All posts tagged pathetic

The morning was okay, but…

Published July 24, 2020 by Iphis of Scyros

…the afternoon got ugly.  (Like, I’m not gonna be able to renew my plates until fall ugly.  Which means no driving after the end of this month.  Because this state is evil.)

Uh, anyway.  I got some random little stuff done today.  A few notes here and there on various things in the world-building template, and a little bit of work on the myths for the France-like country.  And I proof-read the Wonder Woman fix-it fic.

And then because the afternoon was so horrible, I ended up posting two more chapters to the Velvet Goldmine fanfic I’m in the middle of posting, and the entirety of the Wonder Woman fic.  (I have to admit to a certain amount of curiosity if anyone’s even going to read it, let alone like it.  Literally everything else in that fandom that had “fix-it” as one of it tags seemed to be about stupid Steve Trevor.  Ugh.  The entire Greek pantheon is infinitely more important than one annoying dude who’d be dead by the present anyway!)

So…yeah, not really the greatest day ever, as far as my Camp NotNaNo experience goes, but I’ve had worse!

Time today:  59 minutes

Total time in July to date: 24:06:18.26

IWSG: What happened?

Published June 3, 2020 by Iphis of Scyros

I can’t believe it’s June already.  So little is happening in my life. 😦

I have at least accomplished one thing during this lockdown, writing-wise, and that’s to have written a 63k Regency-era gay romance.  Uh, okay, calling it a “gay romance” is going too far, especially since it’s only fanfiction.  (And there’s a pretty heavy emphasis on a straight romantic relationship as well as the gay one, though the straight relationship was supposed to be more of a side thing.)  Still, apart from the language starting to modernize towards the end and one reference to the Epic of Gilgamesh, I don’t think I did too much that was anachronistic, so that at least is a win, right?  (I’m going to have to replace the Gilgamesh reference in editing, probably with either the Illiad or the Aeneid, but neither of them fits as perfectly as Gilgamesh, sadly.)

Anyway, I tried to go back to my usual fare (in fact, to something I had left unfinished in order to write the Emma fusion) but it simply has not been working.  I kept dithering and trying to get out of writing the next scene because it was a confrontation with a character I don’t really “get” and thus don’t write well.  But said scene is one of the ones I’ve been planning the longest, and I have some very concrete plans for it, even with a little bit of dialog prepared.  And yet I could not motivate myself to write it.

So, I took that as a sign that I needed to do something else for a while, and decided to do another revision/rewrite on my low-fantasy-with-a-slight-element-of-steampunk.  And I get to the first page, a recruiting poster for an international trading company, and realize that no, before I can properly work on this dang thing, I need to actually finish my worldbuilding, rather than just going blithely along only making up what it feels like I’ll need for this book.  (It’s the first in a series, y’see.)

But the more I’m thinking about it while staring at that first page, the more I’m thinking it feels like a video game’s intro text.  See, a while back, I backed a game on Kickstarter called Silk (now available on Steam and Switch), which is a retro-style game in which you’re a trader on the Silk Road in the later Roman Empire.  (Not super-late, mind you.  But not the early heights, either.)  That was one of the main things I was thinking about in this decision, along with the trading mini-game in my favorite ever RPG series, Suikoden.

So, my current project is not to write fiction, but to write the text of a video game.  There are a number of programs that don’t require too much programming knowledge in order to actually make a game (I’m currently thinking of using RPG Maker, specifically), but I’m going to lay out the basic text and stuff before I even look into the idea of assembling the game itself.  It’s going to force me to do a lot of the stuff that I normally leave for the end or even side-step around, like hammering out names and trying to figure out what the world map looks like.  (Of course, I can’t draw worth a darn, so I’m going to try and use a site that I found ages ago that lets you design maps online.  It’s intended more for the use of DMs of D&D sessions, but it should work fine for my purposes, too.  Naturally, if I end up actually making the game (never a sure thing that I’ll follow through on anything), I’d have to redesign the map in-engine, but at least I’d know what it looked like.  And more importantly, I’ll know what it looks like as I move forward in writing the other books, so I know how possible or impossible it is for my characters to want to go from place A to place B, and how many places need to be in between.)

