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[sticky post] Welcome + Fic and Time-line

Hello!
Things of mine you might want to check out:

Hells Half Acre's Supernatural Time-Line: The only accurate Supernatural Time-Line on the Internet....in my opinion.

Master List of my Fanfic

Master List of my Meta

If Clothes Could Talk - a catalogue of Sam and Dean's clothes throughout the seasons (this project is ongoing - S1-S8 complete)

This journal is public with an occasional f-locked personal-life post. The only rule is that I like to keep things positive - so any negativity or mean-spiritedness will be frowned upon. I like to like things.

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VanCon 2016: Sunday - Lazy!

I'm going to be lazy today and not go down to the convention. It's J2 day, and the way the hotel is set up, I don't think they actually have to walk through the lobby to get anywhere - so, I'm unlikely to see them (though, I did see both Osric and Sebastian Roche walk through the lobby yesterday). Well, famous last words maybe, but *shrug*

I know my friends will have a lot of downtime today, so I am half-tempted to go hang out  - but I'm also seeing them all tomorrow too.

Also, it's grey and cold and I just went to my first yoga practice in 2 months, and now my abs hurt. :P

So, I will be watching the twit machine with the rest of you for updates.

Oh! Follow-up to the Karaoke fiasco - I got an email back from Gary of Creation... and he said that making it wristbands only was a "bad decision by an overzealous volunteer" and he apologizes. So, that was nice. I mean, I still have a lot of problems with Creation, but I'm thankful for the apology and acknowledgement that it was VanCon that was in the wrong on that one.

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Today I slept in, only getting to my beloved lobby as the clock struck noon and the horn blew the first 4 notes of O Canada - (Which is a thing that happens at noon every day in Vancouver, FYI).

I sat with some other fangirls and talked about fannish things for a bit. Then raloria found me and we started chatting, but were interrupted by an older couple from Florida who wanted to know about Supernatural - they had already talked to some other fans and planned to watch the first season, but they wanted to hear more. This, somehow, led to a discussion about immigration and religious freedoms. We kept things remarkably civil, given that they were treading a fine line with me! Haha, though, in fairness, I spontaneously decided to argue the thesis that Western fear of being slowly infiltrated by "immigrants" and our laws being eventually governed by foreign morals, stems from Christianity's horrible history of doing exactly that, and we can't comprehend cultures who don't have that as their modus operandi. Anyway, they were nice people, but the sort of people who believe themselves liberal, yet go on to say pretty xenophobic things.

Anyway, needless to say, interesting chat!

I didn't get as much writing done today - I wrote maybe 500 words of Chapter 2 of the next installment of demented'verse - then I stared out the window for a while - then I surfed tumblr - then I decided to go home for dinner.

SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL

Was excellent! I was in the cheap seats. I could have moved forward a little once the show started, but it was kinda cool to have the paranoramic view - and the sound was the same from wherever. You didn't get the same crushing feeling of excitement, as you do in the front - but it's really cool to be able to see the whole audience... especially on the songs where the little candles all went up.

The concert, and all it's performers, just keep getting better and better every year. Let's see... what order did the guests come in...

Matt sang Song #2 by Blur. Kim Rhodes did a rockin' One Way Or Another... she's fantastic. Osric did Eminem. Brianna sang my favourite Jack White song - Love Disruption, and she KILLED it. It was amazing. I really hope someone got a good video of it, because she kicked ass.

Chris Shmelke joined Louden Swaine for a song.... hmm....

Oh! And Louden Swaine did a song where some of the audience members had kazoos and they did a kazoo solo! It was hilarious and adorable.

Okay, so, star performer was Jensen! He came out to join Rob for Fare Thee Well. I'm so glad Robbie Thompson wrote that  song into an episode, it's such a fantastic (and historical) piece of music. Before the concert started, they had passed out little candles to turn on during Fare Thee Well, so we did that! Yay! And then we had the little candles to use for other slow songs too, so that was nice.

After Fare Thee Well, Jensen stuck around on stage, called out Jason Manns, and they did a REALLY nice rendition of Simple Man. Jensen had sung Simple Man with the band last year - but I guess after doing this more accoustic, rehersed cover with Jason for his album - well, Jensen just KILLED it. It was a really beautiful cover, and he did an amazing job. I'm so happy that he's gotten less and less shy about his singing talent over the years, because every time I see him perform now, he just gets better and better (and he started out pretty damn good!)

Jason Manns then stuck around the stage after Jensen left, and he and Rob sang a fantastic cover of Come Together by the Beatles (one of my favourites).

