amandaink: (Default)
So! Good news first! I decided to make a blog for book recs over on Tumblr since I like the accessibility of it and I think it's a good way to meet fellow book nerds. If you're interested:

http://amandaslibrary.tumblr.com/

There are only two recs up so far and they're two that are already on this journal. But there will be more to come. I will likely only be adding a select few here.

If I stay here, that is. That's the bad part. Like many other users, I hate LJ's recent changes and I heard a few minutes ago that even more changes are in the beta process. I reserved an account over at dreamwidth (no invite codes, this week only if you want to do the same!) because this website is going down the shitter. LJ hasn't responded to the backlog of complaints but apparently dreamwidth is working on updates for members who are jumping ship, or so I've heard. course, I'll stick around long enough to see if it sinks or gets back on its feet but I'm not expecting much. I'll tell you if I move for good, of course.

Either way I'll be trolling around the internet somewhere. And I hope all of you are well.
amandaink: (Default)
As of this entry, I'm at 3364 words.

Also, I'm numb from the neck upward. And sneezy. And let's not talk about how disgusting and raw my nose is right now. I've been sick since yesterday which pretty much RUINED my plans to get ahead of the NaNoWriMo game. I'm feeling a little bit better today. I slept for thirteen hours which took away some writing time but I'm keeping up with where I'm supposed to be, at least. Hopefully by the end of this week I'll feel better and I'll have my car back so that I can go to the library and write for a good three or four hours without distraction.

I also meant to write about my Halloween weekend and post some pictures. Perhaps I'll get around to doing that but you know how I am with commitment.

How's November treating you so far? NaNo kicking your ass already? Loaded up on half-off Halloween candy? ANYONE EXCITED FOR CHRISTMAS YET?

(Because I am.)
amandaink: (Default)
God I hate the summer. How counterproductive given that I live in Florida, right?

I lose all my inspiration during the summer. I want to write things but even when I manage to grab hold of an interesting idea I can't even bring myself to open a document. I'd rather sleep for fourteen hours or surf the internet or be a playtoy for my cats. Or whatever.

I've been fighting my lack of productivy by dragging myself to the library and writing a few sentences at a time regardless of how terribly my writing sucks right now. I'm grateful that I can still be happy with reading books and manga though, even though doing so sometimes makes me feel even more lethargic than not.

I can't wait for fall. I love fall and winter. The last three months of the year are what I live for. When September rolls around you can probably expect long detailed posts about why I love fall. And then posts about why winter is, in fact, the most wonderful time of the year. They'll probably get their own tags. No lie, I will gush about October, November, and December like I'm in love.

I'm sorry I probably won't be updating too much until then. I promise to post a little bit and comment but my lack of motivation extends even to Livejournal.

Make summer go away.
amandaink: (Default)
Late night self-loathing voice is always a very nice girl.

Dark Side of Brain: What are you even doing? You can't write. Look at this story--LOOK AT IT. My God, there isn't even a plot there are just characters doing things. Why are they doing these things? Why can't you make them interesting? IF YOUR PLOTTING WAS ANY LOOSER THE INK WOULD RUN RIGHT OFF THE PAGE.
Good Side of Brain: Sweetheart, it would be nice if you began fewer sentences with pronouns. Just a suggestion.
Dark Side: WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOURSELF IF PEOPLE ACTUALLY READ THIS? YOU ARE A SHINING EXAMPLE OF EVERY SINGLE CRITICISM YOU HAVE EVER MADE.
Good Side: And a few less adverbs please.
Dark Side: GO READ SOME OSCAR WILDE SO YOU CAN SEE EVERYTHING THAT YOU'RE NOT AND NEVER EVER WILL BE.
Me: *stares blankly at screen*

Perserverance causes more brain-yelling but it's better than writing nothing at all.

When I neglect to write I start criticizing myself for being lazy and uninspired and I start thinking I'll never complete anything worthwhile.

Oh broken self-esteem, you are such a double-edged sword.
amandaink: (Default)
It might just be me, but as someone who hangs around review communities (for stimulating discussions) and sporking communities (for shits and giggles), I've found that the term 'Mary Sue' has lost its meaning somewhere along the way. It was a pretty elastic term to begin with what with the plentiful crop of types to choose from and the lines that blurred between, well, a powerful character and an unrealistically powerful character. But there are Sues and Stus out there and there are several ways to identify them.

But Mary Sue is a spectrum, not a dichotomy. So in some cases when someone cries "SUE!" someone else might be inclined to say, "I disagree with your assessment, good sir/madam." Some characters have Sue traits. Some good characters have Sue traits. But does that make them Sues? Well, in my opinion, no, but as subjective a term as Mary Sue is, someone might say that no good character could possess a Sue trait at all. I would say, "Your favorite character was marked at birth as the Chosen One, has the dead parents angst going on, got selected as the youngest Quidditch player in a century, often gets to flout the rules with little to no consequence, routinely saves the day, and is generally well-liked by everyone but the bad guys. Those are all Sue traits and yet Harry Potter is not conventionally considered a Sue." (“You’re calling Harry Potter a Sue!” someone yells from the back row. “Read my paragraph again,” I respond.)

The one thing I've noticed lately is that people tend to lose sight of what a Mary Sue actually is despite the broad definition. People use Mary Sue when they simply mean a flat character (which a Mary Sue often is, though these things are not synonymous). Or they use it simply when they mean, "I don't like this character and that makes her a Mary Sue, right? RIGHT?" No, it doesn't. Sometimes people don't want to expound on Sueness. They're in a main character position, they get screen time, and I disagree with what they do or how they are portrayed. Isn't that enough? Bad Character = Sue. Original Character in an Already Established Universe = Sue. New Girl At School Who Has a Mysterious Secret and Snags the Heart of Male Character A = Well… probably a Sue.

My other problem with the Mary Sue spectrum is the misogynistic structure it creates. The Mary Sue’s BFF, the Gary Stu, does get face time but nobody goes into a movie or starts a book expecting to meet Gary Stu. But when a medium has a female protagonist it seems going in examining her for Sue traits is the savvy thing to do. More powerful than the men in the series? Must be a Sue. Hypercompetent at what she does? Sue alert. A crush on the super attractive male protagonist who has some romantic subtext with Male Character B? SUE. (And a whore for good measure.)

The same treatment is rarely—if ever—given to male characters. I once saw a compelling argument (alas, I don't have a link) that stated that if Harry Potter were a female character then the books wouldn't have half of the fanbase that they do now. Why? Because Harry would be labeled a Sue of course.

Another example most of us can relate to: we all agree that Bella Swan is a Mary Sue—every other time I see a Twilight discussion I can always, always count on "lolol sparkly vampires" and "that Mary Sue bitch Bella Swan." But it's so rare that I see Edward get tacked as a Gary Stu even though he so obviously is. It’s no secret that a good portion of fandom gets its jollies demonizing female characters. (And, unfortunately, it’s a common hallmark of my fellow slash fans.) But the Mary Sue archetype has become so ingrained in the fandom mindset that any strong female or any prominently featured woman or any girl that gets the guy is likely to be scrutinized for their imperfections and then painted over as too perfect, too strong, too magical, too easily forgiven.

It’s lost its meaning. It’s become a catch-all for an unlikable character and, too often, it stands in for critical analysis. Female characters I find generally likeable or well-rounded are getting the shaft for their perceived Sueness. In some parts of fandom, it’s morphed from a legitimate complaint into a witch hunt. I, personally, will not be using it from here on. I know it would be ridiculous to expect everyone to follow suit but I’m adamant in my belief that it’s a term that hurts more than helps. The most I can hope for is that it falls into disuse as the internet and fandom evolve.
amandaink: (Default)
Beginning a novel is the absolute worst. My current project, my love, my baby, my first full-length novel attempt since I was in high school and wrote books in plastic three-prong folders plastered with Hot Topic fairy stickers, has finally hit that point between the beginning and OH MY SWEET GOD I AM FINALLY GETTING SOMEWHERE.

Because the beginning takes a lot of patience and patience is a thing that I don't have. It's like a test--do you really want to be writing this novel? Because if it's too taxing you can always just play online all night and eat your weight in Reese's eggs. I always find myself thinking: Is this lead-in any good? How do I establish my characters? How do I establish the setting? Am I being too heavy-handed here? Why are we out of shortcake? AM I SHOWING AND NOT TELLING? AM I?

And when I'm not thinking those things I'm thinking: God, this book was a failure before it even started. It's a good idea--I swear on my life it's a good idea. Please fingers, just get this typed so that I can skip ahead to the blood and action.

For me, as soon as everything is established--(here's my world, here are the people in it, this is what they're doing, and this is why. You got that? EXCELLENT.)--the novel picks up and that (assuming I know where the hell I'm going with it) is when the story becomes a pleasure to write. That's what makes the stress and doubt of the beginning worth it.

And I'm happy to report to LJ and all of the writerly people that dwell within it that I've finally made it to that stage. I've crept by three hundred words at a time, procrastinated a lot, made far too much use of [insert scene], and right around 10K I started breezing through.

Now I'm going to go off and hope that I can keep up that breezing and not report here next week with DEAR GOD YOU GUYS, MY NOVEL IS TRYING TO KILL ME.
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