The process

Every writer has a process, and one of the fascinating things about the process is that every one does it differently. Octavia Butler, prior to making it big, would get up at 2 a.m. and write for 2 hours before she went off to work. Patrick Rothfuss of In the name of the wind fame has a writer’s nook and prefers to write with a 30-year old keyboard. Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day. Everyone has their process. So I thought I’d talk to you all a little bit about mine.

It starts with this.

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This is a $5 Exceed pocket notebook. But really, it’s any notebook I can comfortably fit into my pocket. This is the one common thread among all the things I write: the blog, my fiction, my short stories, or my poetry. I carry it with me places because I never know just quite inspiration’s going to strike. I also have pens in literally every room in the apartment. About like, 50 on my writer’s desk, 25 on my school desk (if you’re keeping track that’s 75 in my living room area alone), 1 in the bathroom, 4 in the bedroom, and three in my car. I have two backpacks (1 school, 1 travel) with pens in them, and I tend to carry a pen case with 4. The only time I don’t actually have a pen on me is when I’m taking a shower or working out. And of those I’ve been very tempted to get one of those shower crayons because YOU NEVER KNOW. Oh, and I may have mentioned this already, but every notebook I have is titled ‘Flash Floods and Revelations #’ because I really liked that phrasing and it beats just writing NOTEBOOK 1.

Anyway, so like I said, my process begins with jotting down random ideas. For my fiction, my process is very straightforward. I jot down an idea and then run with it once I have a fixed idea about where it’s going to go. I was with some friends and we got to talking about mattresses and how they basically retain a whole bunch of skin cells. Then I thought — well, I know that every seven years your body replaces all of your cells. Then I did some unscientific math and figured that old mattresses probably have entire people in them. Next thing I know I’m coming up with a story about a mad scientist cloning people, which became the first official horror piece and the first story of mine that was turned into audio. (The added weight of skin cells)

For my poetry, the process is a little more convoluted. With my fiction, and keep in mind I focus on writing flash fiction, I can hammer out 1-2k words once I have a solid idea in mind. Poetry, which is by definition and nature shorter, I take a lot more time. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with quality or distance, it just feels better.

It starts with the idea on the carry-on notebook that I then transfer into one of my designated poetry journals. Once I fill the notebook, I seal it because I’m extra like that, and then I stuff it in my poetry bookshelf. I let it sit there for at least a month, and then I take it out. I unseal it and start reading the poems again. Those that I like are typed up with some minor edits and saved on my poetry folder in my computer and from there I start submitting them to journals.

I’ve documented the process for my most recent “batch”

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The poetry nook, missing a few books I’ve loaned out.
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Sealed June 16, 2021.
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one of the first poems I wrote, I realized I liked it, so I sharpie’d a checkmark after I typed it up.
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Then saved into my poetry folder on my computer,

I’m actually really fond of ‘The Throne is Empty’ and ‘That Small Nations’ both of them are three-part poems and I can’t wait to get them published.

And that’s pretty much it.

Now, I tend to write wherever I get a chance. Pre-pandemic I was partial to coffeeshops of all kinds because y’know, I have to keep up appearances. Also, realistically: Coffee houses have coffee, outlets, and don’t have the distractions I would have at home. Since the pandemic I’ve obviously been limited to writing at home and I’m great with that because where else can I be comfortable (aka in pajamas) when I’m writing?

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There’s a lot boing on but I’ll give you guys a TOUR!

1 – work pile: notebook, poetry journal, and a French-ruled notebook I use to try out inks and practice my handwriting. Oh, and two ‘currently reading’ books: Andrea Gibson’s Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns; Amy S. Kaufman/Paul B. Sturtevant’s The Devil’s Historians: How modern extremists abuse the medieval past; and Efrain Huerta’s Transa Poetica.