Rob then sung She Waits, and Mama's Jam, which kinda go hand in hand in a way - since the first is a song about how his mother was abandoned by his father, and the second is his fantasy about killing his father.... though he assured us that he has no plans to actually murder anyone. :P

We got an encore of a few more tunes, and then Rob called everyone out on stage, and they did Purple Rain - which was amazing! And it was hilarious watching Jensen watch Rob rock out. Jensen was just so delighted by Rob, and really enjoying himself. And the whole audience got to sing along like a choir, and wave our candles... and it was great.  :)

I'd like to thank my friend for getting me the ticket! I didn't take any pictures or video... partially because I was at the back of the room, but also because I just wanted to be present in the moment and enjoy it. And I did. I love that Jensen has taken to singing Simple Man, because it's a song that I associate with Dean so heavily...and yeah, just a really great night.

I haven't decided on whether I'll do the lobby thing tomorrow or not. If I do, I won't be down there until the afternoon. We'll see!

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VanCon 2016: Friday - Lobby and Karaoke

Woo! VanCon write-up post.... even though I'm not attending the Con!

Today I woke up at a leisurely 10am, had a bowl of cereal, and made it to the Con hotel by 11:30, where I set up shop in the lobby. The lovely Westin Bayshore hotel has free wifi! Yay!


(What a great lobby view!)

I spent the day writing the first chapter of the next installment of the demented'verse - I got a lot of work done! About 2-3000 words, I'd say. So, first chapter done, yay!

I also got coffee with Jules from the SuperWiki, accidentally causing her to miss the Jason Manns panel - but we were able to chat about summer movies, Comic-Con, and the fact that Super Handsome Asian Demon is an Australian actor, which I didn't realize because he obviously puts on a convincing American accent. So, his name is now Super Handsome Asian-Australian Demon (SHA-AD?) and I will continue to hope he doesn't get killed off.

Then I went home for dinner - I had pasta. It was adequate for my nuitritional needs, but nothing to write home about.

KARAOKE!!

But first FIASCO!
They nearly didn't let me in!!! OH MY GOD, I was so upset. Apparently they changed the rules and you need wrist bands to get in now?!?! But their website and schedule still say that it's FREE, which you know, means FREE, there's no stipulation in there about needing a con ticket.

I was about to either punch the dude trying to kick me out or burst into tears or both - but luckily two of the female volunteers recognized me as a Con regular and one of them asked if I had a ticket for another day that weekend. I said I had a ticket for tomorrow night, and she declared that "good enough" - but I still argued that it shouldn't MATTER. You can't claim something is free and then have it not be! I spent both time and money to get myself downtown for karaoke - MONEY I DON'T HAVE. Anyway, needless to say, I'm very greatful that my friend kindly bought me a ticket for tomorrow night so that I didn't have to lie (I'm a really crap liar and wouldn't have even thought to until afterward), but I am definitely using some of my lobby writing time tomorrow to write a letter to Creation about this. You can't false advertise like that. IT BREAKS HEARTS.

Anyway, once I calmed down and convinced my body that I didn't have a use for all the panic adrenaline it was flooding my system with, I was able to enjoy the night. Special thanks to raloria for laughing it off with me. I was very thankful to have someone at my side through that brief fiasco.

But it was sort of a karaoke disaster, oh man... one fan summed it up well at the end of the night by saying that it was so bad it was good. Like - they were using youtube for the karaoke songs, and they didn't have adblock on - so we had to wait for some commercials! And then the quality was varied because apparently they hadn't vetted the videos beforehand! The most hilarious one was when there were porn lyrics for Sexy Back - like, really raunchy nonsensical porn lyrics. They stopped the video, Matt apologized humorously, and then they restarted with the proper one, but HONESTLY. Then, because they were dependant on youtube and wifi, there were a few times where the song just cut out because of buffering. Seriously, you do karaoke 14 billion times a year, you'd think you'd have invested in a reliable system by now.

But, our hosts and celebrity guests still made it a fantastic night! The special guests were Tyler Johnston (Samandriel), Osric Chau (who came out as Deadpool for a whole song and I couldn't tell if he was Osric or Tyler until he took off the mask at the end of the song.) Erica Carroll (Hannah), Brendan Taylor (New Doug!), who Briana introduced hilariously - and man, he's good at rap songs. Julian Richlings (Death) danced around like a maniac and I still love him to...death. :P Ummm... there was Briana, Kim, Matt, and Rob, of course... who else?!?! That might have been it.

There was a 12am cut-off, it seemed, so we wrapped up with a great rendition of Carry On - though at that point, my voice was wrecked from wooping and singing along for two hours, so hopefully you can't hear me warbling out of tune in the video that raloria was taking while standing beside me.

So, tomorrow I plan to do much the same as today - I'll head into the con around 11ish, and hang out in the lobby all day - if any of you guys reading this are at VanCon, you're welcome to come find me anytime to say hello. I'll be in the main lobby, on my little green and grey chromebook, writing either a strongely worded email to Creation or working on my fanfic. I'm quiet and maybe don't seem approachable, but I promise that I'm friendly and I like meeting people!

