I spent the weekend among family; the occasion was the birthday party of a bright and voluble three-year-old. As my family breeds like Kennedys, there were quite a few kidlets in packed into a short age range. None of them have been ID'd as having developmental issues to my knowledge.
1) The birthday girl, the voluble three-year-old, who was a right little chatterbox until she got overtired
2) Another girl a week away from her third birthday, who was mostly silent but occasionally spoke a quiet complete sentence to her mother or grandmother.
3) A five-year-old boy not noticeably more talkative than child #1
4) A two-year-old girl who never uttered a word or word-like sound in my earshot
5) A two-year-old boy, same
6) A six-year-old boy who never interacted with me personally but was clearly talking to other people
7) A newborn baby (2 mos) who slept, cried, and pooped and didn't do much else.
8-10) Some other boys in the 6-10 range with whom I did not interact.
Determining "normal behavior" in kids from this sample is pretty hard given #1 and #2 are the exact same age (two-week difference) yet could not have been more different in presentation. (I will add that #1 has very hands-on and involved parents and #2 does, ah, not.) General lessons to draw:
Two year olds don't really have a lot to say.
The kids who did speak were speaking actual words and not "cute" baby talk
Newborn babies are really quite boring.
Pick any passage of 500 words or less from any fanfic I’ve written, and stick that selection in a comment. I will then give you the equivalent of a DVD commentary on that snippet: what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it in the first place, what’s going on in the character’s heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the rest of the fic,
And I do mean "any," so feel free to poke at Archanea-fic, Magvel-fic, and crackfic in addition to the Jugdral-centric stuff. Obviously I ought to remember the more recent scribbles with more clarity and depth but if you go after "Starchild" or "Another Piece of Blue" or whatever I should have something to say.
Kids. What's the matter with kids in 'fic?
Uh... mostly everything.
Kids in fiction tend to be horrible anyway-- witness George Eliot skewering horrible portrayals of little Victorian angels in her rant against bad lady novelists. We can't reasonably expect kids in 'fic to be much better given what the, ah, professionals churn out.
( Long. )
Basically, Toddler Leif is better-written than 90% of the ickle kiddies in fanfic. Which is pretty damned sad.
I scored 100%. It was a cinch. I didn't read the sentences for meaning, or style, or structure, or elegant effect, or anything like that. I just scanned them and looked at the words being used. Bulwer-Lytton goes for the five-dollar (five-pound?) word every time. "Sequestered hamlet" and "unaccountable inquietude" are BL's fingerprints.
I'm not exactly a fan of Dickens (my favorite of his is Hard Times), but if there's any lesson to be learned from this flawed and rather pointless quiz, it's "don't reach for the thesaurus when words like 'smoke' and 'mud' get the point across."
Take that, Miriel.
Honestly if the quiz had used passages from early Dickens writings it might've been more of a challenge.
I'm not counting time/place stamps unless they're part of the actual 'fic structure. I will count epigraphs if there are any.
1: "Well, you look out of mortal danger."
2: "Lords above, we give you thanks for the food upon our table. Bless the toil of those who produced it, bless the hands that prepared it and the guests who come to share with us tonight. In the name of blessed Ethnia and her servants..."
3: "Oh, Ishtar, did you know there was a beautiful flower garden in the yard? Let's go take a look."
4: The lantern in Patty's hand didn't do much against the ink-black darkness of the catacombs beneath Belhalla.
5: One ounce of gold for an ounce of salt.
6: Flashes of light, like the sparks thrown off by a stoked fire, floated through Arthur's head in the moments before he opened his eyes.
7: They said that if he just kept his eyes fixed on the horizon, he'd stop being sick.
8: Nanna counted out her own breaths- seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty- as she felt the blood coursing through her father's left wrist.
9: She never has forgotten that the Mother Abbess did not want to teach her.
10: Eirika kept glancing down at her hands during the drive.
11: Lachesis thought they'd been getting by with very little until the hour came to pack up their lives.
12: Cheap bracelets touched in gilt jangled against each other as Laylea stretched her legs out on the settee.
13: When Leif woke that morning, he saw snow piled thick on the windowsill outside his room.
14: "Lord Azel."
