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"Brinksmanship," by [personal profile] gramarye1971. From the author's summary: "A missing scene, set during Silver on the Tree."
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Happy 2009, all y'all! My year so far has included some hardcore polka (not an euphemism - I was at a dance gathering), five hours of driving, and a worsening head cold, so I'm feeling more achy and addled than usual, which means it will take me even longer than usual to be less behind on reading your posts and responding to your comments. But I do hope to get to most of them sooner rather than later -- there are so many new stories that look so very delectable, and the encouragement is always, always much appreciated, even when I don't quite get around to saying so right away.

It has been a good day regardless - the Irish set (= the ten-odd rounds of polkas) was humongous fun, I spent the later part of the afternoon with friends, I have a bowl of soft tofu and seaweed next to me...

...and, Yuletide reveals are up! veracious and paperiuni gave me great joy with the FAKE fics they created for me, and so did the lovely commenters and rec'cers for the pieces I posted.

I wrote one assigned fic, three Treats, and a last-minute stocking stuffer. (I'll separate my gabblings about processes/influences into a different post to spare those of you who wish to avoid extended spoilers, don't wanna know how the bunnies got into their hats, and/or don't want to hear about what didn't get written.) They are listed here in the order I completed them. (It is likely not coincidental how the wordcounts and ratings progressively went down as the days marched toward and then past the deadline, though I'm amused that the pattern is so marked in this set.)

Other Work for Us to Do for Bebe. [The Dark is Rising, 3645 words, R] summary ) Beta'd by [insanejournal.com profile] aunty_marion.

Room for edenbound. [FAKE / The Dark is Rising crossover, 2187 words, PG] summary ) Beta'd by [insanejournal.com profile] geri_chan.

Witches Can Be Right, Giants Can Be Good for Aja. [Rahm Emanuel RPF / Harry Potter crossover, 1689 words, PG] summary ) Beta'd by [insanejournal.com profile] marginaliana (of Snape/Miss Piggy fame).

Ten Hats and a Gallon for Cendri. [FAKE, 1665 words, G] summary )

Filling for glass_icarus. [Embracing Love / Haru wo Daiteita, 427 words, G] summary )


[What I wrote for past Yuletides: A Donne Deal (Wimseys + Arbuthnots), Unspeakable Beauty (Angels in America), and Bringing His Lordship Around (Lord Peter/Bunter; not actually in the archive, because I missed the posting window that year by a week or two, but it was written in response to a NYR prompt).]
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SQUEE! FAKE fic for me! "you, me and none of the others." I have reread it several times already and will continue to revisit it, because it is so good - it's seven vignettes from Ryo's point of view, and I especially love #4, because the interactions amongst the guys at the 27th as well as Ryo's internal thoughts - pitch-perfect. *glee*

And someone else was kind enough to give me an extra treat in the form of "Shrapnel," a FAKE ficlet. Lyrical, vivid, jaggedly sad, and yet ultimately hopeful.




Some notes and recs, featuring Lord Peter Wimsey (with major Mrs Climpson), Vicky Bliss (with major Schmidt), Aphrodite/various, Tennant/Barrowman, Will/Bran, Emanuel/Obama, Schroeder (Peanuts), and Federer/Nadal )
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(1) the Snape Cauldron Collider ficlet fest, a/k/a giving Snape one last fling before the Large Hadron Collider goes live.

(2) Re-encountering old drabbles such as Gramarye's Strategic Sheep Purposes (TDiR).

