writer’s blues

All posts tagged writer’s blues

IWSG – I forgot! (Again!)

Published May 4, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Somehow, I ended up forgetting my post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group again.  Ugh.  (But at least it wasn’t twice in a row!)

What’s bugging me right now as a writer (and yes, I realize it’s pointless to go into it when I’m a day late, but…I’m doing so anyway) is that it seems like I’m more interested  in dreaming up scenarios than I am in writing out the stories.  I’m still working on the same project I was this time last month, and have gotten very little accomplished on it in the past month.  (Though in my own defense, I did have to spend half the month working on class projects, to the exclusion of all else.)  Meanwhile, I’ve come up with a bunch of other plots I’d like to explore.  (One of them just hit me today, in fact.)

I don’t know if it’s just the way my brain’s wired or what, but it’s starting to get frustrating.  The feeling that I can’t ever finish anything because I get tired of it and want to work on something else.  (Even though I do actually finish a lot of first drafts.  But only first drafts.)  Which is one thing when I get snatched away by different characters (it’s always the characters that compel me into whatever I’m writing, not the story), but when it’s just the idea of putting the characters in a different situation…it starts to feel very counter-productive.

Though I guess my writing is always counter-productive, since it’s taking away time I could spend on actually productive activities like cleaning my horrific house.

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.)

IWSG – Detail-oriented

Published November 2, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

I’ve been thinking about some of my problems doing research for historical fiction (whether set hundreds of years ago, or just a few decades back) because it’s always sort of irked me that I, someone studying history in a post-graduate setting, have so much trouble with writing period pieces that actually feel period-appropriate.

If you asked someone what it takes to write — or research — a good piece of historical fiction, they’d probably tell you that you need a detail-oriented mind, or at least strong attention to detail in your research.  And I always feel like I’m pretty detail-oriented in my research, so why do I have so much trouble?

I think I finally figured it out.  It’s because I’m too caught up in the details.  I spend so long looking into one little thing that I miss the big picture.  (The same applies to researching a location as the setting for a story.  I’ll be so caught up in what the architecture should look like or what kind of trees grow there that I’ll miss big, basic stuff like the general lay of the land.)

Unfortunately, I haven’t the foggiest what to do about the problem.  But I guess since I long ago decided that I didn’t even want to publish my writing, it probably doesn’t really matter.  If no one’s gonna read it, it can be as inaccurate as I please.  (Not that it pleases me to be inaccurate, but if I missed something in my initial research, then I’m probably not really aware that it’s inaccurate, right?)


This post has been pre-written last week, ’cause I’m busy working on my NaNo novel right now.

IWSG – The NeverReady Story

Published October 5, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

Please don’t kill me.  I know it’s a lame post title.

So for once I actually looked at the monthly theme for the IWSG post, and it was “When do you know your story is ready?”

I actually have two answers to that.  One for my original works, and one for my fanfiction, which I’m sorry to say has completely taken over my (writing) life since I allowed myself to return to it for July’s CampNaNo.

The original works answer is easiest, and the reason for the post’s titles:  they’re never ready.

There was a time when I thought differently.  When I thought they could be polished up and presented to the world.  But then I stopped and actually looked at what I was writing, and realized that no, they absolutely could not be.  So, I write them, and maybe polish a little, make a few changes to things that really bug me about them, and then I just let them be.

I know it probably seems like a terrible waste of time to write hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of words with no intention of ever letting anyone else read them, but…since no one would read them even if I released them into the wilds of the Internet, what would be the point?  It’d be a much bigger waste of time to go through re-write after re-write, trying vainly to make dull stories and uninteresting characters into anything other than what they are, only to fail spectacularly and only sell one or two copies (at $1.99 or less), and even then only to friends and family who would only give very polite “how nice for you” responses.

Now, for fanfiction, it’s a bit different.  Because there’s no expectation of perfection in fanfiction (although I wish other writers would at least edit their stuff before posting it!), no one’s going to criticize for a mistake or twenty, and even major characterization errors can go uncommented upon.  Plus there’s a built-in audience in the form of other fans of the original work, so a few people will actually read what I’ve written, unlike what would happen if I tried self-publishing my original fiction.

