uncorked

18 Aug 2017 18:07
philomytha: girl in woods with a shaft of sunlight falling on her (Default)
[personal profile] philomytha
This fic WILL NOT STOP. I have passed 10,000 words and it just keeps spawning new complications every time I think I've got something nailed down. It was only meant to be about 2-3000 words and the whole second half was going to be sorted out in about three paragraphs. I'm blaming MacDonnell on the Heights for some of it because it is just such a Barrayaran military song and every time it comes up on my playlist I come up with a new problem for Vorhalas to wrangle with. You know that on Barrayar they love songs about the loyal lieutenant who takes up the standard when the great general falls, and gets killed just before he can win the battle and ends up buried beside his general. But it feels like I've got about three years' worth of words coming uncorked all of a sudden; I'm fairly sure I've written more this month than I did in all of 2015. The finish line is in sight now, maybe, but there's still a lot to sort out.

The current tricky bit is, what are the practical and legal consequences if a serving officer's District Count orders him to disobey his military superiors? I ask because I had Vorhalas do this in the current draft, and then when I was writing a bit of dialogue slightly later Vorhalas outright said he would never do that, so now I have to go back and fix it, because of course he wouldn't. But I'm inviting speculation here - what would happen on Barrayar if some hypothetical count and some hypothetical officer did this, to both the officer and the count?

Words!

16 Aug 2017 22:52
schneefink: (FF Kaylee excited)
[personal profile] schneefink
I haven't written fic since *checks* May, huh. But then suddenly I got an idea, and now in the past three days I've written over three thousand words and it feels amazing. Story writing is a thing I can do! Oh man, I missed this feeling of getting words onto a page, instead of being stuck at the image-to-word conversion process in my brain.

Btw, I recently read a piece on writer's block that I liked a lot, So you're having a bad writing day: Consider: the act of telling a story is you CONJURING AN ENTIRE UNIVERSE INSIDE YOUR MIND and then using words as knives to CARVE THAT UNIVERSE INTO REALITY SO THAT OTHERS CAN VISIT YOUR IMAGINATION. “Today I am going to make a world out of my brain that you can go to in your spare time,” you say aloud, hopefully realizing that this is far more significant and far more bizarre than tying your shoes or blowing your nose.
Writing is hard, and that's okay. (Clearly prolific authors who update frequently are wizards.)
lannamichaels: Dark background. Text: "We're here to heckle the muppet movie." (heckle the muppet movie)
[personal profile] lannamichaels


Title: You Make Me Look Legitimate. (On Archive Of Our Own)
Author: [personal profile] lannamichaels
Fandom: Check Please
Pairing: Eric Bittle/Jack Zimmermann
Rating: G
A/N: This is 100% [personal profile] dira's fault and I have the chat log to prove it. :P The title is from I Make The Dough, You Get The Glory by Kathleen Edwards, which is a wonderful country song about Canadian hockey.

Summary: Eric Bittle gets the call from the national team at 3AM.


2018 Olympics! )

(no subject)

15 Aug 2017 22:46
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
No FMK this week, because I am way behind on reading, and also because I am going eclipse-hunting over the weekend! I will be bringing eclipse-related books on that trip. And thinking about this xkcd strip which was the main thing that got me into the new year, anyway.

Probably it will rain all day, but at least I can say I tried.

So instead of books, since I will be doing a lot of driving in the middle of nowhere, my question this week is: What songs are on your eclipse playlist? "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "The Sun Is A Miasma of Incandescent Plasma", obviously. But what else?

I have been working on the book collection, though! I went through and re-did my to-read lists, of which there are three: one on the library website, which has 300 books on it, of books the library has; the Goodreads one, which includes only books my library doesn't have and has about 250; and ~2500 owned-but-unread, so that's totally doable at my current rate as long as I never add any more to any of the three lists.

(Anybody want to be goodreads friends, by the way? if we aren't already, drop me a line. my gr is connected to my rl so I don't link it here but I will def. add people.)

