dotsandlines: (Futurama: Shasta & Rush)
At Half Price Books, I bought a book about 1603 and one about the history of military medicine. In other words, I'm spending money on research for a book I don't intend to publish. Useless hobbies are fun. Woo. (My story isn't set in 1603, but that's about the latest era it could be analogous to right now.)

Also joined Goodreads, because I like rambling about books, and I like recommendations.

Edit: Oh, and I also bought another used copy of Erasure's best-of, since I loaned out my previous copy and never got it back (and pretty much all of my older Erasure CDs have worn out). So now I once again own a copy of "A Little Respect". Awesome. It's one of my favorite songs to sing, but I suck at it. I just can't handle the notes on "soul" and "calling" in the chorus. Oh, I can reach them, but by the time we've slid to the end of the word, I'm in some entirely incorrect key.

I might be the only dork who was squeeful over the copy of "A Little Respect" at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

This has been today's 1 a.m. geek-out. Tomorrow a new episode of Welcome to Night Vale comes out, so that'll be tomorrow's 1 a.m. geekout.
dotsandlines: (ATLA: OBJECTION!)
Finished the book that I didn't like.

I know what I learned today! I learned that I could write a better romance novel than ONE person on earth, if I tried to!

Ye gods.

"Jade orbs", I think. I think he un-ironically used the phrase "jade orbs", or "emerald", or "sapphire", or somesuch. And "alabaster skin", multiple times.

But here's the crux of the problem, and the larger What I Learned Today.

Learning from books that you don't like: Empathy. Have some. )

...

In other news, I think I hatched a NaNoWriMo-able idea on the way to work this morning. I'm thinking about jumping back in this year. I'm thinking about jumping back in as a way to force myself out of the house, contradictory as that sounds. Local meetups? Writing in a coffeehouse? Something. I love my husband dearly, but I am going stir-crazy not talking to anyone else outside of work.

People terrify me, and yet I feel like hell if I don't get at least some dose of them. Go figure, huh?

(I do go to a weekly crafting meetup, but there's not much "there" there. The other members have made it abundantly clear that I could never understand their complex psychology with my puny mainstream brain, so I'd better not even try to be their friends. OK then! Can I borrow your scissors? I guess that's that.)


In other other news, fun article despite the Buzzfeedy/Crackedy title:

7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding

#4 (not everyone agrees on everything) and #7 (think about how your non-realistic factors would affect everything) are my favorites. Fun times.

You know, I should remember that I like that kind of stuff, and try something short and speculative sometime.
dotsandlines: The constellation Orion (Default)
Close enough to the end of the month. (Ulterior motive: Wrote a bit last night, so if this keeps up, it will boost next month's count. Heh.)

Stats )

I'm reading an ebook right now - not gonna name it, don't want to be a jerk - and I don't like it too much. I feel like the author is one of those "Women are unknowable alien creatures" types, and yet one of his narrators is a woman. So he has no idea what to do with her. Her scenes are flat and weird, and suffer greatly from omniscient breasts syndrome - even though the narrator is just doing stuff and not admiring herself rapturously in a mirror, the narration goes to ridiculous lengths panting over her assets. From her POV. When she, the character, is not paying attention to her looks at all. It's fourth-wall-breaking and bizarre.

Anyway, this ebook is bugging the hell out of me, but I am giving it a chance to see how it plays out. Also, to identify what exactly annoys me about it, and learn from that.

a) Omniscient breasts syndrome
b) Uses "unphased" instead of "unfazed", so editor is incompetent


That linked essay, BTW, also brings up an intriguing anecdote about a reader being offended because the author was "trying to make him gay" - she wrote from a straight female character's POV, including the character being attracted to men. The reader was offended/uncomfortable because he had never encountered the concept of a narrator who was not exactly like him, a straight (probably white) man. So he had no concept of reading except as a self-insert, and didn't know how to see a story from a fundamentally different person's POV. Fascinating. I tend to take that sort of thing for granted.
dotsandlines: (ATLA: Wave Dance)
Oh yeah, it's past the end of the month! Forgot about this.

Uh, I changed some things again.

