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Association Meme

From papilio_luna:


1. Your freckly video diary icon

It was made by circa77. I believe it's from the Season 2 video diaries. I like it because it seems to capture the candid, intimate nature of those early recordings. Of course, you can't tell the dancer from the dance, but I like to believe we're seeing some genuinely unguarded, open moments, back there at the beginning, where David Tennant is simply being ... David Tennant.

We'll see him be "David Tennant" over and over again, on interview shows and as a guest star, but will we ever see him just be himself again? I have doubts.

Plus, the eyes are very intense, and the pose seems to be leaning confidingly in, and the freckles are very visible ... mmm.

2. writing

I've been doing it for years, and I have terrible troubles with anxiety, rigidity, perfectionism, and procrastination. As I posted a few weeks ago, I actually did my taxes one Sunday afternoon in order to avoid sitting down with an open document! Originally, fanfiction was my relief from the anxieties of original-fiction writing, because it bypassed the hyper-critical voice in my head that said that only certain stories could be told and only in certain ways. But getting positive feedback made me anxious that future chapters also get positive feedback, and off we went again.

I've published about seven technical articles and part of a book, and although I'm capable of great anxiety about those chapters, generally "good enough and written" trumps "perfect and unwritten" with that. So I manage.

3. your kitty

You know, I blogged for a year and half without a single cat pic. I'm not sure I ever mentioned having a cat. Then he got sick, and suddenly that dominated my life. So I posted about it.

I've thought of asking readers who want to see cat updates to comment on a post so I can add them to a filter and spare others from unwanted cat detail, but I'm a bit afraid no one would comment, which would mortify me. I like to hope that I haven't drowned people in unwanted cat verbiage, but that's probably in the eye of the individual reader.

4. Heritage (which I haven't read but I swear it's on my list!)

I'm proud of some bits of it, and think other parts need re-writing. Sometimes when I read it I think, "That's a wrong turn", but when I get to the end of the chapter I see exactly why it had to go the way it did. In other words: I don't like all of it, but can't always think how I could have done it better!

It started off as a one-shot, as a build up to a specific implication at the end of what is now Chapter One, but people told me there had to be more, so, before I knew it, there was more. It's been very satisfying to write.

5. Doctor Who

I remember it being on television when I was a kid, but not watching it. Then in college I started watching episodes with Three, Four, and Five on PBS with a bunch of friends. When it started up again, I was pleased, made a mental note to watch it, and forgot about it. I saw "End of the World", I think, and "Boom Town", and again made a mental note, and again forgot about it.

Then I started reading mustangsally78's LJ, on a whim. (I was familiar with her from X-Files fandom.) And she heartily appreciated Ten! She's also friends with chase820, who wrote the excellent Belle de Jour, which I also read and admired. At the same time, my old friend M. in New Zealand was sending me rave reviews of the Season Two episodes. So I decided, "Okay, I'll watch this!"

(My friend M., an old-school Whovian, originally insisted that the Doctor had no romantic interest in Rose and that like all his female companions she was merely a substitute for Susan. He changed that view after Doomsday. But I always wanted an icon of Rose making an "ick" face and the caption "I remind you of your granddaughter?")


If anybody would like me to suggest five things I associate them with, comment and I'll do it!

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
jlrpuck
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
I like to hope that I haven't drowned people in unwanted cat verbiage, but that's probably in the eye of the individual reader.

Your cat is as much a "person" to me, as anyone on LJ. Which could be a bit creepy, I guess, but because you've talked about him--and because I cared for a cat that was going through the same thing, years ago--I care about how he's doing.

I'm proud of some bits of it, and think other parts need re-writing.

I think that's a very clear-headed way to be, quite honestly. It means you'll always strive for ways to improve your writing, instead of resting on your laurels.

Not that I don't think Heritage is perfection as it is. Because I do ;)

But I always wanted an icon of Rose making an "ick" face and the caption "I remind you of your granddaughter?

*genius*
np_complete
Feb. 20th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the kind words about the cat. Right now he seems to have lost a little weight, but is acting fairly comfortable. He goes back in for blood tests on Tuesday.

I think that's a very clear-headed way to be, quite honestly. It means you'll always strive for ways to improve your writing, instead of resting on your laurels.

Yes, that sounds like a good approach. Is that how you view your work?

Not that I don't think Heritage is perfection as it is. Because I do ;)

*hug of thanks*
jlrpuck
Feb. 21st, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
He goes back in for blood tests on Tuesday.

*crosses fingers* I hope he's as well as can be expected.

Is that how you view your work?

For the most part, I think I do. I know that, given the time and the inclination, I'd go back and tweak all *sorts* of things in "The Way of Things"; I still have a hard time reading it, because--even two years on from writing it--all I see are the errors and the decisions I wish I hadn't made. It's those things which drive me on when I write the newer stories--being as vigilant as I can on things which I *know* are a weakness, and trying to write a better, *tighter* story than I consider at least the first third of TWoT to be.

