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Work Room - Week 12

The results from last week are up: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/993116.html

and Second Chance is on it's way with a brand new week: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/992643.html

Which seems like a good time to remind everyone that as things start getting closer to the Top 50, that every vote is going to become more and more critical. If there is someone that you want to read more of, make sure you get out there support them. They are going to need you.


I just finished the latest issue of Champions (#6). It's from Marvel Comics and features a group of young heroes who are trying to define the idea of being a hero for a new generation. I really loved the first four issues, the fifth threw me a little - but with the sixth, I'm going to have to decide if I really want to go forward with it, or put it in the pile of "this book isn't for me".

Mark Waid is writing it, and I used to be a big fan of his back when I was a regular comic collector. The first few issues definitely proved that he's still really entertaining and engaging.

What threw me off? The new villains introduced in the issue started talking about how they "always punch down". Which was a counterpoint to the Champions (earlier) saying that you should "punch up". I get the idea behind it, but especially coming out the mouth of the bad guys, it just sounded over-the-top and not believable. They were certainly doing enough on the panel itself to show that they were the bad guys and that they would harm those less able to defend themselves. But Waid went a step further and had them vocalize it, just in case there was someone who didn't get it. Sure, there have always been the bigger-than-life hackneyed villains who spout all kinds of cheesy lines, and I'm sure that's exactly what he was trying to achieve. But the combination of over-the-top and "here's our agenda" really just left me feeling like perhaps I wasn't the audience they were looking for with this book. Which, to be fair, I'm NOT the audience they are looking for with this book. ;)

Far more to the point than "will Gary buy another issue of this comic" though is that I thought about writing "your agenda" in fiction, and how much of it in your own work comes from "and THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO SAY" and how much is subconscious that just comes out? Do you ever have to pull back from hitting people in the face with it, or are you far more likely to just let loose with it and let the chips fall?


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 15th, 2017 02:55 am (UTC)
I think it has to be a case-by-case basis. A lot of it depends on a variety of circumstances. Sure saying something in just the right way is important, but sometimes you just have to get something out there, and who cares who knows!

I think if we could always be measured and rational in our responses to life, it would probably be more of the reasonable actions. Of course, by going wild, we may, in fact, be inspiring others to do the same, which would create an upward spiral of action/reaction.

The whole "punch down/punch up" concept reminded me of Michelle Obama's suggestion that "when they go low, we go high," just to give you my take on that.
Mar. 15th, 2017 12:05 pm (UTC)
I was thinking the same thing regarding Michelle Obama! How political do you think those comics are, I wonder?

It's a conundrum, being authentic vs being rational. It might feel good to write madly and passionately but isn't just your friends reading here- it's a competition. I don't ever quite forget that when I get an idea regarding a prompt.
Mar. 15th, 2017 10:10 pm (UTC)
I'm sure these comics use current events, viral video material, anything to keep it topical.

Yes, it does help to remember the audience is out there, which makes LJ Idol different from an LJ entry!
Mar. 15th, 2017 03:33 am (UTC)
Last (mini) season I think almost every fiction piece I wrote came from somewhere buried deep somewhere--I had no clue. This season, maybe because I am editing more, I feel a tad more in control. I was too afraid I'd jinx something last year.

There is more though, I am not exactly sure what I, Murielle, want to say with my writing. Perhaps I haven't arrived at that place of certainty. Perhaps I never will. I hope that there is kindness and hope in my words, that has to be enough for now.
Mar. 15th, 2017 12:10 pm (UTC)
Knowing other people are reading, there is always a thought of "Based on what I've said here, who DO people think I am?"

I have never met another Idol'er in RL, so y'all only know me through the limited interactions with the prompts and in the GR.

Regardless, I want my writing to ring true to people. Even if their experiences have been different from mine, I hope there's an honesty that is apparent.

As I get older, I have less fear of what people think of me, more self acceptance. I yam what I yam, and all that (just a big, damn hippie!)

Edited at 2017-03-15 12:36 pm (UTC)
Mar. 16th, 2017 03:59 am (UTC)
I have been pretty open about who I am this season, so I'm not that worried about that. Last mini season because I was new and generally nervous, and shy, I was more inclined to keep myself to myself.

What I actually meant is I don't have an agenda. I don't have anything I want to use my writing to "teach" the world. I'm not that political so I'm not going to be trying to push whatever political pov I do have, same with religion. I don't even coupon! I've got nothing. Maybe in the future I will--who knows?
Mar. 16th, 2017 09:59 pm (UTC)
I have been pretty open about who I am this season, so I'm not that worried about that. Last mini season because I was new and generally nervous, and shy, I was more inclined to keep myself to myself.