Me and Mom also cleaned out the cookbooks over the weekend, which was fun! We both agreed on keeping the ones that had some kind of sentimental value to the family, of course. food, cooking, and diet as expressed in a collection of second-half-of-twentieth-century cookbooks. )

We got rid of about fifty cookery books. There's only about 200 left. That't TOTALLY reasonable for a family of two that cooks an actual meal at most twice a week, and usually from recipes we know by heart, right?

(no subject)

14 Aug 2017 22:29
raven: white text on green and yellow background: "ten points from Gryffindor for destroying my soul" (sbp - destroying my soul)
[personal profile] raven
I am tired and wound up about my book, which seems to be my default state of being at present. (The book is now necessarily modified, "the stupid book", "the thrice-damned book", "the bloody book", "the book that I HATE and is DREADFUL and the BANE OF MY LIFE" etc.) Part of it is that my confidence as a writer has been significantly dented as everything else in my life has been, recently: I also don't think much of self as lawyer, friend, etc., and I'm working on it. (I am doing much, much better than I was. I'm very grateful. But piecing one's life back together turns out to take time.)

I'm also not doing well with reasonable self-care related to the book, which I should, because finishing the version that went on agent submission - in a several-month, every-spare-minute sprint - was what precipitated my last visit to the bottom of the well. (Perfectly nice as wells go, but not one to revisit.) But I keep wanting to just finish it and get it over and winding myself up in the process. And of course I'm aware that I have read it approx fourteen thousand times over the last two and a half years and naturally I'm seeing nothing but flaws? And perhaps other people might not think it is the worst thing ever committed to paper? In my more rational moments I think this. And yet, oh my god, I hate this book. I want to bundle it up and throw it into aforesaid well and write SOMETHING ELSE. It never gets less ridiculous. I spent four days trying to think of a 1940s-appropriate preferably-funny insult? And it had to be two syllables because otherwise the sentence wouldn't scan? And then [personal profile] tau_sigma suggested "strumpet", because she's a perfect human? And all of that hungama was about literally one word? etc.

Etc. Two months ago I was about as a far from a clean, well-lighted place as I could be. And now I'm not, but nothing terrible will happen if I don't finish this book soon. (Or ever? Like, it would be sub-optimal after two and half years, but I'm not writing Hamlet here.) And nothing terrible will happen if it's not as good as I wanted it to be. And nothing terrible will happen if I do it in ten-minute, 100-word chunks. This is quite a rubbish pep talk but there you are, it's what I've got, and it's better than the alternative.

In other news: I'm enjoying being back out in the world. I'm enjoying seeing friends and going for walks and learning to love this city again. I miss my legal practice and my Gaelic. I'm looking forward to returning to both in the autumn; I'm ready for the new terms and the start of the year.
philomytha: text: Working Together for a Stranger London (Stranger London)
[personal profile] philomytha
"Cub, please stop teaching the chickens how to use the catflap."

Yes, there is a story behind this. Our neighbours are away again, and they've expanded their menagerie so it now includes half a dozen chickens as well as their cats, fish and small furries. Their back garden isn't fully secure and they don't like them free-ranging without someone around to keep an eye on things, but fortunately their back garden is also full of toys and swings and stuff, so Cub and I were hanging out there all afternoon and Cub was following the chickens around and jumping on the trampoline (and I somehow sat down and wrote a thousand words of Vorhalas having very reluctant adventures, which is a story for another day) and then I spotted Cub holding the catflap open and trying to lure the chickens inside.

Now cats and chickens don't get on the way you might expect. Which is to say, I saw the biggest tomcat in the neighbourhood streak out of the chicken's territory like his tail was on fire, chased by the smallest bantam at the bottom of the pecking order flapping her wings and squawking. There's no cockerel, just laying hens, and I hadn't expected them to be quite so, well, aggressive, but you can see the common history with dinosaurs sometimes when you watch chickens. So anyway, I don't think the cats would be happy if the chickens started using their catflap, and also I'm not sure how impressed our neighbour would be when I explained why she had chickenshit in her kitchen. Fortunately Cub was diverted into trying to see if the chickens would come and roost on his arms if he held them out straight (no, though when he sat on the deckchair they sat next to him) and so the chickens do not know how to use a catflap. Yet. They're brighter than I expected, and I wouldn't be surprised if they figured it out eventually.

