swan_tower: (Default)

My cast is off; I’m still in a brace, but that’s as much to remind myself not to be stupid as for actual support. I’ll be easing back into things over the next week or two.

In celebration of my much-improved ability to type, let’s talk about what I wrote for Yuletide!

My assignment was for Mercedes Lackey’s Tarma and Kethry books, the Vows and Honor corner of the Valdemar setting. I wrote “Self-Reliance,” which attempts to recreate the case-of-the-week feel of the original book (which is partly or entirely a fix-up of the short stories Lackey had published). Kethry’s magic has been cursed to malfunction, but emergencies don’t wait while you sort that kind of thing out; she and Tarma have to go in anyway.

I’ve done at least one pinch-hit every year, and managed to uphold that streak with a fic I’d already written as a treat. Apparently I wasn’t the only one motivated to treat, because there were not one, not two, but three fics for the prompt “what if the Devil in the song ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ was Crowley from Good Omens?” My contribution to the field was “The Devil Sauntered Vaguely Down to Georgia” (referencing Crowley’s description in the dramatis personae as “an angel who did not so much fall as saunter vaguely downward”).

Then there were two treats that stayed treats. The first is for the basically non-existent fandom of The LXD, a short webseries by the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers where dancing is basically a superpower. Because the third season ended on a cliffhanger and there never was a fourth season, my recip asked for fic resolving the fact that two of the good guys had been brainwashed into serving the villain. The result was “Breathe. Stay calm. You’re gonna be OK.” — which was an interesting exercise for me, because while I have thirteen years of dance in my background, the closest I got to the street styles that dominate the LXD was a small amount of hip-hop influencing my jazz teacher. But I like trying to put dance into prose, so this was fun to write.

My last fic was a treat for someone who has treated me in the past. They asked for fic of Zero Punctuation, Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s series of breathless and colorful game reviews; I promptly thought of his distaste for quick time events, and thus was born “PRESS X TO NOT DIE,” which sends an amnesiac Yahtzee through the history of video gaming, starting with Colossal Cave Adventure and going on from there. I had a lot of fun researching this one, figuring out what game genres to represent, deciding which titles to use as iconic examples of same, and then watching YouTube gameplay videos so I’d know how to describe them.

As for my own gift, I got “A Day at the Cattery,” following Miss Climpson when the Cattery of Strong Poison has grown into a large and well-established enterprise.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

For those who are interested, the annual Yuletide fanfiction exchange is starting up again! If you already know what it’s all about, the nominations post is here. If this is unfamiliar to you, the exchange rules are here, and the more detailed eligibility rules are here. Which may very well be confusing to a newbie, so feel free to ask me questions if there’s something you need clarification on.

Short form: Yuletide is very fun, covers a broad swath of things one would not normally term “fandoms” (ranging from historical periods to works of art to blog posts to commercials), and produces a number of really excellent stories every year. I’ve been doing it since 2010, and it’s sort of a busman’s holiday for me — a chance to tell stories and have it be pure play.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

A while ago on Twitter I said I want to read the fanfic where Miss Scarlet (of the Clue movie) is actually Phryne Fisher (of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries), undercover.

Tonight this led to us casting the entire film with people from MFMM. Please disregard how many of these characters would therefore wind up murdering one another. :-P

WADSWORTH – Jack Robinson
MISS SCARLET – Phryne Fisher
MRS. PEACOCK – Prudence Stanley
MRS. WHITE – Rosie Sanderson, nee Robinson
PROFESSOR PLUM – Dr. Macmillan, cross-dressing
MR. GREEN – Hugh Collins
COLONEL MUSTARD – Baron Henry Fisher
MR. BODDY – Murdoch Foyle
THE COOK – Mr. Butler
YVETTE – Dorothy Williams
THE MOTORIST – Bert/Cec
THE COP – Neville Martin
SINGING TELEGRAM – Janey
THE CHIEF – Commissioner George Sanderson

Anybody want to write that for me? ^_^

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

Sometimes you just hit the jackpot.

