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22 January 2011 @ 11:51 am
First lines meme 2010:

  • Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank searched the litter for the fire-ended grubs her new charges would consume without significant complaint. (She had learned this through direct communication: they had otherwise latched onto her arm. She gleaned many tidbits of knowledge from her various creatures, usually with subtle observation over dental articulation. She had learned, for instance, to recognise the unique sensation of being watched.)

    In Memoriam, written for tetleythesecond in rarepair_shorts. Amelia Bones’ friends remembering her life at the news of her passing. PG-13 for themes (…I just decided). 2000. I edited it here because it was my first HP fic in a long while and my first fest fic ever while writing a character I had never looked into before. I thus spelled the main character’s name wrong and had more mistakes than I can count. *Blushes.*

  • A woman sat in a chair. (It wasn’t a terribly exciting occurrence, certainly not from a Muggle point of view. What, they would wonder, was so unusual about an old woman sitting in a chair?)

    Postscript, written for tetleythesecond in springtime_gen. Amelia Bones centric. Friendship, war, comedy and tragedy. PG-13 for themes. ~6400.

  • Dust speckled the light streaming through the windows of the store. (It was generally a quiet corner store, mostly underground beneath a pub of regulars. Shelves lined the low-ceilinged room; the spines that protruded spoke of age but also appreciation.)

    The Madmen, the Scarecrow and the Milkmaid, written for featherxquill in hp_beholder. Rita Skeeter/Irma Pince. NC-17. ~2800.

  • Guardian-visitation days at Hogwarts were always interesting. (No other adjective could ever describe them adequately one-hundred percent of the time, but ‘interesting’ never failed. There was little room for solely positive adjectives when dealing with underage witches and wizards in the presence of both their teachers AND their guardians (with each role often playing nemesis in their little tales). However, there was a certain appreciation in the staff rooms for the stories such days created; the anecdotes that arose from these days circulated the castle between staff and students alike for months.)

    The Phoenix and the Toad, written for hp_ssc_fest. Augusta Longbottom/Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank. Inspiration was from tetleythesecond and the prompt was ‘Hogwarts.’ NC-17. ~4100.

  • For the longest time, Minerva never understood her foolish classmates' utter fascination with the male sort. (To her, they seemed not unlike a group of baboons steadily growing hairier, louder, and more aggressive in chauvinistic (or occasionally quixotic) pursuits as the years marched on. She was shocked at the success of these pursuits -- surely it was merely for a lack of better candidates on her fellow females' parts?)

    Unicorn Horn Delight, written for vaysh in minerva_fest. Minerva McGonagall/Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank. Old-fashion butch-femme. NC-17. ~9500.

  • Christmas had rolled around again, the final word before the full stop of New Year’s at the end of that chilly final calendar month December. (For the students it symbolised a break from studies, freedom from school, family time, friends and gifts. For many of the staff it meant quieter halls, end-of-semester marking, bickering over the fairies’ lights, nearly tripping over or stumbling into trees of various sizes and, undoubtedly, the consumption of festive merry-making drinks.)

    Minerva Meddling with Mistletoe, written for minervas_eule in hoggywartyxmas. Septima Vector, Aurora Sinistra, Minerva McGonagall, some friends and an assortment of pairings. Mistletoe misdemeanours. R. ~6100.

  • Luna’s mother always told her she would she make a wonderful mother. (It was evident in the way she cared for the little animals, her mother said: so maternal. She had even dutifully looked after creatures others couldn’t see.)

    Dedicated, written for scarletscarlet in hp_yule_balls. Luna Lovegood/Pansy Parkinson. Luna recovers herself long after the war; Pansy re-dedicates herself to reaching her life aspirations. NC-17. ~10,700.

