Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year End Stats for 2009

Thank you to all the readers from all the countries that showed interest for my stories on ffn. For the year 2009 there were 25448 page views and 10688 readers (yielding a ratio of 2.38 pages viewed per reader).

The following countries placed in the top three slots for the year 2009 (highest metal medal (say that three times quickly) earned shown for the country):
  • Bronze (3rd place): Brazil

  • Silver (2nd place): UK, Australia, Germany, Canada, Israel

  • Gold (1st place): USA

It took approximately 150 page views (reading MSR three times) to make the list; it took on average 1500 page views to score the gold.

The following are the countries that viewed 50 or more pages in a month for this year, earning them a Golden trophy (reading MSR once in a month will earn this trophy):

Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Philippines, Romania, South Korea, Sweden, UK, USA

Thank you again to all the countries and to all the readers of my stories. If you wish to see your country here on this list next year, you simply need to read MSR once in one month. To earn a medal for your country, read MSR thrice in one month.

Read MSR! Not only is it good for your soul, but it shows nationalistic pride!

Um ... yeah. Well, anyway, thank you all again.

December 2009 stats

The end result for the month of December 2009 for page views, readership and ratios on ffn are as follows:
  • Top 10er (Dec 2009):
    1. USA
    2. UK
    3. Australia
    4. Canada
    5. Romania
    6. Brazil
    7. Philippines
    8. Italy
    9. Germany
    10. Spain

    It took 29 page views (or reading ½ MSR) to make the top 10 list this month.

  • Holy Crow (double-digit ratio): Romania

  • Improved (ratio): USA, UK, Australia, Sweden, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Philippines

  • Up, Up, and Away (improved ratio twice or more): UK(x6), Australia(x4), USA(x3), New Zealand, Brazil, Sweden, Canada(x2), Philippines

  • Reversi (reversed a downward ratio direction to an upward one): Australia(x4), UK, Brazil, USA(x2)

  • Kicking Butt (4.0 ratio or higher): UK, Tanzania, Romania, Spain, Puerto Rico

  • Player (show up on the top 10 list during the month): Australia, USA, UK, Hungary, Germany,Israel, Hong Kong, France, Greece, Canada, Brazil, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Italy, Tanzania, New Zealand, Romania, Puerto Rico, Philippines

    Yes, Australia held the number 1 slot at the beginning of the month.

  • Comeback Kid (got knocked off the list, but then made it back on): France, Italy, New Zealand, Germany, Spain

  • Golden (50 or more page views): USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Romania, Brazil, Philippines

There were 3497 page views with a total of 1231 readers for this month. Good show everyone and every country! Thank you for your interest in my stories.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Charlie Swan

I think sometimes, Charlie as a father, wonders what he's there for at all. He loves Bella to death, but I think he's a little lost at times, being steamrolled by his own daughter, and loving her, helplessly, for it and in spite of it.

I think Bella turned out kind of exactly the way he wanted her to turn out: strong, independent, beautiful, smart, a self-starter, ... a take-charge girl.

But now, Bella is ... Bella.

And Charlie is so lost.

Because when Bella is strong, he feels like a third wheel on a bicycle: in the way, quiet too often, and saying the wrong things when he does speak up.

And when Bella is weak, he ... he just ... he just doesn't know what to do. He wants to take away her hurt and her sadness; he wants to fix it; he wants to see her smile once again, just one more time in her life before she kills herself today, as he's sure she will (that's why he takes the rounds out of his sidearm now, even though he never had to before). He wants her to be happy, but he doesn't know what he can do to get to the point where she's even eating again, instead of just picking at her food, listlessly.

And it's that boy Edward Cullen, that boy who left her in the forest to die, that boy who broke her heart in two, is the one that brings her out of the pit of her despair.

Remember when Edward carried her up the stairs from the airport?

What did Charlie want to do? Nothing. Besides murder that boy. Right now.

But then Bella gives him what-for ... and for what? So Charlie does what the parents' manual says: rules, grounding, hovering, chaperoning.

And now, that Charlie is the bad-guy dictator, he's even more lost than before, and so much more unhappy.

Because Bella is happy now ... but when that boy breaks his little girl's heart again, there won't be any recovery for her.

And Charlie can't do a thing to ease that fall: not grounding, not jacobing, not "other friends"ing not nothing-ing can stop her headlong plunge that she's embracing, that she's running toward with all her might and with that big happy smile on her face.

Bella is "everygirl."

Is Charlie Swan "everydad"? I wonder.

Monday, December 28, 2009


In MSR, ch 53 ("School in Session") Rosalie hugs Bella. Well, now, I've gotten requests for hugs from readers. And, well, anybody who asks for a hug needs a hug, right? So maybe they should get the hug, if the other party is not against the idea of hugging (as you see in the chapter, Rosalie doesn't seem to be against the idea ... or if she is then she doesn't put up too huge of a fight, now does she?).

So, if you need a hug, tell me "I need a hug from X, geophf," and presto (that is presto if X doesn't mind giving hugs), it'll be here.

Now, you must prove X is not unwilling to give hugs. Edward thinks it's improper (cf the whole canon and RLT). Esmé loves giving hugs (she has to stop herself from giving too many hugs, in fact), the other twichars? Well, we'll take it on a case by case basis (except the pixie, of course, proof: Twilight, "Alice mauls the BFF human while everybody's wondering if Bella should eat the food or if they should eat her" chapter).

But I do have a question. Did anybody ever see it coming that Rosalie would give anybody a hug before reading MSR? Just askin'

But do consider this caveat. What kind of hug are you going to get from a vamp? "Ooh! You're a vamp, Rosalie: hug me!" She'll hug you all right! But only after kidnapping you to a cabin in the woods and asking you annoyingly penetrating questions until you cry. Then she'll hug you. Just sayin'

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bella: Pride and Prejudice

"Boy, geophf," you say, "reading the latest, that Bella surely is ... well, frankly, stupid!"

I would beg to differ with your assessment (translation from Austen-speak: "Um, no").

"But," you insist: "How could she guess so wrongly as to why Rosalie would be wanting to teach her sign language?"

Okay, so, here's the thing. Reflect on her prior thoughts when she considered the presence of the American Sign Language book ... what was she thinking then?

Her thoughts precursored her thoughts now: "Rosalie is/will teach me this so she won't have to speak to me again."

That was her prejudice, or, as we say now: her preconceived notion.

Now, try this. Have somebody pick at you until you are thoroughly ticked off about it and about them. Become furious.

Bella's pride was offended, because Rosalie was criticizing her with compliments.

Now try to think straight.

You cannot, right? Because you're angry. It's called "a loss of perspective."

Bella's prejudice lead her to believe a certain thing ... she is very intuitive, after all, and what does that mean? It means she jumps to conclusions. And her pride was offended, that means she's very likely to stick by her guns, right or wrong, come Hell or high water.

Sounds a lot like Elizabeth Bennett as Mr. Darcy rattles off all her (and her family's) faults, and then ask her to consider something.

She surely "considers" something, all right! That Mr. Darcy got an earful!

Now, people are quick to criticize Bella in this chapter, including, particularly, Rosalie (which does not help matters any). Put yourself into Bella's shoes. The next time you are so furious you can't even see the person you are "talking" with, because all you see is red, ... well, I dare you to do what you accuse Bella of not doing: think about what you are saying.

Is your argument sound or ad hominem? Are you "thinking straight"? Or have you "lost perspective"?

That Bella Swan is just so "eat up with pride" and just so often jumps to conclusions, the wrong ones. Doesn't she!

Hm, yes, she does. But she's not reading the story. She's living it. So, you, living your stories: you have it all mapped out, now, do you?

Bella Swan has a mote in her eye.

But she's trying, sometimes, to look in the mirror.

Give her that, at least, please.

And before you cast a stone, recollect when you were seventeen. You knew everything there was to know then?

If you say you did, then you're not casting a stone at Bella. Doesn't feel like such a good idea now, because, of course, you know it is kind of like throwing the stone at the mirror, right?

Don't ask me to read your fan fiction


I'm serious.

Don't ask me to read your fan fiction. Because if I read it, I'll review it.

If I review it, you will hate me. Forever. And all your fans will hate me. Forever.

Don't ask me to read your fan fiction if you don't know the names Strunk and White better than you know your own.

Don't ask me to read your fan fiction if you haven't charted the plot of your story from its inception all the way to its conclusion.

Don't ask me to read your fan fiction if your characters aren't real. If they don't have something to say to me, then I will surely have something to say to you about that.

In fact, don't ask me to read your fan fiction until you have read my beta profile and read every entry here under the writing category, and know that your fan fiction can survive those meat grinders intact and whole. Oh, you say you have? Then you won't mind me quizzing you a bit, then, will you?

Don't ask me to read your fan fiction. Because your fan fiction is your baby, and I am King Solomon, and I will rip that child, that means everything to you, right in half.

