edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
More thinking out loud! As before, constructive feedback is welcomed with open arms. :)

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Here is Susan's prompt, as discussed via telephone and text message: Protagonist (age somewhere between 20 and 40, all other details up to me) has a cool secret, which gets revealed. Other characters are duly impressed. Preferably a world superficially like our own, but with magical/supernatural elements. (This last is because worldbuilding a coherent secondary world in only a couple thousand words can be hard and might detract from the secret and the reveal, which should be the heart of the story.)

Secret-keeping for someone's safety (but not in a cheap or self-justifying way) is an appreciated element.


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brainstorming, no outline yet )

Hmmmmmmm.

Suggestions, anyone?

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ETA, 3/3/17: I think one thing I'm tripping over is that worlds 'just like ours' except for one fantastical difference tend to bug me unless the difference only appeared recently. Because logically, history should change! Those worlds should NOT be nearly so close to ours on the surface. I can accept that for reading, but it tends to bug me when I'm writing. (Which is not to say that I don't ever write such worlds, just that there tend to be some significant changes lurking in the background. They may not make it to the textual level in an in-your-face manner, but they're there.) And creating a one-step-removed world and figuring out where it should be the same and where it should be wildly different is actually harder than creating a completely new world from scratch.

...hang on, being called away for work stuff.

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Okay, back now, coworker and I figured out the form in question. :)

a wild idea appears! )

Yeah. Okay. I'm doing this. >:DDD

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So now I need an actual outline. Argh.

backstory )

I will get back to this after lunch.

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ETA, 1:30pm: So, actual outline time, yes? Yes.

no, this doesn't work )

...

Argh, I don't like that. I need more action-drama and less talking-drama. I want Greenleaf to reveal her magic via DOING something -- something big and interesting and obvious -- rather than just telling Clearwater over tea in her kitchen or whatever. So I think we should probably start with... hmm...

Okay, trying again.

this version seems much more functional )

And that is an outline, yay!

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I have now successfully outlined the two things I needed to outline. Next up, finishing the edits on "Second Chances." That shouldn't take too long, except for the minor problem that I can't effectively do that job at work and am often pretty spoonless by the time I get home in the evening. *sigh* But I hope to have that done by next weekend, after which I will finally be able to get to work on my FandomTrumpsHate auction fic. \o/
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Summary: In which Sunbright unexpectedly acquires a body-servant. (525 words)

Cast a Shadow )

I really need to write their actual first meeting sometime, and maybe also the explanation of why Shadowfall was working in the fortress kitchens in the first place. ...Or I could just finish outlining the novel and start work on that. That is also a possibility. *sigh*
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Summary: Sunbright is twelve when she first kills another human. (500 words)

Note: More exploratory noodling. I don't think Sunbright knows Shadowfall at this point, but they definitely meet within a year of this incident.

Tooth and Claw )

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This was going to be a compare-and-contrast thing, with Shadowfall's first kill as the other half, but fifteen minutes isn't a very long time to write. *ponders* Maybe I can finagle something for the next prompt word...?
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Summary: Sunbright has a complicated relationship to the prophecy that shaped her life. (425 words)

Note: More exploratory noodling for "Sunbright and Shadowfall." This is my initial attempt at Sunbright's POV, though it's not very tight; there are shades of third person omniscient around the edges. But it's kind of hard to write a story if you don't have a handle on one of the two main characters. *wry*

The Queen in Waiting )

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Yay, I wrote a thing!
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Summary: Four days after Shadowfall's parents were executed, her aunt Greenleaf cut her finger while chopping onions. Her blood was silver. (350 words)

Note: And yet more noodling. This is actually a stab at the opening of the story proper, though I'm sure it has many flaws I'm not seeing at the moment. I think Shadowfall is about nine years old at this point.

The Scent of Onions )

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As I'm sure you've noticed, given the excerpts I'm posting, I have a much better handle on Shadowfall than on Sunbright. I should work on that.
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Summary: The sleeping city is empty now, but Shadowfall cannot take that final step beyond the thorns. (350 words)

Note: Some more exploratory noodling for "Sunbright and Shadowfall." Details are, of course, subject to change as I hammer out more concrete world-building.

Penance )

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Yay, I wrote a thing! (I've been feeling kind of blah and uncreative this week -- which I think is situational, due to November weather and screwed up sleep schedule -- so it's nice to get some words down on paper, as it were.) Anyway, this vignette would fall either late in chapter 5 or early in chapter 7 of my current outline, as Shadowfall slowly drifts away from any hope of breaking the curse. (Chapter 6 is where Sunbright accidentally learns how to dreamwalk.)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
This evening I decided to do some concrete outlining of "Sunbright and Shadowfall" (working title of my Sleeping-Beauty-plus-lesbians-plus-world-conquest story), which has proved... um... interesting? I conceived it as a strict alternating-POV story, which creates some odd imbalances in narrative weight at various points. Writing up an outline also made me aware that I hadn't thought much about what Sunbright was doing before the spindle curse, beyond her interactions with Shadowfall. And then there's the obvious problem of having a POV character who's stuck in enchanted slumber for six years or so -- I mean, that's where the dreamwalking trope comes in, but that can't kick in for a long while, partly because of id-tastic trope reasons, but also because I want to keep dreamwalking as a very rare and dangerous thing that is next to impossible to learn.

