significantly.

Eight characters, a number, and a happy ending – K.G. Orphanides

This was the first entry I played. Eight characters is a parser game, where commands can be entered in the text box or through navigation links. Some of the commands are helpfully explained in the in-universe manuals. Some are fairly intuitive, once you catch the trick of it – another effect of my being a novice player. I fussed for a long time over trying to open a simple chest before I learned to adjust to the game’s expectations.

Crossposted to


Sunday, 16 October 2016 11:31
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
This entire month is messing with my head. Individually, I'm looking forward to all sorts of things (and glad for all sorts of things I've already done). Collectively, October needs to die.
lea_hazel: Kermit: OMG YAY *flail* (Feel: OMGYAY)
Dear author!

This is very exciting, isn't it? Yuletide is very exciting. I always request fandoms that I'm broadly interested in, so most anything you produce is likely to entertain me. When it comes to small fandoms I am easy to please.

Read more... )
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Basic: Science)
Medical history can be fascinating, depressing and hilarious in more or less equal measure. A few of my smarter teachers have touched on it here and there, and it always helps to contextualize the material. It also puts things in perspective, when you’re learning about historical beliefs that represented the best medical thought of the time, alongside the best modern understanding of certain scientific mysteries. Makes you feel like maybe we know as little about the human brain as our antecedents did about germ theory. Someday, future podcasters will laugh at us.

Read more... )

"Sawbones" is a Maximum Fun podcast hosted by Dr. Sydnee McElroy and Justin McElroy.

Crossposted to
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
The business behind being a writer is not my favorite aspect of the whole deal (not surprisingly).

However, I am keeping up with my chores and accordingly I updated my Patreon profile and my page to reflect the status of my work.

Oh, yeah. Zinc Alloy Games is the name I am now putting on all my decent-sized games. A bit premature, maybe, but I like to be prepared ahead of time.
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
This is basically for my own reference and not meant to reflect as any kind of fandom meta, or anything.

Read more... )
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
Wreath of Roses is a 16,000 word text game written in the Twine engine and playable through any JavaScript-supporting web browser.

Wreath of Roses is a project from Zinc Alloy Games.

It is the story of Thalia, a princess on her way to an arranged marriage. The story follows Thalia as she arrives at the kingdom meant to be her future home and gets to know her future husband, tracking her responses to her environment, positive and negative. As the wedding nears Thalia can choose to explore the castle and get to know some of its inhabitants, and at the end of the game the player makes a decision based on Thalia's overall impressions: to go through with the wedding, or cancel it.

This early version of the game is fully playable and features character customization and four different endings.

An excerpt from the game's opening will be available on my Patreon later this month.

Crossposted to and Patreon.

lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
My new phone has a lot more space in it than the one that got stolen, so I have been lenient with downloading apps. For example, I downloaded a podcast app that lets me get new episodes wherever there is wireless, without having to remember what day everyone updates. I was wandering around looking for interesting podcasts and happened across Galactic Suburbia and their episode on the new Ghostbusters. I've been listening to it in bits and pieces since it's fairly long and I usually listen to podcasts on the bus.

It got me thinking again about what I did and didn't like about the movie. It also made me want to go look for a supercut of all the times the 2016 movie referenced iconic lines from the original, but that involves going on YouTube and I bet I don't need to explain why I don't want to do that.

Read more... )

Greatest Hits

Wednesday, 7 September 2016 12:00
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
Some of the posts on this blog receive very regular hits, regardless of how old they are. Hits from Google, or from social media of the shareable kind, where someone might decide to revive an old-ish post and give it second wind. It’s easy enough to trace my most popular posts through this method, as well as by the hit-count which WordPress provides. It’s almost as easy to get to the bottom of why these posts in particular receive more attention than others.

Read more... )

Crossposted to
lea_hazel: A frowning white theater mask (Feel: Sad Face :()
I have a couple of short blog posts queued for this week and next. No big, substantive reviews. Part of me still wants to get that aromantic post out of my system but I'm not sure how well I'd weather the process. Meanwhile I have been playing a lot of 7KPP and Affairs of the Court, which I probably still should review, at some point.

Other things in my tabs: Why Being a Writer is an Exercise in Cognitive Dissonance from Kameron Hurley's blog (via Goodreads). Coffintree Hill has a whole bunch of magazines and anthologies calls for submissions. I have been reading a fair amount of Asexual Agenda posts and links, lately.

Soon I will have a cellphone again.
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
When I put together my Patreon support tiers, I promised some backer-exclusive content. Since then I've been working on putting these things together. There are some updates about my games in progress, and some fresh short fiction. This takes a while because I want to make sure that you're receiving quality content that's worth the price of admission.

Over the next couple of months I'll be posting snippets from a political fantasy text adventure that I've been working on. Later in the year I hope to share something from my next Twine project, which will be much more game-like in structure. I also have some new flash fiction that needs to go through the editing wringer before it's ready for consumption.

Anyway, that's it. I have some exciting stuff in the works and I hope you'll be excited about it, too.

Crossposted to and Patreon.


lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Default)

December 2016

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