I put together a list already of the nations of the world of the books/game, starting with just the ones I already had defined or planned, which really forced me to confront just how Eurocentric the original plan was:  it started out with a whopping five countries based on European cultures (though it’s a fantasy world, each culture is inspired by/based on a real one), whereas Africa only had three (of which I had only specified two), and South America only had one.  (North America had four…unless you decide to split off Central America as its own continent.  I can’t help it; I spent several semesters studying the cultures of Mexico pre- and immediately post-European contact, so of course I had to include both the Mexica (aka Aztecs) and the Maya.  And unlike so many other people, I am absolutely not going to combine them.)  So I’ve evened it out now, with five countries on each of the major continents, though I have to research before I can even decide what some of the other cultures I’m being inspired by even are (especially in terms of African cultures, which I am sadly less knowledgeable about than any other continent), and still only the one country on the smaller continent, though depending how big I make it, I may put several “tribes” in that country to allow more varied influence from the Oceanic cultures.  Of course, this kind of research would be a lot easier if the world wasn’t still in COVID lockdown (though my area is starting to reopen, which is not necessarily a good thing, in my opinion, as I think it’s too early and is going to lead to a renewed outbreak, to say nothing of the spiraling descent of this country into a police state) and I could go to the library or even the bookstore.  Though at least bookstores deliver. 😉  (Technically, libraries also have curbside pick-up and stuff in some areas, but realistically for this kind of stuff I’d rather get books from the university library than a regular one anyway, and I don’t think I get to check out books from the university library anymore, given that I graduated some time ago. 😛  )

Overall, it should be fun to work with the nitty-gritty of developing the whole world, advancing various cultures along their relative historical paths until they all match up to the same level of technology (mid- to late 19th century) with various extra factors added to world development and certain other factors removed.  The added factors are primarily the giant animals (the oceans are too dangerous due to the giant sea monsters, so all international travel is by means of animal-powered airships, many pulled/carried by giant birds, bats and even insects, though of course the standard winged horses are also present) and the magic-like effects of various alchemical potions.  It’s the removed factors that make it especially fun, though.  Due to a mystical event (central to the overarching story of the series), one thousand years before the action of the novels, the world was made to forget that war had ever existed.  On top of that, there is no colonialism (in part because everyone is at a common technological level since every nation has access to various flying animals for airships, and in part due to magically-repressed race memory of the entire human species having been forced to serve the fae for many thousands of years) and no religious strife, as no religions ever developed that sought out converts.  However, the effects of the mystical event are beginning to wear off, so while very few people realize that there used to be wars in the distant past, war has been returning over the last century, leading to the novels taking place in such chaotic times that many people were beginning to think they were living in the end times.  (Ack, that reminds me:  I need to figure out what each culture thinks the afterlife is like.)

So, yeah, bottom line is it’s very different from anything I’ve tried to write before (while still being directly related to something I’ve already written) so hopefully it will help to rejuvenate my writing brain.  Or re-energize it, or whatever it is it needs.

IWSG: A Strange Self-Realization

Published March 4, 2020 by Iphis of Scyros

So, not long ago, someone who had been an intern under my supervision asked me for a letter of recommendation. As I was writing said letter, I came to a sudden and actually somewhat alarming realization about myself and the way I process the world around me.

You know how some people are said to miss the forest for the trees? Well, I realized that I have no trouble seeing the forest or the leaves, but I miss the trees altogether.

I know that sounds nuts, but…it is what it is, you know? I have no trouble with the big, broad, sweeping ideas, but the basics elude me, even as I get bogged down in the minutiae.