15: The imminent arrival of their guest sent Lady Fee into a tizzy; her pleasant voice turned sharp and childish, strands of her short hair floated every-which-way, and even her earrings seemed off-kilter as she rushed about the estate making preparations.
16: (I was a child, I wasn't worried)
17: Small chips. One side rough, the other smooth, like a wave-polished shell.
18: In a sense, it was all Kyle's fault.
19: It looked innocent enough, corked inside of its bottle.
20: The first year/Too old to be a daughter. Too young to be a rival.
21: Innes blew a perfect failure of a smoke ring, which fit with the way everything else was headed that particular session.
Bonus (the most recent WIP I worked on): Glade ran his fingers through his hair in a vain attempt to tame the cowlick at he back of his head.
I like how going through the last 21 takes me clean back to the Archanea/Magvel stuff. Basically, I've abandoned a previous habit of writing some kind of scene-establishing descriptive passage and just tend to dump the reader right into the 'fic. The opening lines are about evenly divided between "thematic-type thing that is relevant to Larger Things" and "the 'fic starts here," I guess.
( Cut for FE13 spoilers and 'fic fragments )
Browsing some old HP-related haunts of mine, it occurs to me that the exact nature of the crapfic there, especially the latter-day crapfic, is what really makes the difference.
Death Eater Apologists
Pseudo-Aristocratic classist tripe that extends to indictments of the author's personal life
People who legitimately seem to think Voldemort and his gang were misunderstood
Dumbledore is the true evil in Potterland, and it's not an exercise in subversion
Weird shit that puts high school bullies in a deeper tier of hell than, well, blood bigots who torture and murder the inferior sort of people
Really gross stuff. Really gross stuff by prominent writers, spanning multiple comms and archives (and flamewars) and meta sites and on and on and on. And some of them are decent enough writers that I can see why people would find it "refreshing" and "seductive"-- I sure did back in the pre-Deathly Hallows days before they all revealed themselves to be BATSHIT.
Sporking this shit-- dissecting it, holding up to the light the ugly guts that make up an ugly, ugly worldview that uses fanfiction as a means of evangelizing The Truth about Harry Potter and his world-- basically amounts to a public service. There is no parallel to it that I've seen in a fandom like Fire Emblem. It'd be like if the major strain of Tellius fanfic amounted to heaps of things "proving" that laguz really are subhuman and Ashnard was right about everything. I've seen a little bit of Ashnard apologetics on tumblr, but nothing like what the Harry Potter crowd does for the Malfoys, Snape, and such.
Let's say I have a plot-bunny about Arthur, and since it's not pairingfic and doesn't revolve around the oh-so-important issue of his paternity[*], I decide it's worth writing. So let's delve into Arthur. He doesn't have all that much dialogue, so let's just skim over his handful of scenes to get a feel for the guy.
( This really isn't fun )
'Fic titles are one of those things I get kind of weird over.
It's the one about the period after Thracia 776 wherein Finn went MIA and was allegedly wandering the Yied Desert. Despite Fire Emblem's love for ambiguity and and uncertainty, I think that's exactly what he was doing. But why, and why'd it take him three years, and why did he decide to come back when he did?
The easy answer is he was looking for Lachesis, who was a) confirmed alive by Levin in FE5 and b) possibly/probably/was turned to stone like Eyvel and therefore technically OK as long as Manfroy's granddaughter still had her sparkly magic staff. Or she was in a refugee camp with a bunch of kids, or something. Anyway, all we know (and all he knows) is that she went into the desert and never came out, and she was alive circa 776.
Mind you, Lachesis isn't the only thing precious to Finn that was lost in the desert...
( Notes, spoilers, the usual )
Anyway, use of Occam's Razor in fandom (or anyone else, really) amounts to this: the more complicated an explanation is, the more machinations it requires to work, the less likely it is to be true. Doesn't mean it can't be true; some "elegant" explanations are wrong. But the "elegant" explanation is more likely to be the correct explanation for whatever it is you're trying to explain and/or predict.