And then I get to go to the concert tomorrow - provided Creation don't change their minds about that too and kick me out (I keep telling myself that won't happen, because I have a ticket and everything - but now I'm super paranoid about having even the tiniest of my dreams crushed.)

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Writing is Hard: Naming Characters

To continue with my summer series of posts about writing... let's pick up on something I didn't want to get into during my post about Formulating Characters....

Topic 3: Naming Characters

I called this a "whole other kettle of fish" in my last post. It's very rare that I name a character before I've created them. The exception to this is in the fantasy novel that I'm trying to write, but that's just because some of the characters were created, really, by my BFF as jokes between us, and he usually always started with an absurd name and went from there.

Anyway, let's divide this up:

Fanfiction and NOT High Fantasy/Scifi.

So, yes, usually I think of the character first and then come up with a name. Sometimes it's as simple as me telling my Welsh friend "I need a name for a priviledged rich white asshole" and them saying "David Cameron" and me discarding David, because all the Davids I know are related to me and/or adorable baby boys and I love them - and then using Cameron, because that's definitely the name of white guy, and Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day off was also rich - so it works! (The story I use Cameron in is a WIP and not published yet)

If it's a throwaway character, I'll usually just pick a common name - John, Nate, James, Jeremy, Phil, Chris, Sarah, Mary, Jessica, Rebecca, etc. Same goes for more diverse character names - I just pick whatever common name suits the ethnicity - Ahmed, in DDD is an example of this. Though, he's the only one that springs to mind, because I DO have a problem with not defaulting to white guys. But hopefully I've had others over the years....

For more important characters, I put WAY too much thought into it.

I mean, some are easy - Iggy and Andy from DDD are simply because I wanted a common muggle name - Andrew. And then a name that only pompous rich people still use (or old fashioned pure blood wizard types) - Ignatius.

Characters like Till... I choose names based on character background and meaning. Till got his first name from a guy that I once knew (see my Formulating Characters post)... but his last name I chose based solely on the character's background.

Till, being of Swedish decent, needed a Swedish lastname. So, I usually go to a site like behindthename.com and surnames.behindthename.com and surch by ethnicity... then I look for meanings. For Till, I wanted it to be something soft, and possibly something related to medicine - since Till is an OC in the Harry Potter universe, where people's names tend to reflect their occupations/lives/conditions. I mean, Remus Lupin was apparently bitten by a werewolf as a child, but his name was already "*person raised by a wolf* Wolf" and Sirius Black didn't become an animagus until he was a teenager, but it's no wonder his animagus form is a big black dog when his name is literally Dog Black.

So, I wanted Till's name to reflect an aspect of his personality - his soft voice - and something possibly about his vocation. I also needed a name that might be intimidating for non-Swedish people to pronounce at first glance - since I needed a reason why Harry never spoke to Till using his last name (as Harry often does with others). I decided on Till Ljung. Ljung being from the name of the Heather plant. I liked the idea of Till behind named after a flower, especially in a magical universe where more plants can be used for healing.

Similarly, Nate Lewin, has the last name Lewin, because it means "Dear Friend" in Old English. It's pretty transparent!

Anyway, that's usually what I do, at least in fic... just pick names based on ethnicity, how common I want them to be, and meaning.

Usually, the universe you're writing in already has established rules for names. Star Trek's Vulcans always have names like Spock, Sarek, Sorek, Sybok, Tuvok, T'Pring (sp?), T'Pal, etc.

Merlin usually uses Welsh names or names or Old English names... so you can find resources for those too.

HIGH FANTASY/SCI-FI

Now, in the original fantasy novel that I'm currently trying to write, I had to come up with other ways of naming characters - because it's not earth. It's my very own middle-earth type place, with different countries, ethnicities, history, religion, etc.

It'd be weird to write a high fantasy novel and use the names Dick and Jane, you know? Or names like Muhammed or Christian... where, you know, those names clearly have very specific context in real-world cultures, and wouldn't make sense as common names in a world that had no Islam or Christianity.

That's why authors like Tolkien, and Jordan, come up with names that can be BASED on our languages, but not really reflect anything about our cultures. Frodo doesn't mean anything to us out of context. Eowyn DOES but only in old English, and it wasn't a common name anymore, so we just recognize it as "Yeah, that sounds like a name that would belong to a human."  Likewise, I'm sure Tolkien benefitted from how similar Galadriel sounds to angel-names (Gabriel, Raphael, etc) even though Elvish was based on Celtic languages.

Or it could be as simple as Jordan having a character names Mat, but only spelling it with one T. Matt, registers to us as a very common modern-times diminutive of Matthew. Whereas, Mat registers as a weird name.

So, who cares what they did, what do YOU do?!

