butterfly: (Reporter -- Lois Lane)
So, I was talking to my beta (is the term still 'beta' if the consultation takes place before the rough draft is finished?) during the process of writing my Natasha/Tony story and she mentioned that she writes linearly -- starts at the beginning of the story and writes until she's reached the end.

She mentioned this because I write a very non-linear fashion. I mostly start at the beginning, but then I'll skip forward to something that will happen later in the story and write that, then skip forward again, etc. And, as I go and write more, I go back and fill in the holes from both directions.

I was thinking about this and I think I started doing this as I got more and more into vidding, which has always been a very non-linear process for me. I basically vid and write in the same way these days, though they started out using different processes.

It made me wonder about other people's experiences -- how do you write/vid/create art? Has adding a new type of art changed the way you use a medium that you've been more familiar with?
butterfly: (Reporter -- Lois Lane)
I really loved Mark Reads The Lord of the Rings, so I've been checking out his other reviews. After I read The Hunger Games series, I went to go check out his reviews for it.

I was surprised, at first, when he said that the writing of THG wasn't very good, but then I realized that it made sense that he felt that way - he loved the prose of LotR a lot, and that's almost a perfect inverse of the style that Collins uses. All the stuff that bothered me about Tolkien's writing was stuff that Mark loved. So, naturally, he would dislike the prose of THG in about the same measure that I dislike the prose of LotR. I love the story of LotR but, man, the writing bugs me. And that's pretty much exactly how Mark felt about THG. Mark and I have near-opposite preferences in writing style.

I spent so much of my time while reading LotR pretty much begging Tolkien to get to the point already. And that's what Collins does in her writing - she gets to the point. If something isn't the point, she skips over it or summarizes it. This is pretty much bliss for me as a reader because, if those parts are written into a book, I skip them anyway. The way that Collins wrote THG, I wasn't skipping anything.

What about y'all - what are your preferences in writing styles? Got a favorite writer?
butterfly: (Words and Flesh -- The Pillow Book)
One of the things that's tough for many artists to get used to is the fact that some people won't like their work. And that is, by the way, something that I can absolutely guarantee every person who attempts creative work. How strong the reasons are for people disliking your work varies, but someone isn't going to think that it's good. There are no works that are universally admired.

Depending on the social climate and the personalities of the people who don't like your work, the fact that it's disliked may be something that people talk about. This isn't something that you can do anything about, so my personal advice is to (mostly) ignore it and to do your own thing. If someone talks to me about my own work, I consider that feedback and I try to respond (though between the number of responses and the fact that I'm going through a depressive spell - roughly half a year long at this point - I have fallen behind on responding to people). If, though, people are talking to each other about my work, I do my absolute best not to interact. My personal approach to other people's work is to start off with the notion of the writer being dead (incapable of further input into the work) and thus all the interpretation begins reader-based.

All of which means that I will generally only react to people regarding my work (whether good or bad feedback) if they directly contact me via a comment or an email.

more, including 8 random opinions and my friending policy )
butterfly: (Words and Flesh -- The Pillow Book)
So, I'm answering questions about my writing over here on Idolmeta. If you've ever wanted to ask me questions about my writing or ask me what my characters were thinking/feeling at particular points or just... anything really, I'm doing that over there.

butterfly: (Writing -- due South)
I get the impression, from glancing around lj, that my particular writing method is not the most common (it may just not be the most commonly talked about, of course).

1. When I write, I start with one thing. This one thing is the center of the work, making it rather like an essay disguised as fiction. Now, usually, this has led to writing rather short emotional vignettes, but over the past couple of fandoms (starting with due South), this has begun to change. Some ideas are bigger than others, or at least, they take up more room. Also, I've really been working on the ability to extend an idea into a plot, which bodes well for my unfinished works in progress. Once I've finished White Rabbits, at least.

2. I am incapable of writing with music on in the background. I've seen many fics where authors say, "and I wrote this while listening to this song" and I go, "how?". If there's music on, I get distracted. If there's sound of any kind, I'm apt to get distracted. I need to be able to completely concentrate on the issue at hand.

3. The majority of the time, I do not use a beta reader. In fact, so far, the number of finished stories of mine that have been beta-read is... one. My huge SG-1 AU is being beta read, but since I've been stalled on the story since I picked up the Star Wars obsession, this is rather on hold. My reasoning is actually fairly simple -- I'm a vastly impatient person. Once I've written something, I want it to exist and to breathe on its own. This is something that I've been loath to say in public on lj, for fear of coming across as an Anne Rice, puffed up and arrogant, but yes, there it is.
butterfly: (Writing -- due South)

So, there is a thing happening on the sidelines of my flist -- seems to be mostly SGA-related, which is not my area of focus, so I will not be getting involved in any of the details. Anyway, the thing in question is about whether or not public crit of fanfiction should be allowed, and if it should, whether the author's intentions should be taken into account.

