September 7th, 2007

thesis thesis drunk

'...it might have been.'

Naturally, when I'm drunk off my ass I feel compelled to weep and tell people things. This is why they should never let me at LJ when I'm drunk. Good job for all y'all that I'm not quite drunk off my ass, just a bit intoxicated. (Up too late, plus a moderately sized shotglass of raspbeery booze is drunk enough.) Is this a nameless sorrow that means I've done something wrong to my wizardry? I feel like there are things I'm not catching up with.

Ginger looks eerily like her own mother.

Writers group still has a lot of flux going on. I dropped the ball on actually having a discreet word with the person who needs having a discreet word with. This could be worse, but it's still not good.

I have a bunch of books in boxes now. That makes a lot of the rest of the things in that section of the room look a lot more like people aren't living here and we might be able to move out in some sort of timely fashion. Will I be living out of suitcases if my packing gets ahead of my brains? I hope not. That would be irritating. I want somewhere ground floor to be able to stow the boxen. Maybe I should inquire after a storage unit, so we can just load and unload, gradually putting things in the storage unit and then moving them in one massive glomp of movingness. We were making plots.

I need a new yoga ball for the laptop, as the old one bit the dust after a good long term of service.

[Insert shower here. Shower, and some packing. Lando is on crack, y0.]

If I'm to be perfectly honest with myself (and since this is LJ, I ought to), I know where the sorrow's coming from. It's the usual, the usual, a whole lot of the usual. I'm in recovery; I shouldn't beat myself up for it; I'm never to be entirely quit of this. Life just doesn't work that way. I'm 27; oughtn't I to have a family now? I guess seeing the picture that Mama sent, the one of Ginger and her son -- Ginger and I are almost the same age. She's the first of the friends I've grown up with who's both married (happily) and reproduced. Shawn does not count in that list. (I didn't grow up with him.) Seeing Tay-Tay with a baby would completely freak me out; I'd probably have to go into therapy or something. My head has certain ways the universe works, and some things are just not on it.

I called Dawn when I was at lunch, and Darkside some time after I got home. Darkside stayed on the line long enough to hear the hysterical tale of bad cnames, but my timing was impeccably bad as is often the case. I'm destined to have a best friend forever in him, I think, and he in me. Since Circle of Fire is on the drafting floor again, some of the college stuff (the stuff involving Shrimpy, mostly, and his ill-aimed love spell) is coming up in my head. I can't claim that the cast is entirely 100% fictional, but I can claim with a clear conscience that none of the book is intended to depict real people or events. (There are some real places in there, like Phoenix, and I think some of the Phoenix driving descriptions are going to be dead-on.) I tell tall tales, and I can't help but wonder how it would have been if ... and I come up with some strange "if" ideas in my pointy little head. What if Shrimpy had never intervened? What if it had failed? Would I have my best friend now? What tradeoffs do we take in exchange for the blessings?

...for all the things that could have been, I'd find it hard to trade out of where I am now.
Cock-Cola

I really don't want an ecosystem in my apartment.

Today appears to be "import my stacked-up stacks of new CDs" day. I have a Rule that new CDs don't get put in the CD binders until they've been ripped onto the computer. I took a bag of assorted stuff down to the laundry room. I'm stripping the tags off the nice soft skirt. There will be laundry eventually.

hcolleen has been playing her old favorite version of mahjongg. This resulted in me pulling up an online version of Bejeweled. I have been playing it perhaps more than I should be. That's a very easy addiction for me.

Today I finished up Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu. I plan to re-read Robin McKinley's Sunshine before I pack it; I may add it to hcolleen's reading stack as well.

Myrrh! Tomorrow at noon-thirty, we have an appointment way the fuck in Tempe! So we shall gather you up! We shall plot about apartments!

Scrubbin' Bubbles. It works. It is a spray-can of liquid with a detergent, so the liquid can go straight into the spiracles. I have learned a great many things from Mama's biology background, but she only taught me the theory on that one. The practical aspects, I worked out for myself.

I have a drinking glass that has the name of a soda, in many different languages. It makes me happy.

I have three very large boxes of books right now, and I'm sure there will be more. I may think better of this and pack books in smaller boxes, but at least for now, at least they're packed. We're thinking mid-October.
fangirl, _schools4303

Self-insert/OC in Fanfic -- (fixing) the Spotlight Hog Sue

It's been said before, I'm sure, but it probably bears repeating again, from someone with slightly more sympathy than many towards the problem of original characters in fanfiction settings -- your average reader is going to come there for the fanfiction aspect of it, because you're working with the characters and situations they love. They know what they like, and they're reading your story because they want more of it. And you've got this character, and s/he's completely awesome and kicking ass and is a beautiful complex character -- and you get slammed with horrible reviews because that wonderful complex character you created is the star of the show, and you've neglected the characters people came in expecting to see.

