edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Happy New Year! Also, it is Yuletide reveal day! Here are the stories I wrote:

1 ) A Changing of the Tide: "It may also please you to advertise my lord his grace that since his repair to Richmond I have been at Lesnes, where I saw one of the most piteous and grievous sights that ever I saw, which to me before the sight of the same was incredible, concerning the breach out of the Thames into the marshes at Lesnes, which are all overflowed and drowned." --Thomas Cromwell to Stephen Gardiner, January 18, 1529. (4,800 words, written for [archiveofourown.org profile] Aramley)

In other words, I signed up for Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall series in a fit of enthusiasm for the canon, and naturally that was where I was matched. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an expert on Tudor England. Thus, research. All the research!

Aramley asked for fic centered around Thomas Cromwell: a scene from his past, an exploration of his relationship with his family, a view of him from another character's POV, etc. The words 'missing scenes' were used. I may have taken that too literally. *wry*

"A Changing of the Tide" fits into Wolf Hall 'Part Two, Chapter II. An Occult History of Britain. 1521-1529.' It sits between the section that opens "Autumn 1528: he is at court on the cardinal's business. Mary is running toward him, her skirts lifted, showing a fine pair of green silk stockings. Is her sister Anne chasing her? He waits to see," and the section that opens "New Year's 1529: Stephen Gardiner is in Rome, issuing certain threats to Pope Clement, on the king's behalf; the content of the threats has not been divulged to the cardinal. Clement is easily panicked at the best of times, and it is not surprising that, with Master Stephen breathing sulfur in his ear, he falls ill."

(This works because at that time, England marked the new year on March 25 (Lady Day) rather than January 1. Which technically means the opening sentence of my story is wrong -- it should say January 1528 rather than January 1529 -- but in the interest of not confusing modern readers I followed the modern calendar.)

I did think about trying to write something set in Italy, perhaps to detail the episode where Cromwell petitioned a pope on behalf of a guild in the town of Boston, but that would have involved researching Renaissance popes and Rome and travel from England to Italy, and Erasmus's translation of the New Testament into Latin, and that sounded like even more of a headache than researching Lesnes Abbey and medieval marsh reclamation, so I stayed firmly in England where I at least had a letter in Cromwell's own hand to work from.

I'm not sure why I didn't write a domestic scene with Cromwell and his children in their younger years, but for some reason that only occurred to me as an option after I was well committed to the flood at Lesnes. Possibly I find Mantel's version of Gregory Cromwell as baffling as her version of Thomas Cromwell does. I did induce Cromwell to think about his children a few times, and also to think about Rafe Sadler in the context of family, since Rafe is effectively his foster son, but that was not the main focus of the story.

There isn't a lot of plot qua plot, but then, this is more an attempt at what could be a lost section of Mantel's novel than a standalone story, so I'm inclined to consider that a feature rather than a bug. My dad did suggest, when I ran the story past him, that I could replace Katherine Greene with a character from some other historical novel or series -- perhaps the Matthew Shardlake mysteries -- and thus turn this into a stealth crossover 'where did Character X come from and what is her backstory?' fic, but that seemed like a lot of work on short notice so I didn't bother.

On that note, I would like to thank three people for looking over and improving the story. [livejournal.com profile] cat_i_th_adage told me how to make the final paragraph work properly. My dad listened when I ran some worries about logistics past him, and suggested the inclusion of Cromwell's thoughts about Thomas More and More's education of his daughter Margaret Roper. My sister Vicky fixed two small mechanical issues and told me I needed to expand Cromwell's conversation with Bledding in the final scene, and give Bledding some more concrete reasons to think Cromwell was a trustworthy person.

Everything else should be in the endnotes of the story itself, which are more or less a bibliography (albeit not in formal MLA format), plus some historical trivia.

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2 ) Faint Heart Never Won: Lucifer does not need her to defend him, but that is irrelevant. Mazikeen/Lucifer. (475 words, written for [archiveofourown.org profile] rosaxx50)

And then I wrote a little Yuletide Madness treat late on Christmas Eve, because there should always be more Lucifer fic in the world and I agree wholeheartedly with [livejournal.com profile] rosaxx50's analysis of Mazikeen and Lucifer and why they are awesome together.

