bluflamingo: two white girls, one dark hair, one blonde, sitting up on bed. blonde has her hand on brunette's face (two girls kissing)
Saturday, December 21st, 2013 08:04 pm
[personal profile] scrollgirl asked me about writing:

I remember being... maybe 8 or 10, I'm not sure... and writing a short story about three kids (me, my sister, and the son of a family friend) finding a dead body in the back garden and solving the mystery, and that's the first thing I remember writing.

It wasn't very good, but fortunately I think I've improved.

Someone asked me a few years ago where I got ideas for stories, or how I came to be someone who writes stories, something like that. I don't exactly know where I get ideas from, but I do know that, when my sister and I were kids, our parents read to us a lot. Stories were always part of our lives, and so was imaginative play. As kids, my sister and I were really close, more like friends than siblings, and we thrived on 'let's pretend' games. Our dad built us a little Sylvanian Families house (remember those?) and so we made up stories about our toys, and my sister had a baby doll that we pretended was a real baby. I know it's a cliche, but we really were the kids who found the box more interesting than whatever was inside it - because the box could be anything, but the toy could only be what it was meant to be. I think, as I got older, that turned naturally into writing stories.

The other thing I remember from being a kid was telling myself stories when I couldn't sleep. I still do it - when I'm trying to sleep, when I'm walking around, when I'm bored in a meeting. At the moment, it's post-Avengers fic where Clint gets captured and rescued and has a really hard time recovering. Sometimes, like with that one, it's a story I'm hoping to actually write, sometimes it never goes anywhere, and sometimes it's just nonsense, but it's oddly comforting.

I had my first story publication in 2005, in a queer literary journal that no longer exists, about a girl who's partner has just died. I went to the launch event - it was the first issue of the journal - and read part of my story, and the editor introduced me by saying that he'd been moved by my story despite never having met me, and that was part of the power of writing. I remember sitting on the train going home after and thinking, "I want to do this for the rest of my life." Although I haven't exactly made much progress towards that, it's still part of how I think about life. When people ask me what I'd ultimately like to be doing, I tell them it would be a mix of training, lecturing, and writing, and one day I hope I'm going to get there.

I find it really weird to be told that I'm good at writing, even non-fiction - my PhD supervisor keeps telling me how much she likes the way I write, and it's very odd to hear. To me, my writing is nothing special, and being able to tell a story is nothing special - it seems like something that everyone can do. Plus, I don't sit down and think up ideas or anything. I think I've said before that, more often than not, I have the first line and then I just keep going. I don't feel like I make up the story, I feel like it's out there somewhere, and really I'm just writing it down; that's also the reason I get bored with writing something when I know how it's going to end! It's only interesting to write when I feel like I'm being told the story as I write it, so I don't know what happens next.

I used to write pen and paper and then type it up, but that stopped after I wrote a 20,000 word story and then had to type the whole thing in time for a ficathon deadline. Not doing that again! Everything goes straight onto my netbook, with a cut file for anything I take out beyond a couple of lines, just in case I want to put it back again (like my first Atlantis big bang, in which I cut 40k when it came back from the betas, but ended up reusing about 20k of that in bits and pieces. Very glad I didn't just delete it!). I pretty much go from beginning to end when I'm writing, partly because I don't always know what comes after the current scene, and partly because when I do, I use the bits I want to write to get me through the bits I don't but need.

I vastly prefer being given some kind of prompt to being given a blank page and free reign, because that gives me something to stick on my mental pinboard, where it turns into something that I can write. It's why I love ficathons so much, and why, professionally, I pretty much exclusively write to short story anthology calls. Also, I much prefer short story writing to novel writing - with novels, I usually know the ending halfway through, and then I'm bored.

You know, reading through this, the one thing I'm noticing? An awful lot of my writing decisions are driven by avoiding being bored with the process. weird.
bluflamingo: Amy from TWW looking pretty (TWW: Amy (pretty))
Saturday, December 21st, 2013 11:39 am
Okay, clearly I got way off track with this post every day thing, so I'm dragging it back on track today.

In my defense, I meant to do this yesterday, but I was out till 10pm with a friend and her three year old grandson at an illuminated trail through the woods - from which I thought we'd get home much earlier, obviously.


