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I've been trying to do some cleaning up recently, get my library into… - Silicon Rose [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Silicon Rose

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[Jul. 2nd, 2006|05:11 pm]
Silicon Rose
[Current Mood |contemplativecontemplative]

I've been trying to do some cleaning up recently, get my library into shape, etc... So, one of the things I did was go spelunking in the second bedroom to start pulling some things out of storage that are appropriate in my library -- notebooks, pencils, paper, tape, various other office supplies. Well, I was mainly looking for office supplies, but I ran across the notebooks.

Most notebooks have things in them, and it's jarring to read about your science experiments before plodding merrily along to the world design of your next novel, so they're often left alone instead of re-purposed. The times when this sort of information collides is when it was legitimately connected, in this case, temporally. (Yes, I was taking notes on a D&D game I was working out in the middle of science class. Sue me. You know you've all done it too.)

Two notebooks really stuck out. One of them is a friend's, which for some reason I apparently had and kept -- I'm not sure what to do with that. I lost track of her when I went to college, and she went to a different high school, and the only person I know of who knew her... they weren't on speaking terms last I heard, so I doubt there's any chance there. Of course I read a bit of it, which I'm slightly guilty about, but not too much. Honestly, I've read some of my old stories and some of the material that didn't stick in my mind I don't remember writing and almost can't recognize as mine.

The scene I'm thinking of in particular I KNOW I thought about it, and I'm pretty sure it's mine, but I never remembered writing any of it down. And the writing was actually good, something I'm unaccustomed to seeing from my earlier years.

Actually, that leads in pretty well to the other notebook I found. It contained some writing about two of my characters, Arcadia/Crixa and Darius. And the writing is, to put it kindly, god-freaking-awful.

Sample #1:
"Oh young fool, your oath binds you even more surely than the enchanted shackles! If I were to remove them and hand you a sword, then kneel down before you and offer my neck, still you would not kill me! Oh your deadly foolish oath!" (Grammatical errors left as is.)

...apparently I had a thing for maniacal villains who have a taste for melodrama. And he's named Kain?! KAIN?! God, did I think I was being cool or... well, yes, I probably did think I was being.... ~mumble~

Sample #2:
Arcadia turned. "It used to be beautiful. You've ruined it, you blood-sucking bastard."
"Blood sucking, yes, bastard, no. I was quite normally born." [," said Dracula.]

This was more or less based off of a AD&D game I ran with a friend of mine from middle-school. I took it in a far off direction (in reality, I'm not even sure Crixa [Arcadia] ever was a prisoner, and I distinctly remember beating the crap out of Dracula with my army), minimizing the other characters in my army and focusing on changing Dracula to be 'good'. (~sigh~) While weak, I can see I already favored snarky dialogue in my stories.

What happened, I wonder? I used to spend all my time writing, either in letter exchanges with Nikki or in fanciful stories with silly plots and crappy writing -- but at least I was freaking doing it. I wish I knew what I needed to do to get that back.

(Every writer has to have a time when they go back to their old writing, read a few sentences, then grip their hair and start tugging, crying and wailing at how much their writing used to suck, and usually, at how little progress they've actually made.)

PS: Is LJ lying to me, or is "dialogue" wrong?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: dragonoflife
2006-07-03 12:42 am (UTC)
How much it sucked, yes, how little progress I've made, no!

Man, I should show you my old writing sometime. If you ever get depressed...
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2006-07-03 12:50 am (UTC)
Hey, the last time you did that I got more depressed. ^^ That wasn't bad.
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[User Picture]From: dragonoflife
2006-07-03 01:02 am (UTC)
Which writing are YOU thinking of? Because I'm referring to my first "serious" writing attempts, which were a massive jumble of superheroes and fantasy cliches violently ramming heads with my own warped sense of junior-high humor. I don't think I showed you those one, because it's mortally embarassing. (Though the second one is actually pretty amusingly bad, as opposed to miserably bad like the first one.)
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2006-07-03 01:06 am (UTC)
Ah, sorry. ^^ Yeah. I'd be pretty ashamed to actually full bore type out some of these stories and share them. I had (and I guess I still have some of) a passion for dark fantasy romance. Even when I know it's awful.

