vampthenewblack: (Default)
2016-05-25 10:03 pm

The Objectivity of Value

A thing just hit me. See, a couple days ago, I wrote a fic of ~1k. Start to finish, done in a day.

Now that might not seem like such a big achievement, and maybe it's not, I mean, on a normal day I'll easily hit 1k of a longer fic, and on a really good day I can do 4. Lots of people I know do more.

But when you've gone as many months as I have without posting anything, while also keeping up a regular writing schedule, finishing something, even 1k, is a big achievement.

Okay, so, it's not actually the first thing I've finished in however many months it's been. I've finished a couple things. Just a few. Longer things, though, and I've either rewritten them until I lost the plot and ran screaming, or filed them away for 'future edits'.

Yeah. I may have finished a couple things, but I haven't finished them, if you know what I mean.

That's almost relevant to what just occurred to me. Almost.

So, I finished this very short thing. And I looked at it, and I thought, well, that's editable. A few tweaks here and there, some line edits and spell checking, and that's postable.

And that, for me, lately, is fucking phenomenal. No rewrites from scratch. No tearing it apart only to completely fail at putting it back together again. Just a quick tidy up and throw it out into the world.

There's a few reasons for that.

  1. It's short. It's always going to be quick, whatever you're doing to it.
  2. It's pure porn without the remotest hint of plot. There's really nothing to fix.

But then comes the problem I have. I don't think it's good enough to post.

I overthink stuff, I'm told, and yes, I totally do. I admit that. But this...it isn't particularly good. It's passable, I think the grammar is reasonably sound, the spelling doesn't suck, it makes a certain amount of sense. It's porn, and I don't think it's bad porn, I mean, there's no turgid lengths and no one's getting reamed by a horse or anything, so yay?

It just seems flat to me. And, in my opinion, it could be lifted out of that flatness by the addition of some plot.

And therein lies my problem. I don't value this short bit of pwp, simply because of what it is. There's no plot. Nothing happens except for a bit of fucking.

But I know that as soon as I start putting plot into it, it'll balloon into a 30k epic, I'll hit a wall, break it, cry, and shove it into a folder so deep on my hard drive I'll never see it again.

That's just what happens to me lately, but I'm kind of over bitching about it, so I'm just going to leave that there.

My problem here is, I don't seem to value fic as much if it doesn't have that plot.

I used to read and write a lot of short pwp. Loved it, for years and years, that was my bag, baby. I was a short porn activist, even, proselytizing on the form to anyone who would listen.

Oh, how we change.

I still love a good bit of porn, but nowadays I need it framed in stuff happening. I need a fucking reason for the fucking, you know?

So. I don't value the thing that I just wrote because it's short and has no plot, and I do put value on longer fic where shit actually happens.

So I read longer, plotty fics, and I tend to scroll past the short fic marked pwp. Likewise, I only feel confident posting longer fic with plot, because that's what I personally value, but I can't do that right now. And I don't know what to do with this short thing simply because it's pwp and I don't feel like it's worth posting.

Sigh.

Later: I ended up posting it to a sock account I use for stuff I don't want on my regular AO3 account. It holds the really taboo stuff I can't be arsed dealing with wank over, and some really fucking odd shit I've written in the past.

But, hey. I wrote something. And I edited it. And I posted it (even in a really cowardly manner). That's something. It's progress.

What's really fucked up about the whole thing, though, is that just because I don't value it, doesn't mean there's not readers out there that do value short smut, just like I used to, back in the day. Case in point: it's getting a decent amount of kudos, and some really positive comments.

The moral of the story? I really really do overthink shit, far too much, and I need to just suck it up and embrace whatever I'm capable of at the time.

It's time to stop being a derp, and write some more goddamn pwp!

vampthenewblack: (Default)
2016-01-12 09:00 pm

Woops, I did it again.

So I just got done saying I wasn't going to sign up for anything until Camp NaNo in July, and then I went and signed up for [livejournal.com profile] spn_j2_bigbang. I'm officially insane.