Someday somebody is going to write Lucifer fic for me at Yuletide. Until then, I will just keep writing it myself. :-)

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The stories only add up to 5,275 words total, but wordcounts are not everything, and I am damn proud of "A Changing of the Tide." I set out to imitate Mantel, down to the word choice and pattern of sentences, and while in retrospect I should have tossed in a couple mentions of cloth and clothing patterns, I think I otherwise achieved that goal.

I am also very pleased with "Faint Heart Never Won," which is almost enough to make me stop snickering at the way I stole the title from a song in Iolanthe -- said song is all about faint heart never winning fair lady (and is also ridiculous, given it's from a Gilbert & Sullivan musical)... but then I think of Mazikeen as the Lord Chancellor pursuing Lucifer-as-ingénue, and I'm sorry, it's just too silly. :-p
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Since returning to Ithaca, I somehow managed to get my sleep schedule fucked up, which has been messing with my ability to face sorting through the Yuletide archive. (Making and acting on decisions is hard, yo, and one of the first things to go when I am tired. Which also contributes to my tiredness, since after a certain point I can't make and act on the good and wise decision to go the fuck to bed. Stupid brain chemistry design flaws.)

I have managed to sort of force my way through work despite occasional spacey moments. Luckily it's been slow because of weird holiday scheduling. I mean, Christmas and New Year's on Wednesdays? So strange. Nobody knows what days anything is open or closed, so a lot of people seem to be avoiding the issue and just staying home.

We did quarterly inventory today, though I actually did quarterly inventory on Sunday afternoon and evening. See, I did the instant lottery ticket inventory and order on Friday afternoon because of holiday delivery scheduling issues, and some newspaper stuff on Saturday (which I normally have off), so on Sunday I took a bunch of inventory sheets downstairs and did all the basement inventory, as per Boss Lady's instructions. Then it was so dead in the evening (because nobody is out shopping, because weird holidays are weird) that I stole all the book inventory sheets from the piles set out for Monday morning and just counted them too. I mean, if I hadn't done that, I probably would've ended up counting all the greeting cards this morning, because that is how my life works. I loathe counting the greeting cards. So this was self-defense, really.

I typed up a fragmentary response to another Cotton Candy Bingo prompt that I wrote at work back at the end of September and added another hundred words to it. I may poke at that again tonight. Or I may go poke around the Three Sentence Ficathon. Or I may write up a Yuletide reveal post. Hmm. *ponders*

Oh, hey, speaking of Yuletide. I have read, I think, all the Earthsea fic, and all the Calvin & Hobbes fic, and all the Black Jewels fic, and some assorted random things that jumped out at me from other people's rec lists, and a few things I clicked on at random in the Madness collection. (Plus the other fics in the fandoms for which I myself wrote stuff.) That is not very much, all told.

My own stories have garnered few hits and a modest response, though both my recipients liked them. This is not surprising in the slightest; the fandom for which I wrote a treat is... not obscure, precisely, but definitely not large. And the other is, well, historical fiction. And not fantastical historical fiction, either. Its fannish audience is therefore self-limiting, which I knew going in, and I don't care because I love the canon to bits and I enjoyed the hell out of researching and writing that fic. The comments I received have been very nice and thoughtful, and confirm that I achieved the result I was aiming for, so I am content to declare victory. :-)

I mean, I would never say no if I wrote a story that became a surprise Yuletide hit, but I know myself and I have some sense of where the big fannish id buttons lie -- and also the Yuletide fannish id buttons, which are not quite the same thing -- and I am confident in saying that my chosen fandoms/tropes/plots do not usually hit those buttons in the way that goes viral.

Yeah, I should go write up a reveal post.

And then maybe do the "thinking about the year" part of my end-of-year fic roundup post, because I may have all the links in place (which I try to keep up-to-date on, since it is tedious beyond belief to collect them all at once), but I haven't done any analysis at all.

