elanid: (Default)
I will write a story that doesn't have a war in it, preceeding it, or following!

No, seriously.

So tell me about some plotlines that don't have wars in them!

ETA: Here's a much more entertaining way to do this: please dare me to put something or somethings into my next story that I don't usually write!  For those of you familiar with my work, this is like the easiest job ever; for those of you less so...anything that seems extraneous to the genre "depressing secondary-world fantasy with very serious characters haunted by the ghosts of their pasts and a lot of overly purple description" is probably right on.  (I feel like this would be a fun meme.  Please someone make it so, so that I am not the only one suffering!)
elanid: (Default)
This one is from [livejournal.com profile] diatryma  and, uh, June.  Soo it is probably about time that I answer it.

1) What is your favorite cnidarian? Why?

To be scrupulously honest, I confess that I had to consult the internet for this one, because my invertebrate zoology is pretty much in the department of fail.  However, I'm going to say the Venus's Flower Basket, which isn't even a cnidarian but is sort of connected by way of wikipedia (and also systematics) because...look, it's really cool!  So there.

2) How would you design an experimental evolution course?

Sample dialogue.

YOURS TRULY: Ben, are you still teaching?
MY PROFESSOR: Of course, are you crazy?
YOURS TRULY: My work here is done!

Which is to say, I honestly can't think of a better way to do it than the way it's done at my university, which is to say, awesomely.

3) Why Chinese?

So many reasons!  Um.  My dad learned it, three of my best friends growing up are Chinese-American and speak at home at least somewhat, I think Chinese history and literature is really fascinating, it's one of the few languages where I can almost guarantee myself the winner of any "my language of study is harder than yours!" contests, it looks pretty, it sounds awesome, I wanted to prove that I could do it, wuxia movies are awesome, it's madly useful, if I weren't painfully self-conscious I could use it at dim sum...

4) What's your favorite poetic form and why?

Whichever one is most useful at the time!  Um, I really suck at 'what's your favorite' kinds of questions, because I have a lot of favorites, and don't know everything, which means that the one I don't know is potentially my favorite.  Uh, I like a lot of different kinds of poetry, actually.  I don't know.  Sorry.

5) What question are you secretly hoping someone will ask?

This question is actually the main reason I didn't answer this one to begin with, because it's an awesome question and I couldn't think of any good answers.  Or - I could think of good answers, but none of them were good enough, ranging from 'But why is everything terrible right now?' to 'Tell me about your current novel project!'  (I'm way past the first one - if you want to ask why everything is awesome right now, I'd be glad to brag at length - but the second one is always fun.)  At the moment, I'm thinking something like, 'What are your feelings on organic chemistry?  Please, be detailed!', or possibly, 'How excited are you for _____?'

Actually, that's kind of a lie, and if somebody wants to ask me questions like 'what do you think the difference between scifi and fantasy is?' or 'what are our social obligations as writers?' or 'would you be willing to talk pointlessly about introverts vs extroverts for a couple pages?', or for that matter, 'how d'you like that science, miss, and is there any difference between research and classes?' I'll probably vomit forth a couple paragraphs of overexcited babbling.  I'm good at that, anyway.

elanid: (Default)
Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] cachinna , because there are many things superior to studying for organic chemistry.  Comment if you'd like some yourself!

1. What is your dream house (or apartment, shack, mansion, castle, or secret lair)?

So this is not actually that hypothetical a question right now, because I'm starting to look for housing next year.  What I'd like from that house is of course rather different from what I want in an ideal world, but I have many ideals of ideal, so let's go with: an attic, hardwood floors and panelling, weird corners, a kitchen with an electric stove, and enormous sunny windows.  Bonus points for a sunroom.

ETA: GAS STOVE!  GAS STOVE!  (wtf, February self?)

2. Bubble solution, bubble gum, or bubble wrap?

Bubble solution is obviously superior.  For one thing, you can use it to see fairies.

