masqthephlsphr: (vincent)
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masqthephlsphr: (vincent)
Happy Birthday, [profile] humming_along!!
masqthephlsphr: (buffy)
Hi guys, been a while since I did a real post. Things are hoppin' around here.

Do you realize it's been 19 years since Buffy premiered? That means there are grownups walking around who weren't born when Welcome to the Hellmouth first aired. One wonders what they would think of Buffy if they watched it. Actually, one does not have to wonder. I recently heard from an 18-year-old fan who visited my website:

Hello, Masq.

I knew that AtPO was a part of me when I was holding the 79-page collection of manwitch's, “Buffy's Spiritual Journey.” It was for a friend who is slowly being introduced to (or indoctrinated in) BtVS, and I think it speaks to the staying power of the wonderful community that you created and oversaw that an 18 year old was moved to print something out in 2016. fl.ux is good for your eyes, but not that good.

With time, those pages will fade into musty goodness on his shelf, and he can think of Giles. “All you will get from me is my support. And my respect.”

I'm a philosophy major, in my first year of college, and I can tell you that your site and board archives helped kindle my fire for the field. I watched BtVS for the first time two years ago. It reached me at an important part of my life—one where I could almost think like an adult, but was still totally unaware about what being an adult meant, and equally wracked with confusion about how to get there. I was struggling to make sense of what being alive meant at all. The same circular thought loops kept cropping up. Why am I here? Why do I have this body? Is there a way out of Hume's critique of induction? BtVS, I guess, became a conduit out of my head and back into the world.

I believe the show's (the whole Buffyverse's) greatest strength, philosophically or otherwise, was its richly populated moral universe. To cite a few, quickly: Buffy seemed to follow Sartre. Angel, Kant. Spike was Nietzschean. Giles and Wes were consequentialists. Xander seemed to speak to the primordial ethics of family and loyalty to one's own. Anya didn't know what any of it meant.

Too often with other shows, even the others in Buffy's tier, the writers' own moral views erode the possibility of a populated moral universe in the vein of BtVS' or AtS'. The Sopranos, our other great existentialist drama, was marked by the idea that, while we can choose, we will all always choose the path of unenlightened self-furthering. Every character, save one, drilled this idea into our heads over and over, directly from David Chase. Mad Men says more or less the same thing, with perhaps slightly more variation. The West Wing clusters everyone on the opposite side, rarely questioning our innate goodness and civic responsibility. The Wire said we're all rats trapped in the maze, causally bound to be crushed by the social institutions we create. Breaking Bad is a one-act Greek tragedy, The Shield a three-act one; while both shows hold unwaveringly to the consequences of actions above all else, and in this way are morally powerful, they still cannot compare to the breadth or dynamism of BtVS or AtS.

Watching BtVS was one part of the equation, but Sophist's blog and AtPO played an equally important role. I lost days poring through the board's archives. I imagined what it would have been like to be there in 2003, debating Lies My Parents Told Me & Chosen as they were fresh. I became accustomed to the cadences of the regular posters, and felt I grasped slivers of their minds, slivers that they had elected to share with an unsuspecting world.

There is a gentle sweetness in inhabiting a fading community; the phrase “mono no aware” comes to mind. The deep empathy felt when you realize that there is no way around entropy and transience. It's like walking around in Tokyo without any people. Their marks, their passion and insight, what they cared about and what moved them, are omnipresent, but they already fade and grow hazy with time and distance.

Maybe this is naïve nostalgia or historical revisionism, but AtPO also took me back to a time when the Web and the promise of the radical liberation of information felt—radical. Exciting. Open. There was an egalitarian, decentralized ethos to that Internet, it seems.

It's late, and I have rambled extensively. I guess all I'm trying to say is thank you. Thank you for the insight, from you and your board. They continue to move people today. May they resist entropy for awhile yet.

[Name Withheld]
masqthephlsphr: (vincent)
Happy Birthday, [profile] shadowkat67!!!

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masqthephlsphr: (vincent)
Happy Birthday, [profile] crimsonsenya!!!