And, of course, for fanfiction, I’m in 100% control, so I can always go back and change something even after I’ve posted it online.

So for fanfiction, it’s easier to decide something is “ready.”  I’ve developed a process:

  1. I let it sit for a little while, and write something else.
  2. I give it the once over, looking for major mistakes, and places where whole sections might need to be torn down and replaced.
  3. I give the twice over?  Well, whatever you wanna call it.  I look it over again for mistakes and needed changes.
  4. Let it simmer a while longer.
  5. At least two more passes looking for errors and changes.
  6. Edit something else.
  7. Return to it, and if I can read it two or three times without wanting to change anything, it’s probably ready.  That’s when I run the spellcheck….which is complicated in this new fandom, because I like to change the dictionary setting so that the English character’s POV uses English spellings, and the American character’s POV uses American spellings.  Kind of weird, yeah, but I’d feel like it was lacking all attempts at verisimilitude if my British character (inside his own head) was talking about “color” and “honor” instead of “colour” and “honour”.
  8. Then I read it over one last time as I’m posting it online.
  9. Then I sit back and watch people ignore it.

Of course, that’s for short fanfiction.  I’m not sure yet how to handle the novella-and-longer stuff.  (July’s word tally was 155k.  And I’ve got another about 55k that I’ve written since.)  It’s going to be a variation on the theme above, I guess.

Missing Letter Mondays – No “O”

Published September 5, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

Fanfic

Sadly,
It has taken charge in my brain
After all.
I lack any strength,
Can’t prevent further abuse.

It’s fun, naturally.
Sexy guys,
Dancing in my head,
At a tune that is in my imagining.
Maybe…
A bit lacking depth.
(Me and what I’m writing.)

But…
Everything else I write
Lacks depth as well,
Thus what’s the difference?
(Except these guys have
Real faces.)


MLM icon init MLM O

IWSG – Post CampNaNo

Published August 3, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

Though CampNaNo is over, I don’t feel the usual release I have after the actual NaNo.  Normally, by Dec. 1, I’m free of what I’ve been writing, and can move on to other things.

But this time I’m still obsessed.

Admittedly, in part that’s because I’m looking the piece over to fix the worst problems so I can send it to one of the people from my cabin as a beta reader prior to possibly posting it on a fanfic site, but that doesn’t really cover the crux of the problem:  these characters haven’t let go of my brain yet.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if they were my characters.

I’d try inventing original characters similar to them for an original work, but the last time I tried that (NaNo 2012) it didn’t work in any regard:  by the time Dec. 1 rolled around, the characters were utterly unlike the ones they started out as, I was horribly disappointed by the book (to the extent that I’ve never once re-opened the file to have another look at it), and the new characters never took up residence in my head for a minute, not even while I was writing it.

Anyway, while I’m still afraid I’ve re-opened the fanfic floodgates (there are so many other things I want to write about these characters!), I’m trying to focus right now on what the heck I want to do in fixing this story up.  (“Story,” she says.  About a 155k behemoth.)

The biggest problem — other than the inconsistent pacing, lack of description, spotty characterization and dangling plot threads that are typical of me — is this one particular sequence relatively early on.

Okay, so my piece gets its two romantic leads from the movie, the reporter and the rock star.  (Which would be a great title for it if it was just about their romance.)  At the start of the fic, the reporter is already essentially in love with the rock star, though he’s not quite prepared to use those words to describe it.  And he doesn’t figure he’s ever going to see the rock star again, so he’s mostly just trying not to think about him.  Only then he goes to his favorite bar for a drink on Saturday night, and the rock star just happens to be there.  (Which reminds me, I need to explain what the heck he was doing there…)  Well, this obviously does nothing to reduce his romantic feelings for the other man, but he’s still trying to fight it.  Only then, the next Saturday, he goes back to the same bar (well, it’s more of a club than a bar, actually) and runs into the rock star again.  (That one I did explain.)

Now, here is where the difficulty comes in.  Because by the time I was writing that scene, I already had in mind several other scenes about their relationship:  two in between scenes of the reporter pining for the rock star, the scene where the rock star shows up at the reporter’s apartment completely wasted and they end up having rather unsatisfying sex, and then the first time we get the rock star’s POV which ends with them having much nicer sex.  (Yeah, I know, there are a lot of problems with that.)

