I wrote this on Friday afternoon, and having sat on it for a weekend, figure it's still worth posting. I don't like feeling like I'm angsting publicly but this journal is supposed to be my outlet for creativity, and creativity has been sorely lacking.

[livejournal.com profile] deliasherman once told me that you can't write while things are going wrong. She's right, of course. (I'll not say "She's always right," but near enough. Let's go with "She's often right.") So perhaps it's no wonder that I draw blanks whenever I so much as look toward one of my writing notebooks - this entry, after all, is being composed on paper dedicated for class notes, during class, no less.

But none of that gives me any comfort when it comes to how well Honour isn't going. Sure, the past month or two I've had plenty of excuses. But what about before? Has the steam gone out of my writing? Am I bored with my own story?

If that's the case, there's also the question of the short stories that have been sitting by, waiting their turn. I've only gotten a few lines on one of them, and I wonder where it's going and what my audience for that one could possibly be.

It feels like someone rolled a big-ass boulder into the middle of my creative stream and every so often I just collect what leaks through.

Well, okay. That's fine for now, I guess. I'm busy with school, and my family is taking far more of my attention now than previously (one way to know you're no longer "the baby" - everyone is looking to you to tell them what to do). But these things are temporary. I won't be in classes forever, and as my family heals and deals we'll lean on each other less.

And then what? Will my interest magically reappear? Do I just wait by the window for my muse to drop by? Until it condescends to see me?

I am so grounded in real life and the mundane right now I cannot fathom fantasy of any sort. (And so I went to Boskone. Heh.) And it makes me want to cry.
I miss writing. Not an accurate statement in an of itself, perhaps. I do much more writing now than I have since I got my BS, much more reading than even in my deepest binges.

But it's not the kind of writing I'm talking about. I miss my characters and their stories. I miss being able to write 3K in a day because I'm just so into the scene, the moment, the story. Witty banter, exploration. I miss going to the Diesel, sitting down with my little black book and pouring out words on a page - my words, and yet not mine for they come from somewhere else that's somehow all in my head. And rereading it later and realising that yes, I wrote that. And I did it at least half-way decently and entirely intentionally. I miss exploring things I don't know about a place I've been the only one to ever imagine.

That's not to say I'm not enjoying myself now. Grad school is definitely what I want out of life, but it's not all I want out of it. Never has been, nor will it ever be. But I am enjoying it - enjoying the friends I've made and the people I've met and the things I've learned about the science and what's going on in biology, and myself. I'm also doing well, by all accounts. Grades don't count for all that much in a five-plus year program, but mine are darn good, and the professors I've interacted with thus far all have positive things to say. I've learned enough from the job of hell not to repeat old mistakes. And I enjoy writing scientifically, too. I love putting down the things I've done, the way I've moved our knowledge of something along. It's rewarding, it's enlightening, and I still get way happy about a turn of phrase, or a creative way of explaining a concept.

I guess I binge on one and miss the other, is all. So much for working consistently. Balance is a figment of my imagination, it seems.

Maybe it's time to set up a writing schedule to keep these funks in check. Say, 500 words a day on anything I want so long as its not to do with one of my assignments. Sound start, I suppose, but the idea will need to percolate more. And maybe wait until after Thanksgiving.
adelynne: (writer's block)
( Nov. 1st, 2006 02:24 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] fuyu_no_fuhei has *ahem* hinted that I might want to do NaNoWriMo this month. As I have an outline and a chapter and a half of Honour already written, there is wisdom in this idea.

But I'm currently feeling like a very busy grad student. I recognize that much of Glamour was written when I was busy applying to grad programs, studying for GREs, taking a class, and working full time. So I may just be pulling a "woe is me!" here.

And so, I ask you to help me decide.

[Poll #858166]
adelynne: (firebird)
( Sep. 22nd, 2006 04:00 pm)
What the title says. I've been buried under a pile of grad-school-y stuff. It's been an amazingly positive experience thus far, but certainly an exhausting one. Voluntarily I've been putting in hours that have had people in the lab I'm rotating telling me that I'm working too hard and I really shouldn't stress so much. The funny thing is that I'm not stressed at all on this score - it's the most biologically-related fun I've had since I left undergrad. Absolutely wonderful!

