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I'm doing developmental edits for a novel, and my arms and back are being whiny so I'm just a being of pure grump right now. Especially because I'm really excited to post the next chapter of Echoes of Messatine. Sigh.

And I have EVEN MORE thoughts on IDW Megatron, mostly centering around how the whole issue of insurrection is framed in IDW is, essentially, if the actual people being oppressed worst rebel, it turns into a bloodbath motivated by evil, but if the moderate members of society do (ORION PAX IS A FUCKING COP AND THEN A RELIGIOUS FIGURE YOU CANNOT CONVINCE ME THAT HE'S ANYTHING BUT A MODERATE) it's ok and Pure.

and then Megs has to say "we were wrong to assert ourselves" in a speech written by Optimus and have a "redemption arc" that just makes him be sad and fail a lot and then get fucking...executed or imprisoned.

I have problems with this.


reads like conservative propaganda. Like, really well managed and subtle and most of the fans are just uncritically accepting the "well Megatron did war crimes and therefore it's only appropriate" well yes, but have you considered that the overall narrative is...questionable? actually more problematic? don't just dismiss this concern because I'm "handwaving all the horrible stuff Megatron did" look at the larger context that's an issue, which is that the "lower classes" can't be trusted to take charge because their leaders will do horrible stuff if given power, which is the favorite narrative of oppressors. 

I love Transformers in general but I wish people would pay more attention to this and not just kneejerk "oh stop being edgy" like no, please pay attention to these implications as well because they make other interpretations of the characters legit.
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 ooo also friendships between Megatron and Rodimus give me life. I need to write that more.
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 Honestly I just want a Megatron who can be his giant snarly asshole decepticon self and also one of the protagonists
and I'm pretty sure I'll never get this from canon T_T
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So after Lost Light wrapped up, I was a wreck for two full days (and a partial wreck for longer).
(spoilers below)

Read more... )
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 I haven't been able to write Megatron as a villain for a while. Especially since Election Night 2016. I don't know about anyone else, but right now I find it virtually impossible to write the leader of what is, essentially, a workers' rebellion, as the bad guy.

Like, yes. IRL this shit goes really bad. But that's not the story I need right now.

Especially in IDW, the backstory hooks into things I study and care about. Terminus, for example, is dying for want of medical care that's been deemed too expensive for him. My grad studies center around global health. There are millions of 'real' Terminuses out there, and it's obscene. Megatron and his reactions to that AND the shadowplay make absolute sense to me. The shadowplay scene is incredibly upsetting; Word of God says that Megatron DID lose a lot of his writing ability to that, at which point my response was basically "All right. Burn the planet, that's actually totally reasonable"...

So yeah. Hard to see him as the bad guy right now. 
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 Why yes I am aiming for daily updates...

And we're getting toward the end of Act III. Mawhahaha. 
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 Ah. The undergrads in the evolution course discovered that penis fencing is a thing that happens in certain species. Good times.
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 I finally got a bit of a backlog for this so have Chapter 60! Megatron and Ratchet have a lot to sort out...

(and Megatron gets a bit of a break from worrying about Optimus)

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 I am also consumed by a mighty need for an MCU fic involving Cap and Thor with them going to Asgard. It's kind of a trip across genres--Cap's movies are much more... serious? than Thor's and I just love the idea of Steve Rogers, very used to having to take all sorts of shit seriously running into the madcap bullshit that Thor and Loki put up with and just... going with it. And finally getting to have like, a good amount of fun saving the universe. 

(bonus if Odin assumes he's dating one or both of his sons and is Approving all over the place which is awkward because there is no dating going on...yet. This changes by the end of the fic.)
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 I am also haunted by the fact that, while at Escapade and trying to presuade people that Transformers is a great fandom, not once did I say "also you can choose between a wide variety of action figures of your otp and they are EXTREMELY poseable..."
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 I am too accustomed to reblogging; this journal suffers from me being responsible for most of its content...

Just returned from Escapade yesterday. I think it's easily my favorite convention of the year, and I love spending time with a wide variety of fan creators from different fandoms. It's a community that's hard to match. It's also a community that isn't here for Purity Whank. The terrible Megatron whumpfic that I've been worrying about for ages gained something like 5k this weekend and I think I will post it on AO3 after all. 

My current housemate wins the prize for Best Housemate. Last year, I returned to a leaking roof and a blocked toilet (that people had forgotten to plunge and then would not respond to plunging). This year, New Housemate has cleaned the kitchen and organized the laundry room, and the pets are falling in worship at his feet. No easy feat that with Ravage, who greeted me home by digging claws into my foot...
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There is one fic on my AO3, 101 Ways To ACTUALLY Die While Working On Your PhD, which exists entirely out of spite.

The inciting incident for this was a "letter to the fandom" some jackass posted to AO3 a few years ago, decrying the multitude of OCs , Mary Sues, self-insert and tf-character/you fics on AO3. It was received, to put it mildly, explosively, and stayed up for less than 24 hours. But it made me think, because I, like many authors, had started out writing self-insert fanfic (namely, a story in which I and my martial arts class wound up in Middle Earth, saving Eomer. It survives to this day, somewhere on my hard drive. No, I will not go looking for it). It had been the first time I'd written and finished something that wasn't for school, and realizing "hey, I can tell myself stories on paper and then I can reread them and share them with other people!" was a defining moment in my writing. 

