magibrain: This alt text intentionally left blank. (This icon intentionally left blank.)
Today, in an effort to avoid actually writing anything (because writing is scary), I programmed functionality into my demographics/random sets generator which let you import comma-delimited lists of values. This, combined with the option I worked up a while ago which let you import random sets from the demographics generator into the bingo generator, means that I can do wacky stuff like working up a bingo card with a bunch of randomly-generated sets of things like fandom, trope, and wordcount. See below:

I sound my fearsome procrastination across the land. )

Now, the demographics generator (unlike the bingo generator) is still in alpha, is desperately ugly, and lacks a ton of stuff that would make it easier to use – like, say, paging down to show you that your options have, in fact, been added when you click the button in the comma-delimited list options. That's because I'm a back-end developer by trade, and just getting jQuery to play nicely enough that it would import the comma-delimited list in the first place meant an hour of hand-to-hand coding. Nicer stuff will happen later, once my urge to procrastinate on writing exceeds my frustration with front-end technologies again.

But, you know, if this sort of challenge appeals to you, there's now a clunky interface on my site that allows you to set up bingo cards like this.

In other news, today I have learned that jQuery does not like passing data out of its AJAX scope, and that you have to tell it not to run its AJAX asynchronously if you actually want to provide its information to another part of your script. Even if that part of the script comes after the AJAX call. ...I feel like that one, I should have known.
magibrain: Peter Burke would like to know where you are at all times. (White Collar)
So I was looking up Kate Moreau's actress, because I was toying with the idea of doing some sort of Gunnerkrigg Court Realm of the Dead ficlet with her and I wanted to know which psychopomps would be fighting over her when some guy with a terrifying visage &/ bad costume showed up to offer her an out.

(That idea is backburnered because I realized I didn't have a plot for it. This happens surprisingly frequently.)

Anyway, I ran into the line, "At the end of 2012, Alex [Daddario] starred in the music video, "Imagine Dragons' Radioactive"."

Huh. Okay. I went to check that out.

This is one of those videos I've seen a grand total of once, both because I think the Lindsey Stirling version sounds better (strings! I fall so hard for string renditions of things) and because I'm not a big fan of the "pretty white girl, suffering white guys, and villainous brown men" imagery in the vid itself.

But... no, that's Kate. Engaging in some illicit underground muppet fighting. For the salvation of white guys and teddy bears everywhere. Not sure how to feel about this.

Part of me wants to prompt it as an AU on [livejournal.com profile] collarcorner, and part of me wants to go back to pretending that actors only ever exist in one role shhhhh.
magibrain: This alt text intentionally left blank. (This icon intentionally left blank.)

This is the elevator that leads to the White Collar offices.
From this, we know that the floors at least go up to 24.
We don't see whether or not this is the top of the button plate, though.


For ficcing purposes, I need to know exactly how high the buttons on the plate go.

Larger image under cut.

I just want to do something screwy with the number of floors in this building. LOOKS LIKE HALF MY WORK'S BEEN DONE FOR ME. )

Considering that the sets and props department obviously didn't think I'd ever need to find out many floors were in the building by counting the buttons in the elevator, I decided to just ask the internet how many floors the NYC federal building has.

Cue Wikipedia:

The Jacob K. Javits Federal Office Building at 26 Federal Plaza on Foley Square in the Civic Center district of Manhattan, New York City houses many Federal government agencies, and, at over 41 stories, is the tallest federal building in the United States.


...

Sometimes I don't know why I bother doing research.

(Counting the windows suggests to me that "over 41 stories" means "41 floors of offices and a ground floor that probably has a lobby or something". I can work with that. Though I need to come up with a plausible reason for Neal to accidentally hit a floor button that's twenty floors off his actual destination.) (It would be a lot easier if the federal building were only 24 floors tall, to be honest.) (I wonder if I could just claim that it was. Would anyone except me care?) (I could claim that in White Collar 'verse, the federal building was at 41 Federal Plaza and had 26 stories...)
magibrain: Peter Burke would like to know where you are at all times. (White Collar)


It's a peculiar feature of my writing style that I can get up to 20k on a project and not have the first chapter finished yet.

(The first chapter is not 20k words. The first chapter is only about 5.5k words, which still seems excessive to me, but whatever.)

This story, if I ever manage to finish it, is going to be stupidly long.

ETA for added fun... )
magibrain: A revolutionary new world awaits you bastards inside these school walls. (Upupu)
You know, the worst part of this White Collar/Dangan Ronpa crossover is how everyone is so goddamn cute at the beginning, what with organizing into teams to explore their Super High-Level Office Dormitory Building, and, like, there's Elizabeth with a freaking label maker so they can label all the buttons in the elevator and Mozzie is theorizing about nanobots and Hughes has taken control of the rolling whiteboard and June is holding court in the conference room and you just know that in a chapter it's just going to be murder, murder everywhere.
magibrain: Peter Burke would like to know where you are at all times. (White Collar)
So, What Happens In Burma has this exchange:

Peter: In the last year, it was held in a secured vault at a state mining facility, under army guard, in the middle of a jungle.
Neal: Not exactly a prime location for a college kid to just walk in and grab it.
Peter: No. The mine is in the Mogok Valley.
Neal: You can get there by a helicopter or a seven-hour jeep ride over some nasty terrain.
Jones: You just know these things?
Neal: Yeah, that's why they keep me around.
Peter: Mm.
Neal: You'd need some muscle, a cargo plane, and a few grand in bribe money just to get started.
Peter: You would?
Neal: And who knows what else? Because I've never considered stealing gems in Burma.


(Emphasis added.)

In Forging Bonds, when Mozzie walks in with the information on Kate's whereabouts, Neal is doing some red-ink work on a map. The conversation there:

Neal: Hey. Rubies in Burma. I'm gonna need a bush plane to get–


–and then he sees the look on Mozzie's face and asks him if his pigeon died.

Tongue-in-cheek examination of probably-unintentional canon implication. )
magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
Someone please tell me not to cross over White Collar, Live Arcade, Magic for Beginners (the short story, not the entire collection), and Candle Cove. At least, tell me not to try it until I've finished some of my other projects.

I just think it would be terrific, slightly-brain-melty fun to have Neal up at odd hours, watching a television show nestled in the snow of a dead channel or twenty, which seems to keep predicting, altering, or crossing over with Neal's life, but which no one else can see.

In related news, wow has my mental image of Neal's loft deviated from the actual set. I could have sworn that couch was red and claw-footed.


[ETA: Okay, and now it also wants to be an Alphas crossover (on a more literal than thematic level), and it is entirely the fault of this fic.]


[ETA 2: Son Of ETA: Oh, brain, we're also crossing over Dangan Ronpa? Oh, so we're also crossing over Dangan Ronpa.]
magibrain: There ARE no tunes. It's TALK RADIO, Torg! ALL TALKING! (Still just talking.)
I occasionally feel kinda odd about maintaining two blogs – this one and [personal profile] magistrate – because I post so infrequently that it occasionally feels like I don't have enough content to reliably keep one blog interesting, let alone two. But I do feel like separating my fannish content stream from my more real-life stream is a good pragmatic decision; in how I conceptualize my own life, they represent different spheres of interest.

(I toyed briefly with the idea of separating my original fiction/professional writing into a third stream, but then I noticed that I never posted in it at all, so to [personal profile] magistrate it went.)

Being someone who grew up as a writer in fannish spaces and is now also trying to get somewhere in the big, bad world of original fiction, I think a lot about how skills and paradigms do and don't translate. The different genre structures and conventions, the different skills each type of writing emphasizes or strengthens. (I notice that in my original writing, characterization is something people continually call out as one of my weakest skills. Which is still kind of a mindscrew for me, because in fanfic, a lot of people seem to enjoy my characterization. Then, with fanfic, I have something pre-existing to riff off; one of the consequences of growing into writing through fanfiction seems to be that I have less experience in how to establish and differentiate character in my own work.)

Anyway. Given the amount of time I spend musing about fannish vs. original spaces, I kinda have to raise an eyebrow at myself for needing to discover (and rediscover, and remind myself of, again and again) the fact that the criteria for success for fanfic and original stories are often wildly different.

I think it's something of the same way in which the criteria for success for a TED talk and an awesome discussion in a group of friends is different.

