this was in my drafts for like ever what

Drafting: The Theory of Shitty First Drafts

Writing books often exhort you to “write a shitty first draft,” but I always resisted this advice. After all,

  1. I was already writing shitty drafts, even when I tried to write good ones. Why go out of my way to make them shittier?
  2. A shitty first draft just kicks the can down the road, doesn’t it? Sooner or later, I’d have to write a good draft—why put it off?
  3. If I wrote without judging what I wrote, how would I make any creative choices at all?
  4. That first draft inevitably obscured my original vision, so I wanted it to be at least slightly good.
  5. Writing something shitty meant I was shitty.

So for years, I kept writing careful, cramped, painstaking first drafts—when I managed to write at all. At last, writing became so joyless, so draining, so agonizing for me that I got desperate: I either needed to quit writing altogether or give the shitty-first-draft thing a try.

Turns out everything I believed about drafting was wrong.

For the last six months, I’ve written all my first drafts in full-on don’t-give-a-fuck mode. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

“Shitty first draft” is a misnomer

A rough draft isn’t just a shitty story, any more than a painter’s preparatory sketch is just a shitty painting. Like a sketch, a draft is its own kind of thing: not a lesser version of the finished story, but a guide for making the finished story.

Once I started thinking of my rough drafts as preparatory sketches, I stopped fretting over how “bad” they were. Is a sketch “bad”? And actually, a rough draft can be beautiful the same way a sketch is beautiful: it has its own messy energy.

Don’t try to do everything at once

People who make complex things need to solve one kind of problem before they can solve others. A painter might need to work out where the big shapes go before they can paint the details. A writer might need to decide what two people are saying to each other before they can describe the light in the room or what those people are doing with their hands.

I’d always embraced this principle up to a point. In the early stages, I’d speculate and daydream and make messy notes. But that freedom would end as soon as I started drafting. When you write a scene, I thought, you have to start with the first word and write the rest in order. Then it dawned on me: nobody would ever see this! I could write the dialogue first and the action later; or the action first and the dialogue later; or some dialogue and action first and then interior monologue later; or I could write the whole thing like I was explaining the plot to my friend over the phone. The draft was just one very long, very detailed note to myself. Not a story, but a preparatory sketch for a story. Why not do it in whatever weird order made sense to me?

Get all your thoughts onto the page

Here’s how I used to write: I’d sit there staring at the screen and I’d think of something—then judge it, reject it, and reach for something else, which I’d most likely reject as well—all without ever fully knowing what those things were. And once you start rejecting thoughts, it’s hard to stop. If you don’t write down the first one, or the second, or the third, eventually your thought-generating mechanism jams up. You become convinced you have no thoughts at all.

When I compare my old drafts with my new ones, the old ones look coherent enough. They’re presentable as stories. But they suck as drafts, because I can’t see myself thinking in them. I have no idea what I wanted that story to be. These drafts are opaque and airless, inscrutable even to me, because a good 90% of what I was thinking while I wrote them never made it onto the page.

These days, most of my thoughts go onto the page, in one form or another. I don’t waste time figuring out how to say something, I just ask, “what are you trying to say here?” and write that down. Because this isn’t a story, it’s a plan for a story, so I just need the words to be clear, not beautiful. The drafts I write now are full of placeholders and weird meta notes, but when I read them, I can see where my mind is going. I can see what I’m trying to do. Consequently, I no longer feel like my drafts obscure my original vision. In fact, their whole purpose is to describe that vision.

Drafts are memos to future-you

To draft effectively, you need a personal drafting style or “language” to communicate with your future self (who is, of course, the author of your second draft). This language needs to record your ideas quickly so it can keep up with the pace of your imagination, but it needs to do so in a form that will make sense to you later. That’s why everyone’s drafts look different: your drafting style has to fit the way your mind works.

I’m still working mine out. Honestly, it might take a while. But recently, I started writing in fragments. That’s just how my mind works: I get pieces of sentences before I understand how to fit them together. Wrestling with syntax was slowing me down, so now I just generate the pieces and save their logical relationships for later. Drafting effectively means learning these things about yourself. And to do that, you can’t get all judgmental. You can’t fret over how you should be writing, you just gotta get it done.

Messy drafts are easier to revise

I find that drafting quickly and messily keeps the story from prematurely “hardening” into a mute, opaque object I’m afraid to change. I no longer do that thing, for instance, where I endlessly polish the first few paragraphs of a draft without moving on. Because how do you polish a bunch of fragments taped together with dashes? A draft that looks patently “unfinished” stays malleable, makes me want to dig my hands in and move stuff around.

You already have ideas

Sitting down to write a story, I used to feel this awful responsibility to create something good. Now I treat drafting simply as documenting ideas I already have—not as creation at all, but as observation and description. I don’t wait around for good words or good ideas. I just skim off whatever’s floating on the surface and write it down. It’s that which allows other, potentially better ideas to surface.

As a younger writer, my misery and frustration perpetuated themselves: suppressing so many thoughts made my writing cramped and inhibited, which convinced me I had no ideas, which made me even more afraid to write lest I discover how empty inside I really was. That was my fear, I guess: if I looked squarely at my innocent, unvetted, unvarnished ideas, I’d see how bad they truly were, and then I’d have to—what, pack up and go home? Never write again? I don’t know. But when I stopped rejecting ideas and started dumping them onto the page, the worst didn’t happen. In fact, it was a huge relief.


