lydamorehouse: (Default)
I just found out from the Loft that my "Not Just the Zombie Apocalypse" class which is being offered in July is ALREADY filled. In fact, they wanted to know if I would be willing to up my registration number to 20 (initially I had capped it at 15, because 15 teenagers is a LOT.)  Whelp, now I'm going to potentially have a many as 20, because i said yes.  The only bummer about this is that I usually try to make sure that the students get a chance to have their work critiqued and 20 is going to make doing that nearly impossible. MAYBE we can figure out something. I might ask them to bring in the opening page of their work-in-progress (or make one up) so that we can do a little mentor-guided peer critique.  Finding a beta reader can be an awesome thing, so maybe if we do a couple of exercises like that, people will get a sense of how critiquing ought to work.  

Twenty students, holy crap.

Anyway, normally, right now I'd be sitting outside of Mason's school waiting to pick him up.  But today he has a late-start baseball game against his old rival, Capitol Hill.  

Mason's rivalry with Capitol Hill started in pre-K.  He had a friend in pre-K called Noah.  Noah was a lot like Mason, only... bossier. He tended to mock Mason for things like not knowing how to count after 100 or how to spell Mississippi. (Keep in mind, this is PRE-Kindergarten.  Both Mason and Noah equally qualified for gifted and talented, and Mason, like Noah, was ALREADY READING. Something neither of them would really be taught for another year or two.)  Noah ended going off to Capitol Hill, the Gifted & Talented magnet school.  We chose to keep Mason at Crossroads for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that, while Mason is gifted, he's NOT a "high achiever."  Giving Mason extra busywork results in him blowing off said busywork to read more about animals and fish that live in the twilight zone under the ocean, aka the thing HE wants to learn about at the moment. (This is, btw, still very true of Mason. He has a tendency to do what is required to get the grades and not much more. Unlike his friend Rosemary, who will voluntarily do the History Day competition, even when it's not mandatory.)  

The rivalry continues into Mason's tenure at Washington Technical, because for the longest time there were only TWO junior high school math teams in Saint Paul, Washington and, you guessed it, Capitol Hill.  Capitol Hill still having mostly gifted and talented students at this point regularly wiped the floor with Mason's team at the various math meets.  Defeat at the hands of the Capitol Hill math team is something Mason's math team has now faced for THREE YEARS IN A ROW.  (Despite Mason placing among the top scorers in the region, individually.) 

Then, out of all of the students who qualified for the state competition for the National Geographic geography bee, Mason was one... as was one kid from.... yep!... Capitol Hill. THAT GUY made it into the top ten finalists, and I have to admit that both Mason and I silently cheered when he was finally knocked out of the competition.       

So, for Mason, today's game against Capitol Hill's baseball team is very FRAUGHT.  Those guys have no idea how motivated Mason is to make a run against them.  

Should be interesting.

As long as the rain stays away....
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 Poor Mason, I think his baseball game is going to get rained out.  It's been spontaneously storming on and off all day so far, with no sign of abating. Although it's only 10 am.  Maybe something will happen and everything will dry out before 3:30 pm.

He's been really looking forward to this game--well, any game.  

In fact, last night Shawn and I took him out to "Play It Again, Sports" and dropped a fairly decent chunk of change on a used baseball bat so that he can continue to practice and play ball this summer.  He really, REALLY wants to get good enough to be on the varsity team in high school next year.  I'm perfectly wiling to help him practice, but I have the skills of any 50 year old nerd who never played any kind of sport, which is to say: almost none.

I'm really hoping that Mason works up the nerve to ask his teammate Eh-Ku if he would be wiling to get together this summer and practice throwing and hitting and such, but I get what that might be difficult for a thirteen year old boy to manage. Hell, asking people you admire for help learning a thing you don't feel especially good at is hard for anyone of any age.  

If nothing else, we found a good batting cage for him to go to. It costs money, but not a huge amount. 

I managed to get over to Rachel Hoffman-Dachelet's place to pick up some of the shade plants she was splitting. I got a ton of ostrich feather ferns, which I put in the back border of my fake Japanese garden. (The garden is fake Japanese on two counts. One, I am obviously not Japanese and this is not Japan, but, possibly more importantly, the Zen aesthetic of clean lines is one I can only aspire to, but never achieve.  It's kind of anthesis of my basic personality which can be broadly categorized as: loud and messy.)  I also put in a whole bunch of wild ginger in a ring around the new rock border I put at the top of the main hill of our front yard.  The dirt there is root bound and hard packed, so if any of them live I will be deeply grateful to whatever Nature God(-desses) favor me.  I also cleaned up another problem area and planted hosta and some Siberian Irises.  (I may have misplaced the irises.  I think they need more sun than I gave them.) BUT the idea there is that I'm really trying to work on some areas that are "gateways" into our backyard.  Similarly, I put a bunch of stella del'ord day lilies as a border to the other exit/entrance to our backyard. 

