edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
You know, when I am done with my RemixRedux fic, I wonder if anyone will be able to distinguish the parts I wrote while tipsy and sleep-deprived, the parts I wrote out of sequence at work while being interrupted by customers every two sentences, and the parts I wrote chronologically and uninterrupted while sober.

...

If my allergies act up again this week, perhaps I can add sections written while stoned on Benadryl. It will be for SCIENCE!

*is mercifully shot*

-----

On a slightly more rational note, I am intrigued by the way my story relates to the original which it's based on. The first year I did Remix, I simply expanded my remixee's story -- taking a short scene and giving it context, so to speak. The second year, I went pretentious, non-chronological, and meta with fairy tale elements on my remixee's more straightforward tragedy. The third time, I started with a simple POV-flip and then had to add three connecting scenes to make any sense of why my new POV character was even in the scene that ended my remixee's story.

This time, I am taking the basic plot of my remixee's story and writing it as if I had independently dreamed up a story with that plot and cast of characters, while ignoring huge swathes of the details and dialogue of the original version. The same general sequence of events occurs, but the things I think are most important and/or interesting in this scenario are not always the things my remixee thought were most important and/or interesting, so the stories have noticeably different focuses.

...

Remixing is weird. Fun, but weird. *grin*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I find writing processes interesting, both in open-ended situations -- i.e., making up a story with no constraints (other than canon, if you're writing fanfic) -- and in more constrained situations -- i.e., writing to a prompt or a challenge. And I said a while ago that I might post the record of my battle with Cast a Long Shadow (We All Meet in the End), so.

Warning: these attempted outlines contain spoilers for [livejournal.com profile] osmalic's stories Sea Call Burn and Points Where All Shadows Meet. So if you want to read them unspoiled or want a better understanding of what I was attempting to remix, go read them now. (Actually, go read them anyway; they're very good!)

Anyway. Here is a month's worth of me fighting my remix.

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Friday, 6/19/09 - Basically, what I really, truly, desperately want to do is remix 'Sea Call Burn,' which is a story about... )

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Saturday, 6/20/09 - I went back and reread bits of DH to see how Petunia reacts to Harry on their departure... )

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Tuesday, 6/23/09 - That outline is not working. It is dead on the page. I need to pull the story apart some more... )

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Wednesday, 6/24/09 - I am trying to reread osmalic's story to pick out her character interpretations... )

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Thursday, 7/2/09 - I have what I hope will finally be a functional outline -- unfortunately it came with a title that will not get out of my head... )

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Thursday, 7/23/09 - I am not sure what my remix ended up saying about Snape... )
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Remix reveal day!

I wrote Cast a Long Shadow (We All Meet in the End): Lily left empty places behind her. A story about family, loss, memory, and the passage of time. Contains familial dysfunction, mention of war and related issues, and offscreen canon character deaths. [The final version is now posted here on AO3 and here on ff.net... but the livejournal version has better comments. *grin*]

(Now you know why I had Petunia and Lily [Rationalization], and adult!Dudley [Points of Division] on my mind this past month or so. *sigh* Obvious Liz is obvious.)

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

Cast a Long Shadow (We All Meet in the End) is a remix of Points Where All Shadows Meet, by [livejournal.com profile] osmalic. The original story was written for [livejournal.com profile] snape_after_dh, which means it takes all DH canon about Snape's childhood acquaintance with Lily and Petunia into account... and then gives one other canon element the finger. In other words, Snape faked his death.

Aside from that element, "Cast a Long Shadow" meshes almost seamlessly with my previous stories about Petunia -- most specifically with Family and Falls the Shadow. I admit that this was semi-deliberate; I have a particular interpretation of Petunia and of the Evans family, and it's hard for me to hold another view in my mind strongly enough to write a story based on it. Using 'Maureen' as the name of Dudley's fiancée, on the other hand, was very deliberate, and was basically a sop to my compulsive need for tidy edges.

