Week 15 Update

Posted April 12, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Goals, Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Weekly Accountability

Hi, everyone! It’s that time again! Weekly updates delivered every Friday!

Completed Projects

Ah, nope. None this week.

Goal Updates

  • 0/2 essays for May
  • 7/12 books read
  • 1/4 discussions of papers in Asexualities
  • 0% Abstract submission
  • 1,842/10,000 words of fiction written
  • 0/1 video on ace rep in The Bone People

Writing Updates

This Week’s Fiction Wordcount: 1,842

This Week’s Non-Fiction Wordcount: 1,730

DemiPrincess2: Progress! It meant backtracking a little, but hey. It means I added words and the chapter that wasn’t working started to work a little better. I’m not wholly caught up, but I should be soon and that should fix the issues I had with the damned thing and send me on my merry way. Huzzah!

Life And Other Such Important Matters

I made strawberry cupcakes! They were… okay, but not quite what I’d wanted them to be. I added at least double the strawberry the recipe called for and, well, you could barely taste it and the cupcakes were incredibly sticky because, I think, there was actually too much fruit juice in them.

That’s pretty much the most exciting thing, yes, unless you count that Cat decided she had to be in my bedroom all night and I didn’t have the heart to make her leave even if it meant wrecking my ability to sleep properly.

Stand-out Positive Moment

Oh, gosh. I’m not sure I even know this week. It’s been such a blur. Okay, no. I do know. I just can’t talk about it. But suffice to say it is very awesome and I can’t wait for when I’m allowed to talk about it with you all!

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On Ace Representation: Perceived Ace-coding and Confirmed Ace Rep

Posted April 8, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Hi, everyone! I hope your week is off to a fantastic start! I know. I know. No one likes Mondays because the week’s off to a new start. But you know what Mondays also mean? It’s time for Monday Musings! Wherein I ramble about various and sundry depending on my whim or Patreon requests/suggestions. Posts are somewhere below 2,500 words at most and consist of short personal essays and discussions.

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March Newsletter

Posted April 5, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Goals, News / 0 Comments

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March Newsletter

Hi, everyone! It’s that time again! Monthly news and accountability! March was certainly over in a blink, wasn’t it? How’d your month go?

This month in “Lynn tries new stuff”, I’m also offering a nice round-up of all of March’s posts at the very end. Plus a few from April, because I don’t want to send out more than one round-up email per week if I can at all help it. Do you like it? Let me know your thoughts! 😀

Life And Other Such Important Matters

I never know what to say here. I’ve had a rough couple of days which doesn’t really help because it makes me less likely to communicate in general. (I know. I know. I mask it well. This is one of the real ways in which it shows, though.) It’s just even with weekly comments to look back on I’m drawing blanks. I lead the most interesting life, I tell you.

I did get a nonfiction rejection, which makes me very sad, but you can expect that piece to appear on the blog sometime in future! And currently I’m head-deep in reading The Bone People for the first time and taking copious notes so I can do a video lecture on it after I’m done. Eep! I’m both terrified and excited!

Featured Post

Essay: Subverting Stereotypes: A Look at Asexual and Aromantic Representation in RoAnna Sylver’s ‘Chameleon Moon’

Though the links between Chrysodrine, disability and/or race are immediately obvious, these moments of acceptance result in the narrative also linking queerness to the way that Chrysodrine physically Others as Sylver clearly demonstrates that the majority of their cast falls somewhere under the queer umbrella. Yet by centralising these characters what Sylver actually accomplishes is the opposite. Instead of presenting these characters in a way that says “these people are different from us”, the narrative presents the characters in a way that says “these people are just like us”. Chameleon Moon uses its intertwining of physically Othering both the cast and the setting as well as the characters’ ability and drive to build a better, more accepting community to Same its characters, to state without question that they and people like them are human.