You are writing. You love writing. You want some positive, affirming comments about something that you love doing. Or you think you are strong. You think you can take constructive criticism.

Yeah? I bet you do. I bet you do ... like so many other who said they would be professional and courteous and open to suggestions and told me that "but my story is different! Read it, geophf. Please! It'd mean so much to me!"

I have this message for you, my dear, particularly: don't ask me to read your fan fiction.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

"If I have the time ..."

I've gotten this three times in the last month.

"Oh, I was skimming your story, and I was wondering if it'd be a waste of time for me to read."

"Oh, I was skimming your story, and I'll read it maybe someday when I have the time."

"Oh, I read your story (all 300 pages of it) and I'll leave one review on it, when you come out with a new chapter, if I have the time."

Read those statements above, and turn to somebody, face-to-face, and say that to them about something important to them.

"I'll watch your first ballet recital, if I have the time."

"I'll buy you a Christmas present, if I have the time."

"I'd come to dinner, but the game's on. I don't have time for family time."

The sad thing is: people do say that now, all the time, don't they?

They're talking on their cell phone while they're "with" you.

They're working on their computer while they're "talking" with you.

They're ... I don't know ... they're making excuses to cop out of plans with you, because, frankly, the TV's more important to them than you are.

What ever happened to respect? What ever happened to treating people as persons, not as things? Did it never happen at all before, and I was misled? Was I raised wrongly by my parents to try to give the people I'm with my attention?

So you wrote to me and said you would read and review my stories "if you had the time."

You're busy; I'm busy; we're all busy. How nice. And it IS nice that you're willing to make the effort to comment on my stories.

But "if I have the time"?

You may not have the time. You may have a family with two daughters. You may have work deadlines. You may have other friends you like more. You may have to watch an average of 8 hours of TV or 'net-slumming. You may have all of these things, and more.

But saying that to somebody? "I love you, and I'd tell you, if I had the time." "I'd do that report, boss, or professor, if I have the time." "I'll leave a review on your story, if I have the time."

The good intention is destroyed by the equivocation. If you have the time, do the good thing. If you don't have the time, don't do the good thing.

But time is prioritization, and saying "if I have the time" translates directly into "you are on my priority list, somewhere below watching TV, or whatever."

When I talk with somebody, when I talk with you, I give you my full attention. My whole time. I MAKE the time to talk with you. Out of the many readers I've had today, out of the many markings of favourites and PM and story alerts and sometimes reviews, ... and the rest of my life.

I do not "if I have the time" anybody. When I'm with you, I'm with you.

Please, don't "if I have the time" somebody. "Everybody does it" these days, because everybody treats everybody else as things, not as persons. But I've worked with people who have taken time out of their busy-busy schedules, I'm talking Captains and Admirals, who have more meeting time scheduled every day than they have hours in the day. When they do that? When somebody makes time for you, how does that feel?

Doesn't it feel nice when an authoress, like, for example, Jocelyn Torrent, replies to your reviews? (You do leave her reviews of the chapters that meant something to you, don't you? You do know how much substantive reviews mean to her, don't you?) She has more than twice the reviews in one story than I have total. And she responds to every single one. AND all her PMs. I know. So does Lion in the Land. So do I. So do more than a few others, as well.

Many, many, many do not. That is not your problem. That is their (serious) problem. Your problem is how you are treating this person you are writing to or this person in front of you right now, and you cannot justify your callousness, no matter what anybody else says or does.

"Everybody does it" is the weakest, lamest cop-out of an excuse to justify what you know to be a wrong doing. A slight. Besides: do you wish to be like "everybody"? That is a faceless "nobody" in the crowd? Or do you wish to be you, and be treated with kindness and individual attention?

As we few writers do when we respond to your review, even though it's the 283rd review for this story we've received. Even if it's the 711th.

Those of us who do this, well: we MAKE the time for you, AND we write these wonderful, in some cases, award-winning stories that have captured your attention and fired your imagination.

"But I was just saying that, I wasn't being mean, I was just explaining myself." Yes, I know you weren't being mean. I know this. But how much thought did you put into those words, because every word you say means something.

I am a person. You wrote to me, or you talked with me. Please treat me as a person. I prioritize things, not people. Please don't prioritize me below things: I don't like feeling less than a thing. I don't know anybody who does.

You may review what you've read of my story that had meaning to you (and you've read my story and nothing has moved you at all?). You may not. But please don't so blithely dismiss me or my work with "time." You read it. Perhaps all 300 pages of it (so far), so you've had time to do that, but you didn't have time to select the "review chapter" link?

Maybe not (I cannot believe that). But telling me? "I read one of your stories, but I didn't review any of the 52 chapters. Maybe I will after you do more work (because a card deck of chapters isn't enough) ... if I have the time."

Please don't do this. Please don't imply this.

Because time is all we have, and there's only a limited amount we're given, and we don't get it back, so make your time you have precious. For yourself, and for others.


Writing this post, I've come to the sudden realization of the following. Others have complained that MSR is taking it's sweet time, going hardly anywhere at all.


Because Rosalie is doing something that hardly anyone does. She is taking time with Bella. Instead of saying: "You are like this, so I will treat you like this" (and Rosalie does do a lot of that in MSR, I grant you), she is taking these days to find out who Bella really is ... you know? The apologia for this piece? She is finding out who Bella really is and treating her as that person, not as the person she wants Bella to be.

Now, Rosalie is very unhappy with the real Bella, the person who she is. But she does work with that person, and not (always) dismiss her out of hand.

Unlike how Edward treats Bella in the canon, perhaps?

Is this why MSR is so frustrating for so many? Is it because they wish Bella and Rosalie just to move on and treat each other as ... what? ... and ignore each other's and their own faults and failings ... and consequently ignore each other's and their own strengths and humanness?

Hm. If you're frustrated, and you want Bella and Rosalie to get on with it ("What 'it'?" I ask. And you answer: "Oh, the obvious, you dummy!" And my answer is: "What obvious?"), then I wonder. Do you treat your friends and family like this?

Do they treat you like this ... and you allow it?

It may be your best friend that you've know from first grade, but she's still a person. It may be your daughter or mother, but she's still a person.

It may be your dad, but he still needs your love.

"If I have the time ..." to treat another person as a person?

You do.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mirror, Mirror on your Life (MSR, again)

"Gosh, geophf, MSR just goes over and over the same thing, over and over again! It just ... well, to tell the G-d's honest truth, pretty aimless!"
À propos de rein, I love it when people tell me they are telling me the G-d's honest truth. Does that mean they are lying to me at all other times?
Let me ask you: what kind of fic is MSR?

What kind of fic is an in every way ordinary girl's life? I mean, for real.

An every day, ordinary girl does what, day-in and day-out. Wake up. Potty. Go to school. Eat lunch. Potty. More school. Go home. Supper. Homework. Brush teeth. Bed.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

"But, geophf, I don't wanna read about boring. I wanna read about vamps!"

Boring. Hm. Well, okay.

The "Mirror, Mirror" chapter is day two of Bella's imprisonment. On day two of anything, is one blowing up the Brooklyn Bridge? No, on day two of anything, one is adjusting to life at school or on the job.

And Bella's life, now? Boring? Having just nearly died, what? Four times in the last twenty-four hours?


Now, let me argue from your side, if I may.

"GOD! Bella's period is taking FOREVER! AND I JUST WANT TO SCREAM AT HER AND GOD! AND ..."

Okay, Rosalie, settle down there, GF!

Rosalie hasn't been able to say a peep for this whole time AND IT IS DRIVING YOU AND IT IS DRIVING HER CRA-a-a-a-a-a-ZY! Remember that scream in the forest at "The Promise"? Remember it?

In a chapter or few, Rosalie will begin to be able to talk again.

And Bella, finally, will get her wish, eh? FINALLY, they'll be able to have a conversation, right?

What kinds of conversations have they had when Rosalie could talk?


Fireworks ahead.

But please do note. MSR is NOT Twilight. Vampire baseball is right out. And if it is in (which it's not), there's not going to be a plot-derailing James that's going to show up, because that's being handled by a very different plotty plot line (yay! geophf admits there's going to be plot development eventually), off-scene entirely from MSR (read future chapters of 13ways for the entire Laurent, James, Victoria debacle).

MSR is NOT "Terminator 27: the reunified destructinization!" MSR is much more like "Out of Africa." MSR is chick-flicky, and not chick-flicky like "Thema and Louise" but chick-flicky, like, well ... MSR.


geophf, writer of chick-flicky fan-fiction

So, if you're looking for Edward to come crashing into the party tomorrow ... well, there's Bonne Foi (it even stars plot-derailing James). But fireworks do happen in MSR. Why? Because it does star vampires. But the last set of fireworks was at "A Swim," right? And the next set is at "Lillian, Arise!" (sort of), and the following set is at ... well, it depends. Is Bella's escape fireworks, or the visit of unexpected company to the cabin fireworks? or ...