Oh man, let me know when you figure it out. But I'll tell you what I've done... I have several different naming conventions:

1. Name people after sounds - Snick, Bada, Humm... or animals - Dove, Kit(ten), Lark, Rac(coon)...

2. Misspellings and typos. This is where the names Nenver and Essya come from... and those are my only two examples of where the name comes first. My BFF and I used to define our typos as new words. ("to apollophize" means to increase to god-like proportions.) Nenver and Essya, for some reason, we turned into characters.

2. Name people using portions of other words, I kinda already showed you this with the animals option above, but, here's more examples...let's go with flowers. Marig from Marigold. Chrysa from Chrysanthemum... or you could do the ends of the words. Santhem. Odil, from Daffodil.

3. Take words from different languages and anglecize them so completely that they look and sound like different words. Tav'rev... from Taibhreamh (Dream, in Irish Gaelic)

4. Things that are fun to say - Olaya, Jafa.

5. Portmanteaus - we already do it with shipping, why not just combine other names to make weird sounding ones? Maybe not Bennifer, but you know - Sastiel/Samstiel could be a name. So could Spirk, depending on the character, or it could be a last name. Kircoy. Jarevieve... Dansen. Jenneel.... you get the picture.

I also just made one country Irish, because I really like the name Maeve and I wanted to use it. So, screw it. :P

Another country, I was using Native American names, but now I'm worried that I'm culturally appropriating, because the characters are not Native American looking... they're actually Nigerian looking... so, year, I might change all those names. (For some reason, I don't feel the same trepidation of giving all my east-Indian looking-characters Irish names. I guess it's do to with cultural history and representation. Anyway, yeah, probably going to change all the Native American names for ones that I make up.

Anyway, that's naming for you! It's a whole kettle of fish... or possibly can of worms. :P

VanCon 2016

I did the math, and if I eat nothing for the rest of the month, I still won't be able to afford to pay my bills... let alone buy a second-hand ticket to one of the more expensive SPN Cons.

Last year, I was only able to go through the generousity of a stranger - and, at the time, I had a really hard time feeling like I deserved that, even though I was very very grateful. I still feel like I somehow let that person down... like, maybe I should have been even more grateful? I don't know... accepting gifts is really weird psychologically for me, apparently, even though I mooch off my friends all the damn time and that's like thousands of mini-gifts, not to mention their gift of not-minding or giving me a hard-time about it.

This is all to say that I'm broke, and I've already had my free ride... so....

This is my official notice that for the first time since 2010, I will NOT be attending VanCon this year.

I'll probably still go down to the Con hotel during the weekend and hang out with my friends between panels, but I won't have entry into the room, so there won't be any write-ups this year.

ANYWAY....TL;DR:

If you're coming to VanCon, keep an eye out for me in the lobby of the hotel, kareoke.... and at non-convention fan events. I will not be attending the actual convention.

Edit: Due to one of my friends being VERY KIND I will also be attending the Saturday Night Special concert. :)

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Writing is Hard: Formulating Characters

Welcome to another random post for the summer.

Quick life update: True to form, I have been far too busy this summer to write anything. I miss it horribly now, and can't believe that I willingly didn't write anything in June - though, I am well aware that I was burnt out at the time. Right now, I want to write about 3 things at once - though the epic original fantasy is still the most daunting of the projects.

I'm doing another writing topic today. This was another question asked by the lovely kailita

Topic 2 - How Do You Formulate Characters?

This is how *I* formulate characters, of course, everyone is different... we'll look at 3 types of Character Creation, they're applicable to both Fanfic and Original Fiction, but I'll focus on Fanfic, since people will be able to read the characters I mention... and I'll stick with the demented'verse, since I think those are my most read stories...

The Deliberate OC - (Plot-Required)
Case Study: Till and Phil

Both characters were needed for the plot.

Till - The "Someone you know" Template
Harry Potter, as the original 7 books stood, had not provided me with a Healer/Medic character in the wizarding world... or at least, not a well-rounded one. There might have been a few mentioned or named, but I needed someone that I could write POV from. I needed someone who could be my audience's eyes, someone they could sympathize with and enjoy spending time with - ie: Someone INTERESTING.

Well, let's pick someone that I found interesting, even though I didn't know anything about them when I met them - and still don't really. Someone I found interesting on sight - my mind went to a guy who lived on my floor in my residence in Germany... his name was Till. There, we have a name and a look - tall, sort of Swedish looking. Was the real Till Swedish? I can't remember. Maybe he was from Eastern Europe? Okay, so tall, Swedish looking, but possibly not Swedish... possibly Eastern European. Man, how come I didn't find out more about Till? Oh yeah, he was extremely shy and soft spoken. Man, I wonder what it was like going to Durmstrang when you're so soft-spoken, because OC-Till definitely went to Durmstrang if he spent time in Eastern Europe.

And there you go... OC created. From there, I just made an epic backstory for him as required, just by asking the standard Universe Specific questions: What did he do in the War? Does he have siblings? What are his opinions of Muggles? Did he come from a Wizarding family or was his family mixed or muggle?

