Feb. 22nd, 2017 07:14 pm
carolecummings: (Thinky)

Stephen King posted something yesterday that's still got me thinking. Now, I adore SK. He's written more than one of my "Top 100" books. And I did appreciate his "On Writing" though I never used it as a how-to guide. I'm not fond of how-to guides when it comes to anything creative or artistic. Art is such an individual thing. One genius's "must do this" is another one's "never do that," and it just depends on what works for which. So I don't generally adhere to another writer's how-to.

Anyway, SK made some derisive comments about using the phrases "looked for a long moment" and "for some reason." Those are no-nos, apparently. SK says people don't look for a long moment, they merely look, and "for some reason" is just lazy.

Now, I did not run to my various works and scour them to see if I've ever made these apparent faux pas. I probably have. In fact I'd put money on it. *shrug* It's not something for which any professor has ever cracked my knuckles, nor is it something for which an editor has smacked me. (I get cracked and smacked for plenty of things, but never for that, as far as I can recall.) And it's been a while since I've ventured to any of the review sites, but I don't recall a reader having ever complained about a character looking at another for a long moment.

I guess I can see how "for some reason" could be considered lazy. I've never actually thought about it, but I suppose it might be more deeply descriptive to say something like "He couldn't fathom why he thought she seemed sad," instead of "For some reason he thought she seemed sad." But I'm not really seeing anything particularly dynamic about the first or lazy about the second. They say the same thing, and one is just as clear to the reader as the other.

So this has been on my mind since I saw it yesterday, and I think it's because it annoys me that an author would take the time to complain about another author using common, perfectly useful phrases merely because they're an apparent pet peeve. I mean, I have a weird aversion to the word "lips" but you don't see me telling authors to stop having their characters pucker up. And granted, I'm no SK, but still.

It just seems like unnecessary hubris to me. I was a bit disappointed. Maybe I'm being unfair, but I don't think it's an author's place--any author, no matter how successful--to tell other authors "these phrases irritate me; stop it." So it would probably be a bit hypocritical of me to tell SK "I don't like when you tell other authors not to use phrases that annoy you; stop it." But I kinda want to anyway.
carolecummings: (*grin*)
Thirddaughter's grad gown!

Gah! This time next week, my youngest child will have finished high school!

My husband, occasional killjoy that he can be, wanted to know what I was so excited about, since we still have college tuition to look forward to. I played this for him. Really loud.

(Anyone know how to get creases out of cheap polyester without melting it?)

Also, because it's adorable:

Servicedog asking Thirddaughter for treats and pets last night. Made me think of this. *snicker*
carolecummings: (castiel)
In a moment of decadent self-indulgence, I bought this:

I mean--I had to! Just look at it. Look how gorgeous it is! And I got the very last size 8.  \o/  And okay, it was a little... er. Spendy. But! Husband refused to talk me out of it when I begged him to, so I was forced to, y'know--buy a skirt to go with it. And since the skirt was really cheap, I say it all evens out.

Okay, no it doesn't. But! But! I already had the boots because I am a total boot slut and I have all the boots, so I actually saved money!

(Shut up, there is a scientific formula somewhere in the world that will support my theory!)

Okay, yes, I'm weak and pathetic, but damn it, I will look awesome while being weak and pathetic.

Although, I'll be wearing it to C3 or Nijicon, so maybe I can deduct it? Business expense! (Is that legal? It's probably not legal, is it.)
carolecummings: (Linus)

So, I have recently, and very reluctantly, given in and binge-watched all 9 seasons of Supernatural. I say "reluctantly" not because I disdained the show, or had no interest in it, but because I really didn't have time OMG! to be investing that much of it. I was trying to finish BoB! I was working on a Joint Project That Shall Not Be Named! I was knee-deep in new Wolf's-own proofs for the re-releases! I was training a dog! I was... doing other stuff!


But, Thirddaughter decided this summer would be a good time for her to give Netflix a run for its money, and among some really freaky anime shows that I now know more about than I really want to, she started watching Sam and Dean smartass their way through macabre adventures while getting up to various hijinks and shenanigans. And, naturally, she decided the big TV in the living room was best suited to this endeavor. Which, okay. It's where my giant chair is, where I huddle with my laptop and tap-a tap-a and let my head spill out onto the keyboard, but I can usually ignore everything around me while I'm writing. (I've had 4 kids--you learn to selectively tune.)

I didn't want to get sucked in. I tried to mind my own business. Bas and Kimo spent a lot of time saying "Hey! Writer-bitch! Over here!" But Sam and Dean proved a serious distraction.