(3) After (Dinner), an adorable and hot Yuletide fic about Ryo and Dee (from FAKE).
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[As with the other lists, not quite complete, but a start. I hadn't realised it until just now, but today's the fourth anniversary of the first drabble I ever posted, IIRC]

["TDiR" = The Dark Is Rising (Susan Cooper)
"Wimseyverse" = Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane series (Dorothy L. Sayers)
"Vorkosiganverse" = Miles Vorkosigan series (Lois McMaster Bujold)]


Read more... )
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (spiral notebooks)
My poor eighth-grade Spanish teacher: I had a massive, extended crush on him, and the way I showed it was to besiege him with extracurricular efforts at translation (the better to spend more time with him, you see...). There's quite a, um, variety in the bag I just found in the back of my old bedroom closet - a commencement lecture by Alan Alda, a paragraph from A Canticle for Leibowitz, the entirety of an exceedingly sappy Christmas story about three French students helping out an old musician, verses from "Ode to Joy" and Mendelsohn's Christus, Archibald MacLeish's "Know the world by heart..."

*cringes*

The guy should have gotten hazard pay.

Especially since he also gamely perused and corrected these:



En el día de los muertos, cuando el año muere también,
Debe el más joven abrir las colinas más viejas
Por la puerta de los aves, dónde quiebra la brisa.
Ahí fuego volará del chico-cuervo,
Y de los ojos grises que ven el viento,
Y la luz tendrá la arpa de oro.

Por el lago agradable los dormido que duermon.
En el camina de Cadvan dónde los cernículos llaman
Sin embargo sombras ceñudos del rey gris caen,
Cantando aun la arpa áurea guiará
Para quilares el sueño y mardarles calbagar.

Quando la luz de la Tierra Perdida volverá,
Seis de los dormidos calbagarán,
Seis amuletos brillarán,
Y dónde el árbol del plano verano crere muy alto
Por la espada del dragonte la Obscuridad caerá.

Las montañas están cantando, y la dama viene.

# # #


Soy las entrañas de todos los refugiós
Soy la hoguera en todas las colinas
Soy la reina de todas las colmenas
Soy el escudo de todas las cabezas
Soy la tumba de todas las esperanzas
¡Soy Eirias!
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Title: Watchful
Challenge: The Jewellery Shop (for LJ: darkisrising100)
Words: 100
Rating: G

They were a lovely young couple... )
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In today's New York Times Book Review, Jeremy McCarter reviewing two new books about Arthur Conan Doyle:


Born to an Irish family in Scotland in 1859, Conan Doyle derived what Lycett calls his "fantasist" streak from his mother, who had a genius for telling stories, and from a childhood devouring Poe’s mysteries, Verne’s sci-fi adventures and Sir Walter Scott’s historical romances — all genres he later explored. His reverence for fact and logic was rooted in his medical training at Edinburgh, where the most colorful bunch of professors this side of Hogwarts exposed him to their powers of deduction, zeal for forensics and enthusiasm for cocaine.




Goudge and Rowling - spoilers for A LITTLE WHITE HORSE )

Another thing I've recently realized is that, because my work has included paying attention to contemporary kidlit, I tend to forget that many other adults my age - particularly those who aren't parents - don't realize how sophisticated and wide-ranging its genres have become. So, for instance, someone who hasn't encountered Debi Gliori or Herbie Brennan or Jane Langton or Cynthia Kadohata or E. L. Konigsburg or Lemony Snicket or Nancy Willard might well hail Rowling as the first children's writer they've encountered whose characters are darker and more complex/ambiguous than the ones they remember from grade school. I'm not saying that JKR's characters aren't awesome, but what's niggling at me is more a sense that other writers aren't getting enough credit from the general public because they;re too rarely heard about unless the word "scrotum" shows up in the first chapter. [ETA: ...inspiring The Newbery Jewels, among other things.]

Speaking of which, Roger Sutton introduced "a first-class list of out-n-proud GLBTQ-and-sometimes-Y fiction" with the words "Who needs old closet case Dumbledore..." (go read the post - he mentions Susan Cooper and other authors as well, and there are additional recs in the comments). ...Roger's earlier comments on the brouhaha pretty much mirror my own reaction towards anything Rowling says these days - it's entertaining, but until she puts it into a book, it ain't canon as far as I'm concerned. Or, to quote another comment of his,


I don't think authors need stay home and shut up (well, I guess I could give some examples of some who should but I'm saving them for my memoirs) but I would like them to recognize that, when it comes to commentary on their own work, they don't get to make claims that aren't borne out by the text. [...]No points, either, for something "my editor made me take out." Which is why the heroine of the book not known as Tomorrow is Another Day is not known as Pansy O'Hara.





