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.

Yuletide!

Oct. 1st, 2016 04:02 pm
lookingforoctober: (Default)
Thank you in advance for your writing! I hope this letter will be helpful to you, but obviously it's all optional; I'm just putting ideas out there.

In general, I prefer stories with some amount of plot. Either gen or something centered on a romantic relationship is fine, but I'd rather not have any explicit sex, or sex as the main point of the story, please. I like things that are fairly close to the spirit of the original in these fandoms.

Casson Family - Hilary McKay - Eve Casson, Linda - I am curious about their relationship, and how they shared everything. Maybe something about them when they were younger, and what their family life is like growing up? What is Eve like when she's the age of any of her children that we see, and is Linda anything like Eve? How do they handle being twins? Perhaps they could face some similar circumstances to the events in any of the books, but react differently based on their own characters and background, as they would? Or show how the world is different for their generation (if that makes sense to you)? Or something about how they were similar or different as mothers of young children, or an AU in which Linda survived to raise Saffy. I would really like to see a positive relationship between Eve and Linda, though unconventional is also pretty much a given. Please, no incest, and I also do not want a story about the circumstances of Saffy's conception.

Dragaera - Steven Brust - Pel - Pel is such a twisty and devious character, and yet I think some of his best moments are when he's not being devious, but rather explaining some devious concept to a more straightforward character. I'd love to see moments like that, or some moment when the devious intersects with the straightforward, like if one of Pel's plans hit an unexpectedly straightforward obstacle. I'd also love some kind of intrigue plot (maybe Yendi vs. Yendi, and Pel as a detective unraveling a situation that is not as it seems?), or something about the art of discretion. Does Pel ever face any challenges in his chosen profession? Anything with swordfights would also be lovely (but maybe the swordfights are not as they seem?) I would also enjoy a story that included Tazendra, Aerich, Khaavren, I enjoy that group of friends in any combination (but would prefer it be only friendship).

Starfarers Series - Vonda N. McIntyre - Basically, you cannot go wrong with this. Write about any of the characters in the whole series, I love them all. Write about OCs if you'd like. Write about the squidmoth or about any of the other alien species in general or in particular, write about Starfarer, the ship, and its future... I'm interested in the future, what happens next, and how Starfarer fits into it. How does Starfarer's mission hold up to the return to Earth? How does Earth respond? Where does Starfarer voyage next, who lives on Starfarer, what does the future look like after the events at the end of the last book? I'm also interested in alien biology and societies, alien politics, human politics as it relates to space travel... I also like the spirit of openness of Starfarers, and the aspects of it that are a lot of diverse people together on a starship, so if you want to write something that highlights that sort of thing, that would be lovely as well. Oh, and the archeology art project is my favorite side plot in the series, for what it's worth... Really, anything that evokes anything about this series.
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

Yuletide!

Oct. 21st, 2015 09:00 pm
lookingforoctober: (Default)
Thank you in advance for your writing! I hope this letter will be helpful to you, but obviously it's all optional, and in some cases, just putting ideas out there.

In general, I prefer stories with some amount of plot. Either gen or something centered on a relationship is fine, but I'd rather not have any explicit sex, or sex as the main point of the story, please. I like things that are fairly close to the spirit of the original in these fandoms.

Starfarers Series, by Vonda N. McIntyre - Basically, you cannot go wrong with this. Write about any of the characters in the whole series, I love them all. Write about OCs if you'd like. Write about the squidmoth or about any of the other alien species in general or in particular, write about Starfarer, the ship, and its future... I'm especially interested in the future, what happens next, and how Starfarer fits into it. How does Starfarer's mission hold up to the return to Earth? How does Earth respond? Where does Starfarer voyage next, who lives on Starfarer, what does the future look like after the events at the end of the last book? I'm also especially interested in alien biology and societies, alien politics, human politics as it relates to space travel... I also like the spirit of openness of Starfarers, and the aspects of it that are a lot of diverse people together on a starship, so if you want to write something that highlights that sort of thing, that would be lovely as well. Oh, and the archeology art project is my favorite side plot in the series, for what it's worth... Really, anything that evokes anything about this series.

