azziria: (thinking)
I've been thinking a bit about this, because 2011 was hard and I want 2012 to go a bit better. I've thought a lot about it, and in the end I've come up with one thing:

To be as kind and understanding to myself as I am to others.

I know that's not a SMART objective, and I can break it down into all sorts of concrete goals for exercise etc, but it is the overarching thing that I need to do this year. Maybe I should call it my mission statement?

A question

Oct. 17th, 2011 12:56 pm
azziria: (h5-0)
Reading discussions on various boards about the introduction of the new female character on Hawaii Five-0 has got me thinking: What makes you like a character on a show who is not of the gender you're sexually attracted to? Which characters appeal to you and which don't, and why?

I've seen the opinion stated that Lori Weston was added to appeal to the male viewers; I've also seen it stated that she was added to increase the show's attraction for female viewers. Personally I find her just that little bit too perfect and doll-like to appeal to me as a female viewer, although I suspect that it's the lack of character so far that's really making me see her like that, not her undeniable beauty. I'm not sure that I can identify too closely with a female character who is presented as completely unflawed. I like to feel that my heroines are people I'd be interested in hanging out with.

So, who do you like and why?
azziria: (pattern)
Interesting discussion over at [livejournal.com profile] powrhug's journal about a comment someone made about never reading a fic if the author didn't use a beta.

Personally, I never use a beta and never have.

Why don't I use one? If I'm honest, the main reason is largely due to insecurity and to not wanting to be a nuisance by asking anyone to do it (yes, I have issues, want to make something of it?).

There's also a big issue for me of the fic being *my* work and *my* ideas - I don't actually want anyone else's input. That's not arrogance, it's more that what I write for work isn't *mine*, it's a framework for many other people to hang their ideas off, so it often gets ripped to bits and changed over and over. My fanfic is the only thing I write that is mine and mine alone, and that I can do with as I will. (I do enjoy knocking fic ideas around with the like-minded, though!) If I were going to use a beta, it would have to be someone pretty much on my wavelength, and I don't know how easy that would be to find.

Plus, once a fic is done I want to post it and get it out of the way, I don't want it hanging around.

Of course, I write and edit (technical/medical stuff) for a living, so I'm pretty confident in my spelling and grammar. I'm also picky as hell. I'm not saying nothing ever gets through (the occasional British spelling or term, maybe), but on the whole I'm happy with what I post. I can't stand to read badly-spelled or grammatically-poor writing, and I pride myself that what I turn out isn't either of those.

But I don't make a big deal about announcing that I didn't use a beta for a fic. I have confidence that readers will judge by reading my work. If they don't like it, they can close the window, move on and avoid me in the future.

Writing

Apr. 8th, 2011 11:50 am
azziria: (thinking)
It’s strange to be writing again after such a long gap - strange but good – but I’m finding the need to write so very strong at the moment that I’m wondering what was going on over these past few years.

The thing is, I’ve always written, ever since I started with pony stories as a child. I have a collection of notebooks from my teenage years that make for painful reading, not because they’re badly written (they’re not), but because they’re complete Mary Sues. I was a fish out of water, a girl who wanted to be a boy but who was stuck in an all-girls school where she just didn’t know how to be a girl and play female social games (still don’t!); a straight-A student who was crap at sport, who thought she was fat and ugly, and who was being bullied (and who as a result developed never-show-weakness coping strategies that still have damaging effects on my life even now). When I read the teenage stories I wrote, all those Mary Sues, I can see so clearly that I was desperately trying to write a better life than the one I was experiencing. Living in a fantasy world was a much-needed escape, but it hurts to see it so clearly now, and also to acknowledge that I still go there in times of extreme stress.

So, the stress of what was happening in my life during January and February of this year undoubtedly fuelled a lot of fiction writing as an escape into a fantasy world (hot men this time instead of Mary Sues, but the principle is the same, I was escaping to a better place). What’s interesting is that now that the stress has dialled down, I’m still needing to write. Maybe the whole sorry business unlocked some sort of creative floodgate, I just don’t know.

It’s also interesting to me to reflect on what I’m writing. Given my subject matter and my main protagonists it may seem odd to say that I’m writing from personal experience, but I’m more aware than possibly ever before of how I’m drawing on things that I’ve experienced in my past. The selkie fic draws on leaving someone, not forever but for a year, and how that last night together felt, how I never wanted it to end and how it felt to know that time was moving on and the end was inevitable. And the latest fic... well, that’s really moving into personal issues territory, and if I do write a sequel piece it will be even more so. Which could be cathartic, or could be revisiting things best left buried, I’m not sure.

Whatever, I’m enjoying writing, being creative again. I’ll focus on that :)

Ice cream

Mar. 26th, 2011 08:38 pm
azziria: (lighthouse)
When I was a child there was no such thing as Baskin Robbins or Ben and Jerry's here in the UK. Ice cream came in six flavours: vanilla (very yellow and not really tasting of anything), strawberry (a strange chemical-tasting fluorescent pink substance), chocolate (beige and sweet), coffee (also beige and sweet), rasberry ripple (vanilla with a scant swirl of red syrup in it) and the oh-so-exotic rum n'raisin (beige with lumps). If you felt really daring you could buy a tub of Neapolitan - one tub divided into sections of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. But that was pretty much it.

When I was seventeen I went on a school trip to Rome. In the Piazza Narvona I purchased a chocolate ice cream: a small tub of a very dark brown substance with a swirl of whipped cream on top. The first mouthful was a revelation: an intense hit of almost bitter chocolate, rich and creamy, a world, no, a universe away from that thing we called chocolate ice cream back home. The taste of sophistication, of being in a foreign land, of the fact that food could be exotic and exciting and adventurous.

The taste of growing up, of expanding horizons, of endless possibilities opening up. I've never forgotten it.

(Brought to you tonight courtesy of a tub of particularly fine chocolate ice cream purchased from our village store. Every bit as good as that ice cream in the Piazza Narvona, which shows how the world has changed, but nowhere near as revelatory!)

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