lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
I was talking to a friend the other day about some frustrations she's been having. In the course of this, she complained "Doesn't (mutual friend) understand I was in a sexually abusive situation, and he can't just (irrelevant)?"

And I can only thank heaven I didn't actually say what I thought in that moment -- which was, Of course, it's not like it was real sexual abuse...

Of course, a moment after I thought it, I realised that if anybody else had said that thought aloud, I'd be one of the first to jump down their throats. Also, Bullshit, for several reasons:

1) The situation hurt her as if it were abusive. Ergo...
2) She was there, I wasn't. Her word trumps that of anyone who tries to say she's wrong who wasn't there.
3) If her telling of events is remotely accurate, it fits the definition of not looking for consent.
4) She's not even remotely the kind of person to 'make up stories' for attention. She didn't enjoy talking about it, or get anything but more uncomfortable and unhappy in doing so. Where, then, would she have reason to say it happened if it didn't.
5) She's also not unaware how victims get villainized. It affected a huge number of her actions, the fear of 'what people would think' if she told her side. Because he's a nice guy.
6) Most of all, when she described it to me, I thought it was wrong, nasty, skeezy and bad. And I still do. Even as a part of my brain managed to file it as "not quite abuse", I knew it was inappropriate behaviour, that would hurt the one subjected to it.


The thing is, I'm not exactly ignorant of how we as a culture are encouraged to think that sex is something women owe to men. That it's okay to push and press and manipulate. And how easy it is to doubt a nice guy and someone close and intimate can be the one to commit such an act. I've called other people on not wanting to call things assault or rape. I thought I was sufficiently aware of these issues to not fall into the same trap as others.

So how did I let myself slip into thinking it, even for a second, even knowing the thought was wrong?

Part of it is that in this case, I heard both sides of the story.

In his, he did a couple of things that were potentially skeezy, but with no intention to hurt, and -- and this is of course key -- he swears he stopped as soon as she told him to.

In her version, he did stop when she told him. But then he'd ask and press and try to convince her because *he* wanted to. Knowing she didn't. And soon after, he'd do the same skeezyish thing again. And again. And even absent that, he would pressure her again. No didn't actually stop him so much as give her a temporary reprieve.

The stories were similar enough to be compatible. I can't go into more detail (There are already some people who might think they know of whom I refer. Please, don't go there) but frankly, I could, once I heard both sides, easily see how he could feel he was walking - narrowly - on the side of acceptable, while she would not. It only takes a little wilful denial of how nasty pressure and manipulation can be, or a little denial that the pressure hurt.

The more when he did say, at least once, that he felt that because they were in a relationship, it wasn't wrong for him to want her. Not in the tone of a boyfriend expressing frustration, but of a man demanding his due.

No, he never raped her. But the behaviour wasn't wholly that of someone who respected her, or wanted things to be mutual. It was the behaviour of someone for whom what he wanted in the bedroom was paramount, and what she wanted was irrelevant.

Which comes down to treating a woman like your own personal sex toy.

Which is abusive.

But of course, he's a nice guy.

Also, of course, it's not possible to be sexually abusive without pinning someone down and raping them. Right? it's not real. It doesn't count.

When i was twelve, I was chased around and tussled with a coupled of guys a bit older than me. it started with them throwing rocks. It ended -- well, actually, it ended the moment I slashed the sharp edge of my glasses, folded in my hand,across one boy's face, so I could get up and run like I should have done from the start, but didn't. (Excuses: I was a slow runner, and I was sure they'd catch up. I didn't want to give them the satisfaction of scaring me off. I thought I just had to land a punch of my own and they'd back off. I was twelve. Critical thinking on the spot was not my strong suit.) But before that, it ended with me pinned to the ground while he pinched and fondled my breasts. That's sure as hell sexual assault in my book.

I was shaken, but not really traumatized in a real way. But I only have to think about what it would mean for a boyfriend to have done that kind of thing -- not in a safe, trusting situation* where he'd stop at a word if the fun wrestling turned sour, but ignoring my will -- to know exactly how much worse that would have felt.

In some ways, I think it would be easier to classify if he hadn't *appeared* to stop when she said no. (And I say "appeared" advisedly). I wouldn't wish worse on her for the WORLD, but it would be so much easier to convince people this was sexual abuse.

Including, it seems, some part of me, that calls it skeezy gladly enough, but wants to cringe at saying 'sexual abuse'. The words are dangerously powerful. The way some women who believe in equal rights, equal pay, and the lot seem to fear to be called feminists. Because even if you fit the definition, using the word... is scary. It points out the reality of this world.

I have no conclusion, except that I need to check my assumptions. Again.

________________

* And yes, I've played bedroom games that looked like they pushed consent far worse than a few unwanted touches to my breasts. But those involved known boundaries, prestated interests, and a partner deeply trusted.
lenora_rose: (Wheeeeee!)
The event this weekend went well; being our 40th anniversary, a great many people made an effort to show up who haven't in a while, or have never been this far north (their Majesties for one - eeep.)

Rather than leave it in the middle of the ramble, I'll put our best news up front:

Oh, lord, we have a quadruple peer.

Duke Tarrach Alfson is now a Pelican, too. And it truly, genuinely, and totally could not have happened to a nicer guy.

(Also, Gabriel de Lion and Azalais got engaged!)

________________________

Friday was its usual self; getting in, setting up, catching up, greeting old friends, and War Court, our short Dark Ages court for the Huscarls and the people who got to events-other-than-our-own to do one of the martial activities through the war season. We were given little pewter towers.

Personal thing: I've been rather wishing that the Huscarls spend a moment in this court to turn around, remove their helms and introduce themselves to the populace. Because three of the central Huscarls spend most of the event in the kitchen, making us our wonderful feasts and bacony breakfasts - and thus end up talking mostly to their old familiar friends. Which has the notable disadvantage that we have members who've been around a few YEARS who've pretty much NEVER met them in anything but passing (even the kitchen clean-up area is different enough from the rest of the kitchen that . And in the dark, in full Norse regalia, people really can't tell who they are, so even the ones we know well and love dearly (HEs Robin and Hreodbeorht even newbies have likely met, and it wasn't that long ago that HE Thrym came back for a while, and his name is still passed on in many a story) are turned into strangers. It works for the impression of the Elite Guard, but not so well for the feeling of connection. These guys feed us and toil for us all weekend; it would be great for even newer members to be able to look at the Huscarls entering the War Court and making their solemn oaths and to recognize them as Part of Us.

And some of them are very worth getting to know. I remember that from when they came out to all the other things.

We also had a class on what's involved with wine-tasting and mead-tasting and appreciation. With, yes, chances to try out the samples. Much fun.

The night seemed to end a bit early, even with that. I'm surprised, with the number of younger members, to be reminded that the group as a whole is aging.

________________________

Saturday began leisurely with the aforementioned bacon (and French toast and other breakfasties), then set-up of the archery range, and long slow shooting. We ended up with so much general practice we only did 2 royal rounds, nothing more -- everyone knew the Water Duel was waiting for Sunday, when the heavy fighters weren't doing their thing. I did okay - 45 - on my better round. (The other one was an embarrassment which ended with a freakishly good speed round - which earned me literally 2/3 of my total points on its own.)

Then it was running around trying to figure out where I was supposed to be going to find their Excellencies to set up for court. I ended up at the chapel we chose to use for court, and almost at the royal cabins before I was pointed the right way. At least I was only needed to stand there and look pretty (Archer Captain), unlike Colin, who was Herald, and had needed to be off doing his set-up well before.

Sometime before the event, their Majesties had decided their court would be Sunday noon, and so, "aside from one piece of business", our evening court was all local work; making Hadassah, a much-loved member who moved back to Ontario, a Forester (A local award for people who don't live with us but are considered part of the group. Inducting a new member into our order of the Snowflake, for people who've done good service. etc.