Talk-talk-talk. That's what MSR is. Along with vampires, and near death experiences. And misunderstandings. And UST.

You know: "Pride and Prejudice and Vampires." Hey, somebody ought to write a book like that!

(YES, I KNOW! Okay? I already KNOW!)

But you already know all this about MSR right?

MSR has zero sex appeal on ffn. It's not an AH AU ExB smutfest (previously mentioned). It's a slice-of-(un)life story. You know? The everyday ennui and horror of life. The everyday hope of it.

It doesn't gloss over the dull and dreary and dreadful details of the person standing right next to you all day every day. But it also doesn't gloss over the nobility of that self-same person.

Be that person an inept cowgirl, or a stunning socialite of a vampire.

Repetitious? Yes. Does your life have a plot advancement every two days? If yes, then, have a cookie and why are you reading boring old MSR, when you're going skydiving today, and yachting tomorrow?

I think boring old MSR is so very much more exciting than Bella ever dreamed her life would be, even though that includes a regular trip to the potty.

I think boring old life itself, you know, the one most people live? Is way more exciting than ever anyone would have ever thought it would be, if only they opened their eyes to look up from their desk to see the rain storm outside, or the person right beside them.

MSR doesn't do that. Both Bella and Rosalie absolutely refuse to see the other person as she is, instead they try to see the other person as how they think the other person should be.

But MSR tries.

It takes an awfully lot of tries even to begin to see the other person as something other that an echo of 'it' - the way I want them to be. And its so hard, maybe even too hard, for most people even to try to do that. I mean: it's boring and unrewarding work, to see the other person as a person, and not an it that I can just use and then discard, so I can move onto the next adventure.

This is the curse of the Buddha, you know. That unrelenting search for happiness beyond the next hill. You know what the redemption is, however? Finding happiness, right here, right now, in the small, little, ever repeated, everyday grind of life; the task at hand.

Not fun. Not exciting. Not adventurous.

But, when one finds satisfaction in it: peace and happiness.

Maybe even joy.

Maybe hope.

Is MSR self-satisfied? I don't think so. I think MSR is a very unsatisfied work. I think I put every ounce of quality I can into every chapter I publish.

But does that mean you have to like MSR? Nope, of course not, there are many excellent pieces on ffn. And do they agonize over the final things, like MSR does? Most don't. They're well-written and a rip-roaring read.

What do you come out of those stories with? What did you come into MSR expecting? But now that you are here ... is what that MSR is, in its quiddity and hæcceity of it, worth a continued read of it? Do other fan fiction pieces make you work at them? Sure! Some really great works do (medicine wheel) ... don't they, also, consider the final things?

Like 'hope' and 'friendship'? And 'I and Thou'? Or, more properly, 'Ich und du'?

What is MSR?

To most, it's boring; plotless.

What is it to you?

Oh, one more thing. Rosalie is — surprise! — a vampire, and Bella is just a plain old human. Still with me?

If you dislike the imbalance of their relationship, Bella likes it perhaps less so than you. But you know who hates it the most? Rosalie (cf RLT). Finding a "balanced" relationship? TRULY balanced, that is, right down to the marrow, not just on the surface? Hm. MAKING a truly balanced relationship where one is an invincible goddess (literally from Ancient Greek times: read Hymn to Aphrodite by Sappho and tell me that she's not describing a twivamp) and the other's a plain girl of no breeding nor bearing?

That, truly, is an adventure.

In my book, anyway.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Representing Rosalie and Bella

I've just read a wonderful canonical one-shot about Rosalie, called "And I Am Not" by Jocelyn Torrent. I received two surprises in that story: the first was an accurate portrayal of Rosalie, then second was an accurate portrayal of Bella. Read it.

Both characters have been so easily, so callously, misrepresented in fan fiction, so getting them just right? Well nigh impossible. Bella isn't a perfect character who does everything right except for falling down three times per chapter. And Rosalie is, well, I've harped on this before.

Okay, I'll harp some more.

My heart always gets in the way of my pen, and I'm so scared that my representation will turn sympathetic, not accurate.

Rosalie qua Rosalie has everything she needs to be what she is, and tampering with that, Charles Dickensing that, only takes away from the strengths that she has. She is vain and conceited, but she still is strong and righteous and determined and has gone through everything, in her life and in her unlife, and still holds her head high, proudly.

To say: "Aw Rosalie!" robs her of her battle scars (that she mostly inflicts on herself), robs her of herself.

But it so hard to abstain from reaching through the screen and giving her a it'll-be-okay-hug or just pure happiness.

She'd probably turn it down anyway. "A freebie? For Rosalie Lillian Hale? I don't need your charity nor your pity, thank you, geophf."

She sure is one tough cookie. As they say when and where she grew up: a right broad.

Rosalie and Bella. Each in her own way: two right broads, and when written correctly, such a pleasure to read.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

PM Response Policy

Dear Reader,

Thank you for sending me the PM about one of my stories. I appreciate all substantive and polite feedback, positive or negative, and ffn has provided a service to facilitate that called the reader review process. I see in your PM you have questions for me, but you haven't availed yourself of the review process on my stories, ... yet you say you've read my stories from chapter one? And if you haven't, then I'm afraid that the most recent chapter doesn't make all that much sense out of context.

So, here's the thing. I've found that out-of-the-blue PMs about my works usually devolve (eventually) into one thing or another, and I'm tired of me or my work being savaged. I have other things to do, like write the next chapter, or respond to reviews or PMs from my reviewers. You wish to have a conversation with me? I wish the same, but now I can only afford to have conversations with people I know and I trust, so that if we do get into an argument, we have a track record of recovery so that we can both walk away still respecting each other.

We don't have that relationship yet? Then I recommend that you establish then build upon it. Leave me your substantive reviews of the chapters you loved or hated. Show me why and tell me why. I reply to every substantive or polite (or, preferably, both) review I receive. From that position of trust, THEN we can have a conversation about whatever we desire, eh?

But until that time? I will send you my one-liner response: "Thank you for your PM. Please see my PM response policy located on my profile page." It's not personal against you, it's just that your PM is the next pitch, and I already have two strikes against me: if I'm going to be swinging, I want to know that it will do something for the team. I want to get on base; I want that grand slam. So throw the ball hard, yes, but in the strike zone, please.

"But I don't have time to review your story that I just read all 300 pages of I just wanna know ..."

Hm. Ayn Rand has an interesting way of categorizing people: producers and users. Which are you? And, if you are fine being a user, if you just wish to use me, then I recommend you not waste your time PMing me, but curl up and enjoy reading your Being and Nothingness because your time will be more fruitfully employed there. After all, Sartre did eventually return to the Church, receiving Absolution and Last Rites on his death bed, maybe that course of study will help you to see beyond yourself, too?

But if you're fine being a user, I'm not fine being used. I have limited time and a very delicate ego, so I wish to spend that time productively, that is, writing the next chapter or responding to reviews or reviewers' PMs, and I wish to open myself up to people who will hurt me, yes, but do so because they care, and will work on mending the relationship afterward.

Thank you, again, for your PM. I may have read it, I may not. I will be happy to respond to it, however, after you have left substantive reviews. It's nothing personal, until it is: I respond to PMs of people I have a personal relationship with.

Build that first, then we'll chat.

cheers, geophf

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Your reviews; a writer's replies

I'm a writer of fan fiction that is published on the web. As such, the system afford people to comment on my works, that is: to review them. And, many people do. I've received hundreds of reviews.

Thank you for your reviews.

I respond to every credible review. Even if it takes days. Even if it takes more than days. That is, I feel, my responsibility.

No, I don't countenance reviews that descend to personal attack or that savage my works, but yes, every other review, even one word reviews ("Gud", "MOre", "updatesoon"), receive a reply from me. One by one, even it's sometimes form: "Thank you for your review. I've received so many, but each of them means so much to me. Thank you for yours." The vast majority my reviews are substantive and substantial, however. That's a lot of work. A lot of work that takes me away from writing my story. A lot of work that takes me away from other things. You know: life (yes, I have one), family, work.


A reader's job is to review, but so few readers do review at all (my ratio is that 120 page views generates one review). Wouldn't be nice to the ones that do review receive a little extra love and gratitude?

Reviewers sometimes are sad little creatures that need to know that their little peep of 'gud stry update soon' was heard. Reviewers sometimes need that extra little bit of love ... so that they review another story of a writer who, maybe unlike me, needs that one review of her story to keep going on in her story, yes, but also in her life.

It is the reader's duty to review.

But, listen to me, please, you writers. Once you receive a review, it'd be really nice to reply to it. You know, really nice as in your duty as a writer. You could actually turn somebody's life around, you know. Or two lives, when that reviewer, encouraged, reviews another story. You could, with your reply, turn a life around, or save it.

