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[personal profile] maidenjedi asked questions #5 & #15 about Oil, an X-Files genfic from the POV of the black oil alien, written in 2003.

5: What part was hardest to write?

I remember going through many revisions of the last few paragraphs. Knowing what note to end a story on is critical, and since this fic is so weird it wasn't easy. Some of the obvious choices for thoughts to end on wouldn't have worked. The main character as we've known it essentially ceases to exist by choosing to give up its individuality, but doesn't die. There's no concern for what happens to Krycek because in this POV humans are not very relatable. The alien doesn't end up caring much about those things. What stirs its emotions is something we don't consider a "being" but more of a process — Earth's water cycle — because the alien also exists as a process, so it feels kinship there. I considered that the heart of the story and wanted to leave the reader thinking so too, but I had a hard time putting it into words in the way I wanted, and was repeatedly told by beta readers to stop overexplaining and trust that readers would get it. As usual, they were right.

15: What did you learn from writing this fic?

A lot. I had so much less experience in writing at this point that I was still improving by leaps and bounds with every attempt. I remember [livejournal.com profile] bardsmaid patiently explaining how less can be more — how too many details are cluttering instead of clarifying. This took time to come to grips with ("what, you mean I have to take whole sentences out? but I just wrote those!") but became key to my writing style and process.

It was also a lesson in not being too wedded to early ideas or too proud to change them. The story actually has its roots in a piece of original fiction I wrote to Keladry's offhand prompt "The Life and Times of a Cherry Coke", which explored the concept of what it would feel like to exist as a liquid. I actually submitted the story to some literary magazines that published oddball stuff and was turned down. Fortunately I was able to overcome my dented ego enough to have the thought that maybe the story didn't work, but elements of it could still be salvaged and made into something better, and eventually that grew into "Oil".

The reason "Oil" works where the Cherry Coke story didn't is that intriguing concepts and pretty descriptions alone weren't enough; they needed a compelling character and situation, and something at stake. The oilien storyline in XF met that need perfectly and gave my earlier ideas direction, and to follow that direction I had to give up my attachment to something I'd already worked on to the point of submitting it profesionally, and be willing to basically start over. We all know you're supposed to kill your darlings, but I think this marked a turning point for me in putting that advice into practice.

More to come! If you want to check out the rest of the questions or pose one of your own, the original meme post is here.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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[personal profile] gracerene asked question #10 about Heat Wave, a Sirius/James fic from 2005. (And yes, actually remembering the writing process might be tough on some of these, but I'll try!)

10: Why did you choose this pairing for this particular story?

It was for a fest and the pairing was specified in the prompt ("Sirius/James, Dom!Sirius, bondage, drawnout pleasure until James can't take it anymore. Playful, cocky, smirking Sirius"), so why did I choose this prompt?

I got interested in James/Sirius after OotP, which really shifted my mental image of the Maurauders. Since PoA there had been a fannish assumption, which I shared, that Sirius and Remus were the closest friends (possibly already in a relationship), and James was the leader. To me, OotP changed all that. It seemed clear to me that Sirius and James were the ones who were close, both from the way they interacted in the flashback and the fact that Sirius went to live with the Potters; his living with Remus or Peter was apparently never even considered. I also realized that Sirius was more of a leader type than I'd thought, and that to some extent James was taking cues from him, which makes the way the Prank played out make a lot of sense.

In light of all this, pairing them up began to seem a lot more interesting. I know I'd already started to write some J/S fic but hadn't gotten very far, and seeing this prompt was serendipitous since it gave some specific direction to stuff that was on my mind but still kind of nebulous. If the prompt had been Dom!James I doubt I would have taken it, because what I wanted to write about had to do with Sirius having the dominant role in their friendship and that dynamic progressing into a sexual relationship. Sirius feels like James will follow him anywhere and keeps pushing it further, and this prompt fit that concept perfectly.