So wonderful, in fact, that it's been stimulating my writing. Out of the blue I started rewriting one of the most troublesome parts of Glamour - the prologue - and just today came up with a really nifty idea for short stories. Cut to spare those who aren't interested. And also, rambly. )

In other news, I'm enjoying the latest season of Stargate: Atlantis like little else. Character moments! And backstory! And group bonding! Yay! Though I haven't seen last weeks', and won't see this weeks' for a bit. SG-1 is looking good too, though I'm sad about the cancellation.

I'm feeling less-than-thrilled over the upcoming VM and BSG premieres, though. Both shows have kind of left me underwhelmed in the aftermath of their second seasons, and the only way I was able to enjoy the Veronica Mars finale was by tossing the plot out the window and forgetting anything that even stank of continuity and cohesion. Though to be fair, I wasn't thrilled with the the first season's finale, either. Battlestar Galactica sort of went downhill for me after the Pegasus episodes, and for pretty much the same reasons. I'm not at all impressed with the commercials SciFi's been running, either.

My semagic informs me that today is [livejournal.com profile] matociquala's birthday. Happy Birthday Bear!

Today is also the start of Rosh Hashannah, so if you thought that I'd be on more now that I've appeared briefly, you were most likely mistaken. Nevertheless, Shannah Tovah to all that celebrate, and may you be inscribed in the Book of Life!
I am off visiting people at glorious Pennsylvania retreat, where internet is limited, and even if it wasn't I'd not be spending much time on it as there is a lake! For swimming! Still, gmail's inaccessible and it's driving me batty to not get my e-mail, so I'll settle for posting briefly.

I've been reading Dawn Cook's The Decoy Princess, which is great at subverting tropes and full of enjoyable characters. Not Faulkner, but then I'm in the mood for a light read having re-read [livejournal.com profile] ellen_kushner's divine The Priviledge of the Sword prior to leaving. I've got my head chock full of thoughts on how Alec Campion is a great champion of women's rights, and when sober, a remarkably useful person to know. There might be a post on that later, full of spoilers for all three books. Then again, that depends entirely on how coherent I can make myself under all the squee.

My own writing is still being beaten into submission. I feel like I've written something that might have a few jewels underneath if only I can scrape away all the dust and annoying bits of forcing the plot to the point where it makes no sense. And rewrite the prologue so it's not a vehicle for all! melodrama! all! the! time! (Yes, I do like my exclamation points today.) Still, it's a process that's helping me immensely, and I like to think is actually simplifying a narrative that will be difficult enough with all the characters and their arcs in there.

But more importantly, swimming!
adelynne: (writing: i wish)
( Aug. 3rd, 2006 12:20 am)
So I'm 2 for 2 for good Sox games at Fenway Park.

Red Sox Squee )

Would have been even better had the Yankees lost, but there's only so much you can ask for.

In other news, I wound up refining pivotal parts of Glamour in great detail, and all to the advantage of my story. More on that. I don't promise to make sense. )

In short: very happy and productive evening.

Also, I should not be allowed outside my apartment with my wallet, as I'll stop and buy comic books.
I lack discipline. Every time I make plans, they get sidelined and I wind up reading Jane Austen instead. Not that reading Austen is bad, by any means, but I do have a book I need to rewrite in large chunks. And so, a meme stolen shamelessly borrowed from [livejournal.com profile] truepenny.

A List of First Sentences of Works in Various Stages of Progress:

Cut because I care, and you may not. )
Okay, I've been writing most of my life. "First-time" here is used to denote first original novel.

When I was writing what became the first draft of Glamour I sneered at world-building and went about it in a most haphazard fashion. "It's urban fantasy," I said, "I won't even see Faerie until the next one, anyway. I'll worry about it then."

Well, now I worry about it. I worry as to why an Unseelie knight in the year 2005 wouldn't carry a gun. (Answer: he would. The other one actually works so well with a sword it'd kill his technique.) After all, my fae thrive on human creativity and there is a great deal of human ingenuity involved in making killing things. Honorable challege, though, is still usually done with a pistol or sword rather than a semi-automatic. :)

I find my world-building doesn't center too much on the world itself. Whether it's Boston or Faerie, the world is there. I'll paint that picture readily enough. What I wind up focusing on is the society, it's politics, the tools (whether magic or weaponry) and how they work, and what roles the characters would play in that society. I'm focusing on the meanings of porphyry, royal blue, and grey and what they mean to my characters. What sorts of familiars the characters have or are allowed to have and precisely how many is what I began thinking about today, and as a result I came up with something regarding those things that will bridge the plot of Nightfall. Hell, I can now - thanks to that revelation - say that it has a plot instead of bearing a large similarity to "Bill & Ted's Excellent Faerie Adventure," which was largely its state since any inception worth noting.