For pets, I have to say chickens are by far the best value. Cub is besotted with them and got hours of fun out of watching them pootle around the garden, having dustbaths (chickens really love their dustbaths, one of them spent a full hour wallowing it it) and pecking at things and picking blackberries for them to eat, plus on top of that you get fresh eggs every day. You have to feed them and pick up their poo and all that stuff, but you have to do that with cats too and you don't get eggs. Also they eat slugs, snails and other garden pests, solving my problem of how I turn slugs into food, oh, and they adore dandelions so much there aren't any left in my neighbour's garden. So I may be tempted in that direction eventually. I think I'll wait till our neighbour takes her Christmas holiday and see whether they're as much fun in December before taking the plunge, though.

A fandom handful

10 Aug 2017 15:50
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
[personal profile] morbane
1. I'm co-modding the Alternate Universe Exchange and starting to worry about a pinch hit that's been lingering, with fandoms Prince of Tennis, Tiger & Bunny, and Attack on Titan. Only 3 weeks remain in the writing period. Which leaves me tossing up whether to try to consume enough canon to take that pinch hit. It is a perennial mod problem. Just because I can consume a canon and turn out some competent prose doesn't mean it's a good idea, compared to - hopefully - another fan with pre-existing enthusiasm for the canon, + an interest in the prompt, coming along. But that fan may not exist, get wind of the pinch hit, or have time available.

I have consumed canons for pinch hits before, several times. I do try to make "am I actually likely to enjoy this canon" a deciding factor. But time is tight and I'd really rather the decision were taken away from me. (Obviously, I will not update this post to say whether it is or isn't...)

(Besides, there may be further pinch hits as the deadline approaches, and there aren't many of the requests that I could tackle.)


2. After seeing someone talk about an unfilled need on AO3, I asked Flamebyrd to make a userscript. The Mark for Later userscript affects your AO3 experience by adding a "Mark for Later" button to the summary of every work. This means that you can add works to your "read later" list without clicking on them and adding a hit count. Script is here. It also allows you to quickly move items between your main History and your To Read Later history. I anticipate this being very useful for people who have the problem of opening a million things in tabs and never getting to them. Also, testing was fun. Thanks, Flamebyrd!


3. Yuletide is only a month away, AAAAAAAHH!!, but meanwhile, the Fandom Growth Exchange is in sign-ups. This is an exchange for very small fandoms and pairings. Minimum wordcount is 2k.


4. I am doing Fandom Giftbox and submitted a comment to the Fic Positivity Meme, which I mention mostly to aid accountability; I need to go leave comments & snippets.
lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (astronomy)
[personal profile] lannamichaels


File this under "this was gonna bug me if I didn't make a post about it". :P

So, 17776. This thing has a pretty cool premise and some interesting stuff. It's got cool storytelling techniques! It makes really great use of the medium! It's got space probes talking to each other without any lags! It's got suddenly the humans stopped aging! It's got terrible, terrible worldbuilding.


Problem the First: The name of it.

See, the thing is, "1776" is an important/prominent year for Americans. If you then add another 7, to invoke 1776, that's like putting Chekov's gun on the wall. And then the gun never fires. Dude, if you're gone called something that invoking of 1776, you need to do something with it. Otherwise it's an issue. A distracting issue.



Problem The Second: What football will look like.

The "football" makes no sense. And I don't mean in an "this has no relationship to current day American football except for the ball" way. I mean that in a no-human-being-would-ever-do-this way. It boggles the mind. Okay, so let's say football decided games don't have to have an end point. No one would play one football game for eight hundred or twelve thousand years. That is not how things work. That's not how people work. That's not how time works.



Problem The Third: None of this makes any sense.

I don't mean the instantaneous communication across vast distances in space or humans living forever. That suspension of disbelief is the price of admission. No, I mean the humans. Because...



Problem The Fourth: There is no sense of scale.

It is 2017. To belabor the obvious: the year 17776 is very far from now. However, nothing has changed except football. Nothing has changed in 15,000 years. Dude. No.

OK, ok, so technically, there's ~peace love and kittens~ and all that, which we are told about and never shows up as a thing at all. Especially since we're all post-scarcity and everything is awesome, but there are still beleaguered office workers? And general store owners and basically, enough signs that the current economy is still trucking along. Essentially the only difference is that football is now a game with states as end zones.

