lookingforoctober: (Default)
The Sombre Season
Fire and Hemlock - Diana Wynne Jones
10,184 words

I started off to write about how Laurel taught Tom about horses, and ended up writing about how Laurel taught Tom something else. Sneakily, even though it takes place pre-canon, this is a story about my thoughts about the ending of Fire and Hemlock.

(These thoughts were shaped as I was writing my story by Diana Wynne Jones' essay about Fire and Hemlock, "The Heroic Ideal-- A Personal Odyssey", which can be found online starting at https://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/users/01/kyla/Heroic_Ideal7.gif -- the numbers go up to 7.

I also read an extremely insightful essay about the ending (part 1, part 2) by [livejournal.com profile] rushthatspeaks, which influenced my thoughts...though by the time I finished writing my story, I think I ended up having a somewhat different perspective, or at least coming at it from a somewhat different angle.)

spoilers for Fire and Hemlock, and for the story I wrote as it relates to my interpretation of the ending )

...I think I wanted to write that meta about Fire and Hemlock even more than I wanted to write a story about it -- lucky I could do both :) (Though sadly, I'm not sure everything I wanted came across in the story, and actually, having written this, I wonder if I could make the ending of my story a little better...but it's always so.)

(Actually, if I were writing this story outside the constraints of Yuletide, it might enhance what I was trying to do to write it with a frame story that was about Tom and Polly, probably post-canon, and it would be the exact opposite progression as the story about Tom and Laurel, but with lots of cross connections and parallels and opposites that link the two stories together thematically...though I'd have quite a bit to figure out, like whether Tom post-canon retains the gift/curse of telling the truth, etc. and there's a lot about the horse that would need figuring, and I'd probably have to explicitly address the nowhere stuff, or at least have a better understanding of it in my own head even if it wasn't explicit, and ... and ... ...and I'd probably never finish it and this is exactly why it is impossible for me to write things that are short. Believe it or not, I expected the plain Tom and Laurel story to be about half the size -- or less! -- as it turned out to be, which is absolutely typical. And I even feel like I had more time than usual for editing this year, which I think helped the writing, but doesn't seem to have affected the length.)

Anyway. In writing the story, I also ended up soaking in T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets, to the extent that I'd almost call it half Jones fanfic and half Eliot fanfic. But since Jones mentions in her essay that these four poems were one of her (many) sources, I think that's fair. I'd read these poems before (the first and last were favorites of mine at some point), but T. S. Eliot can be really obscure, so much so that ... well, I can't claim to have completely sounded the depths of these poems, but whatever I got from them was worth it.

The other major source I used was The Golden Bough, which I've had a copy of forever and never read all the way through. I still haven't -- I read the part about fire festivals, and the part about year kings and related concepts, and then browsed around quite a bit. This book is actually mentioned in Fire and Hemlock, so it's also a source for Jones too, but since The Golden Bough is a classic, I'm now pretty curious about opinions about this book and its contents among people who are current in this field.

A cursory web search didn't come across a ton of criticism (unlike The White Goddess, another classic in the same line, which seems to have been influential on fantasy as a whole, and which apparently is now regarded as pretty ahistorical). But The Golden Bough doesn't seem to get the same criticism on first glance, perhaps because it's divided into sections containing either evidence or clearly labeled speculation. The speculation basically assumes that the reason behind every myth with similar aspects is the same reason (which is very syncretic), and then tries to figure out the specific myth that Frazer is interested based on the idea that he can take evidence from all over the world. It's interesting, I just wonder how that methodology has held up.

But I assume the evidence sections are probably fairly accurate, because if you say things like "In such and such a place they baked oatcakes on such and such a day" ... well, if they did that, they did that.

Anyway. For my purposes, which was inspiration, I don't really care if it's academically supportable...I can see why I've heard of this book as a good reference for fantasy (or easily recognizable symbolism). I'd use it that way too -- by the time you've read dozens of variations on fire festivals, for example, it's easier to take the basic idea and use it some way that works for a story. I just wish it was a bit broader, since it doesn't really go into myths or myth categories that are outside of the range of its original myth. (Which is totally understandable considering there was so much material that applied to the original myth...)

So yeah, I might have actually gone overboard on the research aspect, but since it's all stuff I've wanted to do for a long time, I have no regrets. It's also possible that this might have been my last Yuletide (my Christmas/holiday situation has changed since I first started doing Yuletide and I'm just not sure how that's going to play out next year) so it was nice to get a canon that I really wanted to spend the time with this year.