But I did actually write something already. I got an idea over Christmas, and just wrote a little every day through New Year, until I got to the end. Because it's so damn rough, and so...well, unfinished (if I got bored with the scene I was writing, I just stopped and went onto the next one, so it's beyond gappy), I figured the only way I was ever going to get it posted (rather than tucked away in a dark corner of my hard drive to languish in obscurity) was to sign up for Big Bang. Deadlines work for me. I panic like fuck getting there, but I hit those deadlines. And I hate 'letting people down' so once I sign up for a thing, I'll get it done.

It pretty much means Camp NaNo is out though. Big Bang runs through August, but even if I get an early post date (posting starts in June), I know I'll be in an epic flurry of panic right up until the day, and when I've spent months with my head in just one thing, the last thing I want to do next is take on another long fic. I dunno. I won't say no until July, but I'm not holding my breath.

Really makes me think that perhaps, for me, Big Bang is the new NaNo. I mean, I NaNo'd religiously for 6 years, then last year I Banged, and come November I was just like, nope. One big thing a year is about enough for me these days. I must be getting old.

vampthenewblack: (Default)
2015-10-26 07:47 am
Entry tags:

Why I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year.

I first did NaNoWriMo in 2009. My mother had just passed away (like, less than two months before), and it completely fucked me up. I'd never written a novel before and I hadn't finished anything longer than a thousand words in many many years... It was definitely a case of throw myself headlong into something that would consume me completely so I didn't have to deal with the fact that I'd lost the only person I'd ever been able to rely on completely.

I still can't believe I won that year, and went on to complete the novel through December (because fuck Christmas when I'd just lost my Mum), finally coming out with a tally of 110,000 words and a complete novel. I still maintain that it's my best NaNo ever, though it's a typical first novel, meandering and tangented, cheesy and cliché. It was a learning experience, and one of the things I'm most proud of (even though there's very few people in the world that I'd ever let read it).

It was also my first slash fic. It wasn't meant to be. I wasn't even a slash writer back then, and the story began with a het pairing, but by the first quarter it was plainly obvious that it wasn't going to end that way. It was an epiphany, you might say, and once it was done I found it very difficult to write het afterward.

So NaNo kind of means a lot to me, and after doing it (and winning) every year since, it's become a habit, an institution. I almost didn't do it in 2012 because I hadn't written anything in about six months, but an acquaintance pushed me to do it again and I said fuck it, and just did it, and it got me writing again.

Every year I'd come out with something plainly unpublishable. Some years were more shit than others, but every time it was kind of a reset button for my writing habit, and I'd come out the other end of November with an inability to not write.

So, this year, like every other year, I expected I would NaNo again. The fact that NaNo was designed to fall in the deep dark of winter but actually fell in the summer for me never really bothered me before. We'd just bought a house when Mum died, and before we bought it I had lots of ideas for the garden, and because Mum was a gardener and I had two black thumbs, she was supposed to help me with it. Well, that, of course, never happened. Summer was no different to winter, in fact, I was even more inclined to hide inside because everything about summer reminded me of her.

It took me 5 years and the death of my grandfather (the other gardener in the family) to even get to the point where I could bear to think about having a proper garden. Then instead of bringing up painful memories, growing stuff was suddenly a way of connecting to them both. So last year I both gardened and NaNo'd.

It wasn't hard or anything, it's not like either suffered greatly. But because my mind was consumed with tomatoes as well as words, I just didn't care as much about the words.

About a month ago, when I was thinking I should start planning for NaNo, while I was already planning the garden, the truth really kind of hit me. Another epiphany, perhaps. I realised that I'd rather put all my energy into growing shit than I would into a book that I know from experience I'll never publish.

And all the 'thou shalt write every day and not let real life intrude if you want to be a real writer' stuff that people spout can kiss my arse, frankly. I'll still write every day, there's nothing going to stop me from doing that, but I'll put my intense effort into it at a time of year when there's very little to be done in the garden. Thank god for Camp NaNo, July is a much better time of year to be doing that shit around here.

And next month, I'll grow some stuff :D I'm as proud of my erratic, overgrown garden as I am of my first laughable novel.

[crosspost]

vampthenewblack: (Default)
2015-01-13 01:38 am

Teen Wolf Remix (signups are closing, like, imminently)

Teen Wolf Remix banner

I've just realised I should have posted about [community profile] teenwolfremix here a little earlier, but I've been away with the goddamn fairies. Half of that is school holidays and the fact that I never get on the computer until late when the kids are home and my brain is utterly fried by then :D

But Remix! Participation looks like it'll be a little lower than last year, which is likely related to my own personal fail at promo, but it'll make for a nice cosy wee fest :)

So if you're up for a little transformative working, you ever wondered what someone else might do with your version of the Teen Wolf universe, or you know someone who might be into it, you can check out the full deets on AO3.

Signups close Wednesday 14th January.

vampthenewblack: (Default)
2015-01-04 12:42 pm
Entry tags:

Public rating systems on AO3

You know what it's like on Amazon and Goodreads. The rating system that makes me thankful that I don't write OF. It has a point there, despite the potential for abuse (I've heard of authors using socks to rate their own stuff up, of enlisting friends to do it, and of people who don't like the author one-starring out of malice). You check out the ratings and reviews before you shell out hard earned cash. All of the logic.

Thank god this built in rating system will never be a thing on AO3, those who decide these things having rejected that particular new feature proposal in part due to the potential for abuse.

No one has to pay to read fic, therefore there's no danger in flouncing after the first paragraph if a fic is not to your taste.

I occasionally look at bookmarks of my own stuff on AO3. I like to read the comments, I get all fluttery and excited when someone ticks the rec box, and I look for tags they've applied that I might like to add to the fic.

And I wander through other peoples bookmarks, looking for their recs and comments and often add things to my TBR from there.

From time to time I see readers using a rating system in their bookmarks. I'm not particularly precious about my work, I think I've been doing it long enough that I know my limitations and I know that most of what I post (especially lately) is seriously lacking in one way or another. So when I see a low rating on one of my own personal faves, and one of my highest kudos'd works, I can shrug it off without too much of a hit to my ego.

I realise that most of the time these rating systems have little to do with the quality of the work and more to do with the readers own tastes, and for many are likely only meant for the readers own reference. I keep a rating system of my own, but I keep it in Calibre, safely private on my own personal computer. There's no way in hell I'd let the authors of the works I read see those ratings, because they are for my own future re-reading reference, and have everything to do with my own personal tastes and almost nothing to do with quality.

I never see these ratings by a reader with any works of their own on AO3. It's only readers who make these ratings public. I won't say that before they criticise they should try writing themselves because IMO that's not what they're doing. I imagine that the majority of them simply have no concept of how hard it is to create something and share it.

To all those non-writers who use a rating system: Fic authors (and artists, and podficcers, and all the creators in all the media) put hours upon hours of their own time, and blood, and sweat, and tears, into creating fanworks and then share them for free, for love. It's a very vulnerable position, and particularly for those new to sharing, one knock is all it takes to make them not want to share again. Imagine if this happened to your favourite author way back when they began. If they simply gave up before they'd really started, before they had a chance to hone thier writing. Imagine how little fic we'd have to read now!

AO3 is not Amazon, and it's not Goodreads. Public ratings don't belong here.

If we got paid for this shit it might make public rating systems easier to take, but we don't. All we get in return is a few kudos or comments. Personally, I'm happy with that. I don't want to get paid for writing fic, because this way I get to write whatever the hell I want to write, I don't have to please anyone but myself, and I write to my tastes.

And for those readers who choose to rate to their tastes, that's fine, too, but you should keep it to yourselves. Don't put it where the author is highly likely to see it, in places like public AO3 bookmarks.