On a more random note, I have now created enough backstory for Petunia that I have a bizarre urge to write a semi-comedic romance wherein bank-teller!Petunia meets drill-salesman!Vernon, they flirt awkwardly, she introduces him to her disapproving parents, he introduces her to his unbearable sister, she wonders how to broach the topic of her little sister's magic, and everything is very cute and silly. Then Voldemort brutally murders Mr. and Mrs. Evans, Vernon is horrified by the revelation that magic is real, and Petunia thinks she's lost him... and then he comes back and they get engaged, the end. But I am not going to write that story.

Instead, I am going to talk about remixing. *grin*

You see, "Cast a Long Shadow" is not the story I meant to write. (Though I am quite fond of it nonetheless!) What I really, desperately wanted to do was a sort of backwards mirror version of [livejournal.com profile] osmalic's Sea Call Burn, which is a beautiful story about Ron Weasley visiting the Philippines for somber reasons that are only slowly revealed. That story is about grief and promises and letting go. It's also a love song to a particular place and culture, with a bonus theory about every region having its own system and 'flavor' of magic.

I wanted to write about Hermione searching the world for reasons that are revealed upfront (so as to connect the story back to [livejournal.com profile] osmalic's story); to have her come to Ithaca and visit Seneca Falls and talk to people and sit on on some classes at the Community School of Magic, Music, and Arts (CSMMA), and so on; to extend [livejournal.com profile] osmalic's idea of different magical systems (because America, I am convinced, has at least four or five all muddled together -- immigration and cultural erasure will do that to a country -- and she touched on American magic a little with her HP/Supernatural crossover Turning Pages for New Worlds); and to write a love song to America in general and the Finger Lakes region in particular.

But I was not sure if that idea would have enough connection to the original, and also I suck at real-world cultural intricacies, so I decided to remix "Points Where All Shadows Meet" instead, on the theory that that story, at least, I knew how to do justice. (I had hoped to then have time to attempt a remix of "Sea Call Burn" as well, but alas, it was not to be. Time management is not my friend.)

I think I did generally manage to do Petunia, Snape, and Lily justice. It just took me a lot more frustration and several more trashed outlines than I expected it to. Then I did not get the rough draft finished when I needed to, after which my computer crashed and I had a guest for the weekend, so I had to request an extension, write like a mad thing on Monday and Tuesday, edit on Wednesday (which, thank god, I had off from work), and make my sister do a thematic beta job over the telephone because she didn't have the password to get online from my parents' computer (she was in the NYC area for a work project while my parents were in France) -- but I got it done and I got it in. And while I think, in retrospect, I should have sharpened Petunia's edges more, I am fairly pleased with the final result.

(I am also so relieved I managed to think of a title other than "Four Weddings and a Funeral," because while that is probably the most literally accurate title I have ever thought of, it is so thematically distracting -- honestly, can you read "Four Weddings and a Funeral" without thinking of Hugh Grant and romantic comedy? -- that it would never have worked. "Cast a Long Shadow (We All Meet in the End)" refers to Lily's effect on Petunia and Snape and then to the way both Snape and Petunia end up in King's Cross watching Harry and his family... or at least this is how I handwave it to myself. *grin* It also keeps three words -- 'shadow,' 'meet,' and 'all' -- from [livejournal.com profile] osmalic's original title, which may be more immediately relevant.)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Apparently (and I have no idea why this still surprises me after all these years) I am obsessive enough about typos and fiddly grammar goofs that I logged into my remix sockpuppet account in order to correct one instance of "there's" to "there are," because I accidentally wrote the relevant sentence in my informal-conversational voice instead of my semi-formal-narration voice and therefore neglected to make the verb agree with the subsequent noun phrase.

And then, while I was already messing around with the post, I couldn't help changing "remember" to "recall" and "confused" to "unsettled" for flow and repetition issues, removing an extraneous comma, and unitalicizing one word. Because as they stood, they were wrong and they itched at me.

*beats head against desk*

I am not really OCD. I just do a good impression of it now and then.

(This is what I get for using my sister as a beta and, when she lost internet access at the crucial time period, basically talking my issues out at her over the phone and tweaking the story based on her verbal responses to my thematic uncertainties. It was a productive conversation -- Vicky has always been my most useful critic, if only because she has the most experience knowing what I mean, how I think, and where I habitually cut corners -- but she never actually got the chance to rip up my phrasing, spelling, and other mechanical issues.)
edenfalling: stained-glass butterfly in a purple frame (butterfly)
Hello everyone!

