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: (*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: (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)
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: (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! )
swan_tower: (snowflake)
You have more chances than usual this year to guess what I wrote for Yuletide. If you guess right, you get, uh, bragging rights? And, I dunno -- let's say I'll mail you a cover flat of A Natural History of Dragons if you want one, since I have a whole stack of them now, and no idea what else to do with them. :-)

Clues behind the cut )
swan_tower: (*writing)
My senior spring of college, I was taking three courses, one of which was my thesis tutorial. After I'd turned that beast in, I was down to two courses, one of which I was taking pass/fail. In other words: I wasn't very busy. So -- because that semester was also my last chance to write material for this award -- I decided to see how much I could write in the final two months of college.

The answer ended up being "a novel and six short stories in seven weeks flat," which is a total I don't expect to equal again. But I spent most of November as a spinster hermit ([livejournal.com profile] kniedzw being in Poland for three weeks after I left), so I figured, as long as there was nobody around to look at me funny for working at all kinds of random hours and not having a social life, I might as well see how much I could write in the month of November.

As it turns out, I managed 59,144 words. (Which annoys me a little, since I thought I had hit 60K that final night. But apparently I did some math wrong in there.)

It isn't NaNoWriMo. I will almost certainly never do NaNoWriMo; I don't need the event to make myself write a novel (duh), and I know the pace would result in me writing a bad novel if I tried. Only 30,492 words of that is book, i.e. my standard working pace. The rest, the other 28,652, is a combination of other things: substantial blog posts (like the nearly 4K I wrote for my first ToM entry), promo stuff for A Natural History of Dragons, Yuletide material, progress on the short story that's trying to kill me, the beginnings of a new Driftwood story, etc.

Even changing up my focus like that, 59K was a lot to churn out in thirty days flat. I'm not a slow writer, but I'm also not one of those people who can do 4K days for an extended period of time. It was, however, good to work on gear-shifting between projects -- that's something I'm not great at, and could benefit from improving. My short story production has fallen off substantially these last couple of years, because it's hard for me to get my head out of whatever the current novel space is and find some kind of flow on a totally different setting and characters. There are more reasons for that than just gear-shifting, of course; it also has a lot to do with the increased investment my short story ideas are requiring, research and other things. But still and all: gear-shifting is a good thing to work on.

So that was my November. I still have two thirds of this book to go, so it's going to stay busy around here for a while. But all in all, a nicely productive month.
swan_tower: (Default)
1) I am so very, very glad that I flew from Krakow to Frankfurt to SFO yesterday, rather than connecting anywhere in the U.S. (Not even just the East Coast: the problems there have screwed up routing and plane supply all over the place.) We did have to divert half an hour further north to avoid the winds, but that's minor compared to what could have happened with a different route.

2) My ideal would be to not leave the house today. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I have enough food on hand to make that work.

3) This rendition of the X-Men, as characters in Edo-period Japan, is pretty awesome. And if I didn't link to it before, so is the artist's previous take on the Avengers in the Sengoku period.

4) [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija has posted notes/transcript from her panel on gender roles in The Hunger Games, so if you want to see what I sound like after a full weekend of conning and my brain is leaking out my ears, go read. On the whole, I think it was a really great panel, despite exhaustion on my part. (Warning: spoilers for the whole series, including Mockingjay.)

5) Due to a rollout of AO3 code, Yuletide signups have been extended to 9 p.m. Eastern time tomorrow. Get in while the getting's good!
swan_tower: (snowflake)
Forgot to mention: Yuletide signups are now open. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, there's a FAQ here that explains a lot. (And also this, but it's kind of more "entertainingly helpy" than "actually helpful.")

Signups will be open until the 28th. Further updates will be posted on [livejournal.com profile] yuletide_admin (official) and [livejournal.com profile] yuletide (community); also, this post is worth keeping an eye on.

Yuletide is a lot of fun, and includes many things you might not class as "fanfic" in the normal way of things. I encourage people to check it out!

DYW

Oct. 6th, 2012 02:28 am
swan_tower: (snowflake)
Signups haven't opened yet, but since I already have this written (heck, much of it is copy-pasted from previous letters) I might as well post it.

Dear Yuletide Writer )
swan_tower: (snowflake)
For those who are interested, Yuletide nominations have begun.

Note that this is an optional part of the process, even if you want to do Yuletide; it's only necessary if there's something specific you know you want to request. (Or offer, since some people nominate based on what they'd be interested in writing.) If you do have something in that vein, though, nomination is the only way to be sure it will be available this year.

(If you're not sure what Yuletide is in the first place, or want more info, there's finally an up-to-date FAQ you can consult.)
swan_tower: (snowflake)
And we are done with anonymity; the authors have been revealed! I can now talk about what I did for the last month, after finishing novel revisions. :-D

[livejournal.com profile] findabair, did you peek or something?! ;-) Because you managed to throw a dart at a board 2598 fics big, and hit my assignment. That's right, I matched with [livejournal.com profile] ladyanneboleyn on Cirque du Soleil's show Alegría, and as a result, wrote "If You Have No Light." It's possibly one of the weirder things I've ever produced; while I adore Cirque, Alegría isn't the one I'm the most familiar with, and so I had to force my brain to do a lot of high-speed composting of all the beautiful-but-strange things floating around the margins of that show. I really do like some of the touches I managed to put into that one, though, and I kind of hope Cirque gets requested again in the future. There really is so much hinted-at story in what they do, that deserved to be teased out more.

