Just Write Month–July

So though I don’t mention it much, I participate in NaNoWriMo..

National Novel Writing Month.

The idea is to write 50,000 words within one month, 30 days, and is usually held in November… Link above to go to the official site.

Anyway, I’ve participated for a couple of years, winning twice, half winning once when I set a personal goal of 25k (grade 12 was a bitch), and enjoyed it every time.

It’s a bit of a panicky, adrenalin filled, internally competitive, abusive relationship with yourself for the month. See, if you can work with a schedule,and know how to reach each goal, you can easily keep up with the approximate 1667 word/day you’ll need to finish 50k in one month. 1667 words a day isn’t terribly difficult, however….

Wait, why am I using the word ‘however’?

Well, look at it this way.

You easily write the 1667 words, and think, hey, I can totally write more.

So you do.

And then you think, hmm, perhaps this won’t be so hard. I mean, you wrote so much more than the required amount…

And maybe you’ll keep up with the 1667 words per day, reaching milestone after milestone… until you can’t quite get to writing one day.

At this point, you may be ahead of schedule–hell, if you’ve managed more than 1667 words, you’re more than likely ahead. So you aren’t terribly worried about missing a day or two.

Until you do, and then you’re panicking a bit.

Because how the hell did you get so far behind!?!

Okay, calm down, there’s no need for these panicky feeling… because you can do this. You can catch up. You can do this. 

Only the bit of panic is making ou try to rush, and rushing your writing will back you into a corner and then… writers block.

Only you can totally still do it!

You just might have to beat yourself up a bit to do it.

See? Panicky, competitive, abusive…

And then the people of NaNo decided to introduce Camp Nano. April and July are the challenge, two shifts for summer. Can you do it? Can you take up the challenge?

Well, I think I can.

BlogConfidence

Thing is, I have no idea what to write…. so this July is going to be my Just Write Month.

No plans for a full novel, no plans for any sort stories… this is going to be my just-write-a-thon for fanfiction. Most likely.

I have a plot thought out for November, so that’s good, but I have so much going on fanfction-wise that this upcoming months should be good…

I have new documents set up for each story, so that my word count doesn’t egt messed up, and everything I’ve already written beside highlighted blue, so I’m all set.

Prepare for insanity.

Woo.

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Oh Calvin.

So Lexy’s dog sitting right now…

He’s adorable, and chubby, and very different attitude-wise than Gwynn.

I’m not saying he’s unfriendly, no, but it’s mostly in body type.

And also commands, but that’s something else entirely.

He’s just short and stout… I actually think his ears are longer than his legs. (For visual, I’m pretty sure he’s some sort of Corgi mix. Pictures later perhaps.)

His People gave us his stuff for the time they’re gone, and included in that is his bed… That he apparently doesn’t really use as a bed.

Gwynn likes it.

Dis is my bed now. I love to curl up on and in things too small for me. It proves I *am* in fact a lap dog. Pet meh.

Dis is my bed now. I love to curl up on and in things too small for me. It proves I *am* in fact a lap dog. Pet meh.

But… The other night I had some friends over to bake and start watching Doctor Who… K has seen some of the series, but not enough to be a Whovian, form a mix of watching some scattered episodes and from the inevitable spoilers from Tumblr.

But I’m not certain that Doctors 9-11 will happen this summer, not sure if there’s going to be enough time for her to catch up in time for November, so we’re dealing with only 11 right now.

It’s good. We watched 1 episode. I was happy. my Dr Who merch at my side…

9th/10th sonic screwdriver (Left), TARDIS diary (Middle), 11th Sonic screwdriver (Right)

Yeah, but afterwards, when they left, I had some time to see Calvin and Gwynn interacting… here are my notes:

Adventures after hours.

