morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
1. I'm co-modding the Alternate Universe Exchange and starting to worry about a pinch hit that's been lingering, with fandoms Prince of Tennis, Tiger & Bunny, and Attack on Titan. Only 3 weeks remain in the writing period. Which leaves me tossing up whether to try to consume enough canon to take that pinch hit. It is a perennial mod problem. Just because I can consume a canon and turn out some competent prose doesn't mean it's a good idea, compared to - hopefully - another fan with pre-existing enthusiasm for the canon, + an interest in the prompt, coming along. But that fan may not exist, get wind of the pinch hit, or have time available.

I have consumed canons for pinch hits before, several times. I do try to make "am I actually likely to enjoy this canon" a deciding factor. But time is tight and I'd really rather the decision were taken away from me. (Obviously, I will not update this post to say whether it is or isn't...)

(Besides, there may be further pinch hits as the deadline approaches, and there aren't many of the requests that I could tackle.)

2. After seeing someone talk about an unfilled need on AO3, I asked Flamebyrd to make a userscript. The Mark for Later userscript affects your AO3 experience by adding a "Mark for Later" button to the summary of every work. This means that you can add works to your "read later" list without clicking on them and adding a hit count. Script is here. It also allows you to quickly move items between your main History and your To Read Later history. I anticipate this being very useful for people who have the problem of opening a million things in tabs and never getting to them. Also, testing was fun. Thanks, Flamebyrd!

3. Yuletide is only a month away, AAAAAAAHH!!, but meanwhile, the Fandom Growth Exchange is in sign-ups. This is an exchange for very small fandoms and pairings. Minimum wordcount is 2k.

4. I am doing Fandom Giftbox and submitted a comment to the Fic Positivity Meme, which I mention mostly to aid accountability; I need to go leave comments & snippets.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
I have been remiss in posting about recent fanfiction gifts. I received a superlatively generous range, in quantity and quality both, across Crossovering, Coronation Ceremony, and Yuletide.

Fandoms: Pokémon Go, Jorinde and Joringel (Fairy Tale), The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison, Beauty and the Beast (Fairy Tale), Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika | Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis, Labyrinth (1986).

Yuletide, a large exchange for "rare" fandoms (under a certain threshold of fic quantity), has been a bright point in the last quarter of my last seven years. I received:

Fraxinella (3481 words) by ForsythiaRising
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Jorinde and Joringel (Fairy Tale), Fairy Tales & Related Fandoms, Der Wacholderbaum | The Juniper Tree (Fairy Tale)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jorinde/Joringel
Characters: Jorinde, Joringel, sorceress - Character
Additional Tags: Fairy Tale Retellings, I would not say the violence is graphic but it is definitely there, honestly this is darker than planned, The Juniper Tree is barely referenced for like 20 seconds, really obscure fairy tales for 600, Flowers, Fire, do not read if fire freaks you out
Summary: The sorceress keeps her magic on the hearth, under a big, iron cauldron where its red glow can mix in with the always-dying embers.
Days of a nightingale & dreams of her lover

Jorinde and Joringel is a story that is both tidy and weird, satisfying and confusing. A maiden is captured by a sorceress and her lover must free her. ForsythiaRising chose to blur the lines between maiden, mother, and crone; the initial sorceress is not sympathetic, yet she is relatable. There are utterly gorgeous turns of phrase in this story, especially if you like gardens.

Candy (6344 words) by winter hill
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Pokemon GO
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Blanche & Candela & Spark (Pokemon), Spark & Eevee
Characters: Blanche (Pokemon), Candela (Pokemon), Spark (Pokemon), Professor Willow (Pokemon), Eievui | Eevee, Eeveelutions
Additional Tags:
Pokemon candy, Journey, Comfort, buddy pokemon, Yuletide Treat
Summary: When Eevee is transferred to the Professor, she is certain that she’s about to be chopped up for candy. Instead, she might just have found her forever home.

Pokémon Go, the mobile platform game launched in July 2016, was everything I dreamed of - except for the game mechanic that implied players traded sentient creatures for parts. Directly. I was really not okay with that. winterhill wrote me a charming story, dense with hope and trust, that made it all okay and, as per my request, focused on the vast scope of the Pokémon world. winterhill was not even signed up to Yuletide, so I feel especially honoured to have been the benefactor of their treating efforts.

Like a House on Fire (4022 words) by Masu_Trout
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Pokemon GO
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Blanche & Candela & Spark (Pokemon), Candela & Dr. Willow | Professor Willow
Characters: Candela (Pokemon), Blanche (Pokemon), Spark (Pokemon), Professor Willow (Pokemon), Hitokage | Charmander
Additional Tags: Government Experimentation, Pokémon in the Real World
Summary: Apparently, pokémon are real. Candela knows this because one of them just burned her house down.