And I mean, yes, I know it's a PWP and maybe I wasn't completely successful in getting all this background out onto the page. But it's what I had in mind when writing. There's still a small part of me that thinks I'm going to finish the other fic in this universe that I started on, because there's more I wanted to say about this pairing and what I thought would happen as they got older and realized there might be places they weren't comfortable going with it, not sexually but emotionally. (I remember an astute reader commenting with distress that they never kiss... There's a reason I wrote it that way.)

Anyway, that's one down. I'll have to get to the rest of these another day! And if you want to check out the rest of the questions or pose one of your own, the original meme post is here.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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It's been a joy to see so many people popping up and posting for the first time in a while, despite the less than optimal circumstances. I've been adding or adding back anyone whose name I recognize and/or who appears to be in fandom, and trying to comment a bit more than in the past. I'll try to be better about posting, too. Here, look: A post!

But posts about posting, while perhaps better than silence, may not be the best at holding people's interest. To get me going, would anyone like to try out this meme I saw at [personal profile] maidenjedi's place?

Pick a story of mine, choose a question from below, I will answer.

My stories.

1: What inspired you to write the fic this way?
2: What scene did you first put down?
3: What's your favorite line of narration?
4: What's your favorite line of dialogue?
5: What part was hardest to write?
6: What makes this fic special or different from all your other fics?
7: Where did the title come from?
8: Did any real people or events inspire any part of it?
9: Were there any alternate versions of this fic?
10: Why did you choose this pairing for this particular story?
11: What do you like best about this fic?
12: What do you like least about this fic?
13: What music did you listen to, if any, to get in the mood for writing this story? Or if you didn't listen to anything, what do you think readers should listen to to accompany us while reading?
14: Is there anything you wanted readers to learn from reading this fic?
15: What did you learn from writing this fic?

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.

ama

May. 8th, 2015 09:43 am
pauraque_bk: (Default)
Oh good, we're having another meme day! Daily posts of compelling content are hard to keep up with.

Ask me anything. Um, please. (My fear when interview memes roll around is always that I am far too boring for anyone to want to ask me questions.)

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
pauraque_bk: (Default)
Well, it wouldn't be LJ without memes, would it?

What I'm reading:
A lot of posts and comments from you all! :D I have no idea how I kept up in the days when LJ was even more active than this.

What I'm modding:
Not in charge of any fannish activities but my own at the moment, thankfully.

What I'm thinking about:
What I'm going to make for dinner for the next few days. My kid's school play this weekend. More ideas for French vocabulary building. Also thinking of a few friends who are having a rough time of it lately. ♥

What I'm creating:
Things to post later in the month. I've got several posts half-written, but none finished today, which is why you get a meme. :P I'm also making iced rooibos tea. Yum.

What I'm watching:
I don't watch TV but lately I've been watching the Hearthstone streamer StrifeCro almost every night. I'd like to think I'm learning something from watching such a good player, but I will admit that his calm voice also makes me super sleepy so it works out either way...

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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In lieu of a real post, have a meme! [livejournal.com profile] lumosed_quill gave me the letter A, with which my answers to the following prompts must start.

Something I hate: ANTS!!! Assholes. Alopecia (on me — other people's hair can do what it wants).

Something I love: Avocados. Adventure games. Art.

Somewhere I've been: Allentown, PA (for a Rocky Horror convention, and I got the impression that we had far more fun there than anyone had ever had in Allentown before). Anaheim, CA (Disneyland). Arizona. Arlington National Cemetery.

Somewhere I'd like to go: Anywhere my friends are. Sorry, that's cheating, but I'm really not much for traveling, except to visit people.

Someone I know: Adam, my WoW BFF and bromantic partner of several years.

A film I liked: Allegro Non Troppo. All or Nothing. Apocalypse Now. Alice in Wonderland (1951).

If you want to play, leave a comment for a letter of your very own.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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Yeah, this was the daily posting meme from last month. I'm... not very good at this.

Anyway, [personal profile] hannelore asked: What advice would you give someone who wants to write in a fandom that they've never written in before?

Well, the first bit of advice I'd give is the same advice that's been given about internet communities since they've existed: Lurk first.

Fandoms can have surprisingly divergent cultural norms. What kind of header information is standard in your new fandom? What are the expectations about giving and responding to feedback? Which characters and tropes are loved, hated, or controversial? You don't have to write only what readers want to hear, but if what you plan to write is not what everyone else is writing, you might want to know that going in so you're not surprised by the reaction.

My other advice would be the flip side of that: Hang onto what makes your perspective unique. In well-established fandoms there is a tendency for people's viewpoints to converge over time, which is a natural process in any social group; we talk to each other and consider each other's opinions, and that's how those fandom norms take shape. This is not in itself a bad thing (and it's unavoidable, anyway) but sometimes it can lead writers to try too hard to adhere to what they see as the norm, with the result being a lot of stories that all sound the same.

When I first got started in fandom, for a while I would refuse to read fics with the same characters or themes as what I was working on, because I didn't want to be influenced by other writers' interpretations. Now I see this as the extremism of a much younger me. As a writer, you really need to read what your peers are producing. No piece of writing exists in a vacuum, and you can be sure it won't be read in one. Your stories can be both part of the growing body of work that the fandom creates, and an expression of your own voice. It's just a matter of being aware of your influences, and being intentional about using them or discarding them.

No fic is an island, I guess, is the short version.

This entry was originally posted at http://pauraque.dreamwidth.org/42554.html. Comment here or there.
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[personal profile] sineala asked me to post about my favorite Star Trek episodes, which is only fair since I asked her first (though I wrote this before reading her post).

I guess first I have to define my terms. If favorite means "best", then I suspect a lot of us fans would have similar lists, and I don't disagree with the usual suspects.

But if we're going to talk about episodes that are sentimental favorites, then that turns into a different list. And perhaps a more important list, because the lasting appeal of Star Trek is pretty obviously not about it being consistently "good" by any reasonably objective standard; it's about love, and love is an illogical human feeling. So I'm going to answer this by talking about a few eps that mean something to me even if they're not the ones you'd show to a non-fan to prove that Star Trek Is Quality Television.

Memories: First, bittersweet, and happy )


You can still give me questions/topics on LJ and DW.

This entry was originally posted at http://pauraque.dreamwidth.org/41223.html. Comment here or there.
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[personal profile] delphi asked for a post about Christmas movies. Can do.

If we're talking theatrical films, The Nightmare Before Christmas is my personal favorite. Looking at stop-motion that gorgeous makes me almost want to cry because today it wouldn't be done. They'd use computers. Also it's just a great movie and holds up really well even with kids who have no idea that it isn't done with computers.

My mom watched It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street every year, so I saw those before I was old enough to really get much out of them. My real nostalgia is for the TV specials: Charlie Brown, The Grinch, Rudolph, Garfield, The Christmas Toy (is it just me who remembers this one? I'm not sure it lasted past the 80s). But most of all, this one:



The true meaning of Christmas = CLAY )

You can still give me questions/topics on LJ and DW.

This entry was originally posted at http://pauraque.dreamwidth.org/41014.html. Comment here or there.
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[livejournal.com profile] tamlane asked, What are the most outlandish het pairings you would enjoy reading, and why?

In theory, any. There is no such thing as a pairing that I would refuse to read on principle, and if the story turned out to be good, I'd enjoy it.

But interpreting the question to mean pairings where I'd immediately get excited that they'd been written at all... Well, most of the pairings I like are already pretty far off the beaten path, so I'm gonna have to dig deep here. (Since it's [livejournal.com profile] tamlane asking, I assume Harry Potter pairings are what's meant, so I'll stick to that.)

Five-ish weird het pairings that I would fall all over myself to read if they were actually ever written )


Provided this post didn't scare you off it, you can still give me questions/topics on LJ and DW.

This entry was originally posted at http://pauraque.dreamwidth.org/40905.html. Comment here or there.
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Both [livejournal.com profile] nearlyconscious and [personal profile] delphi were very eager to hear about my favorite sandwiches. Naturally this comes up on a day when I have no bread in the house. Nonetheless, I will soldier on. Here are my top five sandwiches, in reverse order for increased dramatic tension.

pauraque's top five sandwiches )

And now, time to go grocery shopping.

You can still give me questions/topics on LJ and DW.

This entry was originally posted at http://pauraque.dreamwidth.org/40332.html. Comment here or there.
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Stealing [personal profile] torachan's variation on this one, without specific posting days. Which I guess makes it more or less the same as those interview memes that used to float around years ago. But hey, who didn't like those?

Comment with a question or a topic and I will write a post about it. It could be about real life or fandom, or things I've posted about, or my favorite sandwiches, or really anything at all.

This entry was originally posted at http://pauraque.dreamwidth.org/40151.html. Comment here or there.
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I know I'm weeks behind on this, but oh well.

Post the 20 first lines from your last 20 fics. )


Overall, I think these are better than the previous batch, last time this meme came around. Maybe I'm improving!

This entry was originally posted at http://pauraque.dreamwidth.org/30542.html. Comment here or there.
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My [insanejournal.com profile] hp_beholder fic is done. Commence flippin' out about [livejournal.com profile] rarewomen fic in ten, nine, eight...

Guys, this is how behind on stuff I am: I am even behind on memes. Here's one from a while back:

1. If you'd like to play along, reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
2. You then list at least five songs that start with that letter.
3. Then, as I'm doing here, you'll post the list to your journal with the instructions.


[livejournal.com profile] thimble_kiss gave me S.


Sonate pour violoncelle et piano en ré mineur - Claude Debussy
I always find Debussy's work very character-y. The cello and the piano in this piece are clearly people, and they're in some kind of complex relationship where they're dancing around each other and never quite finding a satisfying resolution — that anticlimactic ending! I especially love the hesitancy in the middle movement (starts at 4:05), which suggests instruments warming up.

See You Round Like a Record - Little Nell
Well, apparently this is suffiently obscure that it's not even on YouTube. Little Nell is best known for playing Columbia in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. She is also quite a nice lady, and once told my then-girlfriend at a convention that her outfit looked "saucy", which I never heard the end of. Anyway, her career as a solo artist wasn't particularly long or illustrious, but I like this 50s-style song a lot.

Special to Me - Phantom of the Paradise
Jessica Harper, I can't even. *_*

Song Three Blues - Alberta Cross
I kinda dig this band, which I first heard of when I saw some people having a ridiculously vituperative online argument about whether they qualified as "country". Do they? I dunno, but I know what I like.

Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
Great song that starts with S, or the greatest song that starts with S?

This entry was originally posted at http://pauraque.dreamwidth.org/19758.html. Comment here or there.

a meme

Feb. 12th, 2012 07:32 pm
pauraque_bk: (Default)
Via [personal profile] thingswithwings: list all the songs whose lyrics or titles you've used for fic titles.

I didn't think there would be many, and I wasn't wrong.

Jonathan Coulton, You Ruined Everything: You Ruined Everything - HP
I don't like this title for this fic at all. The song is actually very sweet, and the fic isn't, so it makes it look like I didn't understand that, and really kills the irony of the title. Great song, though!

Sesame Street, Everybody Sleeps: Until the morning creeps - XF
The fic came out of repeated conversations about how the mytharc characters are never seen doing anything normal, like eating or sleeping or having mundane conversations about who gets which bed. So that's why it has this title, from a song about universal experiences.