And this applies to my fiction writing in all kinds of ways. When I’m approaching a new project, I always have this broad strokes idea of roughly what I want it to be or where I want it to go, and I know little things I want to have happen here and there, but I have a great deal of difficulty scraping together the connecting tissue like the actual events of the plot, and sometimes even the characters.

Unfortunately, as this is a very basic “how my brain works” kind of thing, I’m not sure what, if anything, I can hope to do about it. I mean, it does, at least, give me a clue as to how to approach my problem areas, but…

Amusingly, I’m kind of living it right now. I had this big idea, and some little details, and now I’m floundering with everything else.

I’m going to have to spend a while just trying to think of a way to work around this, I guess.

IWSG – Looking Back on NotNaNo

Published December 4, 2019 by Iphis of Scyros

Obviously, it was surreal not to be officially taking part in NaNoWriMo.  This is the first time since 2011 that I haven’t done it.

And yet I was still doing it, just not officially.  I still wrote 50,000+ words over the course of November.  A lot more than the 55k I counted, in fact, since I was also posting daily to this blog in order to leave an “official” tally.  (Though technically there was one day that had no post and one that had two, because I took so long one particular day that the post didn’t go up until after midnight.)

Of course, I didn’t do things the normal way in any other regard, either.  I didn’t drop what I had been writing to go straight on to my brand new project.  I didn’t get to the new project until almost halfway through the month.   I don’t know if that was why the new project didn’t really work out for me, or if it was just the exceptionally half-baked way I had planned it out.

I think a little of both, probably.

After giving up on it and letting the failure percolate for a while, I think I’ve nailed down why it didn’t work.  It wasn’t just that it didn’t gel with me, or that I didn’t have any idea who the villain was or even what they were trying to do; I’m such a pantser that I tend to proceed more on momentum than anything else, after all.   And I think that’s what killed it.  I was adhering too closely to the plot that I had generated via Querent (see this post for details), and it mentioned that the thing that almost stops the heroes from setting out on their journey has a wish-fulfillment aspect to it.  So I had them escape the destruction of the pub where they met by passing through the space-time fluctuation that was destroying it (long story) and end up in the very distant past, on a rather paradisaical world, so the wish-fulfillment was just going to be them getting to stay there.  The werewolf secondary heroine was going to be protected from her transformation because there aren’t any moons orbiting that planet, and the main heroine was…um…actually, nothing I came up with even seemed like an adequate wish to fulfill, which is (most likely) part of the reason I was getting derailed.  I was planning on having the king there offer her a major court position, which was to take the place of whatever she would have accomplished if she hadn’t dropped out of what amounts to a magical PhD program, but…she hadn’t really been seeking her degree out of a sense of ambition, so it didn’t really hit that wish-fulfillment goal.

More importantly, because they emerged out of a tense situation into one that was blissful and safe, they had no reason to get closer to each other, and instead their differing personalities (to say nothing of the heroine’s anti-social tendencies) drove them apart, making it completely unlikely that they would ever want to set out on a journey together.

I should have had them emerge into a terrible place, and if I wanted to follow the generated plot by having a nobleman try to stop them going on their quest, it should have been by imprisoning them, not by offering them plush jobs at his court.

I plan to return to it eventually and do it right, with them coming out into a terrible place that forces a bond of friendship to grow between them, but I’m not going to bother until I have at least some idea of who the villain is or at least what the villain wants to do and why they want to stop them.

Meanwhile, I’m just going to keep writing whatever floats around in my crazy brain.

For example…

…I went to see a movie today.  Knives Out, which was absolutely fantastic.  (And I don’t like murder mysteries as a genre, so the fact that I completely loved it is really saying something.  Especially considering how likable the victim was, unlike in Murder on the Orient Express, where the victim was an utter monster and you were glad he’d been horribly and repeatedly stabbed.)  I now have two stories I want to write.

