morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
I know I haven't been around, and this isn't much of an update. I'm seizing a moment in which I feel like I have something short but useful to say. Otherwise, it feels too hard. I feel as though if I'm going to write an update, I should write an essay or review a book or catch everyone up on my life. [Or I should be beta-ing a fic or editing a fic or writing a fic or writing some other fandom thing.] I keep feeling as though those are the only posts worth making, and yet I don't mark the time aside for them.

I feel really lucky and grateful in my life right now. I took a week off work for a fandom project, helping to sort the Yuletide tag set. We're on schedule, and tomorrow I'm back at work. I feel happy that I got to spend a week contributing to something fun and creative and big, and I also feel good about going back to work. (And I am so grateful that I can think about my job and go, yeah, that thing I do, that's positive, I am competent.) I will be a useful person on Monday morning. (Get up early, answer Yulequestions... go to work, publish law.) Tuesday will also mark six months in this job.

I had a meeting at my ongoing/secondary job on Thursday. It was good to spend two hours in the company of my boss & M "The Whirlwind", who is currently obsessed with trains. All these crazy projects they want to set in motion. Spending time with them, I feel as though anything is possible. It's scary because it drives me to want to learn all the things, do all the things - and I know that's impossible. I'm tugged in so many directions. I have to find a way to do that job that acknowledges that soaring call of BE EVERYTHING, and yet doesn't turn me into a paralysed mess when I'm actually sitting at my computer. One step at a time. Next step. I have tasks for that job I should complete tonight. I should actually quit that job, but moments like Thursday make me not want to, and I'm also caught in the trap of wishing I could repay my boss for her limitless gifts.

I have tasks to complete after the guests leave, that is. Sunday, lately, is Person of Interest night - we're just starting Season 3 - and meat and vegetables are currently roasting in the oven. Paul's already here, the Alexi will turn up soon, and I need to decide what kind of potato salad I'm making.

I also need to do a Yuletide task, and email my dad.

I wanted to mention last weekend. Last weekend was great! Here's what my Saturday looked like:

-9:15am - get on a bus to Seatoun
-10:am - get/together, the mini Wellington slash convention. Slash pictionary and a good group for general discussion and fandom promos! A whole ROOM of people who know what Yuletide is!
-4:45pm - left the con in order to meet my good friend Susy at the airport (Susy is a teacher; it's school holidays; she had a few day off, so she came down to visit me. "There is tag sorting! I will be home, but I will be staring at my computer a lot." / "That's okay, I need to write up my kids' Running Records.")
-6pm - Susy and I taxi home, dump our bags, and go down to have dinner in the suburb north of us with Joel
-7:15pm - our meal barely arrives in time; I have to get a taxi up to Vic for Sam's choir concert, get out of the taxi, and run
-7:30pm - Sam's choir concert, reinterpretations of Bowie & Fleetwood Mac. It was great, and Sam's solo was great, everything was great
-10:00pm - Yuletide nominations close [I think I got home at 10:04]
-11:15pm - I leave people happily tag sorting and go to bed. Like a sensible person.

Joel and I have been going to open homes - two today. I fell a little bit in love with one I saw today. Perfect garden/outside area. Good spaces. It had a loft bedroom!! Say the word 'mezzanine' and I'm there. I have a strange attraction to halfway spaces, tiny rooms, corners and nooks. This one was absolutely drenched in sunlight. However, the main bedroom would be a tight squeeze for our king-size bed, and the discolouration of the carpet & the time period in which the house was built are worrying factors - might be some underlying structural issues, especially leakiness.

All right. Back to Yuletide...
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Things that prevent me from writing journal updates:

-oh, I could use the time to email someone!
-oh, I could use the time to write fic!
-oh, I'd better set some time aside to make a proper, serious, blog-post-like update!
-oh, there's something else I promised someone I'd do! (beta a fic, comment on fic, read something, do a household chore, sort AO3 tags).

in short: I am happy, busy, in good health, guilty at lapsed commitments, in a great phase at work (they let me edit law), excited for Yuletide.

sorry/ sending love.

