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 [ 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 [ 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, [ 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. [ profile] lorataprose, which other starting points do you recommend?
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Thank you, author! Thank you very much.

My enjoyment of your story may be spoiled by: harm to hands, substance abuse, or memory loss.

I will enjoy reading: something you loved writing, worldbuilding, loyalty, emotional insight, friendships, humour, dialogue… Dark humour, goofy humour, irony, teamwork, relationships intense and mild, relationships that don't easily fit into definitions, and ones that do. Honestly, this is the part where I get stuck, because I like a lot of things. I'm gonna skip to canons for now and maybe add to this later.

Dollhouse, Utena, Soon I Will Be Invincible, and Emelan prompts )

Uh, and if anyone wants to discuss any of these canons, hi! :)
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Hi, author/artist! Have fun. That's the main thing.

If you'd like a little more direction, here are some fandom notes.

Dollhouse - I like everyone except Echo. Maybe focus on a woman who is not Echo? (Caroline's fair game - I find her fascinating.) Moral issues, tropey Engagement, whatever catches your fancy. I would like an awful lot of stuff!

Arrested Development - There are canonical Jewish…. storylines. (As far as I can tell from The Internet, the producer never quite confirmed whether George Oscar Bluth Sr. is drawing on Jewish heritage when he goes through his Caged Wisdom period. But I think it's quite fair if you want to run with that.) I love all the characters as glorious screw-ups; maybe stay away from Tobias and Buster at their most dysfunctional (what am I saying, all of Buster's settings are dysfunctional), but otherwise you're good. As a super amazing bonus, if you want to write me Kitty/Maeby slash, I will be tickled pink. I know it's a weird pairing, but it caught my imagination from the parts of canon where they were both in the film industry.

Elemental Masters - Mercedes Lackey - My favourite books in this series are The Fire Rose, Phoenix and Ashes, The Gates of Sleep, and The Serpent's Shadow, in approximately that order. Maybe a/some woma/en from one of these settings? I'd also love original character snippets, if you like writing such. Fairy tales and alchemy and history and yeah!

The Innkeeper's Song - Peter S. Beagle - The book that Beagle himself is most fond of. I particularly like Lal - swordswoman and storyteller, what a wonderful combination - but anything you think works for this challenge. Hey, it's a pretty big fantasy world, maybe at one point Lal confronted an evil vizier?

Sorry: I forgot to mention that I will be in transit, and then at a conference, around the actual dates of Purim. I promise I will be excited to see my gifts, but my response may be delayed by up to a week.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Dear Yuletide Writer
Hello, and thank you - either for the story you will write for me, or just for being interested in what I have to say about these canons.

In my story, I don't want you to dwell on harm to hands, memory loss, or any kind of substance abuse.

What I do like is a much longer list. Crack, and then crack explored in all seriousness. Worldbuilding. Canon-divergence alternate universes. Tiny little details. Competence. Loyalty. Self-awareness. Mentor relationships. Making mistakes and learning from them. I like all-out action and I like quiet reflection. I like conversation. I have optional pairing suggestions for each canon, but background ships can take any form you like. I will be excited to receive a story in past, present, or future tense, and in first, second, or third person. (Maybe not all at once.)

Okay. Let's get to the biscuits.

Solitaire - Kelley Eskridge )

Sunshine - Robin McKinley )

Pegasus - Robin McKinley )

Danger 5 )

Above all, I hope you have fun.
-Morbane (same name at AO3)
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Have a grab-bag (or even a snatch - these are were meant to be short comments) of media I have recently consumed.

The Tales of Beatrix Potter (1971), The Royal Ballet - this was Sam sitting me down with a Beloved Thing from his childhood. Some parts were more successful for me than others - for example, the fox/goose dance was really evocative, and the Two Bad Mice dance was a lot of fun. On an intellectual level, I could admire the athleticism of the dancing, and I could admire the choreography, direction, and acting that evoked one animal or another. (The squirrels baffled me. They didn't look like squirrels or move like squirrels, and then they caught fish and took them over a lake to what I can only assume was an owl idol. Then one of the squirrels lost his tail and everyone tossed it back and forth.) Some of the framing devices were also confusing - it does not seem to me to do much to have a woman playing Beatrix Potter sitting at her desk in Very Bored Mode. Then a shot later, she's unpacking her bags in the country. Exit Beatrix Potter for the rest of the film. Everything was fairly literal, which is probably a help to establish patterns in my head for the next ballet I see, but I was out of step with the pacing and had a hard time sorting between "this is just a ballet narrative convention, roll with it," and "this is a part of the narrative that it is valid to critique, interpret it."

.hack://sign - I'd always wanted to see more of this, and krastakin kindly allowed Sam and me to start on her box set. The background art is beautiful - imaginative and textured and vivid. The anime is set in an MMO, and although we don't see a lot of player interaction, the art is enough to convince me that players would be drawn to the game. It's really, really slow so far - we're up to episode 8 - but I'm enjoying it even so. I like the music. There's a song that plays at about the middle of each episode, and I smile each time it comes on. Here, have a fan's music video! So we're working through that gradually.

Athena - A Biography, by Lee Hall - I like the concept of using a biography framework for a mythological figure, especially when that mythological figure may have moved across cultures and had different meanings therein. However, I didn't find this particularly insightful or well-organised, and I got really annoyed by this chain of logic:

-Worship of a plausible Athena figure existed before Athena was described as being born from Zeus's head
-Because she is a goddess, Athena had control over, or opportunity to consent to, this revision of "her" "story"
-By consenting to appear in a story whereby males have procreative powers, Athena is betraying her sex and supporting the patriarchy
-(She is also betraying her sex in lots of other ways but I got bored)

I am not making this up, because I couldn't. I didn't finish that book.

The Mythology of the Night Sky: An Amateur Astronomer's Guide to the Ancient Greek and Roman Legends, by David E. Falkner - I read about half of this and flicked through the rest - I was looking for specific facts. However, I would recommend it because of the clear enthusiasm that shone through. It contains a lot of tips for people wishing to take astronomical photographs and was published in 2011, so may still be reasonably up to date. (I'm not sure. I have no interest or talent in photography, so I skimmed those bits.)

Gattaca (1997) - The night after the really big July earthquake, the 6.2, krastakin was around for dinner and we were all a bit rattled, so we decided to watch a movie. I got to pick, so I offered people four choices: Gattaca, Dredd, Casino Royale, or Inglourious Basterds. I enjoyed it. I felt that it had an unusually clean concept for a sci-fi movie: here is the premise, let's poke at it. I feel as though it chose specific aspects of the scenario to really convince the audience about, and everything else got firmly put in the "go with it" basket, and I like that: this was a thought experiment before it was a drama. Though, speaking of the drama, I really did like the codependency of the two lead actors. I loved the scene where they're drinking out in a restaurant. The ending saddens me. Also, I felt the relationship with Uma Thurman's character was one of the parts of the thought experiment that wasn't sketched out - it was raised as an idea, but it wasn't convincing. I feel the audience was meant to do the emotional/rational work there to play it out. Which was fine.

I feel as though when "attraction" is portrayed in media, the director/author/? can sometimes convince me of two things: that the people involved are complex, independent humans, and that they are in love or are attracted to each other. Sometimes, the individual text doesn't really have the scope for both of those. Within that limited scope, I'd rather be convinced that two people are complex and have the potential for a relationship than that they are deeply in love/lust but are cardboard cutouts.

Die Zigeunerbaron | The Gypsy Baron - This was the operetta whose chorus Sam was performing in. I'm glad I finally got to see him in it after hearing all about rehearsals.

Even if I had a strong motivation for learning to love opera and operetta, I don't think it would come easily to me. For one thing, I could comprehend barely one in ten of the sung words (all in English), and I found that maddening. I'm pretty musically ignorant; I could barely tell a trumpet from a trombone!, and I find it very hard to follow music on its narrative journeys. So hearing people sing while being unable to make out their consonants and vowels was like having people push sound at me. ARGH. But hey, I knew that going in.

Regarding the operetta itself - the plot was comprehensible, everyone had motivations (well, Saffi was more of a McGuffin than a person, but the same could be said of Ottakar, so we have a gender balance there). More than half of the characters were there for comic relief, and many performed this part admirably. The plot was comprehensible without the listener needing to understand the music. (BUT WHAT IS THE POINT OF THAT, yes yes, shushing now.)

I enjoyed the potential of the staging and acting when Czipra/Barinkay/Saffi see Ottakar sneak up to Arsena's balcony. Arsena and Ottakar's body language was tender and relaxed, and the trio on the ground were singing/miming indignation, and these two scenes were fascinating played off against each other.

There was an earthquake at intermission, of course. By the way, lots of earthquakes lately. LOTS. I reported one a few weeks ago that started a fire in my workplace; that was a Friday morning, and the one that followed it on Sunday evening was the real shocker of that bunch. Infrastructure all rattled, "don't go into the CBD until noon," unsettling. Since then, the aftershocks have stayed mostly below 5 on the Richter scale, and tailed off... until Friday just past, the 16th. There was a 6.6 at 2:30pm. I was at work. It started slow and rolled on and on, the lights above us swinging wildly on their chains. Everyone went under their desks. Then everyone went home. Wellington was gridlocked, and the Friday performance of the operetta was cancelled, because of the high likelihood of aftershocks, and indeed we had a 6.0 at 5:30pm that evening. The one at the opera intermission was 5.5. My little group - me, krastakin, M, V - shrugged. But some people didn't return for Act II...

I enjoyed Act II and III a lot more. I loved the absurdity of "our plot is at a standoff! THAT'S OK, THERE'S A WAR ON." Also, the performer in the role of the General/Count was a wonderful, wonderful ham. The recruiting scene was funny and so was every other scene with him in it.

Act III, with Arsena's song about falling in/out of love, was beautifully costumed. That was also the only song where I could grasp how this would be an attractive entertainment even without the words. Arsena's gestures and movements through the chorus made the song pretty clear, even though I could only parse a line and a half of it, and I enjoyed the interplay among the chorus. (krastakin leaned over to me at this point: "This is such dancy music, it's such a pity they aren't staging it this way!" And that was fun to visualise: a complicated pattern dance with Arsena as its unpartnered centre.

Also, Act III had Sam playing his most obvious narrative, to me, of the courtier playing up to various ladies, being rejected, moving on to the next. I wish I could have appreciated his singing more clearly, but I enjoyed his acting there.

I've probably missed a few things. I have also been reading a lot of YA literature - just before Fic_Corner sign-ups closed, I got a bunch of things out of the library, because I wanted to ensure I was widely matchable. But I don't want to talk about them here because they are clues as to the prompts I was eying up. :P And I've been reading things for Fic_Corner research, too.


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