...at least I've more or less gotten over vampires.
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[User Picture]From: dragonoflife
2006-07-03 01:14 am (UTC)
You've got me beaten there, I've never broken my obsession with wizards/magic. I just constantly redefine it! Nor have I ever managed to really escape the "epic fantasy" sort of archetype.

I blame video games and anime.

....actually, manga, since I've broken the anime habit...
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2006-07-03 01:29 am (UTC)
Being obsessed with wizards and magic isn't shameful (I am too). Being obsessed with the romantic vampire stereotype is (to me).
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[User Picture]From: dragonoflife
2006-07-03 01:41 am (UTC)
Eh, I can sort of see why you think that, though I won't agree with you that it's shameful. Like what you like! Heck, our generation takes pride in that.
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[User Picture]From: tigerphoenix
2006-07-03 02:09 am (UTC)
I have to wonder where my early notebooks went. I almost hope my mother DIDN'T throw them out, so I can someday show either of you, or alternately my poor, deluded offspring (who still think Mom is AWESOME!!), the absolutely hideous writing AND illustration I did. Oh yes, I have early drawings in some of my notebooks, too.

Ugh. There's a part of me that hopes Mom goes, "Oh no, I threw those out years ago!" However, I still have a sneaking suspicion that they're still buried in the back of my closet, just waiting for me to ask. My mother is very like that.
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2006-07-03 02:28 am (UTC)
Well, at least when it comes to stories, there might be something salvagable. After all, while a few of my Arcadia stories were vague ripoffs of Anita Blake, they're not even close to plagarism, and not entirely unsalvagable. The similarities end at "snarky kickass female main character who is human servant of vampire," which is general enough - mine took place in the traditional fantasy generic medieval time frame, for example.
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[User Picture]From: tigerphoenix
2006-07-03 02:30 am (UTC)
Mine were quasi-ripoffs of the general idea of the comic book Power Pack. Basically, kids get super powers from an alien, go on to save world. Then again, I wasn't trying to copy much of anything but that concept. Eh. If they're still there, I might try and see just HOW BAD the writing is...

Though I was like, twelve at the time, so I'm guessing 'pretty bad'.
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2006-07-03 02:24 am (UTC)
I just feel like I have a huge blinking neon sign over my head screaming "fangirl".
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[User Picture]From: dragonoflife
2006-07-03 02:26 am (UTC)
That would kind of be a cool sign, actually. I mean, to look at, not to have.

Seriously, though, don't sweat it. I think virtually ANY taste a person has will at some point become unpopular or mock-worthy by others at SOME point, so just stick to what you like and who cares what other people think?
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2006-07-03 02:28 am (UTC)
Me, I care.

^^ I understand your point. It's just hard.
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[User Picture]From: dragonoflife
2006-07-03 02:41 am (UTC)
Yeah, I understand that. It's still a bit awkward for me to buy things like Fraggle Rock DVDs and shojo manga. And I like FFX2, imagine the stigma! But that's no reason to stop, in my mind!
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[User Picture]From: ketsugami
2006-07-03 02:37 am (UTC)
I think when you look back and say, "Man, that sucked!" that indicates how you have made progress. Like if you still thought that was really good, then you'd be in trouble.

And Laurell K. Hamilton has made an awfully good living out of writing vampires, so there can't be anything that wrong with it.

As for "what happened", my personal theory is that it has to do with mind-space. When you have a demanding job that interests you, or a hobby, or whatever, that takes up processor cycles that could otherwise be devoted to world-building or coming up with dialogue or whatever. I often get the feeling that writing isn't something I do at any given moment, it's a process that goes on all day and I periodically have to jot it down. When I get really involved in something else, sometimes that slows things down quite a bit.
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2006-07-03 03:21 am (UTC)
^^ Oh god, would I ever be in trouble.

Writing you can make an awfully good living off of and good writing are, unfortunately, not always the same thing.

