edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Today is NFE reveal day! I wrote An Outstretched Hand for [archiveofourown.org profile] redsnake05.

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An Outstretched Hand: The giants came in the summer of the seventh year, in the long golden days between planting and harvest, when the people of Narnia worked to lay the bones of their new land: roads and wells, fords and harbors, and towers along the borders for they knew that an Evil walked abroad and their protection would not last forever. (1,825 words)

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[archiveofourown.org profile] redsnake05 asked for a story about Frank, Helen, and/or Fledge, either in England or in the early years of Narnia, and for once I managed to fill a prompt pretty much exactly as intended. *wry*

You can tell this is my work because it's mostly about worldbuilding, and also all the OCs are female. It also fits neatly into my established timeline about Jadis's actions between MN and LWW, wherein she starts by going north and messing about with various tribes/clans of giants she finds there.

Joyous Gard is a bit of headcanon that I don't think ever made it into any of my stories before. To summarize, I am a little ambivalent about Cair Paravel. See, I sort of loosely headcanon Narnia as being a semi-sentient extension of the Deep Magic, and the four thrones at Cair Paravel are a manifestation of that magic. I am less sure if the castle itself is entirely a magical creation, though I am sure parts of it were not built entirely naturally. (I have a partially-written story exploring some of that, which has stalled out mostly because I need to solidify the worldbuilding before I can write the actual people-doing-stuff elements.) Anyway, whatever Cair Paravel's exact origins, I figure Frank and Helen's castle was somewhere else, probably inland, closer to the geographic center of Narnia. And I further figure they named it after a famous magical castle from England, because why not.

Also Joyous Gard is just a really great name and I steal really great names when I can. :)

Anyway, I wanted this story to be a little longer, and maybe get into some of the actual negotiations for the giants' settlement in Narnia, and a discussion of Helen and Frank's desire for children, and some more of Frank and Helen's personal history with England's wars and colonial empire and stuff, but, you know, depression. *sigh* So it's shorter and brighter than it might otherwise have been, but I don't know if that's necessarily a bad thing or just a difference between intention and result. There is, after all, just as much need for hope and light as for explorations of shadow.

And nothing says I can't write more about this area some other day...
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Remix reveal day! I wrote Turn the Page (Don't Fear the Ending) for [personal profile] gramarye.

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Turn the Page (Don't Fear the Ending): Sometimes, when a storyteller tries to wring every last drop of Stories out of themself before ever coming to an ending, the storyteller is not the only one squeezed dry. (1,500 words, remixed from The Monster at the End of This Book, by [archiveofourown.org profile] Gramarye)

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So, funny story: in 2015, I adjusted my "willing to write" choices near the end of the Remix Redux signup period so as to match fandoms that currently had no offers. And because of that, I got matched to Gramarye. I did the same thing this time, for the same fandom (Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence), and had a feeling this might end up generating the same match.

I was right. *wry*

I wanted to try doing something different this time, though, so while I dug up the couple drabbles I'd marked as potential remixes (but not wound up using) the last time around, I also poked through the rest of Gramarye's archive to see if we had any other fandoms in common. The answer, mostly, is no... except for a couple one-offs. And one of those was "The Monster at the End of This Book," a gorgeous Yuletide fic for Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories.

My remix does not have anything to do with Gramarye's story on a plot level. Instead, what I ended up doing was taking a couple of key lines and writing something completely different based around those themes: the power of storytelling, the importance of endings, and how those are both vital and dangerous channels of power and control.

I also continued what has become a bit of an accidental pattern that might be described as "taking your story and making it about women," which I swear to god is not intended in any way as criticism of the stories I keep doing it to. I just have some issues that keep expressing themselves through this particular outlet. *hands* And also Rushdie's treatment of Soraya Khalifa has always annoyed me -- it is a slightly flat/sour note in an otherwise wonderful gem of a book -- so I wanted to give her control of her own story and see what happened.

Random trivia note: I gave Soraya the maiden name of Khan both because it's a Muslim-associated name rather than a Hindu one (to go with the Khalifas' general theme), and because khans arguably outrank caliphs, or at the very least are temporally equal. So that is symbolically important and was absolutely on purpose. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
[tumblr.com profile] minutia_r tagged me in the 10 characters meme: List ten of your favorite characters in ten different fandoms and then tag ten people

In no particular order:

1. Chronicles of Narnia - Still Edmund, I think, though he has never been ahead by a very large margin and it's grown smaller over the years. I am awfully fond of almost all the characters. (Jadis is my second-favorite in general, and probably my most favorite for writing.)

2. Homestuck - This is tricky! Uh. Can I say Rose, Jade, Dave, Terezi, Karkat, Aradia, Roxy, Jane, Kanaya, Meenah, and Damara all together? It is really hard to make distinctions any more finely graded than that, and anyway which one of that set I like best shifts from day to day.

3. Harry Potter - Probably Harry, giant unobservant doofus that he is. Secondarily Hermione and Ginny. I love Ron lots in canon, but find him fannishly uninteresting.

4. Naruto - Team 7. (By which I mean Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke.) You can't make me subdivide further. *resolve face*

5. Star Trek: AOS - Spock, Kirk, and Uhura.

6. Angel Sanctuary - Kira Sakuya. (Yes, this includes all incarnations.) Secondarily Setsuna and Sara.

7. Enchanted Forest Chronicles - Morwen, obviously! :DDD

8. Darkangel Trilogy - Aeriel, I think. It is her story, and I so desperately want her to be happy.

9. Daredevil (MCU) - Matt. Secondarily Karen and Elektra. (I may find a reckless disregard for one's personal safety, a possibly unhealthy level of determination, and a willingness to deal violence more attractive than I really ought to. Also, someone should write me that threesome...)

10. Dark Is Rising sequence - Blodwen Rowlands! *evil grin* For reasons that are spoilers. But after her, Will, Jane, and Bran in no particular order.

In conclusion, I am kind of terrible at having favorite characters. This is not surprising -- I am terrible at having a favorite anything in any category. I like too many things and I don't want to rank them. *hands*

Secondary conclusion: I do tend to like main characters, insofar as any given canon even has a main character rather than an ensemble. They aren't always in my top tier, but if I don't like them at all, I tend to stop reading.

I am, as always, terrible at tagging so please consider yourself tagged if you want to play! :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
For [profile] jjunter, for the Fic DVD Commentary Meme (which is still open, fyi!)

The Guardian in Spite of Herself: 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. (72,000 words)

Chapter 16: Chapter the Sixteenth, in which Naga and Suisen demonstrate how not to dance with a partner, Yukiko and Seichi discuss assassination and dead relatives, and, to the author's relief, Kakashi's interrogation skills end up irrelevant to the plot. (4,450 words)

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As reading your latest DVD commentary (chapter 11 of the Way of the Apartment Manager) led me to reread the whole series again (with pleasure!), I'd love a commentary on chapter 16 of the Guardian in Spite of Herself.

In the former fic, it's basically all from Yukiko's POV; in the latter, you've got multiple POVs you switch between, and in the latter chapters you're often switching between them 2-3 times within any given chapter. What are some of the challenges and opportunities having so many POVs and subgroups of people in various locations to keep moving simultaneously? Describing it like this sounds like it shouldn't work, but the effect as a reader is this sense of escalating tension, wondering if every group including a POV character will ultimately end up in the same location (and if yes, what will happen next).

To answer quickly: the main challenge is timing/pacing. I want to use each POV at least every other chapter, so they don't feel like they've fallen out of the story (this is slightly less urgent for Yukiko and Sasuke, since they're currently in the same place and thus appear in each other's POV sections), but I also don't want to drag the story out. That means I have to make sure stuff happens in every POV thread, because I can't just drop one of them for extended periods while someone else has exciting adventures.