I worked like a fiend to get everything in the ground last night, and I'm VERY grateful for the downpours this morning for MY sake.  Now, I just hope things clear up for Mason's.

We've got a projected high of 83 degrees F (28.3 C) today and I don't know how that could happen without sun.  But sun and a muddy field still doesn't do Mason's team much good, alas.

Tonight is my last Loft class. I'm going to miss this crew. They were AMAZING.  Like I've been saying, I'm not sure if you can say that I was the best teacher, but, in this case, that's beside the point because what I did for these people is facilitate their workshopping.  And, honestly, when you're an intermediate to advanced student, that's all you REALLY need: colleagues at (or above) the same level you are that can push your skills forward.  At the advanced/intermediate level the main thing to do is write, critique/get critiqued, send out, and repeat until something hits.

Often the trick is finding a good group, so that's definitely what the Loft provided.... and I happened to be there to help it happen.  So, I feel very proud of them, even though I kind of did nothing especially profound.  

It's going to be weird to have my Tuesday nights free again. I won't necessarily miss the critique load, though.  60 pages of in-depth critique every week? It's a lot, especially on the weeks when Wyrdsmiths also hands-out (although we met last time without any critique, just to have an industry gossip.... I mean networking meeting.  So that wasn't as bad as it could have been.)  

I'll have to find something to do with myself on Tuesday nights.... maybe I should try this writing thing for myself, eh?
lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
 Mostly, Mason is everything that two "indoorsy," geeky mothers would want. He reads a lot, is a gamer, and is generally fairly nerdy, himself.

Except this one thing... his love for baseball.  

Parenting requires sacrifice and let me tell you the wind was COLD last night out at Lawson Field.  Shawn and I sat on metal bleachers and cheered on the Washington Eagles, even though they lost 5 to 8.  

Mason up to bat

Last night was also my class at the Loft, so I actually ended up having to leave Mason and his mom at the field in order to make it to class at 7:30 pm. (The game was a late start.)  But, Shawn has a Go-To card, so they hopped the bus/light rail and made it home in no time.  

Class continues to be amazing. I finally had a lecture that didn't feel entirely like babble (did Venus go direct yet??) But, whatever the reason, I was glad. We ALMOST got the timing to work out, too. I think we only overshot class by about 5 minutes, which isn't egregious, at least. I also try to be very clear that if people need to go, they should.  But, you know, Minnesotans. They'd sit there politely, make themselves late for the bus, and curse me all the way home... and I wouldn't hear about it until the evaluations.  *sigh*

I'm also volunteering to host the student reading at the Loft. I just sent out the information to my students.  Hopefully a bunch of them will sign-up or I will be STUCK WITH POETS....and I can barely think of a worse fate. (Unless they were science fiction poets. Those folks, I like.)

If was funny because normally when I ask if my student have read the assigned short story only one or two hands go up. This time, when we were dismissing, one woman said, "Wait, aren't we going to talk about the story??" It was "Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies" which I believe is up for BOTH the Nebula and the Hugo this year.  It's an interesting story if for no other reason than it is told in bullet points. There's been some unique (in a good way, not the Minnesotan way) formatting in this year's Nebula nominees.  Our first story was a chose-your-own adventure, the second was semi-epistolary.  Fascinating stuff.

Right, I'm off to hang out with my Wednesday writing group. See you all on the flip side.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo irritated)
Last night, in the Loft class, we talked about the mechanics of short story submission. Science fiction/fantasy/spec fic is one of the genres where, I think, a person has a fair chance to get their short work published if they're willing to keep going down the list of publications. You CAN run out, especially if your piece is of a very specific genre and a word count that's too long (or too short, etc.) But, I still think we have a lot more short story venues than a lot of other genres. In fact, while I'm sure they exist, I can't think of a single romance short fiction market--erotica, maybe, but romance? Nothing that jumps to mind the way Asimov's, Analog, Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy, Apex, Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons,, Uncanny Magazine, etc, etc., do for spec fic.