Phil - The "One Extra Interesting Thing" Template
Harry Potter also didn't furnish me with any American Wizards of note. But, here I was writing a Harry Potter story in America - and I needed Harry to interact with American Aurors. So, let's invent a character from New England (due to the way I, personally, invisioned Wizarding North America, he HAD to be from New England.) Philip is a good used-to-be-a-colony name. O'Shaunnessy is a good large-irish-immigrant-area name. So, woot, done.

Then the standard WORLD questions - Wizarding family or not? What did he do during the War? What's his family like? What are his opinions on Muggles?

So, then I had a name and a backstory, but not much about the way he interacts with the world. Is he bold and brash? Shy and soft spoken? Why or why not? What makes Phil fun and interesting? What's one fun thing that I can think of about Phil that makes him someone you want to spend time with? What's an amusing character trait that he might have?

How about... when he gets tired, he swears like a sailor and tells you what he REALLY thinks, but at all other times he's a consummate professional - or at least attempts to be. That'd be fun!

Done.

Character From Thin Air
Case Study: Dove (original fic)

So, I wrote this whole thing and then realized that sometimes characters aren't based on someone I know, nor are they the "one interesting thing" template - sometime, mostly in original fiction, they're just people I would find interesting.

So, Dove is the protagonist of my fantasy novel. How did I create him? He came out of what I needed to tell the story, just like both Till and Phil did.

Dove was originally Nenver, then because of the history of where the name Nenver comes from (which I can't get into, but suffice it to say I associate certain character traits with that name), I realized that Nenver couldn't be my protagonist. He could either be my Antagonist or my Protagonist's bestfriend.

So, my protagonist needed a new name.. and I won't get into naming, because that's a whole other kettle of fish... but I decided on Dove.

After that, it's back to the World Specific Questions: What's Dove's family like? Where did he grow up? How has having Nenver as a BFF informed his personality? How do he and Nenver get along now that they're older? What does he do for a living? Does he like it? How does he get sucked into this adventure? How does he feel about me constantly referring to him as male, even though he isn't actually? How does he feel about Nenver doing it? Why is he okay with it sometimes and not others? etc... and my answers to all that inform me who Dove is.

Basically, creating a character out of thin air involves asking a LOT of questions.

And then, even after all that, you can have accidental surprises while writing... which I'll get into below... but with Dove, once I started writing, I realized that Dove was a bit of a flirt - at least when he's in a good mood. And that just came from the way the dialogue flowed as a I wrote... what I found amusing to write and interesting to explore - ie: a flirt who is afraid of intimacy.

Most everyone in my original fic is created from Thin Air. Except Nenver and Alibriel, who come from inside jokes with my BFF, and Maeve, who comes partially from a D&D character I used to play and partially from a woman I saw on the Sky Train one day on my way to the Archery range.

Anyway, this means very little to anyone, because I haven't written the goddamn book yet. BUT YOU'LL SEE EVENTUALLY (hopefully.)

The Accidental OC - (Not required by plot, not originally intended to be interesting)
Case Study:Nate

Nate was NOT INTENDED to be what he became. I had Teddy's friends already lined up. I put him in a trio - in true Harry Potter fashion - with Iggy (a pure-blood wizard from a nobel family) and Andy (a muggle-born). Iggy's sister Isobel worked at the Weasley's shop... he had syltherins in his family, but was a Hufflepuff. Andy was just your typical Muggle born. Shenanigans and friendship was supposed to be explored solely through Iggy, Andy, and Teddy (hence why they all have names ending in y, while Nate is just... Nate.) Do you want to know why this failed? It wasn't solely because of accidentally creating Nate... it was because I didn't make Iggy or Andy very interesting on their own. I failed to round them out well. They were too "just another average wizard kid."

Then all that uniqueness I had failed to pour into Iggy and Andy, I accidentally poured into Nate.

Nate was created solely because I needed other boys in the Hufflepuff dormitory. Just like Harry, Ron and Hermione, also had Neville, Seamus, Dean, Lavendar Brown, etc - so too did Teddy need at least one fellow Hufflepuff in his year who wasn't necessarily his best friend (how ironic). Teddy's year was small, due to the war, so I figured I would just throw one other boy in his dorm. Nate was created because I said: "Well, statistically, he'd likely be in the LGBT community."

And I can tell I didn't intend to do much with him, because I made him my standard default description - fair, pitch black hair, sky blue eyes... it's the celtic look that I've had a thing for since I saw my first Irish boy. I totally regret is now, because now that I've written him a bunch, that isn't actually how I picture Nate at all. In my mind, he's a little brunette kid with maybe hazel eyes or something... but whatever, gotta stick with continuity. (And yes, I recognize how stupid it is that my "default" is a very unique rare genetic presentation, you'll just have to forgive my illogic.)

