naodrith: (Default)
( Jun. 28th, 2010 11:22 am)
I had a few teachers in high school who changed my life, but one of them who I'd consider a friend now was more or less forced out under the new administration.

She was an amazing teacher. I never had her for Spanish, but I TA'd for her for a semester. She never took any bullshit from the idiots who were only in the class for the credits; she made jokes in Spanish, to freshmen, and she taught enough of them well enough that they laughed. I had her for American Government and Child Development and Economics, but I mostly don't remember the classes. I remember how she was as a person, strong and brilliant and uncompromising in her beliefs. She coached the debate team despite the fact that the school would not give her a budget for it. She ran the Service Committee for Student Council; she ran National Honor Society; she did a great deal of work setting up the blood drive twice a year, and always donated herself.

This year we had a new principal, and the new administration is driving the school into the ground. Basically, they came to her to say that they wanted to put her on less than part-time, with no benefits. She explained that as her husband is currently unemployed and she has two kids to support, she would be leaving instead. After fifteen years.

They did this so that she would quit. So that they would be able to say nobody was fired.

Oh, and they did this without apparently realising that she did more for the school than just teaching.

There will probably be no debate team next year. I wouldn't be surprised if there was no Service Committee or if it became a mere joke. Who knows what will happen to NHS.

And no more kids are going to have their lives changed, because she was among the last of the teachers who could actually relate to teenagers. And guess what? Another of those teachers just moved away because her husband got a better job in another state.

I didn't love high school when I was in it, but, you know, there's a reason that I go back every summer to do a play for free even though it has the worst stage in history. It was a good school. I loved the people there - the kids I worked with, and the teachers I would go and visit when I had the chance.

There is one of those teachers left now. And he will probably retire soon. Or maybe they'll find a way to get rid of him, too.

Summer drama felt different this year. I didn't have as much fun, and I've been blaming the script, the actors, the lack of a crew - anything I could. But I'm starting to wonder if maybe I got infected with the attitude the kids have had this whole year. That school is changing, and not for the better.

Next year might be the last year I do this. I've got one more good script in me. Hell, this might have been the last year - maybe I'll be pushed out, too.

We'll see.
naodrith: (Default)
( May. 11th, 2010 12:41 pm)
So summer drama is coming up, and let me just tell you right now, I have been having the most absolutely appalling time pulling it together. It's not entirely my fault. But it is mostly my fault.

We do not have a script. This, in and of itself, is not unusual. Murder Inc was the only one of the plays that I finished well ahead of time, possibly even before auditions! Happily Ever After got a bit dicey toward the end, and I finished it the night before our first rehearsal, but most of it was done before then, I just got lazy (and one of the best scenes I have ever written is in fact part of that last-minute finish, too). Then came False Colors: I stayed up literally all night before our first rehearsal to finish that one. And finally, last year, Parker Family Values...which I am ashamed to say was only finished after the first two rehearsals. I believe we only did Acts I and II for that time, which was okay because HALF MY CAST WASN'T THERE.

Ahem. Also I cut a character last-minute and had to rethink a bunch of plot and interaction and stuff.

So this year, with one week until auditions and a week and a half until first rehearsal, I...I don't even know which play we are doing. At the moment, there are two options, both of them barely begun. The first is the one I promised everyone we would do; it's been in the works since...oh, it must have been 2006, I think, because I distinctly remember reading the first scene with people at school. For heaven's sake, I have to cut this )

Because then I was random glancing at back entries in my journal, and I found this, and I remembered why I do it. Because I love this work, and I love these kids, and in a week I'm going to once again be granted the privilege of working with them.

And it's going to be freaking awesome.
naodrith: (Default)
( Mar. 25th, 2010 10:10 pm)
Reiterating the questions... )

22. Tell us about one scene between your characters that you've never written or told anyone about before! Serious or not.

Well, that's problematic, because the only scenes I can think of are ones that I have told some people about! Unfortunate! So I'm going to cheat a little and say: I always knew that Rose and Rapunzel were going to get together (ROMANTICALLY) after the story ended, and I sort of wanted to write a sequel where THEY FIGHT CRIME, and never did. Alas.