Let's see if this decision works. :-)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
One of the things I asked for this year was world-building for Eve Forward's Villains By Necessity, specifically about religion; here are a brief summary of the book and my prompt details if you're interested. And I got some!

Still To Witness: Azal and Hruul aren't necessarily evil, but the Light doesn't approve of them anyway. A priest of Azal and a priest of Hruul talk about how to start over after everything. (2,400 words) [ETA: written by [archiveofourown.org profile] Estirose!]

It's excellent at showing that gods can have many faces, and people have many ways of relating to them and living their faith. It also deals with the issues of free will and zealotry that are so important in canon, and offers hope for the future now that the crisis has passed.

Go read it and tell the writer they are wonderful!

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I have not had time to read much else in either archive, and very shortly Susan will come over to visit and exchange gifts (after which we may visit Cat's parents to bring cookies and catch up on news and such-like) so today is unlikely to see much progress on that front (not to mention I have my Ladystuck fic to write), but I will try to get some kind of recs post together by New Year's Day. *crosses fingers*
edenfalling: golden flaming chalice in a double circle (gold chalice)
Stuff about stuff: I'm in New Jersey, the trip down from Ithaca went well, I got my Yuletide fic edited, I went to Xmas Eve service at my childhood church with my family, I wrote a little Madness treat at the last minute because why not, and now I am going to bed because the collections are not yet open and I have to get up at semi-reasonable hours in the morning to do breakfast and presents with family.

So Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and happy Random-Day-A-Little-Past-Solstice to everyone else. The sun is coming back! (Or going away, if you're in the southern hemisphere.) Yay for the solar system and its regular cycles!

Okay, sleep now. :-)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Dear Yuletide Writer,

Hi, and thank you in advance for writing a story for me! I'm pretty easy to please -- unless you write a context-free sex scene, I'll be thrilled just to get a fic in one of the fandoms I asked for. *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 fandoms.

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The Dispossessed )

Lucifer )

Macbeth )

Villains by Necessity )

Black Jewels )

And that is that. :-)
edenfalling: stained-glass butterfly in a purple frame (butterfly)
Ha! My story is DONE, and it is POSTED.

Of course, it hasn't been edited much, let alone beta-read, but eh, details.

Um. Speaking of which, is anyone willing to look over a historical fiction tale under 5,000 words long? I am not really worried about historical accuracy at this point. I have done all I can reasonably be expected to do on that front. I'm not even hugely worried about canon fidelity. I just want to know if my story works as a story.

If you have time in the next two days, please tell me and give me a way to send you the file. :-)

(I will probably also make my family read it, since my mom has read the canon in question, my dad is a historian, and my sister knows where I get narratively lazy, but more eyes are always helpful.)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I am working busily on my Yuletide fic. I think I have finally hit the point where I shouldn't need to research any new topics, and am merrily inventing fictional people to fill out the historical landscape, because stories work better with more than three characters interacting against a blank backdrop. (Which reminds me: I must add some more descriptive passages once I finish the rough draft.)

I think I have hit on a sort of thematic through-line, to accompany the historically attested event. We shall see if I can make it cohere into something functional. If not, well, that's what second drafts and edits are for. :-)

...

I have a strong feeling that once I get to my parents' house, I am going to basically collapse and come down with a vicious cold. I have been running on stress and determination for a good while now, and when you stop that sort of relentless push, everything else tends to fall down in sympathy. Nrgh.

Okay, time for an ice cream break.

Then back to writing.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Cards are all done except the one for which I need to check the address. (Hmm. Do I call Susan and hope she has Cat's address, call Cat's parents, or call Cat herself? The latter ought to be most sensible, but Cat stopped answering my phone calls over a year ago so it will probably be futile. I'd feel odd calling her parents without arranging some kind of visit over Christmas, but I'd like to talk to Susan and my family before doing so, because otherwise it might be awkward. So Susan it is!)

Gifts are in boxes, but not wrapped; I will get to that tomorrow or Friday.