Forsyte Saga - Irene Heron - I would especially like to see Irene in a non-Forsyte context. Despite Irene's importance to the plot, in Galsworthy's work, we only see her as she relates to the men in her life, and I'd like to see Irene standing on her own, as we know also happens. I'd be especially interested in Irene at school (obviously a formative experience for her, she's very sure in herself when we first see her, and I think her school is a big part of why) or Irene after she leaves Soames for good and before she reenters the Forsyte circle (it can't have been easy for her, but she not only survives, she does what she can for others as well -- but how did she overcome the difficulties she faced? Obviously, society was against her for the choices she made...)

Dragaera, by Steven Brust - Tazendra, Aerich, Khaavren, Pel - I love this group of friends, and I would like to have at least two of the four, but if you want to center the story on a pair or on three of the four of them (but not, preferably, in a romantic context, I prefer friendship to any sort of romance here) that would be fine. My favorite books are The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years After, I never really imprinted on the later Viscount of Adrilankha trilogy, though it is set during a very interesting time, so if you want use the events of that trilogy or ignore it or go AU with it, that's fine with me. I'd love something that's all fun and adventure, or if you want to do something more serious and not purely light-hearted adventure, I'd enjoy that too. If you feel up to including a sword-fight, that would be lovely! Anything from light-hearted through delving into character to taking on the immediate aftermath of Adron's disaster...
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)
1. Ever since I started paying as much attention as I have to spare to structure, a) I'm pretty sure I've grown a lot as a writer and b) half the time I feel like I don't know how to write at all. You'd think these would be contradictory, but I guess it's got something to do with having more options to go to but less idea how to use them properly or how to even tell if they're being used properly.

2. I really want to write Yuletide treats! I need to finish my mired-in-structural-problems-but-the-end-is-in-sight assignment first, though.

3. Actually, the thing you're not writing always looks easier to write than the thing you are writing, yes? So maybe the treats wouldn't be as easy to write as I think. But if I write even one treat, that will be better than I've done in the past two years, so one can hope.

Yuletide!

Oct. 21st, 2014 10:04 pm
lookingforoctober: (Default)
Dear Yuletide Author,

Thank you in advance for your writing! I hope this letter will be helpful to you, but obviously it's all optional, and in some cases, just putting ideas out there.

In general, I prefer stories with some amount of plot. Either gen or something centered on a relationship is fine, but I'd rather not have any explicit sex, or sex as the main point of the story, please. I like things that are fairly close to the spirit of the original in these fandoms.

Starfarers Series, by Vonda N. McIntyre - Basically, you cannot go wrong with this. Write about any of the characters in the whole series, I love them all. Write about OCs if you'd like. Write about the squidmoth or about any of the other alien species in general or in particular, write about Starfarer, the ship, and its future... I'm especially interested in the future, what happens next, and how Starfarer fits into it. How does Starfarer's mission hold up to the return to Earth? How does Earth respond? Where does Starfarer voyage next, who lives on Starfarer, what does the future look like after the events at the end of the last book? I'm also especially interested in alien biology and societies, alien politics, human politics as it relates to space travel... I also like the spirit of openness of Starfarers, and the aspects of it that are a lot of diverse people together on a starship, so if you want to write something that highlights that sort of thing, that would be lovely as well. Oh, and the archeology art project is my favorite side plot in the series, for what it's worth... Really, anything that evokes anything about this series.

A Tale of Time City, by Diana Wynne Jones - I am fascinated by Jones' horseshoe of time. I'd like to know more about any of Jones' future history, and what it's like to live in any of those ages. (If you can work in butter pies (my favorite) or something else that we've seen in its Time City context and put it into a historical context, all the better :) I would also love a story that expands on the notion that people in history know about and visit Time City. What kind of experience is that? What kind of effect does it have on ordinary visitors? Do weird things ever happen to them because they're visiting an unstable era which is not connected to history? We see Time City from the inside in the book, even Vivian becomes an insider, but I'm especially interested in seeing it from the perspective of a complete outsider who might not understand everything about it. Feel free to use characters from the book or not, whatever you prefer; I don't really have a preference. (I like all the characters, but they're not really what interests me about this fandom).

Dragaera, by Steven Brust - Tazendra, Aerich - Please no actual romance between Aerich and Tazendra, but all the friendship ever, very much yes. If you'd like to include Pel and Khaavren and have a general phoenix guard friendship story, I'd be good with that too. My favorite books are The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years after, I never really imprinted on the later Viscount of Adrilankha trilogy, though it is set during a very interesting time, so if you want use the events of that trilogy or ignore it or go AU with it, that's fine with me. Anyway, specifically, some little adventure from their time as phoenix guards? Or Tazendra and Aerich living in the same neighborhood in the country -- I don't believe we see much of their other neighbors, though, so something about how they fit into their neighborhood social scene could be interesting. Something Jane Austen-esque (the neighborhood social scene being very important there)? Sharing an adventure that pops up in the neighborhood? Something about what Aerich being Tazendra's leige means to her? Or to him? Something about how their natures as Dzurlord and Lyorn interact? They're sort of opposites, but get along well, and compliment each other in a lot of ways. Oh, and I've been sounding very light-hearted, but if you want to do something more serious and not purely light-hearted adventure, I'd enjoy that too. Taking on the immediate aftermath of Adron's disaster?


Like I said, hopefully that's helpful, and thanks again!
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)
It's times like these that I realize how much I still have to learn about writing.

Which should be nice, because learning is a wonderful thing...but a deadline tends to get in the way of appreciating that.

Deadlines are wonderful things too (I believe in deadlines as a tool for finishing things), but I've got to admit, they're usually better from the other side.

Which is to say, I'm going to finish my Yuletide story by the deadline, but...I wish I had a little more time to linger and see what I could learn from writing this story.

Yuletide!

Oct. 14th, 2013 01:37 am
lookingforoctober: (Default)
Dear Yuletide Author,

Thank you in advance for your writing! I hope this letter will be helpful to you, but obviously it's all optional, and in some cases, just putting ideas out there.

In general, I prefer stories with some amount of plot. Either gen or something centered on a relationship is fine, but I'd rather not have any explicit sex, or sex as the main point of the story, please. I like things that are fairly close to the spirit of the original in these fandoms.


Bletchley Circle - I fell in love with this when I saw it. Women and math and codebreaking and teamwork and solving mysteries! I don't mind if you don't include all four women, but I like them all equally so I had to request them all, especially since each woman has her own special strength and area of expertise. I would love anything that showcases these characters: their next case, recovering from their first case, codebreaking in day to day life, continuation of their friendship now that they're reunited, an AU of Susan and Millie's planned trip that never happened in canon...

Forsyte Saga - I would especially like to see Irene in a non-Forsyte context. Despite Irene's importance to the plot, in Galsworthy's work, we only see her as she relates to the men in her life, and I'd like to see Irene standing on her own, as we know also happens. I'd be especially interested in Irene at school (obviously a formative experience for her, she's very sure in herself when we first see her, and I think her school is a big part of why) or Irene after she leaves Soames for good and before she reenters the Forsyte circle (it can't have been easy for her, but she not only survives, she does what she can for others as well -- but how did she overcome the difficulties she faced? Obviously, society was against her for the choices she made...)

The Princess Bride - If possible, I would like a sword-fight, please! Especially a sword-fight that says something about the characters involved, not just action but characterization. That's the main thing...but if you want more ideas, other things that interest me about Inigo Montoya: being really good at one specific thing, and having such a specific purpose, and the question of how he might change from the character we saw, after the movie -- how he might deal with situations that call for his specific skill, or that don't call for that skill. Is he an everything's a nail kind of person? Would he learn otherwise, once his specific reason for concentrating on that skill is gone? Does he take up the Dread Pirate role? What's he like as an old man? What if his wounds never completely heal? Could he ever become a teacher of the sword? I like all the other characters in this fandom as well, so feel free to include or not include anyone you'd like.