For the record -- I do not, and feel that I should not, have any say in what people say about my stories. If you love them, yay. If you hate them, I'm curious as to why. If you mostly like them except for one or two (or twelve) things, then I really, really want to know. Because I want to know how good a job I'm doing and how to improve. Writing is communication. If people don't understand me, then I didn't succeed in communicating to them. And, to me, that is what matters.

So, I pay attention to my feedback. I notice what people point out as their favorite spots (especially if it's mentioned by several people -- I'm still thrilled to bits over people praising my Leia characterization), and I also notice when people mention that something doesn't seem to fit.

There are three recent cases that specifically stand out to me -- one where I disagreed with the feedback and two where I agreed.
specific examples from my current WIP -- White Rabbits, a Star Wars slash fic )


All of which is to say -- if you are moved by my fiction on a level deep enough to comment on it, please don't feel that you need to sugarcoat your words. I can take the truth.

More than that, if you don't want to, you don't need to inform me of your comments -- speaking from experience, many rec journals don't actually tell the authors that they've been recommended. They have that right and so do crit communities. Once my stories exist outside my head, they are no longer my sole property, though I retain the right to edit them as I please and repost them -- much as George Lucas has done with the earlier Star Wars movies. But any earlier versions do still potentially exist, of course -- if nowhere else, they exist in the minds of the people who read them and remember them. Theoretically, a story that was only under friendslock exists outside these boundaries, as it is not public, but as I post my stories public, this does not apply to me.

Now, if an author dislikes being criticized in public, then each reader does have to decide if they want to move forward anyway, balancing the risks (if an author takes crit to heart or feels that they're being personally attacked, they may leave fandom) against the rewards (honest and open discussion of a particular story). And the potential always exists that the author will feel insulted or hurt, because our stories are like dearly beloveds, in many ways.

But, bottom-line, I don't believe that readers (or any consumers of public media) require permission to speak about something that has been publicly released in any form, web or otherwise. 

Though if you'd prefer to have the author's permission before dissecting a story of theirs, I'm giving that permission right now.

butterfly: (Exposed -- Emma (by thete1))
So, I'm an emotional-arc whore. Seriously, if you can pull off the emotion, then I'm there. I will gladly explain away any plot holes or discrepancies so that I can buy the story. All you have to do is give me genuinely believable emotion and I'm willing to be very flexible.

When it comes to books, you have to have incredible characters and/or an amazing story and/or a beautifully-drawn world and/or gorgeous writing style. The more of these you have, the better, but I'm willing to ignore the lack of one or two things if the others are good enough.

In television/movies, you need to have gorgeous visuals (and other environmentals) and/or well-done characters and/or an intriguing plot.

Books are, frankly, simpler -- they involve fewer hands (though, in the case of people not Anne Rice, still more than one set). Television and movies involve so many people. Enough brilliance in one area can overcome weakness in another. But, for me, if you do not provoke a strong enough emotion, then I will not be inclined to watch you more than once or to buy you.

The shows and movies that last in my heart are the ones that make me care. And that generally comes down to three things -- acting, writing, and directing (there are, of course, other incredibly important pieces of the puzzle, such as the music, but I'm staying simple, here) . But while a good enough actor can overcome bad writing and bad directing -- the film/show that the actor is in probably still won't be good, but everyone who watches it will remember that one actor who just 'rose above' their material -- it doesn't work so well (for me), the other ways around. A well-directed piece can sometimes showboat around bad acting but even great material becomes only so much garbage if a poor enough actor (or an actor who is that wrong for the part) says it.

Many times, lines are not memorable in and of themselves but are memorable because of how they are said (which is often a combination of acting and directing, depending). Lines that could be gold in the mouth of the 'right' actor come across as tired or foolish. Casting is an incredibly important part of creating strong and lasting characters.

Personally, I find that I'm drawn to the life of the characters, the life put into them by the actors. And sometimes, the acting can still be good and yet I'm left unmoved or negatively affected because it doesn't hit my switches.

Positive example -- The Lord of the Rings does practically nothing for me as a book series, but I completely and utterly adore the movies.

Negative example -- I read the Farscape transcripts and cried like a baby at the J/A stuff. Watched the show, and just hated John and Aeryn together so very much. Seriously... flames... on the sides of my face.

So, for me, the acting is possibly the most essential part of the entire emotion... thing.

