feuille: d'argo making his 0_0 face (shock)
After submitting to 9 different agents in the UK and US on the 4th, I:

Got 2 rejections on the fifth, less than 24 hours after submission. More exciting and terrifying than disappointing, as most of what people say gives me the impression querying agents is not a 24-hour-timetable activity. I understand why I'd be rejected and can't really find the energy or stubbornness to take it personally!

But -- Now, I've had a request for a partial manuscript and a synopsis! Just the first step and it could still be a rejection later - but duuuuuuuuude. Too excited to type properly right now and it's awesome.
feuille: "an interrobang says what", followed by an interrobang (books)
Recent absence due to many factors: internet anxiety, distraction, friends' romantic difficulties, ER...

News to report: nine agents now queried with my novel. expect to hear updates in months, fingers crossed!
feuille: rainbow-coloured roses (rainbow roses)
So many posts that haven't been made because of tiredness and business and getting distracted. Mostly by watching old E.R. episodes. And--

Season 2 Episode 15 "Baby Shower" with the heterosexual couple who have a baby and they reveal their baby is an IVF baby and then even later in the episode a man and a woman show up and the women are together and they cuddle and they have a baby, and the men are together and they're the godparents and no one minds and sometimes it can be frustrating but GODDAMN I love ER SO MUCH.
feuille: "an interrobang says what", followed by an interrobang (spn)
So way back in 2004, I wrote the first draft of the Ahgendt story (do you like my working title?) and though I tried to immediately rewrite it, I got shiny-new-idea syndrome and strayed to another story.

It took five years, but I finished the second draft. I didn’t even use the first draft as a reference while writing the second draft, probably because of terminal embarrassment. It was very much a white page rewrite that I finished September 20th last year. To get the second draft into the third draft took another 10 months: more on that process further down.

Between the second and third drafts, not much changed (plotwise, at least). Instead, I rewrote huge swathes AGAIN because the second draft writing was just not good enough to use. Not a white page rewrite, but large chunks were completely thrown out anyway.

This is not the story you remember... )

Getting to the Third draft - The Editing Process

Like I said, the second draft was a typed white page rewrite of the handwritten first draft. Thusly, I had not actually done any editing to get where I was. As you might have guessed, it was sorely needed.

To edit the second draft towards the third, I:

-Printed it out, single sided and double spaced and put it in a big safe folder,
-Got many brightly coloured pens (and tried to avoid red),
-Scribbled all over the draft at the minutia levels - looking at sentence structures, paragraphs, word choices, as well as whole scenes and did they work, as well as 'Do I need this character?' and 'Woah, this plot, does it need changing?'

The result was this shambles:

Waaaagh! Shambles! )

Coming up in Part 2: Graphs! Charts! Map Evolution! Wordles!
feuille: janeway holding an adorable puppy (PUPPY)
Full list of questions here.

It's so much easier to do this every other day. 30-day memes are strangely exhausting.

Day 5 - A show you hate


...So yeah. I'm passionate when I like things, when I love things, and when I hate things. But I always preface all thoughts I express about Dollhouse with: if someone else likes it, that's honestly fine by me. It's just not my cup of tea.

For me: )

God pros, there. Definitely good pros. But yeah.

Day 6 - Favorite episode of your favorite TV show

Considering I couldn't even decide between Voyager and Farscape for my favourite show, I have no idea how to pick favourite episodes. I can barely pick one favourite episode for a season, let alone the whole show. Egads. Regardless, I shall try:

Favourite FIVE episodes of Voyager (with succint reasons as to why they are on this list):

Bride of Chaotica - the one where Janeway becomes a spider queen
Good Shepherd - the one where Janeway bonds with three forgotten losers of the ship
The Chute - the one where Paris and Kim bond in prison (*wink*)
Resolutions - the one where Janeway and Chakotay are stuck on honeymoon a planet together
The Q and the Grey - the one where Q wants to have babies with Janeway and THERE'S A PUPPY (see icon)

I just can't choose. Though maybe if I were forced I could narrow it down to Resolutions or the Chute?