  • Calvin apparently doesn’t sleep in his bed. Gwynn has taken advantage.
  • Gwynn eventually leaved Calvin’s bed when Calvin makes demon pig noises beside him.
  • Gwynn looks alarmed and offended when Calvin stalks to his crate, calms down to only being suspicious when Calvin drinks from water bowl instead.Gwynn is a hypocrite.
  • Calvin has apparently decided that his bed is good for sleeping after all
  • —No. No. Apparently bed is for staring soulfully at Gwynn and making demon pig noises.
  • Gwynn leaves.
  • Mosquitos let in from departure of friends keep after me. I fear blood loss problems
  • Demon Mosquito bites itch like a bugger.
  • Gwynn returns and curls himself under chair for comfort.
  • Calvin is heavy breather. Always sounds like vague growly demon pig noises.

I switched focus somewhat part way through, but it’s all good.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, baking this time was much less frustrating than last time. I did very little of the mixing and everything. I just put things on sheets, and provided the ingredients.

No stress. And then Dr Who, so it was all good.

All good.

Yes.

🙂

 

Apocalyptic Cookies.

So I decided I want to make cookies. I found THIS recipe.

And then decided to write down the steps as it happened to me.

For those who don’t feel like going to the link…

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie with a large fork dipped in sugar.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

First of all, I had to look up what creaming, baking, was, because otherwise I would have probably just mixed everything with a knife and/or fork and a big spoon.

(And Creaming, Baking, because creaming on its own seemed like it would have a 50/50 chance of showing something sexual. Just saying.)

But this is what I’ve posted to FB as it happened for me.

(Time stamps are approximate as I’m copy-pasting as I go, and typing in the times, so they’re changing as the time is. )

Steps to making cookies:
Step 1: Find recipe.
Step 2: Realize that recipe calls for 1 cup soft butter…
Step 3: Realize that you want to make cookies now, so stick butter under computer to ‘soften’
Step 4: When mixing butter realize that time spent under computer isn’t enough.
Step 5: Shrug and carry on
Step 6: Wen adding sugar, realize that you really should’ve let butter soften
Step 7: Frown, and carry on.
Stay tuned for more steps. 

(About an hour ago)

Steps to making cookies, 2:
Step 8: “Mix in each egg, and then stir in vanilla…” Realize that you have no clue where vanilla is
Step 9: Find Vanilla. Found.
Step 10: Pause to feed dog lunch. Remember to wash kibble dust from hands.
Step 11: Feel that doing one, then the other egg, and then vanilla is too many steps. Mix all eggs and vanilla together.
Step 12: Wonder if there’s significant difference in mixing and stirring.
Step 13: Shrug, and carry on. Ignore previous result in ignoring recipe details.
Step 14: Remember result of ignoring recipe details. Realize that sugary, eggy, vanilla-y butter is now soft. ish. Remember not to ignore details again.

(About an hour ago)

Cookies. pt3
Step 15: Where the hell is flour?
Step 16: Baking soda… Baking soda….
Step 17: Nearly put dry ingredients in same bowl that held eg and vanilla
Step 18: Reassure dog that you aren’t abandoning him in quest for Not-Baking-Powder-of-How-Did-I-Not-Notice-it-said-‘Soda’ and thank the cookie gods that you didn’t already mix it all in
Step 19: Wash out eggy vanilla bowl and wonder at bubbles.
Step 20: No seriously where the hell is baking powder.

(57 minutes ago)

Cookies 4
Step 21: Get distracted from quest with sudden insight on how to make oatmeal cookies better.
Step 22: Start simmering raisins in apricot brandy. Don’t eat them.
Step 23: Continue Quest.
Step 24: Resist brandy-raisins.
Step 25: Resist.

(55 minutes ago)

Cookies 5
Part 26: “Poudre a Pate” wtf why didn’t I notice it and why didn’t just TURN IT AROUND TO ENGLISH SIDE???
Part 27: Calm down and mark quest down as finished.
Part 28: Quest finished.
Part 29: Resist brandy. And Brandy Raisins.
Part 30: Wonder again at the difference between various sorts of baking terminology… mix and combine…

(52 minutes ago)

Part 30.5: Swear at vanilla-y tsp measure and wash it out. (comments)

(52 minutes ago)

Cookies of 6th level of hell
Step 31: Wonder at how this is staying liquid with the only wet ingredients being (not soft) butter, eggs, and vanilla.
Step 32: Give comfort to clingy dog who has been groaning at you for the past 5 minutes for not paying attention to him.
Step 33: Wash hands. Again.
Step 34: Cookies. Remember cookies.
Step 35: Look ahead in recipe and be disbelieving that you have to let chill for an hour before cooking.
Step 36: Swear at computer.
Step 37: Look sad at Sister. Who can think of making dumplings at a time like this?
Step 38: Realize you still have to add 3 cups of oats to the mix, and don’t forget about raisins, and choc chips (BECAUSE!), and recipe still doesn’t call for any other liquid to be added wtf recipe.