Just looking through the list at can be dizzying, because on top of the regularly published magazines, there's also anthologies, etc.

So, I pointed my students to and their page on manuscript formatting.

Our critique session went really very fast because it was a bad week for a lot of people for some reason and we had more than our typical "passes." (When teaching adults who have full-time jobs, families, school, etc., I always allow a pass if life eats your brain.) So, we had an unscheduled Q&A about the business of writing. I bring this up because one of my students asked a question that astounded me. She wanted to know if it was true that you should have at least 2,000 followers on social media before you try to court/land an agent. I had never heard such malarky in my LIFE, but nearly all the other students in my class had HEARD THE EXACT SAME ADVICE.

I had to admit, it could be true. I sold my first book in 1999, before e-books were really a thing and before social media was even really a concept. I said that the advice I heard back then still seemed pretty damned solid to me and that was: concentrate on writing the best book possible, full stop. I told my class that I don't know how a person gets 2,000 followers without spending every waking moment trying far too hard to be clever in 175 characters or less. How would you have time to write if you were spending that much time on-line? 2,000 followers sounded, to me, like a full time job in and of itself.

I also told them to look at the list on "ralan," and ask themselves if their time would be better spent collecting followers on Twitter or writing short stories for one of the three dozen (+!) magazines that will pay good money for good words?

I also suggested that they didn't have to give up on the idea of collecting 2,000 followers, but maybe the way to start doing that in spec fic was by attending conventions, volunteering to be on panels, and writing stories. Do both, I suggested. That way, maybe you'll have a little fun on the way to collecting some mystical number of Twits.

When I ask on FB whether or not other pro writers/agents/editors had heard about this idea, I got one response from an agent who said that, it was a lie to some extent, but of course its easier to sell books to an editor if you can point to a waiting audience. Sure, that makes a kind of sense, but I really have never believed in a 1:1 correlation between follower: buyer. A lot of people follow me on various social media (not anywhere near 2,000 if you're wondering, often not even HALF that, though on FB I have just over a 1,000--I checked), and I have directed them, often, to things of mine they can buy.

They don't. Some do, of course, but probably not even 1% do.

And presumably, I'm a known quality (maybe that's why they DON'T, but I did fairly well for Penguin for a fair number of years.) BUT, my point is, how on EARTH would this translate to someone you've never heard of? Whose cat pictures you've liked on Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr? Seriously.

TBF, I have no sense of how popularity works. Some people have clearly figured out how to leverage this social media thing far, far better than I ever have. So, maybe this is the new path to publication/scoring an agent. I really don't know. It seems crazy to me. I still think the key to success ought to be: write a good book.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Since I'm teaching again, I'm writing about the process of writing again.

Because my Tate Hallaway blog has been dead for some time, I directed my students to check-in over there to see what I have to say about various things. Basically, I promised them a slightly more coherent version of my lectures since I've long ago come to realize that my lecture style is best described as "organic," which can drive some folks fairly insane. I have this tendency to INTEND to talk about A, B, and C, yet actually talk about A, Z, B, Q, F, and C. I promised to remove Z, Q, and F when I write up my "notes" for them. I can't entirely say I'm 100% more successful, but forcing myself to write it down does often help keep me on track.

At any rate, if you'd like to follow along, I've got two writing-related blogs up right now:

"From Idea to Story"

"Emotion as Story"

In other news, I woke up to the sound of my child barfing. Mason's stomach is giving him trouble... maybe from the very rich Indian food we had last night. Because I'm teaching, we weren't able to go out to dinner on Shawn actual birthday night (Wednesday) so we went out last night. Our favorite place lately has been "Taste of India" in Maplewood. Mason decided to be brave and tried something new. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have agreed with him.

Poor Mason.

The only comfort to all this is that it's cold and gray outside at the moment and if there was any GOOD day to have to spend snuggled up in bed reading and recovering, this would be it. We have a couple of errands we need to do--our taxes have been done for some time and are awaiting our signatures, so I need to go collect those soon since April 15 is looming. And I had wanted to get fish for the big tank, finally. I have successfully kept our betta alive for months now, so I'm feeling confident enough to consider trying again in the tank of doom. I've been changing the water in the unoccupied tank as though there were living fish in it (so approx. once a week), so I'm figuring that whatever evil might have been lurking in there should be well and truly diluted by now. Fingers crossed, at any rate. Plus, I was thinking of NOT getting our fish from PetCo, but a decent fishery like World of Fish.

