Nom, nom, nom.

  • Nov. 2nd, 2010 at 11:00 AM
pepper: Pepperpot (Pepperpot)
Note to self: go to Milan, buy chocolate panettone someday.

In somewhat related news, one of my colleagues brought some chocolate panettone in today, that their stepmother brought back from holiday. It is so good. I can't figure out how they got the gooey chocolate into it without it becoming simply part of the dough - gooey seems to be its natural state at room temperature. Maybe it was injected afterwards?

Speaking of things culinary, I ordered some ginger recently, when I did some online shopping. I thought I ordered one piece - I didn't really mind what size, I only needed a little bit - but I ended up with a big bag of the stuff. Perhaps I ordered it by weight, and ordered 1lb, not 1 piece. I dunno. Anyway, this resulted in me looking up how to preserve ginger. I tried this recipe, because... well, because I have a NaNo to write and I needed something to procrastinate with concentrate on while I thought about the story. It was actually pretty easy, it just took a long time, and I ended up with a couple of lovely by-products - namely a water, ginger and lemonade mix that was nice with a bit more lemonade added, and ginger syrup. Ginger syrup, omg.

I'm thinking up lots of things I could now do with the ginger syrup. Mixed into ice cream! Added to mulled wine! Taken when I have a cough! Spread on pancakes! Eaten straight from the jar with a spoon!

I also, this weekend and yesterday - I was off yesterday - made pepper and poppyseed bread*, potato cakes**, céleri rémoulade** (similar to coleslaw, except with celeriac), naan bread, dahl, and raita. We had a little homemade Indian meal yesterday. It's amazing how motivated I get when I'm supposed to be writing something. But I did hit my word target, so that's okay.

They're repeating Colditz, the 1970s TV series, at the moment (on Yesterday, for UK peeps). Gosh, David McCallum was adorable. Well, okay, he's still adorable - but, er, not quite as devastatingly attractive, IMO.

I have more intelligent - well, more lengthy - things to say about the series, but not right now.

p.s. Scrivener is awesome.




* While very drunk! And it was delicious! I get to a certain state where I want to prove I'm still capable, so I do things like vacuuming, making bread, cleaning the bathroom...

** While hungover. Not so much fun. I kept having to stop and sit down for a bit. Also, the bloody Madagascar Penguins had an entire cartoon about trying to make one of them throw up, which really didn't help.

.

*is Cat*

  • Jul. 16th, 2010 at 9:26 AM
pepper: "What is it...?" "It's a rent in the space-time continuum." (RD what is it)
Writing Sam POV often means I need to go in search of some proper scientific words for things, which is a bit frustrating when I find it hard enough to remember ordinary words - when called upon to verbalise 'fridge', for example, my brain is likely to seize up and go, "Um, that thing, large, white, keeps stuff cool, sits in the kitchen... You know. The thing." This is why I prefer to write rather than speak, because at least with writing I can stop and think about it without people getting impatient and completing my sentences with entirely the wrong words.

But I digress.

What I mean to say is, I have a new favourite scientific phrase (just ousting Quantum foam), which I intend to wedge into a fic if I possibly can: the Airy wave theory, so called because it was first published by George Biddell Airy, and it's about waves.

Awesome.

I still haven't found what I'm looking for, though. What do you call the something-or-other just before a moving object? The... air displacement, water displacement, the warning shivers before a full earthquake, the tiny sliver of air pushed out in front of a car or a plane, the crinkles on the surface of a blob of jam when you push it with a finger to test if it's set and you can stop boiling it...

You know. The thing.

Jul. 9th, 2010

  • 9:56 AM
pepper: Woman writing (Writing)
All my fic-writing mojo from earlier this year has disappeared, oh woes. I still have plenty of ideas, but I'm entirely failing to get anything written - they're just staying in my head (the bastards). I get about four paragraphs in, and stop, and although I keep thinking about them, I never seem to continue. And then I let that one drop, because obviously it's going nowhere at the moment, and start a new one, and get four paragraphs in...