RemixRedux 7 stories have gone live. Go look through the archive (searching by tags is the best way to navigate) and have fun.

Authors will not be revealed until next week so I can't point you to the story I wrote (though really, I think it is the most blindingly obvious anonymous fic I have ever written), but I can point you to the story somebody wrote based on my own previous work.

Mice and Men (The Best Laid Plans Remix) takes my little now-AU look at Tom Riddle's early years at Hogwarts, Mice and Men and elaborates on all the things Tom meant to be and do but never managed to bring from thought to reality.

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

In other news, I managed about 400 words of "Secrets" last night. Hagrid is now on-page and beginning to have a conversation with Ginny. I hope to get through this scene as quickly as possible, because I hate writing Hagrid's dialogue. I find it hard to get into his mindset, I find his phrasing awkward, and I find JKR's semi-phonetic spelling of his accent absolutely maddening to reproduce. But I wrote him into chapter 3, years and years ago, and I need to pick up that dropped thread.

So I shall grit my teeth and persevere.
edenfalling: stained-glass butterfly in a purple frame (butterfly)
After dithering around for a few weeks, a couple false starts, no less than four separate outlines, and a lot of mental story element juggling (which produced a rather nice bit of prop continuity), I finally started writing my RemixRedux story Sunday night. I wrote another 550 words Monday night, bringing me to 1,750 total. I think this is maybe 1/5 to 1/4 of the way through the story if I'm lucky, but it's probably more like 1/6 to 1/5, knowing me and my tendency for scenes to expand without asking permission beforehand. *headdesk*

I thought this was the 'easy' option of the two stories I wanted to try remixing, but the thing was, while I knew right off the bat whose POV to use and roughly what I wanted my thematic point to be, I couldn't find the right structural framework. (I can sometimes write without a particular structure in mind, but those are generally more narrative-oriented stories rather than theme-oriented stories. If there is a theme, I get very picky about structure.) Last week the structure finally came clear, after which I waited a day to make sure the story felt properly 'alive' in my mind, and then wrote the final outline.

Anyway, I plan to get most of the writing done Tuesday with touchups on Wednesday, since Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights will be eaten by Susan's visit and will thus be generally useless for writing. (It's kind of rude to vanish into a computer room for hours at a time when you have guests, or at least that's how I see it.)

The upshot of this is that I will need a beta on Thursday or Friday. If anyone is willing to read a probably 8,000-12,000 word story (look, I said my stories tend to expand on me without warning!) and get it back to me Sunday afternoon, drop a comment with your email so I can give you more details in private.

(I am not sure why I am bothering to be this secretive -- this story is so obviously filled with my personal phrasing quirks, and my character preferences and thematic obsessions for the canon in question, that anyone who knows my previous work and reads it will immediately know I am the author -- but the rules are the rules, ne?)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Current plan:

My mom drives up from NJ tomorrow and arrives around 6pm, as I get out of work. We eat dinner. Friday night and large parts of Saturday are spent going through my boxes of old files (mostly homework from 7th grade through college -- why the hell did I save this stuff in the first place?) and hopefully throwing the majority of the papers away. (Okay, not throwing away. Recycling. The basic sense of 'getting rid of them' remains valid. *grin*)

Next week, Susan drives up from NJ on Thursday, arriving around 10pm (as I get home from work). We spend Friday and Saturday doing touristy things, and I may drag her to church on Sunday morning. Or we may do brunch. Possibly even both! Anyway, I am thinking we'll visit the Corning Museum of Glass on Friday and do some extensive winery touring on Saturday. Possibly we can visit Seneca Falls as well, because the history of feminism is a Good Thing To Be Aware Of.

Or maybe we could drive to Watkins Glen and totally ignore the racetrack and hike around the park and waterfalls instead. I have seen some pictures in regional photography books, and they look very scenic. (If you ever see a 'waterfalls of the Finger Lakes' or 'scenery of the Finger Lakes' book, do flip through it. I live in a shockingly gorgeous area. And in Ithaca, the waterfalls are right in the middle of town, no lie!)