I also asked for a story about Pokémon Go suddenly colliding with the real world, and Masu_Trout delivered with a great action-adventure story about Candela - student-turned-Pokémon trainer. This is a funny, fast-paced, clever work. Masu_Trout was also not signed up to Yuletide and treated only. Again, I'm honoured.

Crossovering is an exchange I have taken part with great enthusiasm in since it started; this most recent round was its 3rd year. I received:

Beauty and the Incubator (4517 words) by VampirePaladin
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika | Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Beauty and the Beast - All Media Types
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Original Female Character/Original Incubator Character
Characters: Original Female Character(s), Original Incubator Character
Additional Tags: Fairy Tale Elements, Crossovers & Fandom Fusions, Alien/Human Relationships, Pre-Canon
Summary: How Beauty and the Beast may have happened in the Madoka Magica world.

I watched Madoka over the last year and it stunned me. Wishes and all their consequences. Hope and heart and courage and darkness. This was a lovely story - it used a fairy tale structure very cleverly to offer up a happy ending that builds slowly and surely. I was a pinch hit in this exchange and my friend VampirePaladin took on my assignment very late - thank you. ♥

the stars move for no one (1066 words) by templemarker
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Labyrinth (1986), Chronicles of Narnia - All Media Types
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Jadis | The White Witch, Jareth (Labyrinth)

I also asked for Narnia & the Labyrinth, and this extrapolates from the breathtaking ruin of Charn to create the Labyrinth out of someone who didn't quite die. I am particularly happy that my writer zeroed in on Jadis & Charn because I find that very evocative. And I really like this origin for Jareth that is half-humble, half archetype.

(Nor was this the only story in the collection that crossed over Narnia and Labyrinth.)

Coronation Ceremony was an exchange run by [personal profile] extrapenguin for the fantasy novel The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. ExtraPenguin experimented with matching options and I had a blast with their results. I received:

Appropriation Bills, Compulsory Purchases, and Hope (1663 words) by bigsunglasses
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Csethiro Ceredin/Maia Drazhar
Characters: Maia Drazhar, Csethiro Ceredin
Additional Tags: The Wisdom Bridge, Worldbuilding, Post-Canon
Summary: Bridging the Istandaärtha was not merely a marvel of engineering and a feat of politics. It was a financial nightmare.

My author graciously combined two requests I made separately - fic involving the Wisdom Bridge, and fic involving Maia and Csethiro supporting each other. Maia's doubts are so poignant and plausible and I love, love, love seeing the details of bureaucracy in my fantasy. Also, a few weeks later at work I had to proofread an appropriations bill and having this fic in mind made me smile a lot while doing so.

Csoru character design (0 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Csoru Drazharan
Additional Tags: Fanart, Digital Art, character design
Summary: Color design sheet--full figure and a couple of faces.

Csoru is not remotely a protagonist in The Goblin Emperor, but she is definitely a character, and the artist captured her emotional range gloriously - including some really wonderful, lush costume designs. Again, a treat from someone who wasn't signed up. Thank you!

Letters and Flight (640 words) by shadow_lover
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Csoru Drazharan, Csethiro Ceredin (Off-Screen), Varenechibel IV (Off-Screen), Maia Drazhar (Off-Screen)
Additional Tags: Character Study, Letters, Pre-Canon
Summary: She likes to imagine her words flying like birds of prey through the heart of the Untheileneise Court.

And here was another really satisfying angle on Csoru, making her sympathetic if not praiseworthy and showing how she finds satisfactions - sometimes petty, sometimes small, and sometimes all that it is possible for a person in her situation to reach for. My friend shadow_lover was quietly writing this for me at the same time as we were discussing our actual assignments for the exchange. Sneaky and delightful.

morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
This letter is for the [community profile] crossovering annual fanfiction challenge. Sign-ups are open through the 17th of July.

This letter has three parts. Part I gives general likes and dislikes, Part II gives notes on individual fandoms, and Part III gives possible prompts for the crossovers I've requested.

Part I - General preferences )

Part II - Fandoms )

Part III - Requests and optional prompts )

In conclusion: if there's something in my prompts you can use, fantastic; if not, go your own way and I look forward to reading something that's a complete surprise. I hope you have fun.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
My Jukebox exchange is live! There are 65 stories and 1 piece of art based on songs and music videos.

You can see the works here! The works are currently anonymous, but the names of the creators will be revealed in a few days.

