Writing every second I'm alive. I'm Dira Sudis: dira on Dreamwidth, dsudis on LiveJournal, dsudis on Twitter, and Dira Sudis (dsudis) on the AO3. Here I mostly just repost shiny things. Elsewhere I post a lot of fic. My alter egos write variously weird/paranormal gay romance that you can find on Amazon (Dessa Lux) and through Less Than Three Press (Dira Lewis).


Hey dira, longtime fan of your writing here. I was wondering if you had any tips on your workflow that you'd be willing to share? In particular things like how you plan out and plot your longer fics, and how you juggle multiple projects at once, or stay inspired to keep writing when you've hit a block? For someone so prolific I'm sure you must have a lot of awesome advice for people getting started with writing their own fics!


Thanks! It’s very kind of you to imagine that I have some wisdom to pass on here. I don’t know that I can say anything that’s directly helpful, mainly because everyone has their own process suited to their own style and circumstances, and also because–other than being semi-organized about writing original stuff when I was doing that, uh, at a detectable volume, which I haven’t been this year–I’ve never really cultivated anything that feels, from the inside, like a System for writing.

I do keep track of e.g. how many words I write per day per story, because I am a nerd and tracking that makes me feel accomplished or in control of the process somehow; if that kind of tracking stresses you out, don’t do it. If it’s fun and pleasing and you get a little hit of dopamine when you look at your lovingly color-coded grids, go for it. 

There isn’t really a way to make any of this stuff easy, I don’t think. (I mean, but what do I know, I don’t even use Scrivener. I’m told it’s great?) 

If writing long fic doesn’t come naturally to you, maybe you want to write short fic, and that’s what works for you. If you want to write long fic but you find yourself floundering in the middle or struggling with structure, welcome to writing long fic: it kind of sucks sometimes. I do a lot of talking out stories with anyone who will hold still long enough–my zero draft/first outline is usually a chat transcript. But for some people they don’t want input or an audience until much later in the process, so if that’s you then jot down all your own thoughts privately.

(Do write stuff down, though. No matter how obvious the thought seems, you will not remember it later.)

If juggling multiple projects makes you feel more stressed out or confused, maybe you want to work on one thing at a time. If writing one thing at a time makes you feel like you’re missing out on a hundred other opportunities, or you’re spending all your time daydreaming about other stuff instead of writing the thing actually in progress, maybe you want to juggle. When I feel like I want to be ~fair~ to all my WIPs I use a random number generator or random list-orderer to decide what to work on during any given writing time. When I feel like I have one thing at the forefront of my mind, I back-burner the rest until I run out of steam on that one. Some people have like, schedules and systems and stuff, apparently, idek.

As for staying motivated… man, 2019 has been a bit of a WIP graveyard for me. 

I gave up on a lot of stories this year, and my writing ground nearly to a halt–by my personal standards, and those vary from person to person too–from about May to September, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s like that. Some stories are just not worth the misery to keep going on, and the best thing to do is set it aside for a while or forever. Sometimes if you’re blocked it means you’re going the wrong way and you need to back up and try taking the story on a different path. 

But if you’re determined to finish something and you’re confident that you’re on the right track with it, then you… keep showing up. Keep going. One sentence at a time–one sentence a day, if you have to, and I have definitely had stretches of time with some of my long fics where that was all I could manage to do. Sometimes one sentence a day was more than I could handle. But if you keep at it long enough sooner or later you do reach the end, and if you do that enough times, sooner or later people on the internet will imagine you know what the fuck you’re doing. :)

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quiet inside

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This week in writing, 11/10

Man, I always forget that I love Nanowrimo and generally do pretty well in it when I’m not measuring myself against some absurdly over-amibitious bonus goals. But that is true, and seems to be happening this year too!

Words written this week: 12,611, sooo that’s the best week of writing I’ve had since that week in April when I wrote Quid Pro Quo in a four-day burst! Yay Nanowrimo!

Quid Pro Quo follow-up story: 3,369, and hey like! I am getting to the middle of the story! Which means someday I will probably get to the END?!

Dorian Pavus Secret Baby Kidfic: 1,503, and OH NO EVERYTHING HAS GONE WRONG. (DON’T WORRY I WILL FIX IT.)

Quid Pro Quo Actual Sequel Where Eskel Shows Up: 2,409, and Eskel is taking a minute to Have Nice Things before he gets into what the fuck is going on here, which I think we can all agree he deserves.

Bull/Dorian story for the “asphyxiation” square on my Hurt/Comfort Bingo Card: 1,062, and I’m almost positive it’s in the right POV this time.

Emhyr/Geralt story for the “experiments by evil scientists” square on my Hurt/Comfort Bingo Card: 4,268, and I seem to have skipped over NOW KISS and NOW FUCK to the gentle, trembling hands bit but we’ll get there.

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looking for an EU partner



long time no talk. how’s everyone’s year been so far? been taking your meds? getting sleep? 

this time last year, i was going through the flurry of processing, ordering, shipping, fulfillment and general CHAOS that was the first round of dragon age calendars. it was loads of fun. we gave a lot to charity. 

and i want to do it again. 

since the current calendar goes through june 2020, the plan as of now will be to do a july 2020 - dec 2021 calendar. 

but i need your help. 

shipping costs for this stuff are stupid. i hate having to charge our non-north american friends a buttload for shipping. so i’m hoping someone out there has an interest in joining me as a fulfillment partner in europe. 

this person should have experience with the fulfillment end - receiving, printing labels, packaging, marking orders as shipped/working with shopify, sending them to post. extra points for having a local printer. an understanding of shipping procedures in the eu is extremely helpful.