I hadn't seen the Maclean's review of The Seeker before now. I am charmed, especially since it's the first direct attribution I've seen of Cooper's reaction to the movie. It also mentions that when Cooper offered her papers to the director of the Toronto Public Library's Osborne Collection, during a ride to the airport, the director "gave me the greatest compliment I ever had as a writer. She ran into the curb."

Also, I haven't read these yet, but the Horn Book has reposted some essays Cooper wrote for them (on Tolkien and others), apparently for a limited time. If you scroll down, there are additional articles by Lloyd Alexander, Laurence Yep, and others.




This entry has gotten out of control. I'm going to resort to quotes-only Yuletide recs so I can go on to what I meant to be be doing after the NYTBR distracted me. *g*
three more that stood out for me )
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
Harry Potter:

Ten signs you might be reading one of my fics. Or someone else's. Heh. Some fascinating discussion threads resulting from these at individual writers' journals, and I laughed out loud at Rosy's list, which included commentary by her Snape and Lupin.

Chocolate and Asphodel! Still very much with the squeeing here, although it is currently stashed in my own "To Print and Peruse At Leisure" folder. Which, given that Snupin Santa goes live in less than 48 hours...

Speaking of SnuSa, mine is done and it is turned in! *reclaims brain from the maraudering plotbunny*

HP/The Dark Is Rising:

There's an intelligent and positive article on fan fiction in the November issue of the Southwest Airlines in-flight magazine. One of the fics it recommends is Harry Potter and the Legacy of the Light (also dba "The Crossover Monstrosity"), which longtime readers may recall as the fic that I often blame credit for pulling me headlong into active online fandom. :-)

Lord Peter Wimsey:

Nineveh is trying to incite someone to commit Wimseyfic in which a certain pair of characters visit the Orb. I want to read this too. Go forth and be bunnied.

[Please to discuss over at her journal instead of mine; I am being deliberately vague because there are folks on my f-list who have not yet read Sayers or Bujold but plan to, and they don't want to be spoiled.]

Star Wars:

Darth Tater. (It's apparently been around for several seasons, but this is the first time it's shown up on my radar.)

BPAL:

I've made a few additions to the log. Today I'm wearing "Sol" (decant, discontinued) - not sure what I think of it yet. It is brighter and sharper than a lot of the stuff I'm accustomed to wearing, but it's not unpleasant. May need to sniff it next to "Prague" and see how it compares... (The lab description is "Authority - Creativity - Courage - Leadership - Abundance - Good Health & Healing - Illumination - Truth - Honesty - Wise Counsel - Prophecy - Pride - Revelation - Equilibrium - Mediation - Nobility - Generosity" -- IOW, probably inspiring to those inspired by such things, but not terribly helpful to my overly concrete-minded noggin.)
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (wirite)
TDIR

First and foremost, Ash is compiling a scrapbook to send to Susan Cooper, consisting of notes from fans of the books. Click the link for details. Deadline for contributions is 20 October.

Second, from Box Office Guru's Weekend Report (12-14 October edition): "...rounding out the top 10 was The Seeker: The Dark is Rising which fell 41% from its soft opening last weekend to $2.2M. Its cume stands at $7.2M and it should end up in the $12-14M range with some hope for success on DVD." A Wiki article on the film currently offers a good overview of the film's box office ("second worst debut of all time for a film released in more than 3,000 theaters") and critical reception. (ETA: The Three Investigators love in an AV Club comment thread is conjuring up high school memories like you wouldn't believe.)

