marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)

It's a matter of musing on The Peridan Chronicles. I haven't written much in that for ages, but I'm kind of still, always, living with one foot in that world.

I have been re-reading the Peter Wimsey books (even more enjoyable this time around, which I suspect won't be a surprise to anyone), in which Lord Peter tackles the questions of crime and punishment and the carrying out of justice, and where his duty lies in that area. And I've just come across an old discussion on Lion's Call (the discussions there aren't very lively, and are of a very variant... depth? but this one was definitely one of the deeper ones) about Aravis' scarring towards the end of HHB and the reasons behind it and the whys and hows of its fairness or unfairness.

Somewhere in that discussion, aside from God's justice, which is inevitable, someone mentioned accidents and some things being "the way the world is" possibly being why Lewis would have chosen to have Aslan act directly. It made me wonder about the way God metes out justice in the Bible (I feel woefully under-read in that regard) and remember the story somewhere in the gospels, about a tower falling down on some people, and Jesus emphatically stressing it was not a punishment. I think I heard or read a sermon on that once that was rather striking. Accidents are accidents. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. But also, in this context: Punishments are clear?

Punishments ought to be clear?
 

It brought back to mind the fact that in The Peridan Chronicles, the question of meting out punishment will have to be tackled sooner or later; it's the nature of the beast, so to say, as a story (I would write book, because it definitely has book proportions) that should cover the "progress" of the so-called Golden Age.

As someone had commented on it (it's too late in the evening for me to look it up; was it Heliopause?), it's something the Pevensies would have to face (namely Peter, in that case). It is rather clear that there had to be some rulings of justice, if only because Edmund had to earn his epithet somehow.

I know it was CaraLee (who apparently now goes under a different pen-name, but I shall continue to think of her as CaraLee) I told in a PM that even though it's primarily a learning experience for Methos, there's definitely a thing or two he has to teach the Pevensies.

It brings to mind Methos in "Chivalry", doing what Duncan could not bring himself to do.

There is a sort of natural impulse in me to keep all that out of the picture, to have redeemable villains and to have the irredeemable ones meet a Disney villain end; but all this accumulation of instances has brought it to my attention that it's not entirely a Narnian thing, and it's definitely not a Methos thing, either. He won't shrink from administering the killing blow or allowing someone to administer it, even when it's an old friend that is to be punished and stopped. (He seems to make an exception with Duncan, but then, Duncan is not purposefully villainous, so there's definitely a justified distinction.)
And obviously, Twinkletop has already hinted at that, too: in the Narnian setting, with the Pevensies where they are now, that's probably a trait that's going to be needed.

Leaving all this here mostly as a reminder to myself: there has to be an element of Methos in "Chivalry" in my Peridan and, as I've already quoted to CaraLee, his "Do you really think there's no such thing as evil?".

Now, how to get over the hurdle that's this more or less transitional chapter that's been defying me, and get them all to that point...
marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
Despite the loooooong hiatus, The Peridan Chronicles keep getting subscribers. But that's not the part I need explained. (It's the part where I really should do something about it, no explanations required.)


What puzzles me is the fact that the overwhelming majority of people who read it are apparently into anime. The habit of most readers not to leave any reviews at all does not help.

Seeing as the only anime I've ever seen was Cowboy Bebop, mostly because soundtrack and western-in-space, I'm completely puzzled as to what it is about a Highlander x Chronicles of Narnia crossover that anime fans are apparently drawn to? And what it is about the particular way I go about it that makes them want to stick around?

I can't say I'm not grateful for the readers, but it is just a bit frustrating to keep getting readers I have no apparent common ground with and having no idea what they're expecting to see.
Not that I'm likely to deliver to expectations. More like, you're sticking around and I'm glad you are despite the monumental hiatus, but do we really aim for the same thing here? Could you, maybe, at least tell me?

Also, while we're at it, is there another anime of reasonable length that I might be into?


I think I'm going to stick a version of this into an author's note at FF.net when I finally get around to updating the story.
marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)

This post started out as this title, because I found something I could not remember if I'd written.

Then, apparently, I deleted the whole body of the post because of reasons, and forgot about it. And now, months later, returning to this journal to let the world know I'm still alive, Dreamwidth asked if I wanted to restore the draft, so I said yes, because I was curious to know what it was I had been writing back then. And then proceeded to wonder what it was that I had found and wondered about, because at that moment, I could only remember as much, and pictured a paper but could not remember what would have been on it.

I've remembered it was actually a Word file in the short meantime. And even what it was about. It's just a single, creatively worded sentence about places in my country. I still don't know how I came by it. It doesn't sound like something written by me; for one thing, it uses the first person singular in the male form. It does, though, sound a bit like something written by one of my characters. If that's the case, I'm rather amazed at how well I'd stylised myself into that character. However, if that's the case, I have no idea why it isn't in the folder normally reserved for my own creations. It is, instead, in the one I might put things found elsewhere. Except that I have a separate Word file for those.

The mysteries of the creative process, times... how many is it even, by this point?


* * *


Spring is here, with the violets in the garden giving their best to their scent (mmmmm...), and, well, there's another challenge from the past for me; I need to move The Peridan Chronicles forward. The whole thing, after all, started when I was strongly reminded of Narnia in another spring after a long, cold, lonely winter. (If you caught the reference: sorry. I can't help myself.)