My downfall with Nate wasn't just creating him and making him LGBT, it was the fact that I thought, "if I were a little gay 12 year-old boy, my reaction to seeing Sam Winchester would DEFINITELY confirm my sexuality." Followed quickly by the thought, "I'm totally giving Nate a crush on Sam, because that will be adorable."

And then of course, Sam Winchester goes and "dies" and Teddy is in mourning, but Teddy also knows that Nate really liked Sam too... and really, that whole not-close-friends thing goes out the window as soon as you are united in grief.

Add into that my opinion of Remus' sexuality and how Teddy may or may not react to finding out about it - and who would he talk to besides his gay friend? And who would he feel comfortable with when exploring his own sexuality when those questions inevitably arise (as they do for everyone, in my opinion.) And suddenly my throw-away "other boy in the dorm" becomes Teddy Lupin's BFF/non-sexual life-partner... and one of my more beloved OCs. Completely accidental interesting character creation.

A NOTE ON DIVERSITY:

As you can see, I suffer from the problem of defaulting to white males when I'm creating characters. Whenever you can, try to avoid this. I've gotten better over the years - identifying the fact that I do it is a huge first step - but I'm still not perfect.

[more on this topic]Although I've started adding in more women (replacing Ron with Maria in the Auror department, for example), I still tend to default to white. THOUGH, I did make the America Auror team more diverse in DDD.

Anyway... when you can, try to diversify. Making Nate LGBT was part of what made me want to explore his experiences more - What's it like growing up gay in the Wizarding world? If Wizards are 10% of the population, and LGBT people are 10% of the population, does that mean that your dating pool is 10% of 10%, and then whatever percentage is in your age group? Wow, that much suck. (Note: I don't know if those are the actual statistics, it's just an example.)

That being said, if you DO diversify, you shouldn't make the ONE INTERESTING thing be the fact that your character is a minority. Nate is not ONLY interesting because he's gay, he's also interesting because he's a Hufflepuff through and through, he's got an affinity for charms, he's from a wizarding family, but wants to try to make his life in the muggle world... while simultaneously living in the one of the oldest Wizarding houses in London.

Likewise, let's say I had made Till Nigerian instead of Swedish, there's no reason for me to have stopped at Nigerian in his development, just like I didn't stop at "Swedish" for Till... Till isn't JUST Swedish, he also grew up, at least partially, behind the Iron Curtain. He's got an airy sweet voice that doesn't really match the modern image of masculinity, nor the strength of the language that he would have grown up speaking in school. He went to a school that, at least in the movies, is portrayed as hypermasculine... how did he fit in? Did he? How did all those issues translate to the work environment once he graduated? HOW did ALL THAT inform the kind of person that he became?


Anyway, I'm doing my best to stop defaulting to cishet white guys. I'd suggest you do the same! When you default to "media average" too much, you run into the problem I ran into with Iggy and Andy, where their stories had been done before, and although I love them as characters, I'm not as enthused to write about their experiences.

I guess that's my final note: When creating characters, create characters where you are interested in in their life-experiences, worldview, personalities... and if you can't do that, at least give them an amusing character trait - it's what makes them seem like actual people.

Odds and Ends

1. My fitbit hasn't recognized my internet connection since Thursday, apparently. I don't know what the heck is up with that. Anyway, I was brainstorming ways to fix it - but then I was like "do I really need a fitbit?" I mean, it's kinda fun. I also use it to track sleep, and that can be helpful in answering the question "am I depressed because my life sucks, or because I haven't gotten more than 6 hours sleep/night in over a month?" And I guess it kinda guilts me into walking more sometimes... but.... I could also probably figure out a way to guilt myself... like, put it on my calendar that I gotta walk every day, and then when I don't, I'm not allowed to check the box to say I did. Anyway.... maybe it was a fun novelty for a bit and if it's legit broken, I can just say goodbye to it. I've had it for nearly 2 years.... which suddenly seems like eons to me.

2. I really want to see Ghostbusters and the new Star Trek movie, but I am SO BUSY. Seriously, I don't know when the heck I'm going to see those movies, but it probably won't happen until mid August. I am sad.

3. VanCon - I am most likely not going this year. Last year, I was only able to go through the kindness of a stranger in the fandom. Someone who I feel like I let down in the repayment of that favour, btw - but that might be just my own weird issue. ANYWAY... while money isn't as tight as it was last year, it's still pretty tight. We'll see though. Maybe I'll go see Ghostbusters and Star Trek that weekend instead, if they're still in theatres.

4. I've gotten into Check Please! fandom recently. It's enjoyable.

5. God, the world is going to shit, isn't it? What the heck is up with that?

6. I know it's Comic-Con weekend. It's been fun to see the new trailers. I'd be following it all more closely, but like I said I'm SUPER BUSY.