You are a writer. You may a luminary in fan fiction. If so, please use your fame to keep doing what you are doing: sharing the love, both in publishing that next chapter, but also, in responding to that next review.

The same goes to you, writer, who has just published her first chapter and has just received her first or second review, but just has to get that next chapter out by midnight and it's quarter to. Look, somebody's reviewed your work! To her, you are famous. You know where the most 'business' comes from in industry? Repeat business. You know where most reviews come from? From a reviewer who's reviewed your work before.

Cultivate that. Tell her you are grateful. You are helping yourself, but, that reviewer, encouraged, may review another new up-and-comer.

Who won't be an up-and-comer if she gets discouraged at chapter 3 (right? where most stories die on the vine?) because nobody has read it or said anything about it.

You have a review, for G-d's sake!

Many writers don't. And your reply to that review could give another writer that one review she needed to go on.

A reader has exercised her responsibility in reviewing your work.

Now, it's your turn, writer: reply to it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Edward, redux

Okay, in my most recent chapter of MSR ("A Hair"), people are giggling at me and pointing fingers:

"Ooh! Lookit geophfy being all nice to Edward, and stuff, give him more of whatever meds he's taking today!"

Okay, ladies, put down the offered whatever; I'm not taking meds, nor 'shrooms, and I haven't weirded out, nor changed positions (on Edward). Edward is, after all, as one reviewer stated, "so wise ... and dreamy."

Because, canonically, he is.

I may have my own views about this guy, and I may have a list for him, but, the amazing thing about Edward is that he has this debilitating handicap (reading minds) and may have grown up with a silver spoon in his mouth, and both contribute to his view of people and how he treats them, but then he does offer wisdom to Rosalie, then he does act as a gentleman, then he does, at times, try to listen to the other person's thoughts and words and then he does try to consider their position.

And he does talk with Rosalie or whomever, but then he keeps everything he "overhears" to himself.  He may think of you meanly, but he tries not to be mean about it.

But I'm still not going to ask WWED.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

MSR: Less Talk, More Rokk! Please!

"A little less conversation, a little more action-action."

What are chapters of MSR like?

In the most recent chapter ("A Hair") our girl combs Rosalie's hair. And they make plans for cooking supper.

How ... how ... how ...

Well, how boring!

Why are you doing this to us, geophf?

MSR is a relationship fic. A chick fic, as it were.

Ya know. Two girls, in a cabin, talking.

There they are, in a cabin in the woods in the middle of nowhere, bathing, eating, sleeping, ... and. just. talking.

Well, let's compare MSR to life. Real life. Not "Heroes" or "V" or whatever's showing on the tube, but real life.

Is life filled with massive whatevers?

No, for the most part. For the vast majority of the day and of the year, life is just that, just living, just nothing, just everything.

And most people waste that opportunity, because that's all that life is, unless you're literally on the front-lines, like I was. You know, the front lines, where every decision I made affected the lives of four hundred men and women, every second of every day? And I wasn't even the head honcho, but one valve opened at the wrong time? One wrong order I give to my engineering team? Our ship goes down, and, being where we were: we all die.

And do you know what that was like? Boring. Tiring.

And sometimes, with M-16s and shotguns armed and free when I'd be on a boarding team, a little fun, a little scary.

What is your life like? Really. Does every decision you make potentially kill someone?

Yes, it does.

Because every decision you make involve somebody else, and every decision you make fundamentally reduces to: do I treat this person in front of me as 'thou' or do I treat them as 'it'?

And how is that?

Boring. Tiring. But also a little fun, and a little scary.

What's MSR like, right? Boring, right? Talk-talk-talk.


Because Bella and Rosalie, most of the time, treat each other as 'it' but, sometimes, they try to treat each other as 'thou.'

This last chapter there was a little bit of 'thou' going on, where Bella tries to understand Rosalie, and Rosalie tries to open up to Bella.

All in the context of combing hair after a bath then a conversation over the breakfast table.

Boring, isn't it?

Or is it boring? It sound more like it's 'life' to me, and living life? It's the only one we're given, so if it's boring, then, I gotta tell ya, that's your choice. I choose to allow myself to experience my life as an adventure, living it viscerally, in the eternal now, even if that now is a plain old boring conversation at the dinner table ... that will affect us and our relationships for the rest of our lives.

Oh, and p.s.: Martin Buber's I and Thou (Ich und du, actually) is, like, 200 pages (or hundreds of pages less than the latest HP or Twi fantasy (or fan-fic) that tells you nothing about life except how to escape from it). Read it. Now. Please! And rokk less, talk (and listen) more.

And, p.p.s. because I know you demanded it (and I listened): "Less Talk, More Rokk!" And, yes, MSR will also have that, too. Sigh.

Wherefore Vera

I've recent read a couple of stories about Vera, and have read (and reread, and reread) Eclipse, chapter 7 "Unhappy Ending," which is "Rosalie's" chapter, but, in a very real way, is Vera's chapter.

Because, I argue, the key to understanding everything between Rosalie and Bella in the canon, is to understand Vera.

Please allow me to explain.

First, I think we need to examine Rosalie and Emmett's relationship.

Emmett seems to fill a need, but their relationship seems to be more surface. They are "happy" with what they give to each other, but they don't probe to any depth. I would think Rosalie would need more than a strong, sexually charged, easy-going, funny man. I would think she would want somebody she could open her heart to, all the way, and really, not cry, because she can't, but scold her like Vera did, not let Rosalie get away with the stuff Emmett does (in canon), share with Rosalie her deepest sadnesses, and let Rosalie share hers with her.

I think Rosalie needs this, no? And I think she's not getting all that from Emmett. Nor from Royce (well, who she thought Royce would be), and that's why she had Vera then. A true friend, of the heart.

Now let's look at Vera, herself.

Rosalie doesn't have much good, in the canon (E, ch 7), to say about Vera. Vera married early and had a baby at 17 years of age. She married down. Far down. Sure, Rosalie and Vera are "only" middle class, struggling to climb the social ladder, but they were friends, so they were in the same social circle, and that circle?

Upper middle class. Rosalie's father worked at the bank ... during the Depression! ... Rosalie's father bought her dresses (not just an apple for dessert); Rosalie's mother introduced Rosalie around to the elite.

And Rosalie and Vera were friends. Friends of the heart. Why? What names does Rosalie mention in her life story? Emmett, Royce, ... and Vera. Not her parents' names, not her brothers' names; no: Vera's name.

Vera was Rosalie's only friend ... ever.

And Vera had ... as they said back then ... moxie.

She married a carpenter. Do you understand what this means? Her parents were in the first circles. So they told her this: "Don't marry him." And she did.

And they cut her right off. She lived at his house, on cheapside ... not at a house that her parents could provide for her.

Or they didn't cut her right off, and did offer easy living. And she told them no. "Thank you, Mother, Father, but I'm going to cleave to my man, and go where he will go, not where you tell him to go."

Either way, she chose her own path, not the path her parents "offered" to her.

And Vera was Rosalie's friend. Whom do you visit a week before your wedding? A casual acquaintance? Royce had his buddies, that he liked much more Rosalie, and Rosalie had Vera, whom she loved more than anybody in the world.

Because, as much as Rosalie belittles Vera in her story she tells in canon, Vera was the only person who put up with Rosalie, besides Emmett and Royce, but Vera went one step further, and this is implied by the canon: Vera chose her own path, and she let Rosalie choose hers, too, but she didn't let Rosalie get away with her lies.

Because Rosalie lies. All the time. She tells Royce or Emmett that everything's beautiful and pristine and happy. Worst of all, she lies to herself. She turns her nose up to everything and looks down: "I'm perfect; you're not."

She even does this to Vera. And Vera rolls her eyes and says "I'm happy for you, Rosalie, I really am. But I choose this. I choose true happiness, and this is what it is." And she shows Rosalie, not mean-spiritedly, but kindly what happiness can be.

She shows Rosalie so clearly that even Rosalie sees it, knows it for what it is, and acknowledges that Vera chose better.

I think Vera's been through enough in her life that she has the experience to share something and to know enough about Rosalie to know that there's more to her than she's letting on, and she's old enough not to allow Rosalie play her games with herself. I think maybe Rosalie needs Vera in soul-mate kind of way.

I think Rosalie needed Vera then, even though she had the perfect handsome prince in Royce, and I think Rosalie needs Vera now, even with her big teddy-bear of a perfect husband in Emmett.

Now let's look at the "relationship" of Rosalie and Bella

Woo, boy, does Rosalie want to tear Bella to pieces pretty much the first second Rosalie sees her, and why? Because Bella can have babies, but no, she's going after a vampire, for goodness sake!

Or so Rosalie says.

I would beg to differ with Rosalie's supplied argument.