The only other thing I have to say is about the title. It's from T. S. Eliot, and the spelling of sombre is the spelling that he used (in both the book I have and in the online version I found that claims to be accurate). It's also the British (and so far as I can tell, everywhere except the US) spelling. But every time I look at it, it strikes me as spelled wrong, so I'm not sure I made the right choice there. Still, I'm not sure I'd have been happy the other way either.
lookingforoctober: (Default)
I just want to state for the record that I didn't go into Yuletide intending to write a 20,000 word story, but the writing this year was a really good experience (much better than last year when I barely got the whole thing done in time). I felt in control of my process, not just hoping that I'd somehow manage to finish. I knew what I was doing. And for the difference, I credit outlining :)

(Although I think it could have done with another pass or two...I might write a post about my outlining/many iteration method, how it worked, where I would have put more work in if I had more time, etc., for future reference.)

Anyway:

Cultivated by LookingForOctober for song_of_staying
Words: 19,680

Fandoms: Uprooted - Naomi Novik
Kasia & Agnieszka, Marisha

Some seeds planted by the Wood take a long time to grow.


And I wrote a treat too! It is absolutely amazing to me how much easier it is to write and finish something and keep it short when I'm also finishing something else at the same time. (It has to be finishing, working on multiple things at the same time is something that I frequently do, but it has no magic.) I think it's really a trick of the mindset -- when I'm already feeling ruthless about one story, it's easier to keep another story focused?

Now if I could only learn to do that normally...I might manage to finish more things.

Contrivers by LookingForOctober for geri_chan
Words: 1,630

Fandoms: Foreigner Series - C. J. Cherryh
Irene & Cajeiri

The difference between Irene's mother and Cajeiri.



I also wrote a couple other fics this year and I'm pretty sure I never linked either of them here, so:

The Silly Sister (Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen, Georgiana Darcy & Catherine Bennet, Mr. Bennet)
Georgiana and Kitty try to persuade Mr. Bennet that Kitty is more sensible than she used to be.
Words: 2,340

Millie is Finished (The Chronicles of Chrestomanci - Diana Wynne Jones, Millie | Millie Chant)
Millie's experiences at the Swiss finishing school.
Words: 5,590
lookingforoctober: (Default)
What Dreams
http://archiveofourown.org/works/2804936
15,357 words

Chronicles of Chrestomanci fic that takes a look at what it means to be Chrestomanci (or tries, at least) in the context of a recurring problem that crops up at a number of different points in Christopher Chant's life.

Two things. One, it's actually not easy to write about a character as a main character whose role in terms of storytelling is usually support character. And not just support character, but the really powerful support character who makes resolutions possible. I felt if I dug too deep and showed (or created) too many weaknesses, I'd be doing the character a disservice. Hopefully I struck a balance.

Two, I was horribly pressed for time, and got to that point where my brain didn't want to process any words associated with this story any more. Next year, I think I'm going to write something shorter, so it doesn't take so long just to read through for typos, never mind anything else.

Oh, three, I noticed there's a plot hole and figured out how to fix it a few days after Christmas, but I didn't think it was fair (or something, do I mean proper? useful?) to revise it at that point.


Spellmaker
http://archiveofourown.org/works/2837804
864 words

My very first Yuletide treat ever :) It's in the same fandom as the first one (Chronicles of Chrestomanci) but this one is about Angelica Petrocchi, whose spells always go wrong, and Roger Chant, who likes to tinker with spells.

The Boy in the Crystal Ball
http://archiveofourown.org/works/3115166
1949 words

Sequel to Spellmaker. Since it's not written for Yuletide, I don't know if anyone will read it, but oh well. I wanted to write it.



Oh, and if you like Diana Wynne Jones, I received a lovely Tale of Time City fic: http://archiveofourown.org/works/2791754

But of course I like it, it does everything I asked for, down to the butter pies :)
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://archiveofourown.org/works/2339978

Fanfic for L. M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle, written for Gen Fic Swap ([personal profile] genficexchange).

3390 words.

Her Blood

Feb. 8th, 2014 04:39 am
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://sb-ashtray.livejournal.com/11615.html

I can't believe it's over 1000 words... Actually, I'm surprised I wrote something Buffy related. I felt very out of practice at that.

1131 words.
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://archiveofourown.org/works/1093577

My recipient wanted role reversal in the Princess Bride and I just couldn't resist the prompt. So this is a story about Buttercup, the Dread Pirate, and Wesley the Prince, and what happened after the movie.

7662 words.


This is the second year I've not written Discworld despite having the option. And this year I even matched on it. But maybe next year?
lookingforoctober: (Default)
Chapter 6:
http://buffy-remix.dreamwidth.org/5959.html#cutid1
http://archiveofourown.org/works/863131/chapters/1670306

Chapter 7:
http://buffy-remix.dreamwidth.org/6243.html#cutid1
http://archiveofourown.org/works/863131/chapters/1673926


The End.

25,220 words total.

Whew. I started on June 3, so that's 25,220 words in 35 days. I'm sure I'm not breaking any records, but it's pretty good for me (though obviously it being a remix helped). And I know there are flaws, things that might have needed a bit more thought or polish, but overall I'm pretty happy.

Also, I find it amusing that there are now three Ruperts out of the eight characters I've tagged as being in my two stories on AO3.
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://buffy-remix.dreamwidth.org/5448.html#cutid1
http://archiveofourown.org/works/863131/chapters/1667620

It's another chapter!

