Personal situation, direction inquiries

I’m apparently going to need to see an additional specialist. The little outpatient surgery thing went fine, but didn’t actually reduce any of the nerve pain, just the lower back pain.

Right now my focus is on getting things at work into some semblance of order. I’ll fiddle with little bits of the story but no idea when the next  piece comes out.

Nor am I sure if more intensive surgical stuff will be needed until I meet the specialist, and I don’t have dates for that yet.

In other news, I’m kinda sleepy. Between the 10’s for Vicodin, damn near 1700 mg of naproxen a day, these muscle relaxants, and the stuff they shot me up with, I’m just not very alert or focused.

As far as TWCD goes…

There’s a branch point I’m thinking of. Whether to delve into Shepard psychology and past with chambers, or move straight into the action and the Rise of the Butcher. Tempted to simply close out Arc I and get the action going, but I’m not sure the framework of how Shepard is reacting is set up properly.

Also not sure if the above sentence makes sense. Drugs, lol. Thoughts would be appreciated.


On the nature of criticism vs. dislike

I had a series of reviews today from a person who felt — among other things — that I was being intolerant of certain kinds of critical feedback. I won’t bother naming names. Attention, I feel, is not this person’s goal , so much as demanding someone act is if they matter.

They ultimately don’t, yet, I want to see if their bullshit had any validity at all, or if it was merely the incoherent, racist, homophobic and mouth-foaming rant I wrote it off as at first.

I won’t address the crux of their argument (as it was extremely retarded) but rather the overarching question implied by them:

At what point is rejecting criticism valid, and at what point is it simply refusing to listen to things you don’t like?

Twilight was raised in the conversation. Some people think Twilight is a great show/series. Others think it’s a mess of cliches. Still others hate the creepy vibe it has, suggesting it promotes issues like wife husbandry and worse.

One cannot argue, however, that millions of people like it, or that it is very commercially successful. On that note, is that to say that all criticism of the work is invalid simply because lots of people like it?

No. A determination, I think, of valid criticism, has to be based on two factors.

Is the criticism driven by personal biases or dislikes or by weaknesses in the work?

Is the criticism primarily directed at the execution, mechanics, or storyline of the work, or at the message and intent  of the work?

I have said for some time now that I am not a great writer. I do not do this out of faux modesty. My main flaws are simple: I am often formulaic and adhere to certain conventions such as melodrama, climatic focus and overpowered characters. Mechanically I have issues with spelling, missed words and phrasing. Thematically I have a tendency towards fantasy, mysticism and conspiracy even where they are inappropriate. Most importantly, I have low tolerances for those who view my work and demand it match up with preconceived notions of canon, which has resulted in me deviating farther from canon than necessary more that once, and increasing numbers of OC’s.

ALL of these are valid criticisms. I cannot argue with any of them, they are all net negatives.

I have also been called out for having unrealistic or disturbing elements in the Shepard/Liara relationship, distorting the view of certain elements into an anime feel,  anti-corporatism, smearing and/or distorting the races of the ME verse into a light that is primarily negative without redeeming features, and creating social structures such as the Commissariat or the Thirty that are fascist/communist and fly in the face of what ME is about.

These are criticisms that I would argue with, but that I mostly chalk up to my personal preferences and style. Some may like them, some will dislike them. I do not feel they invalidate my work, others will disagree.
I have always felt that criticism based solely on one’s personal biases or dislikes, or on one’s political views, or worst of all on antipathy for certain positions taken in a work, are completely invalid. Those who say my aliens act immorally — and, as a support, say there are multiple HUMAN religions who say a given act is immoral — are, in my opinion, missing the point. Those who hate any kind of homosexual relationship, or any suggestion that not everyone is a perfectly well adjusted white male, and imply that because I don’t cleave to their views that my work is sick — what kind of improvement can I derive from such criticism?

To me,  a critic exists for two reasons — to point out a work’s weaknesses and provide insight for those who are unsure of whether or not to invest their time and effort into viewing/reading/experiencing a creative work.

When people provide negative feedback, I try to sort it based on what it is. Some of the feedback I’ve gotten on DLP, for example, I didn’t LIKE. But the reasoning behind it was valid. Rehashing the same thing over and over is NOT good writing and it’s something I need to fix.