But, that certainly doesn't _have_ to be done today. Taxes is the only necessity, like so often said.

Plus, Mason can feel good about taking advantage of his spring break. We've already done a very awesome hike through Minnehaha falls.

Mason will Read anywhere
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Last night was my first "Mars Needs Writers" class at the Loft. I'm happy to report it's a nice size; there's an even dozen, (if you include me.) I was only expecting seven, so this is quite a jump.

It went well. VERY WELL.

The class seems willing to talk to each other and interrupt me and throw out ideas and share stories, so that's FANTASTIC. This is Minnesota, you know, so class participation can be sketchy. I like to know the lay of the land early, i.e., am I going to have to have a LOT of material prepared so I can monologue, or can I depend on some back on forth to help carry the lectures? I test the waters with the class' outgoingness by doing an exercise/lecture the first day that *can* work if I just talk the whole time, but also encourages participation if there's willingness. I ask for definitions of science fiction vs. fantasy. Obviously, I can just DO this by myself, but I always hope that someone will start throwing out thoughts, etc.

It always takes an explicit ASK and a few 'please, I won't judge's, but I had several talkers this time around, so this is going to be FUN.


Plus I over-caffeinated, so I did the Lyda show with a lot of dork dancing and gesticulating. So I'm sure even for the shy ones, there was entertainment value to be had. I did promise them that the day after, I would post a slightly more coherent 'lecture' covering the important bits over on my Tate Blog. If you're curious about the content of my first class, you can read it here: "Woke Up Still Caffeinated...". Mostly the blog this time was me saying, "Oh, yeah, that thing said this guy said? It was actually this other guy."

So, should be good. Fingers crossed, anyway.

In other news, my second official review at Bitter Empire is out: Bullet Catcher's Daughter. Check it out!

Speaking of Bitter Empire, I got my first official review "assignment" and its a doozie! They've asked if I'd be willing to read and review some dinosaur erotica, which is, in fact, a Thing. I bought two of them. I will be reading them today. JUST TRY AND STOP ME.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
First, because I know you've all been waiting.... the new podcast is up: Ni-ju kyu, Oetsu.  The title is my attempt at combining the number of our podcast 29 (ni-ju kyū, in Japanese) with the character Oetsu who CONSTANTLY does this kind of number rhyming thing with his name in the current chapter of Bleach.  We also review Fairy Tail, Toriko, and Ao no Exorcist (even though I wrote that one up as well.)

I have to say, for us, this podcast is pretty darned articulate, and since we forget to sing the spoiler song, there's 50% less annoying singing!

All wins, in my opinion.

I also wanted to report on my fan fic class at the Loft, which was part of the Youth/Teen Writers' Conference.  The nicest thing about the conference is that it's free, which means that attendance is huge.  There were probably about 25 teens in my class, which means there was a TON of energy.  It helped that I started class with a "what's your fandom?" question that elicited some squee when people heard their own favorites mentioned.  I also said before we started that this was a no shaming class, so you know, if you wanted to confess to still reading some One Direction bandom fic, no one was allowed to laugh TOO loudly at you.

The thing that I decided to do since everyone seemed keyed up to share was to ask them what THEIR list of fan fic pet peeves were.  I got some interesting results.

NUMBER #1: grammar/spelling errors.

So, for all you grown-ups who think that the next generation doesn't give a toss about language because they're texting all the time, you would be so very, VERY wrong. 

NUMBER #2 (and actually some other ones later could fall under this one): Tagging, Get it Right

The complaints for this one including being surprised by a fic that started out moderately dark that then took an unexpected left-turn, "Mature" rating that wasn't hot enough, and similar things.  

We did discuss how hard "tagging the dark" can be when you're posting as you write... since you might not notice how dark something is getting.  But, a lot of the answers boiled down to: get a beta reader and listen to them.  I learned that there's apparently a beta reader/writer connection place on Tumblr called "Writer's Halfway House", which among its many tips, will connect writers to beta readers.  

NUMBER #3: Self-insertion/Mary Sue.

No surprise there.  Mary Sue has been disliked since the very first fic of its kind was penned.  HOWEVER, I did point out that there's nothing wrong with Mary Sue especially when you're young and first trying things out.  My very first piece of fan fiction (which happened to be my very first piece of fiction, period) involved Han Solo rescuing me from my dreary life.  Nothing wrong with that... IF YOU TAG IT.

