edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Since Vicky got into writing M/M ebook romances, she's occasionally prodded at me to maybe file off the serial numbers from some of my fics or write something new specifically for profit. And mostly I make vaguely noncommittal noises because I am bad at schedules and also romance, but. I think about it now and then, you know?

So last night I was making a list of things that might be workable as novellas or short-ish novels, and it occurred to me that over the years there has been a slow but distinct change in the types of relationships I'm most interested in writing.

cut for length, etc. )

Anyway, I should get back to working on actual fiction.
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I'm copypasting this from Tumblr, because I want to have it on a more permanent and searchable site:

In reference to [personal profile] ellen_fremedon's Sedoretu Fic Fest (which is currently open for signups on AO3, and you should totally leave and claim some prompts!), [tumblr.com profile] madamehardy asked: If you don't want to offer Homestuck (offer Homestuck offer Homestuck) the Pevensies could easily be a different moiety from Jill and Eustace, or from Aravis and whatsisface.

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I think if I were doing a Narnian sedoretu, the obvious method would be to have Cor, Aravis, and Corin searching for a fourth person to complete their square. This is already an unconventional marriage since Cor and Corin are, of course, both male (and obviously share a moiety, being twins), but I am all in favor of complicating these things when I can. And I think it would be an interesting political statement for the twins to say, implicitly, "The heir WILL be ethnically half-Calormene and you're not getting any other options from Corin BECAUSE REASONS."

If the Pevensies were doing sedoretu marriages, the standard thing would be for one of the boys and one of the girls to be the (pick a moiety) half of a marriage, and for the other boy and girl to do the same thing in a second square. The question is which boy and girl you'd pair up. Divvying it Peter-and-Susan and Edmund-and-Lucy by age makes a lot of sense, but that would result in a wildly different plot to HHB, so perhaps Peter and Lucy are currently staying unmarried because reasons, leaving Susan and Edmund to play the diplomatic marriage alliance game. Which presumably means HHB must involve one of Rabadash's siblings or half-siblings as a potential fourth member of the proposed sedoretu, and ooooh, the things I could do with that as a base premise… *cackles evilly*

I think possibly the most evil and intriguing thing to do to Jill and Eustace would be to slot them into a square with Rilian and the Lady of the Green Kirtle. (I think probably with the kids sharing a moiety because True Companions and the Lady and prince sharing a moiety because of the mockery of courtly love thing they have going on while he's brainwashed. Also because I am totally in favor of people being intensely attracted to the Lady and desperately wishing they weren't, because if we're going to the creepybadwrong place, let's go full throttle, yeah?) And we either go for a bad ending where they do get caught and brainwashed in Underland, or perhaps we just age them up a few years and have several days of awkward oh-no-they're-hot camping and skeevy touching where you can’t quite verbalize why the touches are skeevy on the way to Harfang or something.

Super cracky badwrong edition: Aslan and Jadis form a sedoretu with Frank and Helen. No, I have no idea how that would work. It's probably some kind of metaphorical power play on the non-mortal members' part, maybe an alternative to the Tree of Protection. (No point conquering Narnia if you're already married to its king and queen, right? WRONG. And if Jadis can't rule Narnia on her own, she will damn well make sure Narnia rules the rest of the world. Bloodily.) Frank and Helen would really like a divorce, please... except how do you go about divorcing god and the devil?
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I spent last night sort of idly spinning ideas for a Daredevil A/B/O fic of the sudden-change-inflicted-on-a-previously-normal-world type (because A/B/O is one of my bingo card squares, and I think one of the best ways to get to grips with a trope is to try writing it) and...

Well. Occasionally it becomes really obvious that I'm asexual, because I drifted off into alien retroviruses transmitted via magic spells, three-caste social pack systems and their awkward overlay on human sexual dimorphism, varying development/exhibition of A/B/O traits based on the presence or absence of a more socially dominant member of one's caste (similar to arrested development of secondary sex characteristics in male orangutans, because that's always struck me as fascinating), and the whole porn aspect got almost completely lost along the way. I had to keep reminding myself that hey, there's supposed to be a sex thing here, right? This is a porn trope, right?