Happy Birthday, [personal profile] lakrids404!!!
masqthephlsphr: (draft)
Still hanging in on there on schedule. But I'm doing it by rushing. I feel like all pretense of quality has gone out the window. And why the hell not? part of me argues. This is the first draft, it's supposed to suck and basically be an outline on steroids. I'm still finding the story.

But the part of me that always lingered on the first draft and tried to get a sensible, consistent draft out of it is cringing. Chill out, Nancy. This is really draft zero. As soon as you finish it, you will re-outline it with a mind to an actual plot. You'll have an idea who the characters are, and the settings. This is how it works. :whistle:

Working title: The Girl From Venus
Planned # of chapters: 27
Planned date of first draft completion: Jan 31st, 2016
Current chapter: 20
Finish last week's goal? Yes
This week's goal: Start chapter 21
This month's goal: Get at least party way into Chapter 21
masqthephlsphr: (vincent)
Happy Birthday [profile] deadsoul820!!!
masqthephlsphr: (glob)
Up until now, I've been slightly ahead of my schedule. Now, I'm right on. I am hoping a week off after Christmas will give me a boost so I don't get too far behind. However, life has gotten more complicated in the last week, and not in good ways (long story short: my older nephew got in a bad car accident over the weekend. My brother and mother are moving this coming weekend. Christmas will be an afterthought this year).

I am past the mid-point of the novel, now stepping into the parts I've spent a lot less time pre-writing or even thinking about. That makes it more interesting, but I also have to honor what I've written up to now. A balancing act.

Working title: The Girl From Venus
Planned # of chapters: 27
Planned date of first draft completion: Jan 31st, 2016
Current chapter: 19
Finish last week's goal? Yes
This week's goal: Start chapter 20
This month's goal: Get at least party way into Chapter 21

In other news, I have a new telescope. So I also have to find time to learn how to use it to best effect.
masqthephlsphr: (sibs)
One day late, but not a dollar short.

Alas, life gets in the way, as it is bound to do this time of year. The holidays are being made even more complicated than usual this year by my recently-divorce brother moving to a new house, and my elderly mom moving out her retirement apartment to move in with him and his kids. They are each of them in a state of Total Chaos as their lives get packed away into boxes and transported from one place to another.

Between my assistance with that, and a few medical issues of my own that need attending to, and the girlfriend distracted by an upcoming art show she is preparing for, and Oh, Right, again... Christmas.... (have I shopped for anyone except my six-year-old grandnephew who is a small child and therefore easy to gift? Noooo.)

Oh, and on top of the online class I'm taking right now, I signed up for a one-week novel revision class--you know, the kind that always pops up in December to take advantage of the NaNo-ites. I didn't NaNo this year. My first draft isn't even due until the end of January, but I signed up for a revision class now anyway, 'cause this is when they all seem to pop up out of the woodwork.

I entirely blame my apparent success at reaching my weekly goals this week on the fact that the chapters due were already written in earlier classes from last summer.

Working title: The Girl From Venus
Planned # of chapters: 27
Planned date of first draft completion: Jan 31st, 2016
Current chapter: 18
Finish last week's goal? Yes
This week's goal: Get at least part way into chapter 19
This month's goal: Get at least party way into Chapter 21
masqthephlsphr: (glob)
First off, congrats to all my flisters who either won NaNo or did NaNo this month. Hard work is what counts, not 50,000 words.

Second: spent a day down in Tuscon over the Thanksgiving weekend visiting a couple telescope stores (and avoiding all the other kind of stores, blech). The Sculptor and I bought our one and only Christmas gift to each other, a brand new telescope. This is one for seeing planets and nebulae and star clusters, not your neighbor's naughty habits. It has a computer attachment to help you find specific objects, but you have to move it, aim it, and focus it yourself.

Third: Wee! December. Star Wars and The Expanse.


Accountability check in 11/30/15:

When I got to chapter 15 this week, I felt a bit adrift in the story (middles. pffft), so I decided to revisit my outline in order to get an idea where the next few chapters would take me, and ended up revisiting the entire outline.

That seems to be a thing you need to do to from time to time in writing a novel: step away from the trees to look at the forest and make sure the forest blue print still makes sense, given how much the details of the story have evolved since you first outlined the thing.