Bed is made; laundry is not yet put away. I should go do that.

No futher Yuletide writing progress, but I am learning a lot about... well, that would be telling, wouldn't it? Suffice it to say that Google's book scans are currently my best friends. *pets the internet and offers it cookies*

And dinner happened. :-)

Tonight's attempt at cooking involved baked chicken thighs with Italian salad dressing seasoning (which is both delicious and idiot-proof, thank goodness; you just shake some dressing onto the chicken, dump it in a Corningware dish, cover it, and stick it in the oven for twenty minutes at 350F), and a mix of green beans and pearl onions that were more-or-less boiled. (By which I mean I used just enough water to cover them, brought them to a boil, then lowered the heat and clapped a lid on to trap the steam... but the pot was damn full and required a lot of water, so I think it still counts as boiling rather than steaming.) I also threw in my last tiny jalapeño peppers, which means that now neither pepper plant has a reason to still be alive and I can toss their dying remains out into the yard where they will fertilize other plants come spring.

Au revoir, peppers! You did good. *sheds a single tear*

Anyway, the vegetables were a bit bland so I doused them with salt and butter while eating. This is my default solution to flavor issues, but one cannot fix everything with salt and butter. Therefore I should invest in some spices if I am going to continue cooking from scratch rather than living entirely off of microwave dinners and takeout.

I used to cook more, years ago. I'd make tacos, or porkchops drowned in applesauce, or random fish-in-butter, with noodles and various steamed or stir-fried vegetables on the side. But I quit almost entirely for a good long while. I'm not sure why. I wasn't getting more tired, and I wasn't getting more annoyed at how long cooking-from-scratch takes -- my annoyance at the tedium of cooking has remained consistently high from as far back as I can remember. But for whatever reason, I basically gave up on doing the meat and vegetable and starch thing. I didn't even make freaking ramen noodles very much, or Chef Boyardee mini ravioli, or hardboiled eggs, and those are the most minimal you can get while still claiming to actually cook something -- you know, pot on stove with flames underneath.

I started cooking again this year because of my peppers, but I'm enjoying the end results, if not the process, and I would like not to fall out of the habit again. So last week I chucked out the disgusting freezer-burned pork chops that had been languishing in my freezer for nearly three years (seriously, since January 2011; I'm not kidding about that) and now, as previously mentioned, I am thinking about spices. Maybe I will even haul out the giant heirloom cookbook my mom gave me last year and try some official recipes! *gasp*

Okay, probably not, but still. Baby steps. Pearl onions were new for me before tonight. Perhaps in January I will try porkchops again, and this time add some onions to the applesauce before sticking it in the oven. Yeah. I think that could work...

But first, laundry.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
What I have already done today:

1. Buy wrist braces (because of carpal tunnel symptoms, oh joy)
2. Return a library book
3. Buy Xmas gift for Mom
4. Buy Xmas gifts for Vicky, Dad, and Susan
5. Buy holiday cards
6. Write, stamp, and seal half of holiday cards
7. Pass minimum wordcount on Yuletide fic
8. Start yet another area of research for Yuletide fic

What I still need to do:

1. Verify address for one card recipient
2. Finish remaining cards
3. Find boxes for Xmas gifts
4. Possibly wrap Xmas gifts (though maybe not until Friday)
5. Cook a lot of stuff
6. Make bed
7. Put away old laundry so I can wash more laundry tomorrow
8. Write another few hundred words on Yuletide fic

...

I think I will go start cooking now. At least when I finish that I'll have something delicious to eat for dinner. I cannot eat wrapping paper or stamps.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Yuletide fic = 575 words. Only 425 more to go before I reach the minimum! (Spoiler: the story will be longer than that.)

...

I am pretty sure this is the first fic I have written for which I wanted to include a bibliography. (Despite all this research, I am still making up vast swathes of stuff, because there is simply no reliable evidence for so many historical things, but hopefully I am being accurate about the things for which there IS evidence that I have any chance of checking.)

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

August 2017

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