I was going to write a post about the awesomeness that is Elizabeth Wein's (aka, [livejournal.com profile] eegatland) series that starts with The Winter Prince, and how right [livejournal.com profile] sdn was when she told me to go read it. I even wrote the title in my little Semagic box. But then I had to go home, and I was tired, I was busy, and then OMG Cultural Appropriation! exploded on the internets.

I followed it for a week with my jaw dropped. I haven't commented because, honestly, I don't know what to think. I did run off and ask [livejournal.com profile] lareinenoire for her opinion, and we had a discussion about how guilty and uncomfortable this whole thing makes us feel. I haven't read everything and I'm actually trying to escape it because it's so painful to watch people yell at each other.

But here's the thing. I grew up knowing exactly how much bigger my family would have been if there hadn't been a Shoah. My grandmother told stories of her relatives who died at Babi Yar. I knew that my mother hadn't gotten into Kiev Polytechnic, despite having great grades and acing the entrance examinations, because her passport read "Jew" under "Nationality." I knew how hard my parents had to work to get my sister into the best school in the Kiev, because her passport said the same thing. I know why they left the Soviet Union, and part of what weighed into their decision was that their youngest daughter wanted to be a doctor when she grew up, and there was no way that was going to happen there. (She's since decided to become a doctor of a different sort.)

But on the other hand, as Tevye said, is that I have fought against their fear for a long time. I know how much they heard the word "Yid," and I know how they'd seen Jewish women who wound up married to non-Jews treated. And I know how worried they were when I dated a man who wasn't Jewish. And I know how many problems they had with my now-husband, even though they love him as their own son. (A lot can be overlooked when a man decides do convert, but that doesn't mean they didn't have to accept him for himself before that happened.) And, to be honest, I know the prejudice they hold in their hearts regarding people of darker skin tones (not that that stopped them from voting for Obama and telling off their friends who were afraid to do so). It's something they work through every day of their lives, and it's something I find myself working through as well. I still remember yelling at my mother, as a teenager, that "We're in America now! People don't act that way!" I'm pretty sure that didn't help her fears any.

But love? Well, that does help. In undergrad social psychology we learned that what breaks down the barriers, what makes people see each other as people and not as "Other" (a term I really, really hate) is working together. Give people of different cultures and races and backgrounds a task and make sure they have to work side-by-side, and eventually, slowly, these barriers we put up for ourselves tumble.

My parents have lived in America for almost 20 years. And in that time, a lot of things have changed. Their elder daughter went to the university of her dreams because of their choice. Their younger daughter is pursuing a PhD, and this summer she married a man who was willing to change his faith, in part to be with her for the rest of his life. And his family accepted her, and she goes to his grandmother's house for Christmas.
Fantasy & Fables: Fantasy in Graphic Novel Form )

I was going to write up George R. R. Martin's reading, but someone else did it better right here.

The Fantastic and the Mundane: A Look at Urban Fantasy )

Next up, Sunday!
I went very late on Friday - mostly to pick up my registration stuff and see if I could track people down. The original plan was to meet [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna at the con, but alas that was not to be. My friend N also completely lamed due to being a grad student with a deadline, so I just walked around briefly and headed home, exhausted.

Saturday was much better, con-wise.

Fantasy, Folklore, and Myth )

More later, work now.
Small Sci-Fi/Fantasy cons are extremely lonely to attend on one's own, particularly if they're very sparce on programming they offer. As a result of these observations, though I enjoyed meeting Sharyn November ([livejournal.com profile] sdn) and Guy Gavriel Kay, I'm extremely doubtful as to my attendance of Vericon should it coincide with the Fetish Fair Fleamarket and more people want to go to that.

Dreadfully lonely. It will be nice to go to Boskone with [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna, my friend N, and others.

That's not to say I had a bad time. I'm extremely pleased to have met Guy Kay and to have had the chance to warble at him about how The Lions of Al-Rassan is one of my favorite books ever. (We also discussed my RL name. His mother's family, apparently, is originally from Ukraine, round about Kiev.) And the advance purchase of Ysabel, awesome.

Sharyn, too, was an absolute dream. She was so pleased to hear about how Firebirds is the book that made me love the short story, and we spoke for a bit about [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman's next Neef book (I mentioned that "Cotillion" was my favorite Delia short story).