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2. Copper bowl with floating candle
3. Ceramic bowl where I keep the die for my pen color selections as well as my rings
4. Candle with wooden wick that makes that really neat crackling sound LOVE YOU TARGET
5. UTB/TSC paperweight
6. Gel pen pen holder
7. ‘Pens of the week’ pen holder
8. Oracle and affirmator card for the week
9. My ‘writing buddy’ coyote
10. Letter-writing material: Monteverde Ruby and Diamine Sherwood Green inks along a shot glass where I put the water for the wInksday ink tests. My seashell brass seal is behind them.
11. Fountain pen pen holder and right next to it my Mystic Mondays tarot deck I use for my journaling prompts. At the front are two gift bookmarks, one from my dad and another from my friend Stevie. I haven’t wanted to hurt either of them by misplacing them in a book.
12. Incense burner my dad gave me
13. highlighter pen holder (I lean heavily on midliners since they’re amazing but I also have one regular bold highlighter)
14. Iron-nib pen for letters
15. secondary incense burner

I tend to have Spotify or YouTube playing when I’m writing because I cannot stand silence. I’ll have another blog about my writing listens later but lately it’s been either Amon Amarth’s Berserker or a playlist my friend Lindsay and I created called the Nopal/Maple War: Cataclysm that’s got a lot of kickin’ tunes.

Below the desk (a gift from my friends the Gardners) is a drawer where I keep the other writing and poetry journals, an extra French-ruled notebook for handwriting practice, my fancy letter-writing paper, a different fantasy-themed tarot deck, and two craft books: Jessica Brody’s Save the cat! Writes a novel and John Dufresne’s Flash: Writing the short short story.

The side journal used to be my junk drawer but I cleaned it out and it became my bullet journal material area. I have my finest-point pens, assorted bookmarks, index tabs, ink cartridges, and blank wInksday paper samples.

I also have two medallions and two rings I like to have on me when I write.

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A wood/amber ring, a stainless steel feather ring, my stainless steel Camino de Santiago necklace from my pilgrimage with my dad, and a coquinajasper/bloodstone pendant I got with my friend Anna.

But, again, it all comes down to where you’re most comfortable with. When I wrote my book, I did a whole bunch of the writing at a coffeeshop in Houston because I worked Sunday-Thursdays and I could take Friday to work. Being in a coffeeshop or writing with friends is a technique used to help ADHD people because it creates something called body doubling. Basically, if you’re alone, your mind will wander and so having people around you in a physical or even virtual space serves as a check for your mind to come back down to earth.

What is your process like? Discuss it in the comments!

Fountain Pen Friday #4: Lamy

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For this Friday’s Fountain Pen Friday we’re going to talk about one of the most accessible fountain pens: The Lamy Safari (retails for $29.60 without the converter) is one of my go-to pens. I have a lot of those, but I do have a soft spot in my heart for my Lamy Safaris.

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They’re some of my longer pens…second-longest next to my Moonman pen at 6.5 inches when posted (remember, that’s when the cap is placed on the back of the pen)

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but because they’re made up of the same plastic lego blocks are made of, they’re pretty light. This is how they stand up when it comes to my other pens.

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Sharpie, Pilot G-2, Pilot Metropolitan, and Lamy Safari.

I think I have average-sized hands so the pen feels pretty comfortable in my hands. It also, unlike the other two entry-level FPs, has a triangular grip that “trains” your hand as to how best to grip a fountain pen.

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Most of the Lamys have that plastic/lego type finish on their pens, but some versions, such as the matte black or the terracotta orange (above) have a matte style finish that feels like it would stand up to longer writing sessions just a little better because of how the pen would feel in your hands.

It also tends to be a little bit more generous with the ink flow so remember to scale down one if you’re trying to write very finely.

Here we compare two Lamy Safari mediums and three fine with five different inks. You can tell the difference between the F and the M. I don’t have a single Lamy with a bold nib so I used my TWSBI Eco – B to compare them.

Final thoughts

Cons

  • Tends to be a wetter pen and so care must be maintained to keep it in working order
  • You have to buy the converter.
  • The included cartridge doesn’t have the best type of ink
  • the most expensive of the entry-level pens by at least $10 (vs the Pilot Metropolitan at $18 and the TWSBI Eco at $30)

Pros

  • They write beautifully and for M and B nibs you could really see the shading of the colors
  • Lamy is a solid brand and can be used to travel places with provided you take the adequate precautions when it comes to traveling with it
  • Lamy proprietary cartridges are very easy to find at stores as well as online

Overall, they’re a really nice pen to start out with. It’s got a little bit more boldness than the Metropolitan and a decent amount of ink in its cartridges. The clip is secure and unique in its design, and it’s a delight to write with (although for my preference for longer sessions I prefer my Lamy AL Star or my TWSBI).

wInksday 8: Robert Oster River of Fire

I’ve decided to stop using the Tomoe River paper for ink comparisons. It’s been discontinued, as previously mentioned, Instead I’m going to start using the Exceed notebook. It’s Wal-Mart’s answer to the Leuchturm and it’s actually surprisingly decent. I’ve used a few of them for meeting notebooks at school. The only downside is there’s a lack of color options (blue, purple, red, and black as of this publication) and I’ll be doing a full deep-dive into it on a FP Friday.

