Elections.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019 12:37
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
Election day is a sabbatical which means it's a writing day. Which means... I need to start writing. I need to somehow figure out how to start writing. I need to sit down and write a short story.

...How is literally every time I do this exactly as difficult as every other time before?
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
Crossposted from pi-lo: anxiousgeek's End Of Year Writing Blanket Box:

Total number of completed stories: hard to say, but around 35 I would guess, maybe more if I count the ones I wrote but didn't post, or the ones that are still in progress.

Total word count: AO3 says more than 80K, and even accounting for some weirdness that sounds about right.

Looking back, did you write more fic than you thought you would this year, less, or about what you'd predicted? More than I would have guessed for some months (notably, February and June). Less than I'd've liked for others.

Read more... )

On Fanfic

Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:39
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
I was looking at 12 Months of AU - A Year Long Fic Writing Challenge and came up with a just absolutely angsty idea for an Allegra/Clarmont A/U and I am not sure whether I'm up to it. I mean, just... ugh, my heart.
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
Want to make a post about my writing weekend, but migraine very bad and period also not great?

(no subject)

Monday, 29 October 2018 22:30
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
I fully intend to exploit the opportunity of the municipal elections to get some fucking writing done. I can feel parts of my brain atrophying. I need it.

And, I mean, vote. I'm gonna vote, too. I just don't have super high hopes for the municipal elections, because they're not 60% complete including code.

Aha! I knew it!

Saturday, 18 August 2018 23:28
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
~Hazel Goes Off The Rails~

I knew I had compiled at some point a list of first lines from my stories. I was almost sure that I'd posted it to DW. I had a nagging suspicion that I might have locked the post.

Because I wanted to read it conveniently on my phone. But for technical reasons, logging into DW on my phone is complex.

But it nagged at my and my brain was buzzing even though I should be trying to sleep. So I went and fetched my laptop and achieved both things. First, finding the post in question. Second, accessing DW on my phone. Third, brushing my teeth? I think I forgot to do that before.

Fuck, my sleep patterns are way out of whack.
lea_hazel: I am surrounded by tiny red hearts (Feel: Love)
[community profile] allbingo is having a fairy tale fest for August. Here's my card:

Read more... )
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
I use 750words.com to foster good daily writing habits, and have been having mixed success with it since 2015. Recently I've been on a 90+ day streak, fostered in part by my frantic work on Turncoat Chronicle. Today I quickly went back and checked when I broke my last streak. It was in late April. I checked the days before and after and found that I'd been having a productive time of it, plugging away at Blue Rose (my other main WIP, which has been in the works since December). So I tried checking here on DW, even though my update schedule here is sparse and totally unpredictable, to see what happened to break my streak. I discovered that the last week of April was when I picked up the new desktop... and suddenly recalled that the day I skipped (which also broke a super long streak) was a Saturday, and that was the day I spent all day playing The Sims 4, after having spent an entire Thursday setting up the computer to my liking.

So, in a way, my habits are incredibly consistent over the years.

Somewhat relatedly, the writing is mostly going well and I am trying to make the best possible use of the free time that I have left before I start the new job.

And later today is Jerusalem Pride, which I promised myself I'd attend despite sketchy weather conditions.

Writing Dilemmas

Sunday, 20 May 2018 12:58
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
I've been maintaining daily writing this month but I am having a hard time breaking past some invisible boundary on my novel. This might be partly because I still feel like I have a lot on my plate otherwise and there are a lot of distractions. Health matters have obviously been taking up a lot of my time and attention. And just generally keeping my head above water on practical matters and maintaining my mood has cost me a lot of energy. I am only starting to return to equilibrium.

I'm listening to Weiland's writing podcasts, specifically the POV-related episode. And I'm debating on my novel's cast and how hard I have to crack down on limiting the different POVs. I like all the core cast and it's hard for me to admit that some of my favorite characters are not as plot-critical and need to be sidelined somewhat. It's especially irritating when it comes to Ruby, because I love her so much and I know that when I describe her to potential readers, most of them will be like, 'omg that sounds great I want to see more of her!'

Ruby and to a lesser extent Talon both have this problem. Granted, they both have big backstory wounds that could provide fuel for a sub-plot, but there's no way I'm fitting that into the structure of the story as it is right now. And basically everyone agrees that fewer POVs is almost always better. In fact, I'm thinking of dropping Griffin's POV entirely, but I won't be making a final decision on that until I reach the parts of the plot where their presence starts to be critical.

Pretty funny, considering I initially plotted this story around the cast, and under the impression that I would be shifting between six different POVs. What's more, I first started outlining it by delineating the six introductory scenes for the whole cast. Or was it five? I think Mercy and Kestrel shared the first one. At least that part has remained relati9vely constant. Man, outlining is wild.

(the fanfic business, however, is booming.)
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
I did things today. I did things yesterday and on Sunday, although it didn't really feel like it at the time.

I have three pending submissions logged on the Submission Grinder.

And the first magazine to ever publish my work professionally is available for purchase as a paperback. I have my own backer copy of course.

(I will be okay, eventually.)
lea_hazel: I am surrounded by tiny red hearts (Feel: Love)
I don't know what is up with me but the year's end is approaching and things seem to be mostly kind of okay. I'm behind on a lot of things as usual. I'm fighting with medical issues as usual. I'm worried about work and about writing. Small measure of progress: I did some reading today. I go through long periods of drought when I can't seem to get any reading done or finish a book for the life of me, so anything that gains me even a little bit of momentum is welcome.