The first, obviously, is a murder mystery (though how I’d write one when I don’t like the genre and never read them is beyond me), but also a fanfiction and slightly…not exactly a fusion with Knives Out, but close, in that the reason I want to write it is because Toni Colette was in Knives Out, as well as in the movie that is my obsession, Velvet Goldmine.  So now I want to write a story wherein Mandy Slade remarries and then her new father-in-law is killed at a party in his enormous, isolated manor house filled with his suspicious family.  It’ll require a lot more planning than I usually do (being almost incapable of writing anything that isn’t sheer pants (in the British sense as well as the “writing by the seat of my pants” sense)) but I should be able to write it, even if it may not turn out very good.

The other…I don’t even know how to describe what it would be.  So, there was this trailer for a movie called Antebellum.  For the life of me, I have no idea what the movie is about.  It looked like they were editing together pieces of three different movies.  It’s probably a horror flick, given the creepy little girl.  (Or rather, it looked like they were taking a Civil War/antebellum South movie, a modern drama and an evil-little-girl horror flick and editing them together (with the occasional literal overlap, like a horse-drawn carriage on a modern city street), so that probably means it’s the latter with trappings of the former two.)  But as my brother and I were discussing the trailers on the way home, we were talking about that one and trying to figure out just what the heck it actually is, and he came to the conclusion I just described, about it being a horror movie, but with, like, time travel or something, and I said how it could be something more novel, like it had a Megazone 23-style setting (wait, is it 23 or 32?), so that the whole thing is actually on a space ship or space station or whatever, and the little girl is patching between different zones of it.  We both agreed that would be much more interesting than whatever likely is actually going on.  I went one further by saying how it could look like it was an evil-creepy-child situation, only then it turns out the creepy little girl is actually the heroine, because she’s able to go into these zones and rescue the clueless inhabitants from their Matrix-like imprisonment.  We both agreed that was definitely not what’s going on in that movie…but now I want to write a story where that is what’s going on.  Dunno if I’ll ever get to that one.  It would be dipping into a lot of genres I don’t read or watch (though obviously I would pick a different past era than the antebellum South, picking instead one I actually like and know a bit about) and again I’d have to do a lot of planning first.  Still, I intend to let it percolate around in my broken brain and see if anything useful dribbles out later on down the line.



Ew, that sounded really gross.

Um, anyway, rather than either of those things, my next writing projects are likely to be two very odd fanfiction pieces I now have ideas for.  Probably my favorite thing I wrote this past month — and certainly the most unexpected thing I wrote — was a fanfiction fusion combining Velvet Goldmine and Henry V.  (A fusion being different from a cross-over in that it’s literally reworking the world so — wait, let me give examples instead.  Mickey’s Christmas Carol, in which Mickey Mouse & co. actually were the characters from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is an example of a fusion, while the comic book stories that have universes collide, people or ships pop across dimensions, etc., would be examples of cross-overs.  (Crossovers are apparently very common in comic books, to hear my brother tell it.  And I’m not talking about two books by the same company happening to converge; I’m talking about things like DC and Marvel cooperating to have their heroes meet each other, or things that let the crew of the Enterprise meet the Doctor.  (And yes, both of those have happened in comic books.  Published, official ones.))

Anyway, I had thought about doing fusions for a few other literary films those actors made (specifically Midsummer Night’s Dream and Emma) only it seemed a bit too complicated.  But I just worked out how to do both of them, so I’m going to see if I can get those done in time to turn in at least one more of them for the Yuletide event.  Emma may be too complex to get done in time, but the other I think there’s a good chance of.

IWSG – Untitled

Published October 2, 2019 by Iphis of Scyros

So, I had this post planned out where I was going to spend the whole time bitching about how the new NaNoWriMo site is broken and hideous and it’s completely killed my desire even to participate, and…

…but I’m not gonna write that post, because I don’t want to just sit here soaking in negativity.

Then I thought I’d write about the monthly question (which I haven’t even looked at in ages, lol) only it turns out I really don’t have anything to say about this month’s optional question.  So instead I shall flounder about for something to say.

I haven’t really been doing much writing lately.  I mean, I try, but I keep failing to get much done.  Not because I have no drive to write and not because I’ve hit a wall in what I’m writing, but because it’s just too freakin’ hot.  I mean, today’s October 1st (pre-writing) and it was over 90° today!  (Which is over 32° for those of you living in civilized countries where you learned metric everything instead of this backwards place.  Are we, like, the only country in the world that hasn’t gone metric yet?  (Although, I have to say, “90” sounds a lot more impressively awful as a temperature than “32” does.  So that’s one small something to be said for Fahrenheit…))

And no, I don’t live in a tropical area where that’s normal.  When I was a kid, October would have been in the 50s or 60s.  Maybe 70s if I was a particularly warm fall.  But those days are long gone.  And yet some people still deny climate change.  Ugh.

Anyway, my body has basically overloaded on hot weather, as far as I can tell, and is violently insisting that any, say, contact between two parts of my body (arm and side, for example) is being interrupted by a frying pan just pulled out of the fire.  Makes it very hard to find a position to sit in to write that doesn’t end up being brutally uncomfortable.  In consequence of which, I haven’t been able to get much writing done.  But a cold front is supposed to move through Wednesday night (or was it Thursday morning) and the rest of the ten day forecast is much more seasonal, so maybe I’ll be able to start writing again.  And sleeping through the night without being woken up by feeling like I’m lying on top of a stove.

It’s a pity that I can’t write for such annoyingly external reasons, because my current story is going pretty well.  My half-pantser/half-plotter method sometimes means I end up with a convoluted mess with an entirely unstable tone, but sometimes it means that as I’m going along I have a terrific idea that ties everything together and fills in holes I had in my plan up until that moment.  I had one of those “aha!” moments just the other day; the main plot of the piece is about a journalist writing a story about the disappearance of a fellow journalist, who the police won’t go looking for, and having no other way to go about it, he ends up investigating the story she had been working on, about the thirty year anniversary of an actor’s defection.  (This is set in 1984, btw.)  So, I knew all along that it was in some way because of that story that she disappeared, but I didn’t know quite why, but then a random little detail I threw in about some of the other research the journalist was doing into the defection told me exactly what the cover-up was that the first journalist had stumbled onto (or that someone at least thought she had stumbled onto) that made her a target.

I’m still left with the nagging question of “so did they get her, or is she in hiding somewhere, and if they got her, is she still alive, or did they kill her?”  It’s a hard question to answer.  I tend to write light, fluffy stuff, so part of me just wants to say “yeah, it was a narrow shave, but she managed to get somewhere safe” but part of me is saying “the journalist’s story is going to have more impact if she was captured and/or killed, so that the exposé can get the crooked politician behind the cover-up impeached.”  See, it’s not set in the real 1984, but an alternate, slightly dystopian one.  Like, in the previous story that this is a sequel to, I had an editor tell the journalist that unlike the man who owned the magazine, he wasn’t a “rabid” liberal, because “if it weren’t for the censorship and the martial law, I’d quite like President Reynolds.”  It’s that kind of a dystopia, you know?  Not so far removed from reality that it’s unimaginable for it to happen (the martial law having first been declared after the attempted assassination in 1981, which I figure would have happened regardless of who was president, since it wasn’t in the slightest bit about Reagan’s politics) but still just off enough that we get jarring statements like that from someone who claims to be at least somewhat politically opposed to the administration.

I might do a halfway between them solution, where she was captured by whichever government agency was stalking her, but a whistleblower-type inside the agency had protected her from any serious negative consequences.  Dunno.  I’ll have to see how it feels when I get there, I guess…

…only who knows when I’ll be able to get there if things don’t cool off first.

Abandoned Book Report: The Alchemyst

Published December 13, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Right, so I may have said before how part of the reason I was more or less stymied in my blogging was because of a book review post on one of my Read Harder choices.  And I have decided not to bother actually finishing the review.  Because a) why torture myself?  And b) I read it in like June and really don’t remember much.