In original fiction, I have to spend a lot of time thinking about arcs and structure and pacing, and how the plot and the story inform each other, and how themes are deployed, and how to create a polished and technically competent work. And, I mean, don't get me wrong, those things are great to pay attention to in fanfiction, but I find that fanfic rises or falls on something more like, broadly oversimplified, its ability to be an efficient delivery mechanism for squee.

I think the fanfics I'm personally most proud of manage to hit both notes; they extend and expand beloved aspects of canon, but they also work as well-structured, polished and tuned-up technical works. But I also find myself, a lot of times, flailing over posting something because its pacing is a mess, the structure is lopsided, there's that one horribly awkward phrasing at the beginning that I can't think of a good way to get rid off, the theme is a contortionist, and the arc thinks about arcing and then veers sideways into a wall, and I have this horrible urge to apologize to everyone for punting it out into the world, and then no one seems to care. Which is reassuring, at times, and then at other times it's just a boatload of cognitive dissonance and the vague suspicion that everyone's just being nice because... some... nefarious purpose of their own? I think a lot of writers share this anxiety. I think this anxiety enjoys the fact that it doesn't have to make sense.

I used to produce a lot more fiction. I mean, that was something like a decade ago, when I was bouncing all around my million FFVIII fics, but I remember being significantly more prolific than I am right now. I think a major factor in my slowdown is the fact that I started turning my attention to craft, and really struggling a lot with the places where I could see something wrong but I didn't know how to fix it.

(Or where there wasn't a plausible way to fix it. If I go back through my braintics scraps collection, for example, there's a ton of stuff which flat-out does not work on a logical level, but which amused me enough to put scenes down. There's also stuff where the tone is too wildly self-indulgent for my sense of propriety, or where it's clearly just me working out my beef with a certain character, or where I looked at it and just went "Nope, not going to write that, because I'm not going to typecast myself as that author who only writes stories where horrible things happen to Sam Carter and the boys go D: and then the whole rest of the fic is only there to showcase how tough and embattled Sam is." (Yes, I have enough of those braintics to make it its own genre. I'm not proud. I also regret nothing.))

This is, of course, not entirely a bad thing: it lets me continually improve my writing, even if I'm not aware of the improvements as they're happening. (But I can go back and look at works from a few years ago – works that represented the best I could do at those times – and see immediately how I could improve them, and that's a humbling and kinda nifty feeling.) But it is, I think, something I also need to become more aware of. Because the other great thing about fanfiction is that it provides a space for me to play around with ways of telling stories in this fantastically open and engaging and forgiving environment, and that's also a fantastic resource for growth. Letting my internal editor set up roadblocks there isn't actually helping me.

(Besides, you people don't mind if I completely shed my dignity now and again, right? Maybe I'll clean up the ridiculous angstcrack scene where Neal is vaguely suicidal circa As You Were and discovers that Peter has an invisible dragon living in his house. Or the wtfery of the braintic where Sam Carter's consciousness gets transposed across a universal boundary and put into a partially-uplifted mountain lion who's a working animal with the USAF. I once heard the Pern books described as "tapping into the 'I want a PONY!' instinct, except for people who liked fantasy." You can probably tell which kind of kid I was.)
magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
So, searching around in my drafts folder, trying to find something to jump-start my brain out of a dry spell, I came across a file titled creepsteriffic.rtf that I don't remember creating. There is no summary in this file. I have left no notes to myself. I don't know where I was going with it. What it does contain is the header template form, and the following text:

I'd probably go with 'wrong', personally. But then, I am duly chastised. )

...

...

...other things in my drafts folder – my SG-1 drafts folder, mind, not some random drafts folder I might store formatting data in: a file called temp.rtf which consists of 2391 words of Lorem Ipsum, closed with the line "And as it turned out, THEY WERE ALL BEES!!"
magibrain: A radiation symbol. It appears to be a little bit on fire. (Default)
Random question, but I need it for reasons research.

If you had to sell me on two characters – gen or ship – and you only had 500 words or a 30-second video clip to convince me that they were the best no seriously really... what clips or works or excerpts of works would you point me toward?

I am going to think on this and see what I can come up with... after I sleep for a while.

(Context is that I'm playing with a story-in-the-background-of-a-story in one of the things I'm working on, and I want to pick apart some mechanics of what makes for minimum effective doses of getting people engaged with characters.)
magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
AO3 has 114 works tagged "mutually unrequited". They're not all by the same author, so I assume the tag has to have some generally-understood meaning. Can anyone explain to me what that meaning is?
magibrain: A radiation symbol. It appears to be a little bit on fire. (Default)
My partner introduced me to the WTFery of Dark Silent Hill, Google Maps version. (Just... go forward.)

Now I want a fic where this happens to Peter and Neal. They're just driving along, off to talk to a witness or examine a crime scene or authenticate a statue or whatever, and then suddenly the entire world around their car is a terrifying melting Goya and Peter slams on the brakes and, you know, horror ensues.

...I'm not sure I want to write this fic, but I want it to happen.


I have no idea what the hell happened to that Google Maps car. But it cannot possibly have been anything good.
magibrain: Peter Burke would like to know where you are at all times. (White Collar)
Title: Rockets' Red Glare
Fandom: White Collar
Prompt: Explosion
Medium: Fic
Wordcount: ~6500.
Rating: T
Warnings: Explosions in public, crowded places.
Summary: An accident at the 4th of July fireworks show opens up old wounds.

Continuity: You know what? Don't even ask. It's sometime after 3.03 "Deadline" and sometime before 4.05 "Honor Among Thieves", and that is basically what I know.

Notes: For [personal profile] frith_in_thorns, who said "My generalised prompt: take practically any of those scenarios and put Neal and Diana in it together. Especially explosion or natural disaster."


Or: In which Neal is evasive, Christie is tipsy, and Diana is more prickly than cuddly, but it works out, sort of, in the end. )

....

Jul. 3rd, 2013 11:10 am
magibrain: Peter Burke would like to know where you are at all times. (White Collar)
My dreams for the last two days have been:

1) Peter Burke and Jack Harkness not being pleased to learn that Neal Caffrey's post-anklet plans resolved to "flee the country and join the Time Agency"*, and

2) Peter getting framed for corruption and leaving the FBI, only to adopt a dragon a la "Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher" and setting up a PI firm with her**, and using his alleged criminal ties to become a criminal informant for the FBI. Not the kind that wears a tracker, though. The kind that has an intermittently-visible dragon friend, apparently.

I think I may need evening plans other than "write fanfic until I crawl into bed".




*Why did Neal think this was a good idea? Why did he think Peter would approve? Why is Jack Harkness hanging out in Peter's diningroom? The world may never know!

I haven't read this book in years. But I remember that Jeremy Thatcher hatched a dragon egg, and only he could see the dragon, and the dragon set someone's shoe on fire! I don't think they started a PI firm, though.

**Burke and Ness quickly develop a reputation as terrifyingly efficient, completely unshakeable, freakishly resourceful, and – among certain circles – really hard to kill. No one ever sees the mysterious Ms. Ness, and the clients who demand to see her under pretenses of knowing who is working for them are turned around, told firmly that "Ness prefers the freedom to work without threat of recognition." For some reason, no one ever puts this together with the fact that he belongs to multiple CSAs which, together, deliver him way more farm-fresh meat than a typical household could reasonably consume. Dream!me did not see fit to include the reactions of Neal, Elizabeth, or Satchmo into this scenario, except I feel like Elizabeth would have named the dragon something like "Lady Day".
magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
So, I'm not sure exactly why I decided that a story covering Neal Caffrey's entire adult life through the the resolution of Most Wanted was a good idea, but I did, and that, I feel, was a mistake. It's currently unfinished at 8,000 words, in four parts. None of these things were my intention.

In fairness, it totally fits one of the prompts, if you squint and tilt your head and take certain things very thematically. ...one of the prompts that isn't anywhere near the bingo I'm working on. But it fits into a series with two other prompts! ...one of which is on the bingo I'm working on.

Hush.

I feel like I could have had at least one of these fics finished by today, if I hadn't taken a weird left turn somewhere and found myself writing out 15,000 words of fiction where the US correctional system is a modern version of convict leasing, but on the plus side, I have 15,000 words of fiction where the US correctional system is a modern version of convict leasing!