(32 minutes ago)

Step 39: Avoid being skewered by knife wielded by well-meaning sibling.

(30 minutes ago) (NOTE: She was emptying the dish washer)

Apocalyptic cookies 7ish
Step 40: Mix in the oatmeal and don’t believe recipe on no more wet ingredients
Step 41: be disbelieving at how everything got mixed.
Step 42: Wince and add brandy raisins and choc chips and mix
Step 43: Be even more disbelieving that even that, that stuff not in the recipe, works…
Step 44: Add pic to fb to be like “Cookie dough, bitches”…

(20 minutes ago)

40.5: Use knife to mix everything, and don’t ignore the death knell of mixer next time. (comments)

(21 minutes ago)

Step 45: Cookie Dough, Bitches!

All mixed up and eveything

All mixed up and eveything

(20 minutes ago)

Step 46: Be sad that now you must cover it in cellophane wrap and cram it into the fridge for an hour.
Au revoire Cookie Dough.

And now I’m waiting.

Woo.

Will probably have more adventures in rolling and whatever the cookies, but for now this is what I have 🙂

And before I forget, brandy-ing raisins is freaking delicious, and this is how I did it:

WARNING: Very imprecise, if you want to know EXACTLY how to do it you will have to go somewhere else because really, you’re simmering raisins in Brandy here. Just don’t set your house on fire.

1. Get pot

2. Get raisins and brandy (I used apricot Brandy, but you can use whatever… or rum. Rum s good. Brandy is sweeter though.)

3. Put splash of brandy in pot .You’re looking for it to be absorbed by raisins. Use your judgement. It’s not a precise science)

4. put heat on low. Very low. You are cooking alcohol here. VERY LOW.

5. Add raisins. If you added too much brandy, feel free to add more raisins.  I just kept adding them as the raisins already in it plumped up.

6. Keep on low heat, stirring occasionally, but ultimately you can leave it on its own. Turn down heat even further if it starts bubbling.

7. You basically want most f the brandy gone, and for the raisins to be soft. Use your judgement. But then you’re done!

I used golden raisins, but you can use whatever you want, really… I made about two handfuls of raisins to add to my dough (huzzah for precision!) which turned into something like a cup of brandy raisins. Just added them all to the dough, and added two handfuls of chocolate chips and mixed.

blurry pic of deliciousness

blurry pic of deliciousness

Your end result of raisins should be sticky like they’re covered in syrup, they should be soft and squishy, and taste testing should make you happy. I know what you’re thinking here…

I know.

I *am* a culinary genius.

Side Note: do this with more brandy to the brandy:raisins ratio, and add apples, a pinch of pepper, and some apple juice, and you have an amazing savoury-sweet side dish. Apple compote is delicious.

Things I’ve Noticed About Good Fanfiction Stories Turning Into Bad!fics

Just a couple of things I’ve noticed that… well, if they don’t change the story entirely, it is a good indicator that either the story will be going to a dark place, or else will be put in hiatus soon.
Or else will show that the good start was an illusion.

CLUB SCENES
Club scenes are good if you have an actual purpose for them. If you have an informant, or are looking for someone, or else are looking for a quick scene to be the start of what-did-I-do-last-night problems.
But if you decide it’s time for your character and all his/her friends to make it to a club just because… It makes me assume you don’t have any idea where you’re going from there. You have decided to forgo cohesive plot lines and have blanked out the idea of pacing in your story, and decide to describe dancing and singing and really, there’s a reason why there are dance/singing movies by the dozen, but hardly a book to be seen.
If going to the club doesn’t have any purpose, don’t use it. Chekhov’s gun is applicable here–don’t mention something unless it’s important. Don’t mention the gun above the mantle place unless it’s going to be used, and don’t gush over dance moves unless dancing will be important later.