Third, but not least: via skyehawke, I've just now come across rhymer23's fanfic writer's guide to TDIR. Haven't had time to do more than skim a few lines, but it looks like seventy kinds of awesome (and useful to non-TDIR fen as well, as it offers primers on how Oxford University is organised and other Useful Topics).

Pondering How to Produce Non-Ponderous Prequels

Lately, I've been working on at least two fics outside of my comfort zone. They're both what [insanejournal.com profile] schemingreader calls "canon spackle," which I rarely attempt, and I'm finding them challenging in several respects. Aside from reacquainting myself with the minutiae of the source universes (neither of the fics are HP), which is both entertaining and exasperating (Sayers, for instance, had continuity lapses and clunkers of her own -- I think the Dowager Duchess's black eyes (in WHOS) becoming brown in BUSM had been pointed out to me before, but still), I haven't been able to resist repeatedly pondering how to balance what the characters know at the time of the fic vs. what the readers know about they'll know later -- particularly for characters whose personalities or priorities shift significantly during the course of canon. The narrative momentum is different than that of futurefic as well -- with a prequel, the reader enters the fic knowing how (at least in a general sense) it's going to end -- but the writer still needs to infuse the story with enough tension, unpredictability, or flair to compel the reader to stay with it. (These things matter in futurefic as well, of course, but unpredictability is inherently an element of stories that aren't constrained by known canonical destinations.)

At the same time, speaking as someone who rereads favorite fics and books on a regular basis, unpredictability isn't the be-all and end-all of a story: I revisit some stories and songs for comfort, and others because there are new discoveries to be made when I peer at them from a different angle. (The second category is also a major reason why I find writing fanfic so rewarding -- trying to nail characterisations and settings has a way of motivating me to analyse source texts more thoroughly and thoughtfully than I would otherwise.) So perhaps it's not the big honking conundrum that currently has me foxed -- and I'm certain it doesn't apply to all writers of all prequels or "missing scene" fics -- but even so, I'm struck by how my current fics' temporal relations to canon affect the tools I've reached for in order to make them work -- because the timing sets the boundaries for what the characters know (not just about the future, but about themselves), because I want the reader to enjoy a degree of the surprises I've delighted in as I've become better acquainted with the characters (e.g., "cor, so that's what he was actually thinking...!"), and because (aha!) I have a habit of dwelling upon what intelligent characters choose to say aloud vs. what they refrain from (or outright fail at) articulating. (Hi, Professor Snape. Hullo, Mr. Lupin...)

(As I lamented to nineveh-uk in another thread, there are days when writing feels an awful lot like folding origami, of which I've never quite got the hang: I can see the shape I want to create, and I can see the folds I'm supposed to make to get there, but actually making the folds just right so that everything fits together just so -- ay, there's the devil of it!)

(That said, the past two days' net yield = 2400 words, so things are actually humming along. Even though my brain currently feels like one of those functional-but-freakily-fussy old cars that refuses to run until one kicks all its secret chakhras at a 65-degree angle, douses the bumper with black coffee, and sacrifices a turtle captured under the new moon to some deity with an unpronounceable name...)
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My first thought when I saw this shirt was The Dark Is Rising. Yours?
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Well, the Cubs did their usual flameout (the first thing my friend G. said to me at church this morning was "I'm so sorry"), and the cold I've managed to elude thus far (*knocks on top of pickled garlic jar*) is tickling at my throat again. ... but, I have a bowl of orange-cinnamon yogurt next to me, I'm at 806 words on the current fic, and I'm vindictive enough to take pleasure in this report:


Failing to find an audience on opening weekend was the fantasy adventure film The Seeker: The Dark is Rising which bowed to an estimated $3.7M from a very wide 3,141 theaters for a dismal $1,186 average. The PG-rated pic from the new venture between Fox and Walden Media targeted young boys but got nowhere at the box office. Seeker's debut was even worse than the $5M launch of Dragon Wars from just two weeks ago which went after the same audience. But thanks to a sluggish marketplace, Seeker's weak opening still landed the film in the top five even though its nearly $40M budget will take much time to recoup.
    - Gitesh Pandya, Weekend Box Office (October 5-7 edition - the content of the page is updated several times a week). Pandya had predicted a $9M gross.