And the difficulty in that?  Because the rock star had only gone back to that bar in the first place because he was hoping to run into the reporter again, in order to score with him, trying to keep them from hitting the sack together at the end of the second bar scene was so difficult that the only way I found to do it was to have four horny fangirls show up and chase the reporter away.  Which isn’t very convincing (said girls being in the 18-22 range, and said rock star being 37), is awfully (in)convenient timing, and isn’t much fun to read.  Plus it really ticked off the rock star (in that he felt the reporter had abandoned him to his vulture-like fans), so that when he next shows up, he’s incredibly angry (he does that) and calling the reporter some very not-nice names, to the point that it was actually physically difficult for me to write it.  (He uses a particular profanity a lot in the movie, one which I really don’t like and never use myself (a very rare thing), and though I have no trouble typing it normally, because it was aimed at the reporter, it took me like half an hour to get that part of the scene written, because my fingers so didn’t want to type that.)

The real problem is that I don’t like the idea of just re-writing the scene so that the girls don’t show up and the leads hook up a bit over a week early.  Because the two scenes of the reporter pining for the rock star are really…it would be going too far to say that they’re good, per se, but let’s suffice it to say that I really like them, particularly the one where he goes to a gay bar in the hopes of having a one-night stand to make him forget the rock star, only to get jealous when the sound system starts playing a love duet sung by the rock star and one of his exes.  And that’s the one that can’t still be used.  The other one — in which he goes to hear the rock star performing live at a local night club — could be adapted and kept, but the gay bar scene absolutely would make no sense if they’d already hooked up, and putting it before their second in-fic meeting is too soon:  they only met twice in the movie (yet I am absolutely not inventing the reporter’s feelings for the rock star) so for him to be that obsessed that quickly would be a bit much.  In fact, it’s really kind of pushing it to have it after their second in-fic meeting.

*sigh*

Well, that’s something I’m hoping the beta reader can help me with.

I also have something like 8 or 9 temp names that need replacing with real names.  Characters have temp names like Ughanother Nameneededhere and Ihate Namingcharacters.  Things I can swap out easily with “find – replace”…if I can come up with names for them.  (For a fanfic, it has a ludicrous number of OCs.  Probably because the nature of the story requires a ton of characters for them to interact with, which the movie does not provide, particularly in the 1984 section.)

I think I had more I wanted to say, but my back is now screaming at me that it’s time to lie down, so I’m just going to cut off this rambling mess of a post here.

Tomorrow will hopefully be back to my regularly scheduled programming.

Assuming my back will let me write.

Missing Letter Monday – No “J”

Published August 1, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

Well, so I’m back from CampNaNo.  (Not that I strictly speaking went anywhere, but you know what I mean.)  It was both an eventful month and an uneventful month, in that I did very little other than write.  So it was eventful for the characters, and not so much for me.  But that’s as it should be, right?

Um, okay, maybe not.

Anyway…

CNW_Winner_1500-1

Anyone who’s been reading my blog from before I suddenly went walkabout (basically, around this May) will undoubtedly realize that I had no trouble getting to the typical NaNo 50k.  Which is what I put in for my Camp goal, because I didn’t really care how many word I got written.  Why would I, y’know?  My writing is naturally excessively verbose, so word counts have never really mattered to me; what matters is finishing the story.

And the fact that I’ve got a winner’s badge means I finished it!

Somehow.

On the last day.

At 155k words.

Which is probably a good five times as many words as are in the screenplay of the movie it’s a fanfic of.  (Okay, actually, I have no idea how many words are typically in a screenplay.  But there’s a lot of time in the movie devoted to ’70s-style music videos, and to concert performances, so it’s gotta have fewer words than most.)

The dialog is bloated, the descriptions virtually non-existent (seriously), subplots I planned to include are introduced and then forgotten, a large chunk of time was devoted to one romantic lead pining for the other while assuming he’d never be interested even though I had to literally wedge a handful of horny college coeds in between them to keep them from getting it on in their previous scene together, and the two leads undoubtedly spend more time out of character than in it.  (Though in my defense on that last part, going all ooc with Curt was an inevitability, because he spent 90% of his screen time silent, singing, stoned or in a fit of rage.  There wasn’t much time for him to be particularly well characterized.  Also, I put both characters in all kinds of weird situations that the movie absolutely did not prepare them to deal with.  Er, didn’t prepare me to know how they would deal with them?)  Also, I’m sure that most of Arthur’s dialog and POV narration is entirely too American for an English character, and probably there are tons of anachronisms all over the place.  (Hey, I turned 9 in the year it’s taking place.  I don’t remember much!)

I actually had more trouble finishing than I should have, which is probably why the ending is rushed and o’er hasty.  Because I pretty much lost all of this past Thursday.  I was stretching my back on Wednesday night, trying to the get the “I’ve been writing all month and my back is killing me” kinks out of it.  My favorite stretch is simply to bend down and touch my toes, holding for a while in that position.  (Yeah, lame, I know.)  Anyway, there I was, at midnight on Wednesday, standing on my bed (probably where the problem came in) to touch my toes, and it felt like something shifted sideways.  It hurt so badly I felt nauseous, and I kept wiggling my toes to make sure that my spine was still connected; I was seriously afraid that I had shifted a vertebra out of position and was in danger of severing my spinal column at any moment.

Obviously, it wasn’t anything so terrifying.  It was some kind of muscle thing.  I went in to an Urgent Care place the next morning for some X-rays, and it was diagnosed as back strain/sprain, and they gave me some prescriptions for pain pills, and told me to spend the next couple of days lying on my back with my knees bent for as much time as possible.

I can’t write in that position.

Even worse, my father had been champing at the bit for me and my brother to come over and watch the “Ultimate Edition” Blu-Ray of Batman v Superman with him, because he hates watching anything alone and my mother didn’t want to waste three hours of her life on that.  (While I don’t blame her, in theory, she didn’t actually use that time for anything to speak of.)  I was not in the right frame of mind for that…though it may be that there is no such thing as the right frame of mind for that, particularly for me.  (And if it turns out Suicide Squad isn’t worth watching, then that was a total waste of my time, since that was the only reason I agreed in the first place.)

Anyway, I did do a tiny bit of writing Thursday night.  Then on Friday I spent all day alternating between brief periods of writing lying on my back moaning.  Not really a lot of fun.

And then Saturday and Sunday I had to work.  And on Sunday they went and closed off the main east-west street I use to get to work, and it took me half an hour to find a go-around!  I know it’s partially my own fault for not taking highways, but they’re not actually that much of a time-saver:  it takes about 33 minutes by street to get from my house and the museum, and getting home on the highway on Sunday evening took about 20 minutes.  So, yeah, there’s some time savings there, but not a significant amount.  And some lunatic in an SUV almost killed me because he decided he wanted to get over two lanes and didn’t bother looking to see if anyone was, you know, in one of them!  (Why is it that the worst drivers are always the ones in the gigantic vehicles that are guaranteed to kill anyone they hit?)

Okay, so, lengthy rambling needs to stop now, because my back is telling me it’s time to lie down again.

Oh, btw, in the week that I missed?  I came back and found 48 posts I needed to read.  Which is why this post is going up now and not three hours ago.  (And no, I did not spend those three hours sitting up.  I was lying on my back to read those posts.)

Anyway, I hope to return to my usual content soon.  Though possibly not as quickly as I had initially hoped, what with the whole back thing.


MLM icon init MLM J

The Difficulty of Inventing Words

Published June 7, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

Not making up new words in the Lewis Carroll sense (or even in the Robert Heinlein sense), but in a more methodical, if still silly, way.  It’s much harder than I expected.

But let me back up a minute and explain why I’m trying to invent a word.

I’ve been working on my current novel project, which I’ve mentioned several times before.  (Like, cycle through the “Writer’s Corner” category posts, and most of the recent ones will be about it.)

In order to make the story interesting (I hope) and to have things actually happen (gasp!), I’m having to put my narrator through a number of events he finds unpleasant and humiliating.  (But that’s okay, because he’s abrasive, arrogant and sometimes a bit annoying.  So I don’t mind making him suffer a bit.)  I just wrote the conclusion of the first of those events, or rather the first major one.

Said event being that he was forced to pose nude for the faculty of the art department at the college where he teaches Greek (and sometimes Latin).  Why he had no choice but to pose naked for the (mostly female) art teachers is a bit of a long, convoluted and frankly ridiculous story that I don’t want to get into right now.  (But he’s  a side character (though he doesn’t know it) for a (made up) romantic comedy movie (a bad one), so it’s okay that the side plot of the novel (which is the main plot of the movie) is absurd.)

Anyway, after suffering a number of humiliations during the posing process, this happens:

            “Okay, next can you get down on all fours, head hanging down, as if you’ve just been defeated in something of dreadful importance?” Callie asked.

“**** no!” I replied.  I don’t get in that pose lightly, and not where just anyone can see me.  Especially while naked.

He’s got a hair-trigger temper, and this sets him off, all the more so because Callie accuses him of being immature, and then tries to sweet-talk him, despite that she’s in her 60s and dresses like a flower child (despite that, this being the 1980s, she was too old for that even during the 1960s).  So he’s ready to storm out in a huff and go home to sulk and fume, or at least get drunk.  (He does a lot of the latter…)

But he’s still naked, so he can’t just stomp out of the room.  (Especially since it’s mid-February, and though I don’t say where his college is located, in his original incarnation, several novels ago, he lived in Detroit, so Februaries would be pretty cold.  (I even looked up what that particular week’s weather was like in Detroit in 1982.  Very cold indeed.))

Read the rest of this entry →

IWSG – Untitled

Published June 1, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

“Untitled” here referring both to the post and to the project I’ve been working on.

Though I’ve yet to attempt the “take my laptop to a cafe-like place and spend an hour writing after 99% finishing my lunch” plan I had for this summer, I have actually started writing fiction again.

As of last month’s IWSG post, I was planning on either working on the rewrites of my semi-YA series set about 20 years after the Trojan War, or on the superhero story.  I wrote up a set of character questions, and went through having all the major characters from the first book of the semi-YA series answer them, but I only got through about half of one question for the characters for the superhero story, ’cause I decided I wanted to write the answers for a different set of characters instead.

I have for a long time been interested in the concept of a story told from the perspective not of the hero, but one of the supporting characters.  (This dates back to my fanfic days, when I contemplated the way Final Fantasy VII would be if it was narrated by Yuffie.)  I actually tried to do a NaNo novel like that once, where the idea was to write a JRPG-like story, as told by the perky supporting character…but by the time it was done, it was more of a strategy RPG than a regular one (okay, minor difference) and the character was no longer perky or merely supporting.  I was quite disappointed by it, overall.  (I should probably go back and look at it sometime and see if it’s as awful as I remember, or if I was just upset with it for not being what I wanted it to be.)

Anyway, then I got the idea of applying it to the romantic comedy genre.  Now, I don’t watch that kind of movie, so I don’t really know what’s what with them.  But I’ve been lead to believe that it’s common for the heroine (when the movie’s more from her perspective than his) to have a gay best friend.  Who I imagine is usually pretty much a shallow stereotype.  But what if he wasn’t a stereotype?  And what if he was the one telling the story?

Read the rest of this entry →

Researching the New Project

Published May 22, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

So, as I mentioned briefly in my last post, I’m working on a new fiction project, rather than either of the two things I was expecting to work on this summer.

The important thing is that I’m writing again — around thumb- and wrist-killing amounts of Hyrule Warriors Legends — and that I’m currently pretty excited about the project.

The down side is that the story takes place in a time period that I lived through and yet don’t actually remember:  the early 1980s.  (Before you criticize me for not remembering, let me ask you this:  how much do you remember from when you were six?)  Compound with that the fact that the genre is a twist on the romantic comedy (a type of movie I never watch), in first person narration by a man (already a problem) who’s a mostly-closeted homosexual.  That last part would be a hard enough perspective for an essentially non-sexual woman even if the work was set in modern times, but in early 1982?

Layers upon layers of new complications.

Now, you may be wondering why I chose 1982, that being the case?

Well, there are a lot of reasons, most of them involving not wanting to let go of the characters’ original origins as dead backstory characters who survived Vietnam only to get killed in a case of mass hysteria during a tragic ski vacation.  But there are reasons to hold to that backstory, even though the tragic ski vacation and horrible early death are now removed from it.  For one thing, I don’t have to make up a new history for the characters.  (As that’s one of my weaknesses, this is an important reason!)  For another, of the same-sex couple, one has been gay since he was fifteen, and the other…well, he’s already in love with the other guy, he just don’t realize he is, so as far as he thinks of himself, he’s straight.  (If that’s inaccurate to how reality works, I apologize.  There’s not much I can do about it, though; that’s kind of at the crux of their story together.)  The narrator — gonna switch to using names here to make it less awkward — Ashley, though he’s been aware of his feelings since he was fifteen, has tried to keep his number of sexual partners to a minimum.  Not out of fear of diseases (that likely would never have crossed his mind!) but because he’s been in love with his best friend, Paddy, the whole time, and keeps wanting only to be with him, so the other men are more or less an aberration against his constant heart.  (Or that’s the way he sees it, anyway.)  The upshot of all this is that by leaving the story set in the early 1980s, I can give him that period of brief sexual experimentation without any risk of ruining their eventual happy ending by his having contracted AIDS; in the window between its introduction to the US and the public becoming aware of it, he had very few partners, and since he doesn’t live in one of the coastal cities where it first became prevalent, it’s not a stretch to imagine that he’s been spared thus far.

Now, I did a little cheating to help me get around my lack of concrete knowledge about 1982.  It’s first person narration, but rather than random first person narration — where we don’t know why the person is telling the tale or to whom — Ashley is very up front in the first few pages about the fact that he’s writing this story into a book, and that the events (while “true”) took place more than twenty years earlier.  So I can have his narration reference a movie that didn’t come out until 1993 if I want, because it’s the twenty+ years later Ashley talking, not the one from 1982.

But that only covers the narration.  There’s still a lot more I need to research about the early 1980s.  How did they dress?  How did they talk?  What were the prevailing stereotypes of the time about homosexuals?

The last one is the stumbling block, of course.  It’s obviously of vital importance to Ashley what the stereotypes of the day were.  Since he’s closeted from everyone except one female friend and the other men at the gay bar where he sometimes goes for drinks when Paddy’s busy, he can’t engage in any activity that’s earmarked as being stereotypically gay.  He’d actively avoid those things, even if he wanted to take part in them, because he’d be afraid of being found out.  (Though I suspect he wouldn’t want to take part in most of them anyway.)  And more importantly for his narrative voice (as opposed to his actual behavior, since he’d never admit that he feared being outed) he’d be outraged at the offensive stereotypes being unjustly applied to him and those like him.

A certain amount of his outrage would transcend time, of course:  since it’s his modern(?) voice narrating, he can be just as outraged at the stereotypes of the 2010s (or whenever) as at the stereotypes of the 1980s.  But whenever someone else’s behavior would reflect the stereotypes of the time — he’s sort of falsely outed about halfway through the book — that’s going to have a big impact.

And that’s where it all falls down a bit.  I went on Wikipedia to look up the movies of the early 1980s and very late 1970s, so I could pick a few to watch and get an idea of clothes and especially how people talked in that time period.  (Most of my favorite movies from the late ’70s and early ’80s do not take place in the real world/present day, and are thus of no assistance.)  As I was clicking on name links to get summaries, I was particularly paying attention to ones that sounded like they would have depictions of the stereotypes of the era.

The problem is that most of the ones that have massive depictions of the stereotypes are not available on Netflix for precisely that reason.  They’re offensive, and so they’re not available streaming, and normally I’d be totally okay with that, because under normal circumstances I wouldn’t want to watch that, either.  But now it’s research…and yet I’m not sure I could force myself to watch them even if they were available.  (And I’m not about to request the DVDs from Netflix, since they’d be sent to my brother’s place…)

I don’t know; maybe I don’t even have to.  Maybe the stereotypes haven’t changed that much.  Or rather, maybe they didn’t change much from the early ’80s to the early ’90s.  The stereotyping is finally beginning to lessen, so today’s stereotypes are slightly different, but I remember stuff from the ’90s well enough not to need any refresher course.  Much of what I have planned is probably in line with the stereotypes of the day.  (For example, after he’s falsely outed, one of Ashley’s students barges into his apartment to see for herself if he’s gay.  When she finds a sparse, un-decorated apartment, a bit sloppy around the edges, and a fridge containing nothing but beer, she’s convinced that he’s not really gay, because his apartment is too much “like a man’s.”)

Changing gears a bit, let me go back and talk about that one female friend who knows Ashley’s gay.  The original thought behind this project was to take the romantic comedy motif of the heroine’s “gay best friend” and tell the story from his perspective, while removing the negative stereotypes likely applied to him.  Since I don’t actually watch romantic comedies (the most recent one I’ve seen is French Kiss, and I find the love story the weakest part of it) this is in itself somewhat problematic.  I suspect this first draft is going to portray as completely flat both the characters who would be the leads of the romantic comedy.  And at this stage of development, there’s probably not a lot I can do about that.  (That’s what re-writes are for, right?)  It doesn’t help that the narration is stilted, of course:  Ashley may be her best friend, but she certainly isn’t his.  In fact, he finds her a bit annoying.

*sigh*

Actually, I think everyone in the book is going to come off as flat, except maybe Ashley.  So far, even Paddy’s not got much depth to him, despite how fleshed out he is in my head.

Ugh.  Maybe I should just give up on taking my writing seriously.  I’ll never write anything good enough to share with anyone else, so what does it matter?

Rose B. Fischer

Author. Artist. Evil Genius.

My Tiny Joy

Where little things matter!

YOURS IN SISTERHOOD

a performative documentary project based on letters to the editor of Ms., 1972-1980

Klein's Other Toys

Comics, Funko Pops and Anime figures oh my!

BINARYTHIS

EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT GENDER BUT WERE TOO AFRAID TO ASK

Part-Time Monster

I eat books for breakfast.

Creating Herstory

Celebrating the women who create history

Kicky Resin

BJDs et al

Lala Land

(>°~°)><(°~°<)

A'Cloth the World

Where Textiles, Fashion, Culture, Communication and Art Come Together.

starshiphedgehog

Occasionally my brain spurts out ideas and this is where I put them

Rose B. Fischer

Author. Artist. Evil Genius.

The Social Historian

Adventures in the world of history

medievalbooks

Erik Kwakkel blogging about medieval manuscripts

Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

Fantasy writer, avid reader / tea drinker, and Character Evolutionary

Zounds, Alack, and By My Troth

A tragical-comical-historical-pastoral webcomic by Ben Sawyer

Project Doll House

never too old to play with dolls

knotted things

All about the things that I'm all about.

Eclectic Alli

A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.

Omocha Crush

Secret Confessions of a Toy Addict

C.G.Coppola

Fantasy & Science-Fiction romance Writer

WordDreams...

Jacqui Murray's

Onomastics Outside the Box

Names beyond the Top 100, from many nations and eras

Riulyn's Blog

life, RPGs, and RPG music

Hannah Reads Books

"To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." -Neil Gaiman

Memoirs of a Time Here-After

the writings, musings, and photography of a dream smith

Taking a Walk Through History

Walking back in time to discover the origins of every historical route on earth

SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

ΕΥΔΟΞΑ ΑΓΝΩΣΤΑ ΚΑΤΑΓΕΛΑΣΤΑ

Pullips and Junk

We're all mad about Pullips here!

mycupofteaminiatures

Handmade miniatures

Dutch Fashion Doll World

A Dutch Barbie collector in Holland

Welcome to wonderland5

all about collecting, making, curating and reselling great stuff

Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter

Reviews and News From the Doll World

Doll Nerd

Geeking out about kid stuff.

hookedondolls

Dolls, dolls, and more dolls.

It's a Britta Bottle!

Small Stories of a Twenty-Something Adventuring Through Life

DataTater

It's all small stuff.

The Photographicalist

Preserving the photographical perspective

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.