REVIEWS PLS LOL JK BUT SRSLY
This is two in on, the ridiculous abbreviations and begging for reviews. I don’t really take people who use srsly and lol and rofl and whatever else in excess. You’re trying to write a story here, use your words. No–no, use ALL of each word. If you have a character that speaks in these shortenings, well, that’s you using them responsibly. But in AN’s and the like it makes you sound–dare I say it?–Derpy.
And the begging for reviews… Well, those occasionally get paired with what I call the hostage situation.
“If I don’t get X amount of reviews I’m not posting the next chapter lol”
Right. Well then. So sorry to have wasted my time, as you obviously have no interest in writing or posting this story if you have to be cajoled into writing. You apparently also don’t care about the quality of reviews, if you’re inviting dozens of ‘update soon’ reviews.
If you’re writing a story, and are serious about it, people will review when they have something to say. You want reviews? Write something that creates a reaction. but do it with a plan.
Don’t just kill off a character just because, do it because it’s time. Don’t just randomly decide for something to happen, because then it’s weirdly random, and not enjoyable.
So yeah, use your words and stop begging and holding chapters hostage. It’s annoying, and *I’m* certainly not going to be the one to drag you kicking and screaming into writing your own damn story.

CAMEOS
If you aren’t writing a crossover, don’t do it.
If they have no reason to be there, don’t do it.
If you just really like so-and-so and want to write a story with them in it, don’t choose any random story to include them in. It’s weird and if someone doesn’t know them, it’s weird and confusing.
If you want character from X show to interact with character with Y show, then write a crossover. COMMIT.
A lot of stories that suddenly have cameos end up with Mary Sues, too, and that’s just not good.
Or else the author has given up on writing anything of value, and has just let their fantasies go wild.
More on Mary Sue’s later, but an example of cameos gone wrong is an InuYasha fanfiction, very clearly Kagome/InuYasha, and the author brought in the lead singer of Simple Plan, and had him in love with Kagome, not to mention the number of famous actors and record companies after her for her amazing voice and stellar dance moves earlier displayed at the club. WHY did they bring it up in a story about general high school problems? No clue. It did nothing for it.

MARY SUE’S and STU’S and OC’s TAKING OVER
If you want to write yourself into a story, do so, but don’t disguise yourself as a character already part of the story. If you’re planning on writing a story about an entirely self-made character who waltzes into a series you like, go ahead. But it gets REALLY irritating when part way through a story I’ve invested myself in, you introduce one fo these characters and instead of having the story I’ve invested in I now have a story about your OC. Your Other Character has hijacked your story, and you don’t even seem to mind.
Now, occasionally these OC’s don’t end up Mary Sue’s and Stu’s, but it is a rare occurrence. This is because we put a lot of effort into creating our own characters, and it’s hard to have our babies ride in the back seta, or even the passenger seat when we have the ability to put them in the driver’s seat. But go out and write them their own story, or else don’t let them hijack your other projects.
And Mary Sue’s/Stu’s… If your character, self-made or adopted form a series, has no problems, no weaknesses, and fixes every problem that heads their way, then you are making a Mary Sue. Wild Hair, amazing voice, fabulous dancer, AND they prevented that one character from dying like they did in canon? Wowza, what a Mary Sue.
And what? Oh, pardon me, they *do* have problems don’t they… What a tragic past they’ve overcome, what hardships they’ve dealt with, and they’ve gotten over their emotional trauma just in time for them to save the day… convenient, yes?
If you think I’m just making fun, check out this comic that shows all the problems with such a character, and enjoy, and maybe you’ll be able to recognize a Mary Sue in the future. Ensign Sue Must Die is a fantastic comic, as is its sequel Revenge of the Sue (can be found through the link above, seriously looking for ‘revenge of the sue’ will get you angry p0rn)

And, just to be honest, I was very close to writing my own Sue and posting it. But then I recognized that what I was writing was a plot-less fix-it-all and stopped.
As for OC’s taking over…
If you’ve read my story It’s Green, you’ll know I have a number of OC’s in it. Most of which were entirely unintentional. Max was supposed to be a one time deal, Mr. Baryn a fluff character, all of them not even riding in the back seat–they aren’t even in the car. But I wrote them intending for them to be side characters, and not even significant ones, and they developed on their own into something a bit more.
Not enough to take over the story, and in fact I’ve had a number of comments on how non-confrontational my OC’s are in regards to plot development. They are obviously different characters, they don’t have the cut and paste feel of reusing a characters trait and style, and they have plots and ideas of their own… but they aren’t the main character. They occasionally HELP the main character, but that’s it. They’re doing their job as side characters. And that’s it.
I also have a more Main Character OC in my Torchwood story (CoE Fix-it HERE, sequel now up), again a character who I was intending on being a one-off character, but he’s a villain. And he doesn’t have a real name yet, either. Right now he’s just Boss Man.
I also have a couple of OC’s in there that I rather like, and intentionally developed the characters (for a change) of for plotty reasons (before, they were just names and not even part-playing characters), but I made them for plot reasons, and they still aren’t going to take over the story. I just happen to have one big plot, with a couple smaller plots within and beside it, and this OC plot has its own uses.

So really, use your OC’s responsibly, and if you want them to be centre stage… well, why not START a story with that in mind, hmm? Aren’t they worth their own story?
And beware of can-do-no-wrong fix-it-all characters, because you may be writing a Sue.

And, for a last thing that, while it doesn’t show that a story is heading to a dark place or will be put on Hiatus, is irritating…

SRRY, BAD AT SUMMARIES
Really? Well, if you’re bad at summaries perhaps you aren’t that great at writing stories.
This is not to say you can’t be good at writing stories and be bad at writing the hook, the summary.. just, when looking for a story I’m already looking for something that attracts my interest. This is an unsure thing, because the story I pick might not be all that great, or might disinterest me, and really I enjoy finding the well written, well thought out stories. When you tell me, point blank, that you aren’t good at summaries, it seems like you’re telling me “I HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN MY WRITING IT MAY BE BAD LOL READ IT ANYWAY!” If it turns out that you would’ve written a better summary, eventually you can change it. But when you say the summary is bad, you’re telling me you think the summary is bad, and that you went with it anyway. It’s not attractive, it doesn’t give me the sense that your story might be good, and the worst of it is that before you said anything about it, I might not have thought that the summary was all that bad. If it was bad and still gained my interest, then good for you. But what if I thought it was good and you still said this? Well, the I’m not interested in what you label as good or bad, because you obviously can’t handle having your work out there for viewing, for critique, because you’re pretty much trying to beat me to the punch.
Lol I know it was bad, I said as much didn’t I? Yeah, now noting you can say will hurt meeee because–ooh, ouch! Wh would you say that? You’re just repeating me! YOU CAN’T INJUR ME! *cue hurt look and sniffles*
The laughing at your own problems thing isn’t fool-proof, and again, is generally unattractive.
The same can be said for the “First Fic!” mentions in the summary, because it’s pretty obvious you’re trying to make SURE you have an excuse out there in case people don’t read AN’s. Because if you just write it in an AN then someone could miss it and judge your writing thinking that you’re a seasoned writer.
It’s unattractive, and ridiculous, and mentioning it in the summary makes me think that, as your first fic, you’re not experienced enough to know about things like quality.

Anyway, yes I know it’s a bit rant-y, but I’ve noticed quite a few fics have these horribly annoying ‘first fics’, ‘bad summary’ and lol’s in them, and a couple fo the stories I’ve been following for a couple of years now have either petered out into Hiatus, or else have forced me to stop following because they’ve decided to turn this story about the mafia into a Dancing, singing, reality show, or else a story about a girl dealing with the problems of teen pregnancy finding that she can be an actor while giving the best care to her toddler, as well as satisfying her harem of uuber rich suitors. All of whom are interested in a relationship with her even knowing about her kid.
Reeeeally annoyed at this shit.
If anyone else has anything that points to a story changing track, or turn-offs for summaries, let me know.