Which, by the way, was pretty much a solution to a lot of problems: tag, tag, TAG.

NUMBER #4: Weak endings/Didn't stick the landing.

Far more problematic, especially given the way a lot of fic gets written--which is to say, on the fly.  We talked about general strategies, especially the idea of outlining or starting with an actual point.  (Not required, of course, particularly for drabbles and such, but if you want to have a strong ending, you need a strong start.  A strong start is far more certain when you have a THING you want to say, a point, a theme, a thesis, if you will.)

NUMBER #5: OOC for no reason

If you're a fan and you're writing to other fans about beloved characters, for goodness sake try to keep the characters IN CHARACTER. This lead to a side discussion about the point of AUs.  Some people suggested that Alternate Universes were good for focusing on character, because you're taking them away from the world and it's about the core of what makes them who they are.  I suggested that this can also be the pitfall of Alternate Universes, which I tend not to like, because more often than not they feel, to me, like original fiction with the names stuck in just to trick people into reading it--but that may be harsh.  I have been burned.  But, I've also been pleasantly surprised.  One of my favorite fics is an AU involving Renji and Byakuya were it all starts as a sleazy hook-up in a bookstore's back closet and they're entirely human, living in the modern world.

NUMBER #6: Spearbearers made of cardboard/OC (original characters) who are flat

I felt particularly capable to talk about how to do original characters right because more than once I've gotten complimented on my original characters in my fan fic.  (I suppose this skill comes from inventing characters for, well, novels, but still.) The answer, in it's simplest form is: treat all your characters as human beings. No human being has only one characteristic.  We are all interesting, even the vile ones have something about them that is redeeming and charming, etc.  

NUMBER #7: Evasion of plot

I was very surprised and pleased to hear this one come up.  What is meant by "evasion of plot" is two things, 1) a tendency of fan fic writers not to go for the gold.  They'll get to what should be a very painful moment and they back away out of a desire not to hurt their babies.  But, what ends up happening is that the reader feels cheated of a bigger moment, a bigger payoff.  And, 2) the similar, if different, problem of the author being coy with information that really just needs to be said.  It's the whole 'why didn't they just say that earlier' problem.  Or it's something that the reader should have been told, but is instead held back in the wrong-headed assumption that this makes the story more dramatic.  The solution to that was: yeah, don't do that.

NUMBER #8: Fucking up the fucking

Yeah, we went there.  There were a number of very interesting complaints about sex in fan fic.  Firstly, the teens in my class do NOT want you to use inappropriate lubes. Please, people, do your research. A quote from class: "Peanut butter?  JUST NO.  So much NO." Similarly, do not break the laws of physical possibilities, which we labeled "parts doing the NO."  I recommended the classic fan fic resource: Minotaur's Sex Tips for Slash Writers.

My students also really craved sex scenes that skipped all the purple prose of "his alabaster skin" (guilty as charged!) but to the excision of actual feelings.  We discussed, actually, the similarity between writing a good fight scene and writing a good sex scene.  I told them that in a fight, what you want to concentrate on is a singular point of view and remember that a fight isn't just about  the dimensions of the instrument, what part goes where, and for how long (like sex) and that it's actually a highly emotionally charged event (like sex.)  So parts are important (like sex), but ultimately it's about feelings (like sex.)  So make sure your fight scenes aren't gratuitous either.  Make sure there's a reason for the fight and for the sex.  

Similarly, we discussed romance and how they want it to be so much more than love at first sight (which this generation firmly believes is crap.)  They also absolutely hated when a write had a gay man who spent any time wondering "when they turned into a girl."  They found this offensive on so many levels it wasn't funny.  

Foreplay was discussed as both something that could go on too long and that there sometimes wasn't nearly enough of.  So we ended up spending a lot of time discussing ways in which we could work to make the romance and sex feel REAL.  I said that, even though part of the appeal of fan fic is its fantasy element, there is some value in considering real life situations while writing about sex.  It can make sex cute, funny and resonate more deeply when you take some time to try to add the people parts of sex that make it awesome--an example I used is consider breaking up the hot and heavy action with the classic... and now the cat has wandered in and is sitting on someone's butt or staring at you from the dresser.  This makes the moment (potentially if you can pull it off) funny and real feeling.