Apparently my hindbrain disagrees!

Possessive behavior, sure. Pheromones, sure. Marking bites, sure. People dealing with bodies gone strange and unfamiliar, sure. I am totally into that stuff. But bluntly, I don't often find sex especially sexy. Power and fangs and stuff like that are way the hell more of a turn-on, as is found family, pack bonding, and people renegotiating social relationships. Meanwhile, sex qua sex can go hang for all I care; I do not need to interrupt my delicious plot and character dynamics with random bedroom grunting. *wry*
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, I was reading through some of my old journal entries and I came across the following comment of mine, which I am going to quote here in slightly truncated and edited form:

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Yeah, that weird cultural sex-is-worse-than-violence skew is one of my main reasons for considering ratings pointless. The other is that those ratings are aimed at an audiovisual medium, and are therefore maladapted for a textual medium. Like, if I show you a clip of a person shooting someone else point blank in the head, that's pretty gory and upsetting and should presumably get a relatively high rating. But I can write something like this:

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"So be a good girl, and drop the gun." Joe smirked again, like he had every option closed off and she had no choice except to play along.

Leah shot him, point blank, and threw up her arms to ward off the backspatter of blood and other things. Then she hurled herself into the cover of the overturned minivan and hoped Fatima would have time to run before Joe's goons inevitably killed her.


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and move blithely along giving you no further details, and while that's not a nice scene, it's not so graphic that I feel a need to slap a huge warning on the fic as a whole if that's the worst thing that happens. Ditto sex: showing our heroines from the previous snippet getting hot and heavy onscreen is a lot different from saying:

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Leah and Fatima fell onto the sheets, fingers slipping on buttons and zippers in their haste to pull off each other's clothes and press skin to skin in desperate confirmation that they were still alive.

"Oh god," Leah panted into Fatima's shoulder, between sloppy, open-mouthed kisses against the crook of her neck, "I thought I'd lost you, I thought--"

"I know," Fatima said. "I know. But you didn't," and her hand finally slipped under the waistband of Leah's jeans and pressed up against the damp cotton of Leah's panties.

Leah sobbed with relief and did her best to reciprocate the favor.


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and then cutting the scene and jumping to next morning. You know? Like, that little snippet is not something parents would necessarily want preteen kids reading, but it's hardly what I'd call graphic, not to mention that it's really easy to skim past text in a way one can't replicate with audiovisual media.

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I suddenly have an intense need to read the rest of the story that connects those two excerpts. Alas, it does not currently exist and probably won't ever exist unless I write it. Perhaps in 2017...
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Random question that is obviously unrelated to anything, really, I swear:

Can anyone explain to me the appeal of stories in which Peter Parker is the biological son of and/or raised by people other than his canon family?

Like, I absolutely get the appeal of people mentoring Peter. That lands squarely in the found-family trope, which is one of my personal favorites. And I can see the appeal of giving a loving family to characters whose backstories involve unhappy stints in foster care (Matt Murdock gets adopted, Scott Summers gets adopted, etcetera). But while Peter is an orphan, he already has a loving (and reasonably healthy) family. Ben is vital to his origin story, and May is awesome. So why do so many people want to give Peter a different background that there is an entire subgenre ('superfamily,' I think?) wherein he is the biological and/or adopted child of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, to say nothing of stories that attach him to a variety of other characters/ships?

I would really love to hear the perspective of someone who is into this trope, because it makes no sense to me on either a plot or emotional level, and I would like to at least get an intellectual understanding of its appeal.

Please help?
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L. E. Modesitt is a... 'guilty pleasure' is really not the right term, because that implies a level of active joy I don't get from his books. Semi-inexplicable fascination, perhaps? Yeah, let's go with that. Like, his protagonists are all slight shading variations on the same cardboard cutout, he is not a deep philosophical mind regardless of what he'd like you to think, he has what might as well be a fetish for including the letter Y in proper names, and he literally writes out sound-effects. But I do genuinely enjoy the parts of his books when he plays the show-my-research game about practical things like woodworking or road-building, and about half the time he does manage to hook me into vicariously enjoying the power-fantasy aspects of his work.