So the votes are in and there was a three-way tie and so I’ll lead off with the Robert Oster River of Fire ink.

Robert Oster is an Australian ink-maker who basically makes inks to order so there’s not a whole bunch of chemical additives added to them. So non-toxic ink, carbon-free plastic from Australia’s Coonawarra district. Here’s a few of their other inks:

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Overall, one of the best behaved inks across papers!

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The shimmer is lost a little bit here, but it retains a lot of the permanence with the water test.

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With the exceed, I feel the sheen that gives its name is best seen here. There’s just the tiniest hint of red. Granted, it’s something that’s better seen in a medium, broad, or stub nib but you can still see some of it here.

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You can find these samples at Robert Oster’s official website or Goulet pens.

Meandering thoughts on the craft and salesmanship

If you type in traditional vs indie publishing, you’re going to get a whole lot of sites and given how prevalent indie publishing is online a whole lot of those sites will have a curious pro-indie publishing angle.

Once I got the rights to my traditionally-published book back I went ahead and began selling it online, effectively turning me into a hybrid publisher. I’m not going to waste time and go, well this method is better or that method is better, I’m just going to relate my own experience and my own motivations for going traditional. Meandering thoughts.

Defining these three terms in as basic and vague a manner: traditional publishing favors time-consuming but more reputable publishing. Independent publishing dispenses of the need to go through agents and editors and do everything on your own. Hybrid publishing is a little bit of both.

Vague definitions because there’s tons of exceptions in each and again, everyone has their opinion about which is best for them.

And I think those three words are the most ignored when people write thinkpieces about this subject (and so many others in the craft). Their way is the best way. You can’t be a successful writer unless you’re traditional. You can’t be a successful writer unless you’re indie. You can’t be a successful writer unless you write every single waking moment. You can’t be a successful writer unless you write 10,000 words a day. You can’t be a successful writer unless you write with your feet digging into an alpaca-hair rug and there is a mug of green tea at your side.

Naw.

We all have our methods. And I think that’s the bone I tend to pick with some people who approach writing with a salesman’s mentality and I’ll clarify that in a bit. But first, why I originally went traditional.

When I first signed up for my MFA program, the push was that we would create things that would be able to be traditionally-published and so I kind of fell into that mentality as well because those were the books I grew up with. I’d go to book stores and see all these publishing houses’ product just lining the bookshelves. When ebooks came around I thought, oh neat! Then I tried them and I didn’t think they were Oh neat! anymore and since a lot of indie publishers default to going online-only it’s not something that’s accessible.

Clarifying: Accessible to me. I don’t enjoy reading on Kindle.

So I wanted to write a book that would be accessible in bookstores and a book that could be lugged around, forgotten, dog-eared to hell and back, written on, highlighted, etc.

Then of course, there was the vanity element. Even though I tend to dunk on my writing the majority of the time, there are moments where I’m like, you know what? This is pretty good. And part of my fear was that, say I pulled an Andy Weir and made it big. There would be part of me that would always go: “You went indie. You couldn’t have landed a deal on your own.”

Because that’s the thing about the poems and short stories that I’ve gotten published, each of them managed to get through at least one person that wasn’t me going “this shit’s pretty good!”

And finally…the effort.

Whether you’re traditional/indie/hybrid, you have to make an effort. That goes without saying. But I wanted my effort to be solely concentrated on writing. As it is, I’m employed full-time and active in school extracurricular activities. A lot of the writers I personally know are in the same position. I mention the effort bit because I don’t want to take say, 10 hours of creative time I get a week and spend 2 hours on being a writer, 2 hours on being a marketer, 2 hours on designing my own cover, 2 hours on running street teams, 2 hours on being mad at math.

Going traditional means I’m spending all my time being creative and handing off the responsibilities of the outside details to someone else. When I signed my contract with the small house that published my book, part of the deal was that they would find me an editor and a cover designer and would work with me to do the sales pitches/getting me interviews and all that.

Which leads me to the other myths people like to talk about when it comes to traditional publishing. It seems almost monstruous: “IF YOU GO TRADITIONAL, THEY WILL MAKE YOU CHANGE ALL YOUR CHARACTERS AND ALSO TAKE ONE OF YOUR KIDNEYS!”

Here’s the thing about contracts: you are allowed to say no. You are allowed to tell the people offering you a deal that you need to have someone look over it. You are allowed to tell them you’re not comfortable with something. You are allowed to tell them what kind of rights you want to keep. Don’t treat a contract as if it’s the TOS to just about every other social media you have. Treat it for what it is. If at any point you’re not comfortable with the risk: walk away.

(and it goes without saying, money will never go from the author to the publisher. Any “agent” that says otherwise is trying to get you to buy into a scam and you’re best running.)

The other thing with traditional publishing that is true is that it can take some time to get a deal. I went through 60 rejections over the course of a year. I know people who are three times the writer I am and they had double the rejections. It’s part of the risk. Self-publishing? Once you have the completed product, the entire thing took me about 2-3 hours. It’s that ease that facilitates problematic approaches to the craft.

“Hey, tell you what, Writer X! Just write the most base, trope-laden, typo-ridden, excuse for a novel, click submit, and then start working on the next one.”

I think that cheapens the art as a whole, and then it leads to attitudes of “Well, I’m a best-seller, I move so many units of books! Quality! Best-seller! Ranked #24 in Amazon for the web in the category of Spaceman Vampire Lover Robots!”

I’m being just a teensy bit hyperbolic there but the times I’ve wandered into listening to indie-pub podcasts there seems to be that air of talking about selling books with the air of a business major. Or they’ll spend less time talking about the craft of writing the book than they do about how to game Amazon algorithms.

That’s not what works for me. If it works for them, sure, good, but I personally feel it cheapens it and it even takes the fun out of it. Think about Painting With a Twist or Pinot Palette or Three Sheets Vermeer or Drunk Donatello or any of those painting programs that have you paint on canvas and have a glass or many while you do so. I think those are pretty fun. (Assuming they’re not…let’s say….creatively crowdsourcing their inspiration)

Now I think they’d stop being fun if I started going to several of those locations, taking the paintings I made, and then selling them on Etsy and then bragging about becoming some sort of incredibly-successful artist. Seems ridiculous, right? But this frantic need to just put out whatever cheapens everything as a whole.

I’m not in this business for the money.

I’m here to tell stories.

Now if you’re one of those people that wants to go into writing furiously and putting out the least-common-denominator of a product just to chase a pipe dream on the off-chance you can get a steady amount of bread…cool. But consider what you’re doing, especially if you’re a fan of the genres that you write in. Sci fi, romance, paranormal, fantasy.

All you’re doing is putting product out there that people can take and go “see, this is why I don’t read fantasy! These four books have the same plot and they didn’t even get edited properly!”

And I don’t mean all this to just rag on indie authors, just those that have the above approach. If you don’t, then there are many good reasons to go into indie publishing, indie authors who go into it for the love of the craft itself, love of just wanting to tell a story and not game the system. That, I can stand by. There’s also the idea that publishing as a whole has a history of not being super-friendly to BIPOC writers. There’s been a push to change that with smaller presses leading the way and giving shots to authors that are being ignored by the top publishing houses, but at the same time I totally understand that someone who feels disenfranchised doesn’t want to face rejection after rejection for telling their truth.

wInksday #6 Monteverde Ruby

Monteverde has been one of the inks that have been sneaking into my regular usage because 1) it’s one of the most affordable ink bottles I have and 2) it flows really well on most of the pens I’ve inked it with (the other one I have is the Monteverde Sapphire)

I was on the market for a red ink because at the moment I only really had my Pilot G-2s and the Pentel Energels with a neat red ink but I wanted a specific-red ink fountain pen ink. I had checked out the momiji but it was a little too pink and I needed something more red-red so I went for the Monteverde Ruby.

And I’ve dug it! It performs well, looks great on shitty and nice paper, and it’s a nice complement to the Pilot Metropolitan I have it inked with.

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This bottle also has the distinct/dubious honor of being the only ink bottle i’ve managed to knock over twice in one sitting.

Here comes the test.

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1. Leuchturm 2. Tomoe River 3. Clarefontaine 4. Notebook paper 5. Rhodia (on the right)
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Very light bleed through on the other side when, even on the cheapest paper.

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I think you can see the most vivid of the “Red-orange” here in the paper. As always, I’m a stan for the Leuchturm (and even the Wal-mart knockoff-Exceed) in place of the Moleskine. The ink also dried as quickly here as it did with some of the nicer paper.

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The Average Notebook Paper had been performing so well up to this point with some of the pricier inks but here it just took an L. Failed the water droplet test, the ink takes longer to dry and there’s more bleedthrough. I think if you’re going to use this ink grading papers I’d wait a little bit for the ink to dry.

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The Clairefontaine paper took another L. Again, this paper is a fantastic paper to write on but you’ve just got to be more mindful of the ink you’re using so you don’t end up writing a letter that’s going to end up being a smudged mess. Some people advise getting ink blotters (which look cool) but you can get the same job done with a handy paper towel if you’re paranoid about the smudging.

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The now-discontinued Tomoe River paper does well on the dry test, but takes a step back with the water droplet test (the water spreads the ink a lot).

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Overall, the Monteverde Ruby, like every other ink so far, performs the best on Rhodia paper. More of the shading is present, the water drop test leaves the ink droplet in place, dries quick.

wInksday #5 – Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki

Back at it with the Iroshizuku’s Kon-Peki, a fascinating blue ink. Bright, vivid, bold. If you’re looking at a light blue ink you’re not going to regret this one.

Again, decent showing all around and it actually did better on the Clairefontaine than the Scribble did. For this test, I used a Lamy Safari M so it being a German-style nib it’s a little bit more broad and I’m thinking I might just go back to my glass dip pen for the writing tests. The random text you will see is phrases I asked my friends Lindsay and Mossy to contribute…much to their confusion.

The Tomoe River performs well, as uusal, but the slight sheen isn’t as obvious, kinda muted almost. One thing I will say about the kon-peki is that it tends to get darker with the bigger nibs. I had this on my TWSBI Eco in a Fine nib and it was significantly lighter than this.

Notice how deeper the color is on this one? It’s obviously not as blue as the (in)famous Baystate Blue but it has a nice gradient of color.

I was kinda surprised at this one! So obviously the front part of the Clairefontaine is very fountain pen friendly, but there wasn’t that much ghosting either. Here you can even see where a little bit of the darker blue pops through when I pressed harder with my q-tip. Great dry time on this paper, too!

Finally, we come to the notebook paper. A little hint of that purple sheen, a decent dry time, not that great on the droplet test.

Overall, a very decent ink, I’ve had it on both medium and fine nibs and there is a little bit of a shade difference.

An (un?)needed defense of fanfiction

On Mondays, I’ll do a routine blog update with stuff that I’m working on, things relating to the writing world at large, and just my own meandering thoughts.

I always like to start off my blogs talking about fanfiction because it’s how I got started writing-writing. Before the book deal, before the longlists, before the MFA, before the dozen publication credits, and before even my first forays into original fiction, there was fanfiction. I’d write fanfiction of shows/series I enjoyed. Pokemon, Harry Potter, Animorphs, Final Fantasy, and even Grand Theft Auto.

Around ninth grade, I started playing a game called Tibia. A Germany-based MMORPG with a gameplay that even my pitiful 28.8 (shout out, Prodigy) modem could handle. It was World of Warcrack before World of Warcrack and Lord knows I played it for far longer than I should have. BUT. I found it fun. And since it lacked the lore that game series like The Elder Scrolls and Warcraft had I thought to fill in those gaps with my own ideas. And so I decided to write fanfiction.

Because to hell with narrative structure, this is where I’ll tell you what fanfiction is. Fanfiction is basically playing in someone else’s sandbox. Someone already created the setting and the characters and now all you do is use that. Before your left eyebrow starts going all the way up consider that this is something that’s been done time and time again in literature. What do you think Paradise Lost, the Divine Comedy and the Aeneid are? Current authors like Neil Gaiman, Rainbow Rowell, Naomi Novik and Cory Doctorow have either written fanfiction or still dabble in it.

Why do people write it, though?

And we’re back to Tibia.

pictured: me, in white armor, trying to avoid getting mobbed by every single yellow skull around me. below, in guild chat, my guild leader steaming mad that I didn’t listen when he told me not to go to the city. My use of MSN messenger and the WinXP start bar should date this picture.
my brother and I doing a random quest

I wanted to write Tibia fanfiction because like I said, I found the lore wanting. I thought of constructing a story to fill in those gaps. This is where I deviated from the usual course of fanfiction writers in which I decided to just take my ideas from this particular sandbox and put them to good use in my own fantasy project. But if I had stayed the course I could have come up with some pretty good ideas to benefit the game itself.

Some established authors like George R.R. Martin would argue that it’s not a proper writing exercise. I’d hate to disagree with someone who’s been in the business as long as he has but to write it off like that is a little bit silly. Every rule you need to write a good piece of fiction exists in fanfiction. And imitation exercises are bread and butter for anyone learning to write poetry. I remember at least several assignments I turned in during my poetry workshops were variations of writing imitations of poems from established poets. Hell, so many poetry books have “After XXXXXX” homage poems. I know in my own manuscript I have two different poems, one as a nod to my friend Lupe Mendez’s Aguacero poem and another as a direct reference to a line my friend Bryce Bennett said while talking about Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Are those poems bad? What about covers?

Which version is the superior? Dolly or Whitney? Simon and Garfunkel or Disturbed? Trent Reznor or Johnny Cash? Prince, Sinead or Chris?

But back to literature proper. Fanfiction has a storied (ha, get it because stories ha i am comedy genius) tradition. Paradise Lost and The Divine Comedy are Bible fanfiction. The Aeneid is Homeric fanfiction. And they’re not the only ones. So whatever argument to be made against the literary potential of fanfiction is basically thrown out the window. Now I’m not going to say that if you go to fanfiction,net right now you’re going to be able to immediately find Miltonesque worth but that’s much more because of Sturgeon’s Law than it is about talent.

Okay, so is there money in it?

Yes and no.

Yes in very, very, select circumstances.

No, in most circumstances.

So, no.

For a brief moment of time there was Amazon’s Kindle Worlds where Amazon paid authors to write fanfictions of things like Veronica Mars, Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, and a few others. That’s been shut down. Then there’s the curious case of 50 Shades of Gray and The Mortal Instruments. Both of which started as fanfiction (Twilight and Harry Potter, respectively) before the authors re-skinned and re-packaged the stories as individual works. I don’t know if I’d do the same with my own because as it stands whatever connection I had to the original source of inspiration is molecule-small. (But I’d be remiss not to mention it lest I be accused of hypocrisy)

Anyway, money. Fanfic authors will not receve a single dime for their work. Some might even get flak from the authors (like Anne Rice) for writing it. It’s purely a labor of love. A lot of my friends are Firefly fans and devasted with the whole canceled-after-one-season bit and fanfics help with that. Others want to rewrite Supernatural beginning from Season 5 where it went off the rails. Others just want to wonder what it would be like for Captain America to stop by a Stripes and get a breakfast taco.

And it’s all okay!

One time, I was giving a workshop on flash fiction and I made the argument I made above, that a lot of the things that make fiction good will make fanfiction good. It just takes away the guesswork when it comes to developing characters.

You don’t have to write it, you don’t have to like it. But it’s been there, and it will continue to be there.

Also, even assuming all the bad things about fanfiction were true, that it’s not “Real writing” and whatever…consider the following XKCD strip.

xkcd: Rock Band

wInksday #4 – Diamine Scribble

And we’re back!

Sorta.

Still trying to get used to a better writing schedule so I can more frequently update this. Again, what’s the end point? I don’t know. I like inks. INKS!

I’ve picked up a thing for purple inks because it’s one of my favorite colors. Blame it on going to Church during advent, the association with Roman military history, lavender being one of my favorite scents, etc.

And then I thought, it would be cool to have one that can serve as substitute for a black ink and will only look purple on closer inspection.

So I discovered the Diamine Scribble. Diamine Scribble is one of two purple inks (the other being Diamine Monboddo’s Hat) that Fountain Pens UK came up with as a collaboration with Diamine. It’s a rather wet writer but it’s such a bold, black purple.

Once again, the two surprises are the Clairefontaine and the standard notebook paper in how they’ve managed these pen tests. The notebook paper should be the worst with fountain pens and the Clairefontaine better, but the latter has some interesting ghosting issues. I wonder if maybe I’m dolloping too much ink on the initial portion of the test.

That being said, the Clairefontaine is still a fantastic paper to write on, I just have to be more careful about writing on it since it almost feels like you’re writing on silk.

Plus, you can really see the gold undertones and it performs really well on the water drop test, compared to the next one on the list, the standard notebook paper..

You’ll get some of the shading but the ink smears all over with the water droplet test.

I was writing random sentences and this came to mind as a friend was discussing an ink she liked.

The Tomoe River has recently been discontinued and it’s a great paper! Current notebooks run you around $65 since people started hoarding them. I’m going to use them for letter-writing for the most part now and replace it with something more common like the LT1917.