NUMBER #9: The art of the Summary

We didn't get to this one because sex and romance ate up the majority of our class period, but people want better summaries from you, oh fan fic writers everywhere.  Please take some time to figure out how to best summarize your fic.  (This may be something that Rachel and I can spend some class time teaching because I believe it's an art that can translate to original fiction skills, as it's the same one that you use when you write synopses for agents and editors.)

Those were the major ones.  We got kind of specific, like "wanton" versus "wonton" but obviously that falls under grammar and spelling. Likewise, there were a lot of specific questions about sex, which I fielded like a pro, that ended up as part of the list which I combined into a giant #8 above.

Yeah... we had to shut the door.  No only were we screaming about lube, there was just a lot of general excitement to get to talk to someone about this sort of thing--not just the sex parts but the whole "oh and this drives me insane" thing.

So I would say the class went well.  It'll be interesting to see what the various evaluations say.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
The fence got a bit of paint. I really only had an hour, so I did one panel out of, I don't know, a dozen? So.... it's getting done.

That's not really the news I wanted to share. I just happened to go looking at the Loft page to see if there was a class that Eleanor wanted to take, and I noticed that the winter catalogue is now up and registration is open.

Which means.... My fan fic writing class is now open for registration! Come, get your geek on with Rachel and me:

Whether you write fanfic purely for fun or are working on original work as well, fanfic is a wonderful training ground that allows you to work on elements of craft in a playful setting. In this class, we’ll use fanfic to improve your ability to write dialogue, craft sentences and paragraph, come up with exciting plot twists, and play with point of view. We’ll explore the way that fanfic allows us to open up our creative process and write with joy—and how to maintain that over time. Fanfic is also an access to understanding how to write for online readers, and we’ll look at how computers are changing the way we write, how to be successful in the online world, interacting with fan communities, and opportunities to sell fanfiction or turn your fanfiction loves into an original manuscript.

Sound interesting?  Sign-up!  Make my fan writing legit!  :-)

lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I came across something very interesting in one of the JUMPs I was reading last night. Keep in mind that both these pictures were published in English-language versions of this story. One came out in a magazine, the other was published as a Manga of the collected issues of the story that originally appeared in the magazine. Both, I believe, are owned and produced by VIZ Media in America/(possibly other English-language speaking countries.) Perhaps [ profile] empty_mirrors can tell me if her Manga are different, but I suspect not.

The scene is set by the fact that our hero, who has been adventuring in the afterlife, left his physical body behind. That body has been inhabited by a subsitute soul, a character named Kon, who is immature and girl-crazy and... well, gross.

IN JUMP, when we (as readers) return to the Human World, we come across Kon this way:

jump censorship 004

The subsequent dialogue implies that Ichigo's return has woken Kon from a sexy dream about several of the female characters.

HOWEVER, IN THE MAGNA, what he's doing is a little more... explicit:

jump censorship 003.

Here, Kon is clearly masterbating

It doesn't surprise me that a scene like that would have been modified for an American audience, but what's weird to me is that TECHNICALLY IT WASN'T. Most of the teenagers I know, read Manga collected, rather than through JUMP (particularly now that JUMP doesn't exist in paper, only electronic.)

Thinking about it, perhaps this has nothing to do with America or English-speakers being percieved as more prudish. I feel like Bakuman (the Manga from which I learned all that is "true" about Manga-writing in Japan) implies that the editors at SHONEN JUMP feel like their audience is actually fairly YOUNG boys. In Bakuman, there's a whole arguement between the manga-writer/drawer couple and their editor about whether or not a subject matter is too dark for the percieved audience for JUMP, and are offered the option of a teen version of a shonen magazine. So, perhaps what we see above actually ocurred to suit the Japanese market, where JUMP is consumed by a LOT MORE people, many of whom are actually quite young (say as young as 10).

Regardless, I find it fascinating that by the time we get to the Manga version (which, in fact, came later, chronologically,) we have Kon being much more explict. Did Kubo-sensei redraw it himself? (Having seen how censorship occurs in US comicbooks, I suspect so, and he probably had this image in reserve.) And, was he able to use the clout he gained from the popularity of the Manga to get the original placed in the collected version.

If that's how it happens, it kind of changes the perspective that things are so MUCH LOOSER in Japan than they are here. Unless of course, this was done for the English-speaking world, though, then you have to wonder why they let it go in the collected Manga when they had a covered image already redrawn that accomodated English dialogue bubbles....

It's a mystery.