Focus. That seems to be what I'm lacking at the moment. Okay, new plan:

1) Write the [community profile] 36_stratagems fic that's due next week, dammit.

2) Finish the companion fic to All To Myself, Alone which managed to sneak in past my lack of focus, and which is effectively finished but needs fleshing out (ahem).

3) Finish the Jack/Sara fic that is so nearly done, dammit, it just needs an ending and some polish.

4) Lather, rinse, repeat.

Okay... GO.

Help me, Obi-Wan, you're my only hope!

  • May. 28th, 2010 at 2:37 PM
pepper: Jack O'Neill, caption "Oy." (Oy)
Oh, Stargate. Let me enumerate the ways in which your canon sucks.

So. I'm trying to put together an approximate (hah!) timeline for Stargate prehistory. Of course, this is complicated by Stargate's own inconsistencies, and the fact that the film contradicts the episodes, which in turn contradict themselves...

Aaaanyhow. This is my rough approximation, giving preference to props (ID badges) rather than words, and the series rather than the film, and based on the idea that the series is set at about the same time that it came out:

1945: Stargate opened for the "first" time; Ernest lost.
1952: Jack born.
1965: Daniel born.
1968: Sam born.
1969: SG-1 back in time, meet Hammond, Catherine.
1973: Daniel's parents die1.
1981/82...?: Sam's mother dies2.
1985/86...?: Charlie born3.
1990/91 (during the Gulf War): Jack prisoner in Iraq for 4 months.
1995/96...?: Charlie dies.
1996: Stargate reopened, mission to Abydos (Daniel left behind).
1997: Apophis comes through Stargate, SG-1 formed, start of series.

Any thoughts gladly welcomed.

---

1 NICK: I am sorry.
DANIEL: For what?
NICK: For not adopting you when your parents died.
DANIEL: You were travelling all over the world.
NICK: It wasn't your fault.
DANIEL: I was eight years old, how could it have been my fault?

2: I'm bad at assessing children's ages - she's, what, thirteen?

3: Honestly, so bad at assessing ages.

Grammar and scifi.

  • May. 19th, 2010 at 7:05 PM
pepper: Strunk & White Rules of Grammar #10 (Grammar 10 pronoun)
I was thinking yesterday, wouldn't it be useful to have a general grammar guide for some of those scifi tropes we all know and (sometimes) love? The one where they all swap bodies, the one where they travel back into the past, the one where they meet alternate versions of themselves...

There aren't really any rules for this stuff, not in English grammar, because it's not designed for time travel, alternate versions of oneself, etc. But having been a scifi fan since forever, a fanfic writer for just as long, and always, well, not a Grammar Nazi, but at least a... Grammar Collaborator? Um, let's drop those terms, they make me uncomfortable. I'm a grammaphile, and I've wrestled with some of these concepts before, trying to put them into legible English.

There are some awesome grammar comms out there, in particular [livejournal.com profile] fandom_grammar but they're more about actual, real grammar, and not this made up stuff. *g*

Note: I ain't no expert, and I'm not trying to be prescriptive. These are suggestions as to what feels right, YMMV, go strut your funky creative licence stuff. I have a few book to which I might refer (principally Strunk & White's Elements of Style), but they are also subject to changes in location (British =/= American =/= Canadian =/= Australian =/= other places' proper grammar) and time (language evolves, goddammit). I myself am prone to older grammar constructions, having read a lot of old books in my formative years. I welcome correction, suggestion and debate, but not flames or outright revolution.

And I'm blaming [personal profile] crazedturkey for encouraging this whole idea.


So, what shall we tackle first? Well, seeing as I've been polling opinion on this one recently, how about bodyswap and gendered pronouns... )

I think I see what the problem is.

  • May. 14th, 2010 at 10:59 PM
pepper: Woman writing (Writing)
When I first started reading fanfic... no, let me start further back.