[ profile] pacificngal asked me about devices or themes that I'm most knowledgeable about or enjoy writing about most, and the sad truth is, what I know doesn't translate into stories all that well. Things I'm knowledgeable about are: crafting, writing, grammar, sociology, data analysis, feminism... Hard to work those into most stories :) I guess the only thing that sort of applies is that the tendency for most get-together fics to follow a pattern of pining but not speaking up, comical or life-threatening intervention in which feelings are revealed, kissing, date, sleeping together, in love forever the end has kind of started to wear on me, especially as it's nothing like how I'd have a relationship (and because the pining drives me nut, oh my God, use your words!) so I'm hyper-aware of trying not to replicate that when I'm writing stuff. Also, I have no especial desire to have a partner, and absolutely no desire to live with someone (I like my alone time!), so again, that kind of replicates in what I'm writing, to an extent.

Not a very interesting answer, sorry.

[ profile] pacificngal also asked me about my favourite holiday moment (I assume Christmas?) Holidays are kind of complicated, because of family issues, to the point that I'm still seriously considering staying at home instead of going to my family this year, even though I'm going on Tuesday, so favourite moment is a little difficult. But when we were kids, my maternal grandparents and uncle always spent Christmas with us, so I have generally warm, fuzzy, if vague, memories of them being around, playing board games with us, and of me and my sister waking my uncle up early so we could cuddle with him (he's 12 years younger than my mum, and was single and living with my grandparents at the time, so he was like a fun older brother in some ways). Also of walking back from the corner shop with him one morning after I'd gone with him to buy his newspaper, and him telling me dinosaur jokes. Maybe that's my favourite holiday moment :)

[personal profile] scrollgirl asked me to talk about writing today, but that's a subject I could ramble on at length, so I think I'll go run some errands and come back to it. In the meantime - share your holiday stories? Or your random skills/knowledge? My favourite game with my trainee volunteers, when we were a few weeks into training, was to ask them for the skill or achievement they had that they thought the rest of us wouldn't ever guess, so if you want to play, have at it!
bluflamingo: Sam leaning on hand (Sam leaning on hand)
Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 07:50 pm
[personal profile] shinya_diey asked me about books:

We always had books in the house when I was a kid, and I'm the same now, even though I don't read a great deal at the moment. I have three bookcases, mostly non-fiction, recipe books, anthologies I've been published in, and old favourite fantasy fiction.

I remember my parents reading to me and my sister when we were little - she and I got to take turns choosing. My dad read us The Hobbit, and maybe some of Lord of the Rings as well - we taped the cartoon version, and my sister and I watched it till we wore out the tape. My sister liked the Mogg books, and she's named (by me!) after a character in a book I read (or my parents read to me, I guess) a bit before she was born. Apparently, when I was very little, I made my mum read Little Grey Rabbit to me all the time, to the point that I knew if she missed a bit, and would keep reciting the story if she stopped reading.

My favourite book is Cuckoo in the Nest, by Michelle Magorian. I borrowed it from the school library when I was 11 or 12, and then dragged my parents into every bookstore we passed the whole summer, looking for a copy. I still have the same copy, though it's starting to fall apart from being read so much. I also have a much newer copy signed by the author, who I almost got to meet. I volunteered at the Literature Festival near me a few years back, but had to come back to Bristol for one day, for the launch of the project I worked on, which was the day she was at the festival and I missed her. It was a good five years ago, and I'm still bitter, especially since she's never come back.

What else can I say about books? I love secondhand bookstores, and the random things you find there - my dad's Christmas present this year is from a secondhand bookstore. I like older, battered books, ones that feel loved, more than brand new books, and paperbacks over hardbacks, though I'll always try to give a hardback rather than
a paperback as a gift if I can... And that's me and books, I think.
bluflamingo: Colby from Numb3rs looking down and away (Colby: sitting)
Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 10:05 pm
[ profile] pacificngal asked me about my preferred POV in a story, reading or writing, and I foolishly didn't ask her if she meant first/third person, or characters, so I'll just babble a bit and hope I hit what she was looking for (or, if I don't, that she'll poke me!)

I definitely prefer writing in third person - it's been a looong time since I wrote first person, even in original fic - and usually in limited third person from just one character in the story. In fanfic reading, first person isn't my thing at all, I think because it's much more in that person's head and somehow it never quite gets close enough to how I hear that person to work for me. Original fic is different, though anything longer than a few thousand words I prefer third person - and definitely for sex scenes.

My preference by character pov... in Stargate, John Sheppard, Cadman, Lorne, Keller, in Numb3rs, Colby Granger, in H5-0, McGarrett or Kono, in Firefly Inara or Zoe, in Avengers, Clint Barton... I don't know what conclusions, if any, you can draw from that list, but there we have it.