For me.
butterfly: (Buffy fan)
In two of the shows that I actually bother to watch regularly these days, the female characters are not well-written (and while this bugs the hell out of me, the guys are written interestingly enough that I don't want to give up on the shows in question). And I think that a lot of the bad female writing comes not from having male writers, per se, but from having male writers who love their female characters too shallowly.
vague spoilers for BtVS, House, Stargate SG-1, and Smallville )
butterfly: (Writing -- due South)
And now fandom is having the "Why RPS Is/Isn't Evil" discussion.

Again.

So, my thoughts on the whole thing:

Way I figure, fiction is fiction. You should be up front at the start about what kind of fiction that you're writing, but fiction is fiction. It's not real. And the idea that writing real people as characters in any way diminishes them... dude, most of my heroes are fake people. Buffy, Daniel, Fraser... these are people that I admire greatly. And they were created by somebody. When I write about a Real Person, I'm actually saying that the persona that they show to the public is as interesting as a fictional person's. This is a compliment. The way that I show my love is to write. And in the end, fiction is just fantasy flattened out into two dimensions. Not real.

Not comparable to rape. Comparable to rape fantasies, yeah, but not to rape.
butterfly: (Always - B/X)
This is applies to friend-based slash or het.

A sexual relationship doesn't have to cheapen a deep love-based friendship, but it can if you let the sex overwhelm the friendship.

The important thing to remember is that a sexual relationship doesn't replace friendship. It's about adding the sexual dimension to the already existing relationship. You keep all the layers that are already there, but add this new one.

I love the Buffy/Xander relationship as it's illustrated on the show. Why would I want to mess with a good thing? I don't, which is why I try to keep in mind all the history (good and bad) that they share. Now, how successful at it I am, only my readers can say, but I always try to keep them friends first.

People are complicated. Every single person is incredibly complicated and there is no way to catch all of that in the confines of a single story. All any of us can do is try. All we can do is to do our best to find moments and passages that we can capture and bring to life. Find moments of truth and clarity and passion. Find ourselves in the characters and find the characters in ourselves.

The reason that Buffy and Xander fall in love in my mind is because I love them both, and my mind can see to lighting the way for them to see in each other what I see in them.

That's what relationship-based writing is for me.
butterfly: (Default)
I've said that I love the story of The Lord of the Rings but don't like the books. Tolkien's style in the book just doesn't suit me at all. Oh, but the world and the characters that he created are glorious. And he can write and write quite well. There are so many lines from the book that I do adore. And I love The Hobbit (have I mentioned that before? I'm not sure that I have. It's quite an engaging tale.).

If the roads are clear enough and the library is open, tomorrow I'm going to see if it has The Silmarillion. I haven't yet tried to read that and I might like its style better.

Tolkien's an interesting guy - he disliked allegory, but both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are steeped in who Tolkien was and comparisions are nearly impossible for me to ignore. And just because he didn't want allegory in his stories doesn't mean that it can't easily be found in them.

Because there's always more to a story than what the author puts in it. Every single reader brings their own perspective to the piece - making the work richer and more vibrant by the act of interpretation.

When we reread a story, it's because something in that story calls to us. There's so much in The Lord of the Rings that's worth thinking about. So many ideas and ideals and idealogies at work in the story. I'm bringing up The Princess Bride again because that's the story that made me into the reader that I am - that story is all about choosing your own story inside the text.

What's The Lord of the Rings about? That's something that's unique to each reader.

To me, it's about friendship and love triumphing over corruption and fear. It's about compassion and courage. It's about unlikely heroes and unlikely friends. It's about nature and power - the fight between what is natural and what is artificial. It's about sacrifice and war and the consequences of growing up. It's about doing the job that needs to be done, regardless of the personal cost. It's about understanding who you are and that anyone is capable of being more than what they seem. It's about knowing what's right and standing behind that, come what may.

It's a million and one ideas, all fascinating. All worth delving into and exploring. And the characters. Words cannot express how much I adore the main hobbits.

I definitely understand why the books sold so well and have become what they are today. The story and the characters, yes, but also the sheer reality of the world that Tolkien created. It's a breath-taking accomplishment.

It's a world well worth many a visit.
butterfly: (Happiness - Frodo)
Probably no one here actually needs to read this, but hey, I'm compiling that 'pet peeves' list.

Whenever I think of a book turning into a movie, The Princess Bride comes to mind. Now, the movie and the book are both excellent, but they're also quite different in parts.

The big thing? The book and the screenplay were written by the same person (S. Morgenstern being a work of fiction). The writer who knew the story most intimately and knew what needed to be kept and what didn't. Looking at the difference in treatment when the writer is the same should let anyone know how much more things will change when the screenwriter/director is different than the author.