I also attended the panel on action (and missed the one on culture due to the Guy Kay signing and blueness that was only abated by a hot chocolate from Finale - [livejournal.com profile] buymeaclue, [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid, see what you've done?), where people spoke very intelligently about motion and scene and choreography, and a bit about the Ramayana. There was a good discussion of how action has become very cinematographic (is that a word?) in writing due to fild and television. Also, video games. There was a great deal of fatalism about all the POV shifts and quick cuts, but people also intelligently discussed the way a fight (or sex) scene has to pull its weight in the story by advancing the narrative or the characters or both. The example used was out of The Princess Bride; Inigo Montoya's fight with the Dread Pirate Roberts atop the Cliffs of Despair.

The Guest of Honor speech cheered me immensely, though. Kay offered a "partial defense of fantasy as a mode of fiction." He pointed out that all good fiction is escapism, it's a function of the act of storytelling. He added that his primary goal was always to keep a reader up to 3AM. And that beach reading serves a purpose - it's difficult to read challenging fiction in 15 minute instalments (which I will agree with - Ursula Le Guin and my trips to and from work shouldn't have mixed). He asserts, and I agree, that fantasy fiction has the capacity to be as important, moving, and thought-provoking as the finest stuff you're going to find out there. Moreso, even, as it can tap into myth and legend and bring universal truth home the way historical fiction won't necessarily because it's easy for people to assume you're writing about that one time in that one place. In other words, fantasy allows for the universality of a story and lets the timeless themes shine through.

It helps that he was incredibly funny (and punny). When he didn't wish to engage in discussion of a theme right then, he offered that after the speech whoever did could take him out to the bar and "take his best shot while [Kay] took [his] best shot." There are apparently plans in the works to bring The Last Light of the Sun to a movie theatre near you, and there's a third project for high-end television he can't talk about yet.

All in all? Good stuff. Needs better timing. And more people.
adelynne: (doctor who)
( Oct. 17th, 2006 11:57 am)
I should be working, but people are frustrating me by being unclear as to how many resources I have to finish my experiments, so I'll just update instead.

Life continues, and I'm still in love with grad school to an unholy degree, despite surviving a rather unpleasant two weeks work-wise, all things considered. I did well on my exam, and general well in my other class, so life's not too shabby.

[livejournal.com profile] lodessa was here last week, so we did typical New England things like apple picking, typical girlie things like watching the second part of Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version) when I had a really bad day, and typical fandom things like writing Veronica Mars meta. We might even get our act together enough to post it when she gets back to her coast. The P&P had the unexpected side-effect that Doyle's interested in going as Mr. Darcy for Halloween, which I'm totally all for.

[livejournal.com profile] lodessa also read the current (let's say 1.3ish) draft of Glamour and gave me feedback I'd not heard before - like how the chapter I think sucks rocks is actually fairly suspenseful, and how I need to make Our Heroine more accessible in the latter parts of the novel. (To be fair to my other editors - I'd not heard that yet 'cause they hadn't gotten that far.) Also, she said the pacing was good, and that's possibly the best thing I'd heard on the subject. We spent the car ride to the train station dissecting, and I'm really excited to go and edit things more... when I have the time. Thanksgiving, maybe?

TV Watching - VM, Dr. Who, BSG, B5, and why Buffy isn't the best thing since sliced bread - why is sliced bread so cool, anyway? )
So. There has been a recent "meme" of sorts about the all the cool people's blogs about "how to write a novel." (In case you don't read, it can be found here, here, here, here, and here, at the very least and in the order I saw them.) And really, that's great.

I've already (technically) written a novel, though. And while I don't think I'm cool enough to share the process, I will say that my brain did conjure something very similar to the spreadsheet idea as a cookie for me (it was a notepad file, started off by keeping wordcount, and then evolved to keeping the names of the chapters - Glamour's not the sort of book where I need to keep track of the POV). In any case, I have a fairly "set" method for writing novels that is differently-evolved from my method of writing short stories or essays, and I'm pretty happy with it. It works for me.