When I first started writing down the fanfic that had been uncurling in my head since I first liked a story, it was rubbish. I shamelessly ripped off LoTR with my epic saga of Arwen Evenstar rewritten as a Mary Sue, riding around Middle Earth on a pony. I was twelve or thirteen. Heck, thinking about it, that wasn't my first fanfic, but it was certainly my first finished one, and I was very proud. I wrote it out neatly and gave it to my English teacher, and she was mightily impressed. I did pretty well in English. Later on, for my A'levels, I was asked to write a diary from the point of view of Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. That was where I started to learn about writing in English-that-was-not-my-accent.

When I first started reading online fanfic, it was mostly pretty terrible (ASIDE: ah, alt.tv.x-files.creative, those were the days! My tall, Canadian internet boyfriend... yes, I lived the cliché). It was trial and error, and the good stories were precious, I saved them all on floppy discs. I got used to the idea of fanfic as a natural progression of my own interests in reading, watching, and writing.

When I got into X-Men, I knew enough to go searching for fanfic for my pairing of choice. Being more critical by then, I almost gave up in despair before I found the good stuff - but eventually I did find it, and boy was it good.

By the time I got into Stargate, I had some methods for finding good fanfic, the most reliable of which was to look for anyone writing fic of vaguely the kind I want, follow their recs, find someone who wasn't completely unreadable, follow their recs, find someone decent, follow their recs, find someone even better...

So, this is what I think I've learned: the problem with some of these writers is that they've never found the good stuff. Leaving aside the issues inherent in reading fanfic of one's own work, they're not interested in reading fanfic of other people's work*, in fanfic for its own sake. And that's fine - their choice. But because of that, the only fanfic they'll encounter is the most immediately accessible to someone not familiar with finding good fanfic.

Really, I feel quite sorry for them. I honestly do. I've read things that would make their hair curl. I've found stories that blow the professional works on the shelves of my local bookstore clear out of the water - out there, free, gratis, for anyone to read. But to find them, to read those jewels, the reader has to fight Sturgeon's Law, and unless and until they've done that, all they're likely to see is the crap.

The books we buy are often better than a random selection of fanfic, but that's comparing apples and oranges: people rarely buy books by poking a pin into the list of all books published that month. If that's how they're examining fanfic, no wonder they think it's the Pits.

---

There you go, my tl;dr. [personal profile] thefourthvine put it much more succinctly in this post: Because, okay, yes, most fan fiction is crap, but so is most published fiction. (Anyone who wants to refute that has to read ten books selected by me first.)





* Unless it's published, like The Wide Sargasso Sea, but famously brilliant works do not a representative sample make.

May. 4th, 2010

  • 10:03 PM
pepper: Woman writing (Writing)
I haven't much to add to today's histrionics, except that a) everyone should just link to this on the next iteration of this argument, and b) many years ago, I read a story that made a great impression on me, in a book of Sherlock Holmes parodies and pastiches. This was 'The Adventure of the Two Collaborators', by J.M. Barrie.

Barrie was a good friend of Conan Doyle, and they tried to write an operetta together - sadly for them, the thing was a flop. A little later, Barrie wrote 'The Adventure...' in the flyleaf of a book, which he presented to Conan Doyle. I have no doubt that Conan Doyle found it hilarious. It's very brief, and I highly recommend it as both a good Holmes parody and a brief insight into the Victorian literary world.

In bringing to a close the adventures of my friend Sherlock Holmes I am perforce reminded that he never, save on the occasion which, as you will now hear, brought his singular career to an end, consented to act in any mystery which was concerned with persons who made a livelihood by their pen.

"I am not particular about the people I mix among for business purposes," he would say, "but at literary characters I draw the line."


There is also a valuable lesson to be learned about gunning for the golden goose in the last, wise words of Mr Sherlock Holmes.

Things I wonder about on my way to work

  • Apr. 29th, 2010 at 9:51 AM
pepper: Pepperpot (Default)
Does Jack know how to dance? Formal sort of dance, I mean - not getting down on the disco floor (god help us all). I've read fics where he does, and they're not all badfics - okay, the majority were, but not all. He's the same generation as my parents, who took themselves to dance classes at one point, as a sort of... thing that people do. But. I'm still having problems picturing it.