Favourite TWO episodes of Farscape:

Crackers Don't Matter
Out of Their Minds

Both of these episodes are particularly mad for Farscape, I think that's why I'm so fond of them? There is the quote from Aeryn, "You'll be a crouton, Crichton!", of which I heartily and punnily approve. I am always so impressed by, in Out of Their Minds (when a wacky space-beam makes everyone switch minds), how all the actors imitate vocal inflections and mannerisms of different actors. (After watching this episode I forced myself to adopt Crichton's thoughtful finger-nibble because I thought it looked cool. Trufax.)
feuille: "an interrobang says what", followed by an interrobang (janeway wins hands down)
Ugh, it is too hot and I am going through my third (fourth?) cold of this year, so the last couple of days I've taken pretty gently. I think it's time for a nice, relaxing meme update and then some smokin' hot Kaidan romance (in Mass Effect!).

Day 02 - A show that you wish more people were watching
Day 03 - Your favorite new show (aired this TV season)

The Good Wife

The Good Wife is an American legal drama starring Julianna Margulies. She plays a woman who returns to lawyering after many years away raising her children and homekeeping because of a scandal her important husband gets into. For me, this show has a perfect balance of plot-arcs, character-arcs and legal-case-of-the-week in every episode. It does not pass the Bechdel test so much as run it over with a monster truck filled with awesome ladies and their awesome non-men-centric conversations. I can't go on about how much I love this show and how excited I am to be watching it. When there is content that could be uncomfortable for me, I trust this show to handle it right, and I haven't been disappointed yet.

Cue monster truck of Bechdel-passing: )

Day 04 - Your favorite show ever

Without an ultimate cagematch as the decider, my favourite show is a joint win between Star Trek: Voyager and Farscape. I watched both from an early age, had huge conscious crushes on male leads (John Crichton and Tom Paris - woah, one is much more badass than the other). Kathryn Janeway was and is one of my biggest inspirations and heroes, and OMG Aeryn Sun is just the supreme hotness (she was my big subconscious crush).

Voyager and Farscape have pretty much defined a lot of my media intake for a long time, shaped how I viewed other media, and (especially with Farscape) shaped my writing and my creativity. ♥, you two shows. Ultimate ♥.
feuille: hands doing vulcan high five: "Sci-five!" (sci-five!)
The last couple of weeks have been...a bit hectic, to say the least. I graduated from my teacher training course, saw my parents in the same room as each other for the first time in five years after a messy divorce. Family stuff is bizarre and makes me feel vaguely uncomfortable.

On the writing front, fear not; I shall post about the ongoing drafts of my current work soonish, with accompanying maps. I love maps. But for now, the 30-day Television meme, snagged from [personal profile] kay_brooke.

The full list of questions )

Day 1 - A show that should never have been cancelled - the BBC TV series Strange

It's a shame I can think of so many shows I would have preferred to get cancelled but find it so hard to think of ones that I miss, but Strange is definitely one of them. It involved Richard Coyle, who I liked from early watching of Coupling, being an ex-priest demon hunter and trying to clear his name of some mysterious murders. It aired in 2003, and I remember so very little of it except for the fact that the main character was angsty, had nightmares on the sofa and the main female character was really cool. If it hadn't gotten cancelled then there might have been more of it and I would find it easier to buy/find now, and I might remember it more.
feuille: emily prentiss looking disgusted (stupid offends prentiss)
The Supreme Court has ruled that British troops are not protected by human rights laws on the battlefield.

I'm sorry, but what? I was under the impression that human rights were for, you know, all people. Apparently men and women who go off and fight for their country aren't people now?

I get that in war, choices need to be made, sacrifices, and so on. But according to the Ministry of Defence:

"The imposition of some form of legal duty of care would create a major and disproportionate risk that military decision-making would be made more cumbersome and would be skewed in the light of it."

The only thing I can really read from that is "Man, being legally responsible for the safety of our troops would be such a drag." Military decision-making being skewed towards making sure your troops don't die of heatstroke while on tour? Perish the thought, apparently. Fail, MoD and Supreme Court. Anger-making Human Rights Fail.
feuille: "an interrobang says what", followed by an interrobang (Default)
There’s this city, called Ahgendt. It’s a stratocratic, isolated city with strictly limited immigration and emigration. There are curfews and lots of dark alleyways for nasty things to hide in, but the Military say that vampires are not real, and do horrible things to people who say otherwise...

Intrigued? Read on... )

If you got through all of that, then well done, and as a reward, have a fun quiz! It's the ~~Hornblower Quotation and Reference Spotting Quiz!~~ )

So this draft was written way back in 2004, when I was a wee 16-year-old, and currently I am just starting the fourth draft. How on Earth have I wrangled such brilliance into a form I myself would want to read, you might wonder: well wonder not, because over the next few days you shall be able to see for yourself how this wondrous first draft has taken shape into a proper story to be proud of.