Into the Woods, Any Moment: The Wrong Story - HP
This seemed like a good title for an AU, where Harry is quite literally in the wrong story -- this isn't what was supposed to happen to him. Nothing to do with the actual context of the line in the play, though.

The Mikado, So please you sir, we much regret: But Youth Of Course - HP
I'm really not sure why this fic has this title. Maybe it was my own attempt to apologize for the first underage story I ever wrote, even if the underageness only happens in a fantasy sequence.


I guess songs for titles just aren't my thing. Honorable mention, though, for Cut With Diamonds, which has a title from a play, but came very close to being called 2 + 2 = 5 because of the Radiohead song by that name, which I listened to near-obsessively while writing it.

This entry was originally posted at http://pauraque.dreamwidth.org/18316.html. Comment here or there.

a meme

Jan. 11th, 2012 04:33 pm
pauraque_bk: (Default)
Pick up the nearest book to you. Turn to page 45. The first sentence describes your sex life in 2012.

"Pausing only to employ a few of Uncle Vernon's choicest swear words, he staggered back into the kitchen, clutching his head and staring out of the window into the back garden."

???

In other news, trying to read the Epilogue out loud is almost as bad as The Eye of Argon.

music meme

Aug. 16th, 2010 11:00 am
pauraque_bk: (composer satie)
1. If you'd like to play along, reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
2. You then list at least five songs that start with that letter.
3. Then, as I'm doing here, you'll post the list to your journal with the instructions.

[livejournal.com profile] eponis gave me G, and I came up with four right away, but figuring out a fifth was hard. Turns out a lot of my favorite bands and composers have no G songs. What's with that?

"The Great Gig in the Sky," Pink Floyd
Absolutely transcendent.

"Gnossienne No. 3," Erik Satie
Most people are probably more familiar with the first of the Gnossienne series, which has been used in a lot of movies, but the third is my favorite. It's also fun to play, and I love his surrealist mood/tempo markings, which in this piece include "open your head", "bury the sound", and "very lost".

"Go To Sleep (Little Man Being Erased)," Radiohead
I don't know if this is my favorite song from the album, but I used to listen to the whole thing straight through on the train, so it's sort of all one thing to me.

"Gaspard de la Nuit (Ondine)," Maurice Ravel
I guess I could have picked the second part (Gibet) for extra G action, but I like this first movement better. Interesting thing, Ravel said he composed this because he wanted to write something almost unplayably difficult (kind of making fun of the trend of extremely technically demanding piano compositions at the time), but he was only a good, not great, pianist himself.

"Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves," Cher
Oh yes. Love the Cher.

music meme

Aug. 16th, 2010 11:00 am
pauraque_bk: (composer satie)
1. If you'd like to play along, reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
2. You then list at least five songs that start with that letter.
3. Then, as I'm doing here, you'll post the list to your journal with the instructions.

[livejournal.com profile] eponis gave me G, and I came up with four right away, but figuring out a fifth was hard. Turns out a lot of my favorite bands and composers have no G songs. What's with that?

"The Great Gig in the Sky," Pink Floyd
Absolutely transcendent.

"Gnossienne No. 3," Erik Satie
Most people are probably more familiar with the first of the Gnossienne series, which has been used in a lot of movies, but the third is my favorite. It's also fun to play, and I love his surrealist mood/tempo markings, which in this piece include "open your head", "bury the sound", and "very lost".

"Go To Sleep (Little Man Being Erased)," Radiohead
I don't know if this is my favorite song from the album, but I used to listen to the whole thing straight through on the train, so it's sort of all one thing to me.

"Gaspard de la Nuit (Ondine)," Maurice Ravel
I guess I could have picked the second part (Gibet) for extra G action, but I like this first movement better. Interesting thing, Ravel said he composed this because he wanted to write something almost unplayably difficult (kind of making fun of the trend of extremely technically demanding piano compositions at the time), but he was only a good, not great, pianist himself.

"Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves," Cher
Oh yes. Love the Cher.

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