The whole court was actually run by the Prince and Princess (Hrodir and Anne - incidentally, both also Foresters for our group), since the King and Queen arrived less than an hour before.

Which meant that when their Majesties arrived, they swept in just after Hadassah's award, and took over on the spot. Which involved shocking the hell out of Duke Tarrach Alfson. Mistress Ia said that she felt he needed to be required to attend ALL the peerage meetings. (I first thought they were accusing him of slacking off on attendance, and only about the time it was occurring to Tarrach what was going on did I start thinking, "No, wait. HG FINA has the Pelican. He doesn't...")

We also got back the Baronial court long enough to make Tarrach and Fina foresters, of which the only surprise to me was that they weren't already.

(A fun bit of trivia; Colin, at the start, forgot to officially open the court until Hrodir told him to. When their Majesties came in, their herald Moraig, not knowing, forgot to open court until their majesties chided her. And on Sunday. Colin forgot to open court...)

And Tarrach was put on a very odd vigil.

See, after feast, Tarrach has been one of the main people to stand up, and challenge the other lord in the vicinity to go to the kitchen and help with clean-up. (The Lords specifically because the tradition involves stripping off tunics and doublets; we Ladies go just as enthusiastically when it's our cabin's assigned job - and it was for me - we just don't strip. Er. usually. There was that one time I walked in the kitchen and was shocked dead still to discover Branwen had removed her Tudor gown and was working! In! Public! in her chemise and her corset alone. (GASP) The little detail that she was more decently covered than I'd seen her outside SCA many a time in the summer...)

Because of this, though, they had set up two chairs in the corner of the washing room. His Grace was to strip off his shirt... and sit there on vigil while we worked around him. (He did, in fact, insist on drying some dishes. He stopped when the Prince came in to berate him. Also, I managed to keep him from getting a fresh drying towel.) When we were done, his vigil moved to the fireside, then to watch the fire arrows. I hung around various places, including fireside, to chat with various people.

They'd made one change to the fire arrows this year, thanks to Lord Bearaich; enough to make me feel it worth my while at least to watch the first few. Bearaich had figured out how to make "whistlers" for the arrows out of ping pong balls. So not only were there the sparklers to make beautiful arcs of light in the midnight sky, there were also sounds. Coolness.

Then we burned a tower down (as is traditional), and chatted, and called it a night.

______________________

Sunday's focus was on court and on the Water duel, as far as I was concerned.

Court went very nicely. I was surprised to get an award - a Crwth, for continuously singing around the campfire when there's a chance. (I have a Balefire, but mostly for pottery). Many people got many awards. A couple from Fargo were surprised by a sneak Court Baroncy.

And Tarrach got his Pelican.

Little story about that...

After Brunch in the AM, Tarrach and Mistress Ia, his sponsor, went and and distributed slips of paper to the populace with what are called admonishments - things the person being elevated into the peerage should do and be. Things like, "A peer should be generous to others and not boastful of his own accomplishments."

One of the locals given such a slip remarked that they looked kind of like fortune cookie sayings.

Which meant that he HAD to mention to HG Tarrach that some of these read REALLY well when you append "in Bed"...

Tarrach almost lost it during his own elevation.

Anyhow; the water duel went well. I won my first round - against a rather decent archer, Ingvar, who pointed out that he always went yup against either me or Cristina in his first or second round, and always got taken out by one of us. (Hee). I lost in my second round to a beautiful one-shot by an overall less experienced archer. I'd told her that it didn't matter that she thought I was better. She just had to get one in the right place at the right time. Evidently, she listened.

I wandered off then and did some knife-throwing for fun, got back in time to see the finals, which was Tarrach's younger son, Gregor, against Magnus. Magnus won.

I did four challenge rounds after; lost one for shooting like crap, one in a somewhat closer battle, and won two. Including against Colin. (Technically, I one-shotted him, since I took the bottom out of the target right on the first shot. But I kept going, and put another one through later. And had one skin off a corner, and probably would have hit with the last one if his target hadn't dropped. To be fair, he did hit it too, just not well enough to drain and balance out.)

We ran in after that, late for supper, and when that was done and the fire was lit outside, we sang bardic songs (though it took a surprising effort to lure members of the group hanging out on the balcony to the fire; they were singing occasionally, but there was a younger member at the fire begging for music. We paused long enough for lady Cristina to fulfill a longtime dream:

In Lord Gabriel's very first event, his mother made him garb. Of horribly synthetic fabric with silver spray paint, in the shape of a giant hoodie. (He said when she asked him if he wanted a hood, he said yes, thinking she meant a period-style detached hood).

Cristina had, last Winter, acquired this dubious piece of garb. (Okay, some of the worst I've ever seen). And at the event, she built an effigy, and burned it on the fire with great ceremony as a warning to all other bad garb.

Then we sang to late, and slept until it was time to get up and pack.

And now I should sleep again.
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
(Note. At the bottom, I ask for suggestions. I'm not kidding.)

Once upon a time, in a job interview (Not this recent one - this was years ago), I was asked the dread question of where I wanted to be in five years. I gave what I thought was a reasonable answer; I'd like to still be working within that same business, at a higher eschelon from where I began - then I added the caveat. Not too high. Not a position like controller, or vice president. I wouldn't expect, or want, to have that much control over other employees that soon.

The woman taking the interview wrote, flatly, "No ambition."

I knew I didn't have the job in that moment; if she could that drastically misunderstand my intent, I didn't really regret it. And I've tried to find other accurate ways to answer that which circumvent the question of how much command I want to have over other people.

Should I have said I wanted to be in charge of all of accounting in a mere five years? Not in five years - I think that fast a rise to that high either implies full specialized training or high-level experience elsewhere, not starting as an AP/administrative assistant. I thought I was showing realism.

I was sincere, too, that if I liked the business, I *would* want to keep at the same place for years. After three years being driven crazy there, I would go back to RCC, in any department, in a shot.

I was also sincere that staying there only in the bottom rung for forever would have been a problem. Had I continued at RCC, I would have wanted to start pressing for full-time work, different work with more training, a permanent contract. Something like J was doing, where the low end of her job was similar to mine, but the high end included far more complex work. Or, someday, replacing the person who was my official manager -- a job which K, the former front-end receptionist, took over partway through my stay.

But it's also true that I wouldn't feel need to *ever* be on the BoD. It wasn't my ambition. It never will be.

I've been thinking about ambition lately.

Mostly when I realised I don't know what Ketan's ultimate ambition in life is, or would be, if he didn't have X, Y, and Z to cope with meantime.

It hardly matters, in one sense: by the time Ketan gets to catch his breath, look around and decide what he wants to *do* with his life, I'll be done with the plot of four whole books. And certain obligations left from all that plot will force certain things from him, enough to have some kind of denouement. For instance, he's married, a state which carries a lot of its own obligations. For another, he's trained in two main things; Kinging, and soldiery, with other talents and possibilities coming apparent around the edges.

But by the end of the Serpent Prince, what he doesn't want is to be King, the job he was raised to. And through Soldier of the Road, Poisoned Tongue, and onwards, his chequered experience convinces him he was right. Even if it's a job he can do, and might take up for sheer need.

Except that it highlighted something for me. My characters tend to have modest ambitions. Even the ones born or pushed kicking and screaming to greatness.

Carl would like to be the archipelago's equivalent of a tavern singer, well enough known to draw local crowds, and a lover at his side - all unattainable objectives, once he's on the path the goddess asked of him. Gaitann wanted to be a composer/historian -- although he was pleased to find he also had the skill to make a decent ambassador. Patar would like to settle down with a nice family and a farm.

Finno wants to have enough money not to be worrying week to week. And he wants his friends to be happy. Jen wants to be an actress, but she's okay with modest roles; she just likes playing out stories. And she wants Finno to be okay.

