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Silicon Rose

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New Skin and Friend-Gaining Mode [Apr. 14th, 2005|09:26 am]
Silicon Rose
[Current Mood |blahblah]
[Current Music |Shizuku - GTO Ending]

There's something vaguely amusing about wound treatment that consists of antiseptic superglue/fingernail polish. I say this, of course, because I'm wearing some now. It's New Skin, the "liquid bandage". You paint it on and nothing can get in, but it's clear (aside from being shiny) and doesn't impede your movement, so it's superior to band-aids - or so goes the advertisement, at least. Of course, despite the "active ingredients: antiseptic", the warning reads "may be removed by fingernail polish remover", and I've been told it's superglue, so overall, I must admit a wee bit of trepidation at smearing this stuff on open wounds. Nevertheless, it is better than a bandaid, especially when I'm going to be typing all day.

On to the point (there was one?), I've noticed something in myself which I hesitate somewhat to generalize to the public at large, and yet I think that most of them must have something like it. I have social modes. When I first arrived in college, I was friendly and bubbly and made a fool of myself to several people. ("Which college are you majoring in?" "I'm a professor.") I started up discussions in the dining hall, went to new events and joined organizations, and met lots of people, who I eventually slimmed down to a core group of people I wanted to really spend time with. Don't get me wrong, this was entirely unconscious, and was also partially influenced by other people deciding to want to be friends with me or not. After (at most) a year at college, the mode shut down and I was once again my bookish, vaguely friendly but not too outgoing self.

I made a sort of conscious decision at the con this year to reach out and try to be friendly, and now I find myself in the grip of another social mode. I'm joining groups and trying to talk to people who I don't know, and I'm seeing this large mound of connections that I'm going to have to maintain and wondering what I'm going to do about it. I think this is good overall, since I can't just sit in front of my computer... er... never talk to anyone?... for the rest of my days, but I imagine there are going to be some down sides to it. Like, time.

I did make some time last night to write another 1,000 words in the story I'm working on (Let's call it "Magical Pretty Boy Make Up!" for a work name... and I'm imagining at least one person, if they chose to read this entry, just spit whatever they were drinking on the monitor - you can charge me for the bill if you'd like), but I'm finding myself in mid-story crisis. It's the point where you've gotten past the linear bits, and you know mostly how it's going to end, and you know kinda how it's going to get there, but there are a lot of characters and a lot of plot points in the way. You kind of stare up at the towering mass of them and wonder why on earth you got into this in the first place. I know I have to write through it, but I was singularly unimpressed by my attempts to do so in Familiar. It was sort of like I started out with the concept of building a wall, and I was really gung ho about it. I laid the foundation carefully, and started building upon it, trying to get everything right. But somewhere around a fifth of the way through, I noticed that the bricks weren't getting any smaller and I was starting to get tired. Instead of laying each brick with full attention, I started slapping mortar on the wall, tossing a few bricks on top and hoping it didn't turn out too bad.

Why do I have all these stories in my head which I want to write so badly, but I can't do them justice? Many of them can't be written as short stories, so I can't limit myself to that. It's really frustrating never to finish anything, never to see the end of the stories I cared enough to want to start.

My apologies for waxing to the dramatic. I get really frustrated, and I guess that puts me into Angst-Mode. (Perhaps I should retitle this entry Silicon Rose and her Various Modes.) I guess I should start outlining or something, but... heck, I have as much trouble with that as everything else. I know my fiction isn't horrible. I know I have potential. I just have to get into the trenches and start slugging... but when I do that, I feel like I'm getting something wrong. Similarly to coding, if you can't grasp the concept and the code won't flow, or you're looking a really nasty hack in the face, your design is probably screwed up somewhere and it's time to fix it.

I just don't know how.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: tigerphoenix
2005-04-14 04:53 pm (UTC)
I think what you just described is the major reason why I never got anywhere with NaNoWriMo this year--and of course I went back about halfway and started outlining. Well, maybe this year I'll have a great outline to start from, but I still didn't finish that (though there's a chance I will before November), and there's no guarantee what I actually try to produce will match up to the original half-remembered image I had in my head...

