June 6th, 2004

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(no subject)

So the poll-of-the-moment on CNN.com is:

What will Ronald Reagan be most remembered for?
- Triumph of conservatism
- Morning in America
- End of the Cold War

My answer would be None of the above. I will forever ever mark Reagan as the man who could have done something to stop and educate America about HIV and AIDS before it got out of control, but who chose to turn away because his moral system refused to acknowledge the importance of all human lives and other moral beliefs. That is what I'll remember.

This really is a comment I would make any time, not only today due to his death, but the memories have been stirred.
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The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores

So Saturday turned out very interesting, especially the ending, over at Susan's with the president of my neighborhood association talking to me with the intensity and honesty and deep philosophy of the very, very drunk.

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  • Current Music
    "I Like You" - Morrissey
ice cream

Withdrawal from affective stimuli


I chose to live far away from my family.

I have never dated anyone or had practically any intimate relations either.

I live alone.

I work for myself.

I like to do solo projects, like maintaining, designing, redesigning web sites, or writing or editing.

Am I possibly TOO independent? Will I one day end up carrying around all my possessions in a shopping cart issuing scathing political rants, including within my speech the HTML tags I used to make LJ comments?

When I was 7 my school had a bigwig psychologist come in and give me this huge psych work up. The report she made included (among other things) a lot of extremely interested insights into my then-personality, as well as speculations about how I might end up as an adult. One of those speculations was that I might end up withdrawing from a lot of possibly rewarding stuff just because I don't cope well with the stimulus of the world. That I'd grow up so determined to avoid discomfort and to pursue my "own thing" that I'd jetison off any kind of normal opportunities for relationships, either friendly or intimate. I think myself she was quite right.
  • Current Music
    "I Like You" - Morrissey
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A good editor is hard to find

Just yesterday gabby2600 were chatting about how hard it is to find good editors and here I am today thinking I'm really lucky I have several. Case in point, yesterday I finished off a new story and after asking madame_mercredi if she was willing, sent it off to her for beta reading.

I was pretty happy with the story and when finished it and thought she wouldn't have a lot of changes to suggest... but then within a couple seconds after I sent it, I started to get this nagging thought that there was something missing with the story -- chiefly, a real climax*. This feeling got stronger all night, like I had made a big goof and there was a hole where the climax was supposed to be.

As it turns out, it was more than just that problem that needs improvement -- and I know this thanks to Mercredi, who able to get back with me this afternoon and have a chat to discuss it. It was really amazing all the things she was able to point out to me that either didn't quite work or needed improvement or were missing altogether. In most cases it was things that had crossed my mind but hadn't acted on. In some cases there were issues that hadn't even occured to me, almost like blind spots I guess.

This goes back to my main point, which that I'm really lucky I have people like Mercredi and a couple of others who I can really rely on to help me out if I'm not feeling sure about something I've written. **Hugs to those people!**

I feel like the job of a good editor or beta reader, beyond just booboo-catching (spelling, grammar, continuity, etc.), is the willingness to actually challenge the author. A good editor is one who is confident enough to really share their opinion and even make suggestions for how they might do it or a missing scene or something. Not just "This is good" and "I don't understand this."

I think an editor has to think about the story more than the average reader and in some ways, more than the actual writer, who can be prone to being less than objective at times.

Many times I do things in stories arbitrarily, because it was the first thing I thought of or easier to write -- although it might not be the most "in character" choice of action or there might be a better scene if the plot were different.

Now a bad editor would simply read that bad idea and jump over it without making any real comment. Either they don't actually think about the story enough to notice a problem or they just don't bother comment on "non-obvious" content issues.

A good editor will question it and challenge the author by saying "Why does this happen?" or "That doesn't sound plausible..." or "Why don't you try...?" When a writer has that feedback from a good editor, 9 times of of 10 the writer will get such comments and say "Oh, yes, of COURSE!" or "That bothered me too." But if they have a bad editor, they might never realize the problem.

And I'm not saying a writer should put all the responsibility on their editor, but I do think that having a good editor (or more than one) really forces you to go beyond yourself, your POV, your blindspots, etc., and really make the story what it has the potential to be.

Anyway, I'm really happy I got so many good ideas from Mercredi and hopefully this week I'll find time to do all the edits and several expansions this story is going to need.

* Note to Wraeththu fans: Amusingly, this is actually a double-entendre since the scene I skipped over was an aruna scene. I don't know when I've ever skipped over that but in this one, I did. At the time I was writing it seemed all right to describe parts of it in flashback, but Merc pointed out to me that there are all kinds of issues that probably would be present in that scene and make the story have a "punch" it's missing, i.e. climax.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative
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CDs in Order

I *finally* got around to the tedious task of reorganizing my CD collection. I keep it in CDs albums, in alphabetical order (why oh why?!) and so every time I amass a gruop of new CDs, I have to insert them into the albums and shift the existing CDs backward. Somehow or other, I manage to amass around 40 CDs and also bought two more albums... so this whole reorganization was a massive project, had the CDs all over the floor (in order), used a calculator to figure out how many to put in each, went insane trying to get the order right... but I DID IT!

Oh, and I discovered I have around 200 CDs. Which I know is not much compared to some people but then again I have a low % of albums I think suck, and the collection is diverse.

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  • Current Mood
    accomplished accomplished