Francesca, one of the few who actually wants glory, wants her family's approval, and to be known as someone who saves small children and fights blackguard villains (Saving a few scantily-clad young men would do nicely as an occasional change. There weren't enough scantily-clad men in peril in the adventure, dammit.) I think her ultimate goal is to have her grandchildren stare at her in open-mouthed awe.

But nobody wants to be President, or King. Nobody wants to be a General, or a rock star, or a CEO, or Bishop, or any other variants of rich and famous and powerful.

Heck, most of my D&D characters even only care for treasure as a means to get the equipment needed to defeat the enemy.

Some of this is that I don't write epic save-the-world fantasy. The most people seem to need or want to save is a country - and usually, they do so in the process of a smaller goal - save this person or these people, uphold this ideal against all pressure to yield. And those cases seem to be based around the littlest countries, in the corners of the world I invented. (Except in the Apocalyptic novels. But there, they're too late to save the world).

But another part is that somewhere along the way, I learned that done right, the jobs that most obviously bring wealth and glory and power really involve crushing responsibility and tedious effort and thanklessness. That done right, they should be the place where the buck stops; that in good times, the thanks should go to everyone working for them, but in bad times, they should take the burden of the blame. But also that, of necessity, they distance one from normalcy. That rock stardom dazzles, but exhausts, surrounds one with fakery, distances one from everyday pleasures, and from the ability to tell real friends from flatterers and entourage. That the rewards aren't actually so appealing as the cost, and so anyone who wants to be there for the rewards is at best mad.

Done wrong, of course, they each lead to vice, to indifference to others who have none. To excess reward for minimal real endeavour. To excess of profit or fame at the outright expense of others. Seeing ordinary people only as a mob to be manipulated, tools to be used and discarded. The separation from normalcy becomes permission to do all the things, violent of psychopathic, self-indulgent or self-destructive, that regular laws aim to prevent. Seeing one's own short term gain over long term annihilation.

I also learned that even in cases which are the exception, to people who hang onto their roots, who "keep it real" (A term I have issues with in its own way, but which seems most apt here), who took that level of fame and power but didn't forget their ideals, who do the job right for the right reason, the million-to-one chance really is million-to-one. Narrativium aside.

That in, say, the writing business, the majority of reasonably successful writers don't make enough to quit their day job. That the thousands of aspiring writers are blinded by the story of J. K. Rowling making enough to shame the Queen, and miss the stories of, say, Jim C. Hines' likely-permanent inability to quit his day job and its attendant health insurance. Of writers trying to make it without a day job working themselves to exhaustion and ceasing to have fun with writing. That this leaves them unable to take to correct pragmatic steps. Leads to cursing out editors for daring to stop their precious vision from reaching eyes. Leads them to believe the flattery of scamsters. Honing the craft takes time. Worse, publishing itself is a glacial business - most first novelists are in their 30s, and some in their 40s. And of course, there's all the things the writer has no control over; editorial or publishing trends and tastes, manuscripts lost to mail or e-mail vagaries. Changes in the business model that really are shaking the whole scene right now. The fading midlist and the rise of modest-selling e-books.

To learn how to navigate the business, a matter I have studied in some detail, I needed to have realistic aspirations.

But I feel like somewhere in the last while, being aware that the business is slow and that I should be modest has meant that I have slipped form even modest aspiration to no actual plan or expectation. To no actual ambition. That I want to be more published but lost grasp on the actual motions that need to be made to get there.

To that end.

My ambitions as of this moment:

- Within six months, I should be either working at least 30 hours/week steady, or have a damn good reason why not (such as pregnancy). At a place that I anticipate staying for a while.

- Within the next two years, I should acquire an agent, or else obtain a minimum of 50 rejections from agencies on various works, proving I tried. (Since I can try to sell Bird of Dusk and Serpent Prince, and possibly others as I go.)

- Within five years, I should have an offer on a novel, whether through an agency or otherwise, from a legitimate press.

- Within those same five years, I should have sold at least three more short stories (considering the number I don't write, this is a tougher goal than it sounds).

- Within three years, if physically possible*, I should have at least one child. While this and work goals might have trouble working together, I genuinely think this and writing goals should not.

Should I be considering other goals? Throw me suggestions.

*After two miscarriages, the caveat is very real.
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
(Note. At the bottom, I ask for suggestions. I'm not kidding.)

Once upon a time, in a job interview (Not this recent one - this was years ago), I was asked the dread question of where I wanted to be in five years. I gave what I thought was a reasonable answer; I'd like to still be working within that same business, at a higher eschelon from where I began - then I added the caveat. Not too high. Not a position like controller, or vice president. I wouldn't expect, or want, to have that much control over other employees that soon.

The woman taking the interview wrote, flatly, "No ambition."

I knew I didn't have the job in that moment; if she could that drastically misunderstand my intent, I didn't really regret it. And I've tried to find other accurate ways to answer that which circumvent the question of how much command I want to have over other people.

Should I have said I wanted to be in charge of all of accounting in a mere five years? Not in five years - I think that fast a rise to that high either implies full specialized training or high-level experience elsewhere, not starting as an AP/administrative assistant. I thought I was showing realism.

I was sincere, too, that if I liked the business, I *would* want to keep at the same place for years. After three years being driven crazy there, I would go back to RCC, in any department, in a shot.

I was also sincere that staying there only in the bottom rung for forever would have been a problem. Had I continued at RCC, I would have wanted to start pressing for full-time work, different work with more training, a permanent contract. Something like J was doing, where the low end of her job was similar to mine, but the high end included far more complex work. Or, someday, replacing the person who was my official manager -- a job which K, the former front-end receptionist, took over partway through my stay.

But it's also true that I wouldn't feel need to *ever* be on the BoD. It wasn't my ambition. It never will be.

I've been thinking about ambition lately.

Mostly when I realised I don't know what Ketan's ultimate ambition in life is, or would be, if he didn't have X, Y, and Z to cope with meantime.

It hardly matters, in one sense: by the time Ketan gets to catch his breath, look around and decide what he wants to *do* with his life, I'll be done with the plot of four whole books. And certain obligations left from all that plot will force certain things from him, enough to have some kind of denouement. For instance, he's married, a state which carries a lot of its own obligations. For another, he's trained in two main things; Kinging, and soldiery, with other talents and possibilities coming apparent around the edges.

But by the end of the Serpent Prince, what he doesn't want is to be King, the job he was raised to. And through Soldier of the Road, Poisoned Tongue, and onwards, his chequered experience convinces him he was right. Even if it's a job he can do, and might take up for sheer need.

Except that it highlighted something for me. My characters tend to have modest ambitions. Even the ones born or pushed kicking and screaming to greatness.

Carl would like to be the archipelago's equivalent of a tavern singer, well enough known to draw local crowds, and a lover at his side - all unattainable objectives, once he's on the path the goddess asked of him. Gaitann wanted to be a composer/historian -- although he was pleased to find he also had the skill to make a decent ambassador. Patar would like to settle down with a nice family and a farm.

Finno wants to have enough money not to be worrying week to week. And he wants his friends to be happy. Jen wants to be an actress, but she's okay with modest roles; she just likes playing out stories. And she wants Finno to be okay.

Francesca, one of the few who actually wants glory, wants her family's approval, and to be known as someone who saves small children and fights blackguard villains (Saving a few scantily-clad young men would do nicely as an occasional change. There weren't enough scantily-clad men in peril in the adventure, dammit.) I think her ultimate goal is to have her grandchildren stare at her in open-mouthed awe.

But nobody wants to be President, or King. Nobody wants to be a General, or a rock star, or a CEO, or Bishop, or any other variants of rich and famous and powerful.

Heck, most of my D&D characters even only care for treasure as a means to get the equipment needed to defeat the enemy.

