my_daroga: Orson Welles (orson)
Somehow, I've convinced myself I'm not a writer. I used to write all the time. I used to even post stuff I'd written! And I haven't in years, except for roleplay, which is writing, but dependent on others playing along. Which can be a great thing, motivationally, and a bad thing.

So today, in an effort to jumpstart my creative engines, I posted a bunch of old stuff to AO3 that I guess I didn't feel qualified as fic, or wasn't done/good enough/ready. I know that those pieces won't ever be, and I thought maybe if I put it out there, I'd inspire myself again. So the Phantom and Star Trek stuff that went up today is all old. In one case, almost ten years old. So the person who wrote that is no longer the person I am, but I still think I had some nifty stuff to say. And maybe someone will enjoy it, or be inspired to write their own response.

The Trek stuff I posted is all more or less flashback/metafic about Kirk, based on stuff that was developing through the roleplay I was part of. Things were coming out in play that might not necessarily reflect my view of canon, but were nonetheless takes I hadn't seen before on Jim Kirk. So those are there, too.

I want to write more. I just have no idea how to do it anymore, and I'm not even sure why that is. I've honestly convinced myself I have no ideas in my head, which is inconsistent with the fact I apparently want to write. So something's blocking me pretty hard.

So if you've ever been in this position? What do you do? Prompt communities? I am interested in way too many things at the moment to be able to narrow down my interest long enough to think of a premise. I think I need to set some artificial barriers. And keep reminding myself it doesn't have to be good/done/epic/amazing right off. Somehow, I got into that mentality as well, the one where I have to know what the end point is in order to act. I've been getting a LOT better at not living that way, and it's turned out all right for me so far. So it's time to apply it to writing, again. If I can narrow my attention long enough to know where to begin.

Writing Wrongs

  • Nov. 26th, 2010 at 4:40 PM
my_daroga: ambiguous? (batman)
I angst a lot about writing. I angst about not doing it, and doing it, and what I'm doing wrong and (as is more to the point, lately) how I don't do it at all. It's to the point where I'm not sure I want to write, because writers write, and I don't.

But I think that, apart from just Not Writing or Wasting Time Roleplaying Instead of Writing, part of my "problem" is that so much of what I might want to write seems "wrong." Watching a lot of silent film lately has brought this home to me. There's so much going on in there that is "wrong" on at least two levels, as far as the modern, conscientious viewer is concerned:

1) It is often "melodramatic" or unrealistic, with lots of pathetic orphans and grand schemes and dramatic forced marriages/kidnappings/rescues/circuses/rags to riches and vice versa/ridiculousness.


2) It often contains really really bad sexism, racism, ableism, classism, pretty much any-ism-you-can-think-of.

id-fic and super-anxiety )



  • Nov. 17th, 2010 at 7:07 AM
my_daroga: Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera (phantom)
I an effort to find a smaller "challenge" to get me writing, I was considering Yuletide. But now that Phantom's off the list again, I'm not sure what I have to offer! My repertoire is so limited, I wanted to have something I was solid in on my list.

In other news, I know I've been very quiet. Sort of overwhelmed by everything, and I keep meaning to catch up and to update but it's been easier to go watch movies. I hope everyone's okay and enjoying the autumn.


my_daroga: Sirius from Diana Wynne Jones' Dogsbody. Based on my dog. (dog)
I am about 3/4 done with Laurie R. King's latest, The God of the Hive, which is the ninth in her Mary Russell series and follows on directly from the last book. I don't have a review--for some reason, I never feel as inclined/capable about book reviews as film. I don't know why that is.

No, the reason I'm posting today is because I am annoyed, and it is about authors explaining their references. Specifically, spoilers )

Honestly, if I get the reference, then great. If I don't, no harm done. If I do, and then I have it constantly explained, I just feel like the author thinks I'm too stupid to get it, and frankly, if I didn't get it the first time am I going to the fifth? I would have been far easier with the allusion, further, if it had remained less explicit (and it wasn't very subtle to begin with).

crisis of confidence

  • May. 5th, 2009 at 7:33 PM
my_daroga: Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera (phantom)
Okay, maybe not a crisis.