Also, in conclusion: )
feuille: "an interrobang says what", followed by an interrobang (Default)
had two interviews, both unsuccessful.

me = does not take rejection personally, but that does not mean does take well. will get over it in time, would like time to happen now, thanks.

me = sadface and brimming anxiety attack.

on plus point, me = written three prompted pieces, working on more, all set in same universe. ~1,000 word fic, I has it.

I think I'll go watch Hornblower.
feuille: hot digitally painted dude is 20th level badass (nick)
This week is going to be one of those so-much-going-on-shrieking kind of weeks: I'm teaching A-level today for the first time (qualifier: sort of like the jump between high school and first-year degree, depending on how smart the students are) and on friday. I also have an interview at the school I'm currently teaching at for a part time job in September, and man, I really, really want it. When I want something this much I tend to get a bit freaked out about it. *quietly freaks*

So as a distraction I have been:

-finding new icons for my paid time icon space (Wheeeee!)
-finding pictures of male and female models to represent characters so [personal profile] miss_haitch can turn them into icons for me, so I can:
-post some of the prompt-writing I've been doing lately
-Discovering that my keyboard does not have backslash (woe!) so I cannot go o/ properly (a very new addition to the list!)
-playing Knights of the Old Republic (more on that later)
-oh yeah, and doing a meme:

• Post this meme and your current wallpaper on your Dreamwidth
• Explain in five sentences or less why you chose it
• Don't change your wallpaper before doing this! The point is to see what you had on!

Really hot image below cut )


May. 22nd, 2010 09:28 pm
feuille: the cabbage dude from avatar (my cabbages)
Damn you Dreamwidth, for only telling me I had a paid account in an email telling me I had TWO WEEKS OF PAID TIME LEFT *cries*

Whoever gave it to me, thank you very much, and I'm so sorry I didn't notice until it was almost too late!

Quick, quick! What should I do with my paid account that I only just discovered?

(ps the distressed bat is SO AWESOME)
feuille: "an interrobang says what", followed by an interrobang (paget is hot)
I have been remarkably absent recently, owing mostly to being very busy at school and having three to four hours of marking after getting home and finishing the evening's lesson plans.

Only a few weeks to go, and then I will be here as much as I want to be. As it is, let me say that I am keeping an eye on all of you (but not in a creepy way, just in a reading-my-circle way) and wish everyone health and happiness (or at least getting through things that are hard, which is what I myself am going for).

So there's a point to this post, let me introduce you to my latest crush, Jill Flint, an actress I have seen on The Good Wife:


...Phwoar. Though it's a shame they 'shopped her waist so damn much. She's sexy as hell with a not-terrifying waistline.

(p.s. the Good Wife is definitely in my top 10 TV shows ever, and passes the Bechdel test like a teacher taking SATS (read:easily and awesomely), and is full of awesome women being really really brilliant, and ... yeah. Jill Flint is also smokin' hot.)
feuille: "an interrobang says what", followed by an interrobang (Default)
So I suffer, like many writers, from shiny-shiny-syndrome. I get into a story and write about 6,000 words or so, then get distracted by something else. This leaves me with lots and lots of works in progress.

Cut for length...follow on for summaries and excerpts! )

meme time!

Apr. 28th, 2010 07:59 pm
feuille: the cabbage dude from avatar (my cabbages)

Well, I really want to get into 3W4DW. I think it's incredibly awesome to see everyone celebrating and having fun. I'm currently working on my own contribution, which will come later and in the form of a 'the world is awesome' picspam, but for now we have meme time!

Post 20 anime/manga/games/films/tv shows' summaries from Better Than It Sounds. Guess them!