Some of this is that I don't write epic save-the-world fantasy. The most people seem to need or want to save is a country - and usually, they do so in the process of a smaller goal - save this person or these people, uphold this ideal against all pressure to yield. And those cases seem to be based around the littlest countries, in the corners of the world I invented. (Except in the Apocalyptic novels. But there, they're too late to save the world).

But another part is that somewhere along the way, I learned that done right, the jobs that most obviously bring wealth and glory and power really involve crushing responsibility and tedious effort and thanklessness. That done right, they should be the place where the buck stops; that in good times, the thanks should go to everyone working for them, but in bad times, they should take the burden of the blame. But also that, of necessity, they distance one from normalcy. That rock stardom dazzles, but exhausts, surrounds one with fakery, distances one from everyday pleasures, and from the ability to tell real friends from flatterers and entourage. That the rewards aren't actually so appealing as the cost, and so anyone who wants to be there for the rewards is at best mad.

Done wrong, of course, they each lead to vice, to indifference to others who have none. To excess reward for minimal real endeavour. To excess of profit or fame at the outright expense of others. Seeing ordinary people only as a mob to be manipulated, tools to be used and discarded. The separation from normalcy becomes permission to do all the things, violent of psychopathic, self-indulgent or self-destructive, that regular laws aim to prevent. Seeing one's own short term gain over long term annihilation.

I also learned that even in cases which are the exception, to people who hang onto their roots, who "keep it real" (A term I have issues with in its own way, but which seems most apt here), who took that level of fame and power but didn't forget their ideals, who do the job right for the right reason, the million-to-one chance really is million-to-one. Narrativium aside.

That in, say, the writing business, the majority of reasonably successful writers don't make enough to quit their day job. That the thousands of aspiring writers are blinded by the story of J. K. Rowling making enough to shame the Queen, and miss the stories of, say, Jim C. Hines' likely-permanent inability to quit his day job and its attendant health insurance. Of writers trying to make it without a day job working themselves to exhaustion and ceasing to have fun with writing. That this leaves them unable to take to correct pragmatic steps. Leads to cursing out editors for daring to stop their precious vision from reaching eyes. Leads them to believe the flattery of scamsters. Honing the craft takes time. Worse, publishing itself is a glacial business - most first novelists are in their 30s, and some in their 40s. And of course, there's all the things the writer has no control over; editorial or publishing trends and tastes, manuscripts lost to mail or e-mail vagaries. Changes in the business model that really are shaking the whole scene right now. The fading midlist and the rise of modest-selling e-books.

To learn how to navigate the business, a matter I have studied in some detail, I needed to have realistic aspirations.

But I feel like somewhere in the last while, being aware that the business is slow and that I should be modest has meant that I have slipped form even modest aspiration to no actual plan or expectation. To no actual ambition. That I want to be more published but lost grasp on the actual motions that need to be made to get there.

To that end.

My ambitions as of this moment:

- Within six months, I should be either working at least 30 hours/week steady, or have a damn good reason why not (such as pregnancy). At a place that I anticipate staying for a while.

- Within the next two years, I should acquire an agent, or else obtain a minimum of 50 rejections from agencies on various works, proving I tried. (Since I can try to sell Bird of Dusk and Serpent Prince, and possibly others as I go.)

- Within five years, I should have an offer on a novel, whether through an agency or otherwise, from a legitimate press.

- Within those same five years, I should have sold at least three more short stories (considering the number I don't write, this is a tougher goal than it sounds).

- Within three years, if physically possible*, I should have at least one child. While this and work goals might have trouble working together, I genuinely think this and writing goals should not.

Should I be considering other goals? Throw me suggestions.

*After two miscarriages, the caveat is very real.
lenora_rose: (Default)
A business language "what not to do":

Strategic, I understand, is a happy business buzzword, so I can understand (Big Company X, a vendor for the company I work for most these days) wanting to use it for a customer service e-mail address, even if I think it's silly. And "Customer Associate", their chosen term for customer service rep, does naturally shrink to C.A.

However, the net result is an e-mail address starting with:

Castrategic

Which just makes me wince. And I'm not even male.

____________________

This last week, I ended up at two reception jobs with a lot of time on my hands. The result was a LOT of writing time (The first place was set up ideally for hiding the Dana from visitors/casual viewers, and the staff I worked with didn't mind. Especially as I got the odd jobs they found for me done in very short order first, as well as picking up the phone in a timely, friendly fashion.)

It went... oddly, though, as writing can. It's all officially on the same project, which is called the Ginevre books in my brain, but which I usually called "my only heteronormative traditional mediaevalesque fantasy trilogy (with dragons)". Except it's not a trilogy anymore, it's a four book series; The Serpent Prince, Soldier of the Road, the Poisoned Word – which title is based on the name of a dragon, and is thus an epithet as well, to match the other three – and the last book, which is either called the Dragon Queens, or Dragonchild.) And I'd like to think I do enough things to subvert all of the above or at least have thought through what they mean. (To my chagrin, the story has no overt lesbians. Ketan spends too much time in virtually male-only company. To *his* chagrin, as he's about as straight as you get.)

Except that, I started out picking away at Soldier of the Road, which I've been worrying at for a good couple months now when writing at all -- then, the next day, out of some whim, opened the file on the Dana for the Serpent Prince, which I'd almost removed as not needed.

Since then, the two have been running neck and neck – which one I pick up in a given writing session, or whether I trade off halfway through, changes each time. Admittedly, some of the new stuff in Serpent did inform how the very next scene in Soldier goes – as a book should do to its sequel – but it makes a strange synergy to cope with the same people at different moments..

I've been thinking a lot, though, over the age of the main characters. Ketan is 16 for the majority of the Serpent Prince, and Theo's 19. Pomal is probably within a year of Ketan, though she never specifies. Rosor is 18 (actually, her being two years Ketan's elder also goes virtually unmentioned, come to think of it). Vess is 15 for most of the book, and barely 16 when she marries Theo.

Yet by the end of the Serpent Prince, Ketan has already been faced with marriage, wars external and civil, political dissent, blasphemy (in a world where the gods have a lot to say directly about same), betrayal, and judging in trials for murder and high treason. (Also nepotism, stupid behaviour about girls, arguments with dad, doing the right thing for the wrong reason and the wrong thing for lack of experience, but those go with being a teenager. Although, granted, arguments with dad are a lot different when you have to be extremely careful not to accidentally cross the line into treason just for saying you don't like his rules.)

I keep wanting to flinch on this. I keep thinking, nobody would bat an eye if I quietly added two years to everyone. The thing is, I want to face the fact that they're a bunch of younglings. I want there to be a subtext about how fast you grow up when the consequences for failure aren't social embarrassment but murder, or a curse from a god. About how to act when age isn't considered an excuse for not knowing, when you can't say "But I'm just 16!" and expect anyone at all to pause for anything, be it asking you to act as judge or slaughtering you in battle.

About irrevocable life-altering mistakes you make when you're nine, or 15, or 20. Because while these are not impossible to do in our world -- where you could end up in an unskilled labour job because at 16 you weren't thinking seriously about the fact that you want to be a doctor but can't afford University without a scholarship, or a dislike of condoms or a missed pill could make one's future VERY different indeed -- we now consider these bad things, and have a number of steps and means that such a person can get support so they can try again. A change I DO approve, compared to the world I write in. ***

The thing is, I'm not trying to MAKE that point. I'm not trying to have that debate about better or worse. Indeed, I suspect that that aspect of the books will go under a lot of radars, and hope it will; it's not even a theme, just a thing.

The entire point, indeed, boils down to, "This isn't our world. They don't make our choices or have our assumptions." A point which is lost if I do add even two years. Because while that still feels uncomfortable, it downplays it. It asks that it sneak under the radar for fear of troubling sensibilities. To not be different enough from 21st century first world ideas, gods and unquestioned monarchy**** notwithstanding, to bother those who like it here.

I think I fail too much as it is; I'm sure the boys have attitudes that give away the writer's 21st century assumptions. And I don't want that. But it keeps whispering.