23. How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)?

It varies, depending on a lot of factors, like my mood and if I finish at all and if I get interrupted. Once Beyond a Time was entirely completed within two and a half weeks, when I had no Internet, no job, and no distractions; other stories have been in progress for years on end.

I like to post chapters as I go along, because I like to get feedback on how the story is working as I'm working with it; sometimes it can be very helpful!

24. How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What's the most interesting way you've killed someone?

Depends on how attached I am to them! I've given a startling number of characters reprieves because I couldn't stand the thought of killing them (Chris of the SHA comes to mind). But if it must be done, it shall be done. Eventually. With many tears and AU fic.

25. Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.

PROBABLY? Marisa da Terrens has a cat named Sasha! They're usually not plot important, so since I'm not currently in the middle of a story, I can't think of any.
naodrith: (Default)
( Mar. 21st, 2010 11:47 am)
Ngh, I hate my body so much right now. Apparently waking me up at eleven for no reason is a trend, and that would be why I'm so fucking exhausted: I'm getting a few hours of sleep every night, inevitably waking up, and then getting whatever I can when I go back to sleep. Fuck this.

17. Favorite protagonist and why!

Zacharias, definitely. Okay, the guy is a total Mary Sue, and I know this and do my best to write him accordingly (i.e. really well so nobody notices, shh) but he's just so much fun with his snark and his angst and his acting like he's the smartest person in the room even when he isn't.

18. Favorite antagonist and why!

Jordan Colfer and the Merry Men as a group. Sure, they eventually become good guys, but as bad guys, they're even more awesome. It's fun that they rob banks basically because they think it's cool, rather than out of any necessity, and they're just such an excellent pseudo-family group in general, even when they're not actively plotting.

19. Favorite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!

Okay, some of you guys might not know this, but Joseph (of Zac-and-Joseph) was...actually really not at all a main character in the original story. He was supposed to be the narrative equivalent of Erion (who?) and then he sort of just fell in love with Zac and became awesome, and between the two of them they pushed Lasa out of her own story. Anyway I love Joseph for many reasons, not least because he's so damn sensible and my heroes are so rarely sensible.

20. What are your favorite character interactions to write?

Snarkfests, definitely, even if I'm not very good at them.

21. Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?

Well, yes, of course, many of them. I think I write them fairly well. I won't claim to be The Authority on writing children, but...well, I babysit, my sister is ten, and I have an above-average handle on what I felt like when I was a kid, still. Nothing annoys me more than reading fiction that has ten-year-olds behaving like two-year-olds, and vice versa. It's patronising bullshit, really, and I try not to do it in my own writing, although I'm not entirely sure I always succeed.
naodrith: (Default)
( Mar. 16th, 2010 06:15 pm)
My family just disgusts me. In one as religious and anti-sex as mine, the fact that they're all het up NOT about the fact that my nineteen-year-old cousin is in labor today and unmarried, but about the fact that the baby is half-black?

Well, you have to be a pretty damn fucking horrible racist to focus on that, in this family, is what I'm saying.
naodrith: (LJ sux)
( Mar. 16th, 2010 03:14 pm)
Oh, lovely, and now I can't figure out how to get to my friends page because for NO REASON LJ seems to have changed the drop-down menus on the OBSOLETE layout I still use. Thank you, LJ. Thank you so much, once again, for nothing.
naodrith: (Default)
( Mar. 16th, 2010 03:12 pm)
15. Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

Terry Pratchett, without question. In a non-writerly way, I massively respect the way he's dealing with his Alzheimer's, and the way he talked about Nation - I liked Nation, not as much as the Discworld books but I really liked it, but the way he said things about how it was the book he needed to write at the time just rings really true. I love reading through his books and watching his style and sense of humour evolve, and basically I think he's just amazing in every possible way, and that everyone who hasn't at least given his books a try, whether they like fantasy or not, is hugely missing out. Night Watch is my favourite book of all time.

16. Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing? ;)

I do, when it's right to do so, and I enjoy writing them, although lately I've grown so sick of the emphasis on Twu Wuv in popular media that I'm focusing more on friendships and (my favourite) familial relationships. I don't think I do too badly with them, personally, although I'm nowhere near the best, my own romantic life being a little lacking, which is to say, completely (and happily) nonexistent.

