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barbedwriting
09 October 2016 @ 02:26 pm
Dear Yuletide Author,

Thanks for writing for me! I’m excited that it’s Yuletide season, and excited to get a fic in a fandom I don’t get the chance to read that often.

One thing about me is that I really love interesting and complex characters. So while I enjoy explicit, sexy stories, I like them to be about more than just the act. I like to see what it reveals about the characters, how it will impact their relationship. While my prompts lean to the sexy, if that isn’t your thing, I’m also turned on by a good story with high stakes and high passion (romantic or otherwise).

Now, onto the details…


Not for Yuletide, PleaseCollapse )

Things I Like Finding Under the TreeCollapse )

Onto the fandoms…Collapse )

Please don’t let my suggestions make you feel too boxed in. I know that writing something that you’re really excited makes things more fun.

I know I’ll enjoy whatever you write!
 
 
barbedwriting
04 February 2012 @ 11:00 pm


Mary Robinette Kowal is sponsoring the Month of Letters (or LetterMo), and today was my stock-up-on-stamps run. During LetterMo, the goal is to handwrite a letter, card, postcard, etc, each day of the month. Getting things in the mail (that aren't junk or bills or magazines or holiday cards), writing letters, they're pleasures we don't much have anymore. While i'm a technophile at heart, I love getting things in mail. Holiding on to something, touching it. Which likely accounts for my prefering books to e-books.

Now, all I have to do is drop my letters in the outbox at work each day, and I'm set. If you want to play, Kowal has a LetterMo site set up here. Apparently, The Guardian ran a story about LetterMo, and it's getting some attention from various outlets.

So if you'd like to get a real, live letter in the mail from me, feel free to leave a comment with an address. Comments are screened. Alternately, you can PM or email me. Or you could just stop by the LetterMo site.
 
 
barbedwriting
14 January 2012 @ 11:39 pm
It's January, and I'm missing winter.

These Southern winters where the cold isn’t cold enough and I don’t get to see snow bother me. I miss the sound of snow falling, the way it brushes against my hair and skin. I miss the crunchcrunch as I stomp through it. I miss the way it sparkles like crushed diamonds. Hell, I even miss how the top layer can freeze into a crust that covers the powder. A crust that cracks and crackles in a satisfying way. I miss that silvery frost fuzz that forms on fallen leaves. I miss thick, heavy snow falling fast so that it looks like I'm caught in a snow globe when I look up at the sky.

I miss icicles.
 
 
barbedwriting
07 January 2012 @ 10:20 pm
Two of my favorite video games of all time are Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) and KOTOR: The Sith Lords. Okay. I’m pretty enraptured by most of Bioware’s offerings. This is important because when I’d first heard there was going to be another Old Republic game, I was doing the gamer-girl dance of glee. More character classes and races? I could be a Miraluka Jedi Consular? Awesome!

However, my dance lasted only as long as it took for me to realize thatThe Old Republic was going to be a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Yes, like World of Warcraft, Everquest, Guild Wars and the like. And while I love RPG’s above all other games, I don’t much enjoy MMORPG’s.

RPG’s are my favorite types of games, and good ones with strong stories have the power to seduce me into their world for hours and hours and hours at a time. I have spent 10+ hours at a pop in The Old Republic or Ferelden, and after spending days (not all in one stretch) in those worlds, I replay the game as another type of character, sometimes make different choices.

However, in MMORPG’s, story takes a backseat. There’s no way to have as strong a narrative arc when you’re playing in a wide-open world with so many other people. MMORPG’s feel more like a series of improv’s than a single scripted performance. Sure, I might have the chance to develop more relationships with other players, a bigger cast than what I could have in a single-player game, but that isn’t enough of a perk for me.

I also find MMORPG’s too distracting to be enjoyable. I want to look around at the world and the characters, and that’s not something I can do when things are happening real-time and I have to carry on my RP in chat. The more dynamic conversations I can have are a perk, but I’m willing to have more restrictive options if it leads to stronger story.

In single-player RPG’s, I also like knowing (with reasonable certainty) who is to be trusted and who is not to be trusted. Yes, there are reversals and betrayals, like Kreia ending up being Darth Treya in The Sith Lords, but when they happen, there has been narrative groundwork laid for them, and it doesn’t feel like some stranger sitting in his living room and deciding to fuck you over for shits and giggles or who justify assholery as “just being in character.”

I’ve been lucky in that my group gaming (face-to-face Dungeons and Dragons and Traveller) were with groups of people who became friends. We didn’t always agree or get along IC, but we never actively fucked each other over. Because of that, I expect a certain level of trust among my gaming partners, a sort of trust I don’t think you can ever have in an MMORPG.

So just like I had to give up on the Final Fantasy games when they moved to MMORPG form, I suppose my days in The Old Republic are at an end as well.

Bioware, if you turn Dragon Age 3 into an MMORPG, I don’t know what I’ll do. Probably weep bitter tears, keep playing the first and second games, and write fic about what should be happening next.
 
 
barbedwriting
31 December 2011 @ 09:21 pm
Under the cut is the text of an article from the LA Times that I’ve taught in the Internet studies part of my research paper classes. The article is about gender swapping in MMORPG’s. The article can be accessed here, but I’m reposting for ease of reading.

wyncatastrophe, this was the first thing that I thought about when you mentioned gender issues in gaming as a potentially under-examined area. My students/friends who are gamers pretty much nod in agreement when they read the article, and as a gamer myself, I do too. Disclaimer: I vastly prefer games I play myself on my own PC/system to MMORPG environments.

Boy, You Fight Like a GirlCollapse )

Feel free to discuss. I’ll be circling back on this post later next week to talk more about gender and avatars.
 
