Style Sheets

My style sheets consist mainly of spellings and weird little in-world grammatical rules. In the real world, the US military capitalizes the nomenclature for servicemembers in their field, so the Army has Soldiers, Navy Sailors, etc. While generically soldiers can be servicemembers in any military, one would never call a Sailor a soldier, regardless of the general correctness of it.

I guess you might if you were looking to start a fight or just be a jerk. I do see things that like in news from time to time, and it always gives the impression the writer has no idea what they’re talking about.

But that’s what style sheets are for, because I never keep it all straight.

I just realized I use two different spellings for Tollos on my style sheets, which makes me very, very sad. It’s double-l Tollos now, baby!

KN Update

You’re occasionally writing along, slapping words on a page, when you come to a scene, and the little voice in your head says ‘this is a big scene.’ There’s no real reason for it to be. It’s A meets B or C gets to D, and the gut response is drive on. Slap the words down.

The kicker, the trick, the really hard bit, is that sometimes the voice is right and sometimes the gut is. Sometimes you should just slap words down and get through it. But sometimes you need to get things just right. Too much shaping means the story never gets written. Not enough means you run into huge problems later that sap all the joy out of it.

I’m at one such problem in KN. About nine chapters ahead of what’s published, I’ve run into a wall. The story doesn’t go anywhere, and I wound up putting it aside for six months or so. The problems are because of this one scene. If I don’t get this exactly right, I have no plot. And if it is exactly right, it won’t look like too much story.

Completely unrelated, I only learned a few months ago that in American English, the punctuation is almost always inside the quotes. Em-dashes are a weird exception. British English puts them inside and outside as situation warrants.

Site Nav

I finally have a bit of free time again, and I’m finishing the migration from AO3 I started a few years ago. I want to be able to put my stuff up in one place, keep original fiction with the fanfic, and make stuff I intend to publish generally available before publishing.

So what would make it better?

What would be useful for navigating the site?

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If you have other ideas, let me know. I’ll add them to the poll.

You want more of the kid’s stuff? Fanfic?

I was lurking AO3’s subreddit and found a series of threads about readers who found stories they liked but had been discontinued. The OPs asked what they should do, and invariably, the responses consisted of other people telling OP not to bother the original author.

I find that response incomprehensible. Don’t give offense by telling the author you like some material and gentle urging them to write more? That sentence doesn’t make sense to me. Sure, don’t be a jerk about it. That, obviously. But don’t write, ‘Dear Besty, I love your story, and hope you find inspiration to write more,’ letters for fear of passing insult???? Knock yourself out.

Don’t call me Betsy, but that’s about the only concern I have. If I don’t find inspiration, I won’t write more. I won’t be offended if you ask.

Mind: if that’s etiquette, I won’t do it to others. Different strokes for different folks, et al.

My thinking runs toward making things easier to find. I like the regularity of deadlines, and while I’m not cleaving to them, I do generally like having targets to hit. That means weekly Twilight in Heaven updates, generally at noon, Sundays MDT. I’ve got some stability here.

Fridays of Karesh Ni, also theoretically at noon, take the first slot of flex updates. I do have a job, go to school, and go outside, and sometimes something has to give. I’m going to keep working on it. That’s certain. But it’s early enough hat I’m still making big changes, and every now and then the river changes its route. I was at such a point last week when I got sick. Thankfully, I got lucky and did well, but that took my feet out from under me. I went down in the water.

But that’s the joy of writing. It can’t actually kill you! It just takes a bit.

Between irregularly updating when I can or holding until I can put stuff forward fairly consistently, what do you think?

Karesh Ni

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I’ve got no one in the real world to talk fiction with. The internet is one thing, but I wish I had some people to nerd out about plot threads with.

Denver writing groups are all so serious, and they’re all on Zoom, writing literature. I show up with dragons and bad puns, and it goes over like a fart in church.

Twisting a Conversation

So narrator Alice is overhearing Bob and Charlie talking. I need Bob and Charlie to mention they’re going to do a little murder. I’ve got a few difficulties.

First, arguments in the real world sound unrealistic, because most arguments in the real world consist of two people saying the same thing over and over again. Listen to some old, bitter argument. There’s no new information; the people just keep bringing up the same information that they think the other party isn’t properly weighing. If Bob thinks they shouldn’t do the murder because they’ll get caught, but Charlie really doesn’t like Danielle, Bob will really just keep saying, ‘But we’ll get caught!’ over and over again. That doesn’t sound real in text. Likewise, Bob will start harping on how much he doesn’t want to go to jail, get killed by the police, why the investigators will catch them, etc. It’s all stuff Charlie already knows but isn’t weighing as heavily as Bob thinks he should. It’s called maid-and-butler dialogue, two people saying things they already know for the benefit of the audience, but it’s how people talk.

They talk like that when they’re performing for someone. Either themselves or an audience, but they’re performing.

In politics, you know the conversation has halted when people talk to the press like this. ‘I believe in America!’ or ‘We need to help the people!’ These are both obvious statements, and Party A could or should know Party B knows them already. But Party B isn’t weighing a point as heavily as Party A thinks they should. So the truisms reappear, and Party A will say one to the media because they’re performing now, not seriously trying to move ahead.

I’ve worked with teenagers a few times, and they’re a lot of fun (as an adult) when they’re not performing. If they’re performing for each other or themselves, they’re infuriating.

The proverbial maid and butler are performing for the audience. People in real arguments where the positions have calcified are performing for themselves. They’ve visualized this, practiced this, thought about it in the shower and while cooking, and now they’re doing what they practiced. It’s a show where the audience and performer are one.

But for all that it happens in the real world all the time, it sounds terrible and gets me no closer to Bob and Charlie confirming to the eavesdropping narrator that they’re going to do a little murder.