As Ammie said here (locked post), one explanation for Ike's FE10 ending is that he's a selfish character. Well, that's pretty simple and to-the-bone. But accepting that Ike is fundamentally selfish above all else requires ignoring, or bending, a great deal else in Tellius canon. It's a seemingly elegant explanation that requires pretty complicated machinations to work, and is therefore suspect.
Fandom isn't science, so perhaps it makes sense that we've borrowed terms from religious debate for fandom discussions. We invoke "canon" aka "Word of God" to indicate that we get material from a media creator that can't be overturned, but creators can be sloppy. Creators can change their mind Creators can give supplemental materials to explain (or contradict) what's in the text. Things can get altered in translation (see: when Ammie exploded my nice little idea that used the wording of the NoA FE8 script as opposed to the NoA FE7 script to explain the relative ages of the Lord characters).
And then we can always play "Death of the Author" or exploit readings of the text that are likely unintended but nonetheless make sense on some level (ex: Kirby is the true villain of the Kirby games). That's part of what makes fandom compelling for those of us who are into the meta and fanfiction. But the basic rules of constructing a logical argument shouldn't be ignored, even when it's all in fun. Delightful crack theories are delightful precisely because they make an alarming amount of sense. Delightful theories exploit "gaps" in the canon, or explain things that hang out there unanswered. Ideas that exist completely inside a gap in the canon with nothing to support or contradict them, or that explain things that don't require an answer, don't have quite the same impact on a reader.
Example: Raphi and Sriya were batting around the crack idea that Lyon somehow got transformed into Legault. It's cute, there's not really anything to contradict it, and Raphi even made a 'fic out of it. It doesn't really shed any light on Elibe canon or Magvel canon, though-- it's a self-contained little bit 'o crack. Whereas the idea that kyusil proposed regarding Roy and his marriage options (that Roy's various unromantic matchups are in fact a demonstration of his alleged political ability in action) is, to me, a highly compelling one. Do I think that it's necessarily what the scriptwriters intended? No, I think they were likely just being sloppy. But the political angle is to me a very interesting one that a 'fic writer can (and should!) exploit to good use. It offers a new way of examining Roy that takes two things from canon (his diverse marriage options and his stated political skills) and unites them in a way that can be used to shed light upon the characters, their world, or both. And with Roy being the arguable central figure of the entire Elibe saga, something that illuminates his character "matters" a great deal, inasmuch as any meta-fun "matters".
And then there's the deep end of fandom meta. Or the "off the deep end" sector, the kind that constructs amazingly elaborate theories, air-castles of assumptions piled upon tiny projections of canon, just begging to be demolished. Harry Potter fandom was terrible in this regard. Please look up "Archiving the Banana Peels of Imagination" if you want to see some of this in action; I will say for this particular theorist that they seemed to be a very nice and enthusiastic person, but their meta was just... incredible. In the original sense of that word. The problem with a lot of the HP meta crowd, both the cheerfully zany sort and the oddly... malicious... sort, was that they started with one assumption, slapped another upon it, and then another upon that, and finally they had this great towering edifice of headcanon that made sense to them but had little to do with the actual, you know, books. Whether the idea was "Dumbledore didn't really die" or "How Snape will save everything" or "Dumbledore is evil" or "Ron will become a Death Eater," they cherry-picked canon (took what they wanted and ignored the rest) and employed complicated machinations to make everything work. We're talking Rube Goldberg contraptions, if not MC Escher mechanisms.Well, elaborate contraptions, whether physical constructions or meta constructions, break down easily. These meta writers had made themselves the meta equivalent of the Space Shuttle-- magnificent and fundamentally faulty. And when their meta-shuttles exploded, many of them had the nerve to get pissy with Rowling. If they'd showed respect for basic logic and the principles of argument on the front end, not to mention a bit of respect for canon, they might have come up with sturdy and functional vehicle for their meta instead!
By all means, ignore Occam's Razor in fandom if it's all fun and games. But if you're expecting to convince other theorists, or if you're trying to provide a serious explanation of a problematic text (film, book, videogame, TV script...), or if you're so invested in your pet theory that it makes you upset and angry to see a rebuttal[*], it's good to keep the basics in mind. The more convoluted your pet explanation is, the less likely you are to convince anyone, and the more likely you are to be entirely wrong.
And we've all gotten things entirely, 110% wrong.