When, however, I receive feedback that basically states it would be better if I deleted everything I’d ever written — I don’t take it seriously.

Which leads me to the point of this little post. I have tried to incorporate much of what various readers have suggested in my work over the years. I have repeatedly stated that some of the best twists I had came from the feedback of others — TIM doublecrossing the rest of Cerberus, the entire Eingana arc, the use of Vigil.

I don’t really CARE what people who hate the series think of it, any more than the people who are making millions of Twilight care about the people who hate that work. I write to entertain and distract myself, and to entertain those who like my work, and hopefully to inspire others to write. That is my audience.

Do you feel that I am ignoring the feedback that you have given? Is there a weakness (aside from grammar/words missing) that is resonating through ATTWN and TWCD that needs to be addressed that I am dismissing?

Curious to know what people think.

Various Things

I’m pretty much reduced to trying to write when my back is not forcing me to lay down at this point. I’ll have to go in and see a doctor Monday (assuming I can get in, maybe Tuesday), as this is now at a point where I’m having to stop and lay down every other hour to get the pain to decrease.

I’ve been working on two chapters at the same time, one for Liara/Telanya and one for Shepard. Based on the feedback, I think I’ll intermix the two approaches — one Sheppy chapter, then a cutaway chapter to someone else. That should satisfy everyone.

A reader is planning on starting up a ME themed role-playing session incorporating some of the stuff from my background. I think that’s a pretty neat idea, and I’ve been giving some thought to maybe trying to run a campaign online like that. There’s enough online tools (voice chat and cams, online tabletops and dice-sets and the like) that it could be done remotely, although I don’t know how many people would be interested in such a thing.

My goals for this year are as follows:

  1. Finish up the Encyclopedia Biotica
  2. Take a stab at putting together some kind of document to cover all the technological changes and additions I’ve made.
  3. Complete the Batarians and maybe the Quarians in the Cerberus Files
  4. Finish No Single Raindrop and maybe Lions.
  5. Probably copy the series over to AO3
  6. Have someone do edits on OSABC and ATTWN to clean up the grammar and work on more rewrites of OSABC’s earlier chapters.
  7. See the series get more attention on TVTropes

Time for more Vicodin.

Still writing slowly

Back is … quite a bit worse. Pain is localized sometimes to the very lower back, or sometimes travels down my right leg. When I lay down it stops, calms down when I walk to some degree. Hurts when I sit or just out of the blue. Heat and cold, TENS and massage , nothing really helps.

On 500 mg of naproxen and 300 of vicodin, which isn’t doing much but taking the edge off.

Working on the Liara piece, but I’m still having to deal with on-call stuff from work, so I doubt I’ll get it done this weekend — but I could be wrong. After Liara, should I do a back to Shepard piece, or a roundtable of some other characters (Anderson, von Grath, Delacor, etc)?

Ideas welcome. Home back pain remedies and sympathetic hugs from fangirls also welcome :p

Slowly working

Back is acting up pretty bad, and I’m on-call at work this week, both of which have derailed my update speed.

Working on the Garrus intro first. The prologue will have quite a few chapters as I set up the stage, before getting back to Shepard.

I’m going to make everyone hate Aria almost as much as they hate the Systems Alliance. But not ham-handedly. You should, in a way, feel sorry for Aria, once the whole story comes out.

Need some feedback : Encyclopedia Biotica and ME 2 Piece

I’ve been thinking it’s time to seriously overhaul and expand this thing. Break out each of the five ‘schools’ into more detailed explanations, create more information how biotic powers can be blended, how biotic explosions work, and more biotic and anti-biotic technology.

I’m interested in what YOU want to see in the Encyclopedia. After all if you bother to follow this place you are part of the team that helps OSABC grow.

Or should I focus on finishing ATTWN?

SECOND BIG QUESTION:  I’ve put a poll up on my profile at (which is not showing, but eventually will) about possible names for the ME2 piece.

The choices are :

That Which Cannot Die
Lost Innocence
The Sexual Adventures of Shepard With Naked Thane (only Progman should select this one)

Let me know which one you like.


People who don’t get it

I get all kinds of reviews — the majority are on itself, but some happen other places. Some of the more thought-provoking ones were on completely different backdrops — and many of them were entertaining to read. DLP was a blast, even if they don’t know if they like or hate the work yet, because they do real analysis of it.