The ridiculous thing is that it's very easy to make ratings and comments in an AO3 bookmark private. All you need to do is tick the private bookmark box! Unless you're intentionally trying to make the writers feel bad, but that's kind of an asshole thing to do.

vampthenewblack: (Default)
2014-11-01 12:15 pm

NaNo '14 - Day 1

*cough*

I thought this was year 5, but it's actually my sixth NaNo. Not counting the one Camp NaNo I did. That seems like a lot. I did my first NaNo around the same time or a little before I really started writing fic and being involved in fandom, so it is a good way of keeping track of that.

But 5 years. Holy crap.

So it's day #1 of NaNo '14 and it's awesome! So far. Give me a week and I'll be tearing my hair out and crying. In terms of where I thought I'd be in my story by todays target I'm way ahead. So I'm slightly concerned that I might not have enough story to fill the 50k. Hopefully things flesh themselves out as I move along, if not I have some backup fic I can write to fill the gap.

Oh! And my story. I've tended to write OF for NaNo, but this year I'm writing a (perhaps) novel length SPN fic. Wincest is best, as is the celebration of unhealthy brotherly co-dependence *grin*

I've already killed Dean. Just this morning. Went well XD

Also, I'm doing this without knowing anything about Season 10, so, spoilerphobe warning. Yep.

I'm just going to chuck this here so I can look at it and freak out when I see red boxes.

vampthenewblack: (Default)
2014-10-10 03:50 pm

NaNo is not far away...

It's coming up the busiest time of year for me, for a lot of people, I guess. Christmas is on the horizon, but that's something I barely give a passing thought in October. November is the big month for me, it'll be my 5th NaNoWriMo this year, so it's definitely become something of a habit, and all non-essential things just go completely out the window until after it's over and I've taken a few days to recover.

And in time honoured vamp tradition, NaNo is approaching while I'm in the midst of one of my horrible extended not-writer's-block periods. Which is actually a good thing, because I generally come out of NaNo with a hiss and a roar, the not-block having been forced away by the necessity to consistently write a stupid amount of words each day.

So that's good. I'm looking forward to November, because NaNo for me is a kind of reset button for my writing habits.

vampthenewblack: (Default)
2014-09-12 10:00 pm

I should never be allowed to post WiP's

If it's not psychic fuckery causing me to get kind of kripked, or just being jossed because I'm writing last season while this season is airing, both of which make me freeze up bad enough, it's my not-writer's-block.

I've abandoned WiP fic in a previous fandom. I don't feel too bad about it now (except for this fic, but that's more about my own attachment than any letting people down feelings), because I'm done with writing in that fandom, it's of the past.

A current fandom, though? Ouch. Okay, I pretty much abandoned Ruined because of the aforementioned psychic fuckery and my absolute horror at having written an ending with so many parallels to canon, but the ending is sitting on my hard drive. With a season's worth of distance, I'm thinking I might just post it, with a disclaimer swearing that I hadn't seen or heard anything about 3b while I was writing it, just to call it done.

Somewhere Quiet is my current WiP. I've let things distract me (both fandom and RL), unfortunately, which disrupts the momentum, and leaves space for second guessing. Is the boss fight dire enough? Do I retcon the already posted chapters for a canon detail that didn't exist when I wrote them? Do I trash the final few scenes again because even this third version just doesn't feel right?

I do get distracted ridiculously easy. I have this rule, one fic at a time, but I've been lax about sticking to it lately. Inflection Point is another WiP, and despite it's status as my stress-free happy place, so is Wake Up Dead. And I've just signed up for Teen Wolf Holidays, NaNoWriMo is looming, and Remix is on the horizon.

I'd like to get Somewhere Quiet at least out of the way before NaNo, which, considering there's just this one chapter left to post, shouldn't really be too hard. But I've been kind of panicking, because I knew that what I had written (it was technically done just a few days ago, now, not so much), wasn't right.

But the lovely [personal profile] thraceadams gave me a bit of a pep talk, and I shoved it away in a folder, determined to take a step back and concentrate on other things for a while.