* Not kidding about the HP crowd when it comes to anger and vitriol re: exploding headcanon. Not kidding at all.
Not even going to BS an answer on that one. I mean, when two complimentary character types are offered, I do tend to prefer one of them; I tend to use the mercenary/hero over the myrmidon/swordmaster, and the Sain-type cav/pally over the Kent-type cav/pally (I'm not calling them the Cain and the Abel because at this point it's too bloody confusing to figure out which one is supposed to be which, but we all know Kent and Sain, right?), but in terms of one single stat? No idea.
Meh. Wasted night. Was supposed to go to "The Meeting of the Whole," which is where citizens can go see the city councilpersons doing their thing prior to their official meeting, but it was cold and I didn't sleep well last night and I ended up curling up with the cat and zzz.
Things I kind of want to do:
1) WIP review
2) Fanart spam post.
3) Music & fanwriting post
4) That post on kids in fiction that I promise kyusil months ago.
I think any of those would take more effort than I have in me right now.
LSSU published their annual "words that need to die" list. I thought "iconic" should've topped the list, but then again I don't expose myself to Martha Stewart and other such TV programs, so the "amazing" thing blew right past me.
A hawk on the fence.
Whoops. That does not belong there. The Neighborhood Enforcement Force, aka the local blue jay population, caught up with said hawk and spread the alarm, though. Blue jays are awesome.
So, a while back, I started toying with the idea of a Tiki-centric story from Caeda's perspective. That dynamic is a question that the FE3 script basically sets before the player during the "grand ending," the one where Tiki is squealing and glomping Marth, Melissa is bawling at Tiki to get her hands off, and Caeda's just going, "No, I'm fine with this." And Marth, of course, has nothing whatsoever to say for himself.
( ...and Tiki makes three. )
It was intended as an FE100 fill. I guess that's the second one I've completed.
So, Hiller's didn't have it either. I dunno. Maybe I'll try Holiday Market tonight. If Holiday is lacking, then I give up. [ETA: did not have time or energy to do so.]
What Hiller's did have was... pheasant! And guinea fowl. And python. So I think we're having a nice roast pheasant with chestnuts and such for Christmas/New Year's this year. And maybe a stuffed guinea fowl. But I drew the line at python; I didn't even know that was legal to sell, and I sure don't plan to eat it.
I found this to be an interesting writing blog. [Disclaimer: the writer in question is an acquaintance of my husband's through amateur astronomy.] I don't agree with 100% of what he says, and I don't know that I'd be interested in picking up any of his "icky bug" books, but it's a worthwhile read.
So, of course last night I have an absolute doozy of a dream starring Fire Emblem's very own Pretty Tiara Boy. I was watching TV, and an advertisement came on for the new SSB game, which was titled Redstone for some reason. Redstone is a project at work that just wrapped up last week, so at least I know where that came from. Anyway, the advert had three characters in it-- Wario, Zelda/Sheik, and Marth-- each of whom showed off their moveset and had a brief speaking part. In English. And I was all "Yay, Marth! fangirlfangirlfangirl!!1" I mean, super-happy delirious excited. Crazy excited.
For those of you who care, he looked pretty much like Melee!Marth would with modern graphics and the appropriate FE3 "bright" color scheme-- not bad, really, but getting into Uncanny Valley territory. Anyway, the next thing I knew, I was sucked into TV Land and was wandering around this large hotel-like complex and apparently there was a murderer loose or something and it was very exciting and sad all at once. Basically, it was like being plopped into an SSB "Ten Little Indians" fanfic. I woke with this deeply weird feeling that persisted through most of the day.
I don't know what my brain is trying to tell me. :/
PS: What is up with all the un-costumed trick-or-treaters this year? Not classy, man.
Anyway, in this chapter, we get to spend a bit of time inside girl!Marth's head, which an annoying hurdle for the writer in any genderbend story, IMO.
( Read this after reading the 'fic, unless you don't want to read the 'fic. :P )
PS: Beer as a secret ingredient in chicken stew works really, really well. Hard cider would do likewise, I'm sure.
Potentially more useful for those of us working on original 'fic, I suppose, given the constraints of canon characterization.