But man, he is so weird about such a lot of stuff. Like, he has a veneer of feminism? His books are very clear, on an explicit textual level, that toxic patriarchy and misogyny are bad. He also manages to extend the thought and say that any culture where one sex dominates and restricts the other is bad, because women are people rather than plaster saints. But he has a strong tendency to turn his male protagonists into living avatars of 'Not All Men' -- people are constantly telling them that most men are terrible but they're decent people, and obviously they keep getting in trouble because they're not acting like violent brutes. Which, uh. Undermines the explicit message. A lot.

I'm thinking of this mostly because I randomly reread Fall of Angels last week and was struck by the utter weirdness of telling a story about a majority female spaceship crew stranded in a patriarchal fantasy world and struggling to survive both the physical and social environmental hazards through the POV of the single surviving male crewmember. I didn't notice that the first time around because A) I was young, and B) all of the Recluce Saga novels are from male POVs (some interstitial chapters follow female characters, but always from third-person omniscient rather than third-person limited) so this seemed like an obvious extension of that pattern. But in retrospect, that's screwy, and the way all the female characters keep reassuring Nylan that he's Good and Special and Not Sexist comes off skeevier and skeevier the more it happens.

Anyway, I was at the library a few days ago and figured I'd see what Modesitt had been writing over the past decade or so, and I discovered that he'd finally written one Recluce book with a female protagonist! (That was in 2009. Then he promptly went back to the relentless male-centrism.) But Arms-Commander seemed like it might be worth reading to see how he handled female protagonists in this particular setting -- especially since it picks up the thread of that stranded spaceship crew about fifteen years down the road.

cut for length )
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That 21 questions Dreamwidth meme that's been going around, ganked from [personal profile] krait and [personal profile] the_rck:

1. Why did you sign up for Dreamwidth?
Because I didn't trust LJ very much after Strikethrough and Boldthrough (though those incidents didn't affect me personally), and because I like the ethos of a site that supports itself through subscriptions to paid accounts rather than advertising. I also really like the split into a reading circle and an access list instead of automatically jamming both together into a 'friend' list. (I mean, I don't actually give access to anyone because all my posts are either completely public or locked to my eyes only, and I don't want to look like I'm playing favorites, but I appreciate the conceptual de-linking.)

2. Why did you choose your journal name?
When I got an LJ invite code in late 2003, I needed a name quickly and my fannish pen name (Elizabeth Culmer) was too long for the character limit. So I grabbed something thematically related to a little 15-minute ficlet I'd just written (and which had gotten me the notice of [personal profile] isis, the person handing out invite codes). I only realized much later that 'edenfalling' makes me sound like an evangelical Christian, which is a hilarious misrepresentation of my religious views. But I have worn the rough edges off my pseud over the years and by now would feel weird using anything else as a screen name.

3. Do you crosspost? Why or why not?
Yeah, I have an automatic crosspost to LJ set up, because I still have readers (and people I read) over there, though I think fewer than on DW by now. I also made sure that the posts on each site reciprocally auto-link to each other, because there are few things I find more frustrating than not being able to get 'there' from 'here'.

more questions under the cut )
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[tumblr.com profile] thatgirlnevershutsup asked: Fic authors self rec! When you get this, reply with your favorite five fics that you've written, then pass on to at least five other writers (◠‿◠✿). Do multiple fandoms if you want!

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Five favorite fics that I myself wrote? Okay. The first three are easy:

1. The Way of the Apartment Manager (Naruto): Ayakawa Yukiko retired from being a ninja, and she's come to terms with that. Then the Third Hokage summons her for an assignment that will change her life. AU story, set six years pre-manga.

2. Knives (Harry Potter): Beware, you who fight evil, lest you fall into darkness. Beware, you who invite the abyss into your heart. Ginny. Lucius. Harry. Guard your soul.

3. Out of Season (Chronicles of Narnia): In the fourteenth year of Rishti Tisroc's reign, a demon in the shape of a beaver is captured and brought to Tashbaan. Shezan Tolkheera, high priestess of the goddess Achadith, is given the responsibility of guarding the demon until its sacrifice at the Spring Festival. Complications ensue.

