violsva: A graffiti white maple leaf surrounding the words Toronto Maple Waffles (toronto maple waffles)
So I’ve been sketching a lot recently.

And one of the things I’ve noticed, and that I remember, is an extreme reluctance to keep going sometimes. When you’ve drawn something that looks perfect to you, you start getting worried that anything else you do is going to ruin what you have so far. This leg is perfect, what if I can’t get the body right. Or even worse, this arm is perfect except that it’s too small for the rest of the body, and it needs to be done again. Now what?

It’s a disbelief in one’s ability to replicate one’s own work. You can’t just erase it and draw another one, or flip the page and try again, because that one won’t be as good.

Ursula Vernon talks about giving yourself permission to make bad art, because that’s the only way you learn. That applies to writing as well, and I have practice with letting myself write badly. But this doesn’t apply, quite, because there’s no way you’ll ruin already-written prose. You might end up with nowhere to put it in your story, but you’re not going to make it worse. Everything is fixable after the fact. Drawing, even in pencil, feels a lot more immutable.

But the thing about drawing, which helps, is that there is no way to get better except to practice. (And reading art books and looking at other art, sure. But that doesn’t actually improve, for example, your fine motor skills.) And that half-done sketch where I eventually gave up because her shoulders looked wrong is still practice, and the one that looks perfect except that the head is way too small is still practice, and my utter and repeated failure to draw cats is still practice. And if I had kept going and erased the shoulders and redrawn them, that would just have been more practice. More practice is good.

The other thing for me, though, is that I don’t actually want to be sketching. I want to paint. But (until the bank actually does their job) I don’t have paints. I have pencils and notebooks, so dammit, I’m doing this instead. So that makes it easier to accept that it’s not going to be perfect.
violsva: The words "towsell-mowsell on a sopha"; a reference to The Comfortable Courtesan (towsell-mowsell)
Hi! Thanks so much for writing for me, and congratulations on your evident good taste!

If you want to benignly internet-stalk me to get an idea of my interests, Tumblr and AO3 (both linked in the sidebar) are probably a better idea than DW.

I am really feeling like angst and pining right now. That's not all I like - if you want to write fluff go right ahead and I will probably love it, but if you're wondering whether I'll be okay with unrequited love or bittersweet memories after a partner's death or hurt/comfort, the answer is absolutely yes. I am also happy with absolutely any fic rating or length. Smut, with or without plot, is good for any pairing but not required.

A large and random list of things I like in general: worldbuilding, adventure, alternate universes, ethical dilemmas, people being clever, twisty plots, gender, sibling or sibling-like relationships, epistolary fic, backstory, hurt/comfort, pining, dragons, physical affection, queerness, philosophy, romance, feminism, UST, found families, mythological allusions, polyamory, hidden worlds, cities, banter, complicated plans, beautiful landscapes, angst, puns, magical realism, history, happy endings, ambiguous endings, class differentials, creepy supernatural beings, older women with major roles, passionate platonic friendships, case fic, period accuracy, smut, pwp, diversity, secret identities, fairy tales... Feel free to use any of these.

Dislikes: I do not want child-focused fic. I have a major embarrassment squick, I don't like incest, and I'm not interested in graphic depictions of rape or gore or torture. However, I can be sold on most consensual kinks.

Fandom specific thoughts and optional details, to be taken more as suggestions and jumping-off points than requests:

Read more... )
violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson, seated, with the caption "Cut out the poetry, Watson" (Holmes)
Prompt #1: Bearing Up

Prompt #2: Gone From the City

Prompt #3: A Name in a Crowd

Prompt #4: One or the Other

Prompt #5: Point

Prompt #7: Alarum: Late

The above are one series, Spiderweb, connected to Go On Take Everything

Prompt #6: Amuse: Late

Prompt #9: Motley

Prompt #10: Agreement

Prompt #11: Three Hundred Years Earlier: Warning: period-typical spelling

Prompt #12: A Moment's Meeting

Prompt #14: Territories

Prompt #15: Unwelcome Social Summons

Prompt #16: Side Saddles for Ladies

Prompt #17: Logical Conclusion

[pause as I moved into a new apartment]

Prompt #24: If You Could Read Them All

Prompt #25: Traced Home: Xu-lai and Jane

Prompt #27: Inspire

Prompt #29: And In Short, chapter 1

Prompt #30: And In Short, chapter 2

Prompt #31: Transverse
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
Title: Bearing Up
Author: Violsva
Rating: G
Universe: ACD
Character(s): Mrs. Hudson, John Watson
Relationships: None
Summary: Mrs. Hudson exercises her judgement.
Content Warnings: Blood
Word Count: 252
A.N.: For Watson's Woes July Writing Prompt #1.