Next post: the practice of shitty first drafts

Ask me a question or send me feedback!

3

Yuuei cycle club 

Struggling to Start a Novel

Anonymous asked: “I really want to start writing a book that I’ve had ideas for rolling around in my mind for a while now. The only problem is I can’t find the motivation to start writing and I’m struggling with getting started. It feels like my imagination is dying!”

Starting a novel can sometimes be intimidating. It’s not physically difficult, but mentally you might face some unexpected roadblocks. I can’t say this is something I’ve ever particularly worried about, but it happens. You get in your head and psych yourself out. You love the idea you’ve been working on and feel there’s a lot riding on it when it comes to putting it on the page. 

The secret to getting over this feeling: take a deep breath and remind yourself that this isn’t the first chapter, this is the first draft. No one will know what you’re writing or if you’re writing anything great. In fact, you can even tell yourself, your idea’s not perfect. It needs work still. Even say, this is just for fun. We’ll see where this goes

Keep reading

tbh i want more epsilon characterization where he isn’t just like church to fit in bc he was expected to. like s7, where he’s more upbeat and just wants to be worshipped and shoot lasers, or really anything where he’s less of everyone’s replacement for alpha church yknow?

like every member of the bgc pretty much just views him as alpha. the only main person he interacts with who doesn’t see him as church (right away, anyway) is carolina, and that’s because she never met alpha
even wash eventually just reads him as Church, and wash knew him during pfl (if u count dying as getting to know someone, i guess)

anyway in summary: let epsilon develop his own personality that isnt “replacement for alpha,” cowards

FOB Asks

i don’t see a lot of fall out boy-related asks, so i figured i’d make one myself! ask me anything, or reblog if you want asked these questions!

take this to your grave: what’s a secret you usually don’t tell people?

from under the cork tree: do you have a favorite childhood book?

infinity on high: who’s your favorite artist?

folie a deux: what’s something about yourself that you feel is underappreciated?

soul punk: do you like working solo or with others?

save rock and roll: if you had to pick one genre of music to listen to, what would it be?

american beauty/american psycho: what’s something that drives you crazy?

m a  n   i    a: have you ever had a panic attack?

grand theft autumn: (if you like boys) do you prefer rebel boys, or gentlemen?

dance, dance: what song makes you dance every time?

sugar, we’re going down: do you hunt? are you against hunting?

this ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race: do you hold grudges, or prefer to keep things civil?

disloyal order of water buffaloes: what are your favorite and least favorite fall out boy albums?

headfirst slide into cooperstown on a bad bet: have you lost any big bets?

my songs know what you did in the dark: have you ever set something on fire?

centuries: are you afraid of not being remembered?

uma thurman: who’s your favorite actor?

drunk history: (if you drink) what kind of drunk are you?

young blood chronicles: do you like violent movies (action, etc), or do you like calmer ones (romance, Disney, etc.)?

last night i woke up around 3 am, wrote 222 words of fic, closed my laptop and went back to sleep. i forgot doing it until around midmorning, and then i wondered if i’d dreamed it, but i checked my drafts file and nope 

since i have no idea what middle-of-the-night me was doing, i’m not likely to ever finish it, so here ya go: 

Keep reading

i feel like mornings with calum would be so cozy and serene tbh like he’d be the type to set the alarm 20 mins before you actually had to get up just so he’d have extra time to hold you in his arms and mutteringly tell you about his plans for the day and you’d just lay there cuddled into his chest with a soft smile gracing your lips bc this is what home felt like and it was the best feeling ever

Here are some of the Veretian side characters I like, because people don’t seem to draw them a lot.

Here’s the fics I read (and like) this month ! (friendly reminder I read mostly E or M rated)

☾  Bruises and Hickies, Stitches and Scarsby ElisAttack :  “You’re my lawyer, Derek.  What are you going to do, draft up a contract for yourself?”Or the one where Stiles is a professional dominant, Derek is his lawyer, and their professional relationship suddenly becomes not so professional.  Also, faeries. (89k, E)        

☾  Worlds Apart, by exclamation Nothing exciting ever happens in Beacon Hills… until Stiles appears to get a stalker. A strange guy is breaking into his house, watching him at lacrosse practice and grabbing him outside of the school. This guy claims that he’s a werewolf who knows Stiles in another world… and he needs Stiles’ help to figure out what happened to him. Agreeing to help a werewolf research parallel worlds is one thing… hiding it from his dad is another.  (32k, E)

☾  The Feeling That I’m Under , by  wearing_tearing : Stiles is a paramedic and Derek gets into a bike accident.It’s kind of love at first sight. (289k, E)

  Flowerwolf & Beacon Rootsby alisvolatpropiis :   Derek tries not to show his surprise, curiously hopeful, but still suspicious of Laura’s involvement. “Oh. How do you know my coffee order then?”He grins. “The cute baristo knows your order, dude. All I had to do was ask for Grumpy Flower Guy’s usual.”Derek huffs. “I’m not grumpy.”“He says grumpily,” Stiles smirks, winking.The sound of his own laughter surprises Derek, so yeah, okay, maybe Stiles has a point.“Laura said that you weren’t really into dating,” Stiles goes on, “but that uh, you uh, well you know.” Stiles’ cheeks flush a very pretty ruddy pink under the scatter of beauty marks that Derek aches to taste. Stiles turns away, towards the cooler of roses, muttering to himself under his breath, which of course Derek can hear perfectly well. “Great freakin’ advice, Lydia, ‘just bring up sex and tell him you’re cool with having a one night stand,’ okay, sure, that worked fucking beautifully.”“Okay.” The word is out of his mouth before Derek can even think about the consequences of saying it, something unusual for him. He wants Stiles however he can get him, it seems.“Okay?” Stiles eyes are wide when he spins back to look at him.“Yeah, okay. Let’s have sex.” (5k, E)