I don't really write smut on my own; I've tried, and it just makes me feel a bit silly. I've done it in roleplay situations and I'm not bad at it there, but I guess on my own it's a combination of "yes, but my RL friends and my family may see this someday," and just giggling at my own turns of phrase. HOWEVER, having skimmed my share of trashy romance novels, I can say that at the very least I have never used the phrase "she cuddled his erection between her hips," because OH MY GOD. I sincerely hope that now sticks with all of you the way it's stuck with me.

Also, I left that emoticon in the question solely so I could go "what the hell, emoticon."
naodrith: (Default)
( Mar. 14th, 2010 07:23 am)



30-day writing meme questions )

9. How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them.

Generally I either come up with a plot I want to use and decide what sort of character would fit it best, or I decide I want to write about a certain type of character. OR SOMETIMES the character just shows up in my head like WHAT'S UP CAITLIN, WRITE ABOUT ME, so I do? I don't really have a process. I don't fill out questionnaires anymore, I found them to be a waste of time, and I like to let my characters grow through the writing. Ideas come from all sorts of places.

10. What are some really weird situations your characters have been in? Everything from serious canon scenes to meme questions counts!

Well, it wasn't a situation I put my characters in, but one time Ashley wrote me a fic where Zac and Joseph moved to Alaska (REALLY) after faking Zac's death (REALLY!!!!) and started a coffee shop. And made out. And I thought...that was pretty awesome, actually. But after all the conventionally weird situations I put them through, the idea of the two of them operating a coffee shop in Alaska is the weirdest of all. A normal life for those two? Awesome.

11. Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?

Um, Zacharias is my favourite. Snarky little bitch that he is. I think there have been at least three completely different worlds/times I've put him in, and he shines wherever he goes. If this surprises anyone, obviously you are unfamiliar with my writing. :P

I don't really write about characters I don't enjoy, I guess? Sometimes they are difficult and I want to strangle them, but I still love them. Or else...I would not write about them.

No, wait. There was one guy I wanted to punch in the face, and I can't remember his name right now. He was a "hero" who was really the antagonist. What an asshole. Everything I hate in a man.

12. In what story did you feel you did the best job of worldbuilding? Any side-notes on it you'd like to share?

That would be the Shanahn series, Jeff! I don't spend much time worldbuilding anymore, but I used to really enjoy questionnaires, and my compilation of notes on Shanahn is...very precious to me. I still have a much-crumpled map I drew of it, too. You would not believe how sad I was when, after creating a calendar based on the number three (sacred to the Shanahn religion) where all months have twenty-seven days, I realised this meant that a baby does not gestate for nine months. And I cried inside, because the symbolism would have been so beautiful.

Second up would be Ellany, which is only a city in a much, much larger world. I didn't make a lot of notes on it, but I had so much fun with the idea of a city IN A JUNGLE and all the awesome stuff that happened there.

13. What's your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?

I think I do have the most fun with the city of Ellany, but I don't know if that's just the story or not. It's really the clash of cultures that makes it most interesting, that here you have a city nominally part of the empire, and ruled by it, but where the natives still have a say and pretty much everyone accepts that, and ALSO THERE ARE DWARFS. And it's kind of noirish, so that's fun. Also the magic system is badass.

14. How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

The only maps I have right now are too wrinkled to be scanned even if I had a scanner. I generally only draw maps of countries/worlds, not cities or buildings, because I'm better at visualising those. And I only draw them freehand, not with computer programs, because...I suck at drawing on the computer.

I was going to link to a drawing done on the computer, just there. Then I realised I am too ashamed.
naodrith: (Default)
( Mar. 8th, 2010 10:16 pm)
8. What's your favorite genre to write? To read?

Fantasy to both questions! I enjoy mysteries as well, though I don't write them as much as I read them, but fantasy is my One True Genre, always has been, always will be. I just don't find others as interesting. Some of my favourite books are mainstream/literary (A Prayer for Owen Meany, Pride and Prejudice), but that's not something I have any interest in writing. If it has no magic or dead bodies, you probably won't see my name on it.
naodrith: (Default)
( Mar. 7th, 2010 11:25 pm)
Kathryn Bigelow is amazing. That was a really, really nice Oscars, even though I only saw the end bits. I really want to see The Hurt Locker now.

7. Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

Rarely. I don't really like listening to music when I'm doing anything involving words, because I like music and I like singing along and it's always jarring to get into something else (like writing) and realise I've missed stuff in the songs. I don't combine.

I tend to apply most songs I hear to characters of some sort; it's fun! I don't make lists or anything, just sometimes I'll listen with a particular character or set of characters in mind. Which means that it it sad to be asked what song I associate with what character, because...I don't know, I only know it when I hear the song, usually!
naodrith: (Default)
( Mar. 6th, 2010 11:30 pm)
Missed yesterday because I am a dope. That was awfully early for me to FAIL.

5. By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about “youngest” and “oldest” in terms of when you created them?

Er, I don't even know. Quinn was like...eight or something and really annoying, but doesn't exist in the final draft of that story? And I don't know how old my old dudes are either. Most of my main characters are teenagers or young adults because that's what I'm most comfortable with, and I can't really think of supporting characters on command. Because I suck.

Kate was my first character, and she was twelve, so she is both old AND young. It's like magic! My newest characters are Jack and Avigail.

6. Where are you most comfortable writing? At what time of day? Computer or good ol' pen and paper?

I can't write with pen and paper, it hurts my hand. I also find it very difficult to cope with Word 2007, which I blame for the fact that I suck at writing now; my favourite is 2003. I just find it prettier and more intuitive, I guess. I usually write at midnight or later, because I can't even cope with mornings. And it's important to have a good keyboard! Most people hate mine, because it's kind of rough, but believe me, I've had worse. I don't like having to pound the keys too hard, man. Who does?
naodrith: (Default)
( Mar. 4th, 2010 08:12 pm)
4. Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!

I am too ashamed to answer this question.

Well, fine. The first novel I ever tried to write was when I was twelve; the protagonist was a twelve-year-old named Kate. (But she didn't look anything like me! So there's that.) Kate was destined (of course) to save this other world (of course) so she was chased by wolves (of course) and fell through a portal and ended up in the world's stupidest fantasy land. I can't even talk about this, y'all.

So she gathered up a posse of random people to travel across the seven "zones" gathering the seven "jewels." I was into Digimon at the time, so they were things like the Sapphire of Forgiveness or some crap like that. Because once she had the seven jewels, she could surely defeat the Big Bad and go home! And in the process she found her missing father only I think he actually decided to stay in fantasyland, I can't even remember anymore.

It was so lame and everything about it was so generic. It was so much fun to work on, though, for the couple of years that I worked on it, on and off. And I think that it got the tendency toward COLLECT THE JEWEL SHARDS plots out of my system, which is all well and good, right?
naodrith: (Default)
( Mar. 3rd, 2010 11:22 pm)
3. How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you're writing about fictional places)?

They sort of just happen, and they sound right in my head, I suppose? I can tell when a name fits and when it doesn't and when it's nearly right. Generally the only reasons I would go to a baby name site to look something up is if I've decided on a specific naming system (French, Russian, etc.) and I want everything to fit in with that. I don't pick names based on meaning, generally, though sometimes the meanings turn out to fit better than expected.

This does lead to the occasional problem, to wit, once I have that perfect name, I find it nearly impossible to consider changing it. So one of my worlds has both a Vanessa and a Tessa, and Ashley will never let me forget how stupid that is, but that's just who they are. The same story also has two Davids, which I did on purpose because come on, people share names sometimes. It would just be nice if one of them would accept a nickname...*sigh*
naodrith: (Default)
( Mar. 2nd, 2010 06:29 pm)
2. How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?

I cannot even comprehend the first half of this question. I mean, it would make sense if the meme were directed toward a specific story or series, but for writing in general? Um, cast of thousands, I've been doing this for a decade.

