Where my stories come from

I generally prefer to call my stories that, instead of writing, because I don’t write the majority of them down, and even the ones that I decide I should, usually don’t get written immediately. (For example: my vampire mystery novel that might have to end up being a trilogy or getting a lot of stuff cut out.)

All my stories start as daydreams, generally when I’m laying in bed, but I’ve started stuff to keep me from falling asleep in class, when I was in the car, visiting family for the holidays, etc, whenever I have mental energy that isn’t getting used (which is often…). Most of the stories start with me using the names and characters of whatever I’m currently obsessing with. The characters will get stretched and molded to fit wherever my mind roams. I also have character types of my own creation that show up under a variety of names.

A lot of my imaginings are blatant Mary Sues, interacting with my favorite characters. My most current one, who I’ve been using in more or less the same form since I graduated high school (so thirteen years now) is a fire mage who can do anything she can imagine in fire terms, including shape changing and traveling between worlds and into stories. She beats up demons, monsters, and the occasional god. And runs a school for other superheroes, including recruiting a young version of the Phantom of the Opera. Like I said, blatant Mary Sue. Incredibly blatant. Which is why I’ve completely discarded the notion of ever recording those stories (just getting rid of the copyright infringements would… well, basically remove most of it, honestly, and it’s too much of a massive crossover for me to want to do it as fanwork). I’m trying to replace her with another mental centerpiece but I haven’t come up with a story for her yet (and she’ll probably end up horrendously overpowered as well. It’s a recurring problem.)

I lot of it, I’ll just repeat the same stuff over and over. The fire mage and her friends have been working as singers at the Iceberg Lounge for like three years now, with various misadventures including demons showing up to fight Erik, helping Batman, and mostly just lots of snark and banter. Before that she was redoing the file room in Arkham and occasionally getting dragged into doing security work. Yes, it’s all very very self-indulgent.

But some of the smaller stories, the non-epic length ones and the one-shots, end up pretty good. And I try to write them down. The problem becomes when it’s a series of adventures with no specific end. And then I don’t know where the plot is going and it becomes a mess. I have two of those novels in process.

A lot of them I can pick out what influenced them. Some of them I can’t, aside from liking certain things (why do I like whump? No idea, but I sure do. I only just learned there was a specific term for it, for pete’s sake.) And it’s usually a giant mix of things (I have one – that’ll post once I get it edited a bit – that has an character inspired by Alpert, one of BaaingTree’s characters, some of the set-up inspired by a Sherlock fic, and most of it just my own really messed up brain.)

My name is mine and I love it

Even though it’s constantly mispronounced, every time I see or hear my name it makes me happy. It’s my own name, one I’ve chosen and claimed.

It’s not the name I was born with. The first name is similar and I kept my birth surname as a second middle name (in a futile attempt to appease my parents). My birth name felt girly to me and wasn’t something I identified with. And my birth surname was something I was teased with as a kid (that and a dozen other things.)

There’s been disadvantages to changing it. It was expensive – about $700 for the various court and paperwork fees, plus missing two days of work (but that job sucked anyway). And my old last name was at the end of the alphabet (which was one reason I changed it – I was tired of being at the end of the list). But being at the end meant it was easier to find on a list. And the last time I got called to jury duty, my new name meant I got called into a court room faster (lawyers: never ever pick me for jury duty. It’s a terrible idea.)

It took about a year to get all my bills changed. There are a few things I’ve never bothered to change. I have to put down my old name for background checks when I get hired.

I changed my name because I didn’t like my old one. It didn’t fit me. But I didn’t have any real trauma associated with it, so it’s not painful to deal with references to my old name (except people refusing to use it or giving me shit about it…)

I love my name. It’s my own name. And it makes me happy.

Of interest to no one but myself: my recurring themes and tropes

I have a ton of stories and characters that I come up with that I never write down (mostly because, hooo boy, Mary Sue and self-insert ahoy, wow.) I’m including those in these, because, well, I can. It’s my site. ;)

At nothing else, you can use this as a reason to get lost on the TV Tropes site for a few hours. I’ll be adding stuff as I think of it, basically so I can then get it out of my head and preferably stop making the same list over and over again.

