edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Okay, regrouping and trying again with Susan's super-belated gift story. As before, constructive feedback is adored. :)

Here is what Susan and I have discussed since I scrapped my previous ideas:


cut for lengthy email exchange )


So in summary, I'm aiming for a story about a person whose secret involves doing stuff rather than just being something -- and preferably doing something socially responsible but which for [fill in reason] can't be done openly and must be kept secret from the general public. Which would tend to argue for either superheroes or an urban fantasy type thing where either there's a semi-functional Masquerade and anyone who breaks it gets targeted personally rather than just being at risk through random chance, or where anyone with supernatural powers gets considered a potential threat even if they're fighting on humanity's side (maybe there is a reason for that or maybe it's just prejudice, whatever).

I tend to think that superheroes are fundamentally kind of implausible? In that unless you have powers that specifically relate to finding crime (or reaching it really quickly, I suppose), or you have the money and organization to build up a team and a good communication system, you're mostly going to flail around being useless. Also I think the lone fighter thing works better if there really is some kind of societal prejudice preventing people from organizing, and Susan's request assumes a lone fighter without a support team.

So let's go with an urban fantasy thing where humanity is under siege from... I dunno, some magical threat, and there are a few people here and there who accidentally acquire powers from close contact with that threat and sometimes use them to fight back. But because their powers are tied to the threat, they are viewed with great suspicion by a lot of other people, which leads them to mostly fight anonymously.

Character A (secret-keeper) is one of those people. Her day job is... probably something with flexible hours, so, maybe consulting? Or some kind of remote work where she gets a project that needs to be done by Day X but so long as she meets the deadline she can work whenever is convenient for her. Character B (secret-learner) is new to town and meets Character C (love interest) at work. B discovers that C has been locked in this weird dance of "I like you but we never seem to get past a first date" with A and decides to get to know A to determine what the hell is going on because this holding pattern is not emotionally great for C.

B actually ends up liking A on a personal level, but is pissed off at A's persistent unreliability and emotional stonewalling. And then we have the dramatic reveal, where A has to save B's (and maybe C's?) life during an attack.

So. Scene breakdown as follows?

outline breakdown )

The End.


I kind of want to make B female and C male, just because the standard codified version of this trope has two men conspiring to keep the truth from a woman and I enjoy flipping unnecessarily-gendered tropes. Also, that would allow for a genuinely platonic and mutually-supportive friendship between a woman and a man (B and C) which is sadly rare in fiction. So yeah. Let's go with that.

Now I just need to figure out the specific nature of this Magical Threat, what A's powers are and how they're connected to Magical Threat, what the hell B and C's job is, what activity B and A mutually like to do on Saturdays, and other details I skimmed over in the breakdown.

But that is for another day. :)


ETA, 3/21/17: Susan requests that I switch scenes 1 and 2, and make two other minor tweaks, but I think we are finally in business! \o/
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
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: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Evil palate cleanser fic idea I will probably not write because it would run way too long:

TLB AU. Remove some of the 'end of the world' bullshit and just have the Calormene invasion plot using Shift's cult as a cover. Jill and Eustace fail to save Narnia from the invasion, get chucked through the stable door... and instead of random afterlife hijinks, they are right back on the train as it crashes into the station.

For extra bonus angst, not everyone dies. Some do (I'd probably roll dice to decide, because I trust random chance more than my ideas of narrative 'appropriateness' in this case), others are permanently disabled to various degrees, and even the ones who recover fully have a long hard road to get there. And they have to live, knowing they failed and Narnia is now an outpost of Calormen, and they have no idea if any of them (or anyone unrelated to them) will ever get a chance to go back and fix it.

Have they lost the rings in the accident? If so, woe! If not, oh my god the knock-down ethical fights I could play out, mwahahahaha. Also Susan gets to say "I fucking told you so" to people because they are (at least some of them) alive to listen.


Quick, someone remind me that I don't like writing England-based Narnia fics because the historical research is prohibitive and also I need more long WIPs like I need a gaping bullet wound in my gut.
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. :)


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.


brainstorming, no outline yet )


Suggestions, anyone?


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.


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

a wild idea appears! )

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


So now I need an actual outline. Argh.

backstory )

I will get back to this after lunch.