1. Orphaned street urchin falls in love with rebellious princess, seduces her with the help of near-omnipotent comedian and a piece of fabric, and defeats the bad guy by trapping him into a device used for lighting.   Aladdin, guessed by [personal profile] ar 

2. Building supplies drop from the sky, and you must use them to erase any sign of your hard work to build the Kremlin. Tetris, guessed by [personal profile] thedivinegoat

3. A Cult-classic Self-insert fanfic about the Bible. The Divine Comedy, guessed by [personal profile] thedivinegoat 

4. A son saves his father's life, and they talk about baseball.

5. Uptight young man and his abuse-survivor sidekick sail high seas, commit mass murder.

6. A hero's attempts to slay a dragon are delayed when everyone makes him/her solve their problems first.

7. Nine men try to return a piece of jewelry to the factory it came from.
Lord of the Rings, guessed by [personal profile] thedivinegoat 

8. A group of dysfunctional people are chased by their pissed-off children.

9. A disastrous one-night-stand forces a recent hireling to prove hirself truly worthy of employment.

10. A sad couple drive around.

11. Wolverine is vehement that he prefers his wife alive. The Fountain, guessed by [personal profile] ar 

12. Boy named after a mouse helps locals improve their drug-filled sandpit, despite unfriendly wildlife. The government disapproves.

13. A fighter ace tours different careers in search of his wife.

14. A bunch of historians and a medieval reenactor get stuck in the Middle Ages. 
Timeline, guessed by tivunel.livejournal.com

15. Siblings argue over how to inherit their father's legacy.

16. Two kids get invited to visit their grandfather's zoo and watch a lawyer feed one of the animals. Jurassic Park, guessed by [personal profile] auguris  and [personal profile] thedivinegoat 

17. Buff blond tours Spain, kills village folk. Resident Evil 4, guessed by [personal profile] auguris 

18. An entire colony has very bad stomach cramps. The only one who can help them was sleeping for years. Aliens, guessed by [personal profile] st_aurafina 

19. A group of FBI agents fly to different parts of the country in order to pretend that they are crazy people. Criminal Minds, guessed by [personal profile] lettersforblood 

20. Crooked Space Cop has problems with hir pre-owned vehicle.

A few of these are so damn obscure *glee!* and I love them.

feuille: "an interrobang says what", followed by an interrobang (Default)
Man, there are lots and lots of things going on right now, starting back teaching tomorrow and being so not-ready for it, a day at the university that will hopefully not overrun so I can see my friend off at the train station. But that's not what I'm here to say.

Totally (not) True Quotes From The Supernatural Writers
(Or at least, things they MUST have said at some point this season)

"Ooh, look, another white male actor in his 50's. We should totally cast him, we don't have enough on the show!"

"Ho ho ho, let's bait the feminist fans by joking about killing women!"

"Ho ho ho, let's kill all the women!"

"Damn. It's a shame we're being labelled as misogynistic now. Let's make everyone feel better by making an episode that is fun, exciting, heartwrenching, has a nice not-emo ending, that's well put-together and has good original music."
"But how do we make sure it's not misogynistic?"
"I know - let's have no women at all!"

Sometimes...well. Sometimes I feel like quitting Supernatural. So, yeah.

feuille: "an interrobang says what", followed by an interrobang (spn)
Today I finished a book I had never read before. I don't do this much: I don't have much time for just reading between teaching, planning and writing, so often I revert to the safe space of only reading things I know I enjoy.

Ten Things I Hate About Me, by Randa Abdel-Fattah, was a wonderful and charming way to break me out of my rut.

The premise: Jamilah is of Muslim-Lebanese origin, born and raised in Australia. (Her parents immigrated from Lebanon before she was born). In Jamilah's area of Sydney, people of Middle Eastern descent especially are targets of racism. The most popular people in her peer group are 'Anglo' (read:Australian and white) and students of enthic minorities as well as 'freaks and losers'. Jamilah, though, doesn't get targeted by this bullying - because she straightens her bleached-blonde hair, wears blue contacts and calls herself Jamie.

This is a YA novel about a mixed heritage girl coming to terms with all the pressures on her, whether they come from others or herself. She wants to be popular, and she feels to be popular she needs to be Anglo, but because at home she is Jamilah, she keeps her peers at a distance. It's about Jamilah's struggle to mix two cultures she feels are incompatible - while coping with an irresponsible, rebellious older brother, a radical outspoken older sister, and a strict single father who won't let her go out at weekends. Added into the mix is a mysterious online friend with whom she learns to be herself.

Vague, not-that-spoilery thoughts... )

So. The language is not overly-'teenaged' but not unbelievable, the good guys are sympathetic throughout even when they are making mistakes, the ending is satisfying, and it was wonderful to read something steeped in a culture so unfamiliar to my own. Definitely a book worth reading.

feuille: "an interrobang says what", followed by an interrobang (janeway wins hands down)
So there are these books.