I often get hung up on planning out the over-all plot too way too much for a pantser, and it ends up being overthinking, because the best-laid plans that cost me hours and days end up getting derailed by the nitty-gritty word by word. So I didn't let myself linger on that before diving back into chapter 15.

Okay, so December goals are in order.

Working title: The Girl From Venus
Planned # of chapters: 27
Planned date of first draft completion: Jan 31st, 2016
Current chapter: 16
Finish last week's goal? Yes
This week's goal: Get at least part way into chapter 17
This month's goal: Get at least party way into Chapter 21
masqthephlsphr: (vincent)
Happy Birthday, [personal profile] londonkds!!!

Happy Birthday, [personal profile] butterfly!!!
masqthephlsphr: (TGFV)
Yesterday, I finished the chapter I wanted to have done by the end of the month. It's gone back and forth from being referred to as "chapter 14" and "chapter 13" multiple times. Currently, it's chapter 14 again, because I realized there was an additional scene I needed to insert earlier in the story. That earlier scene isn't written yet, and I don't know when it will be written. By some of my previous standards of "done," chapter 14 isn't technically finished either, even though I'm calling it "finished."

Let's face it, no amount of perfectionism is remotely useful in the first draft. I have had way too many experiences where I slaved over the prose, research, technical detail, and plotting of a scene in a story, only to find that once I analyzed the plot after the first draft was done, it just didn't serve a useful role. Then you have to jettison it, but you don't want to because you worked so hard on it.

The interesting thing about actually "finishing" chapter 14 this week is that it is about four times longer than I had planned. It was supposed to be a transition scene between one setting and the next, the "quick road trip", so to speak. As I started writing it, however, I saw that the relative isolation of travel (in this case, in interplanetary space) was actually a good opportunity for the antagonist to ambush the protagonist and ratchet up the action while also forcing her to face some of her inner story issues head-on.

At the same time, bringing the antagonist in at this juncture makes it all the more obvious I really need to add a few more scenes to establish my antagonist's evolving motives better for the reader.

Which means changing the outline, and the schedule, because what’s coming out is good stuff that is both a logical plot development and more exciting as well.

Outline? Who needs a bloody outline. It's the first draft.

Working title: The Girl From Venus
Planned # of chapters: 27 28
Planned date of first draft completion: Jan 31st, 2016
Current chapter: 15
Finish last week's goal? Yes
This week's goal: Get at least part way into chapter 15
This month's goal: Chapter 14 15


In other news, I am sticking with the audio books. I finished The Girl in the Spider's Web in about three days and am currently "reading" Saturn Run by John Sanford and Ctein.
masqthephlsphr: Halt and Catch Fire (girl geek)
I have almost finished chapter 12. I'm starting chapter 13 this week, which, because of the reshuffling, is actually the chapter I've been referring to as "14" in all my weekly goal references. So technically, today I'm starting the chapter I wanted to finish by the end of this month. I don't want to use that as an excuse to get overly ambitious. In fact, it would be good to cut myself a break this week. I have at least one day when I will be go, go, going from before dawn to after dusk on non-writing things.

Besides, chapter 13 promises to be just as involved as chapter 12.

Working title: The Girl From Venus
Planned # of chapters: 27
Planned date of first draft completion: Jan 31st, 2016
Current chapter: 12
Finish last week's goal? Yes
This week's goal: Get at least part way into chapter 13
This month's goal: Chapter 13

In other news:

(1) A bit of a shake-up at work-work as my supervisor of eight years and another team lead were "let go" a few weeks back. In my sup's case, I think it was a mutual decision. He seemed pretty miserable there the past few months. But he was basically fired for incompetence--"not having the skill set his job as it is now under the new CEO regime requires." Did I mention our old CEO sold his business back in July, and we've had a new Jefe for a while? A lot of the changes I've been trying to convince my ex-bosses of for years are part of the new bosses' business-as-usual. One can only hope that after putting up with eight years of chasing my tail the craziness will level off.


(2) I have been discretely noting my writing friends' Nano progress, and what is interesting is I've noticed my feelings on NaNoWriMo have come full circle. A decade (!) ago, I wrote a skeptical entry about the utility of writing 50,000 words in a month. Then a year later, I did Nano. I did it a few more times, and one year, I did Camp Nanowrimo in July. I always felt free to change the rules to fit the moment (a different word goal, writing fan fiction, writing more than one piece, writing a story I already started).