At least I can stop rambling now, right?
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[User Picture]From: ketsugami
2005-04-14 06:05 pm (UTC)
For the record, I read Familiar and I thought it was good. A lot of times I find I'm unsatisfied with things I produced just "writing through it," only to come back and think, "Hey, this isn't half bad."

I really wish I had some pithy advice to offer that would make things easier, but I don't. I've been in the same situation many times. All I can say are some things that have worked for me:

-make sure you're reading something good. For me, at least, if I stop reading I stop being able to write. Worse, Garbage In = Garbage Out. If there's nothing new that strikes your fancy go back and read something you loved and haven't looked at in a while.

-talk through the outline with someone. I'm always embarassed to do this, because I feel like my outlines sound dumb. But another person will often ask questions you hadn't considered and get you thinking in interesting ways.
(I volunteer for this, if you like. ^_^)

-think about character motivations. Personally, I tend to get stuck when my characters run out of reasons to continue with the plot. There's a point in every story where the protagonist stops reacting and starts acting (sometimes this is before the story starts) -- this is what I think you mean by "the linear part."

I used to think about that a lot in terms of RPG adventures -- i.e. you can have bad guys appear and attack the PCs, and the beginning of an adventure is often escaping from some threat or whatever, but at some point the PCs have to have a reason to continue with the plot rather then just running away.

-always remind yourself "I will be rewriting this." If you have to throw down some crap to get to the good parts beyond, do it -- you're not performing live, you can come back and excise the crap and no one will ever see it but the betas.

That's what I can think of off-hand. Most of all just keep at it. You really are a good writer, trust me. ^_^
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[User Picture]From: ketsugami
2005-04-14 06:06 pm (UTC)
Also, how did you manage to injure yourself?
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2005-04-15 01:59 am (UTC)
There's a wound which keeps getting caught on things, thus, the use of New Skin.
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[User Picture]From: btoblake
2005-04-14 06:43 pm (UTC)
I always keep medical superglue around, my family discovered it when we sent my sister off to teach a circus camp with a hurt foot... ow. luckily we got a doctor who was one of the early fans of this stuff.
Only downside.. it's not rubber cement.

I always have that kind of trouble writing fiction.
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[User Picture]From: cyfis
2005-04-14 09:04 pm (UTC)
That was a work monitor, I'll have you know. Though fortunately it was just water.

Connections are nice to have, it's just there's extra hassle in maintaining them.
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From: umiushi
2005-04-14 10:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you for documenting exactly how I feel about my own stories, most of the time. Usually when I'm in that state I can't even look at a keyboard.
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2005-04-15 02:34 am (UTC)
If I let myself do that, I'd never finish anything.

...wait.
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From: elasmo
2005-04-15 12:26 am (UTC)
*spits on monitor* Wow.

Plain superglue works for wounds anyway. Engineers, creative people and the exceptionally lazy (woot, I'm 3 for 3!) have been using it for years.

And while I've piped up from my shadow-corner of LJ, I'd like to read some of your more recent work. I remember liking it way back in the day and it'd be neat to see how it's evolved.
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2005-04-15 02:26 am (UTC)
Sweet! Two people!

Yeah, but I happened to have New Skin on hand, too. ^^

It's good to hear from you. I'm a little leery of posting my original work online given the onerous First Publishing rights required by publishers, but I'd be glad to share it privately. None of it's finished, though. If that's fine, I can send you Familiar, I just need a way of getting an email address to send it to.

Oh, and if you want fanfiction, there are some other things which I'm willing to hand out more freely.
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[User Picture]From: froborr
2005-04-17 07:38 pm (UTC)
"Social Mode" sounds like a pretty rational way to behave: you've entered a new community with a new social hierarchy, and you need to establish a position for yourself. Best way to do that is with allies, so you acquire as many as possible. Then, once you are assured the social position with which you are comfortable, you return to normal behavior, and cut loose all the allies but the ones really worth keeping as friends.
Clearly, your subconscious is pretty decent at social stuff.
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