I also try to emulate certain writers whose work I admire; not necessarily mimicking their style, so much as looking at how they convey things and seeing if it's something I can adapt to my style. I live in terror of becoming predictable and boring as a writer.
np_complete
Feb. 21st, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
It's those things which drive me on when I write the newer stories--being as vigilant as I can on things which I *know* are a weakness, and trying to write a better, *tighter* story than I consider at least the first third of TWoT to be.


For me, Heritage was one of the longest pieces I'd written since I tried writing a Regency romance during my teens. People have talked about the leisurely pace of it, and a lot of it is just exploring John's world, without any clamor from the plot. Once I'm done with it, and after (I hope!) I've written other long stories, I'll be interested to review it and see whether it justifies the slow pace it takes.

If you're comfortable talking about it, I'd be curious what you consider to be weaknesses in your writing. I have this vague memory that you might once have mentioned too much descriptive detail (although I don't agree), but that might have been someone else.
jlrpuck
Feb. 21st, 2009 01:17 am (UTC)
People have talked about the leisurely pace of it, and a lot of it is just exploring John's world

Heritage has a gorgeous lyrical quality to it that isn't often found in the world of Doctor Who fic. That's not to disrespect Whofic; it's just that, oftentimes, the plot of the story simply doesn't allow for that sort of pacing. While reading some other stories is a bit like going on a roller-coaster, reading yours is much like going paddling on a broad, slow river at dawn--you provide the reader the chance to be still, and to absorb what's going on, which I find has made me incredibly invested in the future of the characters. I'd be curious, though, to know what you think of Heritage after a bit of time has passed. ;)

If you're comfortable talking about it,

I'm absolutely comfortable talking about it--moreso, I think, than trying to name what I consider to be my strengths. After all, it's always easy to pick your own work apart than to praise it.

There are a few core things which bother me about those early chapters: the pacing needs to be gone over with a sander, smoothing out the choppiness of both pacing and characterization. It's painfully evident, at least to me, that I was a bit at a loss as to what made the characters tick. And while I've become a bit more comfortable with my propensity for using adjectives, I feel that the chapters could still stand to lose a few words. Ironically, I think I'd also *combine* chapters, shortening their number but making each individual effort longer. There's something to be said for having long chapters--it give you time to create a beginning, middle, and end within that small snippet of story, and I think it makes for a more enjoyable read; and why not take advantage of having the *time*, when writing a long story? That's a lesson I learned well into the story, and it's one I've taken to heart.

I think I might actually begin the story slightly differently, too. It's a bit disorienting, in my opinion, starting it as I do. But...well, that's one of the things that I know I'd like to change, but am a bit unsure of *how* to change it.

And, finally--and a problem I most assuredly still have--is word selection. I tend to go through phases of finding a word and liking it, and using it repeatedly in a short space; it's like a skip in a record, and it drives me spare when I come across it when re-reading some of my earlier ficlets. I'd love to have the patience to go back through the story and get rid of those skips, and perhaps expand my vocabulary a bit in the process.

One behind-the-scenes thing I wish I'd done differently is to not have spent so much time tweaking and changing the first nine chapters. Sitting on them for six months, worrying over them every single day, always feeling the need to change *something*, was a bad idea, and I think that might be part of why that first part is what bothers me so very much: I got to the point where it was impossible for me to see the forest for the trees. I've learned, as I've gone along, that the thing that works best for me is to write, to ignore the writing for a week, and then to go back to it and read it with a clear eye. And then, once I've done that, to send it off to beta. The last read and scrub is done the night before I post, and then that's it. No more.

I fear I'll never have the ability to be objective about the beginning of TWoT; that it's a part of my writing I'll never be able to enjoy, and so will never go back and read. But it's the mistakes which I made writing it which fuel so, so much of how I style my writing now, and I wouldn't change that for the world.
np_complete
Feb. 22nd, 2009 11:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much for your kind words about Heritage. I am proud of it, if only because people have said such nice things about it.

I was thinking about what you've said about TWoT, and realized that while I could mark up Heritage with changes fairly easily, I'm not sure what my weaknesses as a writer are in general. I do know that because Heritage has a distinct tone of voice (to me, anyway), that can sometimes get stilted. I also am fond of long sentences. I need more practice writing love scenes. (And I suspect that the trick of never referring to Penny by name may irritate some readers. I don't think I'd have done it if I'd realized I was writing the first chapter of something lengthy. Still, it does remind the reader that everything we've seen is from Penny's limited and subjective point of view.)

I suspect I'm going to have to write a lot more and have many serious discussions with my beta to have the kind of clarity you have towards your work and your process!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )