readingredhead: (Professor)
"Don't apply to grad school," they said.

"It'll make you hate everything you think you love," they said.

"At least take a year off so you'll have something to look back on when you are mired in the abyss of your first year," they said.

"And if you do apply, it should be because nothing else can ever make you happy," they said. "Because you can't imagine any other career that would give you even the smallest margin of satisfaction. Because you know nothing else that will allow you to support your existence, at all, if you don't go."

I will never stop being proud of myself for not listening to them.

I am approximately twenty-four hours away from being done with my first year of grad school. In those twenty-four hours I have to write the last ten pages of a twenty-page paper and revise the whole thing so it's up to my standards, or at least so it doesn't attempt to argue via sentence fragments and bracketed colloquialisms and exclamation points. But you know what? I can do that while sitting in my bed in pajamas drinking hot cocoa, and without stressing overmuch. And this paper is showing me, more than ever, that there may not be anything other than grad school that could make me this happy. I'm only halfway done, but it already contains a section entitled "novels are people too" and a footnote about the use of "fan fiction" to describe eighteenth-century alternate endings to Clarissa and a lengthy diatribe against critics who disapprove of emotional responses to works of fiction as inherently anti-intellectual. Soon it will have paragraphs about emotional engagement with literary characters as an inspiration for personal literary production and the implications of marginalia for constructions of readerly authority and the validity of what Eve Sedgwick calls "reparative reading."

I can't wait.
readingredhead: (Write)
Just got word of [ profile] shipswap , a rare-pairings exchange that will be taking place for the first time this summer. Rules look approximately the same as Yuletide, but you request/offer pairings rather than characters, and as a result rare pairings in big fandoms are totally okay. Nominations are going on right now through May 16, sign-ups will start May 18, assignments go out June 11, stories due by August 26.

I'm definitely planning on doing this at present, and I've already nominated everything from Kit Rodriguez/Lone Power (Young Wizards) to Anna Howe/Clarissa Harlowe (Clarissa), once again proving that 90% of my interests are either 1) young adult fantasy novels or 2) eighteenth/nineteenth-century British novels.

(Now I should maybe go back to writing the paper which is due in nineteen hours and currently lacks introduction, conclusion, and cohesion.)
readingredhead: (London)
Life continues apace over in the world of academia. I turned in my MA essay today (I'm not overflowingly proud of it but I do think it's a solid, well-argued, potentially important piece of work), which means I only have three major assignments between now and May 9, and then FREEDOM. Two of those assignments are 18-20 pg seminar papers, both of which will be touching in one way or another on Clarissa, which I have ALSO finished. (In related news, I'm pretty sure I've told everyone I know that I want a t-shirt that says "I survived Clarissa -- not even she could manage that!" except I suspect if I actually got one Richardson would personally return from the dead to haunt me.)

Aside from school, I have had a surprisingly busy social calendar lately? I mean, apparently I have friends in this city?! Crazy talk. So there was that one time when Christina and I stalked Doctor Who filming and saw Matt Smith and Karen Gillan doing a lot of running (and they waved at us!), a birthday party for [personal profile] oliviacirce at which among other things I discovered that I may want a line from Milton's Lycidas tattooed on my foot ("But not the praise"), karaoke with friends at the bar with the TARDIS (and I actually sang in front of strangers!), and lunch plus Clarissa conversation with a fellow survivor today. And tonight there will be post-MA-essay drinks with cohort mates, followed by a birthday dinner tomorrow, and then Jordy is in town on Thursday! 

I'm also starting to realize how soon I'll be headed to London and Norway, and I am SO EXCITED. It's been too long since I traveled somewhere and had adventures (not that adventures cannot be had without travel, but travelling adventures have a different flavor, and it's one that I miss). In case you missed it the last time I listed dates, I'll be in London June 12-19 and Norway June 20-29 (not that anyone in Norway is on my flist, but in case you were curious!). At some future point I will send Londoners a humble plea for couch space, but I gather that there is moving and the like going on at present, and that life is stressful in general, and I would not want to add to that!

One month from today, I will have an MA in English. Two months from today, I will be in London (or you know potentially elsewhere in the United Kingdom if I do day-trippy things! like walking/hiking places!). It's just getting through the intervening time that will require some finessing, but thankfully it's actually all starting to look almost manageable. (There will be a post later about how, in one of my papers, I'm essentially arguing that the "participatory novel culture"--which is my fancy terminology for "fans and fanfic writers"--centered around Richardson's novels in the mid-eighteenth century ought to be read, not as unprofessional fannish effusion, but as a strand of novel theory in its own right which can teach us a great deal about how the novel as an evolving genre was perceived by its readers and its writers. Yes you heard me right. FANDOM. IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. And my professor is excited about me writing this! And rec'd a book about Janeites as potentially relevant to my methodological interests! ACADEMIA: YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT.)

Now I should probably stop procrastinating and tackle the day's most difficult dilemma (which is, of course, what do I make for dinner?).
readingredhead: (Sketch)
In case you could not tell from the title of this post I am now going to talk surprisingly seriously about fanfiction? But mostly as a way of asking questions of others on my flist who may write it/may have written it. (Though of course this won't happen til I go off on a digression!)

My own fandom history is peculiar. I discovered internet fandom via Harry Potter but it was always so effing huge and when the tiny fansite that I had followed from its start ended up closing down and I no longer had a manageably miniature way of participating in forums, reading and reccing fic, keeping up-to-date on news, etc. I basically let go of fandom. (This was in the Days Before LJ so I had no idea what kind of fandom went on through LJ comms!)

Also through Harry Potter, though in a very different way, I ran into the fandom that would become the love of my life, my One True Fandom, if you will: Diane Duane's Young Wizards novels, which I picked up for the first time when in between Harry Potter novels and fell for in a flash. Years later my passion for HP has faded but YW and I are still more-or-less madly in love. It helps that this is a super obscure fandom, easy to keep up with, very supported by the author who runs a discussion forum over at her personal website, and all of the people in it are really kind and supportive (though you'd expect this out of a fandom whose canon depends on the belief that any anger or unkindness, however small, speeds up the heat-death of the universe and plays right into the cosmic antagonist's hands). It is the fandom through which I have made my only non-RL LJ friends!

The point being, I've flirted with other fandoms, but Young Wizards is really my home, and has been for at least the past seven years. I've read all the novels multiple times, I fall asleep listening to the audiobooks on occasion, and characters grew and changed over time and along with me. And this is really the only serious experience of fandom that I have.

Which is why I'm suddenly finding it frustratingly problematic to get my head around writing fic for another fandom. I posted before about how much I loved Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series, and I really think that it could be a brilliant second fandom home. It's the first fandom since Young Wizards where I've said, "This is something I want to be a part of for a while, not just until the obsession wanes." But my experience coming into the series is so totally different from what I had with YW. I read all three books in the trilogy within the past four months, they haven't been a part of my mental landscape for very long at all, and as much as I want to write ALL THE FIC for them, I find myself feeling weirdly blocked by a sense that I'm just not ready yet.

All of this is an incredibly long-winded way of asking: How do you get yourself to the point where you feel comfortable writing in a new fandom? How do you iron out things like characterization and tone and headcanon and backstory? Do you read a lot of other fic for ideas or do you tend to read and re-read the source material? Is there some magical secret that I have yet to encounter?

Part of the problem is that Leviathan is also a small fandom, but since these are YA novels most fandom participants are probably teenagers...not that this is inherently bad, but it does mean that the kind of discussion I would expect from an LJ comm is a bit lacking in the one active comm for the series... Another part of why Young Wizards is awesome is that a lot of current fandom luminaries are people who might have been teens when the first book was released in the eighties, but are now obviously more mature and care about having philosophical conversations about the nature of the world and the characters, etc.

Guys, I just want to write stories where a girl dressed as a boy and the boy she's in love with go around their alternate universe Europe having adventures and being awesome -- is that too much to ask?
readingredhead: (Sketch)
Yes, it is possibly presumptuous that I am starting one of these when I have only been a rabid fan of this series for, oh, two months, but I'm going to pretend that the release of Goliath gives me a valid excuse for making this happen. That said, here be potential spoilers for the entire Leviathan trilogy, so proceed with caution if you haven't read all of these wonderful books. (And if you haven't, GO READ THEM NOW.)

Background: After I finished Goliath, I found my brain swimming with ideas/desires for all kinds of fan tributes - fic, art, mixes, you name it! - and while there is a lot of fic to be found on, and a lot of art to be found on deviantArt, it's hard to search through all of it to find just what you're looking for. And furthermore, what you're looking for might not actually exist. Hence, an exchange-centered fanworks meme! (I'm using "fanworks" as an umbrella term to include fic, fanart, fanmixes, icons/backgrounds, podfic, etc.).

How it works: Make a list of five* fanworks you'd like to see. These list items can be quite specific (ex. "a comic depicting a day in the life of Bovril") or quite general (ex. "Barlow/Volger, enemies with benefits"). Along with this list, make a list of the kinds of fanworks that you are willing to contribute - fic, art, mixes, icons, rec lists, etc. - so that people know what kind of fill they'll receive in return for filling one of your requests. 

Post this list on your LiveJournal, DeviantArt account, Tumblr, whatever - just get it out there to fellow Leviathan fans, with the following disclaimer: "If you fill one of my requests and repost this meme with your own request list, I will fill one of your requests!" Then wait for people to comment and claim/fill your requests. Once someone claims one of yours and reposts, it's your job to claim one of theirs.

*You can always list more than five requests if you are willing to fill more than five requests!

Technical details - what counts as a fill: Unless a request asks for a specific type of fanwork, any request can be filled by any kind of fanwork. Since this meme anticipates fills across a variety of fanwork genres, it's hard to impose a consistent "length requirement," but I'd suggest at least 500 words for fic, at least 5 songs for fanmixes, and maybe a couple of variants if you're posting icons. I am in no way a visual artist so I have no idea how to set up any kind of requirement for this, but the bottom line is, use your best judgment and remember that what goes around comes around: if you write a longer fic, or make a massive mix, or spend forever on the perfect illustration, then it's likely that the person you're giving it to will be compelled to fill your request with a similar benevolence. And it's totally fine to provide a mixed fill - for example, a 200-word drabble with a sketch, or a fic/sketch with a playlist of mood music, etc. 

Finally, since this is a quickly-growing fandom and it's hard to sort through all of it looking for that one fic/artwork that you've been desiring, participants can allow people to post rec lists in lieu of unique fills. What this means is, for example, that if I did request "Barlow/Volger, enemies with benefits," and you already know a couple of fics or artworks or mixes or whatever that are awesome and would fulfill this request, you can post that list of recommended fanworks instead of writing me a fic/drawing me a picture/etc. Though you could obviously rec things and create things of your own to count towards a single fill! (If you're more widely read in this fandom than I am, or you'd rather generate new fanworks than see older ones that may be non-canonical post-Goliath, you can leave this bit out when you repost.) 

And now without further ado I give you my request list!

1. Barlow/Volger, enemies with benefits

2. younger!Barlow, it isn't easy being the only lady in a man's world

3. Deryn/Alek, being young and madly in love isn't as easy as it looks

4. Deryn/Alek, firsts

5. Crossover/fusion with Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, in which wizards end up in the Leviathan-verse

I'm not widely read in the fandom and I have no visual artistic talent whatsoever, but I write (a lot) and put together mini-fanmixes every now and then, so expect my fills to be 99% fic.

Now, go forth and prompt and fill and rec and spread Leviathan-y goodness throughout the internet!
readingredhead: (Reading)
Prepare reading material: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel in paperback (200 pages in, I have just met Jonathan Strange) and Gail Carriger's Changeless on my iPad, courtesy of New York Public Library's ebook rental system.

Download incredibly relevant fanfiction to iPad: two long-ish Young Wizards fics, one in which our favorite wizards deal with an earthquake, another in which they tackle a hurricane. (For the curious, the hurricane story is also a Regency AU and thus required reading.)

Download "A Good Man Goes to War." Watch in preparation for "Let's Kill Hitler." Cross fingers that power will be up and running long enough to download "Let's Kill Hitler" once it's aired. Consider livestreaming.

Put finishing touches to reading nook, which did not exist this time yesterday but now consists of rug, lamp, comfy chair, and pillow. Place flashlight, candles, and lighter nearby, just in case.

Turn AC on lower than usual so that in case of power outage my death from excessive heat and humidity will be postponed. Close all windows.

Fill most cup-like things with water. Refrain from filling up bathtub in hopes of being allowed one last shower before water is in danger of being shut off. But fill mixing bowls just in case.

Go out and spend $20 on a seriously massive brunch, as it may be the last delicious food to be had in a while. (For those interested, it included challah bread french toast with citrus butter, bacon, and homefries.) Take home half of it because it was too big to eat in one sitting, even while reading leisurely.

Look forward to the possibility of cooking with gas stove during a blackout. Be content to have saved some of the dessert crepe batter that was prepared last night. Nothing says "safe and sound" like sugar crepes in a blackout...especially if chocolate and peanut butter are also involved. Which they very well could be.

Charge extra computer battery. Charge phone and iPad. Calculate how much online time can be achieved without power between these three devices, provided the phone lines aren't down. Determine that 20 hours between laptop & iPad should be more than enough for stormbound entertainment, not to mention the 600 pages of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel which have yet to be read.

Call parents and grandmother. Assure them that yes, I will live, no, I won't go outside, and yes, I will call them whenever possible, but no, they should not worry if I don't, because New Yorkers are silly and crashed the phone lines over the (totally minor) earthquake last week, so this hurricane might take them down for a while.

Keep calm and carry on.

(This might be the point to say, I am seriously not fazed by this, and though I would possibly prefer not to be spending the next two days alone, I don't actually know anyone in this city who I would particularly want to spend them with, and do not mind a chance to catch up on my reading.)
readingredhead: (Adventure)

I'm sitting in an airport Starbucks, looking like a hipster with my coffee and my iPad and my plaid flannel shirt, and pondering the fact that in a couple of hours I'll be getting on a plane and I'll wake up in New York City.

The summer went by fast, except for the parts that went by slow. I did a lot with my time -- almost as much as I hoped, perhaps more than I expected. I wrote and rewrote more of my novel-in-progress, The Printer's Daughter. I discovered exactly how exhausting it is to work something like full time on a novel project, especially in the revision stage, and a lot of the work I did was reworking and making note of the things I need to add or change, but in the end I know this is all valuable information, and I am dedicated to the process...I just know that it may take a while, and I accept that. It surprises me that my not-entirely-conscious realization that pursuing a career as a professor is more important to me than pursuing a career as a writer has actually made me more keen on (eventually) getting this novel written.

In addition to working on original fiction, I somehow got a weird fanfiction boost and wrote more fic over the past summer than I think I have in the past few years. I also made a semi-conscious decision not to be ashamed about fandom. I'm not even one of the crazier elements of it, and it seems silly to be ashamed of something that makes me happy. I've never been deeply enough involved in fandom for it to frustrate or anger me; I've never been caught up in fandom wank. It probably helps that my main fandom generally believes that being angry with people speeds up the heat death of the universe! (Young Wizards fandom, I love you, never change.)

I didn't read all the books on my list -- I didn't even read a significant portion of them -- but I did read a lot, and a lot of what I read was good. I especially loved stuff by Holly Black and Scott Westerfeld, suggesting that a) Twilight notwithstanding, YA is far from dead and b) I should probably read it more least, the bits of it that Rebecca recommends!

Surprisingly (for me at least), I really got into yoga. My younger sister had taken a few classes and encouraged me to go with her, and I while it certainly isn't a replacement for other more intense forms of exercise, I really appreciate the way it focuses on linking your mind and your movements, so that you're more thoughtful about your workout. Even doing relatively intense yoga leaves me feeling refreshed and relaxed when I'm done, and i think some of the things I learned on the mat have an important place in the rest of my life. Yoga is about letting go of whatever isn't serving you, about honoring your body and its limitations. It's about coming from where you are, instead of where you wish you were or where you think you ought to be. When I get to New York, finding a place to do yoga is high on my list of things to do -- right after I get my New York Public Library card!

I set out with the intention of feeling an academic detox this summer, and it worked. I've done a lot of being lazy and I'm ready for what's next.

I oscillate between being overcome with the amount of work I know I have to do in the next weeks -- move into apartment, buy supplies, sign lease, etc. -- and being delighted by the idea of finally taking that next step in my career/life plan. For a girl who still believes that the world is so big and she is so small, I'm surprisingly ready to have a place to call "home" for the next six years. I don't know if anywhere other than New York would make me feel this way. I only hope that I'm right about the city that so many people dream about...especially since, until about March, it wasn't a place that I specifically dreamed about. But I feel, right now, like these hopes will be met and exceeded. I feel like I'm going somewhere new, but also somewhere that will one day be home.

So, while I'd rather be traveling by TARDIS, I suppose I'll make do with a plane, as long as it gets me there.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

readingredhead: (Grin)
When I've responded to all of the prompts I've been given in the (fan)fiction drabble meme I posted, I'll put up a post with links to all of my responses, but for now I just wanted to tell you all that you should read the lovely and thoughtful Doctor/River fic that [ profile] alexandria_skye wrote for me in response to the same meme!

(Also, the obligatory parenthetical about how I leave for New York in three days and oh my god oh my god oh my god. More angsting to follow.)
readingredhead: (Grin)
The first five people to comment in this post get to request that I write a drabble/ficlet of any pairing/character of their choosing. In return, they have to post this in their journal, regardless of their ability level.

Because, hey, I probably won't have much time to be fannish once I move in a week, and I might as well have some fun in the meantime!

For the curious, fandoms I will write include: Beauty and the Beast, Curseworkers (Black), Doctor Who (2005), Dresden Files (Butcher), Harry Potter (Rowling), Jane Eyre (Bronte), Northanger Abbey (Austen), Persuasion (Austen), Pride and Prejudice (Austen), Torchwood, Young Wizards (Duane).

Bolded fandoms are ones I'm most comfortable/fluent in, italicized are ones I've written before, but I will write anything on the list! Also, crossovers and AUs are most certainly on the table!

Or, if you're feeling inventive, give me a short prompt of any kind and I will write original fiction (!) about it. I'm comfortable writing anything contemporary, urban fantasy, paranormal/supernatural fiction, historical fiction/fantasy, and science fiction as long as my science doesn't have to be incredibly scientific.

So guys, even if you do not think of yourselves as writers, please go forth and prompt and I will prompt you in return and everything will be lovely and nothing will hurt.

ETA: Still two more slots left for people to prompt me if interested! You don't even really have to repost to your journal, if you don't want to, though of course it would be an added bonus.
readingredhead: (London)
At some point in the next few days, I'll have a post up about what it means that the last Harry Potter movie is out, and that I don't have another good excuse to wear a cloak and a Gryffindor scarf, and why the books are so much more than just books. It will also involve lots of links to other things I've been writing about Harry Potter and other wizards who are not Harry Potter but actually better, and something about how weird it is to feel grown-up enough to have my own credit card without my parents having to co-sign.

For now I will just say, does anyone have recs for fic taking place at Hogwarts during Deathly Hallows? I was always said that we never got to see Neville and Ginny and McGonnagal kicking ass and keeping the castle safe during the school year, and seeing the movie has just reinforced this sadness. Also, would love to see any Neville- or McGonnagal-centric stuff, long or short, during or after the series. FLIST I AM COUNTING ON YOU.

Eventually there will also be some thoughts about what I use this journal for, and why I'm seriously considering making it friends-only despite the fear that this might make me even less of a presence in fandom than I already am (though, let's be honest, Young Wizards is pretty much my only fandom, and most of my really fandom-y stuff on LJ takes place on [ profile] youngwizards or [ profile] myriadwords or -- more recently -- the YW fic comm I'm somehow quite happily co-modding, [ profile] dai_stiho).

But right now, I really just want to get back to enjoying my summer afternoon, reading Red Glove and admiring how Holly Black refuses to pull her punches, and just keeps hitting her characters with blow after plot-propelling blow.

(Also, if anyone realized that the title of this post is actually a Young Wizards reference, please let me know so I can profess my undying love/propose marriage/bake you a cake.)
readingredhead: (Muse)
I was realizing I very rarely share my original fiction with people via this journal anymore, but I really like this particular little story and feel like it's self-contained and not horrendously written...and also it wouldn't fit in a comment, so I had to link to it from somewhere. :)

Title: Untitled at the moment, because I can't come up with anything that isn't HORRENDOUS.
Rating: G
Summary: Beauty hasn't been entirely open about her life before she came to live in the castle. Post-Beauty and the Beast (sort of the traditional version, closer to Robin McKinley's Beauty than the Disney movie)
Notes: Written for [ profile] daria234 over at [ profile] comment_fic for the prompt, "before she became a fairy tale princess, she was a legendary warrior (that part got written out)"

After the transformation, but before the wedding, they talk. )
readingredhead: (Professor)
After a good deal of thinking, and the combination of just the right encouragement and motivation, I've decided to set up a separate blog where I can write in a moderately professional, moderately serious matter about the (often irreverent or "non-literary") topics that I find interesting as a student of English literature.

So, if you're as interested as I am in the intersection of classroom literature and popular literature, follow me over at Austen and Aliens. The blog's inaugural post -- about what I learned about Jane Eyre by reading a modern science-fiction adaptation of Bronte's famous novel -- is probably a decent indicator of the tone and subject matter I plan to take up in the following posts. I'm already making long lists of future topics to tackle (answering questions such as "What do Austen's Persuasion and Beyonce's 'Single Ladies' have in common?" and "Why is it academically acceptable for me to read 18th-century pornographic literature in the classroom, but not modern romance novels outside of the classroom?") and will likely use it as a fertile outlet for intelligent discussion and wild procrastination as I pursue the course of my thesis in following months.

Ultimately, though, I expect it'll help me develop a confident and conversational though still professional and analytical voice in which to discuss literature -- and who knows, maybe it'll actually help me win those arguments about the significance of genre fiction that I've been having with my father for all these years.
readingredhead: (In the Book)
So my sister is coming to visit (yay yay yay!) in almost exactly two weeks and it is going to be absolutely the most epic and awesome week of our collective young lives. There will be theatre. There will be walks in parks. There will probably be bad weather for at least four days but that's a small price to pay for living in London. There will be lots of walking, lots of use of public transportation, lots of hanging out with large groups of friendly people, and of course, there will be dancing.

However, this means that my goal is to have finished with ALL schoolwork for the remainder of March before she arrives, seeing as how I do not intend to do anything while she is here other than gallivant around London (and perhaps even further afield -- I love you, National Rail) being awesome.

Of course, this also means that the only things I actually want to do are:

1) Watch Doctor Who. How have I been obsessed with most things British and lived in London for upwards of five months without seeing this show? I have heard so much about it that even without having watched it I was capable of picking up on references and jokes made by British people about the show. This is how culturally pervasive it is. (Also, how did I not go out and watch it immediately after I discovered that the strange man who saves Dairine in the Crossings during High Wizardry is actually meant to be the Doctor? Srsly, self, keep up!)

2) Return to Epic Novel of my Past. After getting back from reading week trip I had this sudden urge to reacquaint myself with the epic fantasy trilogy that I started writing way back when I was in fifth grade and haven't actively worked on since ninth grade. I looked back at it and liked a lot of what I saw and had about a week-long burst of energy in which I realized that I need more of Azuria in my life.

3) Write my first legitimately crossover fanfic? Oh dear god yes. I place blame upon a discussion over at [ profile] myriadwords about crossovers, and more specifically upon [ profile] araine and [ profile] odette_river for having linked me to fic that is, I kid you not, Artemis Fowl/Young Wizards. More specifically said fics involve shipping of two characters who are so obviously well matched that I am being drawn into severe violations of canon, something which I usually abhor in fic and ficcing. (Let's not even talk about the part where I rarely write fic anymore and never write anything over 1000 words or that takes more than one sitting to complete. Because apparently now I do?)

I think we'll just say that my next two weeks are going to be...quite interesting...and leave it at that.