Look, I never claimed to be good at this.


(I also feel a bit guilty about all those words, because I've totally been using fanfic as a way to hide from the stress of unemployment when I should probably be spending more of that time doing productive things. Hey, if anyone knows of a San Francisco Bay Area company that wants to hire a PHP/MySQL developer with a bunch of experience and an active interest in picking up new languages but no CS degree, point me their way, aight?)


Stats )
magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
Awesome! I think I've found a three-part strategy for approaching H/C Bingo. Those three parts are:

  1. Start as many fics as possible all at once, just to make sure I'm always distracted from finishing any of them,

  2. Make sure that the fics I am working on are carefully positioned to cover the maximum possible space on my card without actually forming a bingo, and

  3. Layer more complexity and plot into each fic than is strictly necessary to fulfill the prompt, so that each one takes a long time to complete, and will surely need extensive edits once done in draft.


...I don't think I'm doing this right.

(To be fair, though, I feel like 2 isn't actually my fault, 3 has not been intentional in half the fics, and 1 is just how my brain works anyway. But re: 3, I started off writing the Poltergeist prompt, and then it decided to absorb two other prompts that aren't even on my card, and as it stands the thing is 6000 messy words and maybe, at a generous estimate, 60% done. It's going to be longer than Misfire. That's just wrong.)

Stats )
magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
My editor-brain has gone to bed without taking my writer-brain with it, which is why I find myself contemplating a White Collar/Briarpatch crossover. (It'd be great. Neal has access to the Briarpatch, and the Light is in some way tied up with Kate, and Peter has no affinity for the Briarpatch at all but manages to find his way in there while searching for Neal and completely refuses to back down for a little thing like being inconceivably in over his head, and hijinks ensue. And Diana somehow ends up completely intimidating all the bears.)

I think this is symptomatic of some kind of weird reaction to writing in a fandom which isn't speculative fiction of any kind. I mean, the great bastions of my fandom work to date have been Final Fantasy VIII, Stargate SG-1, Torchwood/Doctor Who/Life On Mars as one giant amalgam, and a recurring theme of Silent Hill getting into everything. You know, the kind of fandoms where I can go all wacky with time loops and mind control and giant monsters and split threads of causality and stuff, without deviating that far from actual bounds of canon-established reality.

I think my brain just flat-out refuses to accept the real world as a template, and this is why my White Collar WIPs folder consists of a handful of short character studies, a complete re-write of half of Season 2 and all of Season 3, a fic in which Peter is a really atypical guardian angel, a fic that's three AUs that got in a car crash*, and a crossover with Puella Magi Madoka Magica, of all things. (Neal wanders into a Witch's Labyrinth. Hijinks... ensue? None of the main characters get to be magical girls. It's for the best, really.) And it's probably for the best that all the snippets with the White Collar guys having to deal with [community profile] damaged_people!Jack Harkness are remaining in the braintic purgatory of my Gmail where they belong.

*Back when I was learning about these things in highschool physics, a perfectly inelastic collision was described as one in which two objects collide, combine their momentum, and continue onward with a shared velocity. When the teacher asked for examples from the class, someone offered up "A guy getting impaled by a charging rhino?" I'm not sure why this popped into my head, other than the fact that the three-AU-pileup in that fic is pretty damn inelastic.

Anyway, I'm not sure why I'm writing this out to Dreamwidth, other than it being late and me not having gotten much sleep and everything seeming like a good idea right now. (But really, Neal-and-the-Briarpatch would just be fun to play with, even if it's not Tim Pratt's Briarpatch. And even if Neal as Br'er Rabbit kinda bucks the whole Neal-as-fox metaphor I have way too much fun poking at.)

Someone please tell me to quit the browser and go to sleep.



Current sleep-deprived typo correction count: 18
magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
[personal profile] magibrain: ...and in case you didn't know how messed up Anat is re: Ba'al, she's also keeping him in cold-sarcophagus-storage now that the war is over because she knows he can't survive in this new galactic order but can't stand to kill him.

[personal profile] magibrain: SHE IS KEEPING HER FATHER IN A FREEZER BECAUSE IT'S THE LEAST MESSED-UP THEIR RELATIONSHIP WILL EVER BE.

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