☾  Kaleidoscope , by Vendelin Derek didn’t look at all like Stiles expected. After all, he deliberately chose a school where being a nerd was cool, so he certainly wasn’t expecting his hotter-than-a-thousand-stars roomie to be an actual cool person. Derek has muscles, like everywhere, which he has a tendency to display in skin-tight, sleeveless t-shirts for bands Stiles has never heard of; his jeans are always tight and ripped too, and he has an impressive five-o’clock shadow, the tips of his jet-black hair dyed purple. And his eyes. Stiles is pretty sure he’s only seen eyes like that in comics, or on a movie screen, or in his freakin dreams. They’re somehow simultaneously all of the colors and none of them, transcending something so pedestrian and insignificant as words to encapsulate their beauty. Stiles would come to learn that he’s also wickedly smart, and he plays the guitar and speaks multiple languages, and his sunshine smile is even more alarming that his resting murder face.  (7k, E) 

☾  Poker Face, by tanwencooper  :  Is there any punishment in the world worse than parent-teacher night? History teacher Derek Hale doesn’t think so. That’s until he meets the guardian of one of his more troubled young students. Stiles Stilinski has been left to look after his adopted brother Isaac after tragedy stuck their family and Derek is determined to help them if he can. However after Stiles and Derek’s paths repeatedly cross, Derek’s concern soon turns to something deeper. Soon the pair begin the game of attraction. The only problem is neither one of them knows the rules, and both wear their poker face too well for their own good. (43k, E)

☾  My Moon My Manby  orphan_account   :  Derek starts paying Stiles visits during full moon nights. They sort of become a couple, but neither of them realizes it. Deaton ends up being the one to enlighten them. And then stuff also happens. (15k, E)    

☾  In Case The Daylight Never Comesby  plume_bob : There’s a relentless dark shape tearing through the pack and that’s only the half of it. Stiles just wants to sleep and stop being haunted by the faces of his night-time tormentors. His dad thinks he’s suffering from post-traumatic stress, Scott thinks he’s suffering the after-effects of the ritual; Stiles thinks they’re both reasonable theories, except for the part where Derek Hale is the only thing that can take his nightmares away and it seems that fact is no coincidence.   (82k, E)

[Sleep]Walking After You, by  relenafanel       Derek is a sleepwalker who keeps wandering into his downstairs neighbour’s bedroom.Stiles is pretty sure the hot guy from the park is going to kill him in his sleep.  He knows he shouldn’t have been so obvious about objectifying the guy’s really fine ass.  Too bad it turns out Derek is easier to get along with when he’s sleeping. (56k, M)     

Tonight, the foxes hunt the hounds., by LucifersHitman Stiles always knew finding a mate would be hard for him. He’s not bright and beautiful like Lydia, or stong like Danny or adorable like Scott. He was just Stiles, fox kid with ADHD who loved to draw. Derek Hale was everything, popular, strong, smart and gorgeous.They get put together on an English assignment and it doesn’t go at all like Stiles expects. (21k, E)

☾   In Sanguinem Scriptum Est , by secondstar  : In order to stop a new onslaught of nightmares from plaguing him, Stiles decides to become an emissary. No longer defenseless, he begins to realize that not everything is as it seems. (31k, E)

mbti as lorde songs

isfj - the love club

i joined the club and it’s all on
there are fights for being my best friend
and the girls get their claws out
there’s something about hanging out with the wicked kids 

esfj - ribs

you’re the only friend i need
sharing beds like little kids
and laughing ‘til our ribs get tough
but that will never be enough

intp - magnets

uh-oh, dancin’ past the point of no return
let go, we can free ourselves of all we’ve learned
i love this secret language that we’re speaking
say it to me, let’s embrace the point of no return

entp - tennis court

don’t you think that it’s boring how people talk
making smart with their words again, well i’m bored
because i’m doing this for the thrill of it, killin’ it
never not chasing a million things i want

isfp - bravado

i was frightened of every little thing that i thought was out to get me down
to trip me up and laugh at me
but i learnt not to want
the quiet of the room with no one around to find me out

esfp - no better

i’ll pull the trick if i want to
i’ll pull the trick and it comes true
i’m chewing gum and it’s killing you
we’re getting dead and it’s the right way to do it

intj - royals

my friends and i—we’ve cracked the code
we count our dollars on the train to the party
and everyone who knows us knows that we’re fine with this,
we didn’t come from money

entj - million dollar bills

we can leave the house lead the party let the people know
go drown the colors of our minds and watch the cars go
it’s not about just being out with all our people
‘cause we can get in trouble just by going free throw
and now i’m letting you know

infj - 400 lux

i love these roads where the houses don’t change
where we can talk like there’s something to say
i’m glad that we stopped kissing the tar on the highway
we move in the tree streets
i’d like it if you stayed 