I wonder if the others know how to dance. Are there Jaffa formal dances?

Cut for disconnected wittering. )

Mar. 22nd, 2010

  • 9:19 AM
pepper: Is it safe to come out yet? (Safe to come out yet?)
No, brain. No. NO. I have to write Mac pr0n, and get Teal'c into a bar with Travis from B7. It's not use you jumping up and down and excitedly telling me that 'I Think We're Alone Now' by Tiffany or Tommy James & the Shondells (or even Girls Aloud) would make the perfect starting point for a mini!OTP fic (one following Fragile Balance, where Jack's team have been mini-me'd, too, and they're all at high school together). I'M NOT LISTENING. NO. NOT EVEN IF THEY'RE MAKING OUT UNDER THE BLEACHERS. NO.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I've read the bleachers thing, so you're not even original.

ETA: ARGH! Sneak attack by one of the tropes!

Some things about me.

  • Feb. 1st, 2010 at 12:01 PM
pepper: Woman writing (Writing)
This began as my take on the latest fannish wibble, but somehow turned into my fandom manifesto. Will crosspost to LJ when I get on, this evening.


1. I don't believe slash has access to a deep, underlying truth that het and gen are somehow missing, and that someday, if I'm a very good girl and eat all my greens, I'll understand.

2. I don't believe that het is always indisputably right and canonical. Heteronormative happens.

3. I don't believe that gen is the only proper and unbiased way to read a show (not that I've run across gen people who say that, but you know – for the sake of equality. *g*).

4. I think it's impossible to really know whether an actor was staring soulfully into his co-star's eyes and willing the audience to believe this was True Love, or if he was staring at a wig on a stick for the tenth take that morning, willing the director to yell "Cut!" so he could go grab some lunch.

5. I know that a (TV/movie) character is not created by just one person – so while I will be interested in one person (actor, director, writer, editor...)'s take on that character, and it may make me look at them differently, I won't necessarily take it as an Ultimate Truth.

(5b. That said, I think it's a bit different for characters in books, because there's usually just one driving force behind their creation. But I still feel free to apply my own interpretation in the privacy of my own head, and on my own blog. Put your hand down, Ms. McCaffrey. Yes, you will be marked down for handing it in late, Ms. Rowling.)

6. The show as it is broadcast is the finished product, in my opinion, and anything else – going to all the conventions, talking to the actors, watching the cut scenes, owning the action figures, an in-depth knowledge of a subject that the show touches on – is gravy: nice, but ultimately not essential.

7. I believe that being an expert in a TV show is about as serious as a study of The Da Vinci Code. Which is to say, not at all. It's fiction, and acknowledged as such by the creators. That means they have a license to make shit up if the facts don't fit the storyline. In turn, fans have the freedom to interpret that how they like. (Yes, even the new Doctor Who fans, no matter how much I want to tell them to get off my lawn.)

8. I don't have to like someone's interpretation, but I don't believe that gives me the right to tell them they're wrong. They're not wrong; they just have a different opinion.

9. I do, however, want to be challenged if someone finds my interpretation in some way hurtful or damaging or sexist or racist or homophobic or ageist or sizist or... I choose my words because of their connotations, so ideally I'd like to know if those connotations differ significantly for other people. I don't want to perpetuate oppressive beliefs.

10. I would like for the above, particularly the last two, to apply in reverse.

50 Top Tropes

  • Mar. 27th, 2009 at 1:33 PM
pepper: Pepperpot (Default)
I've tidied up and alphabetised the cliché list (OCD much?), tweaked, changed, and clarified some things, and added a few things I thought were missing, to bulk it up to a nice, round 50. Is it wrong that my aim is to do everything on this list at least once?

Also, I think this should be rebranded as tropes, rather than clichés, because it has a less negative connotation. IMO. I mean, yes, often they are clichés, but I've also seen them done well and interestingly. Or amusingly crackish. *g*

Tropes, dammit. Tropes! )

Mar. 11th, 2009

  • 3:25 PM
pepper: Pepperpot (Jack Sam friends)
Because [livejournal.com profile] annerbhp's latest icon challenge got me pondering this on my bus in the morning:

Do you think that there can be non-shippy stories where Sam and Jack have sex? Or is that, by your definition, shippy?