WIP Meme

Feb. 26th, 2010 04:33 pm
readingredhead: (Library)
Post a sentence (or two) from as many of your WIPs as you want, with no explanation attached. Meme from [ profile] araine. Perhaps as expected, very few of these are actually one sentence.


“How did you two deal with going off to college?” Nita asked.

Tom and Carl shared a look that was one part nostalgia and one part “I told you this question was going to come up and that when it did, I didn’t want to be the one to answer it.”


“So let me get this straight,” he said. “You,” he pointed a finger at her, “want me,” he poked a finger into his own chest, “to help you learn how to act like a man. You want me to give you lessons in being a man, and then you want me to lend you a few sets of clothes and keep the secret that this mysterious man who’s just become engaged to your best friend is, in fact, you--dressed as a man, of course.”

Gil nodded. “Yeah. That pretty much explains it.” She paused for a second, then added, “And the sooner the better. We’d like to announce our engagement next week.”


Much has been said on the subject of universal truths, to the extent that a modern author, upon attempting to annex another aphorism to this collection, must be circumspect to say the least; but to the compendium of factual evidence thus sanctioned, I find it profitable to append one truth more: that is, that a man who does not know what it is like to be laughed at, cannot possibly have a wife, or cannot have had one for long.


For a moment, it’s all that Carl can do to look at Tom, wide-eyed and wondering which Power to thank. For safety’s sake, he decides to thank all of them. “You’re sure?” he asks breathlessly, in a voice so faint he can barely hear it.

“Carl,” Tom says, and there’s something new in his voice: impatience, and need. “Do you really think I’d have bothered with asking if I wasn’t?” He reaches up a hand to Carl’s face and traces the curve of his jaw with tentative fingers, his eyes never leaving Carl’s, not for a second.


It’s twilight when I open my eyes and find myself in the cemetery.


Everyone knew the witch’s house by its roses.


“Beautiful,” she heard him say, barely above a whisper. “Don’t you think?”

“Dangerous,” she returned.

“The fire warms as well as burns, you know.”

“It’s all a function of how close one gets,” she replied. “The closer you are, the greater the danger.”

“But the greater the warmth.”

“I don’t think I’m cold enough yet that I’d be willing to endure the pain of the burn for those few moments’ heat.”

Suddenly, he was looking right at her, his eyes cool and piercing. “Are you sure?”


Gah, going back through and looking for these quotes makes me really want to write the stories they belong to! Aaaaand now I have to stop procrastinating and actually get some work done. Less fun, but more productive than the alternative!
readingredhead: (Default)
Day one • a song
Day two • a picture
Day three • a book
Day four • a site
Day five • a youtube clip
Day six • a quote
Day seven • whatever tickles your fancy

Conveniently, I have come across another meme that allows me to sort of answer this one by providing a whole lot of stuff about books!

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Not having my bookshelf in front of me at this moment (it being in another country and all) it's hard to say, but probably Anne McCaffrey, simply because she is so prolific. I own all of her Dragonriders of Pern books (multiple copies of some of them) plus assorted others. She takes up a jam-packed half-shelf.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
This is probably a toss-up between Jane Eyre and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. For Jane Eyre, I have the first copy I read (a falling-apart-at-the-seams $0.25 library bookstore purchase), the first critical copy I bought (because I really liked the introduction), two copies of the one with the killer engravings (yes, two, they were only $1 a piece), and the copy that I bought in London this semester to read for my Fiction and Narrative class. As for Sorcerer's Stone, I possess it in paperback, hardback, UK paperback, special edition (leather-bound and gold-edged pages), and the Latin translation. But I am the kind of person who thinks it's awesome to have multiple copies of the same book, particularly if they possess different cover art or have some interesting distinguishing feature, so there may well be some other book that I possess five copies of.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Considering I just ended my last response with a preposition, I'm going to say no.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
I can't give one answer. Remus Lupin is mostly an intellectual crush. I love Mr. Darcy but more because I identify strongly with Elizabeth. Same goes for Mr. Rochester -- I like him because I am so attuned to Jane. I feel guilty loving fictional characters who are already (fictionally) attached! Also, of course, I love Nik from Julie E. Czerneda's Species Imperative trilogy and Enris from the Stratification trilogy.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
I feel like it's probably one of the Harry Potter books or a Young Wizards book, simply because those books were my favorites long before I read any of the other books that are currently my favorites. I feel like I've read Jane Eyre a million times but the truth is that I've just listened to my audiobook a million times; I've only read it cover-to-cover maybe three or four times.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Probably Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban -- I know I read it before I turned eleven because once I turned eleven I kept waiting for my owl from Hogwarts to come...

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
Breaking Dawn. Enough said.

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Usually the answer to this would be a Julie E. Czerneda book, hands down, but Rift in the Sky was such a traumatic experience that I'm not sure I can say I liked it that much. I probably don't have a 'best' list, but I really came to like Neil Gaiman (mostly for The Graveyard Book and Neverwhere), George R. R. Martin redefined 'epic' for me with A Game of Thrones, and most recently Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca sent chills all up and down my spine.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane. Her books have changed my life and I can't imagine not having them in the world.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?
J. K. Rowling. Her books have done more to unite the world under a banner of peace, love, and understanding than any author now alive.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Probably Diane Duane's Young Wizards books. There was actually a project to do this a while back, and Duane herself was going to write the script (before becoming a fiction writer she wrote for film and television).

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Paradise Lost. Despite the fact that at one point last year there were two projects (one studio, one independent) attempting this. I don't know why.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I was talking with Julie E. Czerneda and she got mad at me for not having made Rebecca read her books. Another time Diane Duane told me that I was being cocky because she overheard me tell my dad that I really wanted to be published by a particular sff imprint.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
The more expensive variety of paperback romance...actually, the Twilight books are probably worse. And I read fanfic, so do with that what you like.

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
Absalom, Absalom! by Faulkner is the first that comes to mind because it's difficult to get the story, much less something of the deeper meaning. But Paradise Lost might be the book where I've had to do the most digging for insight and meaning -- and where it has been most worthwhile.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
Probably Love's Labours Lost -- I have read more obscure Shakespeare plays than I have seen.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Oh man, my favorite revolutionaries. It's hard to pick (the Russians have Chekov!) but in the end I have to go with the French. As long as you understand that they're rarely meant to make sense, you'll be alright.

