pica_scribit: Pica Pica (magpie)
I think my long stretch of writer's block is officially over, you guys. I've reached the point where the words just. won't. stop. coming. My most serious concern at the moment is making sure I remember to eat and sleep.
pica_scribit: Pica Pica (magpie)
I've started tracking my monthly word count in an effort to try to set reasonable writing goals for myself. In the month of October, I wrote 8800 words (down from 16,000 in September and 12,900 in August). This month, I added one chapter to ACOC Year Two, one chapter to Trans*Figured, and wrote seven short pieces to complete A History of Cartographers. That's not too bad.

Here's what I would like to accomplish by the end of the year: I want ACOC Y2 to be longer than Y1, which means adding at least 11,000 words, or about two more chapters. I also want to finish Trans*Figured, which I think has around four more chapters of ~3000 words each. I already have a short sequel in mind for it, but I'm not sure I'm ready to talk about that yet.

So that's about 23,000 words I want to write between now and the end of December, or 377 words per day. I should be able to manage that, right?
pica_scribit: (Grindelwald Won)
I'm sure you've all heard about it by now. The cry goes up. New canon is coming. As a writer of fanfic with an extensive personal canon of her own, such announcements hold the excitement and terror of a tornado siren. "Get in the house, Dorothy, Toto (Remus, Sirius)! There's a cyclone coming!" And then you wait, clinging to your OTP and trying to assure them and yourself that it's going to be OK. After, you come out and check your stories to see what damage has been done, what precious ideas have been ripped loose from canon. Maybe you do some repair work. Maybe you give a weary sigh and slap an "AU" label on a story. Or maybe you're one of the lucky ones who weathers the storm with all your stories intact. Maybe the storm leaves you something new that you can use to build from. Or maybe you're like me, and you just stay in the basement and pretend nothing ever happened.

Somewhat ironically, JKR herself says it best, with relation to the upcoming movie: "Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt."

(Yes, I know it's not my world and that my feelings about it are selfish and possessive. I'm not saying JKR should stop doing All Things Potterverse, and never mention it again. I'm just exorcising my personal feelings in the face of canon that appears to be perpetually open when I would find it much more convenient closed.)
pica_scribit: (Gryffindor - MWPP - Conspiracy)
At work today, I added 1300 words to ACOC. Ch. 15 is up to 3000 words, though I can't seem to escape from November. For a dude with no legs, my DADA professor seems to walk off with every scene he appears in. Why is it so easy to write dialogue for misogynistic assholes?

I also plotted out the endgame for Year Three, which I had very little idea about before. We'll see if I can't pull off a biggish misdirect and tie in my red herring plot as well.

I'm working again tomorrow = more writing! (I hope)
pica_scribit: Pica Pica (Default)
I've got about half of my fic archive uploaded on my Archive Of Our Own page. Links to new stories and chapters on my website and in this journal will now take you directly there. If you have a few minutes, I'd love it if you would visit and Kudos the hell out of my stories; it helps me get more hits. As always, your time and love is very much appreciated! *mwah*
pica_scribit: Pica Pica (Default)
I've been working on streamlining my webpage again over the last day or so. I'd been meaning to do it for a while. The colours made some pages hard to read, and it was getting to be a pain in the ass in some ways. Here's what's different:

- New colour scheme. Hope you like.

- Most stories will no longer be archived on the site. Instead, links will take readers to ff.net and ao3 (where I have learned, to my delight, that I can include images in the body of my stories! huzzah!).

- My complete archive is slowly being uploaded to ao3. Please bear with me during this transition.

- Images are no longer hosted on the site either, but have been moved to photobucket. Which matters to exactly no one but me.

- PDF ebooks are no longer available for download, since they are impractical for some kinds of ereaders these days. Instead, readers may download automatically generated mobi, epub, or pdf formatted files directly from ao3. This saves me from having to make a new ebook every time I find a typo. PDF ebooks of the original versions of Moony's Tale and Padfoot's Tale are still available, linked at the bottom of the page.

- Other links, mostly to do with my magnum opus, ACOC, have also been moved to the bottom of the page.