Except that I hated it.  I remember that.

And that the author’s afterword about the real people who inspired the not-actually-the-hero (Nicholas Flamel) and the villain (Dr. John Dee) was way more interesting than the actual book.  (BTW, I was proud of myself, in the early pages, for identifying the latter figure just by his being called Dee.)

I’m including what little I had written (back in August) of the review, and summing up the rest with:  the teenage twins who were the leads were utterly boring, the girl had zero agency throughout the book (her magic was stronger, but the two times she used it to save the day were not her triumph, because in one case it was an accident, and in the other she was literally being controlled by someone else), and their parents were apparently con artists posing as archaeologists, because absolutely everything the twins said about their parents’ work was wrong and backwards.  (FYI, author of this awful book, archaeologists have a culture or region they specialize in, and they do not go gallivanting all over the freakin’ world excavating in every random culture they feel like.  They only work in the one they’ve specialized in.  Traveling the world to lecture or do a book tour, yes, but excavating any old ancient civ?  No.  Doesn’t happen.  Also, children do not need to have archaeologist parents to know who Bastet is.  I knew that from a very early age, because I read books.  And yes, parents who are not archaeologists do give their children books on world mythology.)

This was a young adult book, either about the same length as the first Harry Potter book, or a bit shorter.  But it took me a whole month to read it, because I had so much trouble forcing myself to endure it.

Also, using “Alchemyst” to refer to Flamel as an epithet in narration was really, really annoying.  “Olde English Shoppe” names notwithstanding, I don’t think anyone ever spelled the word alchemist that way.   And if they did, it was when English spelling was so loose that it probably would have been spelled five different ways in the same document.

Anyway, thanks to replacing some of my originally intended books with much, much shorter ones, I now only have one book left to go in Read Harder 2018 (if it weren’t for this stinkbomb, I would have finished back in the summer months, before my fall class started!), so once I’ve read that (and it’s a manga, so it won’t take long, once I force myself to start) I’m going to post a group book report on the rest of them.

And what follows is the small amount I wrote back in August.  Complete with the “note to self” material in brackets that I normally would delete as I replaced it with the proper text.

Part of the reason it’s taken me so long to post again after the last post is that this review is going to be really hard and frustrating to write.  In part because it’s now been like two months since I finished reading this book, and in part because I really don’t even want to think about it again.

This is my review for Read Harder 2018 Challenge #16, “The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series.”

Where do I even start?

Well, at the very beginning, I guess.  Which, in this case, is when and why I bought this book.  I had recently finished writing my quasi-YA series about three young heroes who were all illegitimate offspring of heroes of the Trojan War.  (The boy being a genuine mythological figure, and the two girls being my own inventions.)  As I had ludicrous delusions of being able to polish the books up to a publishable state, I wanted to make sure they fit in with the basic YA crowd.  As such, I wanted to read some other first-in-a-series YA books before I started editing the first book.  And I saw this at the bookstore and thought it sounded interesting.

And as the back of the book pushed the title character, the immortal Nicholas Flamel, rather than the two utterly boring modern teenagers who were the actual leads, it did sound interesting.

[okay, for attacking their asinine claims about their parents’ discoveries, the archaeologists who accidentally discovered Homo floresiensis were Australian and Indonesian, not American, and they were looking for evidence of how humans migrated from Asia to Australia.  That is highly specified work which would not take just any random archaeologist who was used to working with fully developed cultures.]

Missing Letter Monday No “F” – Worrying

Published February 12, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

You ever think “yeah, this is it; I’m going to be sacked any day now” or something like that?

That’s what’s been going through my mind lately.

I think I’m just being kept around until my exhibit opens, so that I can be the one to go down when the board hates it and/or it causes a publicity nightmare.  (It’s already two weeks late in opening.  Not really anything I could have done about it — display cases needed to be bought, and that’s not something I’m authorized to do — but I could and likely will still be assigned the blame.)