We never get a physical description of Vera, but she wasn't as beautiful as Rosalie. We get a physical description of Bella, and we find out that she's not as beautiful as Rosalie.

Just like Vera.

No surprises there: Rosalie is the most beautiful person in the whole world. That's canonical.

But Bella chooses her own path, over the objections of Edward, her parents (NM, catatonia), the whole universe.

Just like Vera.

Bella forgives Rosalie her (very serious) mistakes (NM, post Vulturi) and accepted her, not holding Rosalie's faults against her.

Just like Vera.

Rosalie had a conversation with Bella. Who is the only other person in the whole world that Rosalie ever had a conversation with? Conversation, not diatribe. Emmett? No.


Your point, geophf?

Rosalie is a hurting person. She wants to kill Bella (MS, post Phenomenon), because, I argue, Bella sees too much, even, possible will see into Rosalie's soul.

So Rosalie's hurting.

And Vera's dead.

And here's a little quiet, brown-brown girl, who forgives Rosalie, talks with her, and chooses her own path.

Rosalie wants to tear Bella to shreds, because if Rosalie dares to take that risk of opening her heart to VeraBella again, she'll just die on Rosalie ... again.

So that explains Rosalie's (very) antagonistic attitude to human Bella.

And (pre-)vampire Bella? Now that Bella has made her irrevocable choice and has stood up to everyone, just like Vera, Bella may die (and Rosalie is just so fiercely protective of VeraBella here, and of herself, possibly preparing herself for being hurt again when VeraBella dies again), but VeraBella "re"born, that is "newborn"?

Suddenly, it's a BxRose love-fest. Why?

Because now, NOW, VeraBella can be a friend of Rosalie's heart, and not go dying on her, as humans are wont to do.

Everybody says: "Rosalie wants Renesmee."

Everybody is missing the point.

Rosalie likes Renesmee. Rosalie loves Renesmee. But her babysitting and all that serves two purposes: it gives her time with the baby. And it gives VeraBella time with her husband.

Rosalie is doing this for herself. Rosalie does everything for herself. But Rosalie is being selfless, as well.

Rosalie is being selfless.


Because, I argue, when she was alive, she didn't appreciate Vera for what she was. A friend. Just that. A friend.

Rosalie has never had a friend before or since.

And Vera was there for Rosalie, in spite of and despite the fact that Rosalie is just so Rosalie.

And now here's VeraBella again. Now, finally, Rosalie can say "thank you" to her for that one thing Vera gave to Rosalie that nobody else in the world ever did. AND Rosalie can finally, finally-finally-finally, have that true friend that she can (maybe some day, centuries from now) open up a bit more than she did in Eclipse, ch 7.

You know, a relationship like Alice has with Bella. Bella's not a replacement, nor substitute, for Jasper.

A relationship like that, but, because this is Rosalie, after she gets over her vanity, it will be a relationship so much deeper than that.

Even though she doesn't know this herself, even though she's fought so fiercely against it, she'll have a relationship that she's been looking for her entire existence.

If we look at the relationship of Rosalie and Bella through the lens that Vera provides, we see that it is consistent from start to present (not "finish" because now, thankfully, it will never end). It's not baby-envy. It's not "human"-envy. It's Rosalie. Hurting Rosalie, scared; protective Rosalie, scary, and, eventually, trusting Rosalie, loving and understanding, and finally ... opening.

Just like the relationship she had with Vera, more than seventy years ago.


When Juliet says "Romeo, o Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" She's not saying, "Where are you Romeo?" she's saying "Why are you Romeo?" That is "Why are you my family's enemy, and not some other cute guy to make this whole liebestod thing easier for me?"

Monday, November 30, 2009

November 2009 stats

So, I'm moving all this to a spreadsheet, so I won't be showing the numbers here any more. The end result for the month of November 2009 for page views on ffn are as follows:
  • Top 10er (Nov 2009)
    1. USA
    2. Australia
    3. UK
    4. Canada
    5. Ireland
    6. Germany
    7. South Korea
    8. Brazil
    9. Singapore
    10. Italy

  • Holy Crow: South Korea (double digit page-view-to-readership ratio)

  • Improved: UK, Ireland, Germany (improved ratio)
    Germany rallied at the end of the month to edge South Korea out of the 6th place position

  • Reversi: Canada (reversed a downward ratio trend to an upward one)

  • Kicking butt: South Korea, Australia, Ireland (4.0 or more page-views to readership ratio)

  • Player: USA, Australia, UK, Canada, Ireland, South Korea, Germany, Brazil, Singapore, Sweden, Poland, Italy (shows up on the top 10 any time during the month)

  • Comeback Kid: Italy (Got knocked off the list, but then returned)

There were a total of 4,057 page views from 1,475 visitors for the month of November, 2009. This was the most-read/most-readers month my stories have seen, so far, nearly doubling the second-place month both in pages viewed and readers.

So, thank you. I thank each and every one of you for reading my stories. Remember to review, too, please.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Suicide is painless? No.

My most recent chapter ("Take Me") of my story MSR has our girl so lost that she begs Rosalie to 'take her,' that is: to kill her by exsanguination, because her life is now at its lowest and has no prospects to get better. Rosalie disagrees.

It is just so, so hard, being in the position where a person thinks they have no out and things can only get worse from here ... and that nobody loves them ... and that nobody cares ... and that by committing suicide, people will actually be happier that they are gone ... because (and this has happened) somebody told them they should just kill themselves.

I'm no expert in suicide prevention, but: a couple of things.

Helen DeWitt in her novel Last Samurai offered the suicide's alternative (that actually came from Jonathan Glover, the Utilitarian) which is "before committing suicide you should change your job, leave your wife, leave the country" (ibid, p 490)

The other thing is this: you think your help others by offing yourself.  You think you're terrible.  You're not, and you're not.  The webcomic "Questionable Content" shows a daddy's little girl, the happiest child in the world, very, very damaged because she went out back one day, looking for Pa, only to see Pa put a gun to his head.  A happy man, a kind man, a good family man, a man with no secrets, but then this.  And she's been paying for it every day since.  Don't make them the excuse for your death, make them the reason to keep living one more day.

Because they need you and they love you, and they will miss you when you are gone. 

Even 18 years later. As I do.

As I state in my story, there is a special place in Hell for suicides, and you may or may not end up there, but one thing that will happen is that people who know you and love you will carry that little burden in their hearts for the rest of their lives and perhaps unto Eternity.

But you think you have to face this alone. You don't.  Your friends and family will listen.  If they won't, then there's a hotline.  And, if that doesn't work, then, please, do something, even the Glover alternative.  Why kill yourself if all you've seen of the world is the one little country in which you grew up?  Get a ticket to ride on a tall ship and go up into the crow's nest, it will (literally) lift your heart, and the price of the ticket is so much less than the price of your life.  It is.  Really.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cullen's "noble" choice?

Isn't it noble that the Cullens (and the Denali coven) choose to abstain from humans and their blood? Garrett, in his speech in BD, seems to indicate that they are doing something that really is for the betterment of all vampire society, right?
"Vampire society" -- for naturally nomadic creatures there's a weird juxtaposition of words

Wouldn't you agree?

For the most part in Twifandom, this seems to be the sentiment. "Vegetarian" vampires? How noble!

And couched in those words, it certainly seems that way — after all, the Volturi treated Carlisle as an honoured guest, ... a curiosity, but a guest, none-the-less — but let's look at it from the vampire perspective. Or, more correctly, let's transform the vampire perspective to the humanist one. Let's look at the Cullens through your eyes, if your eyes were vampire ones.

You know this doctor and his family, and they are well-bred, well-dressed, refined and educated (the kids are a little weird, what with Edward always grimacing and Alice always going off into these traces, but Rosalie is sure easy on the eyes and both Emmett and Jasper are both manly men), so you invite them over for supper. You prepare this feast, spending days in meticulous preparation to get everything just right, you invite the Cullens over, present the feast, but they just shake their heads at you, snobbishly, and say they follow and alternate lifestyle when it comes to food, and they bring out their own meals which are ...

Which are bags of vomit and horse manure (c.f. MSR, "Compulsion").

Now, you have the "turkey" and the "roast beast" on the table, you have the "red wine" out. Everything's perfect for a refined and elegant family that the Cullens, up to now, appeared to be to you. You try talking some sense into them.

Oh, no!

"We prefer this way because it doesn't hurt those poor, innocent creatures we so love!" they exclaim. And then they start eating that ... well, that stuff right in front of you. Imagine it: your guests, eating horse manure and vomit, over your protests.

I'd be willing to bet, if this was happening in front of you, you'd kind of lose your appetite, right?

I'd be willing to bet, the next time you'd think about inviting them over, you'd check with them first to see if they were still on that "diet," and, if they were, you'd probably find some conflict in your schedule.