I like saying "yes" to things.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
-Structural beta of fic #1 for Crossovering - DONE
-General beta of fic #2 for Crossovering - DONE
-Structural beta of fic #1 for Exchange at Fic Corner - DONE
-General (harsh) beta of fic #2 for Exchange at Fic Corner - DONE
-Thorough edit & expansion of White Dwarf Rabbit Hole assignment - half-DONE
-Treat #1 for WDRH (has plot + first 300 words) - DONE
-Treat #2 for WDRH (only a concept atm) - NOPE, ran out of time
-Edit my friend's text for a puzzle - NOPE, miscommunication as to due date, but all good
-Assignment for Exchange at Fic Corner (done canon review, have a plot, just need to make words happen)
-Assignment for Crossovering (done partial canon review, clinging on to ambitious plot with tooth and nails) - y/n? Shelved ambitious idea, but I did complete a fic.
-Treat for Crossovering (this is even more ambitious, oops) - NOPE, too ambitious for the time available, shelved
-Final revisions to Between Blue and Gray

-ETA: pinch hit for a further exchange (draft) - DONE
-ETA: beta draft #2 of the fic I harsh-reviewed earlier
-ETA: beta another fic
-ETA: beta another fic

And generally
-comment more
-comment on Jukebox, do a nice big commenting binge SOON - DONE, up to 37/62 fics
-Yuletide prep! - DONE some, ONGOING

ETA: NO OPEN AO3 ASSIGNMENTS, omg, first time since February!
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
This is a big deal for me. I love writing for exchanges but I struggle with long projects and nebulous deadlines. Yay for me! Yay for everyone who helped or encouraged.

Between Blue and Gray (21742 words) by Morbane
Chapters: 4/4
Fandom: Black Jewels - Anne Bishop
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Surreal SaDiablo, Wilhelmina Benedict
Additional Tags: Constructive Criticism Welcome, Minor Violence, Magic, Vigilantism, Misunderstandings, Female Friendship, Art, Road Trips

Surreal and Wilhelmina have similar doubts about settling in the Shadow Realm.

[doubts that they try to settle with a jaunt to Amdarh, which does and does not go as a trip the city should go. There are goats, fights, murder, and a play.]

See chapters 2 and 3 for art by Desiderii (also here - with way better captions :D). Desiderii has also created a mix to accompany the fic.

And here's my bragging post on the Finish Your Sh**: Work in Progress Big Bang community.

I only recently saw the art Desiderii made to accompany the story. I'm really excited about that too. I listened to half of the mix last night but I was pretty zonked so I'll have to listen to the rest tonight.

My stories are often based on an emotional arc rather than plotty events. It's usually some evolution of "is this okay...? Yes, here is why this can be okay." This time, I was trying to write an action plot as well. Those two arcs didn't quite work together and I also had difficulty with the pacing because the story is longer than any I have written before. So I hope I have learned a lot from writing this.

(Also, I am amused at how AGGRESSIVELY gen this story is. Yeah, okay, so Surreal mentions Falonar in chapter 1; but I don't think there's a mention of any romantic or sexual relationship in the remaining 20,000 words. Unless you count Surreal pointing out that she used to be a really expensive courtesan.)

Also, now I can generally babble about writing for exchanges. I set myself a condition that I was not allowed to write long, excited aftermath-y posts about exchanges until I finished this story. That is why there was no roundup post about Yuletide 2014. Maybe I'll write one soon. You know, in time for next Yuletide.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
EDIT: I just realised I linked this letter in my Yuletide sign-up instead of my actual letter. Actual letter is presently locked. Really sorry, writer! Please check my 'dear writer' tag in the next 24 hours.

Thank you for reading, writer or potential writer!

(This is my letter for the Crossovering exchange.)

Letter )
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
First: the main deadline for the Night on Fic Mountain challenge has just passed, and there are new & recent pinch hits on the LJ and DW communities. It's a very exciting time! Please consider investigating these if you have any time on your hands.

Meanwhile, so as not to be all work and no play, a meme from Naraht and Hokuto.

Ten things that you think are common in your fic
1. Worldbuilding
2. Crossovers
3. Stories based on a minor emotional arc of someone coming to a realisation, usually that things are less scary than they thought they were
4. Fairies
5. Basically competent people
6. Gender balance (I think I lean more towards female characters than male, but not that far.)
7. Nice people
8. Characters who are sympathetic from their own perspective, whether or not they're nice people
9. Dubcon
10. Unexpected darkness

Ten things you think are uncommon in your fic although commonly found in fic in general
1. Porn
2. Plot
3. AUs - whether exciting or mundane. Occasionally I write canon divergence.
4. Rom-com tropes. Very little of meet-cute, jealousy, misunderstandings, wacky coincidences, etc.
5. Villains
6. Saints
7. Tropey plots (I am pretty low on sex pollen, huddling for warmth, wingfic, etc)
8. Woobification & whump
9. Kids & kidfic
10. Hurt/comfort

Ten things you wish were more true of your fic
1. I wish I had more reference to real world events and cultures, whether current or past. For all that I love worldbuilding, research daunts me.
2. Tropes! They look like fun. I should try more. Especially identity porn, and wingfic, and chance meetings turning into key relationships.
3. AUs! They also look like fun.
4. I would love to write better plots and work my way up to casefic.
5. I'd like to figure out how to write unhappy & tragic stories
6. More characters who genuinely change, as people, over the course of a story
7. More sex - not necessarily porn, but as part of ordinary people's relationships, occasionally awkward or funny
8. Glorious, unashamed villains. Or just jerks.
9. I wish I drew on more genres - spy stories, Westerns, travel stories
10. I wish I wrote faster.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
In the last 24 hours there were more cat shenanigans and also I got invited to an IRL writers group, which I have Feelings about, but for now it seems important to mention that:

-Crossovering nominations are ending soon. Here is the community, and here is the tag set. Crossovering is a crossovers-focused fanfic exchange. I loved taking part in Crossovering last year. The writing assignment I received was both generous and open, and a stretch for what I felt I could write. You nominate fandoms you hope to see represented - they may not be - acceptance depends on more than one vote for each. That favours larger fandoms, but even as a small-fandoms person, I loved it. The mods were also very diligent about getting my pinch hit covered, when I was the last person in the exchange without a fic, and I loved the treats I received in the end.

-Exchange at Fic Corner nominations have ended and sign-ups will begin after the weekend's over. The tag set is here. Exchange at Fic Corner is a fanfic exchange for children's and Young Adult canons. I enjoyed it in both years it ran - in 2013, I got a heroically dedicated pinch hit, and in 2014 my assigned writer was kind enough to write me a main fic AND a treat. There ought to be something you recognise here. Consider participating.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
First: the Jukebox collection is open, and I encourage those of a readerly curiosity to check it out. There are also some artworks, a podfic, and a piece of interactive fiction! The collection contains responses to songs, mainly fiction, with a full playlist of the songs at or

There are works concerning mermaids and fairies, dystopias and apocalypses, travelling bands and bards, ghosts and derby teams.

Whew, tired. Just finished baking a batch of mini-muffins I'm not very sure of - it's been a while since I made mini-muffins. The problem may be that I put too many spices in things. I take a bite of one mini-muffin and cumin seeds wallop me on the nose. Oops. Similar with the black pepper in the basil-spinach-feta mini-muffins. Meh. I'll have some for breakfast in the morning. If still unimpressed, will buy a nice type of cheese on the way to work. It's not as if we'll be low on food for our morning tea (to celebrate a workmate getting married).

Today also contained: taking the cat to the vet to have a broken tooth extracted. She was very good about it. She escaped in the driveway and then, instead of bolting up the hill, went a dignified metre or two away and complained at me. Then suffered to be stuffed back in her carrier.

It further contained: fencing with the very slack property manager. Or, our property manager's boss. Property manager's boss: "How come you haven't been answering T's communications?" Me: "It's funny you should say that..." Property manager's boss promised, with property manager in the room with him, that we would receive a notice of flat inspection today. Unamazingly, we have not.

To sleep, and then, tomorrow, to reveal Jukebox creators' names. I wish I'd managed to comment on even a third of works by now, but alas. I shall catch up.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
... your skills would be appreciated.

My exchange, Jukebox, is due to open for reveals this weekend, but I have a couple of lingering pinch hits. I guess we're all just a bit over-committed.

Pinch hits are here:, or

And all the pinch hits are now spoken for! Thank you.

Of course, if you like the idea of writing a treat (and getting feedback rather soon), head over and have a look at the prompts anyway. :P


May. 14th, 2015 08:55 pm
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
After a warm summer and an unusually mild autumn, the weather's come down on us. A lot of rain earlier this week and a frightening amount of rain today - at least in the northern suburbs, along the Kapiti Coast, and the Hutt Valley - mean that the highways in and out of the capital city have been intermittently closed, the railway lines are quite definitely closed [most underpasses to stations are awash!], many people's homes have been flooded, and transport is, overall, chaotic.

The office emptied gradually today as various people, concerned for their circumstances, left early. Some may not be able to return tomorrow.

A friend who can't get back to her home tonight will show up here soon. We have a spare room, though it's J's study most of the time.

And there sure is a downside to Wellington's few degrees of separation. Hopefully it is one of few deaths, but I have learned that a colleague's colleague's father died when he was washed away in floods today.'s liveblog
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Before other topics, fandom (as always with me)...

Assignments have gone out for the mini-Yuletide exchange Night on Fic Mountain, and there are some pinch hits urgently needed. The fandoms are Avatars - Tui T Sutherland, The Little Lady Agency - Hester Browne, The Trouble With Kings - Sherwood Smith, Eon - Alison Goodman, Being Human (US/Canada) , Intelligence (US TV 2014), Saving Hope, and Life (TV). If you can help with any of those, well, help would be appreciated. See the Night on Fic Mountain LJ and DW communities. I believe the third pinch hit has been claimed.

The new job is going really well. I'm still working through training materials and have yet to do any real work, or so I feel, but I am assured that that is fine. I'm here for the long haul. Better to really understand the material. It's a friendly office. It has knitters and people with little Tardises on their desk. People whose favourite colour is orange and who like cats. There's a bake-off on Monday. There's a person who does Yuletide.

(That was a surprise. The HR advisor led me on a tour of the upper floors - I walked into that person's office with my hand outstretched ready to shake - and then did a double-take. Oh, it's you, distant fandom acquaintance!)

80~90-person office and there's someone else who does Yuletide. THIS CITY.

(I mentioned online writing communities, in a coy way, in the personal profile I had to submit for the departmental newsletter. I was mainly thinking of Jukebox, though. It was the last day of sign-ups and my grin was splitting my face at the idea of 54 AMAZING PEOPLE, YOU ALL ARE THE BEST.)

I am adjusting okay, I think. Like: yesterday I went to main job and came home and had dinner in the oven at 5:40pm and cleaned out the cat's litter box and arranged with Spark to cancel my landline and ate dinner with Joel and went to work at job #2 and worked approximately between 7:40pm and 10:20pm and came home by 10:45pm and.... stayed up wasting time on the internet, but apart from that, highly successful adulting. I have had a few days like that. Good. Today I forwent work at job #2, except for a related social thing, in order to catch up with a friend, which was really nice. Not sure if I'll be able to work tomorrow evening, especially since I'm taking my long-suffering laptop in to have the trackpad fixed, but in its turn, that will motivate me to get into work early on Saturday and Sunday, because of limited access to home internet. Meanwhile, in this dearth of internet, I'll work on my Once Upon Fic (plans A and B, competing) on paper. And so it goes.

I think I can I think I can I think I can I think I can.

Dear DJ

Apr. 9th, 2015 09:49 am
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
[aka: my 'letter' to the person assigned to create a gift for me in the Jukebox exchange, or anyone considering creating a treat for me. If you don't know what I'm talking about, consider investigating Jukebox! It's kind of a gateway drug to original fic if you're in fandom, or a gateway drug to fandom & fanworks if you write original stuff. And it's open to visual & podfic artists this year.]

Letter below! )
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
1. I signed up to the WIP Big Bang challenge (2nd year, new mods). This challenge is for writers who have Big Bang-length fics half-written and want extra encouragement to complete them. I signed up with my Rarewomen 2014 Black Jewels fic. On the one hand, that means I won't be posting a continuation to it until July; on the other hand, I wasn't getting much done on it on my own. The community encouragement will help. This was one of the challenges I 'budgeted' for this year.

2. Sign-ups are open for the Night on Fic Mountain challenge, a smaller Yuletide set around the opposite solstice. I am not signing up for that myself, but I am helping with a bit of admin. There are presently 42 sign-ups and I think the tag set has a lot of intriguing options in it.

3. Jukebox sign-ups are open! Jukebox is MY challenge. I'm pretty excited about the prompts I'm seeing, about the number of sign-ups, about the range of songs... Everything!

4. Got a bit done on my Once Upon Fic story today. The night is young. I have a plot in mind, but it's one of those stories where I re-write the start over and over again.

5. I got some glorious gifts for Bad Bang 4. It was a lot of fun. I think I found the right balance to strike in my comments - sort of over-earnestly encouraging, with a little bit of wank now and then. I wanted to join in the game this time, but I didn't want to be Indignant About Things.

6. I am behind on beta'ing. However, I did just finish a long-ish beta job.

7. I did not manage to post a NYR fic in March. Darn. I probably won't manage one for April either, what with various exchanges. However, most of the exchanges I've promised myself are happening in the middle of the year. Maybe I'll catch up to my one-per-month goal.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
This is my letter for the Bad Bang 4 exchange.

a letter of dubious entertainment or information value )

Vetos: graphic animal harm or harm to hands.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
First: hey, friends-list or reading circle. I have a question for each of you.

If I'm mutual friends with you on LJ, or we're subscribed to each other or have access on Dreamwidth, what sort of interactions are you expecting to have with me? What kinds of things do you think of as basic courtesies, and what kinds of comments or shout-outs or tagging systems do you enjoy seeing (even if you don't expect them)? What works for you?

Feel free to ignore the question, especially if you think things are working for you. But it occurs to me that I employ assumptions in my journaling, and you probably do too, and they may not be the same assumptions.

Second: life news time! I got the job I really wanted. It's in publishing, but it's structured and precise. That makes it the best of both worlds for me. I am excited and hopeful and grateful. However, instead of working 0.5 jobs, as I have for the last year and a half, I will soon be working 1.5 jobs. That means I won't be around very much. Sorry. Then again, given how seldom I update this journal or comment, you may not notice much of a difference.

Third: it's Bad Bang time again. Bad Bang is a series of fandom exchanges and fests based around the idea of creating intentionally terrible fiction and art. I am really tempted to sign up, but I told myself I could sign up to only 6 exchanges this year. On the other hand, one of the ones I promised myself I could sign up to this year isn't going to run... So: I will allow myself to sign up to Bad Bang 4 if I can write one of the stories/chapters on my priority list, and if I have spent 1 hour brainstorming and plotting my Once Upon a Fic story, by Wednesday. Let's see.

Fourth: Not a bad weekend! The very final session of the 33AR LARP campaign is in two weeks, and my co-chef and I spent this evening testing out recipes. In the matter of rice, I concede defeat. I am not good with rice on the best of days, and making a rice dish as part of a meal for 60 people is simply beyond me. Some past attempts have produced hilarious disasters. No more. On the other hand, the parsnip-apple soup will be just fine, the lentil stew was suitably hearty, 20thcenturyvole's muffins were delicious, and I am discovering a new fondness for beetroot.

Oh, and Fifth: We wanted something Joel and Paul and I could all watch together after I lost enthusiasm for The Americans. (I have a lot of respect for The Americans, but I wasn't enjoying it.) We tried The Blacklist, and although Paul and I found James Spader to be sufficient entertainment, we had to admit he carried the thing, and Joel was bored. Now we're on Person of Interest, and enjoying it very much so far. I shall update if asked!
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Went to Jason Webley's show last night! Unfortunately, I was overcome by a gastrointestinal bug and had to leave very, very early, but it was still good fun.

He starting singing a song at the request of the crowd, and then went, "look, this isn't happening, I can't hit that note, THIS WILL END IN DISASTER."

Me: "Map?"

Him - to my delight: "Yeah, okay."

And then he played the song I had as my Jukebox 2013 assignment. I was ridiculously pleased.

The opening band, a local group called the "Klaus Quartet", I think, played Britney Spears' "Toxic" as their closing number (on accordion, two ukeleles, and a bass guitar) which also pleased me very much.

Now let's see if I can tolerate eating a cracker. Signs point to no. :(
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
I had such a great week last week! To anyone having a crappy or mediocre or... any kind of week, I hope you have a week like this in your near future.

1. While waiting in line for a coffee (free, because my friend Winter had a voucher they couldn't use), I checked my phone and discovered that [ profile] originally had uploaded a podfic of my story The One-Way Door, written for Liviania's prompt in the Trick-or-Treat exchange & beta'd by AdaptationDecay. This story is based on the fairy tale of Bluebeard, so I recommend it generally.

I consider it a huge compliment to have a story podficced. I don't seek out podfics on my own, but I have now listened to & enjoyed this one several times.

2. [ profile] mizozoh created a comic!!!!! based on the main scene in my short Kingsman fic All the Way Down.

I was already rolling around in the sheer ecstatic glee of being in an active fandom and, um, writing a popular-draw slash pairing, but WOW. And it's so pretty! I love Harry's face in the third line/fourth panel [?? terminology] so much.

3. Various other nice things have happened. I was shortlisted for the job, I had a test, I had another test, they've called my references, I really think this might be happening. Or, if it doesn't happen, I will believe I was at least down to one of four candidates, max. But if it does happen? On paper, this is a perfect job for me. Dear universe, please. And one of the other Kingsman writers who's dashed off a great quantity of lovely tropy stuff replied to my praise to say that my earlier fic had inspired them. Aw.

4. also two of my friends got married and also I saw Jupiter Ascending? yeah. GOOD WEEK.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
The Once Upon a Fic exchange still has sign-ups open for a couple more days (here it is on DW, LJ, and AO3).

Dear writer, if you already have an idea for one of the fandoms I've requested, GO FOR IT. I've listed some prompts, but do not abide by them if you don't want to. Please do abide by my Do-Not-Wants: I would like you to avoid graphic harm to hands and stories about people being strongly affected by or addicted to intoxicants & similar drugs. I would also appreciate it if you didn't put any amnesia in a story that doesn't have it in the source.

Alternate universes of all kinds are welcome.

Tsarevitch Ivan and the Fire Bird and the Gray Wolf (Fairy Tale)
Characters: Any

One of the things I am most interested in, for this story, is the weird chain of favours. So Ivan shows up at a new Tsardom, tries to steal something, gets caught... and then the Tsar says to him, "Ivan. Dude. You're a prince. You could have just asked. But I'll forgive you if you go steal this other thing." WTH? What kind of morality is this? It just doesn't add up to me. Does each Tsar just hate the next one in the chain? It also didn't seem right to me that Ivan gets everything/one at the end, even if he put forth the effort to go... steal it.

So: I'd love it if you played with that. I'd love it if you told a part of this story from anyone else's perspective, because in its current form, this is a crazy over-the-top example of protagonist-centred morality, and I want to know what the story looks like if you're not Ivan. I'm interested in the princess's perspective (she definitely does not have to end up with Ivan!) and why the wolf is so patient and cunning. What does he get out of this? Ivan? :P

I'd also love to know more about the magnificent Firebird. Is it one of a kind? If not, where are the others?

As for AUs, I feel that a mafia or noir AU would go great here. All of these shady deals!

The Necklace of Princess Fiorimonde - Mary de Morgan
Characters: Any

I have lots of questions! So, how did Princess Fiorimonde turn to the black arts? What other terrible things did she do? (Horror welcome.) And how did she think she'd get away with vanishing all those suitors? Was Yolande really the only one who suspected?

Also: what was it like to be a bead on a string for however many years? When the princes and kings were transformed back, how did they feel? (Stockholmed?) What did they do? They were gone from their kingdoms for years and years - what happened to their kingdoms? Going home would have to be pretty awkward. One story idea I'd be interested in is: a random band of Fiorimonde's suitors, homeless but regal, travelling around doing good (or other) deeds and trying to rediscover their place in the world.

I love that Fiorimonde is both princess and witch, so if you want to write a story from her perspective or justifying her actions, that would be fine. I also like it that it's the faithful servants who get a happy ever after - not their masters and mistresses. More about Yolande and Gervaise would be neat too. Has Gervaise had to get his master out of many scraps before?

Or: THAT NECKLACE. Put it in another story! Tell me more about what happened to it later! Make it the magical mcguffin a hundred years later & a thousand leagues away! (I like beads and the descriptions of the beads were lovely.) Or maybe Yolande and Gervaise aren't quite so done with the necklace as they thought they were...

The Emperor's New Clothes
Characters: Any

One thing that strikes me about this story is that each of these wise ministers, and even the emperor, believed the weavers over themselves. Instead of looking at the loom and thinking, "This is a load of bull," they each thought, "I am unworthy." So maybe they were a bunch of idiots, but I have a lot of compassion for them, and so might anyone who's ever experienced imposter syndrome.

So what was it really like to work in the highest levels of that empire? Were they all incompetent (the Emperor, being more fond of clothing than of ruling, is surely implied to be) or did things sort of muddle along? And what did they all do and say to each other after the procession? This is a story about shame, but I'd love some kind of redemptive arc. And possibly revenge on the weavers.

Very welcome here: a crack AU about addressing problems with organisational culture.

Or, to step even further away from the story: this is a fairy tale with no magic. Why not add some? What if this empire is ruled over by a line of magicians, and you only get to be emperor if you're able to spin perfect illusions, so that a Royal Test is to go out in the streets completely naked and convince everyone you're wearing a beautiful royal gown? Or maybe the parading emperor is an imposter, and gets set up to fail by the real emperor who's cleverer than they thought.

Or: go kinky. Some kind of (consensual, preferably) exhibitionism would also be amazing.

Characters: Any

Here, I'm interested in two main ideas. The first is fractured families. What did Rapunzel's parents think, after giving her up? (Does Rapunzel have siblings out there?) Did the enchantress think of Rapunzel as truly her daughter? Or explore how the prince and Rapunzel felt when they met up again. Maybe it was wonderful, for the prince, to discover he had children, but it must have been a shock, too. (And what about the prince's family, while he was wandering the wilderness? Did they assume he was just off on princely quests, or did they miss him?)

The second is a series of what-ifs. So Rapunzel has extraordinary gifts. She has amazing hair, an amazing voice, and tears that can heal. What if all of those qualities were imparted by the rampion? What if the enchantress took Rapunzel away from her parents not because she just wanted to steal a baby, but because Rapunzel was going to need special care in childhood due to the effects of that rampion? Rapunzel: Superhero Origin Story?

In case you think I'm just ripping off Tangled, um, let's just say I have an unpublished Pokémon WIP sitting in my documents in which a baby is fed a Bulbasaur seed and the local Pokémon professor takes her into custody & raises her, and this girl has two Bulbasaur-style prehensile vines as well as hair... This WIP is over a decade old and will never come to anything but a few lines in my documents folder, except, apparently, when I use it to inform fairy-tale prompts.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Shipping, thinks Morbane. It's a thing. People seem to care about it. Good for them, they're having fun. I have my crack ships? I guess? But it's nothing to do with me.

Audiovisual canons, thinks Morbane. They are also a thing. Yeah, there's short stuff, like Danger 5, because Danger 5 is its own category, but I'm never really going to be fannish in an involved way about TV and movies. You have to watch things twice or more. The horror. No, I'm over in books and songs. They're my fannish happy place. I am content. I am thriving.

Then I go to see Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015), a Matthew Vaughn adaptation of a Mark Millar comic - hyperviolent action-comedy about spies, and about spy movies.

It is not the most thoughtful movie. Mine is not a general recommendation. It's funny, and, well, it's smart enough for me, and the action sequences are fun and engaging. But: it has got me - I am so unexpectedly in love with this thing - because in the middle of all this candy-corn fun there are mentors and protégés - MULTIPLE SETS EVEN - and they care about each other and sass each other and respect and trust each other -

I don't have words for how joyful this kind of narrative makes me.

A tangent - I'm particularly failing to find the right word to describe the rapport. 'Rapport' is the best I can do. I want to say Colin Firth's and Taron Egerton's characters have chemistry, but doesn't that have too much of a sexual overtone? I mean something platonic. Anyway, they have it. [I definitely ship them, but I'm happy shipping it because it's platonic in the movie. It's the intensity of trust and need - I find this so much easier to project into than a romantic narrative - or something. I don't entirely understand my own brain. The keyword is trust, I think.]

So Joel & Paul and I went to see it on Thursday night, and I floated around on Cloud Nine, and wheedled A & 20thcenturyvole into letting me see it with them on Sunday, and came home and wrote a short fic (it already has 300 hits and 40 kudos and 6 comment threads! What is this madness? Oh right, it's the magic of an active fandom. That and a few nice people who have read my stuff before).

I'm going to go see it again with krastakin & M & V tonight.

I may even buy the comics.

I'm just floating on this, I'm so happy. Puzzled, but so happy. I mean, I know it's not the best piece of media ever, it has a totally unnecessarily sexist twist at the end, it pretends to uphold the general dignity of man vs. class issues, but, um, not really in the slightest; well. It makes me happy.

Other things:
-I have been beta-ing things all month. Really really all month. I thought I had finished the last thing I had promised to do, but then krastakin asked me if I could look at her story when we were arranging Kingsman tickets today. I shall never be without something to beta and this is good for my soul. Well, bad for my writing output, but even so.

-Sam and I went to the Carter Observatory to look through the Thomas Cooke refractor at Jupiter, in opposition. Not far past sunset on a summer night wasn't the best viewing time - v. hazy - but I got to see three of the four Galilean moons, which I never had before, which made it worth the visit. The two astronomers on duty were very friendly and chatted about local societies & useful astronomy apps.

-I have a job interview next week for a job I really want. I'm delighted I made it to interview stage: I applied to work with this organization four years ago and I didn't make it this far at that time.

-Joel and I first moved in together 8 years ago! Wellington leases tend to follow the university semester, and everyone changes places in Jan/Feb. We don't do much for Valentine's Day as Valentine's Day; instead, it is the anniversary of the first time we woke up together in a house we both lived in. Will think of something Valentine-y to do for Sam.

-Also lost my wallet on Sunday - innocently dropped it into a shopping bag that had a giant hole in it - but I was full of happy feelings about Kingsman, so this was just a blip on the radar.

Finally: Crantz has opened sign-ups for Once Upon a Fic, a fanfic exchange based on fairy tales, tall tales, legends, ballads, mythology, and similar things. I've signed up! Currently we have 17 sign-ups and I think we're okay for matching, but the more the merrier.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)

1. If anyone on my friends list or reading circle wants to ask me for beta feedback at any time, please do. It may happen that I am too busy to take on a project when you ask. (Right now I have a couple of stories in the queue, so it is not a good time.) I may tell you that your fic as described is outside my comfort zone /not a style of writing I feel I can help with. But feel free to ask. I get kind of itchy when I don't have anything to give concrit on. I am best at detailed edits, line by line, though I am happy to go hands-off or hands-on depending on what you prefer. I am only so-so at helping brainstorm an idea that hasn't taken shape yet.

2. This is a fun meme I have seen posted by naraht & sineala: When you see this, share 3 lines from each of 3 WIPs.

a. "There's always someone out there bigger and scarier than you, sugar," she said. Blood society, as she saw it, worked on the principle that there was always someone — somewhere — watching the watcher, ready to call the powerful to account.

Even if it happened to be thousands of years before the reckoning were made.

-WIP o'Doom, but it's encouraging to see that there are lines I like in the messy unposted part.

b. A* learned that it was rude in lizard culture to talk to any individual alone; when she tried, a crew member would either ignore her, or duck away, or strike up a kind of duet on whatever gadget was nearest by causing it to issue sounds or information. Showing how a machine ‘communicated’ that it was in perfect order, or that it was in need of tuning, was an acceptable way for Werig to talk to A* without Modsef or Hwaerk present - for then Werig was speaking as Werig-and-Sitha; Werig and the ship.

-A's name is kind of a spoiler here. This is me having fun with worldbuilding, although I admit I haven't stress-tested the idea above to its full "But what would happen if...?" potential. Lizard culture is very, very group-focused. Talking one-on-one is taboo or denotes intimacy. I realise that's only two lines up there, but they're long ones.

c. The skinny guy with royal blue hoodie asked about how the lab could be segmented for variable light cycles. Jemma nodded absently. From what she'd read of Dr Gennett's saline flora and Comeskey's long-term study of rare earth absorption in Solanaceae, it was a valid question, but they were unlikely to be approved for atypical circadian rhythms in the main bay at least this year.

-And there you see why that particular WIP crashed and burned *pokes ashes hopefully* - it required me to make up a lot of fake science. Maybe someday, though. Jemma Simmons + Maya Hansen research friendship! Female science mentors! Kinda identity porn but not! Okay, now I'm making myself sad.

3. Rosencrantz is shortly to open nominations for a new exchange, Once Upon a Fic:

I will be helping out with some exchange admin. (Don't give me that look. I promised this last year.)

Less fandom-related:

4. PŌHUTUKAWA. We had a couple of weeks here where they were ALL BLOOMING AT ONCE and COMPLETELY AMAZING. I assure you, capital letters are justified. I am lazy, so I will not give you any images, but I urge you to google "pohutukawa" and see what you see. Gorgeous twiny-trunked trees with blazing red blooms. They're made up of stamens, not petals, and if you look closely at a blossom, you'll see that every stamen has a dot of gold at its end. Then the stamens fall, and there are crimson carpets on the sidewalk, and every grass verge is red-fringed. My Dreamwidth icon is now a pōhutukawa blossom.

5. My friend is holding a Shakespeare read-through tonight: As You Like It this time. The Tempest was a lot of fun, so I am looking forward to this evening! I have no idea what part I'll get - that's assigned when we turn up.


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April 2017

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