enfj - team

we live in cities you’ll never see on screen
not very pretty, but we sure know how to run things
living in ruins of a palace within my dreams
and you know, we’re on each other’s team

istp - glory and gore

delicate in every way but one (the swordplay)
god knows we like archaic kinds of fun (the old way)
chance is the only game i play with, baby
we let our battles choose us

estp - yellow flicker beat

and now people talk to me, i’m slipping out of reach now
people talk to me and all their faces blur
but i got my fingers laced together and i made a little prison
and i’m locking up everyone who ever laid a finger on me

infp - a world alone

all my fake friends and all of their noise, complain about work
they’re studying business, i study the floor
and you haven’t stopped smoking all night
maybe the internet raised us
or maybe people are jerks

enfp - buzzcut season

the men up on the news
they try to tell us all that we will lose
but it’s so easy in this blue
where everything is good

and i’ll never go home again
favorite friend
i live in a hologram with you

istj - still sane

all work and no play
never made me lose it
all business all day
keeps me up a level
all work and no play
keeps me on the new shit, yeah

estj - white teeth teens

if you want we’ll help tonight to split its seams
give the bruises out like gifts
you’ll get the picture of your dreams
i won’t be smiling
but the notes from my admirers
fill the dashboard just the same

here, let me show you this body of mine.
i know that you tell me you will love me
no matter what horror stories my scars have to tell–
i know, i know, i know,
but i 
just want to be sure.
 
i just want you to know what you’re promising
before
you promise it
and it lies between us
like a field of eggshell landmines
daring me to trample my broken way across them.
 
see this:
this is my throat, and it only knows
how to make rasping screams like a vulture
because of all the smoke i swallowed
from all the bridges that i burned.
but i swear–
i swear i was just trying to get warm.
i was so cold
and i didn’t know what i was burning
until all that was left was smoke in my lungs
and a trail of ashes on the water–
 
and see
the thing is,
ashes make terrible trails,
     worse even than breadcrumbs,
and i didn’t know how to
go back home,
and ashes make terrible bricks,
     worse even than straw,
and i didn’t know how to
build another bridge again.

and this, feel this:
this is my hand
and all my fingers are callused
from all those times i squeezed the trigger
shooting down stars from the night sky.
but listen,
i was so lost and so desperate,
and i just needed a star to wish on,
that’s all.
 
that’s all.
 
i wasn’t trying to leave the sky dark,
i promise,
and i wasn’t
trying to be greedy.
i just needed a shooting star to wish on,
and maybe,
just to hold in my hands
for a few precious seconds while it died.
 
but now
i look up at the night sky
and there are no stars left–
     not to point me back north,
     not to draw constellations with,
     not to wish upon ever again.
and now, you know,
i look over my shoulders
and there isn’t even a wall of smoke
     or a trail of ashes
     or even the shadow of a footstep
to tell me where i came from.
 
so
that’s why
i am standing
     here
          now.

—  why are you s t i l l here? j.p. )
BTS Reaction to: You Thinking They Will Hit You During a Fight

Jin: took it v seriously, taking a deep breath and asking you to take a seat. once you’re both sitting down, he’ll tell you why he was so mad and go on to say that, “no matter my anger or frustration, i would never ever lay a hand on you. it’s disgusting and it’s never even crossed my mind. can you ever forgive me for making you think i would do such a thing?”

Originally posted by jeonggu

Suga: like seokjin, takes a mature approach to the situation. he’ll explain his feelings, let you explain yours and then maybe order pizza, “on me, since i was a big enough jackass tonight to make you think i’d hit you”

Originally posted by bangtannoonas

J-Hope: this cry baby oppa broke out into tears. “i would never do something like that to do. i can’t believe i made you feel like i would. i don’t deserve you”

Rap Monster: has admitted before that he was kind of intense in a previous relationship so i can see that being the reason for the fight. he saw you w some guy and lost it, shouting at you and going to tug at his hair from sheer frustration. when you flinch, he takes a big step back, putting as much space between you as possible. “you know … that i would never do that, right? i was only going to pull my hair bc i thought you were going to leave me. i guess now you have reason to”

Originally posted by ayoyoongi

Jimin: is actually a v sensitive guy. he tears up and gingerly hugs you, worried you’ll flinch again. “jagi, you mean more to me than anything else in the world. i would never disrespect you or any woman like that. ever. so, please, don’t flinch like that again. can you forgive me?”

Originally posted by suga-com

V: was confused. “yah, woman! what are you flinching for? is there a draft?”

Originally posted by taehyungifs

Jungkook: it took him a moment to figure out why you flinched. “are you serious? you thought i would? … jagi, i would never do something like that. i love you too much”

Originally posted by jungkooz


real talk though, i can’t imagine bts ever hitting their s/o. and if you’re ever in a relationship w domestic or psychological violence: get help! no matter what he or she is threatening you w; tell someone, call the police and leave them. i’m sure your country has helplines and websites to help you and don’t ever be ashamed to avail of those services. it doesn’t make you weak, no one will judge you. i know it’s easier said than done, esp for guys since there’s such a stigma around men being abused. but be strong and break free of this type of relationship. idc who you are, what you look like, your religion/race/sexuality blah blah blah; you deserve better

The Most Disturbing Things in John Winchester’s Journal:  A Comprehensive Study.