Oh, I do have something to say. This is the only chapter that doesn't actually break in a place that I was thinking about as a break when I was writing it. It breaks in a place that I worked out afterward to divide the chapters up fairly evenly.
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://buffy-remix.dreamwidth.org/5069.html#cutid1
http://archiveofourown.org/works/863131/chapters/1664603

This is the point at which I admit I have no idea whether this should be called a Buffy/Spike story or not. The original story was labeled that way, and after thinking about it I decided it was probably because of the shape of the story. By which I mean that although there wasn't actually anything about them having sex or having a relationship, it was clearly pointed that way, toward developing an understanding and also pointed at the future Buffy/Spike in canon.

My story is shaped a bit differently, but ... it's got lots of Buffy and Spike interaction and there are understandings and so on mixed in. But it's longer, and has all kinds of other stuff too.
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://buffy-remix.dreamwidth.org/4225.html#cutid1
http://archiveofourown.org/works/863131/chapters/1661480

I like this chapter a lot. Also, first time writing something with the whole gang (for probably my favourite configuration of "the whole gang").
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://buffy-remix.dreamwidth.org/4005.html#cutid1
http://archiveofourown.org/works/863131/chapters/1658316

In the interests of eventually having everything in one place, which will either be AO3 or fanfiction.net or both, I posted this to AO3 too, because it's really easy to just copy the html.

And having posted it in two different places, I have an urge to go back and revise some stuff. But I'm not going to.
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://buffy-remix.dreamwidth.org/2069.html
http://archiveofourown.org/works/863131/chapters/1654850

This is how I've been spending my June. Chapter one of probably seven or eight. It'll be posted a chapter a day until complete.

It was written faster than usual (because once I got my assignment I knew I really wanted to remix this story, and I knew from the start I'd be pushing it in terms of time), and I think it shows just a bit (hopefully not too much), but on the other hand, deadlines are really nice every now and then as a sort of wake-up call, and a demonstration of just how much I futz around when left to my own devices.

Survival

May. 26th, 2013 07:05 pm
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://sb-ashtray.livejournal.com/9151.html#cutid1

1866 words.

This could have been a lot longer, a whole Spike and Dawn adventure in which they both try to come to terms with themselves, if I hadn't been trying to write short. But even this short version still wouldn't have fit in sb_fag_ends (if it'd been a Spuffy story instead of a Spike and Dawn story).
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://sb-fag-ends.livejournal.com/221499.html

796 words.

More Season 6. Blah blah blah.

I need to write things that are longer, or I'll never learn how to do exposition.

Drabble

Apr. 9th, 2013 04:59 am
lookingforoctober: (Default)
Love? I know love. Times past, our business was curses and stealing souls. Beautiful things, souls. Beau-ti-ful. I had a garden full of soul roses. How they glowed!

A girl tried to steal one. The soul she had! I locked her up, treated her like royalty. What did she do? Burned my garden and took my best rose.

I never loved anything like I loved that garden.

Not love? Possession? You'd know, wouldn't you, bleeding through trials for a soul to put inside. Take my advice, do it up as a rose. There's more than one kind of possession. No?
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://sb-fag-ends.livejournal.com/218040.html

970 words.

Buffy doesn't want her memory back, she'd rather be Joan.

This story is brought to you by a roleplay idea that wouldn't fit in the current roleplay, my continuing fascination with names, and apparently, my fascination with Season 6. Not sure how that happened.

Life Force

Mar. 27th, 2013 03:36 am
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://sb-fag-ends.livejournal.com/215933.html

871 words.

The First Slayer has something to say about Buffy's pregnancy.

This story brought to you by the allure of games and some good prompts. I think I could have done something with 'ruby fountain' and 'lunar falls' as well.
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://sb-fag-ends.livejournal.com/211029.html

723 words.

This story is brought to you by Insanejournal being down on Saturday. No roleplaying, alas! But stories last longer anyway.

The title, of course, is from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Apparently I deal with prompts by free associating until I come up with one I like better, calling that the title, and then writing the story from there.

It's possible I overdid the understatement in places.

Oh, technique...somehow it felt wrong to give the main character a name in the story (and though I know she has one, I was also to lazy to look it up), and while Buffy was "the Slayer" and Spike was "the vampire", the main character was just "she". Not even a tag. Which got tricky when Buffy was "she" too for a while, as is almost inevitable. You have to use pronouns. There was one spot in particular where I had to work at it to get back to the main character being "she" without it being a jump -- but I think it does work. Hopefully!
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://sb-fag-ends.livejournal.com/197977.html

752 words.

The title is from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Cleanup

Jan. 29th, 2013 05:46 am
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8957352/1/Cleanup

Xander, Buffy, and Dawn deal with the aftermath of Willow's magic. Set between seasons 6 and 7.

4055 words.
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