I got two fics for Yuletide this year, and both of them are brilliant in different ways. The first is “a stuttered ancient alphabet in skin,” which is an Elfquest story exploring the early days after the fall of the High Ones, when the creation of the Wolfriders causes some of the pure-blooded elves to depart and seek their own way. It’s absolutely gorgeous in its exploration of the different philosophies, and the horror some of the the High Ones feel at living in a world where mortality and death are not just distant possibilities, but near-guarantees. The second fic is “The Winter Wind,” and it is nothing less than an epic retelling of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the setting of the Sengoku Avengers fan-art set by Genesischant, which reimagines the characters as mystical samurai in early seventeenth century Japan. Watching the writer fit the various characters and beats into that setting is just fantastic.

As for my own fics, I managed to uphold tradition and write four, three of them full-length: “The Book of the Duchess, or, In the Dungeons of Her Grace” (A Knight’s Tale; Chaucer tries to tell a story, but keeps being interrupted), “A Prayer to Mother Night” (Legend; Lily’s actions in the aftermath of Darkness’ downfall), “Hush” (Ghostbusters; the origins of the library ghost), and then a little ficlet entitled A Scientific Proposal” (The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage; Babbage has a notion for how to improve their crime-fighting efforts).

It was a good way to close out 2016. And, unlike the fifth of the Memoirs, it’s stuff I can talk about and show to you now — but trust me when I say the latter is going well. :-)

Onward into 2016!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (natural history)

. . . and an awesome one. :-D

You see, during our tour we made a pact. I wasn’t going to hold her to it, because I know she’s a ridiculously busy woman — but when I came up with my idea for a Glamourist Histories fanfic, we agreed that if I wrote that one, Mary would write the Lady Trent fanfic idea she had come up with.

And so she has.

It should still work just fine even if you aren’t familiar with Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. (Though if you aren’t: oh my god, you should go watch that show. It’s fabulous.) There’s also an AO3 version, if you have an account there and want to be able to do the whole bookmarking/reccing/etc thing — but you should still check out Mary’s post, which has an explanation for how the story came about. (As I recall my reaction, it looked a bit like this. Or that look Mako Mori gives Pentecost in Pacific Rim, when Raleigh says he wants Mako to have a shot at the co-pilot test and she looks like every Christmas for the rest of her life just got offered to her at once.)

I hope you all are half as entertained by the result as I was. :-D

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

So Mary Robinette Kowal and I were on tour back in May, which gave us abundant time to chat about various things. At one event, an audience member asked several questions that began with the disclaimer of “this probably isn’t a thing you’ve bothered to think about, but” — which had the effect of proving that no, really, Mary has thought about pretty much everything in the world of her Glamourist Histories. As we were changing back into civilian clothing at the end of the event, I said to her, “I’m willing to bet you’ve thought about the uses of glamour for porn.”

To which she laughed and told me about a glamural Vincent created in his student days.

Here is the tale of Vincent’s old glamural — and how Jane wound up seeing it.

All errors are my own (and there may be more than a few, since I wrote this on the plane flight from North Carolina to San Francisco and did basically no research whatsoever, apart from asking Mary a couple of glamour questions while we were retrieving our luggage). She is in no way responsible for any missteps of either history or canon. But I when I told her I was going to write this fic, she laughed so very evilly — and I hope you all will laugh, too!

(No spoilers for the series, apart from the inevitable and rather obvious one of “which characters got married at the end of the first book?”.)

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

I wrote four stories this year — not anywhere near a record, but the fourth Memoir has been leaving me with very few spare processing cycles.

My assignment was “Crushed Upon the Shore” for the manga Tokyo Babylon. It takes place between that and the anime/manga X/1999, and involves Subaru investigating a case that turns out to have some, uh, personal resonance. WARNING: it is not a nice story. It involves dead children and other less-than-lovely things. Because let’s face it, Seishirou is not a good person, and Subaru’s feelings toward him are more than a little messed up.

Next I took on a pinch hit, which in terms of readership has been my big success of this Yuletide: “Eldest” for the Disney film Sleeping Beauty. The request was for Maleficent backstory that is different from what you get in the Jolie movie. This is the one I think has a dead giveaway in it; I had to name some other fairy women, and after exhausting the obvious two (Titania, Mab) my brain went straight to Nicneven. Who most people have never heard of — but she plays rather a large role in the main conflict of In Ashes Lie.