[Why this movie raises my hackles? See here for an in-depth analysis of fuckwittery writ large, and here for a cri de coeur in response to collateral fuckwittery.]

ETA: At Box Office Mojo, readers grading the movie "F" currently edge out those giving it an "A" by 3%. (At 66 votes, it's not a huge sample, but I takes my consolation where I finds it.)
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The wrongness: The Dark Is Rising movie is sponsoring a fanfic contest for teenagers. On FanLib.

Actually, I should hold off on the snark until I see what transpires. After all, it'll likely prompt some kids to read the source material, which would be to the good.

The goodness: it's [insanejournal.com profile] musigneus's birthday! How is she marvelous? Let me enumerate a handful of the ways:

(1) she was one of the very first people to comment on my fics, and she has continued to provide encouragement and sympathy during my protracted battles with plotzillas.

(2) she issued my skyehawke invitation.

(3) she has written some of my favorite Snape/Lupin fics. The Short Measure series is one of my comfort reads.

(4) she beta'd two not-yet-in-circulation fics that I consider among my better stories.

(5) she digs science and children's books and other niftinesses.

Happy birthday, dear one! *lights fireworks and scampers off to hunt down a certain plot-bauble*
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Back when the Dark Is Rising movie trailers premiered (which was, what, three weeks ago? Eons in Internet time...), I'd suggested that the proper way to cope would be to convert the mess into a drinking game: boycott the theatre release, Netflix the DVD, and invite some sister geeks over to raise our glasses anytime a canonical moment peeped out. I believe InnerSlytherin protested that no one would end up with a buzz.

I'm usually a glass-half-full gal, but I just stumbled across this while hunting down something else:
http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2007/07/17/qa-the-dark-is-rising-star-gregory-smith/

Someone do a Merriman memory-wipe on me, please? Now? Sweet Merlin on a pike.




Speaking of strategies, I've finally conceded that I need to scrap "Etude" and stitch what's salvageable from it into an original story instead. The characters barely resembled their canonical inspirations to begin with, and the darn thing never did want to stay in the Potterverse - or in Italy, for that matter. There's still going to be myrrh, and smoke, and a Elizabethan lament or three, but now I need to figure out who's actually tied to the posts of that bed.
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Title: Al fine
Fandom: The Dark is Rising
Characters: Will, with past Paul/Bran
Words: 100
A/N: Al fine is a musical term meaning "to the end." It's usually seen in pieces where the composer wants the performer to repeat a section, but only up to a certain point.

Many days, Will cannot bear to look at the flutes. Paul had inherited them from Miss Greythorne. Bran had serenely donated most of Paul's possessions to the Conservatory after Paul's death, but he had kept the flutes, bequeathing them to Will upon his own passing.

Will had known this time would come -- it had been three-quarters of a century since the last rising of the Dark, after all -- but he'd felt bereft, nonetheless, when Bran breathed his last.

Other days, Will lifts up a flute and holds his lips to it, knowing it once carried Paul’s breath to Bran’s ears.



Prompt was "collections." Originally posted at darkisrising100.
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Darling [insanejournal.com profile] busaikko-san --

It's already the 21st in Japan, I do believe. The fic-bunnies remain banished under the bed, but here, you mentioning Will/Bran woke up the 100-word-muse for a sec...

Castling: two pieces moving simultaneously... )



Quote of the day: "Rabbits are creatures of warm, volatile temperament but shallow and absurdly transparent." - Beatrix Potter. Ha! Take that, you plot-fiends! :-)




Last but most definitely far from least: [insanejournal.com profile] almost_clara has drawn The Hat! Gleeeeeeeee!

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