A Tale of Time City - I am fascinated by Jones' horseshoe of time. I'd like to know more about any of Jones' future history, and what it's like to live in any of those ages. (If you can work in butter pies (my favorite) or something else that we've seen in its Time City context and put it into a historical context, all the better :) I would also love a story that expands on the notion that people in history know about and visit Time City. What kind of experience is that? What kind of effect does it have on ordinary visitors? Do weird things ever happen to them because they're visiting an unstable era which is not connected to history? We see Time City from the inside in the book, even Vivian becomes an insider, but I'm especially interested in seeing it from the perspective of a complete outsider who might not understand everything about it. Feel free to use characters from the book or not, whatever you prefer; I don't really have a preference. (I like all the characters, but they're not really what interests me about this fandom).


Like I said, hopefully that's helpful, and thanks again!
lookingforoctober: (Default)
http://archiveofourown.org/works/598304

My Yuletide offering, featuring Mike & Psmith and a ring to be regained before the wedding. This story follows pretty closely upon the heels of the events in Leave it to Psmith by P. G. Wodehouse.
lookingforoctober: (Default)
I finished my Yuletide story!

It was longer and more difficult to write than I expected, so I'm glad I got it with a little time to spare. And I hope it works as a story, because at this point I can't tell. But in any case, I can tidy it up tomorrow (and maybe come up with a better second to last line) and upload it a couple of days before the deadline.
lookingforoctober: (Default)
Dear Yuletide Author,

This is my first Yuletide, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what you write for me. Thank you in advance for your writing! I hope this letter will be helpful to you, but obviously it's all optional, and in some cases, just putting ideas out there.

In general, I prefer stories with plot, either gen or something centered on a relationship is fine, but I read for plot first. I'd rather not have any explicit sex, or sex as the main point of the story, if you could, please. I like things that are fairly close to the spirit of the original in these fandoms.


The Incredibles - If I could have requested characters with OR rather than AND, I would have said "Edna Mode OR Helen Parr OR Violet Parr OR Mirage". I'd really be happy with any of them, but I do like E best, and would adore seeing her, especially details of her life and history that we don't see in the movie. Her professional life, her personal life, anything.

What I really like about The Incredibles is the overlapping of superhero and personal stories, so a story that touches on both aspects of life in superhero world would be ideal.

Oh, also, can you imagine The Incredibles done as steampunk? Steampunk superheroes? Because I can and I think it would be amazing. But I know that's rather out there, so just a thought :)

Enchanted - I'm interested in culture clashes, fairy tale world vs. New York, especially as seen from a child's point of view. I'd also love to see characters from the "real world" end up in the fairy tale world. I'm entirely fine with OCs, btw, if it helps the story, or any other character from the movie in addition to Morgan.

Anyway, children in fairy tales have different sorts of plots from adults (who fall in love and get married) and I'd enjoy seeing the Disney fairy tale world as it applies to fairy tales about children, Morgan visiting the fairy tale world and having a child-type adventure, Morgan and Giselle having a difference of opinion based on how Giselle was raised in the fairy tale world and therefore her expectations, anything like that.

Magic for Beginners - I'd like to know more about Fox, she's such a cipher in the original story. A very cool cipher, but a cipher nonetheless. If you want to tell me something about what happened at the end, whether Fox died, how or what it means to her or to anyone else that she did or didn't die, that would be bonus, but really, I just want more about Fox and her adventures in any context.

Jeeves and Wooster - The thing I like especially about this tv version that I don't get so strongly from the original stories is the sense of real friendship and camaraderie between Jeeves and Wooster, so anything bringing that out would be amazing.


Aaaand that's all I can think of. Thanks again!

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