7. Published a short follow-up to my second most popular crossover about a week ago. So far, it's been received pretty nicely. I wish I could write more prolifically - I've got the next demented'verse installment all outlined too... but SO BUSY. Maybe in mid August, once I manage to watch those movies I wanna see?

8. is my favourite. You can't write it backwards.

Tags:

Title: Men of Legend - The Butterfly Effect
Fandoms: Supernatural and Merlin (Sam and Dean are only mentioned, they do not participate in the story at all.)
Rating: PG (Gen/optional pre-slash)
Word Count: 14,660
Setting/Spoilers: This is set between S4 and S5 of Merlin
Other tags: AU-Canon Divergence
A/N: There's about as much merthur slash in this fic as there is in Merlin - which means that technically, it's pre-slash. There's also optional pre-slash Merlin/Gwaine, and pre-polyamory Merlin/Arthur/Gwen
This is a sequel to Men of Legend.

Summary: Haunted by Sam and Dean’s parting words of advice, Merlin makes a decision that could change his and Arthur’s destiny and friendship forever.

AO3

(I'm only posting it on AO3, since LJ gets very little traffic these days. If you want to come back to this post to comment though, feel free!)

Writing is Hard: Forcing Yourself to Write

Back when I asked what kind of posts you guys might want to see this summer, kailita requested that I talk more about my writing process... so, welcome to the Writing is Hard series... where I talk about how I stumble through life my writing hobby.

Topic 1 - Forcing Yourself to Write:

"I'm always interested in how different writers get themselves to be creative (especially during the summer, when I tend to be so lethargic)"

There's this myth out there that writers are self-motivated - that they get an idea, and it just pores out of them onto a page - the idea itself is the motivation! You can't NOT write it!

This, my friends, is a lie. Don't get me wrong - sometimes that does happen. I once read a porn prompt and spent two days writing what is still one my best short stories (which I published on anon only and won't admit to, so don't ask). Sometimes, the words DO just flow and there's nothing else that you want to do besides write the story. But that is only 1% of the time.

The other 99% of the time, you have an idea for a story, or you've even started a story... but, you don't really feel like writing it right NOW, you know? Maybe like.. next week? I don't know. You're sort of busy, or just not in the mood... and yeah, the story is good and you want to share it, but UGH, writing takes so long, and you don't really know what words to use to convey what you want to convey - and maybe the plot isn't as good as you thought it was? Maybe no one will like it anyway, so who cares if you work on it now, or later, or never.

There goes the way of madness - and, quiet frankly, never getting anything done. If you're not immediately motivated to start/keep writing, you will NEVER be motivated to start/keep writing - so, you've gotta FORCE YOURSELF.

Now, some of us (*cough*ME*cough*) are really bad at forcing ourselves to do things we don't want to do.

So, here's the strategy I use. It has stages. If stage one doesn't work, ADD the next stage. So, try 1, then do 1 AND 2, then try 1 AND 2 AND 3... etc.

1. Give yourself a weekly and/or "writing time" and/or daily word count goal that you want to hit. This is the only one that I cut myself slack on. Aim for 1000 (that takes me about 1-2 hours, on a good day), if that's too much pressure and you never hit it, go for 500, 200, or ANY WORDS AT ALL.

The only reason I advocate for LOWERING the goal if your having trouble reaching it, is because this step is supposed to give you a sense of accomplishment. If you're constantly feeling like a failure, you're not going to be motivated to try the next day. So, adjust the goal for how badly you've been feeling about writing lately - if you haven't even opened a document for a month, then your first goal would be "open the document and look at it." If you've opened the document and looked at it lately, but haven't added to it, then the goal becomes "add something to it, next time you open it."

Eventually, as you go, you'll either find a word count goal that you can consistantly hit and makes you feel good. Or, if you like a challenge, you can continually increase that goal until it becomes impossible to hit every time. I like having a word goal that I can consistantly hit and feel good about though, so, if I've set aside 1-2 hours to write, then I usually have a goal of 900-1000 words. Then, if I hit 1,200. I'm a superstar!

Another option is to keep a scorecard for yourself, so that every time you hit your goal, you get to fill in a box, or give yourself a checkmark, or whatever... and then you get a document that shows your progress. My friend does this and likes it very much. They often know approx. how long their stories are going to be, so they can see how much they've done and how much they still have left to do... sort of like on those charity/kickstarter sites, where you can see your progress towards your goal on a scale. I don't do this, because I never know how long my things are going to be, but it really words for my friend.