Shortly after that fic, I wrote my first original novel (I was 13. Said novel is...actually not bad. I need to sit down and rewrite it, but the concepts are good enough I actually think I could publish it). Because my mother was occupied with caring for my ill grandmother, I got to go to the local writers conference in her place, technically a full year too young to do any such thing. From there, original fiction was my primary focus, and I reveled in being a wunderkinder--after all, how many 14 year olds could keep up with a conference filled with adult writers? How many were writing seriously for publication? In my town, it seemed to be just me.

I published my first novel at 21 with a small press. I didn't feel like a wunderkinder by then. It had taken a long time, and my dreams of publishing with one of the Big 5 were shelved. I realized I was average: usually, people publish their first work 7 - 10 years after they begin writing. But I had started early. That was a little bit of an advantage, and one that I needed, since I fully planned (and plan) on pursuing a second career. 

It was a little after that book was published that I started writing fanfiction again, first Team Fortress 2, then Transformers--and Transformers was the reason I got an AO3 account. Writing TF fic taught me all the things I needed to know for original fiction but would never have learned in the mainstream publishing world unless I'd gotten really famous: how to produce fast to deadlines (both The Quality of Mercy and The Brave Shall Heed The Call were updating daily for a bit there, and yes, I was writing them daily and posting as soon as I finished each chapter), how to turn around and start a new project asap after the end of the old, how to have multiple projects going at the same time, how to judge what my audience liked and continue to produce more of it. In the next two years, I published two more works; the gods of publishing willing, there will be a third this year.

Fanfiction, in short, has shaped my professional writing career. And it was all started with that LOTR self insert fic.

When I saw the "letter to the fandom", I saw red. Because my advantage as a writer was that I started really early, and that was only because I didn't feel scared to write that first fanfic. I imagined some other kid like me--or some young adult, because people go through this at their own pace--reading that and discarding the document in their word processor. The one with all of one sentence, that could have bloomed into a wonderful thing for them had it not been stepped on.

And I figured that I might as well revisit my roots. I wasn't sure I had enough of a following to really make a big statement (though I liked to imagine that I did), but I might as well put one more fic out there that would be more or less a self insert and encourage someone who was hesitating about whether it was "ok" to write something so self indulgent.

It didn't hurt that I was having a really tough time, either. I'd moved away from my hometown for grad school, and neither the living situation nor the school were going well. I was horribly lonely. My main sources of social life were the online TF community and the local TF cosplay group. So I wrote the world I wished I lived in, a version of Bayverse with G1 goofery, and a giant robot for a friend. 101 Ways is a series of vignettes in the life of a graduate student studying Autobot ethics somewhere in the southwestern United States. I owe it a lot. After a really bad day of work, coming home to a house full of housemates who steadfastly ignored my existence, booting up the computer and writing a few pages of a world where my work mattered and I saw my favorite characters when I went to work, instead of people I barely tolerated.

The fic was surprisingly well-received. I expected everyone to ignore it. But comments and kudos appeared, people interacting with the fic at a far higher level than I'd ever expected (it was self indulgent, right?), and as I worked I fictionalized everything a little bit at a time. "Graduate Student", as the POV character came to be called, grew a personality of her own, parallel but distinct from my own, a specialty quite different, and a far, far, better behaved dog. Hell, 101 Ways may end up with something like a plot.

I haven't worked on it for a while. This is because some things have gotten better. New living situation. New advisor. A project that matters. That sort of thing. I'm not living with the soul-chewing loneliness I was when I started it. 

I want to keep writing it. I intend to keep writing it, because Echoes of Messatine needs to be leavened with something. It's just that I haven't needed that escape in the same way.

That escape is important. In my case, at least, that escape literally launched a career. Self-insert fic is important and not to be scoffed at, and if you're tempted to write it... Without shame. 


Dec. 30th, 2018 06:22 pm
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 I have a ton of fic and musings that I SHOULD write and post but I need to finish this novel draft. 

I'm literally writing the last scene and omg I hate writing endings. So so much.
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 Just posted chapter 59 of Echoes of Messatine, which topped out at 6500ish words and so makes me feel better about the amount of time I spent working on it. Please enjoy this gift for the winter holiday of your choice (though I am in fact late for basically everything but Christmas, at this point).

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 Me: I have to write today!
Also me: spends an hour playing with this thing
(It's a map with population represented as columns--taller = more people in that 250 - 5000 square meters!)
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 it should also be added that I'm about to do a ten hour drive with these two furry little idiots in the back seat, this'll be fun.
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So here I am working in my office when I hear a crash from downstairs and the vacuum turning on, and this terrified scramble of paws, and I meet the cat and dog at the top of the stairs, both sets of eyes wide and horrified and all I can imagine is that the cat turned the vacuum on and was not at all prepared for the consequences.
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How to get Optimus and Megatron back in bed with each other in Echoes.