The collection comes with some reading aids:
Here is a Youtube playlist of all available songs that had works created for them (missing Adele's River Lea and Seanan McGuire's Earthquake Weather)
Here is a Giant Table in which you can look up lyrics

I have two gifts!

Through the Dead Lands (1438 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Whipping Boy - Shearwater (Song)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Original Male Character/Original Male Character
Additional Tags: dubcon, Age Difference, Minor Character Death, Exile, Co-Dependency, Dystopia, First Kiss
Summary: People said, The desert does things to men. It turns them wild. Aiden had trouble believing Caro had ever been tame.

Gorgeous and dark: a claustrophobic relationship set against the backdrop of a very, very wide (and wild) world. It's excellent.

Gardens of Babylon (1809 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Running Through the Garden - Fleetwood Mac (Song)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Summary: What could be better than seeing the world as it truly is? But the tree of knowledge has bitter seeds.

A richly-illustrated story that builds slowly and then self-deconstructs in an equally understated way.

I'm very pleased.

I still have three open assignments, no houses to see, and a lot of work to do. I think I'm figuring out the balance between my main job and my old job, which isn't so much an old job as a courtesy arrangement. I'd better figure it out fast, because Yuletide will come quicker than I expect. Also, I have large beta jobs to do soon.

Only one person asked me to beta anything for Jukebox, which was a little disappointing, but I was glad of the extra time.
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.

Dear DJ

Apr. 5th, 2016 04:18 pm
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
This letter relates to the [community profile] jukebox_fest fandom exchange. Sign-ups close at the end of Wednesday, EDT. If you're curious about it, please send me a message! Or just go ahead and read the rules and sign up.

Thank you for reading, would-be creator or otherwise curious person.

General comments )

Specific prompts )
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Excited reminder that I run a fan work gift exchange every year that is based on songs and music videos. Participants nominate to create a pool of canons from which requests and offers can be drawn. Then participants sign up, listing the things they are willing to create art or fiction or recorded fiction for, and giving prompts. Then we make stuff.

Nominations run for one more day. You don't have to nominate in order to be able to sign up. Do nominate, however, if you think that otherwise there wouldn't be anything in the tag set you cared about.

Useful links:

I love it! I am very fond of it and its participants! If you enjoy creating fiction and art, if you enjoy the gift exchange format for creative endeavours, if you have often wondered about the larger stories behind songs (or made some up for them, even knowing that is unlikely to be what the artists intended) you may come to love Jukebox too.
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)
... 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
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)
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.
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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.
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Featuring: Fictional Deaths I Will Not Get Over & Favourite Part of Fic Exchanges & Things I Want Written But Can't Write.

Lorata suggested that I start with fictional character deaths I will never be over. I thought about that for a while, and since I can hardly think of any, I suspect I blocked them all out.

There are several children's books whose everyone-forgets-everything endings need serious fix-its; to me, that kind of ending is a little death. It feels wrong to me that young characters - so much of whose journey often has to do with understanding and coming to grips with the world - should have that taken from them. It's their story, until it isn't. I feel that anyone reading this is likely to be able to think of an example; for the worst offender, Paul Gallico's Jennie still makes me cry even if I just flick through the last few pages. Great book. Wonderful book. Bring a box of tissues to that book.

There is one fantasy series where the death of a main character make me stop reading it. It was a multi-generational epic, and long before that character's death, there were themes of complex change and progress, events spiralling out of control, new factors calling for new moralities, etc, that made the death of the original protagonist appropriate. But - as the author partly intended me to be, I'm sure - I was on the original protagonist's side when it came to the changes sweeping his society. When he died, I put the book down. I may come back to it some day.

I tend to enjoy other fantasies in a similarly conservative way. I was all about Pern when it was just dragons; the introduction of AIVAS and the possible destruction of Thread were less interesting to me, even though those seeds were sown from the beginning. I enjoy world building - here's a factor, here's a trope, now what does it mean - but I do not find science fiction & fantasy stories in which the changes spread out into the unknowable distance to be comfort reads in the same way. Interesting; but I come out of the reading experience feeling anxious about how the world is changing around me and how I should be trying harder to work within that. I take fiction kind of personally. On the other hand, perhaps this is a useful and necessary tension that should be embraced, not avoided.


Elanya asked me about my favourite part of a fic exchange. Hands down, it is looking at someone's prompt, putting it together with what I know of the canon, revising the canon with that prompt in mind, and matching what I feel is the tone of the prompt, what that person would really enjoy, with what I can successfully write.