I haven't been writing at all, though. And while I know that part of this is laziness/distraction/reluctance on some psychological level, some of it is that when I sit down, nothing happens. I was upset over not working on my book, and decided that it would be beneficial for me to start writing something every day. What better than one of those pesky WIPs, hmm? At least I'd regain some confidence.

Well, one of them I'm stuck on because I can't figure out how the mystery's solved, one of them I'm stuck on because I suddenly don't feel equipped to write Lawrence despite telling myself I'm writing movie!Lawrence and not RPF, one of them is long and intimidating to start hacking into, and the other two just... well, I have no idea where they're going. Paltry excuses, maybe, but I miss the days when I felt the passion for the story I was writing welling up within me so that I couldn't think of anything else. It was a sort of lust. It did not, perhaps, result in such good writing, but it was writing. And now I feel stagnant, never evolving.

Writer's block is nothing original, sure. But I feel like there must be something I'm missing, some key that will unlock at least a trickle. I do still role play (the online forum kind, for those of you not involved), and that may take up some of my writing energy (though I rarely do it when I could be writing instead), but then again, at least it's writing. Is it swallowing impulse/ambition, or keeping me at least a little in practice?

Maybe I should forget fic for now, and go back to trying to write the book, even if the going is slow.

Five associated things, list one

  • Feb. 25th, 2009 at 12:41 PM
my_daroga: Orson Welles (orson)
Five things [ profile] inlaterdays associates with me:

I started "seriously" taking photos in March of 2005, when I visited Seattle for the first time and brought Mr. Daroga's 80's Minolta with me. The photos in the daffodil fields in Skagit county were sort of a revelation; I realized I loved how they looked, and that I had taken them. (That particular lens, too, has a quality I fear I cannot match with my digital.) I joined DeviantArt, and started taking more photos, and spent a lot of money on film and developing.

Sometimes I think of "doing something" with photography, only I don't know what. I haven't made a disciplined study of it, and I'm not sure what direction I'd want to go. I love candid shots, street scenes, taking photos of little things no one notices. I haven't delved much into studio or portrait work, because I guess my documentary impulse is stronger. I'd love to find some direction here, and really learn what works and what doesn't.

Phantom of the Opera
Ah,imagine my not-surprise that this came up. But what to elaborate upon?

I guess what comes to mind most strongly is how I've attempted to "reclaim" POTO fandom--I don't mean externally, from someone else, but for myself. To have a fandom I can operate in. The source itself seems to matter less, aside from the fact that I feel comfortable within it because I know it very well (I love Buffy, too, for example, but feel ill-equipped memory-wise to write or participate). Also, Phantom fandom is small enough to make a little splash in, which (as you know) I have tried to do. It's less, maybe, that I'm still obsessed with the story/characters and more that I still find them useful/interesting enough to build that interaction around. It's something consistent I can go back to and mine. That said, I don't actually feel that any given version of it (even Leroux) is a masterpiece. Which is probably why it's allowed for so much expression over the years. You can't do much with perfection; it's the flawed that can stand to be tinkered with.

I have always loved dogs, for as long as I can remember. When I was a baby, we had an Old English named Tuppence who (I am told) guarded me while I slept and cleaned my face off after I ate. We had to give her away when I was 6 months old and we moved to Saudi Arabia, but I romantically half-believe that experience set me up for life. (As a side note, I also romantically think my un-remembered year in Arabia set me up for Lawrence.) I am far more likely to notice dogs than people on the street. I remember specific dogs at the dog park, but never their owners. I suppose love of dogs is fairly common because they have been engineered to be perfect companions: at their best, they are obedient, respectful, true, multi-purpose, and aesthetically pleasing. I like cats, too--in fact, I like all animals--and I love having both for different reasons. But I will always put dogs first, if given the choice.

