magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
• An SG1 fic set in Ancient Egypt, wherein it turns out the Goa'uld are terrible at architecture and engineering (because of their habit of, you know, stealing all of their technology and not innovating), and so they have no idea how to actually build pyramids beyond going "Rargh! Humans! Build us a great platform!" So it would follow all the Egyptian engineers who had to design the Pyramids, solve the resource management issues, and manage conscription and labor. Because fuck you, alien conspiracy theories, the Egyptians were-too smart enough to pull that off and occasionally I come up with braintics to give agency back to people whom plot convenience has casually robbed of agency.

• A White Collar fic where some criminal trolls the police and eventually the FBI, in part by making latex fakes of Al Capone's fingerprints and using them to leave bewildering evidence at crime scenes.
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: 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)
Title: U is for Unheimlich
Author: magistrate ([personal profile] magibrain)
Rating: T.
Genre: Character study, ghost story
Beta: Walked away.
Continuity: Canon-compliant.
Prerequisities: Doesn't really relate to any specific episode.
Summary: It's all ghost stories, sir.
Disclaimer: Stories told to certain audiences may have unanticipated results. Hear that, MGM? The opinions expressed herein are the properties of the characters and not of R. L. Stine. The door is open. Questions, comments and creepypasta can be left in replies or directed to magistrata(at)gmail(dot)com. Thank you for reading!

Author's Notes: This is 9,000 words. I don't know why it's 9,000 words. All I know is that I started out writing this the day I got the prompt, and yet somehow I still found myself finishing in a desperate throw-words-at-the-page rush at 2 AM the day it was due. WHY.

I'm sorry if this is absolutely incoherent.




Not exactly a ghost story. )

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magibrain: A radiation symbol. It appears to be a little bit on fire. (Default)
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