Keep an eye on who gets screen time. Yes, you're going to devote time to your original character, especially if s/he really does kick ass. But make sure to give input from the canon characters as well. If you have your original character kicking ass and the canon characters standing around like a bunch of useless chumps, it's really not fair to anybody. Let the canon characters help out, even if it's your original character's mission. Distribute the lines and the action a little more.

If you really have to, go back to the very basics and figure out which stereotypical role each of the characters in the scene plays, and divide it up that way -- in Potter fandom, Harry is the hero and the jock, Ron is the sidekick, and Hermione is the brain. Your original character might be the crazy one, or another brain, sidekick, or hero/jock. Figure out what has to happen in the scene, and who has to contribute what part of it. Is that an idea that comes from a Brain, or does it come from a Lunatic? Certainly the characters won't stay within their stereotypes, not if they're sufficiently well-developed characters, but it's a place to start.

Having the characters go outside of their basic stereotypes provides depth of character, and establishing why they're deviating from the things they ordinarily do adds character development, but straying too far from the character outlines given in canon without some really super suspension of disbelief leads to accusations of taking them too far out-of-character. (If you have to take them too far out of character to establish what you were trying for in the fic, the characters may actually be telling you that they'd like to move into their own original universe, or at least get new identities and turn into a bit of spinoff fanfic rather than main-storyline fanfic.) Redistributing lines may mean that your original character loses a large percentage of action and dialog, but that actually may help strengthen the character and the story (and get you better reviews).

If one of the canon characters is present, but contributing virtually nothing to the conversation, why is that? If your original character were absent from the scene, would that character still be off in their own world, or would they be doing something else? If your original character is twice as smart as Hermione, and drop-dead gorgeous, and is taking over the things that Hermione would have been saying in the same situation if the OC weren't there... do you really think Hermione is going to take this lying down? She might be off sulking there, or she might be spoiling for a gigantic screaming bitchfight, but she's probably not going to be standing there mute and expressionless while your original character hogs the spotlight.

Figure out the group dynamics. Some things aren't going to change -- Ron and Hermione are going to play off each other, Ron is going to be protective of Harry and defend his friendship with Harry against anyone trying to take up too much of Harry's time and attention, Hermione is going to try to mother the boys a bit and keep them out of trouble. Some things are going to change. If your character wants to be Harry's new best friend, Ron is probably going to loathe your character, and Ron is probably also going to be a bit of a dick to Harry, especially if Harry is giving that character more attention than he is giving Ron.

Even if the world you're working in involves magic, human interaction patterns won't change all that horribly much. Not all characters are going to react the same. Hermione would probably shrug it off if someone were making close friends with Harry, as long as she thought that person was all right and wouldn't lead to Harry's getting in more, worse, trouble. If that person tried to become Harry's research/idea person, Ron would probably shrug it off, but Hermione might feel threatened -- or they might become the best of friends and bounce bright ideas off each other.

One of the reasons for not giving canon characters as big a say as they probably should have is not being comfortable writing the characters, or knowing that you write that particular character awkwardly, for whatever reason. So you know you have these characters to work with, so you include them in the scene because they're there -- and then do nothing with them, so it's like they're standing there with nothing to say or do. This isn't a good scene to be setting up. Either they should be there in the scene, and have a voice, and do things, or they shouldn't be in that scene at all. Figure out which way you want to take it -- either find something for them to do there, or find something for them to be doing somewhere else, and get them out of that scene so you don't have to deal with them.

If a character's thoughts and reactions are nothing like mine and I haven't the foggiest how they'd actually react to a situation like that, I don't take my chances on guessing about it! I check in with a friend, especially if I have a friend who identifies strongly with that character. I get their input on how the character would probably react in a situation like that, and I reconcile that to my understanding of the character and what's going to actually work in the story. This can also help with the problem of all of your characters acting too much like each other.

But what if your original character just refuses to behave? What if they are the hero of the story, and there are only a few very minor things that the canon characters are actually doing, and any more involvement from the canon characters would ruin the story? Then, my friend, you may well have a budding piece of original fiction on your hands. Polish the original character, find a new supporting cast that fills those same roles as the old canon's characters, and start looking about for an original universe that will suit.