- I've done some editing on Gryffindor on the Cusp of Slytherin and A Cure For Nightmares. Nothing major, but I can always find stuff I'm unhappy with when I haven't looked at a story for a while.

- I've also added an unfinished R/S story I started last year for Black Circle DJ fest called After All the Sounds Have Sounded. Someday I intend to finish it. Yeah, yeah, you've heard it all before. WARNING: This story cranks the angst up to 11. It is designed to rip the reader's heart from their chest and stomp on it.

At this point, it seems like I am keeping my own archive page simply for the joy of being able to list my stories in chronological order. I do love being able to do that. I feel like it's also a good way for readers to be able to glance through and easily see what's been updated.

And before anyone asks, yes, I have also been doing some work on ACOC. I've got 1700 words written on Ch. 15 so far.
pica_scribit: Pica Pica (Default)
You guys, finally posting that new chapter has me so jazzed. I cannot even begin to tell you. Not many things in life make me as happy as writing does. I can't believe it took me 18 months to write a single chapter, and that I've only added three to ACOC since Oct 2010, when I managed to write more than 30 chapters between April and October of that year. I can do this. I *know* I can do this. It's fun, even when it makes me want to bang my head against the wall.

I'm a perfectionist, that's my problem. When I write something, everything has to be phrased just right. I have to know where everyone is standing, what they're doing with their hands, what they are wearing, what kind of weather they're having, even if none of that stuff ever makes it onto the page. I spent an embarrassing amount of time today on this site looking up full moons, lunar apogees and perigrees, and checking sunrise times for Scotland in 1972. Because I need to know what time and for how many hours the full moon is in the sky on what day in November, and how close the moon is to the Earth.

Yeah, that's why nothing ever gets written. :p

I'm up to almost 1500 words on Ch 15, by the way, and I plan to go offline and spend the weekend writing. Wish me luck.
pica_scribit: (Gryffindor - MWPP - Conspiracy)
Hey, guess what I wrote 1300 words of today?

a teaser because I love you guys so much )
pica_scribit: (Gryffindor - MWPP - Conspiracy)
I've been slacking on updates, I know. But last night, I went over my notes for Year Two, and I'm finally confident about what happens in the next chapter, so stay tuned for that.

In other news, Mark (Does Stuff) made a video for me of him reading the first chapter of ACOC! How chuffed am I?
pica_scribit: (Gryffindor - RL/SB - Tender)
I didn't forget about Tuesday this time; I was just sitting on this post until I had something to give you guys. So here's the news of the week:

1) PDF ebook of the original 2005 version of Padfoot's Tale in all its cringe-worthy glory!

2) PDF ebook of Highland Fling! This is a newly-edited version, with a few small changes, including a short scene added to the end of Chapter One. It may be a cheesy romance, but this is easily one of the stories I am proudest of. (NOTE: New versions of Ch 4-11 are not up on the website yet. Coming soon!) Up now!

3) Last but certainly not least, NEW FIC! Allow me to present an itty-bitty, fluffy sequel to Highland Fling, which I just wrote this morning:

Title: Wolf Stone Jewelers
Author: [personal profile] pica_scribit (complete fic archive)
Word Count: ~710
Rating: K+
Warnings: Scottish!Remus, American!Sirius
Genre: Fluffy romance, present-day non-magic AU
Pairing: Remus/Sirius
Summary: Flufftastic fluff! What more do you really need to know?
Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters are the sole property of J. K. Rowling. I own nothing except my own ideas, and make no profit. No copyright infringement is intended.
pica_scribit: Pica Pica (Default)
Wow, I completely failed to notice yesterday was Tuesday. Anyway....

Padfoot's Tale editing update: page 213/277.

Other writing thoughts:
I've been thinking this week about the original fiction I keep meaning to write. There are novels in my head. Some more fully-formed than others. I wrote up some notes for one I've had in mind for a while about the lives of contract archaeologists. I can't remember the last time I wrote something that wasn't some kind of fantasy, so the idea of this scares me just a little. But it's something I know intimately, so I think I could pull it off. The real danger would be drawing too much from real life. There are stories I could tell that would result in a few people being supremely pissed off with me.