I worry that my heroine's luscious locks of hair will seriously impact her ability to kill people effectively. Discussion of why that is. )

I'm really giving it a lot of thought, now. And it, in turn, is affecting how I see the characters. Which is good, I think. And I think this is the proper time to look at the world, too. Because if I'd given it this much regard earlier, I'd have been distracted and never written the bloody thing. Of course, now that I have to rewrite it to make it consistent and palatable for the next two, I really wish I'd done it already.

I feel a bit like a child whinging at her parents from the backseat. "Are we there yet?"
Picked up Naomi Novik's Temeraire series and am mid-way through the Throne of Jade. Thus far, much more bloody than the first book.

Stopped by a Half-Price Books on my way out of Pittsburgh and picked up the 7th Annual Year's Best Fantasy & Horror for $5, a hard-cover edition of Black Heart, Ivory Bones, also for $5, and a $3 copy of The Perilous Gard. In short, very profitable even if it was annoyingly confusing to get back on the freeway in the right direction.

My own progress has been minimal, but nonetheless existant, for which I have [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna and [livejournal.com profile] grailquestion to thank - after we had lunch Wednesday, I got some editing done (mostly of the cosmetic variety), while Cat discovered and explored Gather.

Stargates were tonight, but I find myself to "meh" on them to properly discuss. That could be because of the headache, though. I'm going to take a jacuzzi and see if that helps. (Only in my parents' house do I get to say that.)
adelynne: (Default)
( Jul. 17th, 2006 09:01 pm)
Still alive. Survived my journey to super-rural Cleveland with relatively minor fuss. It might have been the second-fastest I've ever gone through a security line. Am not safely ensconced in my parents house, where I shall be until next Monday, barring a possible trip to PA.

Had strawberry milkshakes with the lovely [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna, and saw the absolutely gorgeous art for The Orphan's Tales. I heard her read excerpts at Readercon, and they were awesome, so I can't wait to see the book in all its glory, the not-ARC, I mean. Also under discussion were why lately there's a great deal of gay male protagonists in female-authored fiction (current theory - it's largely [livejournal.com profile] ellen_kushner's fault), and a dearth of gay females. Sole exception I could immediately think of being Carel Bierce, of Blood and Iron - though she's less of a protagonist and more of a supporting character.

The Lies of Locke Lamora is still in progress, though might be tabled for a bit as I run through a bunch of papers on RNA transcription and splicing (hands up if you know what the hell I'm talking about) so that I can have a leg up on this whole "grad school" concept.

Everything I write lately feels very rambly.
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.
adelynne: (Default)
( Jun. 28th, 2006 10:07 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] fuyu_no_fuhei is visiting for life in general and my birthday and Readercon in particular (the birthday being this coming Monday, Readercon July 7-9). It's nice having her here, but the day was gloomy and rainy and we didn't get much sleep, so I sort of want to crawl under the covers now. Plus headache building. No idea why.

In other news, we stopped at nifty used bookstore on our way home from dinner. My book haul has been truly astounding in these last few weeks, and will be more due to some funky payment thing which results in my getting $135 worth of stuff from the Coop for free, so to the point that even I'm questioning how much more I can obtain (and really, this is before Readercon and the Book Dealers of Empty Wallets), but I managed to pick up a couple more. The first is a research book - a concise library of Russian folklore which should serve as an excellent jumping off point for what I want to do after I finish the trilogy (please note the word "after" - I am not abandoning this project, the characters won't shut up long enough to think of letting me abandon them). I just think that there's not exploration of Russian folklore and mythology in Western writing - including genre.

The other thing I picked up is Spells of Enchantment edited by Jack Zipes and including stories by Andersen, Baum, Angela Carter, Philip K. Dick, Lord Dunsany, Goethe, Grimm, Hawthorne, Hesse, Tanith Lee, Robin McKinley, Rousseau, Thackeray, Twain, Voltaire, Wilde, Yeats, and Yolen (and many more).