I'd be willing to bet, if they kept this up, and they started extolling their tastes to you and your friends, you'd ask them to take their business elsewhere, and also very seriously consider calling the Department of Health and 'Human' Services, and for good measure, Homeland Security, as anybody who ate that stuff, by choice had to be off their rocker and more than likely a threat to you and yours.

Vampire 'vegetarianism' ... still a noble choice? Or, perhaps, looking at it through the eyes of a vampire, might you not possibly see this lifestyle choice as ... well,

An abomination.

Does the most recent chapter of MSR ("Lillian, Arise!") now make better sense? Those mean, mean Volturi, stamping out the Cullens like that, aren't they really just removing undesirables?

I mean, after all, you call the police to break up domestic disturbances in the next apartment over due to the "devil in a bottle." If your neighbors were really eating that kind of food, stinking up the whole building, going door to door trying to proselytize their twisted lifestyle, you would be glad to have the police cart them away, and all your neighbors would pat you on the back for a job well done.

Do you now see why the Cullens' lifestyle took so long to become apparent to Carlisle and the others? Do you now see why it hasn't caught on like wildfire with other vampires?

The amazing thing to me? That they have so many friends ... dear friends, too ... Peter and Charlotte particularly take time out of their schedule to visit them (cf. Midnight Sun). And all the support they had in BD, Book III was not only self-serving (*ahem* Stephan? Vladimir?) but from friends across the world (the Amazon, Ireland, England, Egypt (not so much)) who came to them to support their friends to allow them to continue to live this very odd lifestyle.

Vampires have a more kindly nature than what I would have imagined for creatures designed to be perfect predators.

"Kind for a vampire" ... indeed!

I'm still not going to go into a dark alley to meet one, however. Nor should you, Miss Oh-Bite-Me-Edward!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"What Would Edward Do?"

So you do know the WWJD thing ("What Would Jesus Do?"), right?
Do not go to wwjd(dot)com unless you wish to be blinded by flash and garish colours!
Well, the Twilight community has their own credo: "WWED?"

Yes: "What Would Edward Do?"

This question was brought forcefully to mind when I took my family out for sup last night instead of working, as is my wont, and my cara spoza said something along the lines of "you are a good husband."

You don't know me, so you don't know how much thought and effort my dear one had to put to be able to say that statement sincerely. So, my initial reaction was to vehemently deny what she said, and, ... to provide counterexamples. Lots of counterexamples.

But then I thought: WWED? ("What Would Edward Do?")

That's easy. And canonical.

Edward would get up from the table, lead Bella into the forest, and abandon her there, after she told him she would die without him. So he threw her, literally, to the wolves so she could commit suicide because he thought he wasn't good enough.

WWRD? ("What Would [my] Rosalie Do?")

She would throw Bella face down into the snow, in February, then (nearly) throw a tree on her and that was the warming up stage, because let the shouting commence!

And, actually, that is a kindness, compared to Rosalie in the book series. For what did she do? Plan with Jasper the best way to murder the girl after Phenomenon.

WWJD? ("What Would Jesus Do?")

I was going to say I wasn't sure, but the answer's been given as well:

"Good Teacher [...]"
"Why do you call me good?" [...]

Mark 10:17-18

So, everybody, by their examples, are telling me that I should have snapped back. Heck, Rosalie tells us that even the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale (Scarlet Letter) did his fair share of breast-beating, "Oh, I'm not good; I'm not good!"

The thing of it is, none of the above folks were looking to make nice or to make friends or to keep friends (*ahem*: Edward?). None of them were talking to somebody they wanted to spend the rest of forever with, or so they think.

None of them were addressing their (current) wife. Or BFF. Or, in my case, both.

In most of the cases listed above, the (harsh) responder wanted the sayer to think what they were saying.

Definitely not the case here. My cara spoza was giving me a compliment. She knows my goods and my bads; she's measured them, and, for all that, and all that, she decided to say this. She did think about and know what she was saying.

And definitely not the case for you, too. I mean, maybe your BF or GF or spouse is saying something thoughtlessly, but do you really want to tear them a new one because they just called you kind or nice or said "I love you" and you're not ready to hear that because you don't deserve it, and you know it?


Edward didn't deserve Bella's love, and he knew this, so what does he do? He up an leaves her, knowing she's a danger magnet, knowing there's danger out there, and no Mike Newton nor Jacob Black (in his current form) could possibly defend a girl with vampire scent all over her. And that's not even the point.

The point is this: she loves him, she needs him.

Edward should have manned up and said "thank you" and stayed and then grew to be the man (or vampire or whatever) that Bella saw him to be.

So WWID? ("What Would I Do?") I would do what I did do.

I said "thank you" and now I'm working on being the person my cara spoza sees me to be.

For her.

WWYD? ("What Would You Do?")

Maybe Edward would rethink his position, given the fallout of his actions was New Moon and Eclipse.

Bella's telling you she loves you, Edward ... WWYD?

Your spouse or your BF or GF or BFF is telling you something nice about you ... WWYD?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dreams and reality

Or: "geophf, why do you write this way?"

My most recent chapter of MSR has had rather a galvanizing effect on my reviewers. Was it a dream?

This, of course, has set me off. What is the nature of reality?

May I tell you something personal? I'm (kinda) Jewish.

Let me explain.

There's been this big 'debate' for more than a few years now about the Torah in Christendom about 'Creationism' particularly on the point of Genesis: did all those things literally happen?

I'm not going to argue that point, because ... nope, I'm not going to argue that point, but I am going to stand by my Jewish brethren here. They do not ask "did this really happen?" as if they are trying to score points with G-d as to who is more righteous in His eyes. No, they take the Creation Story and ask, instead, the following question: "What can we learn from this?"

The point, or a point, of the Creation Story is not whether it happened (you can argue until you are blue in the face, if that so pleases you), but what does it mean for us.

Did our heroine experience those things in reality or was it all just a dream?

Is it a dream? When you dream, do you know that you are dreaming? Are you awake right now, reading a diatribe from geophf, or are you dreaming?

"I'm awake, geophf, because I know I'm awake."

Study the epistemology of that statement and get back to me on that.

If the Hindus say that this is all Maya ... and they've been around four thousand years or more ... maybe there's something in that? If the aborigines in the outback say that this is the dreamtime, what proof does the measurement of technology have to naysay that?

Who are you; what are you; why are you.

Are you real? And what is reality?

It's so easy to compartmentalise everything into its nice little box: "Oh, Bella's dreaming" "Oh, Rosalie's calling Bella a weird name" Ever notice that every box we put reality into, there's always something that bursts the boundaries of the box? I sure do, and I'm a mathematical philosopher, so the boxes I make are air- and water-tight, but still, messy, confusing, unboxable reality has a way of making me rethink my neat little boxes I try to put reality into.

Rosalie has this problem, big-time. She has everything all planned out. Her life, her marriage, her capture of this girl, everything. What worked out exactly the way she planned it?

You know the saying: "One sure way to make G-d laugh: tell Him your plans."

So this is a dream? Why? Because you want it to be? What happens when our girl doesn't wake up from this 'dream'?

Maybe she does, maybe she doesn't: but it's not up to anybody to dictate what is reality, because it is, regardless of what we want it to be or what we think it is. That's why philosophy is so important, because when we begin to peel back the layers of what we believe to see what is really there (layer after layer), we can start to live more in harmony with the Tao: no fight-no blame.

Is this a dream?

That question doesn't matter and isn't important. What matters is this: what to do from here?

Our girl, sometimes, isn't very good at doing that. And sometimes she is.

And that's not important, really, either. What's important is this:

You've experienced something, ... reading this, or dreaming a terribly sad dream, or losing a loved one, or being diagnosed with cancer, or something small or great.

What will you learn from that? What are you going to do about it?

Wait. Who am I now?

My dear author(esse)s, you, particularly, are most likely doing something that you need to stop right now. You are engaging in a habit that is much worse than smoking or (depending on your views, more than social) drinking.

You are writing chapters from multiple first person perspectives ("Multiple POVs").

Why is multiple first person perspectives worse than smoking or drinking? Smoking rots your lungs; drinking rots your gut ... multiple POV story-writing rots your brain cells, and (perhaps worse) rots your readers' brains.

You have to stop doing this, and you must stop doing this right now.

My story RLT is told exclusively from Rosalie's point of view ("POV"). My story MSR is told exclusively from our girl's POV. It has since chapter 1, and it will until its conclusion. I do not ever switch POVs inside a story. To do so is deus ex machina, and it would take an author(ess) with much more skill than what I have to be able to pull it off.

Most stories on FFN and Twilighted have POV switching all over the place. Within chapters, between chapters ... everywhere. Ever notice anything about those stories? I'm not going to pull any punches here, ladies and (at least one) gentlemen (and do I ever?). They are, to the very last one, utter crap.

