morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Lately I have been: writing, beta-ing, house-hunting, working, socialising a little. I had a big fancy birthday party. It went how I hoped it would go, but left me even more keenly aware of all the people I need to speak to properly. House hunting is weird: it doesn't take up a lot of obvious time, because the market is terrible and The Housing Crisis is a recurrent national headline, but it takes up a lot of mental space.


I signed up for Rosencrantz's Once Upon a Fic fanfic exchange, which has recently ended. I got an exuberant and funny gift based on a nursery rhyme:

The Cake is a Lie (1726 words) by dreamiflame
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Lion and the Unicorn (Nursery Rhymes & Songs)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Unicorn (The Lion and the Unicorn), Lion (The Lion and the Unicorn)
Additional Tags: Drunkenness, Crack Treated Seriously, Heraldic Devices
Summary: And other complaints of mistreated heraldic devices.

The Lion and the Unicorn have a standing appointment... but the Unicorn isn't quite as enthusiastic about it as the Lion is.


The rest of Once Upon a Fic 2016's stories are here. There are some really good stories! They are based on American tall tales, Greek mythology, Grimm, Perrault, urban legends, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and much more.


What I wrote:
Dragon Kisses (4704 words) by Morbane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Kemp Owyne (Traditional Ballad), English and Scottish Popular Ballads - Francis James Child
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Additional Tags: Dragons, Fairy Tale Curses, some instances of reckless self-disregard, Action/Adventure, Constructive Criticism Welcome
Summary: Finding the person who can turn Isobel back, from dragon to girl, is only the beginning.

Sorry about the summary. I should probably refine it. It's accurate but cheesy. But it also sells the story short. It's action/adventure and romance, and the romance is between a brave princess and a fair maiden who is temporarily a dragon.

This story really really REALLY wanted to be a novel. I planned the story, started researching it, realised how big the story was getting, whined to anyone who would listen, and went to my back-up alternative plan. Then I gave up on that in dissatisfaction and decided to write the "short" version of the story that was trying to be the novel.

I would still like to write that novel! It joins the glum pile of story ideas that are exchange remnants - plots that I fell in love with, then had to acknowledge as too ambitious to tackle in the months given for an exchange. I have so, so many.

That was the only exchange I signed up for, but in the meantime I wrote three pinch hits.

Hourglasses and Hubris (5000 words) by Morbane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Kylo Ren/Luke Skywalker
Characters: Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Snoke (Star Wars), Kylo Ren
Additional Tags: Dark, Alternate Universe - Harry Potter Setting, Murder, Minor Character Death, Magic-Users, Alternate Universe - Hogwarts, Unrequited Love, Unresolved Sexual Tension, Horror, Uncle/Nephew Incest, Manipulative Relationship, Constructive Criticism Welcome, Horcruxes
Summary: Young Ben Solo's feelings - and the magic that they sometimes set off - cause him only problems. Unfortunately, as he learns to control his feelings and harness their power, so do others.

My recipient wanted Kylo/Luke fic and also suggested a Hogwarts AU. It was a lot of fun. As with the story above, it was only at the very last minute that I figured out how to tell the story I wanted to tell in a suitably condensed form. (There are some scrapped bits involving Rey and Finn. BB8 would make the cutest owl. A boobok owl.) It isn't as Kylo/Luke-ish as I wanted it to be, the ending is a bit rushed, and the 'manipulative relationship' tag relates to Kylo and Snoke. Possibly I should look at the tags again to ensure that people know what they're getting when they click on it. I liked my integrations, though.

I also wrote a pinch hit for Smut Swap.

you've almost convinced me I'm real (6335 words) by Morbane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Interstella 5555
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Octave/Record Studio Guy with Glasses
Characters: Octave (Interstella 5555), Record Studio Guy with Glasses
Additional Tags: Brainwashing, Xeno, Awkward Sexual Situations, Awkward Sex, Pining, Extremely Dubious Consent, Misunderstandings, Happy Ending, Alien/Human Relationships, sort of For Science!, Constructive Criticism Welcome
Summary: Octave doesn't remember his encounter with Tristan - because it wasn't him at the time. And Tristan isn't likely to forget.

I'm not good at porn, but for SmutSwap, participants matched on tags that described specific tropes or sex acts. That helped: brainwashing and awkward sex were specific things the recipient requested. Awkward sex is a lot easier for me to write than most other types. It was a pleasure to revisit this movie/music video.

Then I wrote a pinch hit for Ship Swap.

