Yurika S. Grant's Author Site

The Yuri Retreat

The Trouble With Time Travel

The Trouble With Time Travel

Have you ever noticed in science fiction stories involving time machines, that the machines in question seem to defy all logical explanation? And I don’t just mean the physics of time travel, though that’s an interesting topic by itself. No, what I mean is how the machine seems to ignore physical location when travelling through time. You might call this the trouble with time travel, because alliteration is fun.

In any story, a degree of narrative convenience is necessary simply for the sake of having the story happen. But one convenience – or more accurately, contrivance – time travel stories too often suffer from is failing to take into account the fact that Earth is a celestial body travelling at some 67,000 MPH. It wouldn’t be in the same place when travelling through time!

Let’s say you build your time machine in your London flat’s basement. You climb in, start the machine up, and decide that as a simple test you’ll go back in time by precisely 24 hours. So where was the Earth 24 hours ago? If it travels 67,000 miles every single hour, that gives us a rough figure of 1,608,000 miles travelled.

Our scientist, who probably isn’t very bright if he’s not thought about this issue, sits in his machine. He prods the buttons, sets the Flux Capacitor just so, and hits the big red GO button. He travels back 24 hours to the exact same spot he’s in right now. Unfortunately, the spot he’s in right now is based on the position of Earth right now as well, not the Earth of 24 hours ago. (more…)

Goodbye, Skype, You Won’t Be Missed

Not long ago, Microsoft finally discontinued Skype 6.21 and other earlier versions. I’ve been using this for the last year or two because the kiddie version of the UI they introduced in version 7 onwards disgusts me on a whole bunch of levels. So Microsoft have, once again, lost customers because of their own pig-headed idiocy in not listening to the thousands of complaints about the awful new UI they introduced.

Not only is the new UI horrible on the eyes, it wastes space like nothing else (a big issue if you’re trying to have any sort of serious text conversation), and most importantly is incredibly hard for people with colour blindness to use. Even dumbass corporations normally make concessions for people who have disabilities of one form or another, but Microsoft have made it abundantly clear that they do not care if you’re colour blind. Nice, huh?

Here’s a little tip, Microsoft: if people aren’t willing to update to your new version and you have to force them to, maybe you’re doing something wrong. Instead of forcing the issue and making it so people have to update to your bug-ridden, awful UI, bloated mess of a new release, you could always try, I don’t know… not making shit software? (more…)

Fetishizing & Equal Description (Lesbian/Yuri Writing)

Fetishizing & Equal Description

Thinking hard about food. Just food. Yep.

Before anything else, I need to point out a major difference between fetishes and fetishizing in the context of writing. Fetishes and fetishizing, while basically the same on a superficial level, generally refer to two quite different concepts. Especially anything like romance where you’re describing people in detail, including sexually.

Fetishes are obvious, basically everyone knows what those are, and huge numbers of people have them. They’re perfectly normal and not something anyone should really be worried over or ashamed of. Alas, society often disagrees, but here on my site at least I’m entirely open-minded on the subject. Fetishes are also fun to write.

Fetishizing is a whole other ballgame, though. The reason I’m separating these is simple: fetishizing is the act of making something or someone into a fetish. For example, focusing on dark skin or large breasts. It’s perfectly fine to be personally attracted to someone with these or other physical traits, everyone is different and people all have their own tastes, no problem.

However, when writing you should be aware of this as a potential issue. I don’t want to linger too long on this so I’ll make it as succinct as possible: describe your characters equally and leave your personal tastes at the door when you write from a neutral narrator’s point of view. Keep your prose as objective as possible, and avoid letting your own interest in dark skin or large breasts or whatever other tastes you have seep into the work. (more…)

Description & Euphemism (Lesbian/Yuri Fiction)

Description & Euphemism

Potatoes. Not actually a euphemism, don’t worry. Or is it?

English is a flexible language with huge variety in vocab and many, many alternate words you can use to describe things. So go nuts and have fun with it! Euphemism, genteelism, analogy, simile, they all have their place. But also be aware of when not to use them, and when to adjust word choice a little for particular situations.

For example, when I had just started out writing yuri romance I used horrible euphemisms like ‘magic button’ in place of ‘clit’. I was hesitant to use that word, partly because I was still unsure of how explicit I felt like being with my works in general. It’s one of those things that can demonstrate a lack of confidence, and you probably don’t want your writing to come across like that.

After reading some recent lesbian erotica and various blog posts by other writers on the subject, I dropped that practice entirely. Just use ‘clit’, you don’t need to worry unduly there, assuming you’re writing something explicit. Be bold and confident in your word choices, you don’t need to beat about the uh… the bush, as it were (I do apologise, haha).

You should also think about your characters themselves. How do they feel about sex and sexuality? Use words appropriate to the characters in question when describing scenes.

Like I have a character who loves breasts, and she can get a bit flustered when seeing her own girlfriend undressed because she has a large and shapely pair. So I use a lot of euphemism for this character, describing in terms of fluffy pillows or comfy airbags, using silly descriptors in the prose to match the character’s own feelings and flustered state.

Likewise, ‘pussy’ is a word I’ll happily use for any girl who is openly sexual and liberated, but I might default to more gentle euphemisms such as ‘wetness’ or ‘moistness’ for characters who are more unsure of things, or who are enjoying their first ever experience. This is by no means set in stone, though, I mix things up a great deal as well.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid using the same word more than a couple of times in a scene. So if I open a sexy scene using ‘pussy’, I’ll switch to ‘wetness’ the next time a direct reference is required. Then I might use ‘centre’ or ‘moistness’ for the next, before moving back to ‘pussy’.