On AO3

Yep, I'm doing it again, and you can too!

EEEEEEEEE

Jun. 29th, 2017 03:13 pm
violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Watson reading, with the caption "Winner, JWP 2016" (watson's woes)
So I just found out that one of my fics (The Lodger) was mentioned in an academic paper.

It's cited as an example (the paper is about fair use and the role of fanfic in the market) with no further details, but OMG!!
violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson, seated, with the caption "Cut out the poetry, Watson" (Holmes)
Title: All the Joys
Rating: T
Universe: ACD Sherlock Holmes
Character(s): Focused on OCs; Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Summary: The fundamentals of a case: a young lady, a threatened inheritance, a villainous relative.
Warnings/Enticements: Femslash, Case Fic
Word Count: 9946

On AO3
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
A couple of fics.

The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie: I really liked it. spoilers ) And the red herrings were great.

Now I want to read it all over again for clues, but it’s gone back to the library.

I suspect allergies are part of the reason for the lack of brain ability for the past few days. No idea to what, except that it was at least slightly less of a problem in Toronto.
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
The problem with the worst forms of prescriptivism applied to media is that they are trying to find a way to make people write media that absolutely no one will be offended or upset by.

Problem one: This is impossible. There is nothing that anyone finds appealing that someone else won’t really really dislike. And I don’t mean “be indifferent to”, I mean “be actively repulsed by”. And yes, I’m including fluffy happy fantasies of people taking care of each other: some people cannot read those without going into depressive spirals. Some people just get so bored they can’t finish them.

Problem two: No one ever loved a book just because it didn’t offend them.

No one ever loved a book just because it wasn’t terrible. It has to actually be good - by their definition of good. And that’s where Problem One comes in - as soon as a book is doing something a reader will love, it’s doing something that another reader will hate.

Some people want ass-kicking female characters who will protect their friends and conquer their enemies. Some people hate violence.

Some people want to read about gay male couples getting together and living happily ever after. Some people hate romance. Some people don’t want to read about men.

Some people love complicated deep beautiful prose and pages of exposition about a character’s inner state; some people want to get to the fucking point.

And all of this gets intensified when it comes to sex. Anything that anyone finds hot - urophilia, say, or anal play, or penises - someone else is going to find absolutely disgusting and an immediate turnoff.

The solution is insight, and self awareness. The solution is the ability to recognize that your own upset, or your own joy, is not universal.

Nothing is universal. Nothing will apply to everyone. That is the fundamental point of diversity - people are different. People want different things, and that’s good.

If you write something that makes at least one person happy, it will make someone else furious. Someone else will be bored. Someone else will be grossed out. Someone else will think it was okay but forgettable. Someone else will think it was lifesaving.

If you want to write something good, you need to be prepared to write something upsetting.
violsva: The words "towsell-mowsell on a sopha"; a reference to The Comfortable Courtesan (towsell-mowsell)
Title: The Langham
Rating: E
Universe: ACD Sherlock Holmes/BBC Sherlock crossover
Character(s): Mary Morstan, Mary Morstan
Summary: On the worst night of Mary’s life, someone appears in her hotel room.
And identity is funny being yourself is funny as you are never yourself to yourself except as you remember yourself and then of course you do not believe yourself. --Gertrude Stein
Warnings/Enticements: Femslash, Angst, Crack taken seriously, Victorian attitudes, Selfcest
Word Count: 7393

On AO3

Femslash June: for when you like Femslash February but you don't write fast enough.

Sunday Six

May. 28th, 2017 04:49 pm
violsva: Geoffrey Tennant, offering a skull (have a skull)
Sunday Sixes is a thing I've done on Tumblr, and you know, I can put them here too. (Six sentences from a WIP.)