The next weekend is Grassroots Music Festival, which means I may end up working overtime so BW and PM can go listen to music, and ET can do something with AD, his girlfriend.

The weekend after that, I pack like a mad thing, and then on Monday I fly to Omaha, rent a car, and drive to Iowa, perhaps stopping by the assisted living center to see Grandma Doris briefly in the evening. Tuesday I visit with Grandma Doris all day long and take her out for lunch and dinner. Then I drive back to Omaha, turn in the car, and sack out in a motel room. Wednesday I catch an obscenely early flight back to Ithaca.

And somewhere in there, I finish and post my RemixRedux fic and hopefully get some other stuff written. *headdesk* I actually have my 'do this one, it'll be easy' remix outlined pretty firmly. I just need to sit down and put words on paper. (And find a proper title because the one that will not get out of my head is... well, it's perhaps the most literally accurate title I have ever thought of, but it's previously been used as a movie title and the movie's theme has nothing to do with my story's theme, and I would prefer not to confuse the issue. I dunno, though; it's awfully hard to think of a better title...)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
So! It is Saturday, and I have decided what I'm going to do about RemixRedux.

It's complicated. :-)

See, the story I really, truly, desperately want to remix is unfortunately kind of long and very specific in its details. And the story I want to write -- what I want to change, and what I want to keep or echo -- would be more of a backwards, distorted mirror than a rewrite. I am not sure how kosher that is, though my hypothetical story would be absolutely dependent on the original for the fullest sense of what I'm trying to say. (It is all about exploring the original's gaps and roads not taken, in a way.) Also, it would require a LOT of careful world-building, a sure grasp of cultural sensitivity (which I doubt I have), and a ton of research, possibly including a trip to somewhere I cannot get to without a car, and since I have no car...

*makes face*

Therefore, I am putting that story on temporary hold and remixing the second story that pinged me, because that one involves characters and a theme that I could write in my sleep -- which is not to say that I am planning to shortchange the work, just that I think I can have a rough draft done by next Saturday at the latest. And that way, even if I cannot finish the story I am dying to write, I will have something to post.

After that, if I manage to get the first story written as well, it's all gravy. :-D

(Oh, I so want to write that story. It would/will be about the hardest thing I have ever written in my life, but I think it's so very, very worth the effort. *sulks over deadlines*)
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
So! An update.

1. I have met all my immediate neighbors, i.e., the people who also live in my new building. For the time being, I shall refer to them as Upstairs Neighbors R and A (and their dog, Jeeves), who live directly above me; Upstairs Neighbors K and N (and their two small sons, C and A), who live on a vertical diagonal to me; and Downstairs Neighbors L and M, who live across the foyer from me.

Downstairs Neighbors L and M had a potluck dinner for friends and neighbors on Sunday night, which was still on when I got home from closing the store, so I stopped by, met a bunch of people whose names and faces I will almost certainly not remember, and had some very tasty vegetarian lasagna.

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2. Let me tell you about my new apartment. I am in a building which I suspect was once a duplex... )

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3. I did some research tonight on the Lands End Trail in San Francisco, and while the road maps and pictures were very helpful, and I now know that it's permissible to bring dogs on the trail, I still don't know if you're allowed to have a picnic there. Possibly this information is available on a higher level website that explains the rules for San Francisco parks in general? I am going to try googling some more, but if you know California rules about food in parks, please tell me!

This is for my ongoing attempt to write a Spock-POV fic about grief management. The damn story just will not stop growing, though a couple nights ago I made an outline in self-defense, so at least I am not flailing totally in the dark anymore. First it was going to be kind of restrained, intellectual hurt/comfort between Spock and Uhura. Then it got even more intellectual and picked up a long introductory scene with report and psychological evaluations and stuff. Then Kirk stuck his nose in. Then I got interested in playing with Vulcan culture, and mourning rituals, and ways to channel emotions within carefully delineated guidelines and forms so as to not lose oneself past recall. Then Uhura decided to reminisce about her childhood and her idealization of Starfleet, and stuff like that.

...