As to what I like in dogs, specifically, I especially appreciate functionality. I don't mean I need a dog to pull a sled or flush game or keep my sheep, but that it bothers me very much that we've bred dogs who cannot survive on their own. All the bulldogs, pugs, dachshunds, etc into whom we've intentionally bred health problems seems, to me, to be abuse, plain and simple. Maybe you think they're cute, and maybe the fact that they're pets means survival isn't an issue, but it bothers me that we've twisted these creatures for no other end than we think it's adorable that their faces are squished so they can't breath and their bodies are deformed so they can't run properly or give birth naturally.

As to my more personal preferences, they tend towards the working/herding group, the sheepdogs and such. I find those qualities to be more advantageous for home life (sticking around, guarding, etc) than the prey-driven and running-off breeds. Overall, though, I love the mutt, and I think that given the fact I've been successful in rehabilitating a problem dog, it's my duty to do so whenever I can.

As you may have noticed, writing and I have a bit of a troubled relationship. I love it when it goes well, because it's easy. I hardly ever edit anything, and I've been rewarded fine (both academically and fandom-wise) for not being terribly careful. I don't mean I'm sloppy, or that I'm not working at it, but most of what I put out there has been tweaked very little between my brain and your eyes. So I've learned some fairly bad habits, and haven't learned the value of careful editing and plotting and all that.

That's probably why most of my stuff is short. I don't let you see the longer stuff, because it would take more work, and I haven't gotten my head wrapped around, say, rewriting my Phantom novella.

I'm always of two minds about what I want to write, as well. I know full well I've no aspirations to greatness, to literary merit. Most of my favorite books aren't "literary classics," they're whatever moves me. If I could affect someone the same way, I'd be happy. But at the same time, part of me doesn't seem to want to accept this. It's not exactly conscious, but I'm blocked a lot of the time from just going wild and writing what I'd probably want to, if I thought about it.

Orson Welles
I think the thing that draws me to Orson Welles is the complexity and contradiction of him. He was multi-talented, an actor, writer, director, artist, everything. He was an attractive man who is "not my type." And he's at the center of controversy, even today, about what he means to his field(s) and no two books you read about him will paint the same picture. In fact, there are opposing camps of Welles scholars, some of whom seem to want to deny him any agency in his work at all, and some of whom want to excuse his every indulgence. His "failure" is either entirely his fault, or entirely the world's. Of course, most are somewhere in the middle.

In this, he reminds me of the last historical individual I was obsessed with, T.E. Lawrence. Multi-talented, a little (or very) odd, and ultimately disappointed by life, leaving an uncertain legacy that will be argued over for generations. I wonder if that quality is what attracts me, and what it is about that that does. It's true that on my bookshelf, these two men are the only people who take up a comparable amount of space, though in personality/interest/scope they're nothing alike.

What I've read about Welles really makes me like him. I don't think he was perfect, or blameless, or any of that. But he's delightful, even sometimes in his arrogance (and who's to say some of it wasn't earned). And while some consider his acting "hammy," I think he's one of the most charming people I've ever seen on screen, even when the movies are bad. Dirty little secret: my current affair with him actually began as a result of my using his image (this icon, in fact) as the avatar for a male Carlotta-figure for an rp. That character has taken on a life of his own, but he sparked a re-examination of Welles' work for me which prompted... well, what you see.

I could go on for days on any of these! So feel free to discuss, if I said anything interesting.
my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (rogue)
*Last night, Mr. Daroga accidentally called Mr. Darcy "Orson." No, I have no idea, either. But it reminded us how unlikely it is that we will ever have a pet worthy of the name. It seems to me that the creature would have to have a certain quality to earn it--if not a certain bulk, which given our stern feeding/exercise regimen seems unlikely.