Were I being told the truth about that, it wouldn’t bother me so much.

Only I’m totally not.  Every time I bring the subject up to my co-workers, they assure me that I’m being paranoid and that’d never happen.

I don’t know why they think I’d believe that.  I’m totally untrained to hold this job, and I suck at it.

Why wouldn’t they send me packing?

I mean, I don’t even know why they didn’t do it ages ago.


Missing Letter Monday No “V” – Another Author’s Oracle Tag

Published October 30, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

So, in trying to decide what to post for my last Missing Letter Monday until December (yeah, it’s going away for NaNo), I looked through to see what I’d done in the past with this letter, and found this post with a series of questions for an author to answer about their current WIP.  And I decided that hey, I could just answer the questions again, only this time for the project I’m going to work on next month.  These questions were initially encountered on Sara Letourneau’s blog, in an open-ended “consider yourself tagged if you’re reading this” kind of thing.  So I guess that means I’m re-self-tagging?

Er….anyway…on to the questions, though (as before) I used some * in the questions when this week’s forbidden letter came up.

The Author’s Oracle Questions

The answers this time are going to be NaNo prep, for next month’s project, which I am planning as the first in a series.  (Who knows what I’ll actually end up writing, but…)  I keep putting off filling out the cool character sheet I found on the NaNo forums, so maybe this will help me with that.  It’s a genre-ignoring project with elements of the fantastic, elements of steampunk, and an LGBT romance.  And giant eagles.  Because all things are better with giant eagles.

0. The Fool: Which of your characters is the most intuiti*e?  The worst decision-maker?

The best decision-maker would be Ouden, the 12 year old girl on the crew of the airship.  She considers herself the one who keeps Cal, the captain, from dying all the time, and she’s pretty much right about that.  As to the worst…hmm.  That’s a tie between Cal and Elliot (the romantic leads), but for different reasons.  Cal is extremely passionate, and short-tempered.  He acts on impulse, but he’s also slow to trust, so he’ll do dumb things because he doesn’t trust someone yet, only then once he does trust them, he’d bend the fabric of reality if he could for someone important to him.  He was hurt horribly not too long before the book starts, so he’s become more slow to trust than before.  Elliot, on the other hand, is the ultimate naïf.  I mean, the guy took a madam’s word for it that she was just sheltering him out of the goodness of her heart, and had no idea she was charging the men who were also just taking shelter in the same room with him and who just happened to want to sleep with him.  (In his defense, he is quite young (about nineteen) and recently ran away from his sheltered home on the family farm.)

I. The Magician: What character, location, or object has the most positi*e influence in your story?

(OMG, I skipped this one last time!)  Probably Cal’s airship, the Audacity.  The cast would be utterly lost without it.  Although Cal wouldn’t be hunted without it, so maybe it’s not all good. Read the rest of this entry →

IWSG – Not Missin’ THIS Month!

Published October 4, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Yup, pre-writing this two weeks ago, to make sure I don’t miss it!  (Because of course nothing will change between then and now, right?)

I’ll probably tack on an actual post at the end of this, but in the mean time, I’ll just real quick answer the question of the month for October (which oddly has nothing to do with Halloween!):

Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Hmm.  I have surprisingly little personal information.  (LOL, that sounds crazy!)  But, really, by nature I’d spend all day hiding at home and doing whatever I pleased (reading, writing, gaming, toy collecting, shopping for more toys), and that means that’s what I tend to do when I have free time, so I have very little that’s the sort of thing they probably mean in this question:  no romantic ties, no children, etc.