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!


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: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Okay, so, outlining! I'm going to think out loud at the internet for a bit, and if you have any constructive feedback, I am all ears. :)


the prompt )


My opening paragraphs are as follows:

I'm not going to tell you the story of how I met Icky, because it's long and embarrassing and mostly irrelevant. What I AM going to tell you is how we helped the Golden Rider fight the evil cleaning lady of the Montana badlands and unkidnap my little sister.

(This is also an embarrassing story. But not quite as much.)


brainstorming and outline )


I am notoriously terrible at estimating story lengths, but I think this should wind up somewhere between 15,000 and 30,000 words. Which is a bit long but totally doable, and also this story is already two years late (and may well be three years late by the time I actually get it written) so I figure I owe Vicky something relatively substantial. *wry*


random points )
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
We know very little about Narnian timekeeping, mostly because Lewis didn't care and therefore didn't write anything about it. There's strong implicit evidence that a Narnian year is roughly the same length as an Earth year. Neither the characters nor Lewis-as-narrator ever say anything to hint otherwise, and in fact VDT casually establishes that one year has gone by for Lucy and Edmund while three years have passed for Caspian, which suggests the Pevensies (who are the only ones in a position to make the comparison) think Narnian and Earth years are equivalent in length.

But the only explicit textual reference to Narnian timekeeping is the letter Peter dictates in Prince Caspian, where he gives the date as the 12th of Greenroof. From this, we can conclude that Narnians don't use the standard English month names. We can also conclude that Greenroof is a summer month, given the other time mentions in Prince Caspian. (In summary, Caspian flees the castle in early summer, meets with a bunch of Old Narnians on a nice summer day, holds a gathering at the Dancing Lawn three days later, and then retreats to Aslan's How and spends an unspecified time there battling Miraz -- judging by Lewis's descriptions, I'd say a minimum of two or three weeks -- before blowing Susan's horn and yanking the Pevensies into the story.)

The other temporal anchor we have for Greenroof is that the Pevensies find ripe apples in the Cair Paravel orchard. Cursory internet research tells me that apples ripen anywhere from late summer to winter, depending on the variety, which is annoyingly unspecific but does support my reading that Caspian et al spent a fair amount of time besieged at the How.

If Narnian months are direct correlates to Earth months, Greenroof must be equivalent to either July or August. July fits a little better with the name itself (August tends to be drier), but August fits somewhat better with the ripe apples. Length of time from 'early' summer is not a useful metric, both because early summer could be said to start anywhere from late May (judging by weather) to late June (solstice), and because Lewis is so damnably vague about how long the Old Narnians were holed up in Aslan's Howe before they decided to use the horn.

If, however, Narnian months are not direct correlates to Earth months -- that is, if they are roughly the same length, but start and end at different points, perhaps based on a different designated new year's day -- then I'd split the difference and make Greenroof run roughly from July 20 to August 20, which would place Peter's letter right about the start of August. (This assumes a New Year starting around the spring equinox, which is or has been common in many eras and cultures.)

This is not hugely relevant to anything, but I have been attempting to stick textual dates on a bunch of letters in "The Courting Dance." Since I'd previously established that story as taking place during the summer, I started wondering exactly where in the summer Greenroof fell, and what to call the months before and after it. I am tentatively going with the offset months, and calling the prior one (June 20-July 20, give or take) Sunhigh, because solstice. [personal profile] heliopausa has used the name Fruitswell for the month after Greenroof (in The Atrementus Collection, a lovely meta-heavy series about the publication of the books on Tumnus's shelf in LWW), which I may adopt as my own headcanon.

I have no idea what the other nine months should be called, though. Any suggestions?


ETA: [personal profile] autumnia reminds me that VDT also contains reference to named months... which are, annoyingly, January, February, and March, and January is referenced as the start of a new year. *headdesk* Oh, Lewis. He couldn't maintain inter-volume continuity if his life depended on it, could he?