Other places are … less entertaining. And one of them infuriated me.

As a rule,  there are three kinds of negative review.

  1. A negative review that hones in some an aspect of the work that is bad, or that they personally dislike. For example, ‘You spell like a moran’, or ‘I think this is too depressing to read’. These are perfectly valid.  Sometimes I alter how I write based on opinion, other times I try to explain my viewpoint, and often times I simply must accept that not everyone is going to be a fan of my work, which is just fine.
  2. A negative review that is a flame, with or without personal attacks, such as ‘I am the Fox Familar, I pretend to be a girl and advocate that wimmz should be barefoot and preggy, and all gheyz must be killed, and ur writing sux.’ I usually laugh heartily at these while sipping wine.
  3. People who complain about something in such a way that illustrates not only do they not know what the fuck they’re talking about, but use evidence to prop up their points that detracts from it. ‘Your races are so evil they could never exist and your make everything too dark and not everyone is that way because canon wasn’t like that.’

The first two are what they are. The last group of people basically infuriate me. And then, of course, I go and look at their fanfic profiles, and their own stories are strewn with unrealistic things, copy-paste right out of canon, and their idea of originality is to do crossovers. Crossovers done MUCH better by other people, BTW.

I don’t mind (or particularly care) if some people dislike grimdark. These people have a tendency to think that SI’s, harems and retelling the same exact story with different people is somehow good writing, and thus we’re not operating on the same wavelength. I like stories filled with melodrama, conspiracy, mystery, and action. Some people don’t.

What bothers me is when a fool who hasn’t even managed to grasp yet that the so-called ‘cultures’ Bioware admitted in several places were simply pastiches of common alien tropes decides to claim that said cultures — of which we have few details, all contradictory — are more realistic than my take on them.

And the logic behind this belief? The person wonders why aliens act stupidly.  And then decides to use HUMAN VIEWPOINTS AND EMOTIONAL RESPONSES to say why ALIENS would not act that way.

I typically don’t get worked up about things like this. It’s a small group of morons who think that Dark Energy is ‘repetitive and boring’, that bash Galaxy at War (despite 3000 reviews) for being ‘off message’, and think Masses to Masses is superior to Fight for the Lost.

These people are fucking crazy.  So, in the interest of education, a few points.

1 ) Society is not inherently good. People are not inherently good.  Suggesting that anything that attempts to suggest that Roddenberry’s view of a bright happy MLP universe is a product of the man’s sheltered life is not heresy. To imply that anything that is grim dark is bad writing is an opinion, one you can hold. To imply that grimdark is, however, something that NEVER happens is to stamp an idiot mark on your own forehead.

2) Aliens are NOT humans colored or shaped slightly different. They don’t have fucking human ethics or morals. A race of beings that reproduces non-penetratively and is collectivist has ZERO goddamned reason not to be promiscuous. That’s called logic. Saying it’s sinful is an appeal to authority, namely ONE human religion. GTFO.

3)  No doubt from the depths of your vast experience with anthropology, the claim that salarian instincts would prevent them from harming their own eggs is countered by the fact there are birds and other egg-laying animals on earth who will , in fact, harm their own eggs. An egg is not guaranteed to hatch, and territoriality is a different response than parental protectiveness. Read Clark and Madson, you sub-literate hacks.

4) Humans wouldn’t give up freedom for security in a world gone mad? ARE YOU COMPLETELY FUCKING BLIND? Have you not looked at the fac….Jesus, I can’t even comprehend how drunk you have to be to believe that bullshit.  ‘Freedom’ is something that people take for granted, and the minute freedom gets a million people killed when a terrorist nutjob blows up Wrigley Field during the World Series, people will ask themselves what cost freedom?

5) The most bombastic thing I read, of course, was the suggestion that anything putting aliens into a negative light was basically somehow wrong because if they don’t it’s just alien-bashing.

Aliens MUST have good motives (even if in FUCKING CANON the Asari hid their own Beacon, the turians lied about a giant fucking bomb, and salarians would rather doom everyone than spare the krogan).

This is the most intolerable shit I have ever beheld, because basically it says the person not only has no braincells, but can’t even comprehend WHY I’m writing the way I write.