This is a little counter-productive: it partly ties my feeling of accomplishment to another person's reaction, but, well - nice gold star if I can get it. And it's also about that feeling of looking at the prompt and thinking - okay, can't do that trope, doing THAT plot would take too much time, ahah, I can work in the right level of angst by concentrating on THIS aspect, that'll work...

I could probably work harder (or more intensely/creepily) towards this if it were my only goal. If my recipient has a journal, I may go and see if they have fandom-related tags that give me hints about their preferences, but I'm not going to settle down and back-read their posts. I'm too lazy to read many bookmarked or recommended fics. I will probably read the recipient's own writing. But mostly, I just revise the canon with the prompt in mind.

I obviously can work without a prompt, but I'd prefer not to. In one exchange I took part in, the person gave prompts for several of their requests but not my one. That put me off. I still wrote a story I liked, but I had less motivation for it.

One piece of exchange advice is that you should go in with an existing idea for your canon in case you get no prompt. It's good advice, but I tend to ignore it. If the person doesn't give me any, I will just revise canon until I get an idea that way.


Lorata also asked if I had any fic I would love to see written, but really didn't want to write. I feel that goes with the above topic rather well. Answer: Sure! There are a lot of things I don't feel confident handling that it would be nice to get someone else to write for me.

Especially: unpleasant people. Most of my characters are nice. They don't behave badly or do interesting, weird, bad, human things. If I want to see characters having real arguments, with huge things at stake, arguments that end jaggedly and with people in pain - which I do, sometimes, because that's real - then I have to ask someone else to write that. Or people being unbearably awkward. Or giant failures. All useful and realistic in its place, but very hard for me to write.

Also porn. Every now and then I try and write porn, but it's not very good.

Similarly, I have not yet had the patience or dedication for a story that required real research.

As an example of a combination of these, there is a story I prompted on f_fa and youwantwhat for the 1997 Disney/ Rodgers and Hammerstein Cinderella. My prompt is:

Cinderella lifestyle BDSM prompt )

Similar to the above, if anyone has recommendations for fic about poly negotiations, especially when the happy-ever-after is complex, or not the kind of happy-ever-after the characters expected - please send them over here!
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So: this year, I'm doing Yuletide, but also, sort of, NationalNovelWritingMonth. I'm trying to combine them, in what [personal profile] seekingferret calls the Worst Idea Ever.

My plan:
-Start writing for Yuletide prompts on November 1st
-Complete 50,000 words of writing for Yuletide prompts by the end of November 30th
-Start and stop stories as I please; re-start stories as I please; switch stories as I please
-Give myself permission to fail.

My reasoning:
I often wait until the last minute to work on a story, and that's stressful and has sometimes landed me in hot water. I want to kick procrastination to the curb. But I also don't want to jeopardise the quality of stories that are intended as gifts, and I don't want to stress myself out MORE than usual, so, firstly, there's the first three weeks of December for editing, and secondly, if isn't working, I'll stop.

Apart from the obvious reasons that this is an... ambitious.... idea, there's a major hurdle: I have never attempted to write 50,000 words in a month before.

So, kind readers, do you have any tips?

-I've mostly offered, and have been reading the letters for, Yuletide canons that are quick to consume and with which I am already very familiar. (This is already a step up from previous years.)

-I am planning out large weekend/evening blocks of time to allow me to catch up for bad days.

-I have many online and offline friends with whom I am doing Yuletide and even WIE. There is a local writing group that I don't know very well but whose NaNo sessions I can go to, if needed.

What else should I plan for? How can I help myself succeed?

Advice appreciated!
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
So, let's look at how I did with my fannish to-do list in June and July.


I beta'd all the fics I promised to beta.

I finished my assignment for Jukebox, and two treats, and a desperately 1am last-minute assignment, and - with many thanks to some wonderful deadline writers - opened the collection on time.

I finished commenting on everything in Jukebox 2014.

Dhampyresa and I rounded up Night on Fic Mountain, and I think we had fun and worked well together as well as meeting other basic exchange goals (good communication + a story for every person who signed up and wrote a story themselves).

I wrote an assignment and a treat for Night on Fic Mountain. Both were written in short periods of time, and I was particularly happy with my writing process for the assignment, because I completed it well before the deadline and kept it short and cheerful, as per my aim.

I wrote a treat for Not Prime Time - Dark and Bright, Greek mythology, Eros/Psyche AU.

I wrote a brief and persuaded Flamebyrd to create a tool for pinch hits on AO3 exchanges. I mean, she did the actual coding work, but I helped make it happen too! [This related to my "learn Python so I can do the thing" to-do bullet point.]


I haven't completed my stretch goal for Night on Fic Mountain.

I have three open assignments, each for a different exchange.

I haven't written any rec posts.