Less than 24 hours later, I was fishing it out again. That disconnect, the letting go, gave me just enough distance to realise that I probably did have to trash most of what I had of the final chapter. Right now I'm concentrating on the first scene of the final chapter (it's with [personal profile] venis_envy right now), making sure the resolution to the casefic part of the fic is right, and then I'll worry about the shippy parts, which, honestly, is what I find hardest right now.

I have gone through and retconned that canon detail (Parrish has a first name now, and even though the fic is firmly within post-3b/pre-S4 canon, it felt weird to call him anything other than Jordan).

So, yeah. I have direction. At least a little bit. WiP's can be a problem for me, though. If I'm writing them when I'm particularly prone to distraction (like now), they tend to stack up. And while I've got WiP's in my past that haven't ended in laggy failure, it's a big risk to start posting before the whole fic is done.

Sometimes it works. Sometimes the simple fact that it is a WiP is what drives me to complete the thing, but that has to happen when I'm not prone to this constant second guessing.

vampthenewblack: (Default)
2014-08-29 12:34 pm

Filling my tank. With free books.

I'm trying to read more. I'm a crap reader lately, for a lot of reasons. There's the habit I have of avoiding recently posted works on AO3 while a season airs (because I got spoilered to fuck by AO3 tags before 3a even started), I don't see recs since I flounced tumblr a while back and don't watch my home timeline on twitter during a season either.

I have a couple rarepair feeds bookmarked, but most of it is OOC and uberkinky, which isn't my bag. The odd fic that is relevant to my interests tends to be quickies, short things that I kind of eat, bookmark, and then I'm out of stuff to read again.

Then there's time. I tend to think of reading as a leisure activity, whereas writing is enjoyable while also feeling productive. And I might be a stay at home mum with both kids at school, but holy crap, there's always something I 'should' be doing.

The lack of reading isn't helping my current writing situation. Nothing in, rubbish out, or whatever. Or fill the tank. Or something. I need to fill my goddamn tank.

What I have done, is resurrected my long-neglected Kindle account. Mostly I think Amazon is a bag of dicks for many reasons, one of which is the fact that I have books in there I frickin paid for but can't migrate to a preferred ereader and format (epub, because freedom), so I'll certainly never buy another kindle book. What they do do, though, is make it really easy to find free (as in beer, not freedom, because Amazon) original works.

I now have a kindle (app) stuffed full of original m/m fic. The quality of which will vary, but so far I haven't been too disappointed. It's the same with fanworks, the quality varies, and it's not like I'm out of pocket if I have to flounce something for crap grammar.

I'm making an effort to review things, too. It makes me think and it's kind of a thank you to those authors whose work is free to read.

vampthenewblack: (Default)
2014-08-26 06:56 am

HP Month and the epic blockage

Nervous.

September is HP Month. Just a thing [personal profile] venis_envy and I are doing to turn back time a year or so and write some Harry/Draco fic. It probably should have been titled H/D month, but whatever.

Everything I write sucks right now. I have no 'flow'. To achieve my intent with a story, I'm having to go very slow and very careful, often pulling back several hundred words to restart.

And I'm starting a lot of really, really rubbish things. Watching my dropbox fill up with badly executed plot bunnies and my AO3 subscriber count drop every time I post something I actually finish.

So my confidence is in the toilet. Which is an unpleasant place to be, but oh well, not like it hasn't been there before and come back again. Annoying, though, right when I want to write some H/D, a pairing I really enjoyed writing around the epic block of 2012.

I was very new to writing HP at the beginning of that. I finished a couple first drafts, started some others, planned some more. And six months later when I finally came out of it (longest.block.ever) it was Harry and Draco that I wrote.

Then Teen Wolf happened, and I've been sort of consumed by it since. I occasionally branch out, I wrote some H/D during NaNo (that's coming up fast, too, another reason to freak the fuck out, but if I'm prepared to write it off as another never-shared NaNo Novel it's guaranteed to break the block—NaNo always does) last year, I've written some Buffy and some Supernatural fic, but Teen Wolf is very comfort zone/main fandom for me.

