i was going to write a crotchety email about how scrivener (fancy writing program) doesn’t mesh with my ~*~process~*~
but then I thought “isozyme, your process involves putting everything in a single textedit document. you can’t even write in microsoft word because it feels too official. you put your outline in bold in the same document, kind of around the bits that are finished. don’t talk to people”
spazzplosion said: Yes Hello I would read your Meet/Hermann fic I need more scientist boyfriends in my life. By which I mean, I need them.
I will take this encouragement as an excuse to provide another snippet.
"Oh, Newton," Hermann says, like he also knows exactly how much trouble Newt is having, has been having, with this whole responsible Principal Investigator schtick and pities him for it, which is simply intolerable and makes Newt want to egg Hermann’s car or smash some expensive glassware or get something aggressively rude tattooed somewhere really prominent.
"Don’t ‘Oh, Newton’ me," Newt says. "I don’t need to be ‘Oh Newton’-ed I need…" and here he breaks off, because he’d almost said "for things to go back to normal," and nobody thinks things like that about horrible impending-doom positions on the screaming edge of the kaiju-mediated apocalypse.
"I need additional coffee," Newt says instead.
This is the worst, he is so unforgivably bad at this.
- Newt/Hermann, overly technical kaiju cloning fic, currently untitled, 10k+ and hoping to publish as one-shot
- Cecil/Carlos, sad brainwashing/memory loss fic, If I Was Lost For A Day, chapter 2 completely stalled about 2k in, someday I will finish it i swear
- Steve/Sam/Natasha, de-serum’d safehouse fic about how Steve’s body is alien to him and Bucky’s body is alien to him, dead in the water :(
- Finish disenfranchised ghost story, 2 more scenes to go!
- Edit the super-old alchemist and the soldier story with the too-quick ending and the cool lifebonding magic
- Write the thing with the test pilots in the california desert breaking into another world instead of breaking the sound barrier, bringing back only epic poetry in their heads (significant research investment, also writing poetry)
- Write the consciousness-binning war vet story (huge research investment)
- …think about filing the serial #s off of that one thing and turning it into a novel outline…
elanid said: #2, original :)
Sere Gulliarme is brought into custody for treason to the state on her 67th birthday, eight months after she fled her position as military advisor, but the youth in her pain-set face unsettles those who had searched for her. She was not meant to be life-laced with anyone; they cannot execute her if she can prove the lacing.
The traitor keeps her head high and tracks grey silt across the red bricks of the square.
silviya7 said: 5, original!
Ys’s cat was named Loss, and he brought us meat every morning, although when he brought in white doves we could never bring ourselves to eat them. It was so hot back then that if you found a nice flat rock, a black one, you could cook game on it so the skin crisped and darkened.
After that it was Marilyn, Dora, Ys and me, Char, although I didn’t come from anywhere. I’ve just been out on the desert forever, a tall woman with a wide-brimmed hat and gravel-weathered boots.
We can take a town with nothing but the jeep we had and six pistols, one for each hip except Ys’s, as her cat could rake the heart out of a man with one paw.
novasterdraws said: #5!
"Hm," Hermann says, and steps crisply away to intervene in an escalating math squabble across the room. Newt spares a moment to be bitterly jealous of whoever’s snatching Hermann’s attention away from him, then realizes that’s incredibly childish and stomps on the impulse to trail along after Hermann.
Newt pulls his collar askew again and sulks off onto the relatively deserted porch. He stares at the fireflies and lets his mind chew on the latest snag in his kaiju stem cell pluripotency cocktail. Newt lets the bioluminescent flashes in the soft blue dark stand in as nodes and builds a mental model pathway, a fragile network of protein switches: on, off, amplify, dampen, kinase, phosphatase, clone a kaiju, don’t clone a kaiju.
deusvolt said: 5, original?
Finished canvases were hung to dry on the walls, painted faces tilted downwards to thwart the dust. Rian checked them all as she dragged her easel into the largest square of natural light in the room. She counted one fewer than there had been the morning before—beside the window there was a gap and an empty nail. Rian left her easel to stand in front of the blank spot, the rush of earlier glee draining swiftly out of her and leaving her feeling thinned out inside like a raw stretched canvas, tight and thrumming with every touch of her heartbeat.
A white raven lay on the floor, feathers smooth and wings twisted into the wrong posture, its open beak streaked with a single narrow line of inky black just like the elegant sweep of profile that Rian had painted several days ago.
(you may specify fic or original if you want!)