 
 
barbedwriting
31 December 2011 @ 07:32 pm


HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!!
 
 
barbedwriting
25 May 2011 @ 11:02 pm
On Saturday, I went to the monthly Georgia Romance Writers meeting to hear Dianna Love and Barbara Vey talk about attracting and keeping readers. The different perspectives (Love as NY Times Bestseller and Vey as a Publishers Weekly editor) were interesting and started my aca-hamster running about in its wee ivory tower wheel. Because the things I study, convergence and participatory cultures, had a lot to do with both speakers’ advice.

Providing interaction and community were key points, and anyone who has studied or moved in fandom circles or been sucked into an ARG viral marketing campaign or media discussion forum knows the power of those forces in providing audience satisfaction and participation.

One piece of advice many of the stories and examples circled back to for writers not to forget they are also readers, that they are part of the audience they are hoping to sell to. It’s not as if you need to project yourself into your audience’s shoes. You already live in that same space.

Not above it, in it.
 
 
barbedwriting
Currently, I’m taking a class on branding for writers. It’s about crafting a consistent personal, writing, and industry brand for one’s work. On the surface, this sounds like it shouldn’t be too difficult, but I’m not good at the short, pithy, eye-catching phrase. It’s the academic in me, I suppose. Why say something succinct when you can expound on it ad infinitum?

Okay, well, perhaps I’m not quite that bad, but crafting titles, things that come in short, sharp little bites, gives me hives. I’m working on this by focusing my recent poetry efforts on shorter forms (haiku) or forms that fence me in more (cinquains), and while I’m liking the feeling of constraint in the poems, there’s a world of difference between poetry and marketing copy.

We’re bombarded with branding all the time in our ad-saturated world, and coming up with something that makes you and your work look intriguing is tough. Most of the Americans in my class are rather meh about what I’ve been coming up with, though the Aussies love it. Not quite sure what that means.
 
 
barbedwriting
22 May 2011 @ 10:26 pm
Last weekend was the start of the times of popcorn, action, and explosions for me as I took myself off to the metroplex to see Thor, and I find myself, even now, a bit conflicted over the film. Because, you see, Thor is one of the movies that you walk out of going, “That was fun!” and then, the more you think about it and talk about it with other people, you start going, “It was kind of dumb, but it’s still fun.” Days go by, and you realize that most of the things that are wrong with it are things that really do bug you, and you start wondering how you could have found it fun.

Hence, the source of my conflict. On some level, I still do think Thor was fun. Despite its flaws. Which are many.

Thoughts on ThorCollapse )

I’ve had summer movie season start with a whimper in past years and with a roar. This one, well, it was more like a low growl. Not pathetic, but more a promise of things to come than completely satisfying by itself. Still, it does remain a fun ride, one which I’d suggest taking during a non-3D matinee showing, and one you’ll want to indulge in to prep for the Avengers film to come.
 
 
barbedwriting
19 April 2011 @ 09:45 pm
Admit it. You think the title of this post is stuffed full of sweet, succulent sarcasm, don’t you? Show of hands please? Come on. Don’t be shy.

If I were a betting woman, I’d even go as far as to suppose you based your conclusion on one of two factors. One: The fact that you are writers yourselves, and well, let’s face it, we all know rejection sucks ass. Two: The fact that you have a passing or deep acquaintance with me, which has somehow led you to the belief that I can sometimes be sarcastic.

However, in this case, regardless of your reasoning, you’d be wrong. Believe me, that surprises me as much as it might you.

You see, at the beginning of March, I sent a group of poems to Mike Allen at Mythic Delirium. This both terrified and excited me. Mythic Delirium is a TOUGH market to crack, and yet I’d had the balls to submit to them. There was one poem in particular in the batch I hoped might catch Allen’s eye.

And it did.

Allen said he was “tickled” by the reversal of expectation I had set up in the poem, but that it wasn’t quite enough to tempt him to buy. He closed the email with good wishes for placing the poems elsewhere and the hope I would try again with future submissions.

In the interests of full confession, when I read the email on my iPhone late the night it arrived before I went to bed, I served myself a cocktail of self deprecation, “Oh, well. You didn’t really expect to make that sale, did you?” with a twist of self pity, “You’ll never really crack the markets you want. You’re just not good enough. Why bother?” and a pinch of sour grapes, “Sure, it’s not a form reject, but it’s like one step up.”

Those of you who are writers know those thoughts well, I’m sure. They are our familiar demons and constant companions. In another time, I’d linger over them and brood about the unfairness of my situation for days. Or weeks. Or.... Well.... Let’s just say for a long while. I guess the only thing in my favor was that I never succumbed to the “Fools! Clearly, they do not understand my brilliance and the splendor of my work!” type of arrogance.

Imagine, then, my surprise, when I woke up the next morning, reread the email, grinned, and thought, “He liked my poem. He LIKED my POEM. He GOT it, and he LIKED it, and he wants to see MORE from me.” Suddenly, everything about the email and my attitude just shifted, and while I would have been more delighted with a sale, I was still pretty damned pleased with the rejection I’d gotten.

In fact, I was more than pleased: I was MOTIVATED. I wanted to sit down that moment and start work on new poems. I also wanted to get that particular batch of poems back in circulation and off to another market. I haven’t quite done that yet, mostly because I am waiting on a market to open up later this month and because I’m hammering away at some other poems to go out with them on their new journeys.

I guess this means that I’ve grown as a person and a writer, that my priorities have shifted for the better, that I’d rather celebrate victories than brood over defeats. Some days it’s hard for me to remember those things. Fortunately, these last weeks have not been those sorts of days.