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 The best thing about Strunk/White fanfiction is that it's virtually guaranteed to be well-written.

Oh xkcd. You make me happy when skies are gray. 
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 Sidecar Comedy, an outfit co-masterminded by a guy I lived with in college, has made a rap out of the unquenchable ire that comes from watching nerdy things you loved unreasonably getting screwed up by the people who make money off of them 

I laughed my ass off. Also, I think this should be in every dictionary as the definition of "first world problems."

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 If AO3 if an accurate indication, we have somehow gone through nearly ten years of Yuletide without anyone requesting Sappho. How on Earth did we all miss this? Somebody, please, tell me I'm wrong -- I did a tag search and couldn't find a single thing in the archive. 

Out of curiosity, if I decamped from my overly long hiatus and threw a queer* authors/poets throughout the ages challenge, would any of you be interested in participating?

* Yes, yes, wildly historically anachronistic term. It's Friday, I got a hyphen, two slashes, and several words in to trying to come up with a better one, and then my head started to hurt and I gave up. 
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Does anyone reading this journal speak Farsi or Mandarin?

I've got the seeds of an original writing project that's going to use the occasional word or phrase in each of those languages. I'll be doing my own research (both lingual and cultural) as much as possible, but it'd be useful to be able to send over the occasional batch of sentences to make sure I've got appropriate words and names in context. Also, I'd really love to know whether I'm mentally pronouncing my characters' names right. *chagrin*

If I successfully turn this from idea to substance, I may post again in the future looking for Persian/Iranian or Han-Chinese cultural betas, but that's far off and offering up lingual spot-checks by no means volunteers you for any other duties. 

Thanks as always, internets!
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now are you going to take your shirt off or not?

If I could travel in time, I would go back, slap this comic onto the chest of so many people I've gotten into long debates with, and then just walk contentedly off.

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Via asofterworld:


I'm not posting this as a commentary on anything other than the fact that I read it and immediately thought of at least three or four TV shows I've followed and/or am following. Yeah. Sometimes I also think 'friend' is too strong a word.
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Porn For Women. Mildly NSFW, but only if someone actually stops to read it. )

For those who aren't regular XKCD readers, please note the alt-text is also original to the strip.

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But that's not, ultimately, what I want stories to give me. I don't slash because I like finding and pointing out homoerotic subtext everywhere I can. I slash because the stories I want, I can't have. I can't have a story where Kirk and Spock touch hands without the glass between them at the end of Wrath of Khan. I can't have a story where Merlin and Arthur fall in love on NBC prime time and the world doesn't end.

- A post by bookshop,* to which the best thing I can do is point and say, "Yes. That. Precisely."

The second-best thing I can do is try to step back up and get the activity level going at [community profile] queerlygen  again. If you're not already following the community but would be interested in seeing more gen works about sexual and gender minority characters, please go check out the community and add any thoughts you have on how you'd like to see it work. Until the commercial media cowboys up and starts telling our stories -- and even when they do -- I think one of the most important things we can do is tell those stories for each other.

* Thanks to
[personal profile] thingswithwings  for the link; you continue to bring me the best stuff I'm missing, friend.
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So I've been reveling the glorious reappearance of free time in my life (dudes: awesome), and while on a really great vacation not at all conducive to writing, I inhaled a bunch of fic off my delicious network. And having plowed through a bunch of new and unfamiliar fandoms, there are four descriptors used in porny scenes that I have decided really, really need to be shelved, because that shit is overplayed like "Hey Ya" for about five consecutive summers. They are, in no particular order and with my purely subjective reasoning (and sometimes-sincere, sometimes-asinine suggestions):

1. impossibly, as in his eyes were impossibly blue or his thighs were spread impossibly wide, nominated because the first usage is clearly just hyperbole and the second makes my literal mind conjure up disturbing dislocation images. Try the sun lit his eyes up like sea glass or the taut splay of his thigh could have inspired whole new branches of engineering.

2. obscenely, as in he pulled off with an obscene slurping sound, nominated because it's not evocative enough to make up for the fact that it's lazy. Try he pulled off with a sound that was illegal in seven counties or she'd never heard that particular noise outside of a hentai dub audition.