As you know, Bob, there's not really a great deal of Sam and Jack friendship fic out there, and the definitions can be a little hazy anyway, with the difference in intent and perception (one person's UST is another person's friendly banter).

What I mean is... gen people, could you imagine reading/writing a Sam and Jack friendship fic where they are forced into that sort of relationship? Or, Sam/Jack people, could you imagine reading/writing that kind of fic, but without the UST angle - one where it's their friendship that they have to salvage? And without a happy ending where they're given permission by the Prez to break the frat regs. *g*

(And no, this is NOT what I'm planning to do for my [livejournal.com profile] jacksamfriends fic!)

The year in fic meme

  • Jan. 1st, 2009 at 5:40 PM
pepper: Pepperpot (Rooms in my head)
The useful thing about this meme is that it made me find various fics that I'd forgotten I'd written, and hadn't tagged or linked properly, or sometimes hadn't even posted to my own LJ.

Total number of stories written in 2008: 27
Total wordcount of posted stories: 27,649

Breakdown of those fics:
Sam/Jack: 5
Sam/MacGyver: 3
Sam/Daniel: 2 ½*
Other (Daniel/Sha'uri, Daniel/team, Jack/Sara, Sam/Pete, Jack/Martha): 5
Gen: 11 ½* (when the heck did I turn into a gen writer?!? Fig, I blame this on you and your Alphabet Soups!)

*The half-gen, half-Sam/Daniel fic is It's Been An Honor.


The stories. )

The questions. )


2006

2007

*is a sheep*

  • Aug. 28th, 2007 at 1:15 PM
pepper: Pepperpot (Apocalypse now?)
[personal profile] aurora_novarum, you're a star! Your pep talk seems to have done the trick – I'm tentatively hopeful that I might actually finish this story and reclaim my soul bit. And working out the season really did help. Thank you ever so much. You might have saved my sanity. *g*

Oh, I held out, but I can resist no longer...


The state of my apocalypse

Current wordcount: 365 (!!!)
Total wordcount of versions written and then discarded: Circa 15,000+ (*headdesk*) 
Number of times I've had an epiphany of 'This is it! I've got it at last!': About once every two weeks
Number of complete restarts from the beginning: 8
Bits I really like that aren't going to make the final cut: Vast swathes
Number of plans drawn up: 5
Number of plans I usually draw up for a fic: 0
Number of changes to how the world ended: 4 (Replicators, Ori, Goa'uld attack, never discovered) 
Originality of ideas: 3%
Number of ficathons I've tried to write this for:
Length of playlist for writing this fic to: 3.6 hrs, before my iPod died and took with it the playlist.
Certainty I have of finishing this time: 58% (amber alert)
Likelihood of me turning into Inspector Clouseau's boss or Robert Lindsey in GBH before this fic is done: High (already got the eye-twitch) 
Pirates: 4  5  galactic network of  currently none
Reason this fic is making me so nuts: I have no idea

Aug. 7th, 2007

  • 2:59 PM
pepper: Pepperpot (Wheee)
*squeaks, high-pitched, like a bat*

Lunchtime today, 549 words on my apocafic! IT LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVES!

Is it any coincidence that I cut my nails last night? I think not.

Also, today I have dressed like an egg. I hoped no one would notice - that they would think I was just dressed in a nice, summery yellow skirt and white top. Naturally, the first person to see me said, "Egg!". Dammit.

Aug. 2nd, 2007

  • 11:04 AM
pepper: Pepperpot (Aaah)
You know what? I'm blaming my keyboards. THAT'S why my apocafic has died a death. My keyboards - both at home and at work.

Stay with me on this. 