2. Schedule Writing Time -  Don't just say "I'll write tonight, when I get off of work/school", because what you're actually going to do is make dinner, then watch a TV show while you eat... and then maybe watch another episode for fun... and then your friend is going to text you and be like "Yo! What are the haps?" And you are going to be like "Why are you speaking like that?" and the next thing you know it's 10pm, and you're kinda sleepy now... If it's the weekend/vacation, don't think that you can just say "Well, I have all weekend/vacation to write" because you will continue to say that until it's 10pm on Sunday/the-last-night-of-vacation, and you have not done any writing, my friend - instead you slept in until 1pm, then read fanfic all day, then your aunt Gertrude came for a visit, and then took the dog for a walk and the dog ran into a skunk, and THAT was an ordeal, and it took you the rest of the weekend/holiday to get the stink out of everything.

Instead, you have to say "I am writing from 1pm-3pm" and then at 1pm, you sit down, you open your document, and you try to write... try to hit that word count goal, whatever it might be that day.

And remember that the END time of Writing Time is just as important as the START time. You need to have a clear point where writing becomes optional again... feel free to continue writing, but don't give yourself a hard time if you don't. Also, sometimes, you need that deadline in order to do stuff. If it's 20 minutes to 3pm, and you haven't written a word, you need to have mad dash in those last 20 minutes so that you get at least SOME words down during Writing Time. If you sit there saying "well, I don't really HAVE to stop at 3pm, I could write until 4 or 5 or 7 or 10..." then you're going to continue to sit there and not really do anything for the rest of the time and then feel shitty about it. You may as well not have scheduled Writing Time, if you weren't going to respect it.

3. Find a Writing Friend (not always available). Set up Writing Dates where you both partake in Writing Time. This, I've found, is most effective - but it's harder to organize, because there's someone else's schedule and life to factor in. I got basically all of PPP done while writing with my local BFF back when they were unemployed (and I was underemployed). The best part of a writing friend is that when you get stuck, you can ask them for help. Or, as me and my BFF often do, pause and act out action sequences so that we could describe them accurately - "if you were to faint, how would I catch you?" "If you held a knife to my throat, would I be able to see the size of the knife?" "Hey, get on the floor for a minute, I need to straddle you..." It's fun times!

4. Go to a new location - Sometimes, even when we schedule time to write, that doesn't work - because we are still in our homes, and we are still on our computer with the tumblr tab open.... and we still have our phone next to us, and our friend is sending us pics of their frappaccino and talking about the latest horrible news from some godforsaken part of the world/our own country. And even though it's Writing Time, we find outself clicking over to that other tab, reading just one more chapter of that fic we found last night, or chatting with our friend, or what have you... My point is, our homes are places where we relax and do whatever we like whenever we want to - that's why we like our homes so much. It's also why sometimes we shouldn't be in them.

Instead, pack up your computer/notebook/whatever put on pants, some shoes, (possibly a shirt if you're feeling fancy) - and leave your house. Go to a coffee shop, or a park (if you've got a good battery), or go sit in your car with the windows down (if weather permits). The point is, go to a new location, that is now your WRITING OFFICE. You know what people do in offices?! They work! You are now a professional writer and if you don't have that word count done by the end of the day, your boss is going to fire you! (Your boss is you. You are the worst boss, because you are the hardest on yourself and also there is no escaping you.)

If, for some reason, you can't leave your house - Go to a different part of your apartment/house. Do you usually sit at a desk while you browse the interwebs/do-whatever-else-you-do? Cool. Pick up your laptop, tablet, notebook, whatever... and go sit on the couch. Go put your computer on the kitchen counter and type while standing up during Writing Time, or sitting on a barstool... go sit on the porch, in the closet, on the toilet, wherever. Just change locations from whatever location you usually associate with "time to check social media and surf the web... yay dopamine!" Writing Time, sadly, is not about dopamine.

The sooner you move to a location where your brain is not expecting continual fun stimulation, the easier you can focus it onto a task. My only caveat to this is that if, like me, you often can fall asleep at the drop of the hat if you're tied - do not try to write in bed. "I'll just close my eyes for a moment so I can really visualize the scene and....zzzzzzzz" Yeah... so, change locations, but preferably to a coffee shop, where you'll be more alert and able to focus, because you are in your Writing Office, and those coffee-shop patrons are going to be able to see if you're sitting there looking at nsfw fanart on tumblr instead of writing.

5. Turn off the internet - DO IT. Turn it off on your computer, turn it off on your phone. If you have friends who are text-crazy, put your phone on stealth silent (it doesn't even vibrate or blink lights at you). This is Writing Time. You do not need to be on the internet 24/7. You can take 2 hours, or 1 hour, or however long your writing time is, and use that time to NOT care about what your cousin Danny is posting on Facebook or what heartwarming photo your favourite celeb just posted on the Twit-machine. It will all still be there after Writing Time is over. Your reward for writing during Writing Time will be that you'll get to turn the internet back on and catch up! Fun!

If anyone has anything that works for you that I haven't covered let me know! :)

And, if anyone wants to give me other topics/questions to post about this summer, please leave it in a comment and I'll add it to the list. :)

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