I can't quite tune it out entire. There are times it's legitimate to ease the way of readers, and isn't a case of abandoning a vision; Bear chose to write the Stratford Man not with complete Elizabethan dialogue, but with something between that and modern idiom, that people might actually make it through the splendid book.

I don't think *this* is the time to listen to that voice. But to silence it whole it is to lose a possibly useful editorial tool in the future. Which means it gets to annoy me now, whent he decision is made.

_______________

** Not sure why I did the last two: Soldier should be a viable entry point for the series if I had to sell it separately, but I'm dubious that the other two could stand or sell alone.

*** Conversely, there is something to be said for the arguments against overprotection, or for how little we allow our teenagers to accomplish or experience. Everything is, after all, a matter of balance, and as often as not, more information and less protection might have *prevented* some such bad choices being made. But I will never say it's wrong to try and mitigate the effects of a bad choice made young.

**** Ketan actually does fail to consider the idea that a patrilineal monarchy is bad. That surprised me; he really does end up questioning so much else, right up to the decrees of Gods - though he *also* never considers the idea of not worshipping something, even in the face of the fallibility of deity.

* there is no single star footnote because, feeling too lazy for html, I used single stars framing a word for emphasis.
lenora_rose: (Default)
A business language "what not to do":

Strategic, I understand, is a happy business buzzword, so I can understand (Big Company X, a vendor for the company I work for most these days) wanting to use it for a customer service e-mail address, even if I think it's silly. And "Customer Associate", their chosen term for customer service rep, does naturally shrink to C.A.

However, the net result is an e-mail address starting with:

Castrategic

Which just makes me wince. And I'm not even male.

____________________

This last week, I ended up at two reception jobs with a lot of time on my hands. The result was a LOT of writing time (The first place was set up ideally for hiding the Dana from visitors/casual viewers, and the staff I worked with didn't mind. Especially as I got the odd jobs they found for me done in very short order first, as well as picking up the phone in a timely, friendly fashion.)

It went... oddly, though, as writing can. It's all officially on the same project, which is called the Ginevre books in my brain, but which I usually called "my only heteronormative traditional mediaevalesque fantasy trilogy (with dragons)". Except it's not a trilogy anymore, it's a four book series; The Serpent Prince, Soldier of the Road, the Poisoned Word – which title is based on the name of a dragon, and is thus an epithet as well, to match the other three – and the last book, which is either called the Dragon Queens, or Dragonchild.) And I'd like to think I do enough things to subvert all of the above or at least have thought through what they mean. (To my chagrin, the story has no overt lesbians. Ketan spends too much time in virtually male-only company. To *his* chagrin, as he's about as straight as you get.)

Except that, I started out picking away at Soldier of the Road, which I've been worrying at for a good couple months now when writing at all -- then, the next day, out of some whim, opened the file on the Dana for the Serpent Prince, which I'd almost removed as not needed.

Since then, the two have been running neck and neck – which one I pick up in a given writing session, or whether I trade off halfway through, changes each time. Admittedly, some of the new stuff in Serpent did inform how the very next scene in Soldier goes – as a book should do to its sequel – but it makes a strange synergy to cope with the same people at different moments..

I've been thinking a lot, though, over the age of the main characters. Ketan is 16 for the majority of the Serpent Prince, and Theo's 19. Pomal is probably within a year of Ketan, though she never specifies. Rosor is 18 (actually, her being two years Ketan's elder also goes virtually unmentioned, come to think of it). Vess is 15 for most of the book, and barely 16 when she marries Theo.

Yet by the end of the Serpent Prince, Ketan has already been faced with marriage, wars external and civil, political dissent, blasphemy (in a world where the gods have a lot to say directly about same), betrayal, and judging in trials for murder and high treason. (Also nepotism, stupid behaviour about girls, arguments with dad, doing the right thing for the wrong reason and the wrong thing for lack of experience, but those go with being a teenager. Although, granted, arguments with dad are a lot different when you have to be extremely careful not to accidentally cross the line into treason just for saying you don't like his rules.)

I keep wanting to flinch on this. I keep thinking, nobody would bat an eye if I quietly added two years to everyone. The thing is, I want to face the fact that they're a bunch of younglings. I want there to be a subtext about how fast you grow up when the consequences for failure aren't social embarrassment but murder, or a curse from a god. About how to act when age isn't considered an excuse for not knowing, when you can't say "But I'm just 16!" and expect anyone at all to pause for anything, be it asking you to act as judge or slaughtering you in battle.

About irrevocable life-altering mistakes you make when you're nine, or 15, or 20. Because while these are not impossible to do in our world -- where you could end up in an unskilled labour job because at 16 you weren't thinking seriously about the fact that you want to be a doctor but can't afford University without a scholarship, or a dislike of condoms or a missed pill could make one's future VERY different indeed -- we now consider these bad things, and have a number of steps and means that such a person can get support so they can try again. A change I DO approve, compared to the world I write in. ***

The thing is, I'm not trying to MAKE that point. I'm not trying to have that debate about better or worse. Indeed, I suspect that that aspect of the books will go under a lot of radars, and hope it will; it's not even a theme, just a thing.

The entire point, indeed, boils down to, "This isn't our world. They don't make our choices or have our assumptions." A point which is lost if I do add even two years. Because while that still feels uncomfortable, it downplays it. It asks that it sneak under the radar for fear of troubling sensibilities. To not be different enough from 21st century first world ideas, gods and unquestioned monarchy**** notwithstanding, to bother those who like it here.

I think I fail too much as it is; I'm sure the boys have attitudes that give away the writer's 21st century assumptions. And I don't want that. But it keeps whispering.

I can't quite tune it out entire. There are times it's legitimate to ease the way of readers, and isn't a case of abandoning a vision; Bear chose to write the Stratford Man not with complete Elizabethan dialogue, but with something between that and modern idiom, that people might actually make it through the splendid book.

I don't think *this* is the time to listen to that voice. But to silence it whole it is to lose a possibly useful editorial tool in the future. Which means it gets to annoy me now, whent he decision is made.

_______________

** Not sure why I did the last two: Soldier should be a viable entry point for the series if I had to sell it separately, but I'm dubious that the other two could stand or sell alone.

*** Conversely, there is something to be said for the arguments against overprotection, or for how little we allow our teenagers to accomplish or experience. Everything is, after all, a matter of balance, and as often as not, more information and less protection might have *prevented* some such bad choices being made. But I will never say it's wrong to try and mitigate the effects of a bad choice made young.

**** Ketan actually does fail to consider the idea that a patrilineal monarchy is bad. That surprised me; he really does end up questioning so much else, right up to the decrees of Gods - though he *also* never considers the idea of not worshipping something, even in the face of the fallibility of deity.

* there is no single star footnote because, feeling too lazy for html, I used single stars framing a word for emphasis.
lenora_rose: (Default)
A more cheerful rant, if such is possible. Inspired by the fact that we're sort of planning another music night, and because Jeff asked, on finding out TSO was sorted under my folder labelled "melodramatic" as "Isn't that a serious understatement?"

I want very hard to like Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

I mean, I quite enjoyed the show last November, and I've collected one of the Christmas albums and both non-Christmas collections. And I do listen to them fairly regularly. I like most of their instrumentals, particularly the classical-based ones (though Tracers, on Night Castle, has a lot less of that, and is darn good) and about 50% of their sung pieces - and the best of the sung pieces can be right up there with the instrumentals.

Then they have the other songs. The ones where they seem to decide that singing the same one-to-five word line fifteen times over is a powerful effect and not a grating one (Bruce Springsteen manages this in Devil's Arcade, but none of the members of TSO have half his strength of expression.)

That they like to sing every single incident as if it were the end of the world, or the height of its saving. When they don't reduce it to snarling vocals, because an evil character like the devil can't possibly sound good. That everything needs to be ornamented or elaborated.