June stats )

EDIT: Also just finished one of my "anything interesting under $2.99" purchases, Dawn by Octavia E. Butler, a.k.a. Book 1 of Lilith's Brood / Xenogenesis. Deeply, deeply strange book. My brain hurts. That strange. I can finish the whole trilogy for $9.99, and I am tempted just to get some closure on this WTFery. Which is not to say that it's bad, in any sense. Just...deeply strange.
dotsandlines: Lawrence being consoled by his horse. (Spice and Wolf: There there.)
Just a fun quote that seems apropos for my journal. I bought this book when it popped up in the daily Kindle sales. It was adorably batty. Scene: A father haphazardly trying to calm his inconsolable (young?) son.

---

But Ranulph’s sobs redoubled. “I want to get away! to get away!” he moaned.

“Away? Away from where?” and there was a touch of impatience in Master Nathaniel’s voice.

“From … from things happening,” sobbed Ranulph.

Master Nathaniel’s heart suddenly contracted; but he tried not to understand. “Things happening?” he said in a voice that he endeavored to make jocular. “I don’t think anything very much happens in Lud, does it?”

“All the things,” moaned Ranulph, “summer and winter, and days and nights. All the things!”


- from Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees

---

The book overall is a fantasy story about a town on the edge of Faerie which is Very Unimpressed By Such Outlandish Nonsense, and the interactions between the townspeople and the fantastic world right around the bend. It's quasi-Victorian? It was published in 1926, which I thought was kayfabe* at first because it seems strangely parodic and simultaneously un-stagey, in a weirdly modern way. But no, according to Wikipedia and Amazon, it actually was published in 1926. I still feel wary of being tricked.

Anyway, it's a keeper. Lately I have been checking the daily sales... well, daily, buying dang near anything that is under $2.99 and piques my interest. I have a sizeable backlog for the first time in a while.


Writing is going well. Cut about 10K retconned words, then wrote 6K more. By my estimates, there's about 29K more that needs to be either cut or heavily edited - most of the last quarter of the thing, as it stands now. But I believe in my edits! They are drastic, but the end result will be better. There are two more weeks till stats time, so I won't belabor that point too much.


* something which is fictional, but which you're supposed to pretend is real in real life in order to play along with fandom properly. Like pro wrestling, or those fans who insist(ed) that Sherlock Holmes is factual. To me it seemed like a book which was written more recently but pretended to be vintage.
dotsandlines: Applejack is not in her comfort zone. (MLP: Applejack Sewing)
Every time I roam through the cheap-and/or-free ebook selection on my Kindle, I become more convinced that I should finish writing something. ANYTHING. Ever.

I should download and read some of this stuff, so as to have more things to read AND get a better idea of where the bar is set. However, I am a little paranoid about Amazon's recommendation stats. The next time a relative tries to buy me a birthday gift, I don't need them to be chirpily informed that I would "probably" enjoy schmoopy sword & sorcery or romance novels about goat herders or something.

In particular, romance novels are potentially entertaining (I love characterization and character dynamics, and even bad writing is fun), but the genre is so subdivided that I wouldn't even know where to start. I might now know what non-anime fans feel like upon being exposed to a corner of our fandom. Why is everyone 14 years old? Do the robots go with the girls in miniskirts? Sometimes.* What's with all the cat ears? I don't knooooooooow!

So for now, I am just reading Midnight Blue-Light Special and writing a lot of plot outlines - but I've never written plot outlines before, so that in itself is something. I still feel like this project is unreadable by humans. But if it is, maybe it will be epically, transcendently unreadable by humans. I suspect not, given my personality, but who knows.


* Speaking of which, I binge-watched Escaflowne last weekend for no particular reason. I'd borrowed it from a friend, and it was high time I gave it back. I watched the subtitled version while doing a jigsaw puzzle that I'd gotten as a Christmas gift, so I apparently missed some things. I didn't realize that Millerna and Dryden were married, for one thing. Uh, I did notice some giant robots.
dotsandlines: Rarity at her sewing machine, from MLP: FIM. Don't think too hard about how she's holding that fabric. (MLP: Rarity Sewing)
I need to make up some more icons. Ah, well.