I don't even know anymore. But I do know I am going to include the Sutro Baths, decayed nearly to nothing but a few centuries of erosion, corrosion, and the determined efforts of plant life to reclaim the coast. I like the mental image of tidal pools, seabirds, sharp-edged grasses, and here and there, a rusted spike of iron or a crumbling, nearly-buried line of concrete. I find the desolation appealing.

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4. I do not think I will be remixing any of my remixee's shipfic -- I would have to reformulate the story way too much (basically going back years and decades to lay groundwork for the established relationship in present-day story time) -- but I have gained a better sense of how she characterizes one of the members of that pairing, and of some of her background world-building. (And I must say, I like that world-building exceedingly! I want to take it home and pet it and call it George... *silly grin*) So that's definitely useful. I am leaning more and more toward working with one of the first two stories that jumped out at me, but I am still undecided about which one.

Ah well. I hereby declare that I will decide by Saturday, and start brainstorming and outlining immediately thereafter. *nods firmly* Deadlines are good. Feel free to poke me if I miss this one.

(On that subject, the story is due on July 12. I would like to have the rough draft done a week before that -- say, Sunday July 5 -- so as to have time to get it thoroughly betaed. Definitely poke me if I miss that deadline!)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Random RemixRedux notes:

I have looked over my remixee's archive and read several stories whose pairings/characters/summaries jumped out at me. I think two are very promising candidates for remixing. One would be easier, since it already walks very close to one of my own obsession points in that canon. The other would be much trickier, but the story really pulled me in and it has a lot of implicit spaces and times that I could use to weave a new story over the same bones.

I will go read the rest of my remixee's stories in our matched fandom during this coming week, to get a better sense of her habitual characterizations and themes, even though most of those stories are for a pairing that I find... not squicky, nor categorically implausible, just not something that interests me. It's one of those pairings where I like the interaction and possibilities in genfic, but I need to be carefully coaxed and cajoled to accept a romantic and/or sexual relationship. Unfortunately, if someone is writing a pairing as an OTP, they are not likely to write it in such a way as to overcome my skepticism toward it, because shipfic writers tend to take their pairing as a given instead of working anew to convince readers of its plausibility.

(This is not, btw, a condemnation! It's just an observation. If I already buy into a pairing, I don't want to keep rereading arguments about why it makes sense. I'm just saying that from outside -- and for this pairing, I am definitely outside -- that shorthand doesn't work.)

But as I say, I do find those characters interesting when they interact in a gen fashion -- there is a lot of potential for dramatic stories! -- so I am hoping maybe one or two of my remixee's shipfics will have enough other stuff in them for me to maybe background the OTP stuff and foreground the plot and other aspects of the interaction. And if not, well, there are always those two other stories that really pinged me. :-) I just think it would be nice to stretch myself more this year -- to find something fascinating in a story that's otherwise outside my general zone of interest.

Anyway, I've also read some stuff my remixee has written outside of the fandom we were matched on, but only three of those jumped at me and I think only two are possibilities to work with; I just don't remember the particular moments of canon the third story deals with well enough to feel confident playing with it. (I could, of course, reread those chapters, but they are scattered and I am lazy.) So I am saving those as backup as well.

I may come back after the reveal and fill in the fandom and pairing details I am talking around now. And then again, I may not. As I said, I'm lazy. *grin*

-----

ETA: Okay, this is me coming back three months later and saying that the pairing in question is Remus Lupin/Severus Snape from Harry Potter.

You see, I cannot believe in them as a pairing during their Hogwarts days. I don't care how well you write it; for me, that would contradict canon personalities and character traits, which is much, much worse than just contradicting events... plus if Snape is in love with Lupin, that makes his reaction to Lily's death rather bizarre. I find it wildly improbable for them to become a couple during PoA-HBP (though I could probably be persuaded by outstanding writing helped along by a compelling plot). And then in DH, of course, Lupin is married to Tonks, Snape is still obsessed with Lily, and then they all die.

So if you want to convince me of this ship, you have very limited time period options unless you are going wildly AU, and you are going to have to do a very good and delicate job with characterization. Also, you are going to have to explain away Tonks, Lily, and possibly Sirius (preferably without setting off my inner feminist rage, btw), so good luck with that. *grin*

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

June 2017

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