That interrupting an amazing piece of rock opera with a sudden carnival rant doesn't pretty much trash what is otherwise one of the best vocal pieces. (Seriously; I want to get some kind of sound editing software, because I'm pretty sure the rest of the song can be linked together with that bit excised.) (The Carnival effect also compares systematic genocide to the Roman Colosseum. Which is not even on the same SCALE. Nor was it approached with the same intent.)

But the worst are their stories. Every album comes with a story linking the songs. Some of the songs don't make sense without the narration, some would be more universally applicable.

And the stories? Universally suck. They're unsubtle, unrealistic. They want to be hopeful, but they bend reality out of shape to do it, even as they claim to be about being realistic and facing the evils of the world.

Beethoven's Last Night isn't dreadful - Beethoven is being threatened by the devil and reviewing his life. Until it throws in an unnecessary extra bit about a girl (spawninng two of the weakest songs in the whole thing), and a ridiculous extra twist that renders the entire story moot (Done by a character named, to make it even more obvious, Twist). Beethoven gives up his precious Tenth Symphony. It's rescued by a last minute bit of lawyering, and he dies happy and at peace. And the Tenth Symphony is hidden away again the moment his back is turned. And I go, So why did I even bother?

But Night Castle actively offends me. First, you have a man and woman get together and get married and spend literally ONE DAY Together, in which they get married and conceive a child. This grates for a number of reasons. This isn't how real romance works. But I'd let it pass. it's a minor ill.

Then the young man, a Lieutenant, goes to Cambodia, where he dies as a captive of the Khmer Rouge, but not before convincing the Khmer Rouge General, Tran Do, that their slaughter is wrong.

Tran Do, with his new terrible epiphany, realizes he has to make up for what he's done, and for the Killing Fields. So he flees his own camp and his own people, and.

Guess.

Does he:

1) Start helping the people fighting against the Khmer Rouge with inside information?
2) Denounce the Khmer Rouge publicly?
3) Seek to find some other way to save lives?
4) Seek to negotiate a peace?
5) Surrender himself to be tried for his crimes in a world court?
6) Do anything at all useful either to the people dying of war or genocide in Cambodia or to prevent other cases of genocide?
7) Even do something as weirdly random-but-decent like become a doctor and try to save future lives?

NONE OF THE ABOVE.

His entire plan is to free the Lieutenant and send him home. When he finds that the Lieutenant died before he could get back, he goes to America with the Lieutenant's gifts for his child (Which the lieutenant has never seen), seeks out his daughter and asks her forgiveness. Then wanders off to find a possibly mythical castle the lieutenant claimed to have seen, wherein lives a wizard who taught the lieutenant all he knew of goodness, morality, right and wrong, and wisdom in general.

That's it. And he's considered redeemed.

What the fuck kind of epiphany is that?

The songs where Tran Do realises what he's done and become are actually quite powerful. If they went somewhere.

Then. Poof. Nothing. Nada. He seeks redemption by asking a little girl and looking for a wizard. The little girl is of course the perfect clueless innocent of all TSO works, so whatever, but the wizard in the castle, who's supposed to be the pure epitome of wisdom, should have said, "That's the best you can do? Go out there and be useful."

You know, I'd even be okay with him realising he could never be redeemed, but choosing to live a quiet life somewhere, growing plants, not balancing the scales, but at least not making it any worse. It's the fact that they seem to feel that talking to a little girl once actually does redeem him that turns this into an offense.

I'm sorry. It didn't work in Star Wars, where refusing to kill his own son was supposed to redeem the slaughter of children and the extermination of planets. though a fair number of people bought it. It sure as FUCK works less well when you're talking about a real world event. Sorry to invoke Godwin, but it really IS exactly like a story where Hitler is redeemed because he gave one random British girl a flower and said, "Sorry our soldiers killed our dad. Oh, and for that Holocaust thing." And being cheered as having made up for all of it.

You couldn't even look at the daughter of one of the people you executed?

The thing is, all the morals in their Christmas stories have this same over-simple quasi-positive sort of feel. It's fake happiness, created not by actually doing a substantial thing to help the real evils of the world - even when those evils are explicitly brought up - overall, but usually making one gesture to make one individual person feel better.

If they didn't bring up the real scale of the evil in the world -- genocide, warfare, and centuries of hatred -- before they bring up a girl in a bar getting the money she needs to go home, or a man begging forgiveness of a girl for killing her father, the saccharine faux-redemption might pass. But it doesn't, because the scale doesn't match.

I like the music. But I find myself rebelling against the ideas underlying the music. This isn't morality. It's like they don't even understand what good really is.
lenora_rose: (Default)
A more cheerful rant, if such is possible. Inspired by the fact that we're sort of planning another music night, and because Jeff asked, on finding out TSO was sorted under my folder labelled "melodramatic" as "Isn't that a serious understatement?"

I want very hard to like Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

I mean, I quite enjoyed the show last November, and I've collected one of the Christmas albums and both non-Christmas collections. And I do listen to them fairly regularly. I like most of their instrumentals, particularly the classical-based ones (though Tracers, on Night Castle, has a lot less of that, and is darn good) and about 50% of their sung pieces - and the best of the sung pieces can be right up there with the instrumentals.

Then they have the other songs. The ones where they seem to decide that singing the same one-to-five word line fifteen times over is a powerful effect and not a grating one (Bruce Springsteen manages this in Devil's Arcade, but none of the members of TSO have half his strength of expression.)

That they like to sing every single incident as if it were the end of the world, or the height of its saving. When they don't reduce it to snarling vocals, because an evil character like the devil can't possibly sound good. That everything needs to be ornamented or elaborated.

That interrupting an amazing piece of rock opera with a sudden carnival rant doesn't pretty much trash what is otherwise one of the best vocal pieces. (Seriously; I want to get some kind of sound editing software, because I'm pretty sure the rest of the song can be linked together with that bit excised.) (The Carnival effect also compares systematic genocide to the Roman Colosseum. Which is not even on the same SCALE. Nor was it approached with the same intent.)

But the worst are their stories. Every album comes with a story linking the songs. Some of the songs don't make sense without the narration, some would be more universally applicable.

And the stories? Universally suck. They're unsubtle, unrealistic. They want to be hopeful, but they bend reality out of shape to do it, even as they claim to be about being realistic and facing the evils of the world.

Beethoven's Last Night isn't dreadful - Beethoven is being threatened by the devil and reviewing his life. Until it throws in an unnecessary extra bit about a girl (spawninng two of the weakest songs in the whole thing), and a ridiculous extra twist that renders the entire story moot (Done by a character named, to make it even more obvious, Twist). Beethoven gives up his precious Tenth Symphony. It's rescued by a last minute bit of lawyering, and he dies happy and at peace. And the Tenth Symphony is hidden away again the moment his back is turned. And I go, So why did I even bother?

But Night Castle actively offends me. First, you have a man and woman get together and get married and spend literally ONE DAY Together, in which they get married and conceive a child. This grates for a number of reasons. This isn't how real romance works. But I'd let it pass. it's a minor ill.

Then the young man, a Lieutenant, goes to Cambodia, where he dies as a captive of the Khmer Rouge, but not before convincing the Khmer Rouge General, Tran Do, that their slaughter is wrong.

Tran Do, with his new terrible epiphany, realizes he has to make up for what he's done, and for the Killing Fields. So he flees his own camp and his own people, and.

Guess.

Does he:

1) Start helping the people fighting against the Khmer Rouge with inside information?
2) Denounce the Khmer Rouge publicly?
3) Seek to find some other way to save lives?
4) Seek to negotiate a peace?
5) Surrender himself to be tried for his crimes in a world court?
6) Do anything at all useful either to the people dying of war or genocide in Cambodia or to prevent other cases of genocide?
7) Even do something as weirdly random-but-decent like become a doctor and try to save future lives?