The remaining two were treats. One, “It’s Betty from Apartment 2204″, was sparked by the recip making an offhand comment wondering what Dana’s neighbors make of all the snarling and such going on in her apartment in Ghostbusters. The other, “The Only Way to Be Sure”, is a brief look at what Rita Vrataski did during and after Verdun in The Edge of Tomorrow. (There are quite a lot of fics for that movie this year, most of them on the theme of “Rita Vrataski is a badass and I heart her.” This is a sentiment I could easily get behind.)

If there are fics you especially enjoyed this year, please link in the comments! I haven’t had a lot of time to read, so recommendations are extremely useful.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

I must have been a very good Swan this year, because I got two fics in Yuletide: my gift and a treat.

My gift is for the sort of fandom that makes even Yuletide participants say “wow, that’s tiny.” There’s a musical show called Songs for a New World, and the very first time I heard the piece titled “King of the World,” I wanted to know what that guy’s story was.

“the weight of living” is the answer I got, and it achieves that elegant trick of being something I hadn’t even considered before reading the story, that fit beautifully as soon as I saw it. My anonymous writer made the speaker a megapastor televangelist type, and my god does that make sense with the tone of the song. Thank you, Yulemouse, whoever you are!

Then there’s the treat, which is also for a fandom so tiny it essentially doesn’t exist. Sengoku Avengers is a fan-art set that reimagines the Marvel heroes as people in Sengoku-era Japan (think Oda Nobunaga, etc). As I said in my comment to the writer, they had me at the tag “onmyoujutsu.” “The Middle Way” is from the perspective of a young woman who encounters Kaibutsu (the Incredible Hulk: a yin-yang magician who has trapped a demon in his own body) — a woman who knew him before the demon changed him, and can see the man behind the monster.

I reeeeeeeeeeeeeally hope the writer does more in that fandom. This taste is awesome, and I want more. :-D

***

If anybody would like to play the traditional “guess what I wrote for Yuletide” game: I produced four full-length stories this year. All were in different genres; one was for a manga and three for movies. One of the four contains what I consider to be a dead giveaway that I wrote it, though admittedly it probably looks more subtle to people who aren’t me. :-) Any guesses?

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

I meant to post this sooner, and now it’s very nearly too late, since nominations close in about fifteen hours. But Yuletide nominations are open!

If you don’t know what that is, I’ll recap what I said last year:

Read the rest of this entry  )

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)
Travel and working on the book have kept me busy (and quiet) around here, but I should say something about Yuletide!

I got a lovely gift this year: "Ninth Life," which is a Chrestomanci filling in the details of how Christopher stole his life out of Gabriel's safe before the events of Conrad's Fate.

On the writing side, I produced four full-length stories -- my assignment, two pinch hits, and a treat -- and four stocking stuffers for Yuletide Madness. If anybody wants to try and guess what they are, I can offer the following hints:

1. Two of the full-length stories were for books; one was for a video game; and one was for a play.
2. Three of the stocking stuffers were for movies; one was for a comic book.
3. I'd written for one of the full-length fandoms before, but the other three were new.
4. The same is true of the stocking stuffers.

Any guesses?
swan_tower: (Default)
One last post before I leave on my trip. (Okay, that might be a lie. I have no idea if something else will prod me into posting in the next twenty hours or so. But this is the last one I intend to make.)

Yuletide signups are open. If you already know and love Yuletide, go forth and have fun!

If you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about, keep reading.

Read more... )
swan_tower: (Default)
. . . so let me get this straight. The Kurgan is hanging out in Sleepy Hollow, where the Four Horsemen are terrorizing people and chopping off heads? Nah, that doesn't bring anything to mind.
swan_tower: (Default)
I know, I know -- that's a very motley assortment of things to stick in one post. But I'm going out of town tomorrow, and the rest of today is liable to be very busy, so I'd rather combine them than let one fall through the cracks.

The serious and important one first: I have signed on to this statement in support of trans-inclusive feminism. Because I know several people for whom this is not a matter of theory or debate, but their daily lives, and anything I can do to make that easier for them is absolutely worth doing.

Signing a statement is a minor thing, but I hope that mentioning it here is a larger one. And yes, I am thinking about ways to reflect this in my writing.