The reason I want to write it is that there is so much fiction out there purportedly about archaeology that amounts to little more than treasure-hunting. It's fun, but not very realistic, and the net result is that a lot of young people decide to major in archaeology because it sounds like an adventure. If I wrote something about the lives of archaeologists in America that was realistic, maybe it would make a few people think twice about their choices. It's not just that I'm worried about all those sad, disappointed idealists, either, though I wish someone had said something to me sooner. When the market is flooded every spring with fresh-faced young grads who are happy to do any job "for the experience", and damn the money, it makes the rest of us in the field disposable, keeps wages low, and benefits almost non-existent. So yeah, novel as soapbox. Not very original, I guess, but if I can tell a compelling story on top of it, that's what matters.

The basic plot will follow one of those fresh-faced grads from her first work experience, where she meets a bitter crew leader who later becomes a sort of mentor figure to her. Over the course of the story, she gradually becomes disillusioned with the work and the lifestyle required for it. Her mentor slowly drinks himself to death, and at the end, she becomes the bitter mentor of a newbie, and the cycle starts all over again. The circle of life is a beautiful thing, no?
pica_scribit: (Gryffindor - RL/SB - Survivor's Guilt)
Ugh. Nothing much to report here. But that's mostly because most of the past week was eaten up by a road trip from WA to southern CA and back again, as well as planning for and recovery from said road trip. And I just now opened up the copy of Padfoot's Tale that I am editing to see where I'm at ... and it didn't save my page number, so I can't remember how much (if any) progress I've made since last week.

In better news, I have tonight and tomorrow night off, so I should get some work done. I have no other plans. Except for right this minute, when I should either sleep or eat something.
pica_scribit: (Gryffindor - RL/SB - Survivor's Guilt)
I've finally finished my "quick" edit of the original 2004 version of Moony's Tale. I didn't change much, because that would have been cheating. The point of the exercise was to present the earliest available version of the story, cringy-bits and all.

Changes made:
- Typos are corrected
- Capitalisation of some canon terms is fixed
- A few Americanisms are changed (This was probably cheating, but it wasn't many, and it's done now.)

I've started doing the same for the original Padfoot's Tale now, since they are meant to exist side-by-side. I've only done the first chapter so far, but since it's about 12,000 words shorter than Moony's Tale it shouldn't take as long. 17/277 70/277 pages completed so far.

I also finally got around to digging out the backed up version of my webpage, and updating it. The new version is now online, with the shiny new (old) PDF ebook of Moony's Tale, now available for download! Hooray!

(I'm suddenly thinking that, if I really want to get back into the spirit of the thing, I should be doing lunar phase updates. Am I really that much of a geek? Probably.)
pica_scribit: (Gryffindor - RL/SB - Survivor's Guilt)
It seems to be Tuesday again. Well, these things happen. I'm still editing Moony's Tale. I slacked off on it for a few days, but I realised last night I was going to have to make a progress report to y'all, so I worked through a few more chapters. I'm currently on page 224 of 323, and I continue to notice just how many things are wrong with this story, both structurally and in terms of the characters.

For one thing, the pacing is terrible. This is because, in the original draft, I mostly relied on scenes from the book which Remus or Sirius were actively part of, leaving some pretty major gaps in between a few of them. Surely I can find things for them to do when Harry isn't there. And then there's the fact that the last 100 pages or so of the manuscript cover a day and a half of the plot. This is no good. What was I thinking?

For another, Remus interacts with the rest of the cast very infrequently. He needs to have more conversations with the rest of the Hogwarts staff, especially Madam Pomfrey, since they would have been close when he was a boy. I also need to show him teaching classes that do not contain Harry, and interacting with other students.

But the complete revision of this story is still a long way off. When I get there, I will have lots of new notes to contend with. It should be interesting.

