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A couple of weeks ago I picked up Red Glove by Holly Black, and all through the book I was delighted at how little exposition the book throws at the reader. The book treats the reader like an intelligent creature who can infer from context, as it drops hints at events past and assumes the reader has plenty of imagination to invent the conversations these characters might have had, the details of the lives they've lived before they arrived at these stages in their conflicts. It uses unfamiliar jargon and doesn't stop the action to explain it, since context is plenty. It was one of the first books in a long time that hasn't pinged my annoyance button with tedious blocks of exposition, and I was delighted.

Of course, once I finished it, I discovered it was the second book in a series. *facepalm*

Except, as I lifted my face outta my palm, it made me realize: this is how I like my fiction. How I like to read it and how I like to write it. Where the worldbuilding comes as it comes. Free of dense exposition blocks. Showing the unfamiliar in its context. Assuming the reader can use her brain.

No one style is going to please everyone, but here's my new personal writing maxim: write like it's the second book.
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I have only just finished watching the teaser opening of this week's Doctor Who (The Beast Below), but, remember that post I made a bit ago, about Things Are Different Here? Yes, yes, and yes; that is exactly the sort of thing that gets me. That opening hits all my erotic/creative buttons, makes me want to leap to write The Dirty Version of that sort of scenario.

All right, carry on. *goes back to episode*
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During insomnia night this week, I read a professional insititution's glossy creativity publication that had been given to me. The photos were pretty, the essays...not as horrible as they could have been, the poetry I thought was appalling. Schmaltz, doggerel, sentimental claptrap. Amateur pirouettes on a page, terribly proud of themselves for showing off their cut-apart structure and boring as spit. These students didn't even know how to write limericks; there was a two-page spread of them and not one of them had the correct scansion of a limerick. God. I read through the book thinking, what the hell did they reject?

Is it just me? I always admit that I don't have a poet's soul; I have no inclination to write poetry other than funny doggerel, and very little poetry resonates with me. Sometimes it does. The moments are rare, but wonderful. Is it just me, is most poetry dreadful cloying crap? Just because you're grieving or in pain, that doesn't mean you can create good art.
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It seems that there's hardly enough time to to write fiction, let alone posts about writing; complicating that, I don't like to talk details about the story I'm working on because that reduces the pressure to write the story. Not productive. But sometimes I'm bursting with discussion needs, and I'm going to try to let them out more often.

Why I Write Fantasy Settings

I can't say for sure why all my original smut falls into the category of "vaguely medieval historical setting where swords, princes, and dragons could all emerge," but since that's what pushes my buttons, that's what I write. In the story I'm working on now, I could have easily had the Character of Dubious Ethics walk into the protagonist's house, open the fridge, and take out a beer. If I'd found that somewhere I'd have shut the book and walked away. There is absolutely no sexy in that for me; this is why he had to cross to the table and pick up a flask of wine instead, even if I wasn't interested in painting the setting to greater detail just at that moment.

One theory for this is that a lot of my non-con fantasies center around a concept that I call Things Are Different Here.

Things Are Different Here relies upon outraging the sensibilities of the person having the fantasy (or reading the story). Things Are Different Here says, in this country, or in the neighboring one or what have you, concepts that would make us say WHAAAAAAT are the norm. Concepts like the ever-present sexual slave auctions. Or unmarried maidens required to go about bare-breasted. Males disciplined in a harsh matriarchal society. Bestiality rituals at puberty. I'm not even telling you my favorites, so that they don't go stale in the reveal.

And that WHAAAAAAT of outrage is necessary. I want--and I want the reader--to feel the unfairness of this, the terrible injustice of a world that would go against all humane instincts. And of course, I get to channel that sense of outrage into my victim/protagonist if they didn't come from that country in the first place.

Could I root that in a realistic setting? Well, maybe I can't suspend my disbelief for it. Maybe, just as importantly, I don't want to think of all the historical (and current) atrocities my own world is capable of, dreadfully unsexy. Maybe I only want my nice safe fantastical ones--like the tradition that all new brides are required to be f**ked by all the members of their new husband's household--and I need that "vaguely medieval historical setting" to make it all come to filthy yummy fruition.
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The "twenty-five first lines" meme, from multiple people ([ profile] cluegirl, [ profile] schemingreader, [ profile] bookshop, etc.)

Post the first lines from each of your 25 most recent fanfic pieces and try to find a pattern.

I love this meme, because it's showing me the flaws that I perceive in my own writing in a stark way. That surprises me because I'm always talking about how important an opening line is. Guess it's easy to talk about but harder to do.

Meme this way )
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I'm deeply happy that I had the honor of participating in [ profile] merry_smutmas for every one of its years. But it's retired, and so is my participation in exchange fests.

Exchange fests, I learned, aren't really a good format for me: they put an obligation on my shoulders and a list in my lap but they do not provide plotbunnies.

I write by plotbunnies. "I like Harry/Draco" is not a plotbunny. Yeah, I love 'em too, kiddo; got anything else?

The format of the [ profile] pornish_pixies Fantasy Fests suits me better. Everyone submits plotbunnies, replete with pairings and kinks and most importantly, scenarios, and you look at that list of two hundred storylines ("Harry finds his mum's wedding gown in a trunk and decides to use it to seduce Snape") and you pick and choose the ones that make you say Oh, hell, yes.

Because when I see, "Harry/Remus, Pansy/Hermione, Dumbledore/Grindlewald, Snape/Right Hand; teasing, deep kissing, bondage, double penetration"...I see a list. I don't see a story.

*thinks about Harry in Lily's wedding gown, gets distracted*

April 2017



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