@jaredsnuggles made a really incredible post about all mentions of the boys in John Winchester’s journal.  It’s incredibly helpful for writing reference, and filled with genuinely heartwarming moments and an interesting glimpse into John’s POV.

But as someone who’s pretty infamously critical of John’s parenting skills, what I most noticed was the progressively disturbing way in which the boys were brought up, the responsibilities placed on them, and the way in may have impacted their psyches (performing!Dean, anyone?) 

So let’s take a look at some of the most blatant examples of the Winchester’s upbringing that would have had the Child Protective Services knocking on most people’s doorsteps, and how it may have influenced the people they’ve become.


1.  Encouraging violent, illegal, and womanizing behavior:  

  • Dean turns fourteen today. He took off to the movies with a girlfriend. I think her name is Katie. Quite the ladykiller, that kid. Like I was at his age. Hell-raising, foul-mouthed, full of piss and vinegar. Silas had it right: he’s like me. If I’m not careful with him, by the time he’s twenty he’ll have left a trail of kids and arrest warrants all over the country. 

For some reference, Dean was not “a lady killer” at that age.  He was fourteen at the time, and didn’t even have his first kiss until he was at the boy’s home (where John dropped him) at age sixteen.  
At fourteen, he was still a child, having a presumably very chaste relationship with another child, seeing as it didn’t even involve the rudimentary making out.

  • Dean turns twenty-one today. I’d buy him a beer if I thought it would be something new. He’s also old enough to buy his own guns now. I tried to raise him right, and looks like I did. He’s a scam artist, a ladies’ man, and an absolutely loyal son. He knows what’s right and doesn’t hesitate to do it. I’m proud of him. Now that he’s hunting on his own I don’t see as much of him, but I know he’s out there. When I call him in on a job, he’s right there every time. I’ve spent the last sixteen years afraid that I was going to screw him up somehow. Maybe now I can forget about that.

This one is just messed up on multiple levels.  For one thing, there’s a lot of talk about “performing!Dean” within the fandom, and it’s easy to see where that persona comes from:  this, along with his ability to shoot, kill, and protect Sam, is one of the few times John expresses overt pride in Dean.  Of course a child/young man struggling to garner his father’s affection and approval would adopt the most suitable persona possible to do so.

It’s my opinion that Dean, at his heart, isn’t a “scam artist” or a “ladies’ man:”  he’s a homebody who loves to cook and clean and take care of people, with a lot of traditionally feminine characteristics.  He can also be interpreted as having a lot of internalized same-sex attraction.

Would John have accepted that?  From what I’ve seen, probably not.  Performing!Dean is just the son John wanted. 

2.  Age-inappropriate responsibility/obsessive behavior:

  • I took the boys, said good-bye to Missouri, and got the hell out of Lawrence. If I never go back, it’ll be too soon. Not for Dean, though. The first thing he wanted to know was when we would go home. But we don’t have a home anymore, Dean. The sooner you get used to that, the better. We don’t have a home until we find what killed your mother. 

The fact that it was hammered into Dean’s brain that they didn’t, and would not, have a home for the foreseeable future would have been a tremendous blow to a child’s psyche – particularly when it was just mentioned that he wasn’t speaking or leaving John or Sam’s side less than a month prior.

  • I’ll hunt, and the boys will hunt, and we will find whatever killed Mary and we will send it to Hell. And on the way, we will kill every monster and ghoul and ghost and demon and anything else. My boys will not grow up to experience what I have. They will not lose what I have lost. 

As always, his intentions are clearly good here, but for some reference, this was 1983.  The same year Mary died.  Dean was four, Sam was an infant, and he’s already decided that they can and will hunt.

  • Took Dean shooting. If he’s big enough to try to comfort me, he’s big enough to start learning the tools of the trade. I only let him fire the .22, but he is a deadeye marksman. My drill sergeant would have taken him over me in a second. Times like this, I sure am proud of my boy. I have a feeling it’ll be different with Sammy. Maybe he’s just too young to show it, but I don’t think he’s got the same kind of killer instinct. 

There are two disturbing things going on here:  Dean is being taught to kill at age six, and John’s reasoning is the fact that because he’s old enough to serve as emotional provider for a fully grown man, he should be able to.  And also, there’s something about a six-year-old having a “killer instinct” that just sounds incongruous to me.

This is also one of the few times he expresses genuine pride in Dean.

  • For his seventh birthday, I took Dean shooting again. He wanted to fire one of the big guns—that’s what he called them. I let him shoot the Browning, but I steadied his hands. Sammy wanted me to help him make Dean a card. It was like a normal day, like we were a normal family with a mom who was off shopping or at work or something. Instead of dead. That illusion never lasts. I can’t afford to let it. 
  • Sammy is five today. Thank God. He almost didn’t make it. I could blame Dean, but it’s my fault. There’s enough blame to go around. I missed the kill, and I left Dean watching Sam, and he couldn’t pull the trigger when he needed to. I haven’t taught him well enough. If he is weak like that again, my boys will die.

The fact that he’s blaming his nine-year-old son for his inability to kill, subconsciously or otherwise, in addition to putting a nine-year-old in a situation where he’d need to kill, is disconcerting to say the least. 