My last attempt to kickstart my reading didn't go great. I went for a fluffy adventure type romance from an author whose work I had enjoyed several times before, but at a certain point the characterization took a turn. I was reading in fits and starts, determined to just finish the book and be done with it, maybe write a quick review to vent my spleen. But a certain plot turn was just more than I could handle and I gave up.

Today I took a longish walk and then a longish nap. I didn't do much of anything else. I did spend some of the day trying to catch up on the fourth season of The Librarians but my internet connection was having none of it. Too much stuttering to buffer properly. And I read [twitter.com profile] smallweed's thread about secondary characters, and wondered about the personal journeys of the supporting cast in my newest project.

Tomorrow is a work day and a new work week. And then the week after that things will start getting real. *shudder*
lea_hazel: I am surrounded by tiny red hearts (Feel: Love)
Holy shit.

I discovered two things today:

1. an old website that I used years ago to store unfinished kmeme fills that I didn't want lying around on my harddrive, has gone completely defunct and vanished from the face of the internet. yes, that website did still have some drafts of mine stored (attached to an email account similarly defunct, which I stopped properly using years ago). it's mostly okay, because the stuff that I really wanted to keep is still somewhere in my GMail drafts. I only really lost one document that I feel bad about not having, and it's no huge tragedy.

2. a quick search through my gmail account revealed two documents of unfinished stories relating to that very lost document. this is for an OC that I've been thinking about a lot lately, for some reason, and have developed a sudden weird nostalgia for. there's for sure no audience for it and I don't see that I would ever complete these stories, but it's extremely interesting to reread something that I wrote two or more year ago -- and totally forgot about.

life, man.

(no subject)

Friday, 3 November 2017 09:48
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
Wonder what would happen if I tried to turn Hail the Hunter into a novel, or even just a novella.
lea_hazel: Angry General Elodie (Genre: Games)
It’s Yuri Game Jam season! A season to be especially queer in.

I know I mentioned before that I adore game jams. Deadlines tend to bring out my best work and I love the opportunity to potentially work with new people, not to mention I will jump at any opportunity to stretch my creative muscles. Yuri Jam is dedicated to stories centering queer female characters, which is familiar territory for me. The project I elected to develop, though, is something of a romantic comedy, which dips just slightly into camp territory.

Our protagonist is a self-styled mad scientist, a brilliant scientist who abandoned the world of academic research to recklessly pursue her own projects with no oversight. While she makes her living from the patents she takes out on her gadgeteering, she now faces her most ambitious invention yet. After years of romantic strikeouts, a phone-call from a concerned ex-girlfriend prompts her to take an entirely new approach to matters romantic, and she decides to build herself a robot girlfriend.

Yuri Game Jam is a two-month jam which takes place over the course of September-October 2017. I hope to complete the game, with three full romance routes, by the end of the jam. Accounting for last-minute complications, the estimated date of release is early-to-mid November. I will be posting progress updates on the Zinc Alloy Tumblr blog, and updating more regularly on the ZA Discord channel.

Crossposted to hazelgold.net.

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.

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.

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.
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Basic: Science)
Lately a lot of writers whose blogs or social media I follow have gotten messages from readers saying that they should "stay out of politics" and stick to writing. Every time see a message like that I think back to all the reviews I've read that have described a book as political or politically-themed. I wonder where all these authors are whose work isn't political. How do you write without writing about politics? It is the thing that structures the very reality around us. Perhaps this seems obvious to me because opting out of political thought hasn't ever been an option for me.

Read more... )

Crossposted to hazelgold.net.
lea_hazel: Kermit: OMG YAY *flail* (Feel: OMGYAY)
It helps me think. But there always seems to be too damn much going on, and I always seem to be criminally behind on something.

I took my one and only exam for the semester and it went remarkably well. I am cautiously optimistic about my grade, which I won't find out for a while yet. My next semester starts in late March, a little more than two weeks from now. Much more intimidating, because it's one of the more notorious branches of mathematics. It's a CS requirement, though, and I think a face-to-face class will force me to pay more attention to the lectures, compared to sitting on my sofa and watching the lecture through the computer. Still, it's another shot for my "get ahead of the material in case you fall behind later" plan, which has never yet quite succeeded as intended.

Work-wise I have deadlines and more responsibilities and I'm sitting with the rest of my team instead of in a separate cubicle, so there's progress there. I work hard to get in enough hours a month, not only to stay on top of my workload but also because I get paid by the hour. Working in an office is still a struggle because at a certain point the fluorescent lights and over-exposure to smells etc. starts to wear me down. Bug generally I'm keeping up and getting good feedback.

Writing is exciting. I submitted a short story today. I've been trying to put it together from an idea that surfaced unexpectedly, part-way into outlining a totally different piece for the same deadline. That other piece is partly drafted but still languishing. I also have a rejected piece that I need to decide whether/to whom to submit next. In game writing I did FFS Jam and it was pretty great, but ow I'm losing momentum in the journey to polish the alpha to perfection. And now March is starting and I'm on a team doing NaNoRenO.

More on that last part, probably tomorrow.

I have to remember that writing down everything I'm doing not only reminds me of everything I'm behind on, but also everything I've accomplished. When I describe my life to other people, it sounds a lot better than it does in my head.

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