What I actually meant is I don't have an agenda. I don't have anything I want to use my writing to "teach" the world. I'm not that political so I'm not going to be trying to push whatever political pov I do have, same with religion. I don't even coupon! I've got nothing. Maybe in the future I will--who knows?
Mar. 15th, 2017 01:23 pm (UTC)
My problem with writing with a deliberate agenda is that it's too easy to slip into a preachy tone. I don't like being preached at, and it's been my experience that most people don't either. When it's really overt it annoys me to the point that I'll just dismiss everything else the writer has to say. This is why I avoid most political writings unless I'm reading the news.

Now something that comes out naturally I don't have a problem with. Everyone's got their own "thing" in their writings that will show up as a recurring theme over time. Whether the theme the author sees is the same thing the reader sees is up for debate but generally there is something that people can recognize as unique to a specific author. For example, I've noticed that in my works over time I've been leaning towards a certain psychology. I like throwing my characters in an extraordinary situation and then recording their feelings as they try to come to terms with their new reality. In the story I've got going now, Truvio has to shift his whole perspective to accommodate a completely different family situation than the one he was used to and had expected to continue.

Was that deliberate? No. But is that something I see cropping up again and again in my works? Yes. Why? Because it fascinates me. Is this what everyone else sees? Don't know. I won't argue with another interpretation because I'm a fan of reader-response criticism.
Mar. 15th, 2017 02:13 pm (UTC)
I prefer subtle. I hate to read things that are ham-fisted, so I definitely don't want to write them. I'd rather five people think "that was nice" while not catching my full meaning than have one person roll their eyes, if that makes any sense.

Consequently I often feel like people don't get me, and I tend to get more response from things I feel like I didn't quite nail.

I always feel like I'm not quite as good as I ought to be. It's hard to take myself seriously, while simultaneously expecting myself to be more serious than I am.

I shouldn't try to write comments pre-caffeine.
Mar. 15th, 2017 07:07 pm (UTC)
If anything I have the opposite problem: often I have ideas of what I want the meaning or lesson of a piece to be and my characters will run amok and do whatever they want in ways that are usually entirely contrary to the issue of the piece.

I think a lot of it is subconscious and as a writer there is a need to just let it all go and let loose. I've had more issues with myself writing things that are inherently problematic and the narrative voice doesn't even acknowledge this, but that's the piece my muse wanted written.

I don't think we should stop ourselves from writing things. But I do think we need to have an awareness of what we're doing and try to put more pieces out that has its problematic issues properly dealt with.
Mar. 15th, 2017 08:27 pm (UTC)
Mark Waid has gotten super political recently. He also has diarrhea of the "mouth". His editor probably caught this and asked Mark about it. Mark probably came back, sometimes with this readers you need to be BLUNT cause they aren't as smart as we want them to be. With a book like Champions, I'd say this is right. You are not the target audience for it. Books like Hawkeye, West Coast Avengers, etc. Those are for us. Waid doesn't always write so bluntly, like his creator owned stuff.

And that's what I have to say about that, cause I'm the comics nerd.
Mar. 15th, 2017 08:34 pm (UTC)
Things I learned today
From knowyourmeme.com "Don't be a Salty Bitch" - “Salty” is a slang term meaning “upset” or “bitter” typically used as an insult in player-vs.-player (PvP) games to suggest that the opponent feels mad or frustrated due to pwnage.

From urbandictionary.com

salty - pissed, upset
She was salty because she lost the game.

Also, wikipedia has things to say.
Mar. 16th, 2017 12:03 am (UTC)
Perhaps this isn't the appropriate place to ask, or the best group to check with but I was curious if anyone has heard anything about the whole Russian element of LiveJournal that was so prominent several weeks ago. I guess their side is still up, but is anyone actually using it? I still don't know who is running the "Western" side of LJ and I have not seen any posts or news from anyone, not even the old, anonymous theljstaff account designed to parcel out important info about the site without letting anyone know who exactly was stating it.

Any clues?
Mar. 18th, 2017 05:51 pm (UTC)
I've tried emailing people that had previously been helping us out on the Western side, and I'm pretty sure all of those people are gone. No idea what is going on with the Russian side.
Mar. 19th, 2017 09:24 pm (UTC)
Yes, my one contact with the western LJ "response team" who herself doesn't post around here said she would look into this for me. That was weeks ago and she never responded.

I saw where theljstaff did post an message about the "Quick Commnents" added feature to the site. I mentioned my concerns and the issue about the servers being in Russia in the comments there, but I have a feeling that no one will actually reply.

Mar. 16th, 2017 03:46 am (UTC)
Is the prompt this week, "don't get salty," or just, "salty?"
Mar. 18th, 2017 05:49 pm (UTC)
Mar. 19th, 2017 01:22 am (UTC)
Thank you.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )


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