2) What was #2? Um. Er. Eee. Oh yeah. I've now edited every chapter of Love Her and Despair. It's mostly minor fixes like capitalization, purple prose trimming, and continuity-tightening, but the latter includes some backstory fine-tuning. Chiefly, in this AU timeline, Tidus died on Mt. Gagazet BEFORE Yuna & Company reached Zanarkand. Auron never implied anything else. Right? Right. Luckily, Auron's so cryptic that you probably don't remember him saying anything to the contrary.
I don't actually hate Tidus. I just don't know how to write the poor git.
3) Muggy Mountain Had a Meme, E I E I O. (Yes, my sleep schedule is totally insane right now.)
What are the characteristics of my writing? Any patterns or cliches that make my writing recognizable? Any improvements you'd suggest, or anything you'd like to see me work on?
I have most of muggy_mountain's complaints except for dialog, which has always been my favorite toy. I've had more problems with it lately since I learned that saidisms are considered vulgar too. I used to use saidisms with gay abandon. To the extent that I sketch out stories in advance, my notes are usually a collection of quotes and short, meaningful exchanges between characters waiting to be fleshed out into conversations.
I am too much into punchlines, cliffhangers, and melodramatic moments. I grew up on Star Trek, old Dr. Who with the nightly cliffhanger. I was all over the hero falling off a cliff, the laser beam coming in, somebody falling, always falling. I used to fall asleep most nights visualizing such a moment since I was always composing scenes in my head. There is something very wrong about a 13-year-old going to bed night after night feeling a visceral "the bullets slammed into her back" moment with no context. I was and am totally in love with the dramatic fade to black and those artful little dialog epigrams like "I hope you hurt them." "A little!" or "I tried to change the world. I changed nothing. That is my story."
I'm obsessed with poetry in prose. Words have music, rhythm, sound effects, and it's easy to get seduced into looking for artful ways to say things instead of simply saying them. I get flowery, or melodramatic, or contrived, and then have to go back in and Hemingway the heck out of stuff. Except once I Hemingway it, there's nothing left.
Plot has always been a foreign country I don't understand. My technique was always to take a set of characters and a situation, start writing, and "living" my way through whatever unfolds from that starting point. I often have a vague goal in mind but no idea how I'll get there. I trust the characters to tell me what they'll do. Sometimes that doesn't work, because they need stuff to react to, structure.
It's very weird for me to be starting by sketching the plot first and charting multiple character movements.
I've got a horrible obsession with dramatic words and adverbs. Some years ago I had to banish softly from my vocabulary, or regulate it closely. In fact I'm almost too anal about repetition. I tend to have a limited stock of words I use too much, and rather than wean myself from them, I simply go through each chapter during editing and try to make sure I only use each of my go-to words once. If I see glimmer in three different places, I fiddle and poke until I've figured out which spot needs glimmer the most, and take pains to find flashy substitutes for the others. My characters look up, look down, nod and glance at each other like the figures in the Small World cuckoo clock, endlessly repeating the same gestures.
I use Tolkien prose: too much description, too many Platonic Ideal trees and starlight and white and sea and dream and hope, and a number of British spellings to which I stubbornly cling. I use sentence fragments for rhythm. I fight never-ending battles with paretheses, em-dashes, and ellipses. I over-capitalize. I have spent years trying to learn to vary my sentence structure, but it still tends to fall back on A, [conjunction] B in every single fricking sentence. Lately the conjunction in the middle has been [as] far too much of the time. I tend to throw in an and plus one more adjective-noun than necessary. I use squishy words like seems and appears and tend to and mostly. I overuse time phrases like for a moment and suddenly, especially in dialog, where my characters are forever hesitating and skipping a beat and pausing and pursing their lips.
I get stuck on particular metaphors and conceits. It was all very clever the first time I noticed that with Auron's right eye missing and Lulu's left eye covered, they see eye to eye. I've beaten that trope, and every other I've ever stumbled across, to death.
My worst problem is that the more I write, the more I become aware of all these fetish-like patterns. I fall into ruts, see the ruts, hate the ruts, love the ruts, don't know how to get out of the ruts, and spend too much time fussing over and attempting to pave the ruts.
Originality. I want it. I don't know how to make it happen.
Most of all, the older I get, the more I see my writing as amateurish, forever stuck at a level that's perfectly readable but not professional, ever lacking that certain something that separates pulp from literature.
So um, yeah. That's me.
4) dsl;f;lk;lfsaaaa THE CLIMACTIC BATTLE SCENE OF LHAD HAS [Characters Initials: LAIMPWRNPBGYV] 13 named characters from canon that I will have to juggle in a comprehensible and compelling manner. I guess this parallels that part of the game wherein all of Spira is singing the Hymn of the Fayth, except in my version all of Spira is on camera with speaking (and fighting!) parts. I've never had to GM myself before.