What I don't have is a way to actually get myself to look at the book again. I can think about it, make a list of all the things that are broken and need to be fixed - even, on occasion, how I can fix them, but I can't bring myself to open that bloody file labelled "Glamour Draft 2.doc" and get to work. I dread it. I'm absolutely sure it'll be horrible, and I'll hate it and won't stand to even edit it and will destroy my own creation in a blaze of madness.

Rationally, I know it's not that bad. I know where it's broken, but I also know where the strong points are. It is fixable, but I actually need to be willing to fix it. I'm willing to bet that it'd be nice work if I could get it. And if you can get it, please won't you tell me how?
adelynne: (doctor (to be) del)
( Aug. 9th, 2006 08:09 pm)
Due to the latest friending meme, I have acquired quite a few new readers. *Waves hi.* Don't be shy, join right in.

A few bits of information that May Come In Handy:

1. I will discuss real life but rarely in this journal, as it began as an escape from a very stressful job situation and has continued to be my haven for things of fannish squee, original writing, and general things most of my RL friendslist wouldn't be interested in. I do keep an RL journal - and have kept it for some 4 years now - and if you're really interested, I'd be glad to friend you on that one. Just leave a comment and let me know.

2. In addition to blathering about fan things at length and odd points in time, I am currently editing the first draft of the first YA urban fantasy novel I've ever written, Glamour, and writing the second, Honour, but slowly. I suffer no illusion that everyone on my friendslist would care for these posts - as quite a few people have friended me for unrelated things. If you would like to read about my writing/editing process in general, and when the time comes read what is most likely to be the second or third draft of these works and provide constructive criticism and/or cheerleading, please answer the poll here, or leave a comment on this entry saying so.

3. Also, some of my earlier original work (and I can't seem to complete fanfiction to save my life) is housed here, at Gather.com. I am a concrit nut, and am always desperately happy to receive any. You need to have an account at Gather to participate in discussion there, but you could always leave a comment on an entry in my LJ or e-mail me at delinka at gmail dot com. If you do wish an account, one's easy to set up and if you ask me for an invite I get B&N gift cards. ;) More seriously, it is a good website with a bent toward adult publication and debate, and it rewards members for participation by sharing a portion of it's advertising revenue.

4. Other original fiction and art is scattered throughout this journal under friendslock. I have a set of links to various tags in the sidebar, for convenience.

5. Currently I have a lot of free time, and this journal receives a great deal of my attention. At the end of this month I'll be starting a very intensive grad program in the biological sciences (have your eyes glazed over yet?), and consequently my free time will go down the tubes. I don't know if it will impact my journaling overall, but it will definitely decline in times of exams and such.

Please keep your legs and arms inside the vehicle, and enjoy the ride. ;)
I got into a discussion with a friend that led to my making a comment about writing. It might have been misconstrued - I don't know, really, but it's sort of giving me cause to think about the way I regard my own fiction.

Because I don't think I write deep stories. I like the themes that come out of my work, but I don't actually put them in there. If I write a story about someone who thinks themselves an outcast it's only because that's the type of person I'm familiar with. Only later it may come to me that they might be dealing with alienation - at the time I largely think in terms of "what would happen next with this character given their mindset?"

I don't think I'll ever support myself with writing - that's not my goal. I don't think what I write will ever be high literature, though to be honest I doubt Dickens ever thought of himself that way, either. I write because I have stories to tell and characters to tell them with. I write to entertain myself, and my friends, and anyone else who'd care to read.

I want it to be a good story - I want to make it as entertaining as possible without sacrificing the things that gave it form. But at the same time, I never aim to hold up a mirror to my psyche or anyone else's. I just don't think in those terms.

It's something I was dealing with in high school - we were reading The Scarlet Letter and Great Gatsby and talking about the elements (the three lights in Gatsby, three town squares in Scarlet Letter), and I made the comment that I honestly didn't believe an author sat down to write and said to himself "I'll put a simile in here, a metaphor here...." I still don't. I think I've learned that there is certainly a framework in an author's mind, and you might build on it when such events appear in your own prose, but when you write you're just trying to put thoughts down on paper in a way that make sense for the story you're trying to tell. When you edit you try to find these things and bring them out.