But the breakthrough I’ve come across?

Rhodia. Quick dry time. Boldness and sheen. Does okay on the drop test. Little ghosting. Definitely one of the best papers to write on. My last journal was a Rhodia webnotebook and but for the fact that it was a little bit too wide-ruled for my taste, it was a great notebook.

Fountain Pen Friday #3 – A few of my favorite pens

But really, all of them. And I’ll go more into detail about the Diplomat, Lamy, and the Pilot later but right now I want to deviate just a skosh to talk a little bit about my favorite pens and how I feel they complement my fountain pen habit/daily pen use.

I just love pens, y’all. I’ve always gripped pencils way too hard for comfort and there’s something about mechanical pencils that just don’t sit right with me. Reminds me of this for some reason.

I just want to eat in peace : adhdmeme
metallic frail pencil bad. no frail pencil > : (

Yes, there are erasable pens but I’ll just cross something out instead of using an erasable pen because WHAT IS THE POINT. Believe it or not there’s dry-erase fountain pen ink and I’m thinking, JUST. BUY. DRY-ERASE. MARKERS. But then again this is a blog about fancy inky sticks so I recognize my moral high ground isn’t as high as I think it is.

Anyway, here they are.

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From left to right: Papermate Inkjoy, Pilot G-2 1.0 Blue, Pentel Energel 0.7 Needle Tip Black, Pilot Precise V.7, Pilot G2 0.7 Blue Black, Pilot Metropolitan M with Noodler’s Heart of Darkness, Lamy AL Star F with Diaine Scribble, and Diplomat Magnum F with Diamine Writer’s Blood
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This will never be a caligraphy blog.

The notebook is an Apica notebook that I bought for $3.15 at Kinokuniya and I really think if you like stationery, weeb stuff, or stationery AND weeb stuff, you should really check it out. In Houston it’s off the Grand Parkway and 1-10 close to Whiskey Cake; in Austin it’s…I don’t know, it’s somewhere in Austin. GOOGLE IT.

I’ll be going left to right providing a brief overview.

  1. Papermate Inkjoy: The teacher’s best friend. Plenty of colors to choose from and they have the cool thing of having the “grip” cover the entire pen so no matter how you hold your pen it’s covered by the grip. AND it also dries quick.
  2. Pilot G-2 (1.0 and 0.7) your workhorse gel pen. It was my first ‘favorite’ pen and I love how it writes. Like the other non-FP pens on this list, it’s the one I tend to clip to my work lanyard for quick access (the other being the Uniball Vision which I don’t always love to use). It’s also one of the ones that most frequently gets stolen because of how awesome it is and this is not an endorsment of piracy
  3. The Pentel Energel became my last favorite non-fountain pen pen before I made the transition into the FP stan that I became. They feel lighter than the Pilot and they also dry quickly, two things that are great for long writing sessions.
  4. The Pilot Precise is my nostalgic choice because I rememeber these pens were the elegant grown-up-and-business-y type of pens. I really like doodling off the side of whatever I’m working on with these.
  5. See Pilot above.
  6. The Pilot Metropolitan M is one of my finer pens and my first fountain pens. It’s such a great starter for reasons I’ve talked about before but a quick recap: $18, comes with a cartridge and a converter so at most you’re only spending that and $10 more in a bottle of ink or $5 in a set of cartridges. This one is my go-to-signature pen. I’ll write a hall pass or I’ll sign-off on documents with it. The ink I’ve chosen for it is also a large part. It flows well, it writes well, and it’s also got this really dark quality to it that reminds me of both the oil paintings I oved looking at when I was a kid and the scrawled ink I’d imagine myself writing with.
  7. The Lamy AL Star F is a beautiful pen. It takes the best part of the Lamy Safari and the Pilot Metropolitan and puts them together. It’s got the heft of the Pilot Metropolitan with its aluminum body and the quick-start capabilities of the Lamy Safari all in a nice metallic color. I like my purple AL-Star the best because of its color but also because of the ink choice I have: Diamine Scribble. A purple so dark it’s only purple if you know it’s there.
  8. Finally, the Diplomat Magnum F grew on me. I originally purchased the purple on a whim and I really liked it but it was a shade more bold than I wanted. So I decided to get the fine point and that one’s been amazing. It’s a bit of a wet writer but it’s also in my constant EDC rotation.