Besides that, I have been working and sleeping and also working. I need a social life. I need to get out of the house. I need to wear clothes that are not work clothes or pyjamas. I possibly need to find someone to have smoochies with. I don't know. It's been a long time.
pica_scribit: (Gryffindor - RL/SB - Survivor's Guilt)
I feel like it would be a good idea for me to make regular posts about my writing progress in order to remind myself to actually *do* something. So. Tuesday seems like as good a day as any. What am I doing on the writing front this week?

At the moment, I'm doing something I've been meaning to do for a while now. I am going over the oldest draft of Survivor's Guilt: Moony's Tale, my very first fanfic and major fictional writing project, that I could lay hands on. It's as close to the original version as I can get. I'm checking it for typos only (wow, there are a lot of canon errors), and I'm planning to make a PDF version of it and of the original version of Padfoot's Tale available on my webpage in the near future. So far, I am 122 pages into a 323 page document. I don't know that anyone actually cares about this except me, and it's probably the historian in me that makes me do it. Original sources are important, even if they are bloody embarrassing, which this one definitely is. I was so proud of myself for what I wrote at the time, but now, eight years later, all I can do is cringe.

On the plus side, this project has reminded me that I can do better than this! I am a half-way decent writer, and it's all the stories I have written in the intervening period that have made me so. I am constantly improving, which means I will always be dissatisfied with everything I have written before, and that I should keep writing if I want to keep improving. I can do this! I really needed this reminder, because I have so many doubts about my skills and abilities

Anyway, going over Moony's Tale has also jump started my imagination. I've had dozens more big and small ideas for things I need to cover in my neverending epic that is the lives of Remus and Sirius. I can tell I've gotten to know the characters a whole lot better when I can read a thought I put in one of their heads back in the day, and realise that they would never, ever think such a thing, and it was utterly ridiculous for me to suggest that they would. I and my stories are still a work in progress.

As for the post I made the other day regarding bolloxing up the coding on my webpage, I have since realised I was panicking over nothing. This is why we perform backups. Crisis averted!
pica_scribit: (Gryffindor - MWPP - Conspiracy)
I've gotten to that point again where I've feeling so guilty about not having written anything that I'm avoiding LJ entirely in the hopes that maybe you'll all think I'm dead...or something. But I'm not. And I have no good excuses. I've been letting myself get distracted far too easily lately. I don't need to be watching the news constantly every night while I'm at work; politics can be getting on with things without my help. I don't need to check in with my favourite blogs and forums every half hour to see if anyone has posted anything new; it will all be there later. I don't need to spend several hours a week obsessively organising my iTunes, even though I have a ridiculous amount of music I have never listened to. I don't need to treat arguing with my mother via email about politics/religion/LGBT rights like a full-time job; I already have one of those. I don't need to watch several episodes of BBC comedies in a row on Netflix when I should be sleeping (DAMN YOU, PEEP SHOW!), so that I will be awake enough later to actually WRITE SOMETHING!!!

I haven't written anything in months. I also haven't read anything in months, whether fanfic or published works. This is frankly pathetic. For a while, I had the excuse that my laptop was stolen, and it took me a while to get back up to speed on the new one. But I am up to speed now. I ought to be spending more time on what for the past eight years has been my favourite hobby.

Eight years and two days ago, I saw the movie Prisoner of Azkaban and became a Remus/Sirius 'shipper. Eight years and a day ago, I started writing Survivor's Guilt, my very first fanfic. Writing made me happy. Every time I posted something, I felt accomplished. Every time someone told me they liked something I had written, I knew I had done something good. I need this in my life like I need air, food, water, warmth, sleep. So why have I been avoiding it?

The fact is that I do have a tendency to avoid doing things that are difficult, because I am afraid of failure. I let myself get overwhelmed by the commitment required for all the writing I want to do. What if I can't write all seven years of the Marauders' time at Hogwarts and make it fabulously interesting? What if I write myself into a corner and can't get my characters out of it in a way that agrees with canon? What if I lose interest in my favourite characters and pairings? What if something happens in my life and I just can't do fandom anymore? These fears are ridiculous. I was once told that the only way to be a writer is to write. If I don't write, I'm not a writer. I don't get better. I don't learn anything. As much as I am borrowing a world and characters from someone else, these stories bubbling around in my head are mine, and if I don't tell them, they don't get told. And I want them to be told.