And then Castiel showed up.

Oh, Castiel. He of If the pizza man truly loves this babysitter, why does he keep slapping her rear? He of It's funnier in ennochian. I had to become a fangirl! I had no choice!

So, I have now seen every episode of Supernatural and am jonesing for what I'm told will be the last season ever. Which, judging by what was supposed to have been the last season ever a couple seasons ago, is going to end horribly. Because these writers are bastards.

carolecummings: (inigo montoya)
My secret crush, the fabulous  [ profile] bluesimplicity sent me this, and since I've just spent almost an hour I didn't have to spare scrolling (and scrolling and scrolling!) I figured I'd sabotage your productive hours too.

Mwahahahahahaha! (<----evil laughter)

And, because she apparently never wants me to get anything done ever again, she also sent me this one:

So, my question on that one is this: if trees are so damned resilient, how come my ficus suddenly loses its will to live every time I move it to run the sweeper?
carolecummings: (Stewie)
You know that angel story we never finished? Yeah, don’t. And stop angsting about it. Seriously, you don’t know this now, but we end up letting it make us crazy for the next 10 years—get over yourself now and save us a lot of worry lines. We’ll be prettier when we’re my age.

I know, I know, you’re all But I’ve got, like, 80K words! I can’t just let them sit there! but yes, yes you can. In fact, you should. There is such a thing as authenticity in plot and character evolution—stop rolling your eyes at me, it’s a real thing!—and it may be difficult to recognize it and define it when you’re looking at it, but you know when it’s not there, even if you don’t know what’s missing. You’ve read—and subsequently very quickly forgotten—enough books with cookie-cutter plots and 2-dimensional characterizations by now to understand why you even write in the first place, so don’t try to force something because you can’t get past your own impatience and the sometimes unreasonable things you expect of yourself.

Also, that disk we save it on and subsequently guard with our lives for the next 15 years or so? Yeah, just take a hammer to it now. We don’t need it. Anything that was good about the story is still hunkering down in the back-brain and waiting it out, and that disk will morph from a kind of safety blanket into a symbol of failure after a while, and it’s not failure. It’s going to take us a long time to figure that out, and we do get there eventually, but we could’ve saved ourselves a lot of false starts and hits to the confidence if we hadn’t so desperately and wrong-headedly held onto the hard evidence of the initial launch delay. (And you know we never like our old writing anyway—which is why we never once open that disk the whole time we have it—so keeping it “in case we can use some of it later” is pointless and just causes us more angst than necessary.)

Anyway, the story won’t die just because we let it hibernate in the back-brain for longer than usual. I know you worry we’ll forget, but trust me—we don’t. That shiny little coal the seed of the story started out with is still there; you’re just not ready to turn it into a diamond yet. You’ll have to leave that to Older Us. I’m not guaranteeing it’ll be a diamond treasured by all, but it’ll be our diamond, something we can be proud of, and we’ll make that first delicate cut when it’s ready to be made.

And it’s not like any of the original stuff goes to “waste” so quit thinking like that. Every “failure”—or even delay—adds to our maturity as a writer, and everything we do or try enriches our next project in some way. We’ve already used some of the traits of the angel story’s protagonist to build Dallin, and he turned out better for having let his characterization mature. We’ve used some of the characteristics of the world to give backstory and depth to Temshiel and maijin, and their history and evolution is a lot more interesting than what we had going 20 years ago.

Oh, and let me warn you about this now and save our psyche some whinging: We will, in about 15 yrs your time, read a book very similar to the angel story—right down to the occupation of the main character—and we will have actual palpitations, because it’s so close, what the hell, how did that author get in my head?! but relax. The author was not in our head, don’t be a ninny. (That’s what the tinfoil hat is for, idiot.) It’s just that it was a good idea and we’re not the only ones who have them. And it’s good that we read that book, because it makes us understand why we didn’t fail by not writing it, and it also frees up our head to the different direction the original story wanted to take right from the beginning and we just didn’t see it back then. ’Cause we were young and stupid. (Oh, don’t get all uppity; Carole +20 yrs—Carole + 40 yrs to you—will be telling me the same thing.)