  • Last night, Sammy woke up in the middle of the night telling me he was afraid of the thing in the closet. I went and looked. There was nothing in the closet, but I’ve seen too much not to believe that there could be. So I handed Sammy the .45 and told him the next time he saw the thing in the closet, he knew what to do. I don’t think I’ll win any awards from parenting organizations, but five nights running now Sammy has slept without nightmares. Sometimes a .45 under your pillow is all you need. 

Sammy is sixteen years old today. God knows he’s got plenty of torments. Now he’s got a driver’s license, too. Doesn’t make much difference. He’s known how to drive since he was nine.

3.  Neglect:

  • Mary, you know I would never leave the boys with strangers I couldn’t trust. You know that, right? I never would. 

The fact that he is apparently leaving them with strangers, regardless of whether or not they’re “trustworthy,” when at this point they are still toddlers, is by definition neglectful behavior.

4.  Paranoia/controlling behavior: 

  • Dean turns five today. I was thinking about where we’re going to be in the fall, because he should start school. Then I realized that I can’t leave him in a school. Anything could happen. Maybe a place that has half-day kindergarten. Maybe that I could do. I know I should. I know he should be able to run around with other kids, who don’t know how to fileld-strip the Browning. Well, Dean doesn’t either, yet. But he’s learning. He’s got a talent for guns. I can see it already. And he’ll need it. 

I was a homeschooled kid myself, but the fact that John kept Dean isolated and out of academic environments in order to protect him strikes me as paranoid and controlling, as well as bad for Dean’s psyche.  

He’s also been using guns at around five years old.  I’m not even against guns, but that’s just messed up.

  • Dean turns twenty today. He’s in Ohio somewhere, hasn’t called in a couple of days. Tracking a possible poltergeist. He’s supposed to call in every night. Mission discipline is critical. 
  • Sammy is eighteen years old today. Surprised he didn’t take off. We’re not getting along too well. He hunts when we need him to, but he’s never committed himself the way Dean did. Dean’s never known any other way to live, or if he has, he doesn’t act like it. He’s playing the role he was born to play. Sammy’s the younger brother. He doesn’t know what his role is, even though I can tell him until I’m blue in the face and we’re both ready to kill each other. He’s got one more year of school and then I’m drafting him full-time into the family business. I’ve given him more slack than I ever gave Dean, more than I would have ever gotten from my dad. He needed it. Now he’s a grown man, or almost. Time for him to step into what’s expected of him. Dean never even thought about college. We used to joke about it once in a while. But Sammy still believes he can have a normal life, but they’re both more useful to the world as hunters than … what, lawyers? Dentists? Sammy’s convinced himself that smart kids have to go to college. Part of my job is to convince him that college would be a waste of his smarts. And I gotta hand it to him on the brains front: there’s nothing he can’t find on the computer. I still dig around in actual books, libraries, newspapers. It’s all keystrokes and search words for Sammy. He’s done a good job hiding our trail on all the credit cards. 

John never leaves an option for Sam or Dean to be anything other than “what’s expected of them.”  He never asks them what they want to do with their life, or considers their opinions valid.  

This is one of the later entries, so it’s clear John has had a long time to settle himself into his extremist way of thinking, but it’s still disturbing and sad.

  • Sam graduated. He didn’t go to the ceremony. I think he’s still carrying a grudge that it took him an extra year. What do you want me to do, Sammy? Should we have stayed in Lawrence while whatever killed your mother came back for you? Should we have sat around fat, dumb, and happy even though war had been declared? How long would we have lasted that way? 
  • Sam left. I told him that if he was going, it was permanent. I meant it. 

  • Dean turns twenty-four today. I was twenty-four when I married his mother. Sorry, kid. Every boy has to cut the apron strings sometime, and for you it’s not going to be until we kill off a supernatural entity that seriously needs killing. Then we’ll all be free of your mother’s ghost. We’ll be able to live normal lives. But maybe not. Maybe we’ve all been hunters too long now. 

It’s clear that John didn’t consider his children autonomous adults, and expected them to blindly obey his authority.  He also considers them complicit in his “war,” even though they were both very small children at the time.


In closing, it’s clear from the other entries that John loves his boys.  But as I’ve pointed out before, you can love someone and still be thoroughly toxic, abusive, and bad for them.  John’s parenting and projection onto Dean is probably the reason why he’s so uncomfortable with his own femininity (and ~possible~ bisexuality), and why he feels so continuously obligated to prove himself as a Scam Artist and Ladies’ Man™.  

Even Sam, heartbreakingly, has finally internalized the message that he can never be anything other than a hunter, when he clearly at one point wanted to do otherwise.  

So while John could, and did, have a lot of redeeming qualities, and wound up sacrificing himself for his son’s benefit, I hope this will lay to rest the debate about whether or not he was a good father.

Silly AU Prompt: In which flower goes to sleep every night and wakes up in a different universe where Sid and Geno are together. He sees actor AU, time travel AU, mob wife AU, mermaid AU, bakery AU, etc etc until he resigns to his fate and one day, wakes up back in his own universe without knowing, and goes into practice thinking huh, he’s back to being a goalie this time, he was kind of looking forward to making cupcakes with baker!Sidney again.

(He was kind of surprised not to see Sidney being with Geno, but how well they work together. Pens captain Geno kissing Sidney at the coffeeshop goodbye before practice, Sidney cuddling his baby daughter while Geno snuggles him from behind; it looks like they’d never spent a day apart.) 