Invitation (1631 words) by Morbane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Shoujo Kakumei Utena | Revolutionary Girl Utena
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Kaoru Kozue/Kaoru Miki
Characters: Kaoru Kozue, Kaoru Miki, Himemiya Anthy
Additional Tags: Sibling Incest, double standards, Mistaken Identity, Emotional Manipulation, Denial, Obsession, Pre-Canon, Present Tense, Constructive Criticism Welcome
Summary: When Miki joins the Student Council, the cracks begin to show in his relationship with Kozue.

Despite the word count, this one was probably the hardest. The story is perhaps a little lighter on content than I would prefer for an exchange gift; writing Utena feels like walking on ice. Some part of canon I've forgotten or that I've misinterpreted will crack under me. I was aware of this pinch hit for a very long time before claiming it, because I didn't think I could write Miki/Kozue. Now, of course, I have another story idea in my head for them, more elegant than this one, but we'll see if it gets written.


(Thanks for beta-ing, kurushi! Thanks for cheering me on and humouring me, NightsMistress, Rosencrantz, dhampyresa, Kaesa, thedevilchicken, Isis, especially!)


I currently have open: my Jukebox assignment, and then three other assignments to complete by mid-late June. The next two weekends will be interesting! I took Friday 3 June off. I had better be writing that day - but not writing Jukebox.


ETA: I forgot to mention that the Works in Progress Big Bang challenge is at the stage of artist claims. This challenge has a wide range of fandoms and artists/fanmixers/other media creators will be very, VERY welcome; perhaps there's something that appeals to you.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
We got home yesterday afternoon. Our flights were pleasantly uneventful, and I got some sleep on the LAX-SYD flight. I have at least two holiday posts I mean to make, but before then, there is fic to write, and even more importantly, fic to acknowledge.

The Crossovering collection (new this year) and the Fic Corner collection (in its second year) both went live recently, and I received a splendid selection of gifts.

I was a late pinch hit for Crossovering, and to my delight, three people wrote me all the possible pair combinations of Push (2009), Dollhouse (TV), and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV).

a plan without planning (1480 words) by theladyscribe
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV), Marvel Cinematic Universe, Push (2009)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Leo Fitz, Cassie Holmes, Nick Gant, Jemma Simmons
Additional Tags: Crossover, Shady Government Organizations, Some Humor
Summary: Leo meets Cassie in a quiet bar just outside of Washington, DC. Jemma's gone to use the ladies' room, and he's drinking his pint, minding his own business, when this girl with purple hair sits down next to him and says, "Come here often?"

Theladyscribe's fic is a fine set of shenanigans with a lot of fun references to other comics universes, especially the X-Men. There are also some tantalising hints for further developments after the end of the story.


Let's Call It a Job Interview (2081 words) by Teaotter
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV), Dollhouse
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Phil Coulson, Melinda May, Topher Brink
Additional Tags: Minor Violence, Coercion, Consent Issues, Mind Control, canon level slavery issues, Dubious Morality, Unreliable Narrator, canon level possession issues
Summary: Topher just wants to get back to work.

In TeaOtter's fic, poor Topher is bouncing around like a pinball on a somewhat-enforced vacation. Well, "poor" - Topher is always an interesting character to sympathise with, and his negative personality traits are apparent here. It's a lot of fun watching May and Coulson team up to handle him.


To Boldly Go (444 words) by misura
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Dollhouse, Push (2009)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Cassie Holmes, Topher Brink
Additional Tags: crossovering treat
Summary: The great escape.

In misura's story, Cassie and Topher are an even wackier team. I love how Cassie convinces Topher to come along and I can only imagine how cracky it would be for them to actually work together.


For Fic Corner, my assigned author wrote me a full fic AND a treat in the same fandom, Margaret Mahy's The Pirates' Mixed-Up Voyage.

If Wishes Were Fishes (1645 words) by storm_queen
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Pirates' Mixed-Up Voyage - Margaret Mahy
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Lionel Wafer, Toothpick, Brace-and-Bit, Winkle, Toad
Summary: "Though they had plenty to eat they did not seem to be getting very rich and, after all, a week seems a long time when you are yearning to make your fortune at once."

The pirates' adventure began even before they set foot on Island Nine Hundred and Ninety-Nine.

This story uses a sarcastic, sea-lawyer of a talking fish to fill in the gap between the casting off of the Sinful Sausage and the pirates' first encounters with Packy and the jigsaw pieces and all.


After Hours (687 words) by storm_queen
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Pirates' Mixed-Up Voyage - Margaret Mahy
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Thomas Sump, Hermione Hatchett
Additional Tags: Burglary
Summary: Employees of Silkweed's Academy are expected to commit the occasional after-hours act of villainy.

This treat is especially delightful and captures Hatchett and Sump's voices perfectly. I would recommend it even if you don't know the canon.


I have also been writing things, but I have (somewhat arbitrarily) resolved not to promote them until I finish that Rarewomen fic from May. May.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Both stories and authors are now visible in the Invisible Ficathon.

I wrote two stories. The first is "Years of Magical Thinking", a small treat for [personal profile] fluffybun, riffing off the bits of Simon Snow fandom portrayed in Rainbow Rowell's novel Fangirl. Brief, cheerful female-friendship-y worldbuilding. They seemed to like it! Another reviewer pointed out that I might have got a canon detail wrong - oops - but they sounded enthusiastic about the prospect of me revising canon and writing more stuff, so it works out in the end. ^!^ (And huzzah for concrit.)

The second is "First Steps Past the End of the World", for [archiveofourown.org profile] ryfkah. This is a crossover between Revolutionary Girl Utena and Millie Goes to School… because ryfkah put their Purimgifts and Invisific prompts in the same letter… and the Utena Purimgifts prompt and Millie Invisific prompt therefore appeared next to each other… and one called for crossovers, and the other called for wildcard supernatural elements… so it had to be written. Because of course we want to see Nanami transfer out of Ohtori.

It was immensely fun to write, up until the last minute (but I'll get to that). The "Millie" series adds up to about 400 words in Diana Wynne Jones's The Lives of Christopher Chant - as best I can tell, it's in the same vein as Enid Blyton's series like Malory Towers and St Clare's and The Naughtiest Girl*. So I re-read some Malory Towers books to get a basis for tone.

(I wonder what the woman sitting on my other side, on the plane, thought of the snippets of Utena that flashed across my laptop screen. Here's a kangaroo! Vaguely appropriate!)

When about 1/3 of it was written, I asked two people if they would consider giving it a quick look over. They both graciously agreed - only for me to realise that I'd got the deadline wrong, and fics were LIVE, NOW, and basically ARGH. (So sorry, brave betas-in-waiting!) Luckily, [personal profile] jadelennox kept the collection open.

First Steps would have benefited from a critical view - like its title, it is NOT subtle - but oh well, it stands, and it's cheerful, and people like it. And now I've written for Utena! Fandom to-do list: tick.


I feel mixed about the concept of Invisible Ficathon. It's as much a game as it is an exchange of fiction. I like exchanging fiction. I really don't like playing the game. I want to talk to people, not perform at/with them. Yet the game encourages and creates a space for types of fiction that are especially playful and unusual. And it's not designed to be exclusive; it's a game with relatively simple rules and courtesies.

Eh. I'm glad to have written things.


*When I was talking to my fellow research assistant** about the ficathon, she pointed out the auspices of Lowood House, the name of Millie's school. It makes me wonder if in the Chrestomanci world, Millie Goes to School is what we got instead of Jane Eyre… An intriguing concept, but I didn't have space to explore it, so instead I just called all the teachers Rivers and Adele and Fairfax and so forth. As you do. HOW HANDY that in the Monday workshop, we were trying out a text analysis tool on… Jane Eyre.

**This meant she had context when I interrupted a peaceful hotel evening to squawk about missed deadlines.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
1. The Purimgifts collection opened last week, and as well as other stories on female, Jewish, or evil vizier characters, it held two ficlets written for me, in the fandom of Arrested Development.

Arrested Megillah, in two parts, is about how Tobias's Season Four ambitions get… somehow… even wilder and wackier when he decides that the best way to get a show on the road is to (implausibly) incorporate Jewish tradition. Kitty Sanchez Makes Her Mov(i)e is a satisfying inner monologue on how Kitty might have placed herself at the centre of several Season Four plots for the purpose of revenge. Both fics demonstrate that quality so universal to Arrested Development characters, which is that their flashes of self-awareness only serve to get them further into trouble. (Said trouble is often glorious.)

I defaulted on this exchange the weekend before stories were due; for me, it had been the second weekend of wrestling with an overly-ambitious story. If I take part in Purimgifts again, it will have to be with canons I'm much more confident in. My silent thanks to the pinch hitter, and apologies to my recipient. I've shelved the story idea for now, but it would be nice to finish it at leisure and post it as a treat.


2. [personal profile] chestnut_filly has recorded a podfic of my story "(in case I don't see you) good afternoon, good evening, and good night". (The story, originally written as a treat for [tumblr.com profile] ladyofthelog, is in Robin McKinley's Sunshine universe; it's a short description of Yolande's perspective on the events of the novel.) I am thrilled and honoured to hear a spoken version of something I've written.


3. One day last year, I was on the bus coming back from the vege market and, as you do, I idly scrolled through the 'Browse - Works' page on AO3 to see what had just been posted. This led me to [archiveofourown.org profile] lorata's Hunger Games fic. Lorata specializes in District Two worldbuilding and backstory, and since I love worldbuilding and perspectives on other Districts, I was hooked straight away. The especially handy thing about commenting on Lorata's stuff is that I keep saying, "now, I wonder about X thing happening in the background," and she says, "hmmmm," (or "you are a terrible enabler") and writes it.

Thus, it is only fair that I connect her with new readers. As well as Hunger Games, [archiveofourown.org profile] lorata has written for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers comics, Temeraire, Much Ado About Nothing, Kamen Rider W (Double), Jewish Scripture & Legend/Christian Bible (Old Testament), Macdonald Hall - Gordon Korman, and Portal.

For Hunger Games, I recommend you start with Fixed to a Star, although it's not the only possible inroad. [livejournal.com profile] lorataprose, which other starting points do you recommend?
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
I am currently stuck on a Purimgifts ficlet. So instead of scowling at it, I am going to write up the plot of a Robin McKinley sequel crossover fic thing that I am never going to really write, so that I can let go of that.

Spoilers.

Mainly Pegasus, but everything else with a lake )

*dusts off hands* OK, done with that idea.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Shipswap, a fanfic exchange for pairings, is open for signups until some point on February 10. Here is the tag set of nominated pairings. I'm not doing shipswap - I always have trouble coming up with pairings I'd like to either read or write - but I wrote a pinch hit last year, and sirvalkyrie seems to run it pretty well.

Purimgifts, a ficlet-and-multimedia exchange organized around Purim, is also closing signups on February 10. I am signed up for this one, but wibbling about it. Cons: art is required, and I suck at art; I'm trying to write other stuff around the same time; I'll be flying to a conference in Perth right after the challenge deadline. Pros: I asked for art tips and got a lot of encouragement, and the challenge atmosphere in general is very friendly - I am still talking regularly to my giver & one of my recipients from last year. (Hello, you!)

Rarewomen, a fanfic exchange for female-identifying characters who don't already have a huge amount of fic written for them, is just finishing nominations and, after a week of tag set tidying, will be open for signups. I've nominated a few things and am looking forward to this exchange.

The Invisible Ficathon, a fanfic exchange for canons that exist only in allusion, is open for signups until February 11. I'm not taking part, but I commend those who do for their daring and sense of fun. This is the first year of this challenge, and the idea is to write fanfic of those nonexistent canons. So, fanfic of a TV show that exists in a fictional world, fanfic of Chaucer's unwritten tales, etc.

I have also signed up for the WIP Big Bang, because I am terrible at writing things that are not directly required to fulfill a challenge, and not only do I love the way I want to re-write Sucker Punch (2011), I also know that no one will ever ask for it. I am tempted to sign up twice, with another story. That is a terrible idea.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
I've already mentioned Jukebox. At the same time as I was running and participating in that, I took part in hhertzof's challenge, Exchange at Fic Corner, a fanfic gift exchange for children's book canons. I will do my best to ensure that those challenges do not overlap again; such was my enthusiasm that I found myself with a total of five assignments between them, which got a bit hairy towards the end.

I received three thoughtful gifts.

For Jukebox, Counting the Cars, by deepdarkwaters, a story about a young, naïve college kid who decides to spend a summer hitchhiking and telling tall tales to Kathy, a more seasoned traveller and storyteller. The story is of course for the song "America" (Simon and Garfunkel). It is a lovely story saturated with wistfulness and optimism. I loved how clearly the two characters approached the world from the same angle of wonder and wariness; I loved how they were also very clearly different people, who must go their separate ways in time. I opened the collection, read the story, dashed off to work - and sang the song to myself under my breath all the way up the hill.

Also for Jukebox, To Dust, a story for Covenant's Bullet, by Measured_Words. She does a great job of embedding both an explanation for the scenes in the song, and a mystery that extends them, within a hundred words.

For the Exchange at Fic Corner, I'd asked for Twilight - crack ships (Bella/Victoria, Alice/Bella, Bella/Edward/Victoria), or Bella, Victoria, or Alice in charge of the action. Some people, when asked to write non-canon pairings, do a lot of handwaving about existing relationships and slot a scene in. On the other hand, some people set themselves to the work of plotting out how the crackiest of ships could sail from a port - or point - that exists in canon. That is how I got things too sweet to survive, because thinkatory is one of the latter type of writers, and so in 7,000 words she rewrote all of the major plot points of Twilight, hee, such that Edward/Alice/Bella is a thing. (Warnings for character death.) Twilight: revised with more polyamory.

I also beta'd some things I rather like!

Fics I beta read )

Oh yes. And I wrote some things.

By me )

Finally - since this is already a giant post about fanfic, I might as well use it to post some rules for myself about how I should play in order to keep an upper limit on stress during Yuletide.

YULETIDE RULES FOR MORBANE

1. I may not offer TV or movie canons longer than 6 hours in total unless I have someone lined up to watch the canon with me, in whole or in part. (I hate watching TV over again, and can only barely make myself sit through a movie on my own.)

2. I may not offer book canons that I have not read in the last four years.

3. I may not offer canons for which I have not already secured access (in home, at library, etc).

4. I may not have more than two open assignments at any one time. (It's okay if other stories are in acceptable first-draft stage as long as they are complete and I'm sure of them.)

5. I may not offer to beta someone's fic, or accept a request to beta a fic, if I have any other fics in the queue to beta. One at a time!

6. I may have a maximum of one fic for which substantial writing remains to be done at the point that the official Yuletide deadline passes.

7. I may not stay up past 2am to write a fic.

8. Writing a fic is not an appropriate reason to defer or cancel a social engagement.

9. I may not make writing schedules that require me finish fic A and then throw myself into fic B on the same day or the following day. It just doesn't work.

ETA. 10. Dear self, please play sensibly enough that this Yuletide does not require you to add things to this list.

Jukebox!

Sep. 26th, 2013 09:58 pm
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
So, in March, I said to some anonymous people, "if I ran a song-based fic exchange, what are the problems and difficulties you foresee? What might go wrong?"

Perhaps due to their helpful suggestions, the [present] answer is: Nothing. Gloriously nothing.

And now there are stories!

"Jukebox" is a challenge modelled after Yuletide, where participants get to choose the canons they will offer and request, and submit requests. They are automatically assigned a prompt for a canon they've offered to write. There is a writing period, and then there is a lovely collection of stories.

The collection is here.

To help unfamiliar readers follow along, there is a playlist of all songs for which a story was written, here. (It omits Nana Mizuki's 'Justice to Believe', and Seanan McGuire's 'Mother of the Crows', neither of which were available on YouTube. The author of the Nana Mizuki fic has linked a video within their story.)

There is also a table of links for all nominated songs, A-L and all nominated songs, M-Z, including lyrics.

Authors are anonymous for a bit over a week. Please consider checking out their stories and commenting on them.


And on a different note, I am about to go offline for a weekend for the immense fun and effort that is being camp cook to a Campaign Live Action Role Play game. I am definitely not coming down with a cold. Definitely. As usual, the food will be More Elaborate Than Necessary, although my associate cook and I have no plans to top last session, at which the GM groaned that I was providing food for an in-character wedding that was "more fancy than a real wedding".
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Hi! Thank you very much for writing something for me. I'm looking forward to it.

My do-not-wants are a short list: please don't write me anything with a focus on addiction, memory loss, or harm to hands.

What I do want: well, you're writing me stuff in these canons. Yay! That! I like these characters and these worlds (for a lot of different reasons. It's a mixed bag here). I like absurdity. I like a bit of magic in my reality and a bit of realism in my fantasy. I like competence. I like little details. I like everyone having a reason for what they do (even the villains, even if those reasons are objectively messed up). I like worldbuilding. If I keep listing things I like, we'll be here all year.

I have some shipping suggestions, but they're only suggestions - disregard them if you like. I'm happy with m/m, f/f, m/f, poly, ?/?, etc if it works for the canon and characters. I like complex friendships too.


Alyzon Whitestarr - Isobelle Carmody )


Chalice - Robin McKinley )


The Changeover - Margaret Mahy )


The Twenty-One Balloons - William Pène du Bois )


Twilight Series - Stephenie Meyer )


Die unendliche Geschichte | The Neverending Story - Michael Ende )


The Pirates' Mixed-Up Voyage - Margaret Mahy )
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Fanfiction milestones, yeah? )
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
I am taking a break from an exchange fic that is refusing to write itself.
Instead: some notes-to-self about things I want to organise.

First, a song-based fic exchange, to be run between July and September.

Music and lyrics and fanfic, oh my )


Second: a offline social club for the purpose of reading things aloud.

Storytellers' Club )

(Please excuse formatting difficulties that remain. This is my first attempt at crossposting between DW and LJ.)

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