Now, you will meet someone in about 5+ yrs time who will eventually become your sounding-board, your confidante, your writing partner and your BFF. You will meet because of writing and the mutual respect thereof, and thereafter discover a kindred spirit with enough polar-opposition in various opinions and methods and philosophies, etc. to keep it constantly interesting, educational and evolving. This BFF will one night have a few too many glasses of wine and drunkenly tell you during a late night IM session—during which she will actually slur her typing, and you will be unable to figure out how she manages it—that she really wants that angel story and you should be writing it for her as a personal favor, because I deserve it, damn it! And while yes, she kinda does, you will nonetheless metaphorically pat her on the head and chuckle and head off to a bed that doesn’t spin when you close your eyes, secretly wishing a mild hangover on the BFF, because she knows, she knows damn it, she knows BoB is all over us like a cheap whore and is giving us fits—we’ll need to have a talk about BoB another time, because holy shit AUGH!—and there are 57 other stories that want out, and there was a reason the angel story never got finished, damn it, we should never have told the BFF about it, we should’ve just let it fester back there like a sore tooth we can’t help poking now and then, because MATURITY! AUTHENTICITY, damn it!

And while we’re busy rolling over and petulantly knocking the husband off our pillow, the angel story will spring forth whole-formed into the front-brain. And it will shine behind our eyes in the watches of night and keep us from much-needed sleep, because it will be good. It will be better than what we could’ve done 20 years ago. It will be the reason it refused to cooperate back before we’d lived a little more, had specific experiences, acquired a different kind of awareness and a subtle shift in perspective. We will curse the BFF her drunken ego-coddling, but we will also (somewhat reluctantly) abruptly understand that the time is drawing near and (very reluctantly) thank her for it.

When we do, finally, write the angel story—and yeah, it’s making demands now, and we’ll probably start it just as soon as BoB stops being such a dick—it will be because the story is ready to be written, because we are ready to write the story it needs to be, and not because we have a shiny idea we have to take our jeweler’s tools to now, regardless of whether or not we should. “Should” is very close. Closer than it was 20 years ago. We’ll know it when it gets here. Probably because it’ll take us by the hair and beat our head against our laptop, but sometimes we like it a little rough. ;)


Carole +20 yrs

P.S.—Oh, and one more thing: Don’t start dying our hair. Yeah, I know, 25 is a little young to start going gray, and we do still like the freedom of changing colors every once in a while when we get bored. But we’re at the age now when we actually should be starting to go a little gray, and salon people apparently have no idea what you mean when you tell them that. The last time we tried to explain we wanted a little bit of natural gray mixed in so we didn’t have to let the color grow out and look like a weird, elderly inverted skunk, we ended up blonde with blonder highlights. We are not blonde. We haven’t been blonde since we were 8 and got fried at the beach. So just suck it up now and let the husband—who is, yes, eight years older, and how fair is that?!—look like your boy toy for a while. It’ll even out eventually.
carolecummings: (Writer)
[ profile] jtulloshennig and I are over on the Armchair Reader today talking about Tropes, Archetypes and Expectations. We’d love to hear from you!
carolecummings: (Writer)
The new Doctor is rather yummy, isn't he?


Guest Post

Jul. 30th, 2013 10:04 am
carolecummings: (Wolf's-own)
J Tullos Hennig and I are over on The Armchair Reader today talking about Spec Fic and why we’re not really qualified to be spirit guides. Come join us and tell us what popped your Spec Fic cherry!

Oh sigh

Jul. 17th, 2013 08:58 pm
carolecummings: (inigo montoya)
I just watched Immortal Beloved for, like, the bazillionth time, and it got me all blubbery for, like, the bazillionth time. I know it's kind of like an AU fanfic of Beethoven's actual life and music, but day-um it's an effective one.

I don't think it will surprise anyone if I admit I've been a nerdy classical music fangirl since forever--my dad used to play 78s and 33s of the Masters on the gigantic cabinet-sized stereo in our livingroom when I was growing up. (Along with the Clancy Brothers, the Beatles and the Carpenters, Jesus Christ Superstar, the Chipmunks singing the Beatles' hits, OMG, but we don't need to go into all that right now, because yes, that's exactly how old I am.) And Beethoven's 9th symphony has always been one of those pieces of music that can make me conduct all by myself in my car and not care what someone in the other lane thinks. But the way Immortal Beloved portrayed the 4th movement of it just... gah. No words. Or, you know, lots of words but very teary ones. That little boy running and running and grasping for some kind of freedom then immersing himself among the stars. If I wore pearls I'd be clutching them. (Shut up, I have a lot of feelings.) If I could do for a reader what that scene and that music does for me...