Similarly, a phrase like ‘her most intimate area’ serves well to break things up and prevent monotony, adding some additional variety to the prose. (more…)

How Characters Alter Their Own Stories

How characters alter their own stories

Nothing to do with my new girl beyond being a convenient witch image.

Sitting at my PC, banging away on the keyboard as I write a scene for a new character being added to Aida, something pops into mind. A random scene, not something I’d planned or even thought about before this point. So let’s talk quickly about how characters alter their own stories.

So, I write the scene, laugh at the scene because my character has just been introduced to a new situation and is both mildly annoyed and somewhat flustered, then move to the next scene. If you’re thinking this is in any way unusual, trust me, it’s not. In fact, this is how I normally write, more or less completely at random, at least when it comes to individual scenes.

It’s been said by numerous writers that ‘your characters know their story better than you do’. And the totally random yet utterly perfect scene I just wrote for this character confirms that more eloquently than I could ever manage, even if given an unlimited word budget.

If you’ve read the first book, you’ll remember a flamboyant character by the name of Falconi. He exists to introduce the reader to the concept of character-type idols. People who create a character – a whole persona – and roleplay it at all times, at least in public, and sometimes even in private. (more…)

Maintaining Writing Momentum

Maintaining Writing Momentum

Ready to write, sah!

Maintaining writing momentum is one of those things that can take a bit of figuring out. I was asked a while back how I go about writing past the 10,000 word mark. For me this is a pretty easy question to answer, because I’ve never really struggled to maintain momentum. Quite the reverse, actually… I tend to be way too prolific.

What I do struggle with is keeping my focus on one thing. If I’m in the mood to write something specific I can get 5,000 or more words done in a day. My personal best is 7,500 in ~12 hours, which ain’t bad at all. But if I don’t feel like it? 1,000 might be a struggle, and chances are I’d give up after 500 words. And what I did write probably wouldn’t be very good.

So how do I write so I can maintain a level of momentum, especially past the 10,000 word mark? Simple, I vary what I write and don’t get hung up on writing linearly. Condensed down to a single word, I’d use this: Leapfrogging. Confused? That’s probably a reasonable reaction.

It’s really very simple, though, you simply jump – or leapfrog – back and forth over already-written sections – or scenes that don’t exist yet! – and write whatever the hell you feel like at that precise moment, anywhere in the story. (more…)

The Process of Writing

The process of writing img #1

I keep staring at the screen but nothing happens!

Writing, it’s as easy as sitting at your keyboard and bleeding continually until something good happens. I wish that were hyperbole. It really isn’t, though; writing is tough, writing is difficult, writing is occasionally terrifying. But writing is also immensely fun and satisfying if you stick at it. And writing comprises far more than the simple act of sitting at your keyboard and hammering on the keys.

Here, I’ll be sharing a bit of the process behind how I write and what goes into the whole business from start to finish. I’ll keep it reasonably brief, but hopefully you should have some decent idea of how much work actually goes into writing by the end of this post. Work that the average reader is rarely privy to.

The Process of Writing Stage 1: Preparation.

Now, hold your horses a moment there, put that keyboard down, it’s dangerous. Before the real business of writing can begin, there are a few things I’ll generally deal with first: planning, research, creating characters and settings, procrastinating, and drinking many cups of tea. Let’s dig into these briefly.

Some people plan, others wing it. I tend to sit in the middle, planning the overall structure but winging it for most of the individual scenes. If you’ve ever seen people talking about NaNoWriMo you’ll probably have heard these two referred to as planners and pantsers, as in writing by the seat of one’s pants.

What I plan is the main meat of the work; general structure of events, which girls end up in relationships and with whom, individual scenes I’d like to write, how this might tie into other parts of the work, and potential new settings/characters I may use later on.

Personally, I use simple notepad text files for my notes, but other people use programs like Scrivener or OneNote to collate and keep everything neat and tidy. I use separate files for each character, each part/book of a work, and for any other random things I may need to jot down.

The Process of Writing img #2

These are my notes for Aida (left) and all my old drafts for Book 1 (right). Click for full-size.

Once initial planning is complete, I start on any research that may be required. If it’s a real world setting, deciding on an area of the country (or world) is probably a good idea. Looking up images for reference purposes, checking nearby areas for interesting locations/things I can use for scenes, using Google Streetview for getting a handle on street layouts and local businesses. And so on.

Alternatively, for something like Aida, which takes place on a new world, I’ll again be looking for good image references to base locations and characters on. But I’ll also start thinking of all the essential world building. Stuff like names, history, back stories, relationships old and new, economies in use, major historical events impacting current events, etc.

Then it’s onto the really fun part: characters! At this point it’s back to research. Figuring out interests for the girls, building a back story for each, establishing relationships, and anything else that might be necessary based on the world building I already worked on.

So that’s the planning stage. Though I’ll end up going back to my notes and editing, revising, adding new scenes, removing or changing things, and otherwise fiddling all through the process of writing, this stage just provides a useful basis to work from initially. This’ll be less necessary if you’re just writing a short one-shot story, however. But for an enormous planned-out work like Aida or Starlight? Yeah, this stuff’s essential.

Writing, it’s as easy as sitting at your keyboard and bleeding until something good happens. Click To Tweet (more…)