3. What's your favorite word?

Like with the first question, I have too many favorites to be particularly specific, but it was a profound moment in my life when I discovered the word 'loquacious.'  Never before had I known that there were words to describe my particular disorder so profoundly!

4. Would you live your life differently if you knew you had a guaranteed century+ of life left?

Definitely!  For one thing, I'd take a lot more time off before grad school.  And invest in land.

5. If you could spend a day with a character from a book, who would it be? What would you spend the day doing?

I think I'd like to go with Megan Whalen Turner's Eugenides, because I am a predictable little thing, although I deeply suspect that he'd be really really annoying if I only got to hang around him for a day and didn't know him particularly well.  I think the difficulty with this question is that most of my particular favorite characters require a little getting used to before they'll be anything but horrible to you, being rather prickly inherently.  Maybe someone from Lloyd Alexander.

Dell Awards

Feb. 5th, 2010 04:22 am
elanid: (Default)
I learned this morning that I had won the Dell Awards, secretly also known as the Longest Name in the Universe Awards, for my (also extremely long) short story "The Dead Star, the Satirist, and the Soldier," which was perhaps the most fabulous way to start the day; I certainly cannot think of many better.

So imagine my delight when I learned that [livejournal.com profile] cachinna , [livejournal.com profile] lady_puck9999 , and [livejournal.com profile] remarknj  had all runnered up or honorable mentioned or both!

Ladies, I shall see you in Florida! -- provided, of course, that I manage to survive the next five weeks of organic chemistry and sleep deprivation with my wits relatively intact.  (It is looking up on that front, as it happens.)  Everything is awesome!
elanid: (Default)
Two really awesome pieces of social commentary.  (The first of these is a video to a fairly NSFW song.)
elanid: (Default)
My darlings, we are once again at that point in time at which I grab random passers-by and shake them until they give me an opinion: what on earth should I be writing next?  I am at a bit of a loss in this regard, mostly because all of my novel thoughts have been drowned by the horrors of writing for the Dell Awards.  (Ladies and gents, I refuse point-blank to do this next year because it is unspeakably painful: this may be down to the fact that I write short stories in a manner that can only be described as 'psychotic,' but I think if I see any of the words dead, soldier, or satirist in the near future I may scream and throw things.)  So roughly speaking, this is what we are looking at:
  1. The Barycent novelthing, which is actually currently a trilogy.  Eurgh.  (dear audience: does anyone know where I might've picked up the terminology 'novelthing'?  Because I can't remember for the life of me.)  Basically, tiny teenage wizards, conspiracy, death and torture and traitors and stuff.  Pro: I have 55,000 words of worldbuilding and actually like all the characters an immense amount, plus with novels I only have to fake-outline them, wheras with short stories I apparently have to ULTIMATE OUTLINE them.  (For reference, my Dell story topped out at I think about 7-8 outlines, but that may be skipping the bits where I took out specific sections and outlined them.)  I didn't used to do outlines, you know!  Con: I'm actually more excited about the second book, which features, um, well, more torture, for one thing (shush), than the first, and I still need a name for my goddamn Secret Rebel Organization thingy.  I hate SROs.  They're really silly.
  2. Short story, "The Winter City & the Butterfly Garden."  I have only a tenuous idea of what this is about, but it features Adilet, reference librarian and kept magician, and Zyta, cat-burglar book-thief with some kind of untrained magical talent, and a giant library.  Pro: Lesbian reference librarians!  A giant library!  Um.  I'm kind of easy, yes.  Con: So far I have come up with plots ranging from The Tombs of Atuan to A Picasso, and libraries ranging from Lirael to Alphabet of Thorn, but not much in the way of EXTREME ORIGINALITY.  Also, the plot I am leaning towards at the moment requires cleverness which I am probably not capable of, a central plot device which I haven't got, and, um, probably outlines.
  3. The winter novela!  Which is to say, hey, I think there was a plan here once, no?
Also ongoing: secret genius plans (
[livejournal.com profile] alpha_crits  centric and very cunning); classes (oh god I teach tomorrow morning); generalised death, hrm.  In the recent past I invaded [livejournal.com profile] cachinna 's house and flagrantly bothered her entire family for several days, which was awesome; the general concentration of Rachels resulted in one of her friends being annointed with the Most Humiliating Nickname of all time, Bumblesmoo, and also, there was pumpkin cheesecake.  And INFINITE ANDES MINTS.  (This has been my lifetime goal since I was about seven, so, erm, hurrah!)  Which is not to mention the inherent fantasticism of Rachel H, who is possibly my favorite of all time; there is a small but significant possibility that I tried to smuggle her into my suitcase last minute but I will never tell.  NEVER!