*Those of you who read my movie reviews: I've been perusing some other movie blogs, which seem much better put together and well-researched and well-read than mine. (I don't refer specifically to this LJ, which is a messy catch-all I'm currently feeling some angst about, but also to the film-only blog I copy all the reviews to.) This is largely due to laziness on my part, and a lack of sense of direction for it. I suppose I'd like to take this to another level, if possible, and this is where you can help:

Aside from writing more reviews, which I am aware I need to do, how can I improve my film writing? My reviews are usually concise, usually not very in-depth, and try to avoid spoilers. Other reviews talk more, or get more analytical, or seem punchier and more in-your-face in their opinions. What do you like in a film review? What do you get from mine? What would you like to see, or see more of? Is there some sign of perosnality behind them, or do I need to inject more? I'd love some honest feedback. If you don't have anything to say off the top of your head, consider this an invitation to comment on the reviews themselves next time you have a thought. I would love to discuss these films, or my writing about them, in greater depth. And I'd love to improve my writing. What am I missing? Or do I need to sprinkle my review posts with more in-depth, analytical or thematic posts on filmmaking or films?

*On another note entirely, an amusing tutorial for cartoonists (and others) about drawing natural-looking boobs. Mr. Daroga found this when... oh, never mind. It's from 2007, and has some spelling errors, but I thought it was funny. And it reminded me that despite the fact Bruce Timm's women are all as unnaturally tiny as his men are built like refrigerators, at least the girls aren't all built like porn stars on steroids, and some of them are built like me.

Oh yeah. Warning: boobs.

*This is old too, but if you haven't seen it Dr. Watson's Inner Monologue is a really stylish (and shippy) comic I was only recently introduced to. I love the muted colors and the weird stiltedness of it, and I think it's pretty. Watson's expressions are priceless.

*And a meme:

Ask me to take a picture of any aspect of my life that you're interested in/curious about - it can be anything from my DVD collection to my favorite pair of shoes. Leave your choice(s) here as a comment, and I will reciprocate by taking the pictures and posting them as an entry. That way you get to know a little bit about my life.

I take lots of photos, but there may be something I've mentioned you want to see more of--but keep it clean, kids.

Writing Progress, and Meme

  • Feb. 3rd, 2009 at 4:15 PM
my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (fantomas)
I need to start posting the cool things I see/find/hear here, all those things I think "Oh, people should know about this" about, but never do. I post this now, as a reminder to myself to do so.

I have been a little sick lately, and reading a lot about the origins of the film industry which I find very interesting, and perhaps will write about if there is interest aside from myself. And despite feeling very inspired by the completion of my latest fic, I am stuck on something I started a few years ago which I think is very good so far but is, unfortunately, a mystery. It is a mystery that is mostly a character piece, but all that means is that I have the "solution" well in hand and no way to arrive at it. This is very frustrating, and a hurdle I am not sure how to get over, but I want it finished. Has anyone (writing Holmes fic, for example) encountered this? What did you do?

Ah, and to kick start my imagination, a meme:

Comment with a story I've written, and I will tell you one thing I knew, learned, or wondered about while writing the story that didn't make it onto the page.

Perhaps I should have an archive that is not ff.n?

A childish scrawl

  • Jan. 7th, 2009 at 8:42 AM
my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (deer)
To get the taste of my last post out of my mouth, here's a question for a) writers/readers, b) Phantom fans, and c) any for whom those intersect. I think it would be a good idea to get myself writing more, even if it's not linear, that I will eventually use. I also need to build some kind of portfolio. So I have two plans:

1. Write an article for one of the cinema/horror magazines and attempt to get a byline.


2. Write more here for the Phantom community for my exercise and everyone's discussion.

My question for you is: What do you think might be good subjects to tackle for either? For 1, what's an angle that hasn't been taken before that I can tackle in a concise fashion? An overview of the History of POTO will only work if I can find a nice hook, and can limit it to a certain theme. For 2, what would you be interested in reading/discussing?

Writing meme, stolen from [personal profile] eponymous_rose

  • Sep. 13th, 2007 at 9:39 PM
my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (slash)
Name a character that you know I write or have written, and I’ll tell you:

a. What initially prompted me to like the character enough to write about him/her
b. One of his/her best traits
c. One of his/her worst traits
d. How easy/difficult I find it to write the character
e. The story/chapter/paragraph/phrase where I feel that I truly captured the character
f. My plans (if any) to write the character in the near future



my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (Default)
[personal profile] my_daroga

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