Good stuff!
[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.
adelynne: (guiding lamp)
( Jun. 14th, 2006 12:26 am)
Strange day - full of work done, The Lathe of Heaven finished (and a review/Le Guin thoughts post brewing), a discussion of what is "hard" science fiction simultaneously brewing, and the first lines of Honour appearing.

I can tell that this one will be just as challenging as the first one. The characters insist on talking in short witticisms, staying only long enough to impart their newest gem and make sure my brain records it before departing for parts unknown. I'll start really worrying about it as July nears, for that shall be when the dreaded spectre of "free time" shall rear its head.

Saw X3 just now - rather more plot-full and not-horrendous than I came in expecting. A few of the characters were flying in the most odd fashion, but as a summer blockbuster flick (and how sad is it that I have this standard?) it isn't so bad.

Still looking forward to the new Pirates. Possibly even more now.

Ah well, must do that sleep thing.
But it's raining. Which makes me very sad.

I did buy Mélusine and am into Chapter 2. Exposition, who needs this exposition, I ask you? Just about everything that I'm spoiled for due to Amazon recommending The Virtu to me has already happened. Well, aside from the fact that the protagonists have yet to actually, you know, meet.

Still, as I read I continue to be startled by just how much one can pack into a chapter. It's also an excellent read as I continue to ponder [livejournal.com profile] lareinenoire's rewrite, and how to better structure that behemoth.

Glamour I'm trying to avoid looking at while I ponder what's bothering me. I think it comes down to the fact that once I'm in an action scene, I do fine, but actually leading up to the action is like pulling teeth. It's like I'm driving past the car crash and screaming "no, don't make me look, I don't want to look.... Oooooh." Plus that opening thing? Remembering I'm not writing 23 short stories would be helpful in the way I structure chapters.

In other news,The Green Man anthology is holding its own against the full-length novel, which is impressive in an of itself. I read the McKillip story today - lovely as per usual. Looking forward to the rest.

Why is it that my reading list keeps growing the more I read? Shouldn't it work the other way around?
Having sent Glamour (yay! it has a title that I can call it now!) off for editing, phase 1, my brain is divided on the things we should do next.

The happy, productive part is bouncing up and down going "Good job! We should write something! Write something!" It does not, unfortunately, specify what that "something" should be.

The lazy, overworked part is busy lying on the couch, staring out into the torrential downpour and going "Are you kidding? Gimme some tea, some books, and leave me the hell alone. The draft stinks anyway. You're never going to fix the shit that is chapter 20, so suck it." I'm not too fond of that side of my brain right now, but it does have a point with the tea and the book.

Plus, I have a weird urge to do a lot of research on rusalka and domovoi. I tried to get my mom to give me some tips on finding Russian balladry back in February for Greer Gilman, but she's been so busy she flaked and probably forgot about it long ago. Getting back to my mythic roots or something?

It's weird. When I was in college I was writing these stories about my ex and one of my professors looked at me and said "You moved to this country and had this incredible formative experience? Why the hell are you writing about coffee shops and exes?" And I honestly tried to write about my experiences then, but no matter how hard I squeezed, it wouldn't get anywhere.

Having read as much as I have lately, I think it has something to do with the format and structure of the story. When we were moving it was a novel. Things blended together - one thing led to another and it was a long narrative. I was trying to write short stories - single moments in time, a point at which change happens - because that was the scope of the course. But my immigration wasn't a short story - it was a novel. And my difficulty reflects that.

This leads to all sorts of deep navel-gazing as to what I want to write when I'm finished with the trilogy. But at the moment, the "when" is rather optimistic on my part.

Eh, all navel-gazing aside, I should finish The Faery Reel so that I may squee about it in an unhindered fashion.
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 )
adelynne: (Default)
( Jan. 15th, 2006 07:22 pm)
So I finally entered Gather's Short Fiction Competition, revising probably the first story I could bring myself to show people to do so.

Title: Invincible Summer
Author: Adelynne
Category: Gen, Original
Rating: G
Word Count: 2,578
"In the depth of winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."
- Albert Camus

Read it here.

Comments welcome everywhere.
adelynne: (Default)
( Dec. 20th, 2005 11:41 pm)
I posted a short story over here, at Gather.

Not entirely sure how I feel about that one, though.
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! )


adelynne: (Default)


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