3. the best [____] ever, as in even with [adverse circumstance], it was the best [erotic act] he'd ever had, because in my experience and as someone pointed out recently (if this was you, speak up so I can credit you!), when you're getting spectacularly kissed/blown/laid/whatevered, the last thing you are doing is ranking the experience by the numbers. (Unless everyone of your previous acquaintance has done whatever it is really poorly, in which case this usage is valid.) Also, for me at least, it makes the eroticism sound like it's less due to the quality of the connection between the characters and more due to the Magic Hoo-hoo or Heroic Wang (tm Smart Bitches). Instead, describe what it is that makes that particular [erotic act] so awesome. (That way, we can take notes on things to try later.)

4. sucking his brains out of his cock, as in sucking his brains out of his cock, because like I said before, I have a literal mind, and therefore, yeeeeech. Melty brains, especially melty brains being drawn forcibly out through orificies, is an image that grosses me out. Unless you are writing about historical Egyptian mummification or zombies, please do not melt the brains of your protagonists, I do not care what you do instead.

I realize this post sound uppity in a way I generally try to avoid, and guys, I don't mean it to. I've used at least two of these four devices, because at one point, I read them and they struck me as really evocative and effective (except for the melty brains, because ew). Part of writing in a community like this is that we all borrow the best shiny toys from each other. I love that about fandom 98% of the time, but the other 2% it leads us to repeat certain phrases and metaphors over and over until they lose all potency and become signposts. They're the Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" of fanfic: when a TV show or movie really wants you to tear up and isn't totally sure the script/directing/acting will manage it, they slap that song on the soundtrack. It's shorthand for "you: cry now." There's a gazillion awesome writers around here in fandom, and about every good story I read has at least one sentence that knocks my socks off. I just think we can make the signal-to-noise ratio (or maybe more aptly, the signal-to-advertising-jingle ratio) a little higher, you know?
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I'm nearing the finish line at school, and thus the day when I might have time to do more than only think about writing! ... Meanwhile, though, thinking about writing's still all I can manage, but I got an itch to run something from one of my WIPs up the flagpole.

There's a story idea I came up with last year, about Teyla's childhood, which I haven't had a chance to touch in forever. I don't think I wrote more than 400 words of it, but today I remembered that I'd spent hours working out contextual details during my daily commute-by-foot last spring. Curious, I went looking to see if I still had any of the chat or email conversations where I'd bounced this off of other people.

Turns out I do. So for those of you who have been wondering just how much of a nerd I am when it comes to scaffolding my own stories:

Athosian lineal names )

Universal translators and written language )

What the Athosians have been up to for the last 10,000 years, or: why a culture could be that well-connected yet still have no tech )

Romantic attachments and procreative imperatives among Athosian adults )
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Culled from comments left on [ profile] sheafrotherdon's journal entries (here and here, both worth reading). Posted mostly to put my thoughts in one place and see if they shape anything that makes sense, and also in case any of you were interested or have other theories to toss out.

Spoilers through 2.20, thoughts on: mothers, sons, other-daughters, and who births the world. )
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So, regarding the canceling of SGA (and by the way, I'm sincerely hoping that the extent to which this has blanketed my flist means I'm not spoiling anyone right now) -- I've found that I'm strangely unperturbed. And before you all throw things at me, hear me out: I have drunk the koolaid, enjoy the hell out of our wonderfully queered scifi series, and am going to really miss having new excuses to see those beautiful, snarky, hilariously dysfunctional people re-imperiled together on a regular basis. But the thing is: I didn't get into this fandom for the show, I got into this fandom for the fandom. The writing, vidding, fanart, and squee you all produced had me hook, line, and sinker months before I ever finished an episode, let alone an entire season. And when the show hits the nail on the head the most? Those are the episodes where I think, Wow, it's like they're cribbing off the good fanfic.

The sheer creative energy, the collaboration, the amazing frequency with which you people take the crackiest cliches and make something throat-grabbingly real out of them: that's why I'm here. So the closing of the canon can't manage to bother me yet (though I'm sure it will as the deadline creeps up) because my investment isn't in what they make, it's in what you make. It's in what we, collectively, make together. And maybe this is denial talking, but I can't believe that the day the show ends, you're all going to pack up your toys and go home. I accept intellectually that eventually, this fandom like all others will start to disperse, and that it'll happen sooner for the canceling of the series. I hope like hell that the new fandoms that crop up to fill its place will entice enough of our collective interest that I get to continue to share a sandbox (or sandboxes!) with the rest of you. Still, I am wholeheartedly convinced that this party ain't gonna stop the moment the management yanks the plug out of the jukebox.