One cover has a woman on it. She's young and thin; though her face is mostly in shadow she's definitely hot; she is wearing tight, leather clothes, her hair is artfully tangled and blowing in an invisible wind and she has a sword over her shoulder that's over half her height in lenghth. *

One cover has a woman on it. She's lean and curvy; though her face is mostly in shadow she's definitely hot; she's got a gorgeous red gown and red hair, both sweeping in an invisible wind. Her chest is not prominent, but definitely noticeable. She's got a bow with an arrow notched. **

One back reads: In a world where people born with an exceptional skill...are both feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden...of the Grace of Killing. *

One back reads: Fire's exceptional beauty gives her influence and power. People who are susceptible to it will do anything for her attention, and for her affection. **

In one book the main character, a teenage girl, has one blue eye and one green eye, is monstrously good at killing people, hates her long hair and wants to cut it all off, despises wearing dresses and girly things and has serious anger management issues. This is Katsa. *

In one book the main character, a teenage girl, has stunning red, orange and pink-hued hair, is very good at archery, is so supernaturally hot she transfixes herself when she looks in mirrors, is a fantastic fiddle player and can read and control people's minds. This is Fire. **

I saw both of these in bookshops time and again. I picked them up, handled them, read their backs and examined their covers and sometimes even flicked through. Every time I put them down, hurriedly, thinking to myself:

Oh, I wouldn't want to read that. The main character looks like a total Mary Sue.

It took repeated good reviews and word of mouth for [personal profile] miss_haitch to take the "plunge", the "risk", and read one. Then the other. It took those repeated good reviews, word of mouth, and her glowing recommendation for me to brave the possibility of exposing myself to a Mary Sue and read these books.

I cried, I laughed, I growled in anger, I screamed in fear, I could not stop reading these books until they were done. I read them as I walked to work, coming back on the bus, in the evenings. I tried to read them slowly because I am a fast reader and these are not lengthy books, and I did not want them to end.

These women, these main characters, are extraordinary even amongst their extraordinary brethren. They have funny coloured hair and eyes and are really good at the things they love doing. They are passionate, caring, heroic women who inspire other characters in the world.

They also have flaws. These flaws aren't 'character balancers'. These flaws are not there to make sure the 'Mary Sue Balance' comes out at zero. They are there because these women are not perfect, because no one is perfect, and because these women are sometimes misguided and hurt by things that have happened to them.

No doubt some people might see Katsa and Fire as Mary Sues. I did.

I avoided these books because I didn't want to read Mary Sues, but these books are two of my favourite books. Ever. Not because "It's O.K., Katsa and Fire aren't Mary Sues because they're flawed", or, "It's O.K., Katsa and Fire aren't Mary Sues because all of their power and skills make sense in the setting ". It doesn't matter if they're Mary Sues or not. They are awesome characters. They are awesome women. And they are a joy to read.

This is why I don't want Mary Sues in my life. The fear and disgust of possibly contacting one prevented me from reading books that I love. This is not even going into what that fear and disgust can do to a writer. I'm not going to let those feelings stop me again. I'm going to read what interests me, and if being interested in powerful, mistake-making, passionate women makes me interested in Mary Sues, then my life is better for it.


* = Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
** = Fire, by Kristin Cashore

feuille: hot digitally painted dude is 20th level badass (nick)
There's this tabletop game, World of Darkness. It was the first ruleset that I ever played in, back in 2006, and though my proclivities extended to D&D and for a brief spell Lo5R, my loyalties never strayed far from WoD. This never made me, however, actually read a lot of the abundant information that can be found in the books. (What can I say; I'm pretty darn lazy.)

On Tuesday I'm running a Mage: The Awakening game (new WoD). One of the PCs is the leader of an area, which led me to looking at the books and what White Wolf have to say about mages and mage society, and I am Not Impressed.

Why I am Not Happy with the state of things in the book )

So I do what I always do when confronted with gaming information that I don't like:

I make my own. )

So there we go. Physical, social and mental characters all welcome in all orders, and it's not quite so easy to draw lines between 'what path are you' and 'what order do you join' as it is in the original book. There's more, all about the seats of power and what little government the mages have, how mages are elected to seats of power, but the tweaked orders was my main focus. I'm going to test run it on Tuesday, see how it goes, and tweak if necessary.

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