Oh, and finally, I have sworn a solemn oath to not tell science lies in future, in that it is too easy.  This is proving difficult already.

So how did y'all fare throughout your (hopefully somewhat longer) holidays?

(ETA: The rich text editor seems to be eating random lines; possibly it hates that I am so verbose, or possibly it is just evil incarnate.  Let me know if this looks more incoherent than usual, pray.)
elanid: (steampunk)
So today I mostly expected the highlight to be my finally throwing in the towel and deciding that suicide is an infinitely preferrable fate to organic chemistry exams, but in fact, I was completely wrong - I came home to a very kind email from the lovely Neil Clarke (editor of the equally lovely Clarkesworld) congratulating me for my Black Quill Award nomination.

"Dear computer," I said, possibly aloud (THERE ARE NO WITNESSES SO YOU WILL NEVER KNOW), "I think possibly you are having a premature heart attack complete with hallucinations, please don't do this to me. What Black Quill Award nomination?"

Er, well. Apparently, the universe has a sense of the absurd, or perhaps there are rounding errors somewhere, because it turns out that my computer was not hallucinating at all. My Black Quill Award nomination, for my March 2009 Clarkesworld story The Loyalty of Birds!

Obviously this is not helping to puncture my overwhelmingly huge ego any, so I invite cruel mockery in the comments; if you are lacking for inspiration at the moment, you may start with this concluding fact:

Tonight, I followed the wisdom of my elders, and ate dessert first.
elanid: (Default)
Which is to say, I know that you guys are all going insane with NaNoWriMo, so please to apply some of that massive procrastination energy to telling me what to do, sort of in the spirit of this post.

  1. Revisions, "As Wine Poured Onto Ground." (Oh good grief, I hate this story so much.)
  2. Kill "The Dead Star, the Satirist, and the Soldier" in the face. (Because it is going to kill my brain. Yours too!)
  3. Actually get more than a couple thousand words into the tiny drunken teenage wizards novel, currently calling itself Barycent. (I...do not like writing novels very much. There is just so much plot. Anyway, it is this guy.)
  4. Kick invisible girlfriend short story into something vaguely workable. (Like something with less in the way of mismanaged character arc.)
  5. Figure out what, if anything, to do with teeny hollow princess story. (Less than 4000k, guys, I know you're proud!)
  1. The handwavy one on dialogue. ("The way I write dialogue is, first, I think of what I want the characters to say. Then I make them not say it.") [Er. Which is to say, I might have written a draft of this one in an email to someone, does anyone remember it?]
  2. The excessively long one on worldbuilding, basically my Alpha lecture turned into a MONSTER. ("But what are your thoughts on yaoi?") [Well, it has an outline, anyway. Several. Many. Uh. It's fairly large. A bit.]
  3. The circular one on why writing really dark stories is a great way to present an optimistic view of the universe. ("No, seriously, you guys! It's like Blade Runner!") [I know I wrote a draft of this one in an email. Somewhere.]
  4. The half-assed one about, what is the phrase, genrebendy crossover fucktasma. ("I like science and I like fantasy so clearly you guys should all write stories for me.") [And about half of this one.]
  5. The mildly self-indulgent one about how suffering is the engine of fiction. ("Also I basically like my characters screwed-up and psychologically damaged, just in case you were wondering.") [This one sort of blended horrifyingly with #3.]
So, erm, help. Opine, please!