The second half is a little complicated. I prefer writing males, whether in roleplaying or in original fiction; I'm not really sure why. But I prefer the idea of writing females, from a feminist perspective, because it's so frustrating to read or hear about countless stories where the women are invisible or cliche or poorly-presented. So for entertaining myself, I tend to like guys; but if I ever become ~famous~, I want to be famous for my girls.
naodrith: (Default)
( Mar. 1st, 2010 04:37 am)
Borrowed with love from [ profile] awritersfantasy: the 30-day writing meme.

Read more... )

1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you've worked with and why.

There have been many projects, but oddly enough, the one which is my favourite is the one I have zero chance of ever getting published. SHAworld, as many of you know, is basically our world except with monsters and some people have superpowers; as planned it consists of forty books (SHUT UP) following the first twenty years of the Superhuman Agency, a secret government agency devoted to keeping all things supernatural from coming to light.

SHAworld has been in my head since I was fifteen, and I think it always will be. I have come to know the characters and the alternate universe they inhabit like the back of my hand, and frankly, I adore them and all their issues and problems and exciting action sequences. I love how SHAworld can be anything I want it to be; since there's no way this thing is ever actually getting out into the world, because of its sheer length and scope, there's no pressure to do anything with it beyond what the story itself calls for. And what it calls for is awesome.

Of course, getting the words out of my head and onto paper is another story entirely, and I wish that I could because I want to share them with many people. But for now, I am content to just have them in my head.
naodrith: (uncertainty)
( Feb. 26th, 2010 06:19 pm)
I am not fantastic at my job. I don't have the blazing speed or physical strength of most of my coworkers, including most of the women. But you know what I certainly am? Competent.

I have been at this job for a year and a half now, and I have never sustained more than the occasional cut or bruise, nor have I ever injured anyone else or damaged a piece of equipment. I'm not some delicate, wilting flower who needs to be helped with every little thing; I'm not some stupid twit who doesn't know to watch and listen to make sure she doesn't get hurt.

Yet some of the men I work with still persist in treating me like it is their sacred and vital duty to protect me.

Example: today I and two or three other people had to pull an open case down a small bump, about two inches high. Because I do not care to lose my fingers, I was slow and cautious about pulling the case toward me, and I pulled by the handles, not the edge, even though it was more awkward. This despite the fact that one of those moving the case with me had a firm grip on the lid; those things are heavy and sometimes the angle can surprise you, so I wasn't about to trust my limbs to that.

As the front wheels slipped down from the little ledge, the lid wobbled slightly, and our movement forced me to lean forward to balance, my head just barely bumping against the lid. Instantly, Dan called down from the stage above, "Careful, Caitlin, don't get your head caught!"

This is not something Dan would ever have said to a male coworker - or to most of the women, either. It was blatantly obvious that I was being careful, that I was not working alone, and that no part of my body was anywhere near being caught in the case, even if the lid had slammed shut, which it was obviously not about to do. And this isn't something he caught out of the corner of his eye; he was standing there the whole time, watching instead of working, and he decided I was in so much terrible, terrible danger because of my own inability that he needed to call out to me and me specifically.

Again, it's not as if I make a practice of tripping over my own feet, smashing my fingers, or swooning onto cases. I'm a good worker, and Dan knows this, because he has marveled, marveled at my "toughness" in the past. But apparently a pretty young woman, no matter how tough, could never be aware enough or cautious enough to avoid getting her neck broken by a slow-moving open case.

Let's be clear: I don't have a problem with people telling me they'd behind me, or to watch out, or even gently moving me aside, if they genuinely believe that I have not seen the thing they are afraid is about to hit me or happen to me. These people don't patronise me or condescend to me; it's a completely different tone, it's completely different situations. You have to be there, I suppose, to really see the difference.

If Dan genuinely believed me to be in imminent danger of getting my head chopped off, it requires one of two things. One, he is unbelievably obtuse and jumps at the slightest hint of trouble, which I know him well enough to say with confidence is not true. Or two, despite a year and a half of evidence to the contrary, he still believes that I am too much of a ditz to protect myself in a controlled situation.

Oh, there is a third possibility. He wants to prove that he lurves me cares about me and is watching my back, in order to score points.

Fuck him. This is demeaning. I feel objectified when men stare at my ass or my breasts instead of my face, but you know what else makes me feel like an object?

Being treated like I don't have a brain.