On another note, there are apparently now just as many links to torrent downloads for my books on a Google search as there are legitimate sales links. Sigh again. Which might not be so bad, if it wasn't for the attitude on some of them. See, I don't generally worry overmuch about the torrent sites, because I figure those aren't people who were going to buy my book anyway. If they couldn't get it by stealing it, they weren't going to buy it, so it's not like I'm losing anything. (Unless they go around one-starring me on review sites or something, because that would just be... wrong. Somehow. Insult to injury, or something.)

But the cheek on some of these people is truly amazing sometimes. I saw one where the girl (I'm assuming--the pseud was kind of chickish) posted every single one of my books, and left a note on the post that said it would be nice if anyone who steals downloads them would leave her a thank you.


Seriously. A THANK YOU. I was kind of tempted to sign up for a membership just so I could leave her a note that said, yes, thank you for stealing my books and making it so easy for others to steal them as well. I didn't. I'm so freaking lazy. Plus, I'd probably be the one coming out of it looking like the troll. Anyway, you send out one desist order and ten new links crop up, so feh. Entitlement, man. It's a goddamned epidemic, I swear.

I remember Josh Lanyon once talking about a comment on one of his books threads, where the person said they were a huge fan, had read every one of his books, and proudly stated they hadn't paid for a single one of them--they couldn't afford it, see, but they'd gone out of their way to hunt down a free download, because that's just how dedicated they were. And you know, I get that a lot of people can't afford to pay for their reading habits. I really do. (You have no idea how poor I was at one time, and I've been a voracious reader all my life. Except I generally tend to reread the books I have on my shelves when I can't afford something new. 'Cause, you know, the stealing thing.) And it totally sucks to desperately want a new release from an author you love but you can't afford it. But Jesus, stealing it really doesn't make you a fan. Stealing it makes you a thief who happens to be a tiny bit discerning. No one is actually entitled to reading material, and certainly no one's entitled to steal it if they can't afford it. But there are tons of people who seem to think they are.

I'm not really griping, I swear. I mean, I kind of am, but like I said, I don't see myself as losing anything to the free downloads. It's a sincere lack of respect for the authors from whom they steal, but I'm a mother of four--I'm used to no respect. It's the principle. And the entitled attitude bugs the crap out of me.

Er. Sorry. I really just logged in to see how everyone's doing and to gush about Immortal Beloved. I'll stop now.

Hope everyone's been having a great, if unreasonably hot, summer.


Extra shout-out to Julia and Marlene! Hope you're both doing better, <3 <3 <3 <3, and check your inboxes! Michelle, don't check your inbox just yet. (See, you should never forgive me for late correspondence, because I'll just be later the next time.) This week, I swear. You know I adore you, right?
carolecummings: (Bang Head Here)
So, life goes whacko for a while and it seems my brain takes that as a sign that it must generate a bazillion new story ideas that must be written right now omg! and then I get all flustered and have to slouch down to my cave for a while until life calms down and The Muse stops whipping plots at me like darts through her bony fingers. Life has not exactly calmed down, but I’ve been working steadily on one story for a while now, when I can, so I’m taking that as a good thing.

Now, usually I don’t name a story until it’s finished. I go with a horrible computer filing system wherein my WIPs are labeled stupid things like ‘#515’ or ‘Mage with scar’, but at least they’re all in one place now (I used to have them scattered all over my computer and had to search random folders just to find the one I wanted to work on; I found one once in a folder labeled ‘recipes’ so go figure) so that’s an improvement. But this one has ended up with a name-- Blue on Black. There is a reason for that, and it does have something to do with the plot and the characters, but I have to confess that the main reason I went against my usual (stupid) system was because I realized that if I allowed this story to name itself Blue on Black, I could then call it BoB. So I am currently writing a steampunky fantasy involving a train and I call that story BoB. Thank you, yes, I realize my head makes no sense to anyone who lives outside of it.

Anyway. Oh, look--more clowns! )
carolecummings: (Writer)
Why do I watch Rent every time it's on when I know Angel is going to wreck me and make me useless for days? :( Quick someone hug me!

Paranorman next because it looks cute and I need cute.

Hey we never did the post-Christmas thing. Whad'ya get? (Clothes and kitchen stuff for me because apparently I am a poorly dressed kitchen wench. :/ Well okay last year it was a car so that's kinda hard to top. See? I can be reasonable!)
carolecummings: (Rangers)
THIS made me cry soppy emo tears of wedding-y happiness. Only look if you have time to touch up your eyeliner. (No, I really really mean it.)