And when he sees Sidney, he just assumes this is an alternate universe he’s visited before (he’s been keeping mental tabs, and he’s getting pretty damn good at it, too), and says in greeting, “Morning, Sid. How’re the baby? Still keeping you up at night? G at home?”

Sidney freezes, as do the rest of the team.

“What?” Sidney chokes out, his throat dry. 

Flower waves vaguely as he gets dressed. “By the way, your husband looked like he was going to pass out the last time I saw him. I’m surprised he stayed up the entire night, too.”

What?” Sidney looks like he’s choking on a grapefruit. “My what?”

“Your husband,” Flower says slowly, then as if he remembered something. “Oh right. You told me to send you the video from a week ago, but my phone is a piece of trash. I can show you right now though.”

He presses play. It’s a very quick video of a barbecue, with all three Crosby-Malkin spawns running around the backyard screaming, and the rest of the team and their families in the background. In-video Sidney is cradling a yawning baby girl, showing her to Flower and saying, “Say hi to Uncle Flower! Can you wave for Daddy? Can you say hi?”

“Stop bother my husband,” a voice that is unmistakably Geno’s says from the phone. He steps into the frame and kisses Sidney’s hair, then strokes the baby’s face with one finger, his expression fond. 

“What is this?” real Sidney whispers. “How–what–?”

“It gets funnier,” Flower insists. “It’s at the 1:20 mark that Cara sprays the soaker on G’s crotch. You’ll be glad I documented it.”

“Flower, I’m not married,” Sidney says, transfixed. The Pens team are silent, also watching the video and seeing snippets of their own smiling faces in the screen. 

“‘Course you’re married,” Flower says absently. “We all went to your wedding. And G bought you that huge ring you can see from Mars–” He blinks. “Wait. You’re not married?”

You grounded until college,” in-video Geno’s voice yells, followed by a series of giggles and shrieks as he swoops his oldest daughter up and blows on her tummy. “Forever and ever.”

Flower looks at the video and presses pause. The locker room is silent. Sidney looks like he’s going to be sick. 

“Oh.” He doesn’t know what else to say. “Oh.”

“What’s everyone doing?” Geno’s voice asks, this time not from the phone. The team turns to him. “What? Why everyone look at me?”

  • Lance: *rolls over in bed and nudges keith* hey,,,babe,,you love me right?how much??
  • Keith: *half asleep* what the fuck lance,,,ofc I love you
  • Lance: yh I know but how much?? Like, to the moon? To infinity and beyond? How far does your love for me go exactly?
  • Keith: *rolls over to face Lance* I love you more than everyone,everything and the universe combined.You are the best thing that's ever happened to me.
  • Lance: oh,,,BABE
Date Night

“Alec, what are you doing?” 

Alec looked up over the pot he was currently stirring in the Institute kitchen to see Isabelle leaning casually against the door frame. 

“I-” Alec started before cutting off abruptly when the pot began to boil over. Once he turned down the heat he finished, “I invited Magnus for dinner here tonight.” 

“You… Invited Magnus here? Like, for a date?”

“Yeah,” Alec responded grimly. 

“Why?” 

Alec sighed, “we are always at his place, or we always do things that he suggests… I just didn’t want him to think I’m ashamed of him or something, and that’s why we never come here.” 

“Um, obviously. You never come here because here sucks,” Izzy responded gesturing to the general area of the Institute.  

Alec rolled his eyes and threw some spices into the pot, “are you going to say anything helpful anytime soon? Because if not, leave me to my meal.” 

“Actually, that’s why I came. It smelled like something was burning, and Alec… I’m pretty sure food isn’t supposed to look like that.” 

“You have absolutely no leg to stand on,” Alec said defensively, “it’ll be fine. I’m sure if I just keep adding things it’ll eventually even out.” 

“By the Angel, what is that awful smell ” 

Alec sighed when Jace walked in. The exact last person he wanted to see right now. Jace would never let him live this down, so Alec resigned himself to humiliation. 

“Alec invited Magnus here for a date and offered to cook for him,” Izzy said with a smarmy grin.  

Jace’s eyes widened, “you invited him here? Are you aware that he owns a beautiful penthouse apartment with the world’s most luxurious showers? Honestly, I’m glad to be home… But I still daydream about that shower. Also, there are way fewer people… Don’t you want privacy?” 

“Considering how often you guys interrupt us anyway,” Alec said ignoring Jace’s sound of protest,” I’m not actually sure it matters where we are. And would you stop! He’ll be here in half an hour, it’s too late to suddenly change plans. So, either help me or leave me to my misery.”

Jace and Izzy shared a look that Alec knew well- it was the ‘Alec is such a loser’ look, but he didn’t call them on it. Especially because, after a moment, they both shifted their shoulders back into soldier positions. They may drive him insane, but they’ll always come through for him. 

“Sure, buddy, why don’t I help you make a dinner that resembles human food?” Jace offered, and Alec sighed with relief. Of the three of them, Jace was by far the most capable in the kitchen. 

“Where were you thinking of setting up?” Izzy asked. 

Alec blushed slightly, but responded, “it’s nice out… So I thought, maybe… We could eat on the balcony of my office?” 

“Wow, look at you, bro,” Izzy said punching his arm playfully, “you are actually a secret romantic.” 