18) Roth or Updike?
No idea who these people are.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Managed to never read either of them.

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Milton, hands down. See the part where that man consumed last semester at Berkeley (in a rather painfully joyous way).

21) Austen or Eliot?
Um, since when is that a question? Austen. Definitely.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
I have never read anything written before Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. For non-English majors this is not at all a gap, but for me it means I haven't read Homer, Virgil, or Dante, only some of the most alluded-to authors that I've never encountered.

23) What is your favorite novel?
The Wizard's Dilemma by Diane Duane

24) Play?
Twelfth Night by Shakespeare, The Last Five Years (score by Jason Robert Brown), Metamorphosis (not by Ovid!)

25) Poem?
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds" by Shakespeare; "When I consider how my light is spent" by Milton

26) Essay?
"Trickster in a Suit of Lights: Thoughts on the Modern Short Story" by Michael Chabon

27) Short story?
I don't really like short fiction -- either reading it or writing it. "Skin So Green and Fine" is an odd Beauty and the Beast retelling that makes the cut; "Attached Please Find my Novel" is a tale of intergalactic publishing escapades that's in it for the title alone.

28) Work of non-fiction?
Erm. I don't read those?

29) Graphic novel?
See above. Although I recently read Maus and thought it was fantastic.

30) Who is your favorite writer?
Aargh hatred for this question. But it's down to Diane Duane, Julie E. Czerneda, and J. K. Rowling.

31) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
I wouldn't know, I haven't read him!

32) What is your desert island book?
Tough question, but probably A Thousand Words for Stranger or The Wizard's Dilemma. Both are narratives of hope and connection in the midst of a chaotic world. But Paradise Lost might make the list because I could use all that time I was stranded to get all my Milton ideas out of my system and onto some paper.

33) And ... what are you reading right now?
A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
readingredhead: (Stranger)
Stolen from Katherine. List your guilty pleasures!

- Pasta. No matter that it's really just carbohydrates, which turn into sugar, which turn into fat -- set me down in front of a bowl of pretty much any kind of noodle slathered in some variation of tomato sauce and I'm happy. My favorite pasta dish is spaghetti and grilled chicken in a tomato-garlic sauce made by my daddy, though I'm also a big fan of tortellini and ravioli.

- Romance novels. Okay, so sue me, I'm a girl and I like to make squeeing sounds when the right characters finally end up together, even though I knew from page one that they would. This category also includes novels that are not marketed as romance but contain more than a sliver of romance in them.

- The TV show True Blood. I've only watched half of the first season and I think I'm hooked. I tell myself that I'm watching it the way you watch a car crash, but that's not true. Oh HBO, you and your vampire porn...

- The X-Files. The best worst TV show EVER. Mostly I watch it for Mulder and Scully's fantastic interactions and romantic tension.

- The Internet. What would I do without wireless?

- Fanfiction. Enough said.

- Julie E. Czerneda. Although some of her stuff falls under the "romance novel" category, she's good enough (and at times guilty enough) to get a category of her own. I suppose most of the guilt comes from the fact that I obsess over her writing a lot more than everyone else I know. I am perfectly capable of recognizing flaws in her works -- at times large ones! -- but somehow this does not affect my love for them in the least.

- Sexual innuendo. Anything from Shakespeare to "that's what she said" is endlessly entertaining if I'm in the right mood for it. (Yes, I am still a teenager on the inside.)

- Dressing up pretty. Yes, I am a girl.

- Boots and overcoats. I have more of these than I need -- and often the ones I buy are rather expensive -- but I use them so lovingly that it (almost) makes up for how much I spend. Maybe?

- Joss Whedon shows. Mostly Buffy, Firefly, and Dr. Horrible (I haven't seen enough of Angel or Dollhouse). Sometimes they're so bad (especially early episodes of Buffy) and then they turn around and give you a big life lesson wrapped up in an entertaining (and occasionally musical!) format.

- Milton's Paradise Lost. Can I tell you why I love Milton? I'm not sure I have a clue. Do I like to admit to it in the company of normal human beings? Not so much. Does this make my love any less real? Of course not.

- "Love Story" by Taylor Swift. How can I allow myself to like a song that contains the lyrics "This love is difficult, but it's real"? And yet how can I not love it?

- The name "Andromeda." Secretly, I have always wanted to have a daughter named Andromeda. She could go by Andy!
readingredhead: (Default)
--If I were a professor, I think I'd totally check my profile on RateMyProfessors obsessively at first. And possibly throughout my career.

--If I were a famous published writer, I would want to read the fanfiction people were writing using my characters just to see what strange happenings were going on, but I wouldn't want to for fear that I would want to borrow one of the fanfic writers' ideas!

--This Milton class might be turning me into a Miltonist. But I don't know if that's because I actually like Milton enough, or because this one class on Romanticism has been disappointing when compared against the Milton class. And I don't know if it's fair to think about what I want to do with my life in terms of a single professor who blows me away. (But then again, my initial interest in romanticism was caused by just that -- thank you, Professor Goldsmith!)

--I used to be dead on my feet by 11pm at night, incapable of coherent scholarly thought after 8pm, but now my brain doesn't wind down until after midnight, even if my body's too tired to do much about it. I think this might be why I have had an increasing number of scholastic revelations in the middle of the night or as parts of dreams.

--I bought a plane ticket to London. In less than five months, I will be leaving the country!

--The weather today made me feel complete. It was sunny and warm and I got to wear a skirt and sandals. It's time to bring out the summer clothing, and I am so ready for it.

--My summer schedule is awkward. I technically have a longer-than-usual summer because I don't leave for London until September 17th, but I'm spending most of July on a family vacation so although I will be home for June, portions of July, August, and portions of September, I probably won't be able to get a job. Grar.

--Script Frenzy is just not as easy as NaNoWriMo. You'd think that, if I could write an 80,000-word novel in a month, I could write what amounts to a 20,000-word screenplay. Well, I can -- it's just a lot harder than it sounds.