Completed Projects

  • Sekrit Project/Skies short story
  • 1 Let’s Play
  • Let’s Read! Asexuality and Sexual Normativity
  • Let’s Read! Asexual Resonances

April Goals

  • 2 essays for May
  • 12 books read
  • 4 discussions of papers in Asexualities
  • Abstract submission
  • 10,000 words of fiction written
  • 1 video on ace rep in The Bone People

March Goals

  • 7/9 short essays for March/April/May
  • 13/12 books read
  • 2/2 discussions of papers in Asexuality and Sexual Normativity
  • 100% Pick a new Let’s Read! project and discuss its future
  • 16,950/10,000 words of fiction written
  • 1 short story recorded from Feather by Feather and Other Stories
  • 1/1 completed new Let’s Play
  • 100% Reread Chameleon Moon for essayage

Writing Updates

This Month’s Fiction Wordcount: 16,950

This Month’s Non-Fiction Wordcount: 22,765

DemiPrincess2: Lots of whirring and thinking, mainly. I had a plot issue that needing smoothing and sanding before it could work.

Stand-out Positive Moment

Hands down, RoAnna’s reaction to the essay on their book. I’ve been terrified of writing this essay partially because they’re a friend and what if they hate it and I’m completely misreading their intent?! (Well, that’s one of the reasons anyway.) But I know they wanted to read it when it was done, so of course I shared it with them and I had a fantastic discussion about the book with them and it was just absolutely amazing. 😀

Also I finished a short story and it actually stayed a short story!

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Some brief musings on American Ruritanian Christmas romances

Posted April 1, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Hi, everyone! I hope your week is off to a fantastic start! I know. I know. No one likes Mondays because the week’s off to a new start. But you know what Mondays also mean? It’s time for Monday Musings! Wherein I ramble about various and sundry depending on my whim or Patreon requests/suggestions. Posts are somewhere below 2,500 words at most and consist of short personal essays and discussions.

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Week 13 Update

Posted March 29, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in News / 0 Comments

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Weekly Accountability

Hi, everyone! It’s that time again! Weekly updates delivered every Friday! It’s a bit later than usual today because, wow, what even is time?

Completed Projects

  • Sekrit Project!
  • 16,950/10,000 words of fiction written

Goal Updates

  • 7/9 short essays for March/April/May
  • 11/12 books read

Writing Updates

This Week’s Fiction Wordcount: 7,704

This Week’s Non-Fiction Wordcount: 9,346

DemiPrincess2: Chapter 10 is finally done! HUZZAH! Now I can call chapter 11 the chapter of doom instead. I have an outline? Sort of?

Skies: Formerly known as Sekrit Project, this has been finished, rewritten, edited, polished and sent off. Which means… I actually get to talk about it? Maybe? It’s a on spec piece that actually stayed a short story. What even is this magic! I love it a lot. It’s a cosybright SF story that is, I am told, squishable and soft. It’s also decided to the lovely quartzen who encouraged me to write it instead of chickening out. ^_^

Life And Other Such Important Matters

This week has been… nothing but tired. I’m really happy I got most everything on my daily to-do lists done! I’ve been mentioning the monthly list on Twitter a bit. It’s actually larger than the goals list I work through here. Right now there are 7 items left. I’ll complete at least two of hem before the end of the month and none of them are particularly pressing. (Well, recording the Discovery ramble is kind of pressing, but beyond that they’re things I have a buffer for. I’m not happy, but I’ve had to prioritise more pressing matters, so hey. It all evens out.

Stand-out Positive Moment

Finishing the Sekrit Project short story and discovering that it actually wanted to be a short story OMG! Everything else about this week was a haze of tired, sorry. (But also I wrote a short story and it actually stayed short. WHAT.)

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On the semantics of “just friends” and “more than friends”

Posted March 25, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Ace & Aro Studies, Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Hi, everyone! I hope your week is off to a fantastic start! I know. I know. No one likes Mondays because the week’s off to a new start. But you know what Mondays also mean? It’s time for Monday Musings! Wherein I ramble about various and sundry depending on my whim or Patreon requests/suggestions. Posts are somewhere below 2,500 words at most and consist of short personal essays and discussions.

CN: Discussions of phrases harmful to aromantic people.

On the semantics of “just friends” and “more than friends”

Two of the most frequent and unintentional microaggressions against aromantic people are the phrases “just friends” and “more than friends”, but it can be hard to explain how and why these phrases are so harmful to aromantic people.