This would have worked better if this was fifty or a hundred or so years from now. That would be kinda cool. But 15,000 years?

Like, 15,000 years ago, I don't think agriculture was even a thing yet. And yet humanity has stagnated in such a way that nothing has really changed in 15,000 years except the coast looks different because some cities are underwater and we have magic nano robots to fix all injuries and everyone gets along?

"But this is just a clever little thing about how football could mutate?" okay well, then, why does he keep bringing it up and then going "lol no, that's just how it is now, no one knows why" and stuff like that? Why keep bringing it up just to dismiss it as irrelevant? Why does it spend so much time on it and Pioneer 9 asking about it?

There's any number of worldbuilding problems you can handwave off easily by just not pointing the sphere of attention in that direction. That is *not* what is being done here. It's more like "oh hey, I'll keep bringing up how bizarre and unlikely this is, just to dismiss it as a serious issue of inquiry". C'mon already. You put something under a direct spotlight and then decided to keep pointing at it and never doing anything about it. If you aren't going to explore this stuff or answer any questions, stop being a jerk about it. Going "oooh, oooh, oooh, I got a secret and I'm not telling" is probably fine for getting clicks, but it does nothing good to your story.

I mean, ffs, you don't just get to briefly sum up major accomplishments and then shrug it off with "you don't see any of those things because people didn't want them. If they advanced too much further technologically, those advances would inevitably intrude on their humanity. People wanted to walk. They wanted to take the bus that smelled like cigarettes. They wanted those precious three minutes between asking a question and knowing the answer.". (also, a minor rage that that's in an image and not text). Again, we are talking about 15,000 years. Where is your sense of scale??? Where is your basic sense of what humans are like???

(also, the idea that we've reached the ~~peak of human achievement that humans actually want to achieve~~ right now is fucking goddamn bullshit that I'm not even going to engage with. Like, the idea that we'll just press freeze on how things are now for middle class America and somehow somethingsomethingworldpeace somethingsomethingpostscarcity and not change a thing and just sit around and watch football all the time? For 15,000 years? This is such bullshit, I can't even begin.)

Like, the only way this makes any sense at all is if Pioneer 10 and JUICE are unreliable narrators and are making this entire thing up to troll Pioneer 9, except that is specifically addressed in the final chapter and denied. But I guess the question is, can we trust an unreliable narrator to admit to being unreliable? Because then there's also the title of the piece to take into account. It's just, it's such a massive part of the story, Pioneer 9 asking about this all the time. And then, no answers! Or, well, only answers that don't hold up at all. You have this mystery at the heart of it, but then you don't solve the mystery.

It's just, it's really frustrating, considering how cool some of this stuff is. :(



Oh, and also...

Problem The Fifth: Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer

This is just a minor nit, especially since it has happened IRL yet, but I feel like it's safe to assume that JUICE is gonna get thrown into Jupiter or something like that to destroy it? Why didn't they just go with the Voyagers or New Horizons or something like that? What, does the Immortalization Of Humans and somehow the Stagnation Of Human Achievement mean that the JUICE mission doesn't end?

FMK #20: Holmesiana

8 Aug 2017 18:31
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Last week's K winner was Hounded. I guess I do not get to read it and find out if the second-most-popular male UF lead gets sexually assaulted as often as Harry Dresden does. ;_;

The F winner was Truckers, which is good, since I went from thinking about urban fantasy tropes to reading old Marcone/Dresden fic to reading all the Vimes/Vetinari(/Sybil) fic to reading all the Watch books to working on that prompt about the First Sedoretu of Ankh-Morpork.

(Finally reading Snuff was what convinced that that okay, Vimes could manage to be married to Margolotta, they have many things in common and also he can see in the dark now and she and Sybil as pen pals is canon, so.)

...which also explains why I still don't have any more reviews for you, oops.

But! We have made it to FMK #20! Which means another non-SF option! This week: Holmesiania.