“Shut up,” Alec said turning away. “We don’t have much time, so Jace…”

“Say no more,” Jace responded, taking Alec’s pot and dumping everything out ignoring Alec’s soft sound of disapproval. “We don’t have a lot of time, so I think your best bet is some type of pasta dish, we’ll throw some fish on top because fish cooks faster than meat, make a salad and call it a day.” 

“Do you have wine?” Izzy asked. 

Alec nodded, at least that part he had completed. “Yeah, it’s chilling in the fridge.” 

Izzy nodded in approval, “I’ll go set up your balcony. Alec, why don’t you go shower and get ready?” 

“But what if Jace needs my-”

“No!” Jace said with alarm, “no, it will be less work for me if you’re not here. But don’t forget, you’re going to owe me big time.”

“Duly noted,” Alec responded, “what do you want?”

“I’ll tell you later,” Jace said already focused on his task of chopping vegetables. 

Alec nodded and ran to his room, cursing softly. It was disorganized because he’s been so distracted and busy lately. He hastily shoved a few empty, day old mugs into empty drawers, chucked his clothes into a laundry basket and then put that in the closet. With his room now looking moderately less terrible he rushed to take a shower, shaving his face and using the after-shave he knew Magnus liked so much. Or at least, Alec thinks he likes it based on the way he always seems to nuzzle closer on the days he uses it. 

He knew he couldn’t waste any time, Magnus was religiously punctual (at least, with Alec. Otherwise he was more than content to make people wait. The preferential treatment always made Alec smile.) 

By the time he got back to the kitchen Jace was just about finishing up dinner. 

“Okay,” Jace said upon seeing him, “I plated it and put the extras in your office, so that should be fine. I did place a heating rune on the pot, so no worries.” 

“You are the best parabatai,” Alec said pulling into a hug that surprised both of them. 

“Sap,” Jace said squeezing back just as hard. 

“I’m done with the balcony. I put the wine in an ice bucket out there,” Izzy said as she walked in on them hugging. Alec pulled her into the hug as well, because while his mother may insist that Lightwoods aren’t huggers, that particular family trait did not pass down to her children. 

“Try not to be too tragic, okay, Alec?” Izzy said as they pulled away. Alec made a face. 

“I’m not tragic.” 

Jace and Izzy shared that look again, “okay.” 

Alec opened his mouth to respond but his phone vibrated, with a message from Magnus letting him know he came. 

“I gotta go,” Alec said. 

Jace turned to leave with a wink, “if you end up fucking on the desk in your office I wouldn’t blame you.” 

“Goodbye,” Alec said walking away to let Magnus in through the front door. 

Magnus took his breath away, as usual. He was dressed well, but Alec didn’t expect anything else. There was something special about this, though, about having Magnus on his turf and opening the door for him. It was nice knowing that for once, Magnus really didn’t have to do anything- Alec could take care of him completely. It was a surprisingly heady feeling, Alec thought he might ask Magnus to come here more often after all. 

“I didn’t want to come empty handed,” Magnus said holding out a cake tin. “So I figured I’d bring dessert.” 

Alec took the cake and leaned down slightly to meet Magnus’s lips for a welcoming kiss. “Yes, very sweet.” 

Magnus rolled his eyes at the line but smiled anyway and kissed him again. When Magnus pulled back he immediately nuzzled Alec’s cheek, which made him smirk internally. Looks like he was right about that aftershave.

Alec led Magnus to his office and was hit by the scent of well-cooked pasta covered in a fragrant sauce. Jace really was a life saver. The second thing he noticed was the table on the balcony, with candles placed over a clean white table cloth, beside it was a smaller table with the wine he got chilling in an ice bucket. He even heard soft jazz playing in the background. 

“Wow,” Magnus said his eyes slightly wide, “is this some type of anniversary I forgot?” 

Alec laughed, “no. I just… Wanted tonight to be nice. Jace and Izzy helped a lot.” 

Magnus smiled, “I thought I recognized that smell. I think Jace made this for me once when he was staying with me.” 

Alec was burning up with happiness that bordered on giddy. He walked to the table outside, his hand still holding Magnus’. Letting go briefly, he pulls out Magnus’ chair for him. Magnus, who has been watching him with a soft smile, actually blushes at that. Alec thinks that if he can keep that wide-eyed look of wonderment on Magnus’ face as often as he can, he’ll have lived a good life. 

The place settings already had two plates full of food on them and had a small warming rune burned into the corner of the ceramic. 

He moved to open the bottle of wine when he realized he didn’t have a wine opener. Alec opened his mouth to start stuttering something when the bottle was suddenly uncorked in a haze of blue magic. 

“Thanks,” Alec said, his cheeks still slightly red. 

“It’s the least I can do,” Magnus said gesturing around them. 

Alec rolled his eyes, and reached one hand out to grab Magnus’ and pressed a gentle kiss to his knuckles. “I’m glad you like it.” 

“Of course I do, you didn’t need to go to all this effort but I do appreciate it. I love you,” Magnus said, his eyes warm and gentle as the looked at Alec. He was always struck by how beautiful Magnus’ eyes really are, they express so many emotions, they can be gentle and kind, and icy cold. Right now they radiated love, and Alec’s breath caught in his throat. 

“I love you too,” he responded. “Now, should we eat? This looks delicious.” 

“Sounds like a plan, Alexander.”