Good point... my daily life isn't exactly conducive to thoughts about writing. But even when I get them, I get distracted by video games or books very easily.
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[User Picture]From: dragonoflife
2006-07-03 03:59 am (UTC)
Meanwhile I've written 2000 words yesterday and am on track for similar today, all while at work. It's HOME that keeps me from writing!
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[User Picture]From: cyfis
2006-07-03 07:22 am (UTC)
Going back and reading what you wrote and thought was good when younger is quite embarrassing. On the other hand you can pat yourself on the back and be relieved taht you never actually got around to publishing it, right? :P

Seriously though, I think most geeky types have a phase of complete and utter self-satisfying escapism. That's why we get all the teenagers writing MarySues. Eventually you outgrow it. Or make bestselling novels of really crappy quality out of them.

Even now though, I do look back on some of my earlier writing and work and pick bits that weren't too mangled to add to my current efforts. You never know when an idea could come in handy. After you iron out all the stupid, that is.
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2006-07-03 03:28 pm (UTC)
True. Thank god I didn't really have the internet for most of it. Some of my crappy poetry did, but most of my actual writing? Nope.
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[User Picture]From: froborr
2006-07-03 04:10 pm (UTC)
At least you don't have incredibly crappy 10-year-old *shudder* fanfiction with your REAL NAME plastered on it floating around on still-active sites...

Also, LJ is being stupid. "Dialogue" is correct.

Somewhere up there you mentioned romantic vampire fic. I took a course in college on the adaptation of 19th-century horror literature into 20th-century film, and it is intriguing to me that vampires steadily transformed over the course of the century from being depicted as disgusting, terrifying monsters not all that different from zombies to fascinating, seductive romantic figures. Bram Stoker is responsible for a lot of that, of course, by making his vampire a metaphor for the seductive influence of the exotic on British culture, but I think there may be more to it than that. Not entirely sure what, though.
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2006-07-03 04:19 pm (UTC)
^^ Oof. Though, at least your name is reasonably common, right?

Thanks. I thought it was correct -- seeing LJ say it was wrong made a little question mark pop up over my head. To me, 'dialog' and 'dialogue' are two very different things, but I've certainly been wrong before.

Meh... I can think of a lot of reasons, but I'm probably blowing smoke. Romantic vampires have become a cliche of their own.
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[User Picture]From: cyfis
2006-07-03 04:45 pm (UTC)
"I vont to suck your blood!"
Or something. I blame a lot of it on Dracula, and more of it on Anne Rice and stuff like the White Wolf RPGs. The angst appeals to the goth-predisposed crowd.
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[User Picture]From: froborr
2006-07-03 06:44 pm (UTC)
But that's basically saying "It's popular because there's a group that it appeals to." That's a tautology. What I'm curious about is what it says about us that such a crowd has come into being. Why are we as a culture interested in these things when the culture from which we are descended wasn't? What are the social forces that provoke (largely) middle-class-to-wealthy adolescents to become obsessed with death-play and despair-kitsch?
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[User Picture]From: cyfis
2006-07-03 10:04 pm (UTC)
Chicken and egg question. The ideas have always been floating out there. You get a couple of kids who are resentful of their parents and have too much time on their hands (unlike earlier eras, modern people are much more idle), they latch on to one idea and then it spreads.
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2006-07-03 10:57 pm (UTC)
Lack of fear? These days we foster more than ever the false belief in immortality -- thus the craving to do something 'risky'?
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[User Picture]From: froborr
2006-07-03 06:51 pm (UTC)
Um, no. Both my first and last name are quite uncommon. Add to that the fact that on two of these sites the name Froborr appears as well, and I'm the only Froborr on the Internet... yeah. Part of the reason I make no attempt to disguise my identity (other than the fact that I don't really care, I mean) is that the cat is long out of the bag. I just wish I could find a way to erase those stories from history...
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2006-07-03 11:00 pm (UTC)
Sorry, apparently I was hallucinating. I could have sworn that when I googled you last (because of your post about not being worried about what was on the internet), I found other people. Apparently these other people were people in my head. ^^;;

The reason why I try to be vaguely circumspect with regards to my real identity is because recruiters will often google a candidate before an interview or job offer.
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[User Picture]From: froborr
2006-07-03 11:43 pm (UTC)
I understand that. It's the reason my brother put forward that I shouldn't burn a flag tomorrow. I personally don't care, but that's because I don't care whether or not I'm employed tomorrow.
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