But it looks weird on my AO3 dash. I feel like I was in HP fandom for some time, I feel like I wrote a lot, and I feel comfortable with Harry and Draco, but looking at the works count you wouldn't think so. I recently posted my 69th Teen Wolf fic, and HP count is like, five.

But. There's an everloving crapload of half finished HP fic in my dropbox. There's at least two finished fics (one's still on paper, and it went to the US with me in 2012 and I haven't looked at it since. I imagine it needs a lot of work, but editing, I can do). I have my Season of Kink Bingo to at least make an attempt at before the deadline at the end of September.

I can do this. I'm going to fucking do this.

*tries to ignore the gnawing guilt over neglected (but not abandoned) Teen Wolf WiP's*

vampthenewblack: (Default)
2014-08-18 10:42 pm

Writer's Block and other fuckery

Some say writer's block is a myth. I do kind of agree with them. It's not some mystical fog that comes down over our keyboards out of the blue. There's always a cause behind those moments, hours, days, months where every time we sit down to write nothing (or nothing good) comes out.

I think I've been doing this long enough now that I can recognise at least some of the causes behind my own personal blockages.

Right now I'm wading through thick mud in an attempt to finish the final chapter of Something Quiet. The story is basically finished, has been for close to a week, at least as far as the casefic part goes. I'm having trouble wrapping up the 'ship aspect, though.

It always takes a bit longer to get final chapters done as I make sure I'm wrapping up all the bits and bobs, but this is ridiculous. I've gotten maybe 800 words out in the last week of sitting down to write every day.

This generally happens when I'm trying to force the story in the wrong direction. In this case, I'm trying to make these two shag when they're really not ready for it. Or I'm trying to make them do it the wrong way. Or something. Pretty much it means that I'm going to have to trash the last weeks work and [personal profile] venis_envy is going to have my guts for garters.

The last two fics I've written—flash fic to a prompt I managed to complete and which is posted here, and a failed attempt at another square on my SoK bingo—I've had to rip back to a point and start over, as well, so I've got a pattern. Real Life has been busy, my writing routine broke, and I'm not back in the swing yet. I keep trying, and end up forcing it, so the stuff that's coming out is often shite.

So until I get my mojo back, I think I'm just going to have to stay aware of this pattern, and accept that more often than not I'm going to have to tear it apart and start over.

Which I'm totally going to do. Tomorrow.

vampthenewblack: (Default)
2014-08-13 09:47 am

Transformative Works and Sharing

I'm kind of passionate about transformative works, I figure that should be a gimme for someone who reads and writes fanfiction or consumes/creates any other kind of fanwork. What we do is legal under fair use, which is awesome. It encourages creativity and gives many of us an avenue to hone our skills in a non-threatening and supportive environment.

For that reason I like to make it clear that I don't restrict the re-transformation/remixing of my fic as long as it keeps to the spirit of fair use and the fandom gift economy. Sharing is caring, and all that shit XD

Transformative Works & Sharing Policy

You're free to transform my fanworks however you like, without asking, provided you:

  • credit me and link to the source work
  • allow others to transform likewise
  • don't profit from it

If you're posting on AO3, use the nifty 'this work inspired by' function to link back. If it's not on AO3, drop me a line so I can link to it.

You're free to share my work non-commercially using the ebooks downloaded from AO3 via email, file-share, torrent etc. These files contain all the necessary credit and links. Do not repost as-is in any other format.

My original fic is licensed individually via Creative Commons.

vampthenewblack: Stiles (Stiles)
2014-08-06 11:27 pm

Because, really, I can only function when I'm locked inside my own head

I'm an introvert with social phobia and a very narrow attention span. And a little OCD. People are okay in small doses, and a select few I can handle in slightly-more-than-moderate doses, but when I don't get my regularly scheduled alone time to recharge I get snappy. And I start to go a little bit insane.

Read more... )