On the other hand, the main character of my July CampNaNo work was essentially a self-insert into my current fandom obsession, so there’s a lot there that’s me:  total lack of social skills, asexual/aromantic, doll collector, museum employee, easily compelled into strange obsessions (but not in a creepy way), gamer, anime fan, Vocaloid fan, totally ignorant of 90% of popular music past and present, resident of this city, and 42 years old.  So, yeah, I guess I’ve slipped a lot of my personal information into a character on purpose!  But I doubt the work will ever be read.  I’m going to admit that she’s a self-insert in the (likely to be copious) author’s notes at the beginning, and probably in the summary, too, and self-insert characters are the Kryptonite of most fanfic readers.  (I find it highly amusing, possibly even ironic, that as I write these words, I am listening to a song “performed” by three Vocaloids produced by a company called Crypton Future Media.)  Of course, those notes will also explain that she’s just the vessel through which the readers are taking a tour of the 2017 edition of the slightly dystopian 1984 in the movie (and just like in reality, 2017 is infinitely worse than 1984) and hunting for clues as to what’s happened to the characters we know and love in the intervening decades, so maybe a few open minded fans will read it, but…heck, my stuff is only read by a few people anyway. Read the rest of this entry →

IWSG: Conflicted

Published March 1, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

So I’m back to being insecure again.  (This, I suppose, should come as no great surprise.  If I wasn’t prone to insecurity, why would I be taking part in the support group, right?)

After some SNAFU stuff on the NaNo forums regarding my nearly submitting my 2013 NaNo novel for self-pub, I made a pledge to myself that “screw it; I’m never publishing anything, and that’ll teach those jerks!”  (And no, that didn’t entirely make sense even at the time.  And the people in question were not trying to be jerks.  (Most of them weren’t, anyway.)  But it’s one of those heat-of-the-moment resolutions that becomes firm and feels permanent, because you feel like you’ll have lost if you go back on it.)

After that, I took the smart path of withdrawing from the NaNo forums for the next couple of years, but I don’t learn too good (poor grammar intended), and so I’ve been active on the forums again.

And this time the guy really was trying to be a jerk.

Basically, he said that I’ll be a racist if anyone in my entire novel has a different skin color from everyone else.

Yes, he was advocating an entire planet of uniform skin color.

And he thought that was somehow less racist than having a diverse world.  Ugh.  (And keep in mind, I neither said anything about nor intend to introduce any ethnic stereotyping or prejudices.  It’s a world very unlike our own, without our social construction of “race”.  They have some prejudices, of course, but they’re based on culture and nationality.  (Read any 19th century work wherein the English discuss people from other European nations, and you’ll see the kind of thing I mean.)  But really even those prejudices are unlikely to come up much, because it’s a steampunk/fantasy adventure with heavy doses of m/m romance.  They’re going to be much too busy flying around the world looking for the pieces of the McGuffin and flirting/having sex for weighty social issues to come up much.  Because I write light escapism.)

So, because he said all this crap about the world I’m trying to put together for a series of novels I haven’t even begun to start writing yet, I feel like “now I have to publish it just to prove that f***er wrong.”

But that is in direct opposition to the 2013 doctrine of “never publish anything ever no matter what!”

Which puts me in a weird emotional bind.  All the more weird considering I haven’t even named the main characters yet.  (Well, it kind of grew out of an AU fanfic idea, so for my plotting purposes I’ve been using the names of the movie characters.  Though at this point there’s not much similarity between my characters and the movie ones.)

It’s probably a moot point.  I’ll probably finish the first draft of book one (assuming I ever start writing the thing) and go “wow, this is irredeemably terrible” and go back to writing other stuff.  (That is, after all, what usually happens.  Like my 2012 NaNo novel, the last time I tried to spin an original novel out of a fanfic idea.  I was enjoying writing it at first, but by the time I was done I was just like “ugh, I never wanna see this piece of trash ever again!” and I haven’t opened the file since.)

Anyway, amusingly enough, this all kind of ties in to this month’s optional question

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Because that 2013 NaNo novel?  It was the result when I finally got around to writing something I’d been planning since I was 18.  (So the idea was almost twenty years old.)  I think I had actually started writing it back in the summer of my 18th year, but…not sure what ever happened to the manuscript.  (And I guarantee it had zero similarity to what I eventually wrote.)

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