  • Villain Protagonist I love writing villains and bad guys, so I tend to write more of them than heroes. It does mean some of my other recurring themes get some Unfortunate Implications because every time I write that kind of character it’s a bad guy.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink, Even Evil Has Loved Ones, Even Evil Has Standards, Blue and Orange Morality. It’s hard to write an absolutely evil character when you’re in his head (although I manage if the situation calls for it). And, well, complicated characters are more fun.
  • Mind Hive. I like to write characters who have a couple of people living in their heads. Unfortunately, this is one of the ones that bugs me, because right now all those characters are bad guys right now. And I do believe in Healthy Multiplicity so I want to fix that (The one good thing is that those characters are generally complicated and are more grey morality than black. So, that helps. Still need to fix it though.)
  • The Sleepless. Several of my characters have weird or irregular sleep schedules that don’t impact them poorly. For some of them it’s to emphasize that they’re odd. Some of the others it’s just the way they are.
  • Tall, thin men in nice suits. Yeah, it’s Author Appeal. Also cat people, barefooting, and a bunch of things that don’t need to be mentioned here.
  • Superpowers. Mutants. Spandex. Yeah, I read too many X-men comics as a kid and now I read too many Batman comics.
  • Hurt / Comfort. Sometimes without the comfort. (aka Whump)
  • Masks and Scars. Partially goes with the superhero stuff. Partially just because masks are cool. Sometimes goes as far as Full Body Disguise, especially for superheroes (I’m not a big fan of the domino mask…)
  • One True Love. Which is silly, because it’s not something I believe in real life. At least when I write it, it doesn’t mean that the relationship will be easy. Usually combined with some sort of soul-link thing (I rarely go as far as telepathy. Because telepathy is highly overrated).
  • Nearly instant language learning or Universal translator. Generally through some sort of telepathy or magic.
  • Older than they look. I keep writing these characters that are practically immortal or have a healing factor that keeps them looking young. (yes, alright, I read too many comic books, okay?)
  • Characters with mental illnesses or personality disorders, usually things that don’t exactly match up with anything real. I did mention too much Batman, right?

Stress means the wind wants me to drop shit on my toes

I don’t post about my personal life very often. I don’t think it’s very interesting to be honest. But this is one of those posts, sort of.

I have depression and social anxiety. I’ve had it since I was a kid. Compared to a lot of people it’s not very bad. But when I’m stressed…

Well, let’s make this interesting.

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I don’t have a whole lot of really good weeks

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And of course once you drop something, you have to start thinking about when you can pick it up again. And it’s RIGHT THERE taunting you with your failure. But if I’ve got a project I’m working on it doesn’t really bother me. But if I have a project I drop more and more things because I’m not paying attention to them.

But then there’s stress. Stress caused by hormones, changes, too much failure, whatever.

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No, really. It was supposed to be a cloud or something.

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And that’s why I haven’t been updating.

2012 and 2013

This year I wrote 135,000 words of fiction on six stories. I made a fool of myself here by posting a rough draft. I survived that with my self-esteem mostly intact. I won NaNoWriMo and got halfway through Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ve discovered booze I like and started a hell of a liquor cabinet. I tried to get readers here and mostly failed (blog catalogs don’t seem to work, triberr helps only a little). I posted here 56 times, on average twice a week, mostly.

On a more personal level, I moved into my own place, finally getting my stuff out of storage after about three years (although I still have quite a bit still packed because there’s no place to put it, or in a severely disorganized state). I’ve had the same boyfriend since approximately March. I’ve made several new friends and not been a complete hermit. I’m starting my third year working at the same place, where they seem to like me quite a lot and I have lots of free time (or I could do this on my breaks if I would actually remember to take them).

I’ve accomplished less than I would have liked to and more than I thought I would. I spent way too much monkey-clicking around the internet and napping.