On a lighter note, my post at SF Novelists this month is "Lingua universalis fantasiae", on the tendency of fantasy worlds to default to a "Common Tongue." Comments on that post should go over there on SF Novelists, por favor.

Finally, and most frivolously, Yuletide nominations are open. Yes, I know it's only September; we're on a leisurely schedule this year, rather than cramming everything into November. The Yuletide member community is here as usual, if you are looking for more info and discussion.
swan_tower: (Default)
If you're intending to participate in the Not Primetime fic exchange, you have about twenty-two hours left. FAQ is here, if you need a rundown.
swan_tower: (*writing)
Several of my fanfic-writing friends have been doing a meme wherein they post the first lines of their last twenty-one fics. Because I don't feel like doing anything more mentally taxing right now than faffing around on the computer listening to music, and also because that's a lie and Anthropologist Brain is having thinky thoughts but doesn't mind listening to music while faffing around collating stuff, I'm going to do this twice: once with fanfic, and then once with my original short stories. I want to see how they compare.

Fanfic first! )

Next, the original stories. )

And now, thoughts on how they compare.

I am not surprised in the slightest to discover that in fanfic, I am vastly more likely to pull the trick of not introducing the character(s) right away, but just referring to them with pronouns. Where I do the same thing in original fiction, odds are good that I'm retelling some existing story or bit of history. In other words, that's a stunt that works best when you have a certainty or at least decent chance of your reader knowing the character already. They don't need to know that person is the one referred to; sometimes you can get a good effect from briefly hiding the character's identity. (Or permanently. In some of these stories, like "Footprints," I never give a name at all: you can tell it's Cinderella gone wrong.) But the technique only works when there's a shared familiarity there. I have no reason at all to withhold Noirin's name (to pick one example); it means nothing to the reader, and so treating it as a revelation is not only pointless but counterproductive.

I am also not surprised in the slightest to discover that while I may begin my short stories with description or other forms of scene-setting, I almost never do the same with fanfic. They begin with characters, not context. This is because a) context is often unnecessary -- the fanfic reader already knows what the world is like, and b) character may be what the fanfic reader has shown up to the story for in the first place. To continue using "Remembering Light" as my example: I can't give you Noirin's conflict right away, because you don't know who she is (and therefore have no reason to care), and her conflict also depends on me first establishing the environment of Driftwood. But I don't have to tell the reader that Aviendha is a warrior recently forced to put aside her weapons; they already know that, and I can jump right into her dealing with an intruder.

What's interesting to me is that I don't feel like I had to learn to approach the stories differently, when I first waded into Yuletide a couple of years ago. Looking at those first fics (which haven't made it into this list), the only one that starts at all like an original story is also the one that starts from the perspective of an original character. It seems to have been natural for me to follow the structure of a fanfic, where you don't have to establish context to the same degree. Is that because it's somewhat like jumping to an interesting scene in a novel? Or something else? I don't know. The next question, of course, is whether fanfic has changed the way I start my short stories . . . but really, if I'm going to blame anything for a difference there, it's going to be all the time I've spent writing in a vaguely eighteenth- or nineteenth-century voice. (Man, is that hard to get rid of.)

This is good stuff for me to think about, though, because I'm going to be teaching a three-week writing course this summer (more on that later), and my students, who will be twelve and thirteen years old, may very well have written fanfic. So I'll want to watch out for the habits of that genre, where they may shortchange some of the work an independent short story has to do.
swan_tower: (Default)
Just a quick heads-up, for those of you who like this kind of thing: Not Prime Time, a fanfic exchange for medium-sized fandoms, is open for nominations until Friday. The exchange itself will give you about two months to write, starting around the end of April.

(Medium-sized fandom: too big for Yuletide, too small to be ENORMOUS.)

The timing of this coincides nicely with my revision, which is to say, I'll be sending that off next Monday and then looking to kick back with something fluffy for a little while. So yes, I intend to participate.
swan_tower: (snowflake)
A Happy New Year to all. I spent mine with my brother and sister-in-law, just having a quiet evening, which was about my speed this year. I hope yours was pleasant and enjoyable, too.

Since authors on the Yuletide stories have been revealed now, herewith the list of what I wrote:

Nobody guessed right this year, though one person guessed directly wrong! )

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