My realisations:
  • I don’t care about first lines. I know they’re supposed to be end all, be all parts of the story…but if I put too much thought and care to them there will never be a story and they will be the end of it, because I will become a nervous wreck. Sometimes I go back and change them at the end, but then they don’t feel as organic anyway. And generally if someone will choose to read or ignore a story based on the first line…I don’t want the reader anyway. I’m not trying to publish novels; this is for fun. I’m not much of a writer, then, am I? (Also, even the one dialogue first sentence I had was eventually changed because I didn’t like it.)
  • I haven’t written very much, compared to my high school years of fandom. Some may make mention of ‘quality vs quantity,’ which I agree to in some limited capacity, but since I churn out most stories in an evening…there really isn’t an excuse.
  • I need to stop writing stories last minute, no matter how frightened I am of ‘taking on a new character’ or ‘new kink’ or ‘new setting’ or ‘new’ anything. I always get it done, so why not do it earlier? But then…isn’t that my question with everything in life? And how successful have I been with the rest of the lot?
  • I need to stop fearing betas. Or fearing to ask for betas. Or, you know, fearing people reading my writing in general. I need to stop being so hard on myself for my writing. I could do with being my own publications advisor, too, instead of churning out writing, hiding as it’s posted and then shoving it away in some deep dark recess never to be looked at again.
  • I am not fond of my writing until I go back and read it, during which I am amused and affected. But then I never remember that and go back to thinking it’s terrible.
  • I hate titles. I should just title my stories after letters of the alphabet and then the planets and then species of beetles, to save myself the pain of tearing my hair out every time I finish a story and think I am finally done.
  • I enjoy writing but am afraid of having written, which is pretty peculiar.
  • Regardless of the quality or quantity of my writing, due to the points above, I am such a writer, geeze!

And that was my first year officially back in Harry Potter fandom. ~41,600 words...which is less than I wrote in just November for National Novel Writing Month. I'm actually a little ashamed. It's no wonder I don't feel creative anymore!
Current Mood: annoyedAnnoyed.
therealsnape: lost in a booktherealsnape on January 22nd, 2011 01:47 pm (UTC)
And we're all so glad you're officially back in the fandom!

I've enjoyed reading all of them (and I haven't read the Luna yet, which will be something to look forward to. The first lines are very promising.)

Kiwi Crocus: HP || McMin || Elevator Eyes.cranky__crocus on January 22nd, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It's nice to find that as hard as my Writer's Insecurity is trying to push me out of fandom, there are good friends pulling as hard to keep me in; pulling harder, in fact, since I actually write rather than just read!

Heh, watch out with the Luna one. It's got more, uh, kink than I've ever written before. Darker fic, too. And no coven friendship to be found, from what I recall. Very much not the sort of story to be expected from me! There are a few details that once again give me away as the author, though...there's a nice toy to match Irma's slippers...
minervas_eule: MHiU hat patminervas_eule on January 22nd, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
You have given a very special flavour to the HP-fandom....I am so glad to have met you here!

Btw your titles do fit a certain pattern if you look at them now: Postscript, In Memoriam and Dedicated make a group and the other ones are all a list of things/beings (and the Mistletoe Misdemeanours would fit in, too ... as it stands this is the only 'Sentence' title ;-) )

I enjoy writing but am afraid of having written - ;-) it is just the opposite with me *LOL*. I wish it wouldn't be...
Kiwi Crocus: HP || McMin || Herd of desks pwn.cranky__crocus on January 22nd, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC)
You have given a very special flavour to the HP-fandom...
Oh, *blushes*, thank you. I am glad to have met you here too! I was petrified of writing your prompt at first because I had never touched Septima or Aurora before, but once I got into it I really, really enjoyed it. (:

Yes, my titles definitely follow a pattern. I really stink with titles and my brain has three main ways of dealing with them: short, summation, list. Usually my title ends up some combination of those.

I much prefer 'Mistletoe Misdemeanour'! I think I need a version of you in my head to help me think through titles.

it is just the opposite with me
I think it is for most people! I go into a Writer Trance when I'm writing and can pump out 10,000 words in a sitting...but if I remember that it has to be posted and that people will read it, I'm terrified. Once I'm finished writing that's all there is left to think about as it's put up and commented on and revealed. Frightening stuff!
kellychamblisskellychambliss on January 22nd, 2011 04:27 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm glad you're here, and don't worry, your friends are not going to let you leave us, even if we have to hit you with a permanent sticking charm!