(PS. I am getting up in three hours. Why, self, are you a bonified moron? Well, I do not know! It is a mystery to me as well.)
elanid: (Default)
Excerpt from latest: tiny drunken teenage wizards bitching each other out.  Why is this so much more fun than what I should be writing?
Cut so as to not be a dick. )

In unrelated news, this weekend I am going sailing off to Blake Island, where I shall freeze, drown, camp, and cause my feet to develop an even greater loathing for me than they have acheived to date.*  It should be fantastic.

*This morning, an excerpt:

MY FRIEND: "So in fact, you decided to walk home from the bus stop barefoot, in the middle of the city, in pouring rain.  In November."
ME: "I refuse to bear the yoke of these shoes any further!  Look at my blisters!"
MY FRIEND: "Yeah, I bet the whole 'freezing, soaking pavement' treatment really helped with that."

It didn't.  In fact.
elanid: (Default)

This post is mostly for those Alphans on my flist who may've joined livejournal because I put the irons to 'em (well done!); basically, the purpose is to explain some of the more esoteric functions of livejournal in a quick and vaguely comprehensible way. I am totally not qualified to do this, but I've been reading livejournal stuff for about four years now, which means I have a shifty, half-assed comprehension of what is going on. Veteran LJers: by all means, pray correct me where I have erred.

Cut to spare those who don't need it. )
elanid: (steps into nothing)
Sarah Rees Brennan, author of The Demon's Lexicon -- which I very much enjoyed and shall perhaps even post properly about sometime, ack -- has taken to posting short stories at cunning intervals, as a sort of celebration for having nice sales.  I thoroughly endorse this position, because the more people who read The Demon's Lexicon, the happier I shall be; furthermore, the stories posted to date have been kind of excellent.  I utterly spaced on posting on the first one, Sorcerer & Stone, which is in two lovely awesome parts, but the newest -- The Arundel Tomb -- made me fairly giddy with glee for reasons that will probably be apparent to anybody reading it.  It isn't at all necessary to've read the book to understand either of these, they stand alone very well.

So, uh, first of all: read it, it's lovely!  (And then tell me you've read it so I can flail all over you about how marvelous they are.)  And second of all: if you haven't yet got round to it, I highly recommend The Demon's Lexicon: funny and clever and quite dark, and for bonus points all of the characters are marvelous.  (Oh yeah, and if you're worried about the cover, I promise it isn't the girly romance novel some people of my acquaintance seem to be worried about.  And you can trust me, because...I get bored in romance sections, let alone whole novels.  Good gracious.)
elanid: (commando!martha)

The good news: I almost kind of vaguely have the draft of this essay ("intergenre crossover fucktasma; or, why you should damn well write what I want to read already") finished.

The bad news: It's over 3,000 words long, and I still have added neither the third main argument nor the epilogue in.

The nerd news: I edited my phrasing this afternoon just far enough to make it 3.141k words.  Because I am a dork. 

elanid: (lamppost)
Needed: a dramatic and fairly bloody way that someone with determination and wrath but no special equipment could use to, erm, ruin his own hand in a single incident.  So far I've thought of things ranging from closing his fist on the business end of a knife and dragging his hand off to punching a wall whilst holding a glass of wine, with pretty much everything in between (punching windows, hitting it with a rock...), but none of it seems to really hit my brain as quite right.  So!  Any ideas for how to be really destructive?

(Someday I will have questions about my story that're all like, 'I guess I need to figure out what kind of fluffy puppy my heroine is giving my hero for his birthday, anyone into dogs?'  But today is not that day!)
elanid: (Default)
This morning my reading has included:

- dumbass Republican politicians ("The health care plan includes death panels!  This country is becoming as communist as Hitler!")
- dumbass homophobic bigot SF writers ("I deeply resent your implication that homosexers are people too!  What's next, necrophilia?")
(fuck off, John C. Wright!  Everyone else: consider yourself warned for incredible amounts of dumbshittery and asshatism.)