PM me here, or shoot me an email at dragonagezines @ gmail if you think you might fit the bill. 

(and if you havent picked up the current calendar and would like to, you can get them here while supplies last)

reblogs greatly appreciated

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reblog this if you started worrying about your weight before you were 16

fuck this is sad

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This photo is the best.

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Stephen Lucas - Dancing the lifes web star gifter does 

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Before oven thermometers existed, one way to check the temperature of your oven was to stick your hand inside and recite an Our Father. The length of time before you snatch your hand out was timed by how far you’d gotten in the prayer. The shorter the time, the hotter the oven. So you knew that if you wanted a hot oven to bake bread, you wanted your hand out by “kingdom” (for example) but to slow cook a stew, you might want the oven cool enough to get to “trespasses”.


I would be extremely surprised if medieval people didn’t use prayers while cooking. You don’t want to roast an egg for too long, have it explode, and get hot yolk in your eye. :P 

I know that church bells were definitely used as timekeepers. 


I wonder if this shows up in other historical areas besides medicine?

I ask because I have a very Italian, very Catholic friend who was once describing how she makes pizzelles. They’re cooked in a specific press, similar to a waffle iron, long enough to get light and crispy but not burnt, and in her own words: “I don’t know the exact time it takes to cook them in seconds, but I usually do either two Hail Mary’s or an Our Father and a Glory Be.”


The length of time it takes to say a paternoster was a typical method of reckoning time in the Middle Ages. It’s likely that whoever wrote this remedy down was thinking of it both as a prayer and a timespan and that whoever read it would have understood it the same way.


Fun little thing about medieval medicine.

So there’s this old German remedy for getting rid of boils. A mix of eggshells, egg whites, and sulfur rubbed into the boil while reciting the incantation and saying five Paternosters. And according to my prof’s friend (a doctor), it’s all very sensible. The eggshells abrade the skin so the sulfur can sink in and fry the boil. The egg white forms a flexible protective barrier. The incantation and prayers are important because you need to rub it in for a certain amount of time.

It’s easy to take the magic words as superstition, but they’re important.

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*smooch* Adorable vampire nerd

ic_web Created with Sketch. dredgen-ding
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Do you ever just look at your follower count and suddenly realize that all these people actually see what you post.

#i’m so sorry

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Leverage Did It Well





I didn’t notice this the first time I watched Leverage (or the sixth), but when I posted a GIF of Hardison last week I noticed something…

The line is adorable, the writing fantastic, but the big thing I noticed is YOU CAN SEE HARDISON. Aldis Hodge is lit up so you can see his face easily.

Here’s another GIF.

And another…

So, here’s the thing. In most shows black actors fade in the background. They’re lit incorrectly and the dark background combined with the dark skin means the character vanishes. Especially on shows with cops and a lot of white people. 

Poor David Sinclair (Alimi Ballard) of Numb3rs is invisible in every night scene because he’s not lit up correctly. 

Before the advent of colored TV there were more black actors. They were common almost. But with color came the problem that a dark background makes a fair skinned person stand out while making a darker skinned person vanish. The Hollywood solution was to stop hiring darker skinned people. (Not a good idea).

In the first GIF Hardison is in a darker room. He should have vanished, they back-lit him, had ground lights, and framed him well. 

Same with the second on, notice the light on his head. He’s glowing like an angel.

Third GIF… notice the lamp placement? The light almost washes out the color of the green towel behind Hardison, but it means the viewers see him perfectly. And isn’t that really the goal? 

this is obviously about racism but also some part of you looks at this gorgeous human and thinks “OF COURSE THEY WANTED HIM BATHED IN SOFT LIGHT SO THAT WE COULD ALL GAZE UPON HIM AND BASK”

There’s a bit in one of the DVD commentaries where they talked about working with the lighting and not shooting until everyone is lit.

To be honest, yes to the above but also the real skill is when Hardison and Parker share a scene. Because they’re about as polar opposite as can be in terms of ideal lighting … But if a cable show produced on the smell of an empty rag can pull it off, no one has any excuse.

Goddamn right.

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Aziraphale as text posts I’ve collected recently

Crowley version

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tell me again about how peggy carter never taught steve rogers how to fight?








She taught Steve before he was big. She didn’t know (and if she had an idea, she definitely didn’t know for certain) that he was ever going to get big. She taught little Steve Rogers how to fight, because everyone else at basic training treated his presence like a joke, and because she was hands down the most qualified.

Or course Steve already knew how to fight, but he knew how to fight like a big muscular person, which he wasn’t. Most of his knowledge of fighting came from being hit by other people, by bigger people, by men. You can bet Bucky tried to teach him, but Bucky was big and strong and not qualified to know what would work best for STEVE.

Peggy Carter taught Steve to fight within his abilities, within his limitations, USING his size to his advantage. Be fast, be resourceful, bend your knees and get low and use their momentum against them, and when it gets serious fight dirty.

Peggy Carter taught Steve Rogers to fight like a woman, and that is why he always fucking wins.

This commentary is the greatest fucking thing.

Damn. I love this.


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when the times get rough and I lose sight of the goal i just. reread “the orange” by wendy cope again & remember. that’s where I’m going folks. sooner or later, whatever it takes.

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.

– “The Orange,” Wendy Cope

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This is my new favorite translation of Catullus 5

(Thank you @beesimile for sharing one of these omg.)

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weird little brain tweak/reframing that helped me out. i Often find that advice that seemingly helps Everyone Else doesn’t make any sense to me, in ways that are hard to describe, and it can be really frustrating. but when i find a way to explain it to myself that finally seems to break through and make it click, it feels really good

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