So what am I planning to do about all this? I don't know. But tonight, I'm turning off the TV, closing my browsers, opening Scrivener, and not allowing myself to do anything not directly related to fanfic. This doesn't mean I'll have something new for you tomorrow or even next week, but the desire and intent are still there.

(Also, I am currently helping out with co-modding the 2012 Remus/Sirius Games, so that's something else nudging me toward fandomy things, but it's also something that occasionally swallows days of my time.)
pica_scribit: (Grindelwald Won)
I feel guilty when I notice it's the full moon, and I haven't written anything lately. And I feel guilty that I didn't realise before this minute that today is Remus's birthday. I *knew* there was something important about the date.... Happy Birthday, Remus! I haven't forgotten you! I will try to write something about you later today.
pica_scribit: Pica Pica (Magpie Lewis)
Ugh. Got off work this morning at 6:00 completely exhausted. Home and to bed by 7:00 with pleasant classical radio playing softly. And then awake again for no particular reason around 11:15. I need to sleep more. I have a sort-of date this evening, and I have to go to work after, so more than four hours of sleep would be nice. *sigh*

But now my brain is active and I can't seem to sleep. Unfortunately, my brain seems to want to tell me things about the YA fantasy novel I've been working on off and on for about ... 15 years now? I will write this someday! Yes. I've never devoted the time to it that it deserves, and it has evolved a lot since the initial inspiration. I've realised that my notes for it are in a complete mess. I have eleven different files for it. Three of them are labeled "Chapter 1". I need to do some serious organisational work in it at some point.

But in a way, I'm glad I've waited on it. I think it has the potential to be a lot better book now than it would have been if I wrote it ten or even five years ago. I've become a lot more aware of literary tropes, problematic themes, and MarySueishness. There will be feminism. There will be awareness of social issues. There will be characters of colour. There will be lesbians (story has a predominately female cast). There will be no slut-shaming. There will be people who are not thin and conventionally attractive, and they will not be asexual. There may be a trans character. No more than two other characters will express romantic feelings for my protagonist. There might not have been *any* of these things if I had written it in my early 20's.

In short, I want to be a combination of Tamora Pierce, David Levithan, and J. K. Rowling, and write an interesting story with a fun and diverse cast, which also promotes socially-aware, life-affirming messages. Someday.
pica_scribit: (Gryffindor - RL/SB - Tender)
It occurs to me that I've been sort of quiet here lately when it comes to publicly talking about where I'm at with my writing. I am working on some things, as many of you will no doubt be happy to know. The mid-March deadline for [community profile] black_circle_dj R/S fest is looming, so that needs to take top priority at the moment. Since it's a fest fic, I'm been trying not to say too much about my plans publicly, but I have about 2500 words written so far on that, and I plan to work some more on it today, since I'm off from work for the first time in six days.

I've also been informed that PotterFic Weekly podcast will be reviewing A Conspiracy of Cartographers, Year One for the first and second episodes of their fifth season, and I am deeply excited about this. I got to listen to the rough cut of the first episode last night, and it made me very happy in my belly, and excited about getting back to work on ACOC (once the fest is out of the way).

Since my brain doesn't like to listen to me, it's been working on fine-tuning ACOC Y6. This is Not Helpful. But I do have a much better idea of what the overarching themes for that year are going to be, and how I'm going to turn that into a plot. However, the only way to actually get there is to go through Y2-Y5. So yeah.... Just have to keep reminding myself of that.

I wish I had more to report, but that's about it for now. Trying to stay focussed and not get overwhelmed.
pica_scribit: (Gryffindor - MWPP - Conspiracy)
So I have the first seven chapters of ACOC Y6 planned out in GREAT DETAIL. Why can I not seem to manage this with, say, Y2, Chapter 14? Or, y'know, my [community profile] black_circle_dj fic? *sigh*

And I just realised it's bedtime. Been working on organising Y6 into coherent chapters for the past five hours or so. I'm so dedicated to all the wrong things.

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