And yet, Mary thought as he left, she did not think she could bear to wait a full week like this.

The time passed, slowly and uncomfortingly. Mary slept little, and did little; she went out into the streets of London a few times, and found only a wild confusion of people and streets and nothing familiar or calming. If she had walked through the same streets with her father, she might have asked him what she was seeing, and exclaimed over what was new to her; she would have cared to go into the museums and galleries and historic buildings. As it was she only stared at their outsides, and could not imagine she would find any comfort within. She looked at the crowds and thought of how one might simply lose oneself, or be lost, in them, blurring into the mass of humanity somehow, until one was never seen again.
violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Watson reading, with the caption "Winner, JWP 2016" (watson's woes)
Title: Plots of Sax
Rating: T
Universe: Biscuitverse (BBC Sherlock)
Character(s): Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Mary Morstan
Summary: For once it’s not (entirely) autocorrect’s fault.
Warnings/Enticements: Polyamory, Non-Consensual Drug Use, Texting, Humour
Word Count: 596

On AO3
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
Finished

A MCU fic with a decent but not very deep plot, low on rationale for character motivations. Pretty good period AU, though.

Unsettled by AxeMeAboutAxinomancy: As podfic, comfort listening during physical health issues this weekend.

(My cutoff for fics to count as "books" for record keeping purposes is somewhere under 25,000 words.)

Reserved for the Cat by Mercedes Lackey: Comfort reading. I think this is the low point for her copyediting and it's improved since here. (Having one section of my brain complaining about typos and punctuation and consistency errors actually makes it better for comfort reading in some ways, because there's more there to occupy me.) I don't like any of the villain pov here; come to think of it, she cut that out of some of the later books in this series entirely, which is probably a good idea.

Victorian Families in Fact and Fiction by Penny Kane: On the Victorian demographic transition as expressed in the literary evidence. Excellent, clearly differentiates between factual and literary sources and what can be determined from them. And as I said a couple weeks ago, the Victorian era was fucking terrible, people. (Primarily: child labour, (lack of) education, and patriarchy.) (The thing is, we know about the patriarchy (in fandom), and there was a lot of other Really Terrible stuff happening too that gets ignored.)

Lots of things that get left out of standard pop-historical imaginings. Some of them less terrible: for example, Victorians had very late marriages (mid to late twenties, later in the middle classes and for men) and numerous remarriages after deaths of spouses. ("Two out of every five men across Europe in the nineteenth century who survived to age 50 had married and produced families more than once.")

...Huh. Come to think of it, that makes Watson's hypothetical multiple marriages a bit less implausible.

The Comfortable Courtesan by Clorinda Cathcart: Man, I'm so glad this exists. And it's officially ended, and comforting and lovely and impressive and just go read it. It hasn't been on my weekly posts before because it's just been kind of background to my life: of course I'm reading Madame C-'s updates. And it's finished, and I am sad, but it's there to be reread whenever.

In Progress

The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie: I glanced at the introduction to this (never read the introduction) and apparently Christie's thrillers are deprecated; I like them, and while this is clearly early and implausible it's fun.

I also have a book about Miss Marple as a character that I am going to start on.
violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson, seated, with the caption "Cut out the poetry, Watson" (Holmes)
Title: Like Racing an Engine
Rating: E
Universe: Sherlock Holmes
Character(s): Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Summary: Holmes gets bored on a long train ride.
Warnings/Enticements: Train Sex, Semi-Public Sex, Smoking, Orgasm Denial, Dirty Talk, Fellatio, Mild D/s
Word Count: 3751

A.N.: For [personal profile] breathedout for the 2017 Fandom Trumps Hate auction, in exchange for a donation to the ACLU. Beta-read by the amazing oulfis.

On AO3
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
No brain today.

Finished

The Sharing Knife: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold

They Say Love Heals All Wounds by Deastar: Yay worldbuilding.

In Progress

Victorian Families in Fact and Fiction by Penny Kane

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Leopard in Exile by Andre Norton and Rosemary Edgehill

Reserved for the Cat by Mercedes Lackey

The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie

Other

The University's humanities library is closed until July. The science library is still open, so maybe I'll go there sometime, but.
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
Finished

The Adventure of the Resurrected Lover by Azriona: Very good.