And I have to link THIS ONE, too, because I miss my hockey (damn you, NHL lockout!) and I used to love watching Sean Avery on the ice.

There have been some really good strides made toward acceptance in pro sports this year, which I think is a very important stepping-stone. I think one of the ways to make ‘the gay issue’ the nonissue it should be is for those who are seen as iconic examples of masculinity to expose nonacceptance for the shameful thing it is--Neanderthals will usually only listen to someone they view as an equal or superior Neanderthal. Sean Avery started his advocacy several years ago, back when he was still with the Rangers, and the example seems to be catching on.

For those of you who don’t follow sports, THIS story from this past autumn will make you want to stand up on your chair and cheer anyway.

Still too slow, but progress nonetheless. Not a terrible way to end a year. :)
carolecummings: (Rats)
And WTF Keebler Elves? while I'm at it.

There are no Almond Crescents! ANYWHERE!! Every year I wait for my Almond Crescents, and this year? No Almond Crescents! *weeps* Have the Keebler Elves gone on strike? Did their tiny little tree factory burn down? Did they switch their tiny elf religion and don't believe in the joy of almondy goodness anymore?

Apparently, I looked so distraught this morning while searching the Giant grocery store that the manager came over to see why I was attempting to climb behind the cookie shelves and shoving little children out of the way of the Keebler displays. (ME: 0_o Obviously, I'm looking for Almond Crescents. Duh.) And he told me he's going to check with Ernie Keebler (I swear to god, that's what he said) and relay my WTF? sentiments. And then he patted my head and told me he'd call if they got any, and then asked me to go wait quietly at home and stop scaring the other customers. (Not really.) So there's hope. Tiny little elf hope, but still.



Dec. 3rd, 2012 12:03 pm
carolecummings: (SPAM)

In all the many (mumblety) years I’ve been admittedly somewhat obsessed with hobbits, and Frodo in particular (because I always eventually come back around to Frodo--shut up, crushing on a tiny little fictional character is normal, my therapist told me so!), I can’t say I’ve ever once crushed on a dwarf. But DAY-um.

The full-sized pic is HERE. (Because every time I post a thumbnail-to-full-size link on LJ, GR screws it up and people’s pages go out of whack with giant pics. Er, sorry. I didn’t know!)

How many more days until The Hobbit?

*glares at calendar*
carolecummings: (Killer Turkey)

*grin* I only get to use this icon once a year and it makes me snicker every time. I would pet him, but he’d probably take my hand off. Because—you know—killer turkey.

Okay, I have a ‘thankful’ list, but first things first:

The Lucas and Alex story (formerly Library-guy and now officially entitled The Queen’s Librarian) will be ready for beta at the end of next week. (A month later than I promised, I know, sorry, but time has not been my friend this autumn.) So, let me know who’s onboard for beta, please. I haven’t decided if I’m going to submit it anywhere yet, but if I do, I’ll probably want to do it by the end of the year, so there’ll be at least a month before I’ll need it back.

This means the train story is next, which is good, because it’s really starting to chew at my synapses now. And the mage story is mixing it up in there, too, and getting a little more insistent than is comfortable, along with one involving angels, and several other fantasy stories, plus a couple of contemporary (go figure) probably-novellas that are wanting out, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but OMG THERE IS ONLY SO MUCH ROOM IN MY BRAIN!

Ergh. Anyway. On to the point of the post:

Top Ten List of Things For Which Carole is Thankful 2012 )
carolecummings: (Crazy)
I have the Firefly box set plus Serenity on both DVD and the Apple TV. And yet everytime there's a marathon on TV I drop whatever plans I might have had to watch. (Okay I actually had no plans today. But it still counts!)

Also--why do I have no Captain Tight Pants icon? *makes note to remedy heinous oversight*

For anyone who doesn't know and might be interested--there's a Firefly reunion special tonight on the Science Channel. Shiny!
carolecummings: (Thinky)
So I was reading this article on fanfic , which—unlike a lot of articles I’ve seen on the subject—treated it as something that’s not only an unfairly maligned pastime but a worthy one. Now, I can’t say I was all that pleased with the vaunting of some of what I consider poorly-written… stuff, and the use of it as examples as to why fanfic may have some value, but it seems the only time something can be considered valuable is when someone makes money from it, so what are you going to do.

Pause for mini-rant )
carolecummings: (*head desk*)
Jesus Christ, is anyone else having as hard a time as I am getting back to normal real life after the holidays? I cannot seem to catch up!

On a brighter note: get anything good for Christmas?

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