Different eyes see different things.

The movie of The Lord of the Rings is, and can only ever be, an adaption of Tolkien's work. This is LotR as seen through Peter Jackman's (and the countless others who created the movie) eyes. It is not Tolkien's LotR. But no one is ever reading Tolkien's LotR - they're reading their LotR as seen through the eyes of Tolkien.

The only way to satisfy every purist (for they all get upset about different things) would be to film every shot exactly as Tolkien described it. Long speeches. Poems. Songs. Tom. And it would be a really long, really sucky movie. Movies aren't books. When you make an adaption and stay too close to the letter, you run the chance of missing the spirit (Harry Potter thus far comes to mind).

Shot-by-shot misses the point (which the color adaption of Psycho showed). Every medium works differently. And treatments vary depending on the culture of the time and place.

Changes will be, have to be, made. And the mere fact of a change is not an evil. Are some things in PJ's LotR not done as well as they are in Tolkien's? Probably. But some things in the movie version are better - Boromir comes to mind. And things have to be condensed - for example, it's silly to spend a long time on a bit character when you can be using that moment to introduce a major one. You don't have internal monologues, so some characters seem more emotional than they do in the books - their feelings need to show on their face, whereas in the book, they would just be implied.

It's different because books and movies are different. They're both art, both creation, but they're different forms. You don't draw anime the same way you sketch a landscape.
butterfly: (literary - Buffy)
The important thing about making a character you write feel real is by loving them for who they are, not who you want them to be. Even if it is just for the moments that you write in their point of view - you need to care about their ugly bits, or you're including a note of bias.

I'll use Draco as an example. The reason that so much Draco feels fanon instead of canon is because so many people concentrate solely on his good points (yes, he does have them), while ignoring his many bad points. This presents a very lop-sided view of the character, especially as many of those bad points are things that Draco, himself, probably doesn't consider to be faults.

Draco's failures are probably what stick in his memory - the fact that he's never good enough to beat Potter or Granger. The fact that he's the one who gets hexed, when he probably feels just as injured as Harry does - because Draco can, above all things, hold a grudge. He's still holding one against Harry for choosing one of the nasty, cruel, horrid Weasel boys over him. Boys who laugh at your name and who hiss at eleven year-olds whose only crime is to be put into Slytherin. He can never see any of the Wesleys' good points (of which they have many), just as they would never see one of his.

And he does have some, including being creative, which is something that always tilts my heart. He makes up stories. He does very good impressions. He gives performances to his friends. He's a total drama queen. Which probably gives his father no end of annoyance. He probably wanted a son who had his head firmly in useful things, but Draco's too easily distracted from the things that can make a difference to his future (the wineglass incident can be read this way - focusing on Harry to the detriment of his future).

And he tries to be, and is, a good student - why else would his father only mention that Hermione is above him in scores? If there were too many other people (and any other people Lucius considered 'lesser'), they would have been mentioned as well.

He flies well - Harry mentions that in the first book - but Draco wasn't the youngest Seeker in a century and he didn't completely turn around a Quidditch team.

He's talented and he's smart - but to his immense shame, he isn't as talented and smart as Potter and Granger.

Here he is, with what he would consider a natural advantage - his pure blood and his family - and yet he's not quite good enough.

So he rages and he blames Harry and Hermione for being too perfect and he blames Ron for being a Wesley (just as Ron hates him for being a Malfoy - the Wesleys are just as biased as the Malfoys when it comes to the 'wrong' side) and for taking his chance to be friends with the Boy Who Lived away. And that hate grows over the years as he finds ways to blame them more. It's ugly and it's horrid, but it's a terribly real way of reacting to things.

It's a bit like the beginning of the film version of The Count of Monte Cristo - "I shouldn't want your life."

So, in this way, I find the heart of Draco's humanity and that's where the love comes from. And he does have so many good qualities - he loves his parents, he's creative and funny, he's smart. But he was raised to believe himself to be superior and that is his downfall. He wasn't expecting to go to a Hogwarts that had someone more important than himself attending and he's been breaking himself on that from the beginning.
butterfly: (Writing - due South)
People don't like to admit to being wrong. I know that I don't.

And people tend to see themselves as the good guy. Joss Whedon - on the commentary for Serenity - mentions that he had to tell Adam to stop playing Jayne like a villain. That Jayne sees himself as the hero.

Whether or not people think much of themselves, they do tend to assume that their opinions are the most valid. What one knows to be truth simply is, regardless of how many others may disagree. It's a common habit of martyrs and dictators. Rebels and rulers.