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer: Yay Freddy, yay people making their own choices about their lives.

In Progress

Victorian Families in Fact and Fiction by Penny Kane: It's things like this that remind you that no matter how nice things were for the upper middle class and how much you romanticize it you are basically writing fic about a horrific dystopia.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho: Continues adventurous and amusing.

Leopard in Exile by Andre Norton and Rosemary Edgehill: Reread, very self-indulgent.

Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold: ditto. (I've had one of the Vorkosigan books sitting on my nightstand for six months, and of course I pick up this instead.)
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (books)
This is a transcript of the April 8th, 2017 episode of Footnoting History by Elizabeth Keohane-Burbridge and Lucy Barnhouse, done for [tumblr.com profile] teaforlupin. The original podcast can be found here.

Read more... )
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
So Wits on Tap is a poetry remix challenge run by [tumblr.com profile] redscudery, and I remixed Paid Down More Penitence by PorcupineGirl into Work, Learn. I don’t know what the hell the rhyme scheme thinks it’s doing, but it is at least a sonnet.
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
In Progress

Further poking at Cotillion, another Lackey, and a Regency romance, with limited focus on anything.

Other

Read On Being Ill and Street Haunting by Virginia Woolf, and then spent a few hours with her narrating my interior monologue. (And then at the library read Hermione Lee's introduction to the former, which was helpful, at least in terms of "No, I did not hallucinate the end while half-asleep." (That's certainly not a criticism of the essay.)) I don't know what to say about Woolf, except that I want to read more and kind of wish I had at University; her outlook and voice are so unique and also infinitely relatable, at least for me.

Library

Read the first half (late Victorian and Edwardian) of Sex, Gender and Social Change in Britain Since 1880 by Lesley A. Hall - what struck me was the sheer number of people with different goals involved in the various movements covered, and also that despite technical dates of publication major books on sexuality (eg Havelock Ellis) might have basically no circulation whatsoever for years afterwards. And also the focus on the difference the courts and other organizations had between "acceptable for a specialized audience" and "acceptable for the general public." Also there seems to have been a lot going on in the BMJ and the Lancet at the time.

Also flipped through Birth Control, Sex and Marriage in Britain, 1918-1960 by Kate Fisher, and even that much gave a wildly unexpected view of the matter - specifically that, in terms of actual practice among working class couples, the husband was expected to be in charge of birth control and family planning decisions. This seems to have been because of a combination of ideas of headship in marriage, valuing of sexual ignorance in women, and the fact that the easiest forms of contraception to access (withdrawal, abstinence, and condoms) required some degree of male participation anyway.
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
Finished

Respect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont: More worldwide and modern view than I had previously, lots of help with practicals.

Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800 by Khaled El-Rouayheb: Very good as a general overview of mindsets. Also I like that he kept specifying exactly what he and his sources were talking about. Other notes here

From a High Tower by Mercedes Lackey: It's a Mercedes Lackey book. Although I feel like I keep getting poked in the ethical sensibilities by my comfort-reading right now, which is annoying.

In Progress

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer and Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho: Have actually been reading these this week.

Library

As well as Before Homosexuality, read an article on determining prehistoric TFRs from skeletal remains and ethnography.
violsva: The words "Oh, Sandy!"; a reference to The Comfortable Courtesan (Oh Sandy)
Title: The Burning Castle
Rating: T
Universe: [personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan
Character(s): Madame C-, Mr MacD-
Summary: For reasons we shall leave unspecified, Mr. MacD- and Lady B- are pretending to be both married and middle class at an extremely unpleasant house party.
Warnings/Enticements: Platonic Bed Sharing, Gothick Novels
Word Count: 775

A.N.: For song_of_staying for Yuletide NYR, who mentioned "platonic bedsharing, in a delightful nobody-knows-what-we're-doing-under-the-covers and-we're-discussing-gothic-horror kind of way" in their letter.

I hoped that at some point this scene would grow a plot, but it never did, and now that we're getting a similar situation in canon (!!) I thought I might as well post it.

On AO3

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violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
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