I was sprinting toward 130,000 because of a small part in an elaborate personal scheme. I calculate my entertainment budget based partly on time ($x per month) and partly on productivity ($x per finished project). My arbitrary signpost for writing is "every 10,000 words." I started this entertainment-budget scheme back around 117,000, in late October, and rounded that up to 120K. So this marks the first time I've passed one of my notches. 10K doesn't sound like that much in light of NaNoWriMo, but I don't write at that speed these days, let's be honest.

Either way, it's been fun )

On a completely different note, I got Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold for Christmas, and LOVE IT. See, I only hesitantly call myself a science fiction fan, because I know that many of the absolute classics just don't grab me. Foundation, for instance. I can't call myself a SF fan if I was bored to tears by Foundation. It's a freaking classic. And yet...

Thus far, this series is full of political machinations, and it has another dimension that a lot of other SF lacks: characterization. Like, at all. Because of this, the political-machinations part comes off as not an Author Tract (cough) but a story that is happening to the characters. Because I believe that these are, in fact, characters, and not paper cutouts with "THIS IS THE BAD GUY" / "THIS IS THE AUTHOR AVATAR SLASH GOOD GUY" written on them and pasted to popsicle sticks.

...I have tried hard all my life to like Asimov's fiction, people, you just don't understand.

Anyway. Even though I turned in my science fiction fan badge long ago, there are some that I like, and this is one of them. I am delighted to possibly find a series that I enjoy, because it's been a while since I found a new one.

Time to tap out that entertainment budget... sigh. :)
dotsandlines: Rarity at her sewing machine, from MLP: FIM. Don't think too hard about how she's holding that fabric. (MLP: Rarity Sewing)
Juuuust tore through Cold Days in three days. I do not recommend this. The plot has thickened enough that you start gnashing your teeth at the thought of the wait between volumes, even though the author is quite speedy (and I do respect that).

Plus, at the end of day two, my brain started to slosh around like a fishtank full of Jello.

A few of my forecasts are coming true, btw. Not all of them, but some. (Also, none of my fanmix songs have been expressly disproven, though one is now REALLY unequal to the task.)

---

We just got two requests for commissions back to back for Link bears. We've already done about 6 Link commissions and 9-10 overall; he has taken the lead from Ryuk from Death Note. We were on a fun "quest" to make one of every version of the character, but this constant trickle of commission requests is a little wearying. We appreciate the business, and it's great to see that the fandom is still active, but variety and individuality is what makes us not a sweatshop. That's not the fault of any of the commission requesters...I just have to express some mild exasperation. Any other fandom? Please?

But that's one reason that I keep trying new things and making projects from different fandoms for our table. People often don't even think that something is possible until it's right in front of them, because they just aren't used to coming up with weird ideas like this. Plus, it's fun.
dotsandlines: (Futurama: Shasta & Rush)
I finally hit the "Oh PLEASE, you have GOT to be kidding me" point, at about 75%.

Spoilers, though not really, if you've read any of it at all...you'll see it coming )

...so it still made me want to edit something. Argh...
dotsandlines: (Futurama: Shasta & Rush)
This book is making me have feelings. Pardon me while I vent.

As noted, I got the Humble Ebook Bundle, and have thus far read Old Man's War and a bit of Stranger Things Happen; I put the latter on hold for a bit because I can only take so much Southern Gothic at a time. I then started Pirate Cinema, knowing absolutely nothing about it.

Thus far, it is a dystopian fantasy / And Then I Overthrew the Evil Empire story [note: this is a general statement about the tone, not a literal spoiler] as written by a 14-year-old AMV editor. Basically. It's a near-future dystopia revolving around copyright law, in which kids are sentenced to death for downloading movies. A teenage video-remix artist gets caught, goes on the lam, and has Grand, Scrappy Adventures. There are lots and lots of speeches about how remixing is really Art, you guys, like seriously.

It is so ding-dang cute that I wanna pinch its cheeks and give it a big hug. This is probably not the effect that they're going for. It seems to want to be Very Serious and Important, but since the characters are all so young and take this all so seriously, it just makes me want to squee and cuddle it like a rebellious kitten.

And sure, 99% of that is because I already agree with its core concepts. It's not Making Me Think that much, because I've already thought too much about this.