NONE OF THE ABOVE.

His entire plan is to free the Lieutenant and send him home. When he finds that the Lieutenant died before he could get back, he goes to America with the Lieutenant's gifts for his child (Which the lieutenant has never seen), seeks out his daughter and asks her forgiveness. Then wanders off to find a possibly mythical castle the lieutenant claimed to have seen, wherein lives a wizard who taught the lieutenant all he knew of goodness, morality, right and wrong, and wisdom in general.

That's it. And he's considered redeemed.

What the fuck kind of epiphany is that?

The songs where Tran Do realises what he's done and become are actually quite powerful. If they went somewhere.

Then. Poof. Nothing. Nada. He seeks redemption by asking a little girl and looking for a wizard. The little girl is of course the perfect clueless innocent of all TSO works, so whatever, but the wizard in the castle, who's supposed to be the pure epitome of wisdom, should have said, "That's the best you can do? Go out there and be useful."

You know, I'd even be okay with him realising he could never be redeemed, but choosing to live a quiet life somewhere, growing plants, not balancing the scales, but at least not making it any worse. It's the fact that they seem to feel that talking to a little girl once actually does redeem him that turns this into an offense.

I'm sorry. It didn't work in Star Wars, where refusing to kill his own son was supposed to redeem the slaughter of children and the extermination of planets. though a fair number of people bought it. It sure as FUCK works less well when you're talking about a real world event. Sorry to invoke Godwin, but it really IS exactly like a story where Hitler is redeemed because he gave one random British girl a flower and said, "Sorry our soldiers killed our dad. Oh, and for that Holocaust thing." And being cheered as having made up for all of it.

You couldn't even look at the daughter of one of the people you executed?

The thing is, all the morals in their Christmas stories have this same over-simple quasi-positive sort of feel. It's fake happiness, created not by actually doing a substantial thing to help the real evils of the world - even when those evils are explicitly brought up - overall, but usually making one gesture to make one individual person feel better.

If they didn't bring up the real scale of the evil in the world -- genocide, warfare, and centuries of hatred -- before they bring up a girl in a bar getting the money she needs to go home, or a man begging forgiveness of a girl for killing her father, the saccharine faux-redemption might pass. But it doesn't, because the scale doesn't match.

I like the music. But I find myself rebelling against the ideas underlying the music. This isn't morality. It's like they don't even understand what good really is.
lenora_rose: (Wheee!)
Okay, that was both weird and REALLY cool.

Earlier today, I met someone who looks exactly like my character Dave Jolicoeur from Bird of Dusk. Exactly, as in, I really wanted to ask his name, and wouldn't have blinked if it was not only David, but the FRENCH pronunciation of David. Exactly as in, the perfect mix of "hey, he's handsome" and the exact right catalogue of rough features that suggest he shouldn't be. The exact lovely dark eyes in the middle. The exact crisp utter black of the hair that's the other wonderful feature. The right fine deep voice with the little thrum.

The one thing even slightly off was that he was taller than I envisioned. And that mostly made me think, "I wrote him too short."

I have had people remind me of characters in hints and starts, the same way you can meet people who remind you, a little or a lot, of a real-world friend or sibling. (When I don't consciously write the first-draft characters' descriptions off real people in the first place). I've had encounters in buses and restaurants that firmed up the descriptions of people whose physical appearance was still in flux (And one of those last caused me to change the colour of the people of an entire fictional continent; which I figure is all to the good, as I have way more than enough white protagonists.)

But even that last encounter wasn't like this; I've never had such a "walked out of the book" match. So much so that I wanted to ask if I could take a few pictures (And a sound and motion recording would have been even better), even though I encountered him in circumstances where that would be even more inappropriate than usual.

Of course, this is not helping with the whole writing thing; I'm off Bird of Dusk to at least the end of January (Moreso as I also have some reading I wanted to do before that edit), even if the Serpent Prince is back to dragging its feet. And it puts the wrong story in my brain. (I forced out a couple words on Serpent yesterday then forced more progress in writing in general by typing in a scene from another project entirely that's been mouldering in one of my paper notebooks)

Still, it kind of made me weirdly happy.


(And for those who might wonder, I am fully aware that this man has his own personality and attitudes. I know better than to assume I know him because of who else he looks like, and I was quite capable of treating him as such. (Those times I've met two unrelated people who bore an uncanny resemblance to one another, they did NOT have like personalities. In one case, snarky as it sounds, my reaction really was 'thank god', as the person the new-met man resembled was an ex.) )
lenora_rose: (Wheee!)
Okay, that was both weird and REALLY cool.

Earlier today, I met someone who looks exactly like my character Dave Jolicoeur from Bird of Dusk. Exactly, as in, I really wanted to ask his name, and wouldn't have blinked if it was not only David, but the FRENCH pronunciation of David. Exactly as in, the perfect mix of "hey, he's handsome" and the exact right catalogue of rough features that suggest he shouldn't be. The exact lovely dark eyes in the middle. The exact crisp utter black of the hair that's the other wonderful feature. The right fine deep voice with the little thrum.

The one thing even slightly off was that he was taller than I envisioned. And that mostly made me think, "I wrote him too short."

I have had people remind me of characters in hints and starts, the same way you can meet people who remind you, a little or a lot, of a real-world friend or sibling. (When I don't consciously write the first-draft characters' descriptions off real people in the first place). I've had encounters in buses and restaurants that firmed up the descriptions of people whose physical appearance was still in flux (And one of those last caused me to change the colour of the people of an entire fictional continent; which I figure is all to the good, as I have way more than enough white protagonists.)

But even that last encounter wasn't like this; I've never had such a "walked out of the book" match. So much so that I wanted to ask if I could take a few pictures (And a sound and motion recording would have been even better), even though I encountered him in circumstances where that would be even more inappropriate than usual.

Of course, this is not helping with the whole writing thing; I'm off Bird of Dusk to at least the end of January (Moreso as I also have some reading I wanted to do before that edit), even if the Serpent Prince is back to dragging its feet. And it puts the wrong story in my brain. (I forced out a couple words on Serpent yesterday then forced more progress in writing in general by typing in a scene from another project entirely that's been mouldering in one of my paper notebooks)

Still, it kind of made me weirdly happy.


(And for those who might wonder, I am fully aware that this man has his own personality and attitudes. I know better than to assume I know him because of who else he looks like, and I was quite capable of treating him as such. (Those times I've met two unrelated people who bore an uncanny resemblance to one another, they did NOT have like personalities. In one case, snarky as it sounds, my reaction really was 'thank god', as the person the new-met man resembled was an ex.) )
lenora_rose: (Default)
If we're going to be at -26 anyhow, I would REALLY like there to be more snow on the ground. Maybe even a whole two inches. I could even handle three. (Inches. Not three feet. That would be excessive.)

Not only is it rather better looking than dead grass, the ground needs the insulation for seeds (and small animals) to make it through the winter. And water for the same seeds once Spring is on.

When both snow and cold were delayed, well, I was willing to wait. But if we must have only one of the two? I'd take the snow over the cold.
lenora_rose: (Default)
If we're going to be at -26 anyhow, I would REALLY like there to be more snow on the ground. Maybe even a whole two inches. I could even handle three. (Inches. Not three feet. That would be excessive.)

Not only is it rather better looking than dead grass, the ground needs the insulation for seeds (and small animals) to make it through the winter. And water for the same seeds once Spring is on.

When both snow and cold were delayed, well, I was willing to wait. But if we must have only one of the two? I'd take the snow over the cold.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Periodically, I get these navel-gazing bits. This was actually word for word my comment on a recent Jim Hines post.

Before you read a word of mine, go read his post:

Rapists and Abusers (If I have to warn people it might be triggery, you didn't read the title.)