I will not ever do that to you in MSR. I did not do that in RLT. I will never do that. Ever

If you are reading MSR, then you are reading from the girl's POV. That is the one sure thing you can take away from my story. And, as you can see, the reader does need that anchor, because MSR is a confusing, messy ride for our protagonist. To switch POVs? What's the point?

There is no point, there never is any point to switching POVs other than the author(ess)'s complete lack of skill or laziness or both.

If you are switching POVs inside a chapter of your stories, I have one thing I beg of you: DON'T! You will instantly become a much better writer simply by eliminating that prop that so many amateurs lean on.

"But, geophf, I need to get into the heads of more than just the main character in my story and there's no getting around it," you cry. "How can I do that without Multiple POVs?"

Let me tell you about a particularly interesting device: it's called the third person perspective. It allows you, the author(ess), to do that, insofar as you don't use it to dip into the first person trope, skipping along from character to character. It's only been around for as long as the first novel has ever been published, centuries ago. You may wish to give that a try.

Think about it.

And that's the thing, isn't it? Most stories are not well-thought out. Most stories have no plan, other than the 'plan' of the author(ess) saying excitedly to h(er/im)self: "Ooh! I wonder what happens next?"

Yes, yes, I know: you are writing for the love of it. Yes, you are writing for fun. "Get a life, geophf! It's just fan-fiction."

So, if you are doing those things, then write something that people love, and write something that people "have fun" reading ("have fun" meaning "enjoy" ... meaning laugh or cry or learn or whatever).

"Oh," you rebut, "I can write from multiple POVs because Steph wrote from multiple POVs in BD!"

No, she didn't. BD is three books: the first book is from human Bella's POV, the second book is from Jacob's POV, and the third book is from vamp Bella's POV. Sorry, even Steph obeys this rule.

"Oh," you try again, "your own story 13ways is told from multiple POVs! Hypocrite!"

No. 13ways is a collection of character studies. Each chapter is its own story; each chapter is told exclusively from one and only one character's perspective. Yes, taken together, they weave a story of the Denali coven, but each story has its own, oftentimes conflicting, perspective of what's going on in that family and why. This is intentional and spelled out in its apologia. This "multiply POVs" story, as you call it, uses this prop intentionally to make you think, to make you walk away from the story and say "Aha! That's why Irina is like that in BD!" Other stories that use multiple POVs? Read them (or save yourself the rotting braincells, and don't read them), what have you learned when you walk away from them?

You walk away from them wondering: "Ooh! I wonder if Edward and Bella will 'kiss'?" [or whoever and whoever]

And given this is Twilight fan-fiction, is there any wonderment at all in your wondering?

Yes, it's fun to wonder 'what happens next?' But Twilight, itself, goes deeper than just that or only that. Twilight builds a universe of believable, credible, deeply-researched characters in a realistic setting, and that edifice is entirely constructed, in the first four books, through the simple, sweet, insightful eyes of a seventeen year old plain old ordinary brown-brown girl.

Remember the wonder you experience as you read those books?

You can create that sense of wonder in the readers of your own stories.

So do that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

So why did Rosalie want to kill Bella?

In the canon there is this piece of 'fan-fiction' called "Midnight Sun," and it takes Twilight and tells it from Edward's perspective.

It is a treasure-trove of Twiverse information. I would call it essential reading for all fan-fiction author(esse)s, and you can take my word on that to the bank because I nevah! descend to hyperbole!


*ahem* Hanywey.

Anyway, in the outfall from "Phenomenon" chapter (when Edward impossibly (for a human) saves Bella from the van) when the Cullens have the family meeting to determine what to do now, Jasper is bound and determined to murder Bella, and ...

And Rosalie not only "supports" Jasper, but if he welches on his promise, then she more than willing to murder Bella in her sleep. And what is the reasons she gives for her cold-blooded plan?
  1. She wants to finish high school.

  2. And they've only just moved (back) to Forks, and doesn't want to be inconvenienced with another move so soon.

Now, I'm all for accepting statements at face value, but I think there's something (much) deeper going on with Rosalie's sudden and poorly explained hatred of this newcomer and threat to the happy vampire family that Rosalie so happens to be co-located with.


Well, let's examine her given reasons:
  1. She wants to finish high school?

    Rosalie has existed for more than 80 years, and she has been in and out of high school AND college probably more than 8 times (she starts high school by transferring in to at the very lowest 10th grade). So she's upset that Bella is going to break up her already broken record (*ahem* Emmett, remember those students you killed by accident 35 years ago?)?

    Um, no.

  2. She's only just moved into Forks, WA and she wants to stay?

    Okay. Forks, WA? Been there? I've lived there. Not there, specifically, but smalltown USA (Moodus, CT, if you must know). A town of comparable size and industry. Do you know what people say when you ask where they come from? If they come from smalltown USA, they either say nothing, or they say "you haven't heard of it, but it's near [some city that it's nowhere near to because it's so far in the styx]," or they say "I come from smalltown, USA." The emphasis is on the come from because they left that life behind.

    Okay. You're from smalltown. You love smalltown. You've been to Town once and hated it. You are going to rip off my face for my insults.

    But one things you aren't ... is Rosalie. She came from Town: Rochester, NY. You know, where they have cars, right? And stores that aren't run by your neighbor and aren't the only stores in town? And they have more people than either cows or trees or both?

    Rosalie in Forks, WA? Sure, out of necessity. Rosalie LIKING Forks, WA? Maybe if you replace the town "Forks, WA" with "NYC" we could have a conversation where we both weren't laughing at the sheer lunacy of it, but Forks, WA?

    Um, no.

Offing a girl for either or both reasons Rosalie gives? Possible, plausible, even, I suppose, but not the reasons Rosalie wants to off this girl.

What is the real reason Rosalie wants to kill this stupid little doe-eyed human who's seen too much for her own good? Yes, Bella is a threat to the Cullens, and therefor Rosalie's comfort (you DO NOT mess with what is Rosalie's), and both are good enough for most people to accept that Rosalie would be more than happy to off Bella. After all, it was good enough for Jasper. She's broken the Rule, she dies. End of story.

But for Rosalie, it goes much, much deeper than that.


She's built up this little castle around herself. She has her Cullen family and her Emmett, even, lulled into this sense of security about her: "Oh, that's just Rosalie, the dumb, bitchy blond, so we can ignore her."

If Edward gets too inquisitive with her mind, she can think about brushing her hair, and he tunes her right out. She is, after all, his oldest sister, and knows how to play Edward like a fiddle. Just because he can read minds does not mean he sees into the soul. He 'knows' Rosalie, so he probes no further. Edward is no threat to Rosalie.

If Emmett gets too "Hey, babe, what's happening? Is something bothering you?" She knows exactly what to do. Emmett is all surface (c.f.: Midnight Sun), what he believes, he says, and he sees everything simply. Rosalie's unhappy? What's up with that?

Nothing, after she takes him on a little ride, because now he's floating on bliss, and Rosalie looks happy, so she must be happy.

The other family members are less of an issue that either Edward or Emmett. There are just too many people in that family with too many issues for her to become the focus of attention.

Rosalie may have wanted, and got, the admiration of every man at the ball when she was human, but here, as a vampire, she's ignored, and that exactly how she wants it. If she's left alone, she can't get hurt again.

But then along comes that little meddling human, and she sees right through Edward. In fact, Rosalie was sure Edward was so asexual, he wasn't even interested in men ... I mean, he and Carlisle had plenty of chances for something to happen, but zilch came out of that. And if Edward wasn't interested in Rosalie, then Edward wasn't interested in anybody.

But Bella just blinks her big brown eyes at Edward and he turns into playdough in her fragile little human hands, and, Edward, being Edward, has never shared anything with anybody. WHICH IS FINE WITH ROSALIE, because Edward's a big jerk anyway, rejecting Rosalie like he did.


But he told that human everything and I mean everything! I mean, not even Mommy Esmé has dragged so many words out of him in the last 50 years! And the little human did it just by looking at him.

And he can't read her mind. She's a complete void to him. Inscrutable.

So what if her power is something more than her blandness and blankness.

What if she can see into the soul, like that foolish boy Edward cannot?

And if she looks at me? And what if she sees what she sees of my soul.

I know what she'll see, because I recoil from it every second that I have a quiet moment, alone and to myself. That's why I'm always with Emmett or somebody, even if its that cad Edward.

I've never had to directly confront myself, but if that little human looks at me, and blinks her big doe eyes, and says: "Rosalie ..." with her chin quivering like that and with tears leaking out of her eyes, as they do not leak out of mine?

If she sees me for what I really am, she'll ... she'll ...

She'll know. And she'll pity me. And she'll tell the Cullens. And then they'll know.

She must die. Right now. She knows too much already. But she can't know me, because that'll mean that I'll have to know me, and that cannot ever happen.

I've got this comfortable existence with family members I can push around and manage, I can't have this whole façade threatened.

Bella Swan must die.