See, I find the smallest things make it easier or harder for me to write. Cutting my nails, that's another one - whenever I cut my nails, I find myself suddenly typing a lot more. If I have long nails, I type less. I'm like some kind of reverse Sampson, only with nails, and writing fanfic rather than pulling down temples. Um. And it's odd, because I don't notice my nails getting in the way or anything, when they're long - but when they're short, typing is suddenly that much more tappytappytappythisiseasyandIcanhitallthekeyswithoutahiccup...

So, my inability to write. It's not the weather - because it's not that hot, neither is it that cold. It's just... meh. It's like un-weather (now the rains have stopped trying to drown half the country).  It's not lack of time, now I've posted the CotG thing (wow, that went well!), and done the AIM thing, and had the holiday, and come back to work (which is keeping me busy and productive, but not in a stressful way - rather, it's pretty joyful to feel useful at work, for once). It's not other stresses - finances okay, check; (mostly) good relationship, check; keeping active, check; eating sensibly, check; getting enough sleep, check... It's not the lack of inspiration, either - I keep thinking of bits and twists and lines and changes and stuff that needs to get the hell out of my head and onto a page.

So, why can't I write this damn fic, for the rapidly-looming deadline (Aug 12-18 OMG)? Clearly it's the keyboards. On the work one, I have to press just that slight bit harder than I find natural, otherwise some of the keys stick. It's fine for work - meaning there's no excuse to requisition a new one. The one at home is... it's too.. it's... grah. 

Dammit, [profile] surrealphantastis going to end up with a piece of my soul in a jar on her desk, I just know it. (Is anyone else picturing that like the dreams in jars in the BFG, or is it just me?)

Jun. 25th, 2007

  • 1:20 PM
pepper: Pepperpot (Blossom)
I have nothing fannish to say. *g* Oh, except that I've made a post that will stay on the top of the page, with links to all my fic. I've seen this done on several journals, and it seemed like a good idea. I think I've got all the links correct...

edit: Just remembered! I've put links in the above-mentioned post to the Christmas party reel comment fic by [personal profile] crazedturkey, [personal profile] holdouttrout, [profile] sjfan, [profile] linnet_101, and [profile] niamaea - I hope that's okay with you guys? If it's a problem, let me know ([personal profile] crazedturkey in particular, 'cause I linked to the fic you posted in your journal).

Jun. 13th, 2007

  • 1:15 PM
pepper: Pepperpot (Monk phobias)

I haven't squeed about my course lately. Mainly because, for the last two lessons (which are once a week), our usual tutor was away. We had someone who claimed to be "just as knowledgeable". That may well have been the case, but his ability to communicate that knowledge was non-existent, so we spent the lessons pootling around with the programme. Which, y'know, is all well and good as a learning method (that's pretty much how I learnt Photoshop), but I have the programme downloaded onto my laptop at home. I can pootle in my spare time. Bah.

But anyhow, yesterday, Juan - the regular tutor - was back, and there was much rejoicing (in my brain, anyhow - the class is pretty quiet and subdued). We learnt about how to create a curve that can be rotated so you get something that's symmetrical, all the way around. I made a table lamp that lit up. *g*

I'm definitely getting to grips with the basics. And the good thing is, now I'm not moving house, I'm able to go in to the college during the summer, after the course has finished. Juan said we could just call him and ask if it was okay to use the computers. Whee! I'll definitely have to take him up on that, if I can get some free time.

In fannish news, I can't concentrate. I have lots of new shinies, and that's not a very good idea. There's the 

[profile] gateverse_remix that I must get done (once I've finished my 'research' - i.e. watching certain eps). There's the Sam/Daniel cutefest with [profile] abyssinia4077 that I want to write more for. There's a project me, [personal profile] geneeste, and [profile] vickyocean have tentatively started (I'm all about the collaboration, lately). And yesterday, [profile] vickyocean  mentioned a plot bunny to me, and now all I want to write is a Stargate western. Gah! Must. Concentrate. On. One. Thing. At. A. Time.

Oh, and I must must must email / phone my rl friend Vick. Because she emailed me ages ago and I didn't reply. Very bad me. Sorry, Vick, if you're reading this - I did get it, and I will reply! I swear! :)

 

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