Don’t get me wrong, the idea is simple enough: these are phrases that posit that friendship is less important than sex and romance, that we can organise and categorise the importance of our relationships on uneven tiers and that society repeatedly tells us that sex-and-romance is the most important type of relationship a person can ever have. But asked how to explain why this implication exists can be… tricky, and it’s all down to semantics. Semantics, for those who don’t know, is the study of meaning in language. Semantics are what dictionaries use to explain words, if you need a more concrete example of what it does.

It’s easy to assume that everyone can see the implications made by these sentences, but the truth is that that’s not always true. I’ve been asked multiple times, after noting the harm and how to address it, to explain why the implication is there. If it was obvious, people would see it immediately, yet they don’t.

This week, then, I’m diving into linguistics – and semantics specifically – to try and explain why these phrases are harmful to aromantic people and offering suggestions on what you can use as an alternative, often with little visible change in meaning to anyone who is not aromantic.

I’ll start with “more than” because it’s the easiest of the two to explain and I’ll be using the Cambridge Dictionary (but any dictionary will result in roughly the same outline). The key in that idiom is the word ‘more’, so if we want to know how the semantics imply that friendship is less important than romosexual (romantic and sexual) relationships, that’s the best place to start. What does ‘more’ mean in concrete terms.

More, according to the dictionary, means “a larger or extra number or amount”. (We’ll get back to this.) We can also look up the idiom ‘more than’ itself. That nets us the definition of ‘very’, which doesn’t look like it makes a lot of sense in context – I mean what does ‘very friends’ even mean? – but pay attention to how the dictionary says it’s used. This particular idiom ‘more than X’ is part of a group of intensifying expression. Or, to rephrase it, it’s part of a group of expressions that makes something “greater, more serious or more extreme”.

Dictionary meanings can get a bit circular, but let’s jump back to the definition of ‘more’ since it just cropped up in our definitions again. If ‘more’ means “a larger or extra number or amount” that means there are, by necessity, at least two items involved. In this context those items are ‘friendship’ and ‘romosexual relationship’. One of them larger/greater/more serious/more extreme than the other because that is what ‘more than’ means. If one of them is larger than the other, one of them is also smaller than the other. Where there is a ‘more than’, there is a ‘less than’.

And here’s where things get fascinating and we can really start to get a sense of the way ‘more than friends’ is harmful. You see if we look up the idiom ‘less than’, the dictionary tells us it’s a phrase “used to say that behaviour does not have the good or attractive characteristic that is stated”. That’s… rather negative, but it’s a usage that’s automatically implied by the use of ‘more than’.

The sentences “They’re more than friends” and “They’re less than lovers” mean, in that sense, the same thing: friendship does not have the good or attractive characteristics imply by a romosexual relationship.

It can be hard for people to grasp that because, after all, saying “They’re more than friends” doesn’t literally say that friendship is less important and not many people would ever think to say “They’re less than lovers” to imply that they’re just friends.

Oh, wait. They do say exactly that. The thing is that they use different words to do it so we don’t notice it unless we’re paying close attention. Like all microaggressions, if they don’t affect us they can be incredibly difficult to spot and these are no different. Saying “They’re just friends” is effectively the same as saying “They’re less than lovers”, and if you’re struggling to explain why, the dictionary can come to our rescue. All we need to do is look up ‘just’.

Just is a word that has many meanings. We want the adjective because in this idiom it’s used as an adjective. As an adjective ‘just’ means “exactly or equally”, “only or simply”, “merely or barely”, “almost not or almost, “very” or “fair, morally correct”. Given the context of the phrase ‘just friends’, we can discard all but one of them: only or simply. We can prove that this is the meaning used because, in context, it’s the only meaning that makes sense. I’ll demonstrate:

Context

A: Are they lovers?
B: No, they’re just friends.

Synonyms

A: Are they lovers?
B: No, they’re exactly friends.

A: Are they lovers?
B: No, they’re only friends.

A: Are they lovers?
B: No, they’re fair friends.