Makes sense. The only thing that people can ever truly know is their own perspective, their own feelings and wants. We tend to judge people on what we value.

Writing a character is the best way for me to get under their skin. It forces me to stop thinking of the characters the way I think of the characters and instead think of them the way that, for example, Buffy would. Which is why I could write a story that practically breathed longing for Angel years before I found the character attractive. Buffy did, therefore, when I was in her skin, so did I. Writing a Spike drabble did a good deal more to get to understand and like him than a book's worth of glowing essays on the topic.

Possibly part of the reason that I'm not a huge Willow fan is because I've never truly tried to live in her skin. I've written a thought or two, but getting inside Willow wasn't on my mind in those stories - though it should have been.

See, to me, understanding is akin to liking. Once I understand someone, it's hard for me to stay mad at them. Once they click in my head, once they make sense, then I get why they do the stupid things that they do and I forgive them. I can't hate someone for being themselves. For being weak enough to give into their fears.

Possible that leniency comes from giving into my own enough times. And it's likely that Firefly is having a horrible influence on my casual writing. Odd sentence structures and the like. Joss always was good at making odd words and phrases feel useful and fun.

So, tonight, I write. Get under some skins that I've been meaning to for a while. Time to go backwards.
butterfly: (Exposed - Anya)
Once upon a timeā€¦
Read more... )
Thank you, each and every one. I love you all.

I'm thrilled to have made it to 3,000 posts and hope that I'm around long enough to hit 30,000.

*blows a kiss to every reader*
butterfly: (Default)
Drizzt Do'Urden was my first 'hero' love.

My mom introduced him to me, as she's the one who introduced the Forgotten Realms books to me. I enjoyed the others, but when I came to a book with Drizzt in it, I ws fascinated. He was so complex! As I read more about him, he only got more complicated and more interesting. He may be part of the reason that I adore heros so because Drizzt is my first, best example of a hero.
and I gush )
butterfly: (Not like the others - by saava)
A little while ago, [livejournal.com profile] elynross asked what people found interesting about Draco and Snape.

In explaining myself, I eventually went to the images that pop up in my head when I think of Draco (a little kid in a robe shop, chatting and being a miserable failure at being friendly. An eleven year old boy who was terrified of the Forbidden Forest and who was horrified at the sight of a dead unicorn. A child who, upon feeling himself insulted, immediately goes on the attack and insults right back). It was a fairly enjoyable exercise, so I'm extending to the Buffyverse. This isn't just going to be for the characters I like, since this is my way of explaining what I see when I look at each character. So, they won't all be nice images. If I missed someone that you want covered, please let me know.
Read more... )

I may do some of the others later, as it is fairly enjoyable to write that all down.
butterfly: (Default)
This was inspired by someone on my friendslist, who said that images have a greater effect on her than words.

I'm the other way around. Words are what touch me, more than anything else. I have a hard time listening to purely instrumental songs because I need words.

This is why I'm thinking that English/Writing is the way to go for me.

So. Books make me cry all the time. And when movies/tv shows make me cry, it's nearly always because of the words (there are exceptions). Some of Buffy's speeches have made me cry. "They said we're not supposed to move the body!" made me cry.

I love words.

Images are tricker for me. They're so subjective. A picture says a thousand words, but what it says to you, it may not say to me. Words are easier to sort and understand. Even when someone's lying or flirting with the truth, there's... a common ground. I understand words.

Sometimes... I feel like a moth beating against a light, only, I know that on the other side of glass, that's where the rest of humanity is. And they're there and I'm here and all that's in my way is some glass and fire. But that's enough.

I understand words.

Sometimes it feels like that's all I understand.

And I have no clue how a post on words got all maudlin.
butterfly: (Naked Angel)
I feel all chatty tonight. So, y'all get subjected to be yattering on about writing and suchlike.
specifics about the drabble sets )
Each drabble was rewritten several times. Every drabble that I write is exactly 100 words. While I don't always hold others to the same standard, for my own work, a drabble isn't a drabble unless it's 100 words. Which means that some phrases have to change because there isn't enough room.

My purpose in writing these drabbles is three-fold:
1) To explore and establish character voice.
2) To challenge myself by keeping to the limit of 100 words.
3) Because it's a lot of fun to do.

Being able to use the 'naked Angel' icon is just a bonus.
butterfly: (Working)
Random pet peeves.

_ # of people can't be wrong
Yes. They can. At several points in history, nearly the entire world has been wrong about certain issues. Like slavery, as an example.

Using the word cannon about established truths of a fandom
You write(and deviate) from canon. You fire balls from cannons.

Okay, I feel better now. Just needed to say that.

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butterfly: (Default)
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