Anyway, the story seems to be dividing itself into four general sections: childhood, the curse, separation, and war. I have a pretty solid outline for the first two (chapter 1-9), and some general ideas for the third (chapter 10-??), but I'm completely lost on the fourth. I think I won't be able to pin it down until I've done more world-building and also gotten to know the characters better. I mean, I have a general handle on Shadowfall, Sunbright, and Shadowfall's aunt Greenleaf, but I don't know anything much about Sunbright's family, or all the other people they must logically interact with over the course of, let's say, fifteen years or so. I know that endgame is the end of the Shining Ones' ability to do whatever they want to the world, but there are a lot of different ways to achieve that goal, and which one the characters choose (and how well it works) depends on a lot of factors I have yet to solidify out of the nebulous cloud of potential narrative options.

But hey, knowing what I don't know is progress in and of itself! I've been working on this story mostly by using it as my "thing to ponder while falling asleep" for the past couple months, which has helped me solve some logistical issues, pin down some mechanics of magic, and sort of nebulously sketch some personal and political complications for Sunbright to deal with. Now I have new areas to focus on. :-)
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Some more noodling around for "Sunbright and Shadowfall," that Sleeping-Beauty-with-lesbians-and-world-conquest story I mentioned a while back. This is a moment from Shadowfall's childhood, before things go terribly wrong for her family. (600 words)

Paved with Love )

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The princess that Shadowfall's father mentions is Sunbright, by the way. Yes, she has a Sleeping Beauty curse. No, that is not the main point of her story. I did mention the whole "conquering the world" part, right? :-)
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
This is some background noodling for a fantasy story I've been fiddling with. It includes some elements of "Sleeping Beauty," but that's mostly just a pretext for a larger story. The plot is also an excuse to include a bunch of my narrative kinks, like absolute power (magical and/or political), restraint and use of power, the ethics of power, swordfighting, messy battle scenes, dreamwalking, people finding loopholes in carelessly worded curses, devotion, the logical implications of magic, complicated political maneuvering, shifting power dynamics in relationships, royals who actually do things, found family, etc. And a lesbian romance which starts with Character A older than Character B but ends up with Character B older than Character A, because of reasons. Oh, did I mention it's girls and women doing most of the magic and swordfighting and politics and leading people into battles? Because yeah.

I have the two main characters and a rough outline through about 2/3 of the plot, but the world-building is still sadly vague, and the final 1/3 of the plot is at the "and then war! and politics! and magic! what do you mean I need details and closure?" stage, so I need to sort out a whole bunch of things before I start writing, so the story I begin will match the story I end.

But anyway, background noodling! (325 words)

The Coming of the Queen )

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Look, original fiction! Granted, it's tiny and more of a promissory note to myself than anything else, but still. Original fiction! \o/
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
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Master List of Elizabeth Culmer's Fiction: Original Stories
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Organization: This list is organized primarily by... *ponders terminology* by universe, shall we say. Within each universe, I organized stories by timelines, by associated story cycles, or by degree of relation to the main story; the summaries should hopefully make the patterns clear. When the 'universe' is a category rather than a fully realized secondary world, the stories are arranged chronologically by writing date. Word counts and writing dates are approximations. (Especially the writing dates. *headdesk*)

Content/Warning Policy: 1) I am not consistent about warnings! I use them when I remember, for a few relatively broad categories of potentially problematic content, but if something is off-page, non-explicit, or generally backgrounded, I probably won't think to note it in the metadata. 2) The things I try to warn for are explicit sex, rape, murder, torture, cannibalism, incest, depression/suicide, familial dysfunction, and occasionally also societal dysfunction (aka dystopia). Sometimes I just slap a general content warning on all my fic for a given fandom and don't label each individual fic. I also don't generally warn for violence, unless the violence in a fic is dramatically out-of-step with the violence in its source canon. 3) I don't use any content rating system unless I'm posting to a site or community that requires or encourages ratings, because I find movie-style ratings counter-intuitive when applied to written fiction, and not particularly useful for anything other than denoting the presence of explicit sex, which I already note in the metadata.

Quality Rating System: I've marked my favorite stories with asterisks, on a scale of 1 to 4. The more asterisks, the more I like the story. This doesn't necessarily mean that stories without asterisks are bad, just that I don't like them as much. Also, I am not claiming to be an arbiter of taste; you may love stories I dislike, and vice versa. I am just providing a heads-up about the ones that I think are best written and/or most interesting.

Notes: I am shamefully slow about my original writing, and I almost never seem to finish anything. Nonetheless, a fair amount of the following stories are complete, if only because I try to avoid posting those likely to be permanently unfinished. *sigh*

Also, a general advisory: you may or may not have noticed while reading my fanfic -- my quirks are somewhat disguised and/or mitigated by working in other people's universes -- but I am fascinated by ethics, religion, families and other social networks, sociology, history, culture clashes, world-building, and the nature and structure of truth and stories. I also have a strong tendency to focus on female characters. A lot of my original fiction is slower and more 'thinky' than a lot of my fanfic, and my issues show through more clearly.

None of these are necessarily bad things, but I figure it's only fair to tell you what to expect from my work. :)

Contents: Firsthome, The Sum of Things, The Summoner's Tale, Ironheart's War, Winter's Daughter, The Witch of Immish, fables and fairy-tales, Camia ('Finding Marea'), modern America, autobiographical (kinda-sorta), Ithaca Paranormal, Elsewhere, Ashes, Sunbright and Shadowfall, Utilitarian Virtue, Intarre, random stuff

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Firsthome )

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The Sum of Things )

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The Summoner's Tale )

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Ironheart's War )

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Winter's Daughter )

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The Witch of Immish )

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Other fables and fairy tales )

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Camia ('Finding Marea') )

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Modern America (occasionally, I write stuff that isn't fantasy or sf) )

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Autobiographical (kinda-sorta) )

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Ithaca Paranormal )

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Elsewhere )

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Ashes )

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Sunbright and Shadowfall )

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Utilitarian Virtue )

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Intarre )

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Random stuff )

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edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Elizabeth Culmer

September 2017

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