Anonymous said: I mean honestly you can't complain about sexism and then be sexist. You should google the definition of "hypocrite" sometime (:
Oh nonny, honestly, I can do whatever the fuck I want.
I’ve got a complaint about sexism: last week a dude followed me and my friend into an elevator on a subway platform, and then tailed us through a busy crowd until we found a women’s bathroom to hide in for ten minutes.
And I’m gonna admit that I turned around and was sexist in kind: I laughed at a gif of a guy getting hit in the face with a fish on the internet. I laughed for like fifteen minutes and couldn’t stop.
Another complaint: it’s fucked up that only 18.5% of US congress seats are held by women, and that we’ve never had a female president.
But one time I called a dude “king nerd” in order to hurt his feelings.
More complaints: One time my dad handed me a diet coke and tole me “this is the kind girls drink.” One time my dad said to me, “girls don’t get PhDs.” I know he was joking. I know my dad would never say those things to me and mean them. I know. I have to know.
And I’ll confess: I’ve looked a buddy in the face and said “I just hate men sometimes, I’m sorry,” while he winced and nodded.
And one last complaint: I’ve got you in my inbox, telling me I honestly can’t complain about the assholes who send me implicit rape threats.
But I do concede: I help run a blog dedicated to laughing at the pain of fictional men, so I shouldn’t be defending myself. After all, I’m just as bad as they are :)
Q: Do I have to kill the snake?
A: University guidelines state that you have to “defeat” the snake. There are many ways to accomplish this. Lots of students choose to wrestle the snake. Some construct decoys and elaborate traps to confuse and then ensnare the snake. One student brought a flute and played a song to lull the snake to sleep. Then he threw the snake out a window.
Q: Does everyone fight the same snake?
A: No. You will fight one of the many snakes that are kept on campus by the facilities department.
Q: Are the snakes big?
A: We have lots of different snakes. The quality of your work determines which snake you will fight. The better your thesis is, the smaller the snake will be.
Q: Does my thesis adviser pick the snake?
A: No. Your adviser just tells the guy who picks the snakes how good your thesis was.
Q: What does it mean if I get a small snake that is also very strong?
A: Snake-picking is not an exact science. The size of the snake is the main factor. The snake may be very strong, or it may be very weak. It may be of Asian, African, or South American origin. It may constrict its victims and then swallow them whole, or it may use venom to blind and/or paralyze its prey. You shouldn’t read too much into these other characteristics. Although if you get a poisonous snake, it often means that there was a problem with the formatting of your bibliography.
Q: When and where do I fight the snake? Does the school have some kind of pit or arena for snake fights?
A: You fight the snake in the room you have reserved for your defense. The fight generally starts after you have finished answering questions about your thesis. However, the snake will be lurking in the room the whole time and it can strike at any point. If the snake attacks prematurely it’s obviously better to defeat it and get back to the rest of your defense as quickly as possible.
Q: Would someone who wrote a bad thesis and defeated a large snake get the same grade as someone who wrote a good thesis and defeated a small snake?
Q: So then couldn’t you just fight a snake in lieu of actually writing a thesis?
A: Technically, yes. But in that case the snake would be very big. Very big, indeed.
Q: Could the snake kill me?
A: That almost never happens. But if you’re worried, just make sure that you write a good thesis.
Q: Why do I have to do this?
A: Snake fighting is one of the great traditions of higher education. It may seem somewhat antiquated and silly, like the robes we wear at graduation, but fighting a snake is an important part of the history and culture of every reputable university. Almost everyone with an advanced degree has gone through this process. Notable figures such as John Foster Dulles, Philip Roth, and Doris Kearns Goodwin (to name but a few) have all had to defeat at least one snake in single combat.
Q: This whole snake thing is just a metaphor, right?
A: I assure you, the snakes are very real.
What the fuck is wrong with people.
Seriously, what the fuck.
Background: I helped start up a lol-misandry blog about a year and a half ago. It’s very lighthearted, image-only, no long text arguments. Our mission statement is basically to be a place to go when real-world sexism is too damn much and it’s time to laugh off the blinding anger at the expense of some dude actors getting repeatedly punched in the face. It’s a bit self-aware, a bit funny, and a bit inflammatory. It has a lot of followers. It gets a lot of hate mail.
We don’t post about real people. We try not to post sexy pain stuff. We don’t post genital-hate. We don’t respond to attacks with text. We never initiate attacks. Still, not everyone is into it. It’s got some flaws, for sure. I’ve thought pretty hard about abandoning it in the past — 18 months is a long time to tell the same joke.