Shorter him: People prefer to talk about rapists as if they were a whole other species of human, not potentially normal. And this can be very bad when the rapist doesn't fit the profile of evil, when he looks like any other guy. And he talks about the bell curve, the possible slope connecting people who commit abuse with other people.

And the very first comment he got was from someone who pretty much tried to argue that ebcause she can't imagine committing that behaviour, and because of statistics about how many people are mentally ill, rapists, or at least horrible gang-rapists of fifteen-year-old girls, *are* a different species.

Her justifications rang false to me. Partly because of the Milgram Experiment and its ilk already suggesting some aspects of that slope. But also.... because I am normal. (I've discussed being normal before. It's a state to treasure, but not a compliment to myself, because I didn't earn it. It's one of those things earned for me.)

And by her logic, if I'm normal... I'm not capable of violence.

And thus, though I didn't answer her directly, I wrote this:

_________________
Seriously. Read Jim first, then click. )
lenora_rose: (Default)
Periodically, I get these navel-gazing bits. This was actually word for word my comment on a recent Jim Hines post.

Before you read a word of mine, go read his post:

Rapists and Abusers (If I have to warn people it might be triggery, you didn't read the title.)

Shorter him: People prefer to talk about rapists as if they were a whole other species of human, not potentially normal. And this can be very bad when the rapist doesn't fit the profile of evil, when he looks like any other guy. And he talks about the bell curve, the possible slope connecting people who commit abuse with other people.

And the very first comment he got was from someone who pretty much tried to argue that ebcause she can't imagine committing that behaviour, and because of statistics about how many people are mentally ill, rapists, or at least horrible gang-rapists of fifteen-year-old girls, *are* a different species.

Her justifications rang false to me. Partly because of the Milgram Experiment and its ilk already suggesting some aspects of that slope. But also.... because I am normal. (I've discussed being normal before. It's a state to treasure, but not a compliment to myself, because I didn't earn it. It's one of those things earned for me.)

And by her logic, if I'm normal... I'm not capable of violence.

And thus, though I didn't answer her directly, I wrote this:

_________________
Seriously. Read Jim first, then click. )
lenora_rose: (Default)
Hurrah for the Dana again. I got a significant chunk of Bird of Dusk threaded together; the stuff I wrote just a few weeks ago, plus all the connective tissue. The Dana isn't usually good for editing or moving around a lot in text, but as ever, in spite of having the original draft of said scene on hand, I ended up doing the connecting scene by typing in almost 100% new stuff.

On the bus. In bus stops. And briefly, while waiting for my food pick-up order to be ready.

I Heart my Dana.

For those who don't know, a Dana is an AlphaSmart system; a keyboard close to full size, a touchscreen large enough to hold about ten lines of plain text and a command bar activated entirely by touch. It gnerally includes a lot of the features from things like palm-pilots, plus a word processor. Danas also include wireless capabilities, which I've never actually used, but I presume are also on the level of palms and blackberries and the like*.

They were originally designed for students with developmental disabilities that mean typing is easier than text. However, the fact that they are smaller than most laptops, sturdier than most laptops (Having been designed for people who are more likely to drop electronics) and have an 18 hour rechargeable internal battery that can be swapped with ordinary AAs (Including letting you load the AAs before disconnecting the internal), and can take memory cards makes them really good for your average writer or student, too. (And they sync files with your computer. The Dana version trumps the computer version - but it knows enough to shunt the old file on the computer into a slightly renamed version, not wipe it, just in case. It just means that to get the newest version of a file *onto* the Dana, you have to do extra work.)

The disadvantages I've found so far:

The touch screen abilities don't always perfectly make up for the lack of a mouse or certain commands (I don't know how to do Control-End or Control-Home, for example. They have keys for F1-F8, but I never learned the F key commands.)

In a bouncy car ride (Ie, bad shocks or a rough highway), the keypad sometimes misses strokes. I can't help but think this has to be a problem with at least some laptops, too. But the results are entertaining, as three disparate words become a wriggle with no spaces.

The internal light for the screen eats the battery power way faster, so in the car, I have to stop working when the sunset turns to actual twilight.

If the battery runs out, it loses *everything* internal. Thus the permanently designated Memory card. And the occasional paranoid watching of the battery indicator. And again, 18 hours of working time first. I've never yet run the battery out enough to need the AAs, though I always have them.

It's bad for editing. Between the lack of mouseability and the tiny screen and the fact that typos aren't as obvious, it's much better for first drafts. But then, it makes up for it by going everywhere without running out the way a laptop will.

Still, having a Dana in combination with a solid home computer for the editing and clean-up means more ability to work in more places. And I'm faster and more comfortable than I am with a paper notebook. Though I've used those too, they have an obvious disadvantage when it comes to long ongoing projects, and the need to retype everything. I do prefer being able to just link files back together.

_______________________

Note to self: Heather Dale is good archery music. It definitely helped me concentrate. Except for "the Holly and the Ivy".


*I look at the last clause of this sentence and wonder again at the shift in language.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Hurrah for the Dana again. I got a significant chunk of Bird of Dusk threaded together; the stuff I wrote just a few weeks ago, plus all the connective tissue. The Dana isn't usually good for editing or moving around a lot in text, but as ever, in spite of having the original draft of said scene on hand, I ended up doing the connecting scene by typing in almost 100% new stuff.

On the bus. In bus stops. And briefly, while waiting for my food pick-up order to be ready.

I Heart my Dana.

For those who don't know, a Dana is an AlphaSmart system; a keyboard close to full size, a touchscreen large enough to hold about ten lines of plain text and a command bar activated entirely by touch. It gnerally includes a lot of the features from things like palm-pilots, plus a word processor. Danas also include wireless capabilities, which I've never actually used, but I presume are also on the level of palms and blackberries and the like*.

They were originally designed for students with developmental disabilities that mean typing is easier than text. However, the fact that they are smaller than most laptops, sturdier than most laptops (Having been designed for people who are more likely to drop electronics) and have an 18 hour rechargeable internal battery that can be swapped with ordinary AAs (Including letting you load the AAs before disconnecting the internal), and can take memory cards makes them really good for your average writer or student, too. (And they sync files with your computer. The Dana version trumps the computer version - but it knows enough to shunt the old file on the computer into a slightly renamed version, not wipe it, just in case. It just means that to get the newest version of a file *onto* the Dana, you have to do extra work.)

The disadvantages I've found so far:

The touch screen abilities don't always perfectly make up for the lack of a mouse or certain commands (I don't know how to do Control-End or Control-Home, for example. They have keys for F1-F8, but I never learned the F key commands.)

In a bouncy car ride (Ie, bad shocks or a rough highway), the keypad sometimes misses strokes. I can't help but think this has to be a problem with at least some laptops, too. But the results are entertaining, as three disparate words become a wriggle with no spaces.

The internal light for the screen eats the battery power way faster, so in the car, I have to stop working when the sunset turns to actual twilight.

If the battery runs out, it loses *everything* internal. Thus the permanently designated Memory card. And the occasional paranoid watching of the battery indicator. And again, 18 hours of working time first. I've never yet run the battery out enough to need the AAs, though I always have them.

It's bad for editing. Between the lack of mouseability and the tiny screen and the fact that typos aren't as obvious, it's much better for first drafts. But then, it makes up for it by going everywhere without running out the way a laptop will.

Still, having a Dana in combination with a solid home computer for the editing and clean-up means more ability to work in more places. And I'm faster and more comfortable than I am with a paper notebook. Though I've used those too, they have an obvious disadvantage when it comes to long ongoing projects, and the need to retype everything. I do prefer being able to just link files back together.

_______________________

Note to self: Heather Dale is good archery music. It definitely helped me concentrate. Except for "the Holly and the Ivy".


*I look at the last clause of this sentence and wonder again at the shift in language.

Profile

lenora_rose: (Default)
lenora_rose

May 2017

S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
2122232425 2627
28293031   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Aug. 18th, 2017 04:19 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios