edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
I took a rather lackadaisical approach to A History of Handcrafts (Because a Sweater Equals Love), otherwise known as "the unexpected remix." I had no outline and, initially, no plot or theme either -- just the knitting gimmick and some implied backstory about Amanda and Gaila from MelayneSeahawk's drabble. This resulted in several exploratory rough draft fragments that I cut and replaced for various reasons. Nonetheless, I think the unused fragments are often cute, and kind of interesting from a process-of-writing standpoint.

So here they are. (1,400 words, give or take)

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A History of Handcrafts: alternate scenes
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first attempt at scene 1 )

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alternate conclusion to scene 2 )

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first attempt at scene 3, Spock POV )

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alternate scene 3, unexpected Gaila cameo )

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alternate conclusion to scene 3 )

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In other news, I've been writing at work the past few days, but it's been kind of useless, at least from a can-I-post-this perspective.

For example, on Monday I wrote half a scene from at least two chapters ahead of myself in "Ashes" -- when Riam, Zalir, and Morgalen are at least a week into their journey, out in the tainted lands beyond Zerlon. Yesterday I wrote most a scene that is best described as fanfic for an original novel I haven't written. It's a little transitional incident that would probably not be in the actual book, if the book existed, because it's tangential to the main plot. I am writing it for my own amusement because it's a nice bit of emotional connection between two characters. I have another scene from that world (with different characters, but also a tangential transitional incident that wouldn't make it into the actual story) that I have been plotting in my head but haven't yet committed to paper.

...

I dunno, I may post them anyway when I finish. I do like my trio from "Ashes," and while I will probably never get around to writing their real story, I am also quite fond of Tom Redding, ri-Lady Lourdés Rodelay of House Ié'carranze dh Thrae, Vek abakak in'Ifut, and Signy of Vigjal, as well as the remaining cast of thousands their story contains.
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
This is a stitched-together version of four failed attempts to remix Talented Tongue, a scorching hot Gaila/Uhura ficlet by [archiveofourown.org profile] melayneseahawk. As you can see, what I wrote had approximately nothing to do with her story (which is why I do not count this as a remix), and is also a horrifically compressed version of what wants to be the first third of a novel. That said, I do think there are some interesting ideas in my scribbles. (1,950 words)

[ETA: Now finally crossposted to AO3!]

While We Live )

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If I were expanding this, it would take at least twenty thousand words to get Gaila from birth to Starfleet Academy. (In all honesty, fifty thousand would be a better bet -- I run long -- but let me preserve my illusions, okay?) It would also be more like an original science fiction novel than standard fanfiction. I do not have the time or the motivation to start another novel when I have so many unfinished projects and am so bad at time management, but I do love this world-building, and maybe someday... well, as the New York Lottery says, you never know. *wry*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I am writing this post because of A History of Handcrafts (Because a Sweater Equals Love), also known as my unexpected remix.

My story is based on Spock's Sweater, a lovely drabble by MelayneSeahawk, which I am going to copy-paste here for analysis purposes. (If you like it, please follow the preceding link and tell her so!)

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Spock's Sweater, by MelayneSeahawk )

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Here is the information that accompanied the story:

1. That it was written in response to the following prompt: "Spock's Grey Lumpen ManSweater of Dubious Fit"

2. This header line: "Spock's Sweater | G | 100 words | complete"

That header line is also the only information provided for the story in MelayneSeahawk's master list of her Star Trek: AOS fanfiction.

So far, so good.

Now we hit the problem area -- namely, I read the story as gen. Because I read it as gen, I wrote a remix that included Spock/Uhura as a background romantic pairing, used Kirk/Gaila as a background sexual pairing, and only had Kirk and Spock interacting as friends. The thing is, MelayneSeahawk wrote the story as shipfic -- I know this because she commented that I had changed the pairing, which cannot happen unless there was a pairing to start with.

How did that miscommunication happen?

There is nothing in the header information to tell me the story is not gen... )

...

In brief, this is why summaries and detailed header information are good and useful things: they will help give people the contextual information to read stories the way you intended them, instead of completely missing what you consider the main point.

Also, gen friendship is awesome and in no way inferior to shipfic, but that is a different argument for another day.

(This post has been edited for clarity since I first posted it, but the gist of the explanation remains the same.)
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Remix reveal day! I wrote three stories this year: A History of Handcrafts (Because a Sweater Equals Love) and In Foreign Tongues (Been All Over You) for [archiveofourown.org profile] melayneseahawk, and Postcards from Naxos (You Don't Have To Go Home, But You Can't Stay Here) for [livejournal.com profile] sour_idealist.

I am going to talk about each in a separate post.

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Postcards from Naxos (You Don't Have To Go Home, But You Can't Stay Here): 5,300 words, May 2011. In the months after the inception job, Ariadne slips from one life to another.

Remixed from With Thanks to Apollo, a fic by Sour_Idealist.