Only one of those synonyms provides a sensible answer to the question A is asking. But, Lynn, I hear you say. We could also replace “just” with “merely”. And we can, but that would lead us, ultimately, back down the path of “more than” that we just walked. ‘Merely’, after all, emphasises that there is nothing more to their relationship than friendship. Same meaning, different words. We’re also ignoring that ‘fair’ has more meanings than ‘just’ because context.

So our next dictionary stop is ‘only’. Again, the word has a multitude of meanings, bu the one we want is the one that says that we use it to indicate “there is a single one or very few of something, or that there are no others” and that’s… hardly helpful. In this case, looking at the synonym ‘merely’ is a better idea. We’ve already covered that a paragraph ago, but to repeat: ‘merely’ emphasises that the speaker means exactly what they’re saying and nothing else. So with ‘only friends’ we’re in the exact same boat as ‘merely’.

Except. Except. These words, like ‘less than’ imply a negative. They’re a downward idea. It’s, presumably, why saying “less than X” acquired its meaning as “lacking the good characteristics of X”.

Whichever way we want to twist and turn these phrases and whatever positive spin we want to give them, they will always contain an aspect that implies that romosexual relationships are more important than friendships because what these phrases do is posit that one is greater than the other in some way and to some degree.

So how can we deal with that? What if you are, say, a romance writer who wants to write a romance that is friendly to aromantic readers because it avoids these phrases altogether? The answer is simple: don’t use phrasing that creates a tier between friendship and romosexual relationships, but one that puts it on even footing.

For example, instead of writing a blurb for your book that ends on “could they be more than friends?” say “could their relationship be something else?” Or, instead of saying “they’re just friends”, say “they’re friends” and just… leave out the quantifier.

Though the best options are somewhat dependent on the context, it really is that simply to make sure that your language is that little bit more aro-friendly. If you’re a writer, it requires no great rewrites on your part to tweak your language to be more aro-inclusive.

It won’t solve all microaggressions. Many are a lot harder to address than these, but it’s also a lot easier to explain why those phrases are microaggressions and harmful to aromantic readers.

So I hope that was interesting and helps you figure out ways to be more aro-inclusive in your language!

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Week 12 Update

Posted March 22, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Goals, News / 0 Comments

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Weekly Accountability

Hi, everyone! It’s that time again! Weekly updates delivered every Friday! Before we get to the weekly updates, though, some general news and announcements. :O

All of my work is now available on Gumroad. I still need to add links to the website, but they’re all available and I’m trying to find my footing in it for more goodies and offerings. Gumroad lets me keep a bigger cut of the sales and if you think the price is too low you can add a tip to what you think is a fairer price, so it’s a good way to give creators you love (and who use it) a better deal.

I’ve also started to explore itch.io, though currently I only have The Princess who Didn’t Eat Cake and Patreon-rewards available there. Patrons, you can go to this page to collect ebooklets of the 2017 and 2018 (and later on 2019 etc) stories released on Patreon. If you connect to your Patreon account, you’ll be able to download the ebooklets in a nicely collected format without having to trawl through the posts on Patreon to find them. You shouldn’t need an itch.io account to access them. I think. If all goes well. It worked for me, anyway. Let me know if there are any problems! (The ebooklets are available in both epub and mobi, so you can choose which to download.)

Exploring means that I’m looking at ways to tie this option into the tiers I’ve got effectively and to see what I can do to offer additional digital content more easily based on the options the site offers. I’m still finding my footing, though, so this may take a bit of time to get sorted. I’m excited, though. I hope that it will offer people some fantastic additional value! 😀

Completed Projects

  • Draft 2 of Sekrit Project

Goal Updates

  • 7/9 short essays for March/April/May
  • 8/12 books read
  • 9,246/10,000 words of fiction written
  • 0/1 short story recorded from Feather by Feather and Other Stories

Writing Updates

This Week’s Fiction Wordcount: 5,058

This Week’s Non-Fiction Wordcount: 10,017

Sekrit Project: Draft 2 has been finished! Initial betareads have been encouraging. It’s… low stakes even by my standards, so I’ve been worried, but it seems to be doing what I intended to accomplish. YAY!