At The Witching Hour last fall, Patricia McKillip made the comment that when she was first published she was vastly disappointed, as an English major, that her work was not the next Faulkner. That has stuck with me since I heard it because, quite honestly, she's not in a position to evaluate herself that way. History and critics will bear out whether she's the next Faulkner or not (though for my part, I'd agree with her, but in the sense that she is, in ways, better) - Faulkner certainly wasn't able to tell that he was the first Faulkner (well, other than the name). Shakespeare wrote to entertain - he had no idea that one day his words would be synonymous with the height language could conquer. He tried to tell stories, some good, some bad, in a way that appealed to the people who paid him.

I don't even know if I'm making any sense at this point. My point was supposed to be that I concentrate on telling the story it is within me to tell, and let the rest take care of itself.
[livejournal.com profile] mallory_blog opened a discussion, probably unwittingly, of whether alternate world (without explicit magic) is fantasy or not here. It is worth a look.

I should add my current mood doesn't have anything to do with the discussion. Rather, I've been apartment-hunting, and am deflated by the lack of everything I want being in one place at a good price.
The monicker, used in Swordspoint to aptly describe one Lord David Campion has been stuck in my head for days. It has been lodged in association with Felix Harrogate, after reading the opening chapters of The Virtu, and it has brought on a case of speculation regarding characters and character archetypes.

Namely, I love those bastards.

Athos was my favorite Musketeer, not the golden D'Artagnan. But I have a feeling that, were I to reread those books today, Aramis would be coming up neck and neck to my troubled gentleman. Likewise, it is the Comte de Monte-Cristo who captures my imagination, not the young Edmond Dantes.

It is never the hero who attracts me, not in the classic sense. Harry Potter with his loving parents who died on his behalf, guided on your typical hero's journey toward the inevitable triumph (though not without proper amounts of sacrifice) is, to me, quite boring. It is, for that reason, I suspect, that while we spoiler! ) in A Song of Ice and Fire, it is Jaime and Tyrion Lannister who hold my affection, along with Jon Snow, who more spoiler! ).

It is easy to be a hero when you're Harry Potter. You might be scared out of your mind, but in your heart of hearts you know you're a good guy. You know that good is what you do, and you know that evil is something you can overcome.

But how much more meaningful is it when you're not said Harry Potter? When you're a kingslayer, a kinslayer, a guy who organizes bum fights, a runaway drugged-up academic, or a former child prostitute and an instrument of your own destruction? When you know that evil you've done, whether it served the greater good or not, is evil you've done, and you struggle to do better anyway?

The odd thing, I find, is that I can only think of one female character who fits into this archetype (Elizabeth Bear's Jenny Casey, of Hammered, etc). Why is that?

And who do you think of?
adelynne: (Default)
( Apr. 1st, 2006 10:52 pm)
Vacation was wonderful, very restive. I've only been back a day, and so not fully into the swing of things yet, but I'm already procrastinating. Our DVR broke while we were away, thus I have no Dr. Who, no West Wing, no Veronica Mars, and no Boston Legal. I also can't get cable in my living room. The company will replace the unit on Tuesday, but it's not the sort of homecoming I'd have preferred.

I've spent the day alternating between the second book in Patricia McKillip's Riddle-Master (the complete trilogy arrived while I was away, yay!) and the end of A Feast for Crows, with some forays into knitting books. I'm trying to convince myself that what I want to do is start revisions on the novel, or at least type up the chapters that are only in longhand at the moment, but I'm failing miserably. So I'm distracting my brain by trying to find a title for the book - its working title completely fails.

I've also got this story lurking in the back of my mind. Over a year ago, I came across [livejournal.com profile] mroctober's announcement about his forthcoming anthology, So Fey and had the kernel of a story. Usual plot-related wangst. )

And, just because AFfC appeared earlier in this entry, spoiler for most of the way through the book, however minor )
Let's talk Targaryens and prophesies. Spoilers ahoy!

Younger and More Beautiful )

. . . three heads has the dragon . . .  )

And on this note, I go drink tea and sleep. My brain is dead from trying to find one GRRM answer in the Citadel.