Next I wrote a treat, and here I'm cackling about who didn't guess. Not one but two friends pinged me to say "YOU MUST READ THIS STORY IT'S AWESOME" . . . and linked me to my own fic! <chortle> The tale in question is "The Rest," which arose out of reading a few prompts for The Sandbaggers, and then one for Casino Royale, which reminded me that SIS = MI6, and a crossover promptly fell out of my head. It probably loses something if you don't know the first source (or the second, though that's a much smaller percentage of the population -- hi, [livejournal.com profile] maratai!), but I hope I managed to interest a few more people in that brilliant, brilliant show.

Then, ladies and gents, I had Angst. I even posted to the Yuletide community about it. I had this idea, see, but it was entirely possible somebody else had the same idea, and if that somebody else was the assigned writer I was going to feel like I'd copied their prom dress . . . and then five minutes after I posted that, the request came up for a pinch hit, and I just about sprained something grabbing it. :-D

Normally, of course, I'd say that two writers can produce very different results from the same idea. In this case, however, there was a lot less wiggle room than usual, because the idea in question was "The Tough Guide to Yuletide." WOOOO, I managed to write one of this year's hits! I sort of thought that might be the case, since Yuletide meta is one of the things people tend to like, but I did not anticipate the scale of my success. Prior to this, my most widely-read story was "Desert Rain," my Elfquest pinch hit from last year. That got 223 hits over the course of the subsequent year. "The Tough Guide to Yuletide"? Had nearly 1400 before the author reveal. Holy cats, y'all.

The other funny thing here is that I had a panic attack of second-guessing: what if my recipient wasn't all that interested in Yuletide meta? Just to cover my bases, I ran off and wrote a treat fic for the same person, also based on The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: "A Special Limited-Time Offer," wherein I (lovingly . . . for the most part) mock the current wave of "gritty" epic fantasy. So yeah, two of this year's three Tough Guide fics are my work, and both got a lot of love.

I also got a lot of love for -- let's see if LJ herniates on this text -- "待龙纹身的女孩 (Dài lóng wénshēn de nǚhái) ," a Mulan fic based on the "Twisted Disney Princesses" fan-art series. (If you can't read that, it's characters followed by "Dai long wenshen de nuhai" with a lot of diacritical marks, which is, according to the hippo who helped me, the official Mandarin translation for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.") The fact that I'm playing a Togashi monk in a Legend of the Five Rings game had nothing to do with my interest in that one, nosirree . . . Obvious title is obvious, but I figured I could be a little more creative, and avoid the odds of duplication with somebody else's fic, if I took it out of English.

And finally, one final treat squeezed out at the last minute, because I'd seen the request weeks before and loved the concept enough that dammit, I wasn't going to let the chance slip by. "A Devilish Exercise" was inspired by a prompt for a Hamlet crossover with Marlowe's Doctor Faustus (and ended up waaaaay darker than the other fic written from the same thing). The bad part? I, er, mentioned in my notes on the fic that I had to stop the story where I did in order to prevent it from turning into a giant Hamlet AU . . . and then every comment I got urged me to go ahead and write the giant Hamlet AU.

The first chapter of that has just gone up.

I had a lot of success this Yuletide; not only did three of my fics get more hits in the last week than my most popular fic before did in a year, but I was lucky enough to see almost all of them recced on the Yuletide member community, several of them more than once. Some of that, I think, is more a matter of fandom than anything else; a lot more people are familiar with, say, Mulan -- or Yuletide meta/the works of Diana Wynne Jones -- than with the Gabriel Knight computer games. Still, pretty satisfying. :-)
swan_tower: a headshot of Clearbrook from the comic book series Elfquest (Clearbrook)
Heh. Just realized today that in all the madness of writing six fics for Yuletide, I almost forgot about the challenge [livejournal.com profile] starlady38 and I are running. The page for that is here, if you missed it before but like the idea, and you don't have to have participated in the prompt-generation phrase to write fics for any of the prompts there now. (You do, however, need an AO3 account; e-mail me if you want an invitation, which lets you bypass the queue.)

(Also, while I'm still on fanfic-related matters, I should mention that I won't be replying to any guesses as to what I wrote for Yuletide until after the reveal. But I may offer some kind of prize if there are any correct guesses.)

Happy New Year, all! I'll see you in 2012.
swan_tower: (snowflake)
I don't know how many of you reading this participated in Yuletide (or at least have been reading through some percentage of the collection), but I might as well toss out some bait for interested parties to try and guess what I wrote.

Nota bene: do NOT go look at my page on the AO3 to see what I've written in the past. There's a bug that causes the fandoms my stories are in to be displayed, even for the stories that are still anonymous. It pretty much gives the game away.

This year I went a bit overboard and produced six stories. (This is a bit of a problem; last year I wrote four, which means next year my OCD brain is going to want me to write eight. At least.) One was my assignment, one was a pinch-hit, and four were treats. Several of those were supposed to be stocking stuffers (meaning less than a thousand words), but they all ended up higher: four were in the 1000-2000 word range, one was 2000-3000, and one was 3000-4000.

I wrote for three stage productions of one stripe or another, two movies, one TV show, one book, and one piece of art. If those numbers don't seem to add up to six, that's because three of the fics are crossovers, and I wrote in one fandom twice. Only one is a fandom I'd written in prior to this Yuletide.

Any guesses?

(And yes, we intend for regular posting here to resume before long.)

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