In other news, I found out that my first Loft blog is due tomorrow. Today I need to figure out what I'm going to write about. If any of you have suggestions, I'll happily take them. I was currently thinking about writing about what I like to call "the secret handshake" of submissions. I wrote something similar many years ago for SF Novelists, but it may be worth revising.

Anyway, if you have anything you might be interested in hearing me expound about for 500 words or so, let me know.

I do have to laugh, though. The blog coordinator wants me to include my twitter handle. Of course I have one as Tate, but I NEVER USE IT. I have my secret twitter account, but I've been reserving that for real friends, because I want to keep my feed managable. If someone wanted to follow my life, they'd be far better off following lydamorehouse on Facebook.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
If you are also doing NaNoWriMo, you can become my writing buddy or check out my progress on "Shattered Mask" by following (or whatever) user: lydamorehouse. I have to confess that if you go there today you will see that I have a word count total of 3,944. This is a lie. That *is* the progress I have on this novel to-date, but it's actually the chunk that I wrote previously.

I wrote nothing yesterday.

Actually, uh, well,...

Okay, another problem I'm having? As I was setting up my profile for NaNoWriMo, do you know what I found? A FORUM FOR PEOPLE WRITING FAN FICTION!!!!! Yes, I am screaming! I'm screaming because, hello? How is that going to help my problem? As I said on Facebook (with apologies to my friends in the recovery community,) it's like walking into your first AA meeting and discovering an open bar in the back room!

On the flip side, the universe has finally told me how I can make money writing fan fiction. I got an amazing e-mail the other day from the woman who runs the teen writing program at the Loft. She told me that she was going over the evaulations for the workshop that I did for the Loft during their teen writing conference (the one with the suprise 40 kids signed up), and she asked if I'd be willing to consider teaching some summer courses for teens at the Loft. Of course, I said yes without even thinking much about it. She sent me a list that had been produced by the kids on the questionnaire in answer to the question, "What kind of classes would you like to see taught?" Guess what? At least one person put down, "Writing Fan Fic." There was another person who specifically wanted help writing Dr. Who fan fic, and someone else trying to figure out how to make the switch from writing fan fic to writing original work.

I figured I must have died and gone straight to heaven. It would only have been more perfect if someone had specifically requested, "Writing Bleach Fan Fic: 10 Tips for Characterizing Renji Abarai."

The Loft is specifically looking to me to teach writing SF/F, of course, but I thought I might actually also propose a week-long class called, "No More Kudos! How to Make the Move from FanFic to Original Fiction" about some of the differences between (and struggles with) writing fan fic and writing original work. Because, for my money, there are a bunch of ways in which fan fiction is significantly different--there's a lot more "front loading" of characterization (and character description) necessary, for instance. There's the problem of how soap opera/"plot, what plot" can be fine for a meandering 200,000 word fic, but is death to the commerical novel. And, then there's the emotional withdrawl of the difference between writing in community versus writing alone (and ultimately kind of unsupported.) I think there's EASILY five days worth of subject matter that could be covered in a course like that. Plus? I really, really think there are teen writers out there that are craving a class like this. When I was desperately trying to find common ground with the students in my workshop, fanfic was it. All the eyes in the room lit up when I randomly asked, "Okay, how many of you are into fanfic? How many write it?" Hands shot up all over. When I admitted to also writing fanfic (and how valuable I found it when I was first learning to write), there was actually almost an audible, "Oh!" that carried with it a sense of, "Holy shit, a grown-up/professional writer who GETS this!!??" I could almost instantly tell that the mood had shifted from "bored now," to "Maybe I should listen to what she says...."

Fingers crossed, because, damn it, that would be a truly legit way to make money off my fan work.

I was actually quite excited by the list of thing the kids had requested. I have to remember to contact my friend Rachel, ([ profile] jiawen, are you listening?) to let her know that the Loft Teen Program is specifically looking for instructors to do a class on writing for RPGs/other gaming. But, they were also looking for topics like, "How to Write the Big Bad" all about writing villains and one of my favorites which I remember verbatum, "How to Write Romance that Isn't Cheesy... or Gross." (Which I'm also going to totally propose with that EXACT title.)

The nice thing, too, about the way the Loft structures its teen program is that you do a week or two week long intensive, M-F, in the middle of the day in the summer--kind of like writing camp. Since Mason is in school during several of the "summer" months, due to his year-round program, this is very, very appealing to me.

At any rate, I should get to all that. Plus, I need to make some actual, honest progress on my NaNoWriMo novel.

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