(Also, [livejournal.com profile] queenofthorns, have you seen Amoka's galleries? I think I like his art more than the artbook.)
Perhaps the most relevant panel I attended at Boskone was titled "Out of the Slush Pile (Endlessly Orbiting?)." The panelists, most of whom had decades of experience in publishing, spent a good hour talking about what made a strong submission and how to get your work noticed.

Though none of what they said as far as story construction was in any way new - in fact, my undergrad professors stressed the very points they hammered - it was a refreshing reminder that not everything you're told in college is a lie. In addition, there was a lot of discussion as to places to submit, how to make your manuscript look good, and all the other things that make you stand out in a heap of things the editor really doesn't care to read.

And beneath this cut I shall reveal all I learned... )

Any questions?
adelynne: (veronica mars)
( Nov. 19th, 2005 12:50 am)
I've been a bit lame (or swamped, depending on your view of things, I suppose) and haven't posted anything of note lately. Unfortunately, my sleep depravation skills have come to the point that while I'm actually shaking from exhaustion, I'm still too wide awake to sleep, and so I've decided to post something that isn't an update on how I'm doing in my novel. Because, let's face it, people get bored with that after a while, and it's not like I'm far enough along to post snatches.

Needless to say (but I'm saying it anyway): Spoilers Ahoy!

Veronica Mars: Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner )

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire )

I'm sure I had more comments, but sleep is finally descending upon me, and I think I'll stop there.
Okay, having finished reading The Mark of Zorro, I've taken some time to put together a general outline for the paper on how Batman's an extension of other masked vigilantes, and tCdMC. Further input is welcome, especially on Comte, as I haven't re-read that yet.

Shiny Preliminary Outline! )
After all the trouble in waiting for Amazon to deliver the books, I gave up and just went to buy them at the Coop near MIT. Thus, I've decided to do the same for Book 7, whenever it should become avaliable.

My boyfriend refused to let me read until we were on the interstate, and I left the book in the car when we stopped for food. Also, given my surety that someone was going to die in the last chapters, I left off reading them until after I slept, thus while I did not finish the book until Sunday morning, it took a grand total of 6 hours, if we don't count the breaks.

And now, to spoilers! )
I see what people were talking about regarding them pushing the sex appeal in the promo. Mind you, I'm all for sex appeal, I just didn't expect that much of it.

Cut for SG-1, Atlantis, and BSG in one general impression )

SG-1 )

Atlantis )


And now, I go night night. It is sorely needed.
So, having none of this "waiting" business, I dragged my boyfriend out to see Batman Begins on openning night.

Cut for Spoilers and Massive Gushing )

In short, I (a) hope they'll get to make the other two films, and (b) really want to write that Batman vs. Le Comte de Monte-Cristo comparison now. A lot.
adelynne: (Default)
( Jun. 3rd, 2005 11:47 am)
Now that RL has settled back into a livable routine, and I'm actually making progress on the novel (slow progress, but progress nonetheless), it seems as good a time as any to start musing about other things.

I think that I had a nice TV binge this season, and have taken a bit of a breather to remember why I enjoy blathering on about SG:A or VM for hours on end. The result being that I've started rewatching Atlantis and taking notes for my Weir essay. It's amazing the things you miss the first, second, or third time around.

Cut for some Atlantis blather, nothing beyond Rising. )

Of course, there's still a good month before the next season of shows that I watch starts (I'll need to figure out access to my sister's TiVo as I don't get HBO, and thus might miss the Six Feet Under season otherwise), and it seems like the best time to catch up on some reading. What reading... well, here's where I ask you. :)

Given my absolute adoration of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and such "genre" writing, recommend five novels for me to read this summer. As previously mentioned, "classics" of the genres are preferred, but not required.

As far as fantasy goes, I've read Tolkien and C.S.Lewis, but not Ursula Le Guin or others. As far as Sci-Fi, I've read Adams, Card, and Bradbury, but nothing like Asimov or Heinlein (I know, I know, what was I thinking?)

Anyone who helps expand my horizons gets a cookie of yet-undetermined form.
For you, my friends, I take two hours to watch an episode, writing out my notes longhand. I sacifice my hand and the subsequent cramping to bring you...

A slightly more coherent than a 'WTF?' review. Here be spoilers up to and including episode 21, but not the promo or the new scenes at UPN. )


adelynne: (Default)


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