We've got ourselves a huge host of homemade instruments (hell, I think the Victorverse proves we've got a world-class underground Philharmonic). Let's bust them the fuck out and dance till we can't dance no more.
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For those of you not familiar with this awesomeness, the premise is simple: you pick a story that someone else wrote and write your own commentary on it. They only opened the challenge today, so the list of authors who've given permission isn't up yet, but I've given blanket permission for someone to write a commentary on any of my stories. I encourage everyone to participate, because I find DVD commentaries to be fascinating and ergo think there should be more of them. Also, from what I recall last year, there was huge turn-out by authors, so the chances are that if you want to do a commentary on someone's fic, they'll be signing up.

Rules, timeline, author and story lists when available, etc. can be found here, so sign up, participate, and/or pimp it! Also, remember to thank your mods, the lovely [ profile] seperis and [ profile] general_jinjur.
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Okay, so whenever [ profile] thingswithwings and I shoot the shiznit, geek idea pingpong ensues. Tonight's flash of insight? The world needs an SGA/Batman Fusion. Fr srius, peeps.

Our casting thoughts? I'm so glad you asked!

Well, to start off with, Rodney is E. Nygma. )

So if anyone is lacking on things to do on this fine night, you should weigh in! Fill in the blanks! Argue! Or better yet, WRITE THIS. After all, that's the whole point of the DC universe -- anyone can do anything, there's a million spin-offs, and it doesn't need to make sense because you can just retcon it together.

Come on, people! We just gave you a world where John has Ronon's lovechild.
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Bones, I like you a lot, and I want to like you more. So you know what would be stellar? If you would have characters played by large people where a) the point of the character is not their size and b) they aren't portrayed as unstable at best, mentally ill at worst. Pathologizing fat is neither funny nor cute, so knock it off already.


ETA. Seriously. Thanks for hiring an attractive fat woman under the age of 35 (a fucking rarity on TV, period), and making her a stalker. Stellar and in no way fat-phobic story choice, guys.
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So I've been watching with interest as some of you on my dual flists weigh in on the SPN misogyny debates. Having seen next to none of SPN S3, I have no informed opinion to offer on the specifics of the arguments for and against, and I'm not going to try.

What I'm mulling over is a more general conundrum:
1. Promoting hateful and biased opinions is not something I'm in favor of, but
2. limiting your major characters' viewpoints to the political beliefs you want to promote limits the range of characters you get to write about, period, and
3. structuring your stories to ensure they directly address those political beliefs can get old and preachy really, really fast.

I've written main characters who were, among other things, elitist snobs, highly amoral, excessively violent, capable of deep cruelty, and (on at least one notable occasion) completely insane. All of those are traits I'd consider flaws in a friend, but in a character, they give me the potential to tell different, interesting, sometimes deeply unsettling stories. I'd like to think that I, as a writer, would be willing to write a story about a misogynist, racist, homophobic or otherwise bigoted protagonist.

That said, I have no interest in writing a misogynist, racist, homophobic or otherwise bigoted text -- a text whose ultimate effect is to promote those views. And I don't want to have to rely on pedantic, borderline OOC or after-school special monologues by more enlightened characters to make sure the reader understands that I'm not in favor of the views my protagonist holds.

So what's the solution? So far, I've come up with three possible mechanisms, but I think they're pretty good ones:
1. Let the character be wrong because of those views.
2. Engage with those views in a context where they have the potential to make the reader uncomfortable.
3. Let the character change.

A more detailed explanation of what I mean. )

I may not be able to reply to comments any time in the next day or two, due to school eating me, but I'm really interested to hear what your thoughts are -- whether you think these solutions would work, whether you can think of other ways to tackle this, if you'd ever create a sympathetic character whose views you found abhorrent, what you think your ethical obligations as a writer/artist/etc. are in terms of using what you make to further the beliefs you hold dear. Please weigh in if you've got the time.

March 2015

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