At some point in mid-to-late March, I fell into Inception fandom. Then I bought and watched a copy of the movie. (Yes, I do these things backwards. Don't argue with me about it. You will get nowhere.) And I read even more fic.

On... hang on, let me go find the date on my review... March 27th, I read [livejournal.com profile] sour_idealist's wonderful story With Thanks to Apollo. When Remix Madness was announced, I signed up even though I was visiting family for the weekend (because hey, why not?), and noticed that [livejournal.com profile] sour_idealist had also signed up. And I remembered that I'd loved her fic and her take on Ariadne's family, and I thought, "Why not?"

This is the sum total of my background work for the story, scribbled on a piece of notepaper at work Sunday evening... )

For something written in about six hours, I think it works pretty well. :-)
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Remix reveal day! I wrote three stories this year: A History of Handcrafts (Because a Sweater Equals Love) and In Foreign Tongues (Been All Over You) for [archiveofourown.org profile] melayneseahawk, and Postcards from Naxos (You Don't Have To Go Home, But You Can't Stay Here) for [livejournal.com profile] sour_idealist.

I am going to talk about each in a separate post.

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In Foreign Tongues (Been All Over You): 1,600 words, April 2011. Nyota offered herself as Gaila's sister when they first met -- she greeted Gaila with her name in all openness, the traditional overture to the creation of an in-net -- and Gaila has never regretted accepting that gift. Gaila/Uhura, dubious consent, mildly explicit sex.

Remixed from Talented Tongue, a ficlet by MelayneSeahawk.

The key word here is bonobos. My version of the Orion species is very much based on the hypersexuality, female dominance, and female inter-group mobility of bonobo troops, as reported by Frans B. M. de Waal. And yes, I can make that play perfectly nicely with widespread slavery.

Here's the thought experiment: when female Orions reach sexual maturity, they leave their birth groups and... )

(This is the remix I am least satisfied with, both as a story on its own and as a remix -- it feels a little flat to me, and I don't think I was able to make Gaila's worldview and narrative voice come to life enough to really give a different perspective on the events of MelayneSeahawk's ficlet. *sigh*)
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Remix reveal day! I wrote three stories this year: A History of Handcrafts (Because a Sweater Equals Love) and In Foreign Tongues (Been All Over You) for [archiveofourown.org profile] melayneseahawk, and Postcards from Naxos (You Don't Have To Go Home, But You Can't Stay Here) for [livejournal.com profile] sour_idealist.

I am going to talk about each in a separate post.

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A History of Handcrafts (Because a Sweater Equals Love): 3,200 words, April 2011. Love doesn't have to be difficult: all you need to do is reach out to your friends. A story in three parts and many knitting projects. Contains background Amanda/Sarek, Kirk/Gaila, and Spock/Uhura.

Remixed from Spock's Sweater, a drabble by MelayneSeahawk.

This is the one I call my unexpected remix.

I offered to write Star Trek: AOS mostly on a whim, and was not at all expecting to get assigned to anyone in that fandom. I assumed I'd get Harry Potter, Naruto, or Narnia, since those are the fandoms I actually qualified in, and Naruto and Narnia are also notably smaller fandoms (in Remix terms, at least -- Naruto utterly crushes Star Trek: AOS if you go by number of stories on ff.net, but Remix tends to skew away from anime and manga fandoms). Anyway, once I recovered from my surprise, I read through MelayneSeahawk's archive and was promptly attacked by a vicious, tenacious, novel-length plotbunny for the story of Gaila's life from birth through old age.

Unfortunately, that required absurd amounts of world-building, and wasn't... )

I am sorry for turning a drabble that was (as I later learned) intended as slash into a story with so much background het, but I am not in the least sorry for focusing on the power of family and platonic friendship, because the world always needs more gen fic and friendship is awesome, amen, the end.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. I called in sick on Monday because I woke up simultaneously shivering and drenched in sweat around 10am, determined that I had a fever, and also determined that I had what I can only call the shakes -- literally, I stood up and my knees and hands were shaking and I couldn't get them to stop except by lying down. Now, I get shaky joints and bollixed internal temperature regulation as secondary symptoms of bad colds all the time, but I have never previously had them as primary symptoms without any other signs of illness.

It's been getting better slowly -- I was able to work Tuesday and today -- but I am still having sporadic episodes of sudden heat or cold, and I am still weak and kind of... disconnected, maybe? around my knees and elbows. Very bizarre.

-----

2. Tonight at work I wrote a few hundred words of backstory for Ain Taylak, who is the other main character in Small Mysteries, Getting To Know You, and Nor Good Red Herring, three of my Ekanu stories. The thing is, though, while this is backstory for him, it's really his grandmother's tale. Which is funny, because I thought it would be his mother's story, but then I realized that Eshtanga isn't the one making the really important choices -- she's already made her relevant decisions, and also, she dies. This is a story about Noshay's life taking a completely unexpected 90-degree turn, and how and why she copes with the change.