This is why Iruka is not a POV character, incidentally, though my first tentative outline -- created way back when this story was three tiny scenelets and a vague idea -- did include a plot thread about him and a Yamanaka OC investigating the Uchiha massacre back in the village. I still think that could have interesting thematic resonance with the current plot threads, but he wound up spending a lot of time sitting and waiting (or reading archives) which was not conducive to maintaining momentum. So I cut him, though I still kind of want to write a sidefic about what he's up to during the main story.

Anyway, the advantage to multiple POVs is that I can show more events and therefore create a more intricate story, and also show different perspectives on the same events and issues -- because even though Sasuke and Yukiko are currently sharing a plot strand, the things they notice and care about are radically different, and their emotional arcs are likewise dissimilar. This is also useful for creating thematic resonance. The main theme of "Guardian" is the cost in lives and in other factors (political, economic, psychological, ethical, etc.) that the hidden village/ninja clan system imposes on the people of the Elemental Countries, as seen by both civilians and shinobi, so the more perspectives I can bring to bear, the more rounded the picture.

(The other advantage to multiple POVs, of course, is that it's easier to do cliffhangers. *wry*)


The Guardian in Spite of Herself - Chapter 16, with commentary )

And that is that. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
For [personal profile] wistfulmemory, for the Fic DVD Commentary Meme (which is still open, fyi!)

The Way of the Apartment Manager: 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. (72,000 words)

Chapter 11: Chapter the Eleventh, in which Yukiko plots a grand renovation project, we meet Naga's mother, Asuma makes an uncredited cameo, and the third test starts with an uneven matchup. (4,100 words)

This chapter begins the third test of the chuunin exam, and contains Yukiko's tournament match with Uchiha Akaro. A genjutsu specialist fighting an Uchiha is a terrible mismatch, which of course is why I had to go there. (I probably would have gone there even if I hadn't previously used a painful chuunin exam loss against a random Uchiha as part of Yukiko's backstory reasons for retirement -- it's one of many things that convinced her she couldn't actually do anything useful as a ninja -- but since I already had that set up, obviously I needed to replay a version of that fight and let her realize she's grown strong enough (confident enough? smart enough? whatever!) to win.

(If you think it's a spoiler that Yukiko wins, you have not been paying enough attention to shonen narrative tropes. *wry*)


The Way of the Apartment Manager - Chapter 11, with commentary )

And that is pretty much that. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
For [tumblr.com profile] bluejayfic, for the Fic DVD Commentary Meme (which is still open, fyi!)

The Courting Dance: Marriage is a bit more complicated than quarreling and making it up again, especially for the crown prince of Archenland and an exiled Calormene Tarkheena. (21,000 words)

Chapter 7 - The Beating of Our Hearts: Running from your problems is rarely a good long-term solution, but sometimes the change in environment can be helpful -- especially now that Aravis and Cor are on the same page. (1,600 words)

As bluejayfic's ask mentioned, this chapter is the one with the wedding scene. What was I thinking, putting the wedding halfway through the story? Well, I was thinking that the plot is as much about politics and worldbuilding as it is about romance, and the wedding is a major symbol of Aravis and Cor deciding to commit to each other despite various obstacles. Also, while it resolves their interpersonal problems, it doesn't resolve their external problems at all -- in fact, it makes some of them worse. So I figured it would make a good central turning point, where we switch from Aravis and Cor being pissed off at each other to standing back-to-back against the world.

Chapter 7 - The Beating of Our Hearts, with commentary )

And that is pretty much that. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
For [personal profile] othercat, for the Fic DVD Commentary Meme.

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The Law of Conservation of Mangrit: It starts out ironically, of course, but by the time Dave's wearing a corset and a swanky evening dress and Terezi's in a three-piece suit, Jade wants nothing more than to get them both into bed as soon as possible. (15,300 words)

Note: This is the fic that for a very long time was known only as "untitled Jade/Dave/Terezi crossdressing porn." And by a very long time, I mean I started writing it back in August 2012. (Yes, really.) That means it's based on canon that has since been drastically altered.