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Chabon, Douglas, Estleman, Gardner, Gilbert, Hall, King, Kurland, LeBlanc, Meyer, Peacock, Smith, Springer, Stout, Thomas, anthologies )

The Bright Sessions

9 Aug 2017 00:26
schneefink: (Kaylee with umbrella shiny)
[personal profile] schneefink
I've been checking out the podcasts you guys recommended and it's been great. Eventually I'll make a longer list of those I liked, but for now I want to talk about "The Bright Sessions," a fiction podcast about a therapist for patients with unusual abilities. I quickly got attached to the characters, and then in season two the plot really took off. Originally I just wanted to make a few notes for a future rec, but by the middle of season 2 I was making notes for almost every episode, so now you get a long list of episode reactions to distract myself from the cliffhanger at the end of season 3.

Season 1 )

Season 2 )

Season 3 )

Season 4 in October! I really look forward to it. And there will be a TV adaption too, I'm very curious.
In the meantime I'm thinking about what fic I want for Yuletide, because it's the season of worrying about Yuletide nominations.

Drabble

6 Aug 2017 19:51
lannamichaels: "For Shame!" "For the revolution!" (for shame)
[personal profile] lannamichaels


I was threatening to spite-write this, and then tonight my self-restraint failed me and I spite-wrote it :P Because, hey, if 17776!football can share just the game equipment and nothing else with current football, if we got that far in the future and the only thing at all to have changed is football, hey, why the hell not destroy baseball as we know it?



Drabble: After The Boys Of Summer Have Gone. (100 words) by Lanna Michaels
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: 17776: What Football Will Look Like in the Future - Jon Bois
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Additional Tags: Drabble, Worldbuilding, Baseball
Summary:

What baseball will look like in the future.



Ten Years A Peasant

5 Aug 2017 13:00
fadeaccompli: (determination)
[personal profile] fadeaccompli
I keep meaning to swing through here and do a sort of roundup of what media I've been trying out lately. More of the Laundry Files series, some great new space opera, nonfic on narratology, a variety of good TV shows... But I keep putting it off until I have the time and concentration to do it all.

Putting that off a while longer! But I realized that I really want to make sure people see this one. It's...well, a book, more or less? It's definitely a text memoir, with some illustrations. It was posted entirely on Tumblr, but there's an index. The whole book's done now, and there are prefaces going up, which reminds me of how good it is.

Ten Years A Peasant is the memoir of a man who was one of the sent-down youth who moved from the city to a very rural village because of the Cultural Revolution. He's writing now from in the US, where his children live, and his children helped with translation and annotation, as well as finding illustrations and putting it online. (There are occasional editorial notes to explain puns, jokes, wordplay, and points being made with particular Chinese characters.) It's the memoir of someone who's several decades removed from the experience, but also clearly found it the most formative part of his entire life.

And it's just...fascinating. The rigorous, brutal, clannish conditions that a lot of city kids were suddenly thrust into. The author's cheerful determination to make it work. The political enthusiasm of those kids and most of their neighbors, the political threat of accidentally praising the wrong person at the wrong time. The traditional labor that had been working for three thousand years and the author discovering why the tradition has stuck: because it's functional. The shift and change of incoming technology, and how to deal with it. Village politics and city politics, and learning how to silently manage between them. Everyone working around the rules, and everyone using rules to get things done. Cheery intervillage theft and retribution and competition and banding together against other people who don't understand.

I came away deeply impressed by the author, at that, who seems to have been an exceptional young man. He doesn't try to puff himself up; but his straightforward descriptions of how he tried to learn things, or adjust around problems, and what he did when problems hit him in the face, were really something. I wish I'd been half that determined and full of ingenuity when I was the age he described.

As he says in the preface, discussing when he showed his first chapter to friends:

My compatriots’ reactions were varied – some even said “it has a certain historical value." The initial motivation for writing these essays was for my children, but if it can have a bit of historical value, that is beyond what I’d hoped.

At the time, sending over 17 million youth into the countryside felt like a very big deal, but compared to the several hundred million migrant workers who have since left their homes to work in the cities, it seems barely worth a mention. And in another few decades, we will be gone and these eclectic stories would further disappear like the smoke.

It's just...really, really interesting, and a great book. (Besides, it's a memoir, so you know the guy going through all that trouble got out okay.) I highly recommend it.

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