Do other people decide who's pov the story will be from in advance, or just see what happens? The story I'm writing now, and the one I just submitted, the prompter requested a specific pov, which was unusual for me, especially since neither one is someone I write all that often, but generally, I'm not much of a planner when it comes to writing, I just get an idea for a first line and go from there. Doesn't always work, but pretty often for me, and also skips conveniently over 'who's head am I writing in?' so I don't think I have anything wildly exciting to say about how I decide, unless it's because I know it's a story about that person, like my Avengers reverse bang, or a lot of my Cam/John stories, which tend to be as much about John as the pairing.

So there we have it. Now you all talk about point of view characters :)
bluflamingo: Amita from Numb3rs, smiling at the camera (Amita)
Monday, December 16th, 2013 10:03 pm
[personal profile] rubygirl29 asked me about my dream destinations for a vacation:

Number 1 is Canada, and I was saving money and annual leave days with the idea of going in the spring of 2014. But my employer has to lose 800 full-time equivalent jobs, my grade is in the next round of potential redundancies, and no-one knows if I'm going to be able to stay full-time. So I can't afford the money to go to Canada, in case I lose my job :(

In the autumn though, I swear.

Other than that, I would love to go to Iceland - it looks beautiful, and I like the cold. I'd like to go on a cruise in Antarctica - we did a reading comprehension exercise on this when I was in high school, and I've wanted to do it ever since. I'd like to go to Paris, since it's so close and I've never been there - though we nearly ended up there when my dad got lost driving back to the ferry when we were in France when I was a teenager.

So far, my best vacation has been three days, two nights in a log cabin less than an hour's drive from where I live, on the edge of a small fishing lake in early December when it was beautifully cold and frosty. I got a discount voucher for it last December, and there was no-one else staying on the site, so it was quiet and isolated, and I spent three days sleeping, sewing Christmas gifts, and walking around the lake watching robins, it was lovely.
bluflamingo: yellow and white flowers on sand (Flowers on beach)
Sunday, December 15th, 2013 05:09 pm
1. I just made honey and ginger cupcakes, and was contemplating lemon icing until I realised they'd basically be cough medicine cupcakes and decided to go with plain icing instead. They're the experimental batch ready for baking cupcakes to take to my family at Christmas - I'm thinking vanilla icing on the real ones, if I remember to buy vanilla extract.

2. I think we're going to be one day behind for the December meme, until the 20th or so when there's no prompt - sorry!

3. [personal profile] rhi asked me about my favourite fandom to write and why/comfort fandom to read and why:

I'm sort of serial monogamist about fandoms - West Wing, King Arthur, SGA and SG1, H50, Marvel Avengers - so I'm usually reading and writing the same fandom at the same time, and then stop for something else. But I think SGA is probably the closest to a comfort fandom to read, regardless, because it's familiar, and I know exactly which authors write the characters how I like to read about them, and don't do anything that I hate reading, or that makes me twitch. Plus, that was the first fandom where I felt part of wider fandom, and made friends, so there's a level of feeling comfortable being back with those people again, I guess.

I don't know that I have one favourite fandom to write, but maybe particular fandoms for particular types of stories? Like, even though I've pretty much stopped writing SGA, I still have a genderqueer Jennifer Keller story bouncing around my brain that I want to write. Avengers, on the other hand, is my go to fandom for post-trauma and recovery stories, and H50, when I was still watching it, was my favourite for writing about the female characters. So I don't know whether that really answers the question or not, but there it is!
bluflamingo: Hansel and Gretel (from Witch Hunters) walking towards camera, town burning behind them (Hansel and Gretel)
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 02:47 pm
[ profile] pacificngal asked me for a skill I'd like to develop or have (other than time-keeping, since yesterday was the 13th and so I'm a day late!)

I'm supposedly a beginner with an archery club at the moment, though I've only made it twice since September (it's on Sunday mornings, I don't do well on Sunday mornings) and that's something I'd love to stick with and get better at. In my head, I'm Hawkeye (Kate, not Clint), or the Evil Kitty - the first time I went, a couple of guys and I were talking about imagining we were superheroes or supervillans when shooting, and I said I'd be a supervillain who turned people who'd annoyed me into kittens with my magic arrows.