I do understand that feeling of not wanting to return to something you've written. When we write, we get swept up in the mood or feeling of a story. And then after we go away from it, break the spell, and come back to it later, we feel like cringing, because we're seeing it with new, perhaps more objective eyes.

But I do feel that one can't fully improve as a writer without a good, trustworthy beta. And that's true no matter what level of writer one is -- beginner or Nobel-prize-winner. I don't recommend too many betas -- too many cooks can spoil a broth. But get one or two people whose ability you trust and who you think understand what you're trying to do with your writing. And let them do their absolute worst. You've got to have someone who will be honest with you. It can be hard at first, because our writing is a piece of us, and sometimes criticism of it can seem like criticism of us. But you get over that feeling for the most part.

Of course, you don't have to do everything the beta says; after all, when it comes right down to it, you know your writing best and know what you're trying to do with it. But without an outside eye, you will eventually stagnate. As writers, we're just too close to what we've written. We've got to get a more external view. And if you get that view from someone who has skill and understanding and whose goal is the same as yours -- making a story better -- then it's worth the trouble.

My own betas have made every single thing I've written much better -- in some cases, significantly better.

Thanks for the lines and the thoughts. I'll look forward to Luna, too.
Kiwi Crocus: ReadWrite || Book.cranky__crocus on January 27th, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC)
Alright, then: I'll have to stay, just to avoid that permanent sticking charm! I think it would do a number on my hair, which is already so prone to The Frizz! Must save the hair...

I don't mind re-visiting the story after all the publicity nerves are gone and a fest has been tacked away into the participant's memories far away from the foreground. When I re-read then, I have this strange combination of the soft eye of a friendly reader and the more critical eye of an editor; they ebb and flow together in a way I can't quite describe.

What I really worry about is that moment that I give it away and it is no longer completely mine - completely my interpretation, my idea of the setting and characters and events - and becomes there for Others. I worry that I didn't describe it well enough, didn't set it well enough, didn't portray that feeling that was so evident in my mind as I wrote it. But then, isn't that supposed to be part of the whole wonder of it, that when it becomes for the community there are as many interpretations as there are reading it - or more, for we get new interpretations upon re-reading? Yet I always have this inky feeling that I've somehow managed to go and do it Wrong, as if this were maths and not language.

I will look into this idea of a beta. I think I'm at the point that I can start handling it without breaking down.

Thank you for the thoughts on betas. How did you initially step into the world of Having a Beta? It seems - and I wear a sheepish smile as I type this - like such an intimate relationship, in a sense, that I'm spooked by the idea of even looking into it!
(Deleted comment)
Kiwi Crocus: ReadWrite || Work Overwhelmed.cranky__crocus on January 27th, 2011 11:10 pm (UTC)
I feel so blessed to have received not just one but two gifts from you this year! I'm glad! I, on the other hand, was frightened senseless. :Þ But that was before I knew you, and you were just one of those She-Can't-Possibly-Be-Human amazing Minerva authors. Not that you've become less important through my knowing you! I'm just less frightened since you're more human. (: I'm just a Silly.

...and I only wish that you could have seen me bounce and flail and shriek.
I wish I could have seen that, too, I think; perhaps it would give me just a touch more confidence in my writing! I do try to put as much effort as possible into including everyone's 'likes' to the fullest extent I can and to plan stories out beforehand to encompass them all. I just want my fic to be a nice gift!

I'm sure I should be a touch more comfortable with my writing than this. It just feels strange, I suppose, having not studied any sort of literature and not having read the classics and not knowing any hints of other languages and having this strange semi-scientific background. I feel behind! Your kind words help. Thank you; I will try to file them away in my heart so I can remember them later and not have to 'fish' for them. (;

I have filed away your words on having a beta, as well. You have removed some of the fear, I think. I hope I'll have the strength to look into it.

You all are so skilled and brave and compassionate! I'm sure that's why you've gathered to celebrate these characters who are the same. I'm lucky to have landed within such an amazing group; I'm grateful every day. (: Thank you for being a part of bringing me into this - if I hadn't have had your two prompts, who knows where I would have ended up! I could be in the Draco/Harry fandom pocket! (And couldn't you just picture that... :Þ)