That's right, guys.  The liberals want you to have sex with you baby after it's been murdered by death panels, but they'll only count it if it's gay dead baby sex.  An outrage! 

Then that was followed by,

- dumbass SF editors and their supporters ("You know, it's perfectly conceivable that all 21 of the most mindblowing SF stories of history were written by straight white men!") (good post, many fail comments)

...and also, a bunch of extremely depressing (but accurate!) information about Somali pirates, who are, as it happens, somewhat A LOT justified in at least their origins.  Namely the part where they originated as, basically, coastal defense in the lack of a functional Somali government - against European companies trying to (a) dump toxic waste into Somali waters, resulting in massive human and environmental catastrophe and (b) illegally trawl for fish in Somali waters, resulting in something like $300m of theft a year and, err, massive environmental catastrophe.

I'm just saying, I could really go for some fuzzy ducks today.  And/or (preferrably, actually) well-documented instances of awesome people getting some of these assholes where they deserve it.  Bonus points for lighting people on fire in anatomically comedic areas.


Jul. 14th, 2009 02:35 pm
elanid: (Default)
Leaving for Alpha today (hurrah!),  and I'll be mostly gone for the next three weeks or so.  Don't burn the place down while I'm away, eh?
elanid: (Default)
Somewhere in me there is a much bigger post full of explanations and rantings (sane ones) and fury, but right now, I don't think I could write it without damaging my computer with the virulence.


Well, mostly because of this post, via [livejournal.com profile] jonquil , about the current state of American healthcare and how very easy it is to become uninsured.  (Hint: don't get any serious diseases, guys.  Because?  Your insurance?  Will not pay for it.)

And guess what else?  It's totally legal for them to refuse to.  So when your conservative friend who thinks he's so clever starts talking about how a public option for health insurance is going to destroy the country and result in the deaths of a lot of people?  Go ahead and tell them to fuck right off.

This isn't the only problem with the current insurance system.  But, hey.  Isn't this enough of a problem all by itself?


(Seriously, go read the post, even if you think you disagree with me: it's a much better, more elqouent explanation of this than I can possibly provide, especially when I'm this angry.)

elanid: (Default)
I.  Yo.  Rebecca ([livejournal.com profile] remarknj ) and I are having a competition leading up to Alpha, the better to go completely insane and stumble onto or into a train, plane, or water main the day we have to leave, ranting and raving in a horrifying display of girlish lunacy.  That is to say, we have agreed to amass some 28k in writing between the two of us by the 14th of July.

II.  Accordingly, we're each going to write 700 words a day on our respective novelly projects, which is admittedly a fairly puny and diminutive amount until you take into account the fact that I am about to start work on Monday.  (To give a point of reference, the last time I started work for the summer, I found myself sleeping away my entire life.  This is chiefly because of the fact that work is a known minor demon and deeply enjoys sneaking up behind you and putting worms down your shirt until you notice some indeterminate time later that your chest is looking awfully squirmy, and then they turn out to be actually bloodsucking caterpillars of death and the legs pop out and suddenly they have spiracles full of your perfectly good plasma the better to donate to a good cause.)  This count may go up if it seems appropriate to all parties, i.e. me.

III.  But, you say, what is to prevent us from just sort of doing the usual writer slouch thing and failing to finish those words?  I mean, 700 words might not be much, but look, you know writers.  You know what they're like!  Well, in fact, there is a way, and the way is called PUNISHMENT.  Yes, you heard me right, and here is how the punishment works.  (Yes, it is possible that I am using these roman numeral section headers basically at random, but can you prove anything?  I didn't think so.)