The next two I am essentially picking out of a hat. I mean, the number of stories in the hat is a lot smaller than the total number of stories I've ever written! But once you pass my big three, what you get depends entirely on my mood and what comes to mind first on any given day. Today, those stories are:

4. Untimely Ripped (Homestuck): Most spellbooks are bullshit. Everyone knows this. But they're made of words and you need words to fill the hole in the center of your mind, so you flick through this one at the same mechanical pace you read a cheesy romance yesterday and plan to read a stupidly anachronistic spy thriller tomorrow. The clock on the living room wall ticks rhythmically above your head. Outside, light November rain mists down on the fallen leaves and dormant grass. Damara's cat watches you disdainfully from the mantel. You turn another page.

And then a spell title jumps out at you: 'For the Restoration of Life After Untimely Death'.


5. The Vastness of the Sky (Chronicles of Narnia): Digory Kirke invites Polly Plummer to watch the 1912 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race with him, hoping to catch up with his oldest friend. But lives once touched by magic never return altogether to normal, and when both crews sink in adverse weather, Digory and Polly stumble into a strange new world in search of a missing rower.

Ask me again tomorrow and you will probably get a different answer. :)
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Apropos of nothing in particular:

One narrative trope I particularly like is The Reveal (TM). This works best if it's not deployed lightly -- a character with a big secret is obviously not going going to spill it to someone they've just met, and anyway the trope works best with some time to build up dramatic tension. But I really like the moment when the truth comes out.

This can be either voluntary or involuntary. It can be public or private. It can lead to a positive or negative reaction. I like all variations. The main point is that somebody now knows, the tension is at least partially released, and the story can move on to dealing with fallout, which is also a narrative trope I particularly like.

I mention this because one series I like has a doozy of an interconnected web of secrets at its heart, and absolutely no one has all the pieces: namely, Catherine Asaro's Saga of the Skolian Empire, and the truth about Sauscony, Jaibriol II, and their children.

cut for length )

I don't expect Asaro to go there, but that is what I want. In fact, I want it to the point that I am considering nominating the fandom for Yuletide. Obviously I would not phrase the request in such detailed terms as the preceding paragraphs, but I think the general outline of "Rocalisa Qox Skolia leaves Prism as a young adult, learns what's happened to her relatives since the Radiance War, and has adventures while trying to keep her identity secret in order to protect the various branches of her family. A romance of some sort -- lesbian or poly would be especially welcome, though het is also fine -- would be a lovely addition though not strictly necessary" could be quite workable.

...

Hopefully I will remember that when nominations roll around this fall. :)

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ETA: I was finally able to read a copy of Carnelians while visiting my parents in NJ this September (thanks to their county library system) and... on the one hand, it rehashes a stupid number of points from previous books, which is kind of silly and annoying. Like, haven't we already done this? But on the other, it gave me THAT SCENE at the climax with Jai and his family and I just... ahhhh. *floats blissfully* I'd forgive an awful lot of egregious repetition for that. Plus what's-her-name, Alina? (I am not always great with names.) Anyway, Althor's surprise!kid, and her friend the escaped provider (Red?). They were a little thinly characterized in the book itself, but there's a bunch of potential for future stories there, not that I necessarily expect Asaro to pick up those threads.
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Note: I am repurposing my stock Yuletide letter here, which is why some of the sections may seem slightly off-topic for a single fandom exchange.

Hi, and thank you in advance for writing a story for me! I'm pretty easy to please -- unless you write context-free porn, I'll be thrilled just to get a response to one of my prompts. *grin* But I realize that's not terribly helpful, so here's the (very!) long version. (I am sorry for the tl;dr, but I like to talk about things I love and I figure more details are better than fewer.)

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General Information )

Okay. On to specific prompts.

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Aravis meets Rabadash )

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Lucy/Sea Girl femslash )

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The Telmarine court )

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Rilian and the Lady of the Green Kirtle )

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Let's talk about Charn! )

---------------------------------------------

And that is that.

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Elizabeth Culmer

June 2017

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