I'd also love to be able to play the fiddle, but sadly, I don't have many musical bones in my body, and definitely not enough to learn the violin; I'd like to get better at signing - I took a class for a year, but that was a while back, and I haven't kept it up; and I'd like to learn computer programming, because I'm filled with hatred for the database I use at work, and I know I could make a better one if I knew how.

If only there were another ten hours in the day...
bluflamingo: Sam leaning on hand (Sam leaning on hand)
Sunday, December 8th, 2013 05:54 pm
[ profile] tesserae_ asked me "What is it about Cam Mitchell that makes him interesting to write?"

It seems that a lot of people who don't find Cam interesting don't because they see him as the golden boy/never do anything wrong officer, and find that boring. I actually like the good guys who are decent, so that sort of works for me anyway, but also I'm not convinced he's as golden as people seem to think. And really, what, they wanted a younger clone of O'Neill? Pass.

Cam's the kind of character that I find more interesting with someone else, and with a specific set of someone-else's, than on his own - unlike say John Sheppard, who I'll read about with anyone. With Cam it's the other military characters - John, Sam, Lorne (well, and also Carolyn Lam, but that's cos in my head they're awesome queer friends) - because that gives them a history, especially with Sam, and yet they're all more experienced with the Stargate programme than Cam, and arguably more disillusioned with the whole thing as well.

Plus, also, Cam has a series of canon traumas, and I have a thing for military (or quasi-military) characters with canon traumas (Cam, Sheppard, McGarrett from H50, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Coulson from Marvel, Colby from Numb3rs).

And finally, I got into SGA first, then started watching SG1 in Season 9, which was when Cam first joined up, so he was sort of my introduction to the world of SG1, and the one I latched onto because of that. Which meant I was always going to want to write about him more than any of the others, especially since pairing him with Sheppard was really easy (and he's my all-time favourite forever).
bluflamingo: Black Widow and Hawkeye hugging (Black widow/Hawkeye hug)
Thursday, December 5th, 2013 09:20 pm
[personal profile] karmageddon asked me: What's your fic unicorn--the story you would read the hell out of if only it existed?

My dream fic would include...
- A friends with benefits relationship between two good friends who aren't in love with each other, aren't pining, and don't wind up in an in-love relationship - but care for each other a lot
- A focus on the background, day-to-day stuff
- Close male/female friendships with lots of history
- Queer communities, where the main couple have other gay friends, and a sense of being embedded in that community. Or at least a sense that they're not the only gay people ever to exist
- Bisexual characters who are actually bisexual not bi as a way to explain how they've always dated the other sex and now are seeing someone of the same sex
- Characters making decisions and having those respected, even if they're not objectively the best decisions
- Kittens, especially people being turned into kittens or finding abandoned kittens
- Hugs and hand-holding
- Magic

I'm not sure that really makes for a story, but I would love to find one that had all of that. Though I did get a gift fic that was pretty close in the last Avengers Fest (recced a few posts back). If it'd had kittens, it would have ticked every box here.
bluflamingo: Sam leaning on hand (Sam leaning on hand)
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 07:42 pm
[personal profile] taliahale asked me to talk about regency AUs...

...And I have to start by saying that I'm not entirely sure I've ever read one. I'm not a huge fan of historical AUs, though I'm not entirely sure why - maybe because the focus tends to be on historical accuracy to a degree that I'm not interested in? Plus, I mainly read slash and femslash, which fits a little awkwardly into regency period stuff (not that it didn't happen in reality then, obviously), and includes a little more hiding and sneaking and societal disapproval than I really want to read about in my fiction.

So, yeah, not so much my cup of tea - well, unless they're a bit either magical or steam-punk, because then those two things outweigh the historical detail for me.
bluflamingo: Joey Lucas from TWW waving her hand (TWW: Joey (wild hands))
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 09:38 pm
I know this is all over everywhere, but I wish I posted here a little more, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon and offering:

Give me a day and a subject, and I'll ramble at you about it...