I think the best way to handle that issue is to say that "The Law of Conservation of Mangrit" is a retroactive AU based on the Game Over timeline, with the assumption that the actual Game Over events didn't spin so irretrievably out of control and the players were therefore able to win without Terezi using John to retcon anything. So Davesprite and John lived through all three years of the Yellow Yard and the meteor road trip was miserable for everyone involved. As for why Terezi is blind again, I assume she burned her sight out heroically saving somebody from something -- because of narrative echoes and significant choices and stuff -- and this time even if anyone offered to heal her, she said no.

Thank you to MadameHardy and missvgc for beta reading!

Some further background information! I started writing this fic because of the following kinkmeme prompt: I'd like to see a character of your choosing present as a different gender than they identify as, because they and their partner(s) think it's hot. I'm not really looking for trans!fic here (though that's awesome!), and I don't want them being shamed over either their gender identity or their play. So, for example:

Maybe sometimes Roxy likes to put on a suit and fedora and peg Dirk until he begs her to let him come.

Maybe John thinks it's really hot for Karkat to wear falsies and lacy underthings while he fucks his nook and calls him his loving wife.

Maybe Nepeta likes to switch between presenting as male or female between sexual encounters, and Terezi loves never knowing what she's going to get in the sack.

Would love to see focus on details like how the character dresses/gets ready to present a different gender (possibly with partner helping them?) as well as how that plays out in sexy times (i.e. gendered behavior re: topping, if that'd be a thing for your characters, or how non-hermaphroditic characters make up for having only male or female genitals, etc.).


By the time I finished, nearly three years had passed and I felt I'd veered too far from the prompt to post this as a response, but that was the inspiration.


The Law of Conservation of Mangrit, with commentary )

I hope that was of some interest. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
For [personal profile] rosaxx50, for the Fic DVD Commentary Meme (which is still open, fyi!)

I wrote this ficlet in response to a prompt from [personal profile] sablin27: Can I use the wild card on: Uhura, Spock and Gaila chase friendly but flighty magical cards (a la Card Captor Sakura)?

This was a little tricky in that I have never read nor watched Cardcaptor Sakura (though I have read several volumes of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, because obviously one should read the weird AU remix before reading the original *headdesk*), but I have picked up enough via general fannish osmosis that I figured I could manage a short ficlet. Which I did. :)

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Cardcaptor Uhura: Nyota Uhura occasionally regrets her sense of responsibility, particularly when the magical cards she accidentally released onto Starfleet Academy campus get in the way of her classes. Fortunately (or unfortunately), Gaila and Spock make sure she never misses a crisis. (900 words)

So the title is nothing but a literal and factual description of the story concept, but I couldn't not because of the syllabic/phonetic similarities between 'Uhura' and 'Sakura'. Which is also why this is not called "Cardcaptor Nyota," even though I only call Uhura by her first name in the story text, since we are in her POV.

Cardcaptor Uhura, with commentary )

And I think that's pretty much everything!
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Snagged from various places:

Pick any story I've written, or, in the case of my longer, chaptered works, any chapter from any story I've written, and comment to this post with that selection. I will then give you the equivalent of a DVD commentary on that snippet: what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it in the first place, what's going on in the character's heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the rest of the fic, lots of awful puns, and anything else that you’d expect to find on a DVD commentary track.

(The phrasing is unclear as to whether we're discussing whole stories or just story sections, but hey, pick what you want! You can find all my fic via this link. The majority of those stories are also available here on AO3.)

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Cardcaptor Uhura, for [personal profile] rosaxx50

The Law of Conservation of Mangrit, for [personal profile] othercat

The Courting Dance, chapter 7, for [tumblr.com profile] bluejayfic

The Way of the Apartment Manager, chapter 11, for [personal profile] wistfulmemory

The Guardian in Spite of Herself, chapter 16, for [personal profile] jjhunter
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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Elizabeth Culmer

October 2017

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