--I should stop this and go to sleep.
readingredhead: (Rain)
Because I should have been writing, but I wasn't.

What's the last thing you wrote?
...It's probably bad that I don't remember. I'm pretty sure that it was from The Printer's Daughter, my as-of-yet unfinished 2007 NaNovel.

Was it any good?
The fact that I can't remember it probably means that it wasn't. I've been planning two random stories that popped into my head, but I haven't really been writing on them (because I'm saving them up so I have options for NaNoWriMo 2008).

What's the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
When I was four, I wrote a story about the cat who lived next door. His name was Frasier. It was illustrated and took up an entire front side of a piece of lined paper (each letter took up three lines, and there was a space between lines--the whole thing was possibly five sentences long). I spelled the cat's name "Frasher" because that made sense at the time. I still have this piece of paper, tucked away somewhere.

But if this question is more like, "what's the first thing you ever wrote that belonged to the time period when you were serious about being a writer?" then I'd have to admit to having several horrible first drafts of the first book of what was (and still is) intended as a fantasy trilogy, set alternately on Earth and on an earthlike planet called Azuria. These date from the beginning of seventh grade. In fact, I still have the handwritten first copies of those, too (in pencil, from my seventh grade writing portfolio). It was the first time I tried to write something that required worldbuilding and complex characters and was intended (eventually) for publication.

Write poetry?
Most definitely. Not as much as I write prose, and probably not as well. My goal with writing poetry is different from my goal with writing prose. Poetry is always much more personal, less about telling a story and more about capturing a specific feeling or atmosphere. My poetry doesn't usually have conflict or characters; it's more about ideas.

Angsty poetry?
Oh yes. Actually, not until recently (because, until recently, I had very little to angst about). Wait, I take that back--somewhere there exists an angsty poem I wrote in eighth grade about the boy I had a crush on then, in which I lamented that he never noticed me as more than a friend.

Most fun character you ever wrote?
Ooh, this is hard. Because it's a very different from asking who my favorite characters I've written are. I can't think of characters that are particularly "fun" to write, although I like Rhinn from my planned trilogy of fantasy novels a lot. Also, Mr. Robinson, a government agent in a sci-fi short story I wrote, is lots of fun because he's fantastically spy-like and knows everything. Also also, Ferdinand (aka Andy) from "The Free Way," because he starts out being so isolated and proper and ends up ruining an expensive Armani suit by frolicking through the garden in the pouring rain.

This is different from "fun," but a character I'm always really thrilled to write is Aleska from a short story called "Fire and Ice," because her view on everything is so unique and she's at such a crossroads in her life, and I love being inside her head as her world shatters and she pulls together the strength to rebuild it (does that sound a little sadistic?). When I wrote her story, everything just seemed so inevitable about it, like the ending was pulling me forward from the moment I started.

Most annoying character you ever wrote?
Charles Macaulay from "Predators and Editors" (even though I don't like the story much at all). My main character's little sister (I think her name's Megan) in the planned fantasy trilogy. Not sure I can think of others specifically.

Best plot you ever wrote?
It's hard for me to like the plots of my novels-in-progress, because they're not done yet. Also, for instance, I really like the plot for The Printer's Daughter, but seeing as how it's a mix between "Beauty and the Beast" and Jane Eyre, I don't feel quite like it's my plot.

I like a lot of my short story plots, but specifically "Fire and Ice" and "The Free Way."

Coolest plot twist you ever wrote?
ZOMG the mysterious master of the manor house is actually a werewolf!

How often do you get writer's block?
Not sure I believe in writer's block, just writer's laziness. But I get that all the time.

How do you fix it?

Do you type or write by hand?
Both. Usually, I plan by hand and write early drafts by hand (occasionally), but most of my final stuff and all of my editing is done on computer.

Do you save everything you write?
Yes, to the extent where my mother has given up asking me to get rid of old notes scribbled on the back of whatever was at hand and just asks me to organize them.

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?
Very big yes. I'm still planning to someday write the fantasy trilogy that I began to plan out in fifth grade. Granted, I guess I've never abandoned it, but it's been on sabbatical for a long time. I have worked on it occasionally, in bouts of seriousness, but never gotten more than 40,000 words into the first book of the trilogy, with really minimal planning for what happens next. I do have a whole lot of worldbuilding for this place, though, and that more than anything tells me that I'll be coming back. I know too much about how things work on Azuria to abandon it. Also, Holly and Jasen, my main characters, were the first characters I really invested with my whole heart. I can't leave their story untold.

What's your favorite thing that you've written?
Favorite completed thing? "Fire and Ice," no question. Favorite incomplete thing? I have no idea. Since I've been working most seriously with The Printer's Daughter recently, it's close to the top of the list, at least for specific portions which I absolutely adore.

What's everyone else's favorite thing that you've written?
Depends on who you mean by "everyone else." Most people who've read "Fire and Ice" like it, but my dad likes the stories I've written for workshops at Berkeley best, since they're realistic. I don't actually think that "Flour Girl" or "Dead White Women" are all that bad--I surprised myself in writing them and liking them, and I suppose that other people probably like them too.

Do you ever show people your work?
Yes. Frankly, I wish that I had more readers to help me work on things!

Who's your favorite constructive critic?
Depends on the day. Sometimes, it's my dad, because he's not afraid to be honest with me and he holds me to very high standards. But at the same time, sometimes his criticism boils down to "Why did you insert a werewolf into what would have otherwise been a perfectly good real-life story?" and on those days I have to stay away from him, because it hurts still to know that that's what he thinks. The only other person who regularly reads and critiques my work is Rebecca, and she is also very good at keeping me honest. She laughs me out of bad ideas and talks me through the good ones.

Did you ever write a novel?
I don't think I can answer "yes" to this, because while I have begun no fewer than four separate novels, I have yet to complete a single one. I don't think I get to answer "yes" until I have a complete first draft. But I suppose it's not lying to answer "almost."

Have you ever written fantasy, sci-fi, or horror?
Yes, much to my father's shame and my delight.

Ever written romance or teen angsty drama?
The first real original fiction romance that I've written in an prolonged form is The Printer's Daughter, though most of my stories end up having romantic pairings that will work themselves out in the future, even if not during the timeline of the story.