That said, it took me several dozen pages to get over the concept of a male live-action fanvid editor. I'm pretty sure that all of the humans in that category can fit into a taxicab, in real life. If there WERE fanvids that didn't fit into the very strict guild system of vidding, that would be cool. It's like a new playground that I didn't know existed! But I... kinda doubt that's the case. I've never heard of that playground. There's only the one, and they don't like outsiders playing in it. (I've gotten into the irony before, and I'll leave it be for now.)

Anyway, I'm not finished yet, but it's been a sweet little ride so far.

EDIT: And it's making me want to edit something, aargh! I don't have any ~stunningly brilliant~ ideas right now. Argh.
dotsandlines: The constellation Orion (Orion)
Apparently there's a project in which a group of AMV fans all watch the same video and write commentary, leave reviews etc. My latest video's number came up, probably because of an Utena fan in the group. There were a couple of comments, some bemused, many helpful/educational... and that was all.

Wow. Faith in the AMV community +5. Good show. I promise to stop slagging them now. It's long past pathetic to do that, anyway.

Also just realized that it was the video equivalent of the Draw This Again meme. Darn, that could have made for a fun ending title or something... doesn't fit the tone of the video, though.

---

Bought The Humble eBook Bundle, because it crossed my radar, because it included a few authors that I'd been meaning to read, and because I'm on track to finish my last ebook tomorrow (the third in two weeks! Although there were Circumstances).

Otherwise, I've recently read:
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold (her books are collectively #1 on Stuff I Should Have Read Long Ago Because I'd Obviously Like Them)
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (I am not much of a fan of faerie stories, never having been one of the Special People, but it's good anyway. Glad I tried it. Probably going back to her InCryptid series after this, though.)

I haven't fully digested Quiet yet, and should probably read parts of it again. I haven't done much reading on the subject, preferring to keep it in the realm of shame and denial, so many of these concepts are new to me. Ex. several other personality traits are thought to be linked to introverted personality traits, like being over-sensitive to noise and easily absorbed by fiction. (If you cry at movies, ever, apparently... you may be an introvert.)

It's interesting. I've never really thought that being methodical and deliberate could be considered GOOD traits by anyone else. A necessary evil, at best. I picked a self-mocking screenname for a reason, after all. But I've never really heard anything like the concept that these traits, which I've been raised to believe make me a broken and worthless human being, can be bent to an advantage. Not just "you should be ashamed, but here's how you hide it," and not all the way over to the other side like "you are the True Heroes of the Universe," because I also hate that zero-sum nonsense - but "Here's how it is for some people, and here's how some of them have compensated when they choose to do so."

Again, I need to ponder all of this. Which, apparently, is typical for an introvert. As is oversharing on the internet.
dotsandlines: The constellation Orion (Default)
Re: Hunger Games: Wow. I don't think I've ever seen a book series drop off a cliff that fast. Book 1: "What happens next?" Book 3: "I may as well finish the damn thing."

Not so good. However, I enjoyed the first one in all its cheesy glory. I enjoyed the first ~third of the second one, until right about the time when sap poured from the trees - poured, really? Trees do not work that way!! /morbo.

The rest just...disintegrates into whining, bad planning, and egregious and senseless character deaths. Bleh.

But I made it.

Meanwhile: check out Ms. Stig here. (I only made part of the head, though.)



Celty from Durarara!, one of those Series That I Mean to Watch Eventually.
dotsandlines: The constellation Orion (Default)
I am just over halfway through The Hunger Games trilogy (ebook form, all in one - smart move, Amazon). I vacillate between being on the edge of my seat with the shenanigans and facepalming over the characterization.

The heroes are all right, after a while - they are only vaguely sketched, but they at least act as though they have complex motives. The narrator just doesn't necessarily know what those motives are. But the antagonists, sheesh. We get it, OK? They're evil. They're all named pseudo-Roman names, they are earlobes deep in decadence, you keep telling us how snakelike they are (those who are not snakelike are ridiculously shallow), and they do all sorts of awful things right after you finish telling us about the last awful thing they did. After, of course, killing children on national TV just to entertain themselves and oppress the good and noble villagers.

Evil. We get it. Enough.

Other than that, seat, edge, shenanigans. I only started reading it on Saturday evening, and even though it is a YA novel, that speaks to a certain level of addictiveness.

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