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.)

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

General Information )

Okay. On to specific fandoms.

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

The Lions of Al-Rassan )

Saga of the Skolian Empire )

Daredevil (Comics) )

The Dispossessed )

And that is that. Thank you again, and happy writing!
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)
I got my Remix Revival assignment this morning and let's just say it is exactly what I half-suspected it would be, and also HILARIOUS. Not because of the person or their fics, I hasten to add! Just... the circumstances in general.

I am now going to ignore my assignment until nearly September, because I have other things with much closer due dates that obviously take precedence. *wry*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I intended to do revisions/fleshing out on "Intervention" today during slow periods at work, but ended up working on my next prompt meme ficlet instead. And, uh. I have a frame story now, to put around the folktale, but somehow without any obvious warning signs, I seem to have slid into A) wild AU territory and B) the most blatant id!fic I have written in... uh... years. Maybe even all the way back to Knives, which remains my gold standard for blatant and shameless display of my id all over the page. (Also I love that fic like burning. When id!fic works, it works.)

I mean, when I say id!fic I really mean 'id!fic discounting anything I write about Jadis,' because that is always id!fic, no matter how frozen it may seem in practice. But my sociopath kink is id!fic in such a radically different direction from what I am currently writing that I am not sure it really counts as the same thing at all. (Even though the female agency and the issues about religion and/or ethics are present in both, because hello, have you MET me?)

Anyway, this project is more like, hmm, a sideways cousin to my torture kink? Except not torture, but absolutely all the control aspects, and also fem!dom even though I don't know if the central relationship will ever tip into anything sexual. Mostly it's just about intensity and power and trust and control/lack of control.

...Maybe a little torture, I dunno, we'll see how it plays out. *sheepish*

Also I need to get my AU backstory in order because dammit, I need an internally consistent framework to hang this on. I don't care if the story is a thin excuse for folktales and my naked id; the worldbuilding will still make sense. Or else.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
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.)

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

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's Everyday Life While Enchanted )

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Pure Worldbuilding )

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

And that is that.
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)

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

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: golden flaming chalice in a double circle (gold chalice)
For my own reference, I want to make an electronic copy of the covenant my congregation voted to adopt at our annual meeting last month. I am dissatisfied with it in numerous ways, but it is a living document so I hope at least some of those can be changed.

(I also wish I had been able to attend some of the previous discussion meetings about the covenant, but alas, work and other things got in the way.)

Also, yes, the preamble/explanation of what a covenant even IS is part of the document. That is probably the part that annoys me the most. Dictionaries exist! And sacred promises should sound like sacred promises, not like assembly minutes. :(

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A Covenant is a set of sacred promises that Unitarian Universalists make with each other to guide and support their communities.

First Unitarian Society of Ithaca adopts this covenant to sustain our commitment to each other, affirm our connections when we struggle, and form the foundation of our respectful relationships with each other and the world.

We covenant to:

Be together in community, guided by love and respect.
Be open, friendly, and welcoming to all.
Be engaged in congregational life.

Communicate compassionately, directly, and honestly.
Listen deeply and kindly to each other.
Believe in others' best intentions.

Support and inspire each other's quest for truth and meaning
Acknowledge, respect, and value our differences.
Work to serve our community's shared goals.


-----

(The missing period in the final trio is copied faithfully from the original document.)

-----

The covenant I grew up with (and adored) is a variation of a common UU covenant, which my childhood minister introduced for communal recitation early in each service as follows:

"Knowing that neither this nor any other form of words will ever be used as a creedal test, I invite you to join me in the covenant:

"Love is the doctrine of this church,
The quest for truth is its sacrament,
And service is its prayer.
To dwell together in peace,
To seek knowledge in freedom,
To serve life in fellowship
To the end that all souls shall grow in harmony,
Thus do we covenant with each and with all."


...

I think you can see why I am dissatisfied with my own church's new covenant? It does not fill the same emotional/ritual slot AT ALL. And if you're not going to fill that slot, why call your thing a covenant? You could just as easily call it a preamble to the bylaws and put it there, where its dryness would be a much better tonal fit.

*grumps ineffectively at the universe*
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. :)

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Elizabeth Culmer

October 2017

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