So we have, I think, five options: one, ignore the named months in VDT; two, ignore the named month in PC; three, assume that some months got renamed over the years while others retained the names Frank and Helen brought from England; four, assume that a thirteenth month got jammed in at some point (lunar influences, perhaps?); or five, assume that the Telmarines and the Old Narnians use slightly different calendars, and the Telmarine one is a closer match to the English one.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
With regard to my current mini-ficlet fluff fill:

The problem with writing Telemain is that I have to think up reasonable-sounding magical theory and then phrase it as impenetrably as possible.

This is, of course, also one of the two most fun things about writing Telemain. (The other is Morwen wrong-footing him by being practical.) Because magical theory requires worldbuilding, and worldbuilding is my favorite of all favorite things -- working out how a given thing fits into a given secondary world's rules, its logical implications, and the ways people would naturally use it for unintended purposes. :)

But right at the moment, I think I accidentally invented a magical basis for faux-neon advertising billboards, and I have to break it really quick because they weren't around during canon. *headdesk*
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Summary: Ri-Lady Lourdés Rodelay receives bad news from home. Tom does what he can to be there for her. (525 words)

Note: I started writing this in 2011, presumably in response to a 15-minute fic prompt, but I neglected to write down the actual prompt word or which particular prompt blog it came from. Also, the ficlet obviously took me more than fifteen minutes to write. *headdesk*

It's set about a year before A Dream of Snow and A Dream of Heat, when Tom and Tab are sixteen. Lourdés is a year older than Tom.

Correspondence )

One of these days I really should sit down and actually plot out the epic saga I built this world to support, if only so I can assign suitably awesome subplots to the various friends, classmates, and family members I've created for Tab and Tom.
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Summary: Tom Redding endures a test in the desert of Mur. (325 words)

Note: This ficlet is a direct sequel to A Dream of Snow and will make more sense if you read that one first.

A Dream of Heat )

I don't even particularly like this ficlet, but I am trying to make myself write and finish SOMETHING after a drought of over a month, so. Here is something.
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Today is NFE reveal day! I wrote three stories this year: one assignment, one pinch hit, and one tiny Madness ficlet. I will talk about each in a separate post.

The Mystery of Mount Pire: Aravis joins Lucy and Susan on a winter exploration of Archenland. (2,600 words, written for [archiveofourown.org profile] Heliopause)


Then I wrote a pinch hit!

I jumped on this one because I desperately wanted to write Susan and Lucy having an adventure. It is an idea which is near and dear to my heart, but which I had only treated glancingly in the past. Alas, events conspired against me -- the day after I claimed the pinch hit I was laid low by a nasty cold, slept thirteen hours a day until the weekend and was afflicted by sludge-brain while awake, and thus had only Saturday afternoon and evening to write -- and so I have still only treated the idea in a glancing fashion... but dammit, before this year is over I am going to pick up the loose threads I laid out and do something with them. Or else!

To partially make up for ending before the actual adventure part of this adventure tale, I threw in a nod to one of Heliopause's other prompts, about characters who are only mentioned in passing in canon, such as the Lady Liln. I have long been of the opinion that a giant turning into a mountain makes no logistical sense whatsoever, and also that Olvin 'winning' Liln as a prize for killing Pire is a horrible and sexist trope, so I gave Liln a bit of actual background as a half-dryad Narnian judge and am going to give Olvin and Pire similar treatment once I get my explorers up on top of that mysterious frozen waterfall.

The theme of Aravis adjusting to life in Archenland was not a conscious choice on my part; it happened organically as I wrote. But I am glad that it gave the fic a coherent character arc to make up for the way I chopped the plot arc off just as it was getting started.

I did not try very hard to be anonymous in this story, given that I reused both the idea of Susan and Lucy being trouble magnets when they're together anywhere but Cair Paravel (that is from Interesting Times), and the character of Catchlight the Raven (who appears in an unfinished fragment about Cor and Aravis going to Narnia for the Summer Festival). I did make a token stab toward passing those off as a reference to 'someone else's work' by making a genuine (and heartfelt) tip of the hat toward [personal profile] rthstewart's work in Susan's line about Llamas not being the most reliable storytellers, and Otters and Hummingbirds not using very polite language, but by that point in the writing process I was more concerned with getting the thing done than anything else.

(I ran too close to the deadline to get this beta-read. Again. One of these years I really must learn better time management skills.)


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

June 2017

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