4 Dec: Regency AUs
5 Dec: Fic unicorn
6 Dec:
7 Dec:
8 Dec: What is it about Cam Mitchell that makes him interesting to write?
9 Dec:
10 Dec:
11 Dec:
12 Dec:
13 Dec: Skill you would like to develop/have
14 Dec: Favourite fandom to write and why/comfort fandom to read and why
15 Dec: Dream destination for a vacation
16 Dec: Preferred POV in a story (reading and/or writing it)
17 Dec: Books
18 Dec: Device, theme or detail of writing a story are you most knowledgable of and/or enjoy using most (medical terms/procedures, emotional interactions, physical interactions, weapons, military life/rules and regs, etc.)
19 Dec: Favorite holiday moment
20 Dec:
21 Dec: Writing
22 Dec: Favorite Sheppard/Mitchell relationship scenario
23 Dec: Identity - mine or characters'

And I'll be at my parents' on the 24th, so that's out!
bluflamingo: pansy (Pansy)
Sunday, November 3rd, 2013 10:42 pm
I spent an hour and a half on my allotment yesterday, chopping down all manner of who even knows what and scratching my right hand and arm up in the process, as well as grabbing a stinging nettle by mistake. So now my hand's all itchy, and sore whenever I put it in hot water.

I don't know what the guy who had the plot before me was doing, but it was a mess even under the overgrown plants. So far, I've found four tyres, a plastic office chair, half a dozen poles randomly stuck in the ground, more rusty metal sheets than I want to think about, what looks like a bird cage, masses of tangled netting, an over rack, what I think is a plastic tray from a dishwasher... Also 4 2.5kg weights. I think I'm about two thirds through, so who even knows what else I'll find in there.

On the bright side, it's now November, which means I can have a bonfire to deal with all the plant debris that I don't need. And then I can actually, you know, plant stuff. Any ideas what that stuff should be?
bluflamingo: Natasha from Avengers Assemble raising her eyebrow (Natasha eye-brow)
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 09:08 pm
I asked for magic (the good kind) for Avengers Fest, and I got the story I didn't even know I wanted!

Now It's So Clear To Me is SHIELD with magic, where Maria's an alchemist but joined the army instead and Natasha's magic. And the two of them meet at SHIELD and fall in love and are brilliant together. Plus there's Clint and Coulson and Fury, and bonding and friendships within SHIELD, and respect for each other, and liking each other... Mm, this is a total snuggle up with it over chocolate cake story, and I can't wait to find out who my author is.
bluflamingo: purple boots (Purple boots)
Sunday, October 20th, 2013 08:52 pm
Since I have to go to the post office tomorrow to send my sister and brother-in-law's second anniversary present, I figured I might as well make the cushion covers I've been promising my mum for two weeks, so I could send those while I was at it. So, cushion covers are done - and then I discover I only have one padded envelope.

And also that the address I have written down for my sister is their old address.

Not exactly batting a thousand over here tonight!

On the more successful side, I did make it to archery this morning, despite not sleeping well last night.

I also went to a wicker sculpture workshop yesterday and made a dragonfly and a flower to hang on the fence outside, and a 3D puffin, who is definitely not going outside cos I want to cuddle him. Not that you can cuddle wicker, but he's pretty cute.

And, best of all, this is my last week at work before I have a whole week off. I'm going to Guernsey for five days, then when I get back, I'm going to attack my allotment so I can burn some stuff and plant onions (mail order I'd forgotten about) and rhubarb (from a colleague), make a wooden box at the women's wood workshop, and finish up the place mats that just need binding putting on. And sleep. Lots of sleep :)
bluflamingo: Fury, Coulson and Hill with SHIELD printed above them (SHIELD)
Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 10:10 pm
Which was nearly Agents of SHIELF - though I'm not sure what an agent of shelf would do, really.

Episode 3, but mostly Episode 4 )
bluflamingo: Hansel and Gretel (from Witch Hunters) walking towards camera, town burning behind them (Hansel and Gretel)
Sunday, October 13th, 2013 01:36 pm
Today was supposed to be archery in the morning, and hacking away at overgrown mystery plants in the afternoon.

Instead, I slept through my alarm and woke up an hour after archery had started, to discover it's raining. I'm all for attacking my allotment, but I draw the line at doing it in the rain.

So now I'm poking through the yuletide letters post, looking for stuff I can treat, since I'm not signing up (mainly because I can't think of what I want to ask for in any of the fandoms I'd ask for), finishing off my sister's anniversary gift, cutting and drying some orange mint, and hopefully watching episode 3 of SHIELD.

What's everyone else up to?
bluflamingo: Joey Lucas from TWW waving her hand (TWW: Joey (wild hands))
Saturday, September 14th, 2013 06:46 pm
I feel like this journal is becoming less about fic and more personal life-y than it used to be, so, snagged from [ profile] kristen999:

Give me a link or title to one of my fics (any 'verse/any fandom), and I'll give you a detail that didn't make it into the fic - it could be background canon, deleted material (if I have it), a look into the future - or ask me a question about inspiration, the writing process, research