So, next year, let’s try to do better! I have a plan (that I probably won’t stick to)!

Continue reading “2012 and 2013”

Why I use Dvorak

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Last year I switched from QWERTY to Dvorak. At the time I typed about 55-70 wpm, with 99-100% accuracy. Testing just now, I got 55 wpm, with 100% accuracy (but I did a lot of correcting) on Dvorak.

So, why Dvorak? Did I give into the hype that I would type faster, I wouldn’t get carpal tunnel, that I would suddenly be really really cool? (… I don’t think I’ve ever heard the last one.)

A little.

Continue reading “Why I use Dvorak”

Kitchen – Week 2

All right, if I did that much in the apartment, what did I do to the kitchen? Well, Mom and I took a trip to Ikea (as you already saw in the bathroom). That combined with some stuff from Target, my stuff, and my mom’s organizing skills led to this:

(Click to see bigger)

Commentary:

Obviously, the wooden kitchen cart is new. It folds. I haven’t need it to fold yet, but it can. It was also somewhat of a pain to assemble, but only because I was by myself. The trashcan is from Target. We switched the dishes and pantry items. Pantry stuff is in the cabinets in turquoise baskets from Target.  You can’t see it, but because the lip of my sink is so high, I stick a saucer under the end of the drainer so it’ll actually drain. And I have a bad tendency to let dishes pile up before I wash them, so the glasses go on a towel on the counter.

The rails and stuff are a combination of Bygel and Grundtal from Ikea. Nice. My silverware is all mismatched stuff from thrift stores. I love it. The knife bar is also from Ikea and I’ve since moved the steak knives to a drawer so you can get to the outlet more easily. I mean to paint the wood bar teal, but I want to paint those baskets too. But I can’t find a spray paint in the right color, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

I have a lot of colanders and strainers. I’m not entirely sure how that happened. I also need to get a few more Pyrex casseroles in middle sizes. That cardboard box in the cabinets has been replaced. My extra dishes (and I have a lot) are in the dead space in the corner. I don’t know when I got the Ritz and Saltine tins. The Ritz one is full. And there’s the cork for the ‘cookie’ jar on the stove.

I only have one of those cherry blossom mugs. I love it. And I’ll probably never fill the teal salt and pepper shakers because they’re huge. I put the salt in one of the blue ones, and I have a pepper grinder so I’m not using the other one. What else starts with P and S that I could put in the teal ones?

Those red tins can also be found in yellow. They’re really awesome for crackers and cereal, because they really do keep it crisp. You do have to bake the knob often though. It doesn’t really turn ‘pink’ over time. It’s the color they are now. When they’re baked they’re bright blue.

Things I still need to do in the kitchen? Besides fill the few holes, get out my Swanky Swigs (I have the wildlife ones. I’m sorry I can’t find an informative link.) I have another Bygel bar to get up, and I need to get a basket for it like the one holding the salt and pepper shakers. And the general reorganizing, cleaning, etc.

Moving In – Week 1

Now it’s time to see some of my actual stuff. I’m only taking pictures at the end of the week, so we’ve skipped over the piles and piles of boxes, the furniture in really strange spots, and other such amusements.

First, some details I didn’t photograph the previous week:

The closet / dressing room door. I need to find an appropriate skeleton key.

Isn’t that drain cute? It looks like a daisy.

And on to the meat of the post: Continue reading “Moving In – Week 1”

Moving – Week 0

I’ve actually been there almost two weeks now, but I’m doing this in order, dammit! =^_^=

So, I moved into my first apartment completely by myself, completely from the beginning. It’s in Ventura in an building that was apparently built in 1907 (according to the sign that I still need to get a picture of).

I looked at another apartment in the building that had a lot of cute mid-century touches (like black and white checkerboard linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom, and peach tile in the bathroom). But I couldn’t afford that one. I got one that is half below ground and very private, except for the laundry room right next door (which is cool). It doesn’t have the same cute touches, but it’s nice. So, to the tour!

Continue reading “Moving – Week 0”