However, long before this I was writing romance fanfiction, because while I am not an insane shipper, I am a shipper nonetheless, and one of the major draws of fanfiction is the ability to construct an alternate or extended saga in which the romance works out the way it's obviously supposed to.

What's one genre you have never written, and probably never will?
Horror. I don't think I'm good enough to write a really smart thriller, and horror seems like a cheaper version of that genre (thriller but without the smarts) and I don't want to write that.

How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Three is probably a safe number. The Printer's Daughter is the big one, but there's also two ideas kicking around in my head and jostling for the spot as my 2008 NaNovel. One's about a normal highschooler who finds out that her best friend's a wizard, and the other is an anti-Twilight manifesto presenting itself as a cross between Rent and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Do you want to write for a living?

Have you ever written something for a magazine or newspaper?
Erm...not really.

Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Probably? Nothing big enough that I remember.

Ever written something in script or play format?
Yes, for Script Frenzy.

What is your favorite word?
Eloquent, juxtaposition, coalesce

Do you ever write based on yourself?
Yes. I think all of my characters are facets of myself, or mirror images of me--but somehow or other, they start with a part of me, whether it's one that I am in tune with or one that I'm trying to run away from.

Which of your characters most resembles you?
Well, Holly and Jasen were written as splinters of my personality, very deliberately--Holly comes very close to self-insertion. But after her, Noelle is very close.

Where do you get ideas for your characters?
People I know. People I am, or could be, or desperately don't want to be, or wish I was. Anyone I feel some strong emotion for, be it pity or desire or camaraderie or pain.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?

Do you prefer happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers?
I'd rather read a happy ending, or at least a fulfilling one, as long as it fits with the tone of the work. If the happy ending still comes as a result of great sacrifice and pain, I'm okay with it. It's happy endings no one has to work for that piss me off. Same goes for tragic endings that just seem to happen for no particular reason or with no significance. I mostly write happy endings, or at least uplifting ones, but I really admire people who can write sad stories that I keep reading.

Have you ever written anything based on an artwork you've seen?
No, but I have written things based off of music I've listened to.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Nope. Even in the editing, I'm rather loose with grammar. I think it should be a reflection of the way a thing is being said or thought or intended, and we rarely think in proper grammar.

Ever write something entirely in chatspeak?

Does music help you write?
No, not really. It usually just distracts me. I only use wordless music when writing, and then only as a way of drowning out something even more distracting (such as people talking loudly).

Are people surprised and confused when they find out you write well?
I like how this question presupposes that people will find out that I write well. I don't think I've surprised anyone with my fiction yet, or if I have, they haven't told me about it. But I have had a string of teachers and professors rather gratifyingly surprised by the quality of my essays.

Quote something you've written.
I don't have access to very much on this computer, but here's a few lines from a freewrite that I am in love with. "He" is Jasen and "she" is Holly (from the long-planned fantasy trilogy):

After the end, they go on. He's still the best friend she's ever had, maybe the only one, and she wouldn't trade that for anything in the world. She knows it in her heart and in her soul. People around her talk about what they'd do for their friends, and she knows she'd do it all and more--she knows that she has done it. She's given her life for him, and though it hasn't been taken, that's only a matter of luck, a simple miracle.

Everyone says it's more than friendship. She brushes that aside as best she can. "What's more than friendship?" she asks the doubters. "What's purer, truer, longer?" Frienship is safe because everything else ends.

Her heart has two settings--"don't care" and "forever"--and it's obvious which one is his. But how she gives it to him is her choice, and so she decides anew every morning, every afternoon, and every night that they're forever friends, and nothing else. There is nothing else that they need.
readingredhead: (Stars)
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The earliest recurring dream I remember is from when I was pretty young -- maybe starting as early as first grade. In it, I followed a cat through a city that looked like it belonged in Spain or on the Mediterranean somewhere, all whitewashed stonework and mosaics and warm red tiles. Anyway, I followed the cat into a house, because the door was left open, and up some flights of stairs onto a balcony, where I arrived just in time to see the cat jump off the edge. Turning around, I was faced by an angry old lady, who yelled, "What did you do to my cat?!" before shoving me off the balcony. I fell until I woke up.

I also had another recurring dream in which my elementary school had been turned into a military base for some kind of illegal operation, and it was up to me and some of my childhood friends to infiltrate the base and take it out.

Rebecca knows that I have far too many interesting and generally vivid dreams...although hers are pretty good too (and may be resonsible for infecting mine with great quantities of Buffy).

In other news, I have been doing nothing. Almost literally. I've been reading a lot, but I'm realizing that what I'm reading is either a) intended for people much younger than I am (actually or just maturity-wise), b) some form of trashy romance, c) fanfiction, or d) a combination of all of the above. There's a list of books on my door that I should really be reading -- books by authors like Dostoevsky and Bronte (all three of them) and Austen and Chabon and LeGuin and Shelley -- and instead I'm reading paperback romances.

Oh well. It could be worse -- I could be reading literary fiction. *shudders*

readingredhead: (Default)
Lauren has already posted about this here, but I figured I'd add my encouragement to anyone interested in participating.

The livejournal community [ profile] livelongnmarry is doing something pretty extraordinary -- they're holding an auction to raise money to support marriage equality. Users can advertise goods and services they're willing to sell, and the winning bidder doesn't get what they've bought until they can show the seller proof that they've donated the purchase price to one of a number of organizations working to defeat the CA ballot initiative that would define marriage in the state of California as a union between a man and a woman. Some people are selling art, fanfiction, original fiction, care packages, photography, baked goods, arts 'n' crafts stuff, you get the picture.

As of the moment, I'm selling some oneshot fanfics and a novel.

A serial novel, to be precise, to be delivered one chapter at a time over the course of a year, with plot and characters built to your specifications.

I really, really hope someone buys it, because I can't think of a more awesome reason to write a novel.

EDIT: Well, no one's bid on the novel yet, but I just raised $10 through the sale of a fanfiction oneshot! I'm planning to sell off up to ten of those...I figure that's something I can reasonably expect myself to manage, even if (hopefully when) the novel gets bought.


readingredhead: (Default)

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