oiran: cherry blossom (Default)
[personal profile] oiran
Turns out, I don't really have much of a story where I thought I did. Maybe I'll change my mind about it later, but I'm currently of the opinion that the idea I thought was easiest to finish is actually the most difficult, as it deals with a reality I haven't and couldn't have lived, and the rest of the things I'm working on are all made up shit and thus entirely at my whim.

Like, cell phones? In 1995-97 or thereabouts, what was the likelihood that a teenager from a rich family would have had one? And how brick-like would it have been? I'm not rich, I wasn't a teenager then, and I didn't get a cell phone until 1999, and it was a midrange thing about the size of a TV remote--which wasn't the smallest, but definitely not the biggest, either.

In contrast, if I am making shit up, I can just give people tablets and earpieces and whatever other access devices I can think of and connect them all up through some public utility-like network, give them personal AIs--not that far from current reality, actually--and it's believable because there's a context that supports it.

Or, social stuff. Like, if I was a really rich person in Manhattan in 1995-97, where would I live? East or West, and how far up? If my great-grandfather had built a rather grand residence, how likely is it that it his descendants would still be living there? I've spent more time on the Upper East than Upper West side since that's where the museums are, and there are tons of schools on the east side, but maybe the rich people send their kids to Connecticut instead. Also, smoking. Like, would someone who was underage and looked underage be able to buy cigarettes at that point in time? 

You know, no one cares about this shit except me and some really, really snotty New Yorkers. But I do care, because the characters are real to me, and I want their lives to seem real to any possible reader, including a really, really snotty New Yorker who wants cultural accuracy with her gay porn.

I also know zip about college--as in, which ones my characters would have wanted to go to at that point in time, and which ones they really would have gotten into--much less law school. This stuff is really stressing me out. I don't want to write about what I know, because it's awful and boring and small. I know about growing up in a mill town where everyone hated me, and I know about working mind-numbing admin jobs, and I know way more than my share about depression. I also know about relationships, falling in and out of love, and sex, and I'm more than happy to write about those things, but I'd prefer at least some of my characters to be something other than underachieving, restless complainers like myself.

No one means, "Write what you know," to be interpreted so literally, I know. It's just a mood I'm in.

Oh, and I don't expect anyone to try to answer my questions. I will eventually get around to accepting that I have a ton of research to do that I absolutely didn't foresee, and then I'll research it, probably to the very minimum of satisfaction, just so that I don't have characters carrying around brick-sized cell phones a year too early--or a year too late.

The Mr. and I saw Avatar last night. Oops, pardon: James Cameron's Avatar.  It was, as expected, stupid but very, very pretty. We saw an IMAX 3D version in order to accentuate the pretty, and I'd recommend seeing a 3D version if you've got one available wherever you are since it was created with 3D in mind. If you can't figure out what's going to happen, you are apparently someone never exposed to the notion of the Hero's Quest--or, since James Cameron must have made his characters 10-foot-tall, blue-skinned, flowing-haired demigods with tails and glowing eyes for a reason--the Mary Sue. Although it's stupid, it's not an objectionable sort of stupid, and it frees your brain up to admire the imagination and effort that went into creating such a rich and beautiful fantasy world. I may very well see it again, and certainly not for the plot.
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