I need to do more world-building on the Sheng, the Andarkin, and the Pythrans before I finish or post the story, though. *sigh*

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3. I have been having a lot of fun reading the Remix Redux 9 and Remix Madness 2011 archives. I had time to kill on Monday -- well, I was stuck home all day, and I wasn't exhausted enough to sleep all the hours away -- so I started clicking on the links to the original fics being remixed and reading them first, to try and see what the remixer was going for. I have not done that in past years -- previously, I'd started by reading the remix and only going on to read the original fic if I was either hopelessly confused by allusions I wasn't catching, or really impressed and wondering whether the original was equally good.

This way is interesting from a structural perspective, because I get to see, over and over again, how differently people approach storytelling, and how many, many ways there are to take somebody else's story and go about making it your own.

-----

4. So far one of my three remixes is receiving noticeably more attention than the other two, which does not surprise me in the slightest -- I'd figured from the start that it would be more popular based on the fandom and characters involved. But all three have gotten at least a little positive attention, so I am happy. :-)
edenfalling: stained-glass butterfly in a purple frame (butterfly)
So, both the main Remix Redux 9 and Remix Madness 2011 archives are open, though stories remain anonymous. (I have given links to the search-by-fandom pages, since I think they are easiest to navigate, but you can also click the 'works' link on the left and search by other criteria.)

I wrote three stories this year -- the first two for my assigned remixee, and the third just because I loved the original fic to bits and had an irresistable structural idea for a remix. Ironically, the Remix Madness story is the longest of the three, though half the point of Remix Madness is that there aren't minimum wordcounts anymore. *headdesk* Ah well, I never claimed to make much sense.

But enough about me. Let me talk about the story someone else wrote!

An amazing and wonderful person (whom I, alas, cannot praise by name for another several days [ETA: it was [archiveofourown.org profile] furies]), took Endurance, my first stab at the 'problem of Susan' issue, and turned it into Once a Queen (The Reality Bites Remix): Susan, and Narnia. What a tangled web we weave.

I am going to quote my comment at you, because I still don't have proper words, dammit.

Oh! *is speechless*

*attempts words anyway*

Okay, so first of all I love you for the way Susan's fears and doubts grow so naturally out of her childhood and her position in the family. They make sense -- they're not just tacked on for drama. And for all that she turns away, for all that she resents aspects of her situation, she doesn't truly forget or reject anything. She tells Aslan yes.

I love that her survival is not a tragedy; it's an opportunity. (Which is always how I've read The Last Battle anyway.)

I love the little practical details, like the barrister and the will being in probate, or Susan unpacking and putting away her siblings' clothes, because Susan is all about little everyday details and they bring a feel of solidity to the story.

I think, though, that what I like most is Susan leaving Lucy's eyes open -- because she and Lucy saw Aslan together, maybe? Because Lucy is still seeing Aslan right then, though her body is cold and empty in the morgue? I don't know, but something about that changed gesture really speaks to me.

Thank you so, so much for this. It's beautiful.


...

Now go read it and agree with me and tell the author so.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Ha! I got my original remix done today. I had been fighting and fighting, but only coming up with backstory and world-building, until today I finally seemed to get all that out of my fingers and was able to start at the right point and only cover the one scene that needed covering, while still (hopefully) getting the relevant parts of the world-building in between the action and dialogue.

That means, incidentally, that I wrote a sex scene. In one afternoon. Without dying of embarrassment. Wonders will never cease.

...

And now to bed, because I am meeting Susan downtown for breakfast in the morning, after which I plan to visit the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts and then maybe the Morris Museum after lunch, because it's been ages since I paid any attention to the attractions of my own hometown.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
With regard to the unexpected remix, I got back responses from my betas -- thank you all, you are lovely! -- and edited accordingly. The story is now up on the AO3 with a placeholder summary, until I can think of one that doesn't make me want to gouge my eyes out. (Summaries = not my strong point. But they are necessary, so I keep trying.)

With regard to the remix that ate my brain, well, I finally convinced my subconscious that I had neither the time nor the inclination to write a novel -- especially when only maybe two scenes of it would have been in direct conversation with my remixee's story, and the rest was unrelated world-building and bildungsroman and lots of stuff about social justice, gender theory, politics, anthropology, action-adventure, family dynamics, and so on. So that is good.

I have been working out how to compress the necessary background as much as possible so when I write the POV-flip of my remixee's story, you know exactly where my new POV character is coming from, why ze is doing what ze does, and how ze perceives the dynamics of the situation (which would not otherwise be intuitively obvious). I have several hundred words written to that general effect, scribbled on things ranging from notepaper to a sheet of cardboard -- whatever is to hand at work on slow evenings. Then I need to figure out how to write a sex scene in five days without dying of embarrassment.

We shall see how that goes. *crosses fingers*

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

October 2017

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