IV.  The PUNISHMENT is as follows.  First of all, for any day that I don't write my 700 words (to be proven, in email, to [livejournal.com profile] remarknj  each day), I must obtain for her a present, to be brought to Alpha and distributed under the public eye so that all are aware of my failure and humiliation!  (Alphans who will be present this year, you are all welcome to spectate).  And second, if she doesn't write her 700 words, she must get a present for me, same deal.

V.  Presents.  Lest all this get out of (or too well into) hand, the limitation on presents is as follows: first, no bought present may cost less than $1 or more than $5.  Second, no made present may take less than an hour or more than five.  Third, no lifeforms, not even if they're really awesome and especially not if you made them yourself.  Fourth, no two objects representative of fail may be the same, because, really, no two fails are the same.  Rationally speaking.  Fifth, no gum.

VI.  This is a glorious plan and can in no way fail, backfire, cause the end of the world as we know it, etc.  Accordingly I have made an internet table OF GLORY to represent its awesomeness, and if you disagree with me on this count, well, you suck.

Ebeccarey             706          758 769 722729
Yours Truly 774 776 :(760 769

July 1 - 5.

Ebeccarey 743 718 749 it is a holiday dammit 742
Yours Truly 710 752 >.O yes for me too!
*shut up

July 6 - 10.

Ebeccarey735     726766823 
Raquel          743             796 ** 737 
**I am totally applying half of that 1884 here, take that!

VII.  General-purpose prohibited: cheating, laziness, having a break, ducking out, running away to Antarctica (do you know how hard it is to find $3 presents in Antarctica?), murder, extreme sports over highways, contacting extraterrestrial lifeforms in an attempt to bargain your way out by way of insanely futuristic technology, tantrums, decaf, fleeing to a town without bookstores in the hopes of making your brain melt so far that everyone agrees you are incapable, conjuring up large winter storms (be classy, thunderstorms are seasonal), demonic visitations, etc.

By contrast, a random assortment of totally over-the-table activities: blackmail, bribery, lying, whining, bargaining, abusing younger siblings as outlet, abusing younger siblings as experiment, abusing younger siblings to demonstrate Timothy Zahn-style practicality or lack thereof in action scenes, overcaffeination, sleep deprivation, lunacy, reading Heinlein, etc.

VIII.  Your words are due before the other person wakes up the next morning.  Or else.

ETA.  Some amendments to the rules, due to internet mayhem: either words must be turned in, by email, before 4pm of the following day, or else you may, if unable to email, provide a time-stamped screencap etc. of your words, ditto before 4pm.  Also this chart is probably not getting updated until Alpha time, because SOMEONE has no internet.  (<3)

ETA II.  We totally pwned at this, but I don't think I have the wordcounts anywhere easily accessible, so you will just have to take my word for it!  And indeed, lo, Rebecca gifted unto me a fabtastic bag and I inflicted three (really awesome) books on her.  So there.


May. 25th, 2009 01:18 am
elanid: (Default)
Hopefully someone with bigger circulation than me can pick this up, but:

It looks like [livejournal.com profile] sarahtales has had her livejournal hacked by the same rather nasty hackers who got a couple other people earlier this year; her most recent post claims to link to her new book online and her new blog, but the links actually seem to lead to the same unpleasant Russian poetry and dodgy downloads as the last couple times - I think they are supposed to include a keylogger, among other things.  Anyway, I know she has a pretty wide readership, so, PSA to the world, don't click those links!

elanid: (Default)
Meme, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] diatryma :

First five to comment get a made-by-me Thing sometime before the end of 2009. It may not be pretty, it will definitely not be perfect, you don't get much if any input on it, but it'll happen.

Yeah, that sounds a bit right.  Also I should mention that my motivation to mail things is sort of the gravity to the electromagnetism of making things*, so, it may take a while before you actually get them.  But you will get them!  Someday.**

* Don't pursue this metaphor too far.  Please.
** I once gave a friend her fourteenth birthday present two weeks after her sixteenth birthday.  Yea, verily, I am a paragon of timeliness!


elanid: (Default)

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