I have barely read other people's fic at all.

I'm stuck in a slow section in the current chapter of my Black Jewels story.


Frantic writing; vacation; YULETIDE.
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I thought I would have read all the stories in the collection by now; sadly, I haven't. But I have read my gifts. Twice. Three times. Maybe you should too!

Mr. Tanner's Fourth Grade Class (2622 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Big Science - Laurie Anderson (Song)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Original Female Character(s)
Additional Tags: Science Fiction, Snow and Ice

A friend sends you a link to a Youtube video. You're in the mood for some funny cat antics, so you click it. But the title to the page is not what you're expecting: Mr. Tanner's Fourth Grade Class, the banner reads.

Before you can hit the back button, the video begins to play.

There is nothing wrong with your computer. Do not attempt to control the screen.

This is a story with many layers, some obvious, some less obvious. (It is not actually written in second-person, for anyone for whom that's a turn-off.) It is mostly a story about a childhood friendship, and a particularly harsh winter, but the narrator is speaking from the present day, and has particular, odd, hopeful reasons for thinking back on that winter.

I wanted something surprising and something that used the town planning aspects of the song, and that is what I got. ^!^ Thank you very much, mystery author.

In your day this moment is the sun (300 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: One More Cup of Coffee - Bic Runga (Song), When Blackbirds Fly - Michael Franks (Song)
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Additional Tags: Triple Drabble

And a crossover between two songs I was not expecting crossed over - but once seen, it seems perfect. I always thought of "When Blackbirds Fly" as quite modern, but this has more of a Wallace Stevens feel to it. Thank you too, last-minute-under-the-wire treat giver.
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June-July fandom to-do list:

Read more... )
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The [ profile] wipbigbang stories are all up! I am very excited to read them. Once I catch up on sleep, that is.

I'm not quite sure how I heard about the WIP Big Bang challenge (tagline: Finish Your Shit), but I was enthusiastic about signing up. I had at least two stories that would fit the requirements (1k+ written, old or stuck or languishing, going to be 7.5k+ when finished) and I hoped the community would give me the push to complete projects that were more ambitious than any I'd finished before.

That didn't work. Every time I tried to write, I got bogged down in tiny details instead of managing to write anything I cared about. I defaulted. But the community had been fun (the mods have been WONDERFUL throughout), and I didn't want to just wander off, so I offered to beta.

[ profile] donutsweeper, [ profile] cyn_ful, and [ profile] princess_aleera all took me up on this. (Sadly, I did not get to beta [ profile] princess_aleera's fic, but I was only a backup beta in that case, and from what I've seen of it the fic is pretty polished without my help. ^!^)

I'm proud to have worked on these stories. [ profile] donutsweeper's story The World Again, a Step to the Left is 38k of light casefic for the BBC Sherlock series. One of the things I enjoyed about this story is that the set-up gives John sensitive information about a situation that he must lead Sherlock into working out on his own. This is a really fun way to deal with the dynamic of a genius and his companion. And the fic has great touches of both poignancy and humour.

[ profile] cyn_ful's story Changing Faces is 63k of Harry Potter fic with endgame Harry/Draco following deceits, shenanigans, drama, and heartbreak. At the end of his sixth year of Hogwarts, Harry soon lands himself in even more trouble than he was at the same point in canon, and he never catches a break... There are tropes here (especially those hinted at by the title) that are absolutely my jam when it comes to fic.

The AO3 collection is here, and it includes various forms of accompanying art as well as the stories.

Again, this was a really fun project. There were times I got a bit stressed about the sheer volume of the fic I'd promised to beta - 100k is EXCITING but also ARGH. I saw it as a chance to improve my skills in beta-ing long fic. I'm great at detailed comments on SPAG and flow - I will double the length of your story with my comments, if you ask me to really go at it - but I'm less experienced at structure and general story shape.

Last Yuletide, I offered to beta a story that, had it been completed, would have been the longest fic in the Yuletide 2013 collection. Looking back at my notes, I can see my fatigue seeping through and turning into frustration that I communicated to the author. I don't think I was actually rude, but I cut corners; I don't want it to happen again that I take on a project too big for me and am unprofessional enough to let the stress show in my comments. So although I could have been timelier with my work for both donutsweeper & cyn_ful (hello, 3am last night! hello, 5am, still awake because it was too cold to sleep! hello, TOTAL WRECK TODAY!) I'm much more satisfied with my attitude and self-management here and this was REALLY useful experience for me.

cyn_ful and donutsweeper were also both SUPER GRACIOUS and LOVELY to work with.

I hope wonder!mods Frea and Shen run the challenge again next year.


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