But now I'm right back to the opinion that me and word counts are unmixy things. Mostly because I'm a born over-writer, and my forward momentum on a story is usually in an inverse relationship to the number of words I write on it. I cringe at what the novel I am working on now would be like if my goal wasn't the concrete "finish chapter 13 by the end of the week" and instead was the nebulous, "write 500 words a day."

Anyway, your mileage may vary, yada, yada.


(3) I have recently started listening to audio books. On the plus side, lying quietly in the dark in the position of your choice having the story read to you? So much more comfortable than the contortions I normally have to do to read eBooks, or God forbid, paper books. On the minus side, audio book readers consider themselves performers and you get the story through their oral interpretation of it, rather than just a straight prose reading. That can be distracting. I am encouraged, though, as I whizzed through The Girl in the Spider's Web, the latest tome in the Millennium series in about three days.

That book, I'm happy to say, ended up reading like vintage Steig Larssen despite the fact that he's been dead for years and it was written by a successor. The only quibble I have is Spoilers )
masqthephlsphr: (Default)
Finished chapter 10, although I reshuffled a few things and chapter 10 became chapter 9 and vice-versa, but both are drafted. My old chapter 12 disappeared, and chapter 13 has been split into 12 and 13, so same number of chapters, same schedule. Welcome to the fluctuating world of the first draft.

Note to self: When you're still working out the plot, don't worry about perfection.

Working title: The Girl From Venus
Planned # of chapters: 27
Planned date of first draft completion: Jan 31st, 2016
Current chapter: 11
Finish last week's goal? Yes
This week's goal: Get at least part way into chapter 12
This month's goal: Get at least part way into chapter 14.
masqthephlsphr: (vincent)
Happy Birthday, [profile] merlinmaus!!!
masqthephlsphr: (world domination)
I've reached that point in my first draft where the story is getting bogged down and going in a million directions at once and I'm not sure which way it ought to go, or if what I have outlined for the middle and end is right for the story. Certainly, a lot of the "directions" it wants to go in would involve scrapping the later planned scenes (oh, hell, I'm a pantser, who am I kidding? "Outline"? It's just an empty golden idol there to appease the story gods).

This is the point writers start getting frustrated and want to give up, and you need to keep going until you figure out what the story is really all about and the best way to tell it. Then you will see how to cut the crap out.

So, with that in mind, I am going to start a little accountability journaling.

Working title: The Girl From Venus
Planned (cough) # of chapters: 27
Planned date of first draft completion: Jan 31st, 2016
Current chapter: 10
This week's goal: Finish chapter 10
This month's goal: Get at least part way into chapter 14.

NoNoNaNo

Oct. 28th, 2015 06:31 am
masqthephlsphr: (word)
I am not going to be doing NaNoWriMo this year, ironically, because I am busy working on the first draft of my new novel. I have a rhythm down and it really isn't compatible with cranking out as many words as possible every day for 30 days. Plus, next month, I have a three-day work conference, a new writing class starting, and plans out of town for Turkey Day.

I've been doing my writing first thing in the morning. That is about the only time of day I have any energy, as work has been really busy for the past couple months (if you don't understand the reference "ICD-10", count yourself fortunate).

And I have other sources of social energy besides NaNo. The writing classes, including a course following Julia Cameron's Artist Way got me going on morning pages. And the Twitter hashtag #WriteChain has continued that by giving me a place to keep accountable for my daily writing goals.

My main excuse, though, has been physical pain. Unless a quip is short enough that I can peck it out with a finger or short enough for my voice-to-text not to get lost mid-sentence then crap out on me, I don't post it much. Hence my continued presence on Facebook.

I might try doing a November blogging thing if there are folks still around here in LJ/DW land. Roll call?
masqthephlsphr: (vincent)
Happy Birthday, [personal profile] mamculuna!!!
masqthephlsphr: (vincent)
Happy Birthday, [personal profile] a2zmom!!
masqthephlsphr: (vincent)
Happy Birthday, [personal profile] cactuswatcher!!!

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