And if Jasper doesn't man up and do it because he's wrapped around Alice's ... fingers, then I'll do the job myself.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Royce got what's comin' to him

I get this occasionally from reviewers.

"Oh, Rosalie is this real [something], she deserved to be raped."
"Oh, Bella is so annoying, I hope Rosalie just up and kills her."
"Oh, Royce was a real [something else], he got what he deserved."

Um. May I respectfully disagree?

Let's just take Royce as an example, for, after all: he's pure evil, so there's nothing more to say.


As to Royce deserving what he got, or deserving more than what he got, well ...

I would never wish to have my daughters raped nor murdered, although some reviewers do wish this on my surrogate daughters Rosalie and Bella, but ...

Did he deserve what he got? Sure, and then some.

But, if we got what we deserved ... instead of mercy or kindness or clemency ... which we don't deserve ...?

And who was truly punished? Who was truly twisted by the meting out of justice upon Royce? Is a vindictive action a cleansing one or a damning one? Are revenge and jealousy and hatred admirable traits?

If a friend of yours had a child and she was hurt deeply by someone, would you feel that, when she tortured the boy for eight hours and then murdered him, that now it's all good? Justice served, Oklahoma!-style? (That musical had to be one of the most twisted things I have ever seen ... "Jud falls on his knife," indeed! Maybe he received more than a little help as he fell, perhaps?)

And the girl? With blood on her hands? She's happy now?

I don't know. I do hope there isn't a big-old score card, because I'd be in serious trouble.

It's easy ... too easy ... to say these things should be visited on other people, but before you wish ill on another, look in the mirror first, and then, second, check the score card ... not the tally by Royce's name, but the one by your own name.

Still casting that stone?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hate Edward much, geophf?

So you've read my tirade about Hateful Edward.

So, geophf, do you hate Edward?

No. If you see all the invective I heap on Edward, you see that it is prefaced with "let me play the devil's advocate."

I am not speaking out of both sides of my mouth: I stand by and believe my position. I do not hate Edward, but I do think the "Edward" image does damage to girls and boys both. And not because he's some impossible ideal ... quite the opposite, in fact.

But I also acknowledge that he does behave (as best as he can, given his disabilities) "in a [more] gentleman-like manner" to Bella.

No. I don't hate Edward. But I'm Charlie, cleaning my shot gun, and Bella is my daughter, and I expect him to respect her, and I think he is quite capable of doing that very simple thing by stopping and listening to her. And I think he needs to work (a lot) on that.

Fixated much, geophf?

So, what's your problem, geophf? Why are you championing Rosalie? Like, where did you get this whole MSR idea, anyway? I mean, really!

Okay. You asked.

We lost our Rose Marie. She was one month in the womb, and then she was gone.

And I wonder.

Can she hope? Her fate is now in her unformed hands, and in God's hands.

And that is so hard for me. Can she hope? Can she hope to choose for happiness, when she didn't have a life on which to base a choice? When she may not know what happiness is to choose it?

Can Rosalie hope? No, she can't, according to her in "Heaven and Hell": she's been judged, so she cannot enter Heaven. And what is Hope if Heaven appears lost to one?

Rosalie believes she cannot hope to hope ... not any more ... not for herself. But can't she?

Rose Marie is not Rosalie, and Rosalie is not Rose Marie, but both are faced with the same question, and I ask it for both of them: is it possible for those beyond the reach of hope to reach for that unreachable hope and actually obtain it ... and actually hope?

And then there's Bella. A girl that has everything Rosalie/Rose Marie doesn't: life, tears, sleep, hope. But Bella doesn't have it, either ... she, too, is so lost. She, too, needs love, needs it so desperately. Do those who live ... can they hope in this hopeless world, even though it's not a hopeless world, and all you have to do is look for hope, see it, to then find it?

MSR is a story about Hope. It is a very sad story, for me, because the characters don't even know why they are groaning: but they are ... and they hope ... they hope that they can hope. Can they?

I guess we'll need to find out.

The Emmett Comment

I get this on occasion, and I believe it's a topic worth discussing.

Did Rosalie really say that? Did she really say that she would gladly sacrifice anything to regain her humanity ... even Emmett?


Did she mean that?

Yes, of course.

Because why? Because she will never be able to make that trade. But if you said: "Okay Rosalie, kill these 100 children and burn Emmett and you get your humanity back," then will she do that?

Nope. In actuality, she would sacrifice her humanity for her Emmett. But she said the opposite ... why? People say things.

We all say things that are wrong, stupid, and, upon reflection, things we shouldn't have said and things we wish we didn't. Rosalie made this mistake. Have I ever made this mistake?

Oh, yes.

Have you?

Everybody casts this "She'd sacrifice Emmett" stone at Rosalie. But nobody ever analyzes her statement. Not only at face value, but at Venice value. One pound of flesh, please, Rosalie.

And nobody ever looks in the mirror when they cast that stone. Rosalie lives in a glass house. Well, well, well: looky there! Rosalie has feet of clay. Huh! Record every word you ever said, have every newspaper publish it ... read the newspapers 50 years from now. Oops! Did I really say that?!?

Are you still Holier than Rosalie?

I think Rosalie, in fact, is a whole Hale of a lot Holier than most people in the whole world, and, yes, she does have a mote in her eye, but the people casting stones? They have the frikken redwood forest-sized beams blinding them to their own fault.

"Oh, Rosalie's not perfect."

She sure isn't. My story portrays her sympathetically, but definitely (and defiantly) very much not perfect, but ...

A Rosalie's a Rosalie, for a' that.

Sunday, November 1, 2009



That's what she is. She's a stand on her own feet kind of girl. She just needs to remember that. Rosalie does, too. Rosalie, at first, treated her as a thing, as a problem, and Bella felt that, and her confidence went away in Rosalie's presence. Now Rosalie is (unconsciously) saying "I need you." Even if that need is to answer a phone call from Isle Esme and to become Bella's champion. Even if that need is to watch the baby while Edward and Bella have a little sweetie time. And that need of Rosalie's is the light of the sun, opening the flower of Bella's confidence again.

That's Bella, too: she very much depends on what others think of her. The first day at Forks high, when everybody was like: "Who's this out-of-town girl?" She shrank down to a nothing wallflower. It was only when she established in her mind her place in her new vampire family that she began to be herself again. Pre-visit to the Cullen mansion, Bella was a scared little mouse of a girl, not knowing what shirt to wear. But when Esme looked at Bella, and said: "You are brave; I love you; You are my daughter." and Alice handed Bella her BFF creds, then nothing in the world could shake her: not high school, not James, not overbearing Edward driving her away from the baseball field to nowhere. Nothing. She had love, support and a place in her new family, and her feet were firmly planted on that solid foundation.

Sure, Bella shouldn't depend on others for her confidence ... if she weren't Bella. But she is, and intrinsic to her is the comfort of others. Bella is not just Bella or only Bella, she is part of a family, the central part, the part that makes sure everybody is okay and shining and in front being the hero. That is her happiness: if you are happy, she's happy. If not, she won't be happy until she finds a way to restore your happiness.

AND she's not (too) annoying about it either, which is a plus (*ahem* Alice). She's not bubbly like Alice, but she's not aloof and righteous like Rosalie, she's Bella, and just as essential as both Alice AND (CRUCIALLY) Rosalie, in the ineffable, intangible way that she is vital to the family's well-being.

On Saccharin Endings

"Oh, hi, Edward," says Rosalie, "I was gonna off Bella here, but everythings A-O-K now, so you can date her and I'm sure we can talk the Volturi into ignoring the Rule because this is Bella who is the heroine of the story, so everything always turns out fine for her no matter what. You know, the consequence-free endings of all those disney flicks starting with Little Mermaid where the heroine keeps making wrong choices but is rewarded with a happy ending because that's just the way things are to keep the population controlled and docile: 'oh, keep being irresponsible in all aspects of your life, because a handsome vampire prince named Edward will sweep you away from the mess that you've made ... someday ... so it's all good.'"

Edward: "Urk. Well, okay, Rosalie ... I was gonna shred you for speaking the truth and for looking at Bella funny, but good thing the author wrote in this deus ex machina so I could 'save the day.' Hey, Bella, c'mere so I can sweep you off your feet."

Bella: "Um, I've talked to you all of two times and I'm supposed to fall head over heels for you for what reason again?"

Rosalie and Edward: "Shaddap! You're introducing realism into the fairy tale plot. You're the damsel in distress (not at all like the Shannon Hale damsels), so you're supposed to accept the feet sweeping with gratitude!"

Bella: "So, how do you guys speak in unison perfectly like that?"

Rosalie: "I'm not a guy."

I love happy endings. Ya know ... credible happy endings. And they are so easy to write: all you have to do is to make the characters own up to the choices they've made ... ya know: responsibility and all that?

I don't watch many movies these days at all.