Plus, sometimes we get asks like this and my mind is completely fucking blown.
Logically, his argument is obviously stupid. “Hey self-proclaimed man-hating feminist! Remember how men are frightening and make you feel unsafe? Doesn’t that destabilize your entire worldview?” No? No it does not destabilize my entire worldview, thanks. The fact that men are sometimes frightening and make me feel unsafe in fact motivates me to critically address gender roles and rape culture.
This ask isn’t an intellectual attack. It isn’t even a reasoned argument. And (after getting a lot of asks like this) I don’t think that a reasoned argument is even the point. This ask an excuse for this piece of shit dude to walk into my inbox and say, “remember that I could rape you.”
We laughed at him, so he thinks we deserve a little reminder. A little jolt of fear for us so he can feel smug and strong again. Remember that we are afraid. Always afraid, never angry, never strong.
I can’t fucking believe people sometimes, you know?
So I was asking myself: how do emotional recovery plot arcs work?
Conventional wisdom about plot mechanics gives us a couple of simple maxims: plot begins when a character is presented with a conflict, escalates as the conflict gets worse, and ends when the character resolves their inner bullshit and deals with the giant mess they’ve made.
"Things get worse," is a plot staple. Tension is generated by increasing the stakes, and the stakes are raised by setting more and more things the character loves on fire.
Take, say, Winter Soldier. (Spoilers ahead.) Steve starts with a conflict; he is sad and hates his job. The conflict escalates as assholes try to kill his boss. Things get worse as the same assholes succeed in killing his boss and then try to kill Steve. Things get even worse as Steve discovers these assholes are all his brainwashed/secretly evil friends and coworkers. Then things get EVEN SUPER MORE WORSE as Steve’s brainwashed evil friends try to kill everyone on the east coast and Steve gets a bunch of bullets put inside his body. Then, via some touching personal sacrifice and the power of friendship, the day is saved and the plot is resolved.
Lord of the Rings: things get worse. Just. Wow. We go from birthday party to lying on a volcano, fingerless, waiting patiently for death.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts seems so fun for the first five minutes! Then things get worse.
Pacific Rim: Category three kaiju. Category four. CATEGORY FIVE!!!! Tendo Choi has a hard job, guys. He has to keep delivering the bad news to the main characters: the plot is escalating and things have gotten worse. Hold on tight, protagonists — next step touching personal sacrifice and the power of friendship.
In the sea of examples of plots where things get worse, it starts to sound like this is the only way to do it. But in emotional recovery arcs, things get better. Slowly, agonizingly, usually with help, things get better. Not worse! They break the rule!
And, get this, the plot still works. It works so well. I see it a lot in fic, and tell you what, people will read thousands upon thousands of words of it and then beg for sequels. What the fuck! How does it work? Why can things get better and still feel unbearably tense? I want to be able to do it on purpose! In original fiction! For money!!!
I agonized about this for a while, and here’s my theory for how emotional recovery arcs work without having things get worse:
1. They begin with two compelling tensions: the desire to see the character(s) be okay, and the fear that the character(s) will backslide.
2. Over the course of the emotional recovery plot, the character gets better by overcoming a series of near-backslides. Things, incrementally, improve, thus raising the stakes — there is more and more to lose. (Playing on fear of backslide.)
3. More tension is added as every incremental victory is teased as a signal that things are okay again is immediately contrasted with a crushing moment of “lol nope, hoped to much to quickly, still got work to do.” (Playing on desire to see characters be okay.)
4. The tension resolves when the character has healed enough that the risk of backsliding dissolves and the character’s success is finally coded as real, permanent healing. The plot arc is satisfying because the character is okay, and the tension (the fear of lost progress) can be discharged in either a slow-burn way or a crisp and punchy way.
I think this is why it works. I definitely want to try it out, and if I ever get off my ass and write a novel, I might have a serious go at it. This isn’t, of course, the only way to run a plot where things don’t get worse! After all, the plot structure outlined here still essentially revolves around tension and conflict, which isn’t the only way to generate narrative.
untapped aesthetic: surrealist jock
a varsity jacket but it has three arms and it’s melting
your football shoulder pads have grass growing out of them and they constantly hum
you shove nerds not into lockers, but into other planes of existence. your football is always singing, singing, singing. the astroturf changes colors beneath you, and whispers the name of every person you’ve ever loved.
all i wanna do rn is play spaceteam with alphans some more