DemiPrincess2: Now, no longer on hold since the sekrit project is done and will soon be looking for a home! It’s been percolating for a while, so I hope to see a fair amount of progress quickly.

Life And Other Such Important Matters

I have been recovering well from my tumble. I mean, not that that was very hard. I just had a cut and needed to take it easy while my body restored its blood levels, but still! Brexit continues to make life ridiculous and, honestly, the past week means I have very little faith in people as a group right now, which feels weird. I’m the optimistic kind of depressed. (Yes, I know that sounds paradoxical.)

I have, somehow, managed to discover an understanding of shipping that I’ve always lacked. I’m still bemused that this discovery happened over shipping one QPR over another potential-QPR, but of course if anything made me understand shipping wars better it would be a QPR.

Stand-out Positive Moment

The stitches are out! Huzzah!

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Lessons I Learned from Serialisation

Posted March 18, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Hi, everyone! I hope your week is off to a fantastic start! I know. I know. No one likes Mondays because the week’s off to a new start. But you know what Mondays also mean? It’s time for Monday Musings! Wherein I ramble about various and sundry depending on my whim or Patreon requests/suggestions. Posts are somewhere below 2,500 words at most and consist of short personal essays and discussions.

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Guest Post at The Book Smugglers

Posted March 17, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Ace & Aro Studies, News / 0 Comments

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I’ve been particularly slow to update this here because I have had massive update fail, but! Last month, I was over at The Book Smugglers with a guest post about asexual representation in mainstream publishing!

Here’s a snippet to summarise what it’s about:

As an asexual reader and indie author, I see conflicting messages about the state of asexual representation in fiction and my heart hurts. Almost every list of recommendations, every discussion, every moment includes a variation on the lament “There is so little representation” with no elaboration or qualifications. While this essay will prove there most certainly is a lack of representation in fiction, there is also more out there than these articles often suggest and, though it makes little difference to the numbers as a whole, it can have a large emotional impact on individuals, especially those seeking asexual representation. Even if one restricts their search to books published by the Big 5 companies in publishing – that is to say by imprints owned by Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, or Hachette –, there is quite a bit more than people seem to assume.

Working with Ana and Thea has been a writerly bucket list dream for years and I’m utterly delighted with how the post came out. Ana and Thea are amazing editors and have fantastic insight, so be sure to check out all of their blog and their work on other sites such as Kirkus as well!

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Week 11 Update

Posted March 15, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in News / 0 Comments

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Weekly Accountability

Hi, everyone! It’s that time again! Weekly updates delivered every Friday!

Completed Projects

  • Discuss the Let’s Read Ace Academics future & set up the poll. (Vote if you haven’t already! Help me pick what to read!)
  • Secrit Project!

Goal Updates

  • 0/9 short essays for March/April/May
  • 7/12 books read
  • 4,188/10,000 words of fiction written
  • 0/1 short story recorded from Feather by Feather and Other Stories

Writing Updates

This Week’s Fiction Wordcount: 3,131

This Week’s Non-Fiction Wordcount: 3,538

Secrit Project: IT IS DONE! Well, the first draft is anyway. Now comes revisions and making it work and then… submissions!

DemiPrincess2: I made some minor copy editing tweaks and kept thinking about it, but the sekrit project has a nearer deadline, so I prioritised that.

Life And Other Such Important Matters

Well, as you may recall I have had a bad tumble. I’m okay except I have stitches in unfortunate places now. That is… pretty much the most exciting thing to happen in my life right now. Boohiss.

Stand-out Positive Moment

I have kind of successfully applied marzipan to a cake! By which I mean I struggled to get it rolled out and applied properly for the better part of three hours, but by golly I did marzipan things. GO ME!

In other news because I have two this week: the manager of the store I’d taken a tumble in called to check on me. The store didn’t cause the tumble or anything like that, I’d like to stress. But it was really kind of them to check in anyway and make sure I was okay. Actually staff and everyone in general were quite kind about it all.

This Week on Patreon

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How about you? What have you been up to lately? Has anything awesome happened?

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