I have ideas, but I'm still not sure they're going to give me a coherent chapter to follow immediately after the last published one anytime soon. I also have ideas for later in the story: that still seems to be my main problem at the moment.

Easter was great for ideas, though. Ahem.


* * *


One of the big Real Life news I feel safe to share is that I've been to an Easter concert at the Latvian embassy in Prague. Now that's something that doesn't happen to one every year. The Latvian embassy, my sister says, is the best out of the three Baltic ones at making nice, friendly events. I have no point of reference, but as my first personal glimpse into international diplomacy, it was certainly very, very nice; not something I imagine happens everywhere, either. In Narnian terms (because this is still a fanfiction writer's journal), Narnia and Archenland? Except that in this comparison, I can't imagine either of the countries in question quite exactly as either of the countries in question.

Also, I'm getting a bit of a Real Life insight into tailoring, thanks to friends, so... in the realm of fanfiction, I guess that means more Rogin and his craft of choice in the future?

Fingers crossed.

* * *

My contemplative bunny below is still thinking of carrots. Not very imaginative, this bunny. The worst part is that hän makes me think of carrots, too. That's the Finnish third person singular pronoun, no gender need apply because Finnish. I felt finnicky about either of the English pronoun options in that sentence, so Finnish it is. And carrot for supper; there's still one left in the fridge.

marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
Says a Czech proverb.
The little annoying and soul-searching experience from the previous post has just fed into the blasted transitional 19th chapter of The Peridan Chronicles that has been stalling my progress for over a year. Joy!
It's not finished yet, but it's much closer to finishing than it had been for over a year. I think you can expect it before Christmas. And the chapter after it soon after it, most likely, to make up for the long lack of updates to this story. Phew!

In other news, I've watched the Kenneth Brannagh / Emma Thompson version of Much Ado About Nothing, and enjoyed it very much, despite being distracted by the not-really-quite-accurate-for-any-time costumes (that's a trait of mine I'll always have to contend with, I fear) and the fact that I found the Dogberry scenes a bit lacking. In a funny way. Through being too much. I think he and his cohort are made more of a bunch of fools there than I find palatable in film form; it would probably work better on stage. Kenneth Brannagh and Emma Thompson are both a joy to watch, though.
There might be some correspondence between Shakespeare and my bout of Narnianish inspiration. It's certainly an idea that bears further exploration; I have yet to see Branagh's Henry V, which is a shortcoming I should correct as soon as possible.

Oh, and I've read, so far, about a tenth or so of Augustin's Confessions. It's a strange book. It reads weirdly, like he's approaching it all from an angle I cannot penetrate; like I would have had to live at his time to really understand what he's talking about and the issues he's wrestling with and the angle he's going at it from. Or like he has a sort of thinking personality that's very foreign to me. But at the same time, in retrospect, I find that he addresses very timeless issues, which probably accounts for the timeless appeal of the book. Like the ways we relate to fiction and live through the tragedies of fictional characters. Which he disapproves of, I think, on the basis of the pagan-based theatre at his time being immoral. I wonder what he would have made of something like Shakespeare? (Shakespeare can be such a contrary animal.) And the claim Sienkiewicz makes in Quo Vadis via Paul to Petronius that informed Christian art would reach new heights? (I think of Gothic architecture and Tolkien and Lewis and stuff and find myself in tentative agreement with Sienkiewicz.) And fanfiction! He would be horrified at the majority of it.
The way he dismisses fiction, he reminds me of a man I had a conversation with once in the street, over a book of Chesterton's short stories he found in a trash can. (He dismissed it and I snatched it up afterwards. Ha!) I still haven't figured out how to make the case for fiction since then, but I think I believe in it even more strongly now. It's an interesting experience to disagree with such a hallowed book.

It's an interesting experience for me as a Czech Protestant who's fairly recently read some texts that are kind of the basis of Czech Protestantism and found myself so much in agreement with them that they were almost... superfluous to me? My sister reported the same experience with such texts; either they are so much the basis of what we grew up in that that happens, or - or it's pretty chilling to think just how bad the Catholic church of the time must have been for them to be necessary.
I think I should read more old texts like that to figure out just how much of my thinking is present there and how much isn't, and why. It's quite illuminating to see what changes with time and place and personality, and what remains constant.

And of course, there's still things one can learn from them.

marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
Well, that sounds like a very pretentious title for what's going to follow.

I've written about this a few times already in various comments on other people's blogs and possibly also stories, but I've wanted to make a post out of it. There is all the talk about representation of women going on - female fanfiction writers trying to tackle it in their stories, myself included (goodness, Twinkletop happened kind of accidentally, but I've very quickly become very fond of her...), and inevitably you come to the point that there just aren't that many female background characters in Narnia. Lewis, for his time and age and life experience, does remarkably well on balance between protagonists, in my opinion, and I suspect that was because he really was doing a conscious effort - because almost every time a slightly less important character pops up, Lewis defaults to male.

The fun part of this I wanted to discuss is the fact that I've only become aware of this when I started reading the books in English. The reason why that's so is that Czech, unlike English, is a gendered language - everything has a gender, masculine, feminine or neuter, so some animals naturally default to female in Czech. And in some cases, the translator - I'm speaking of Renáta Ferstová here, because I've never read the second Czech translation - defaulted to female even where Lewis used a male pronoun in the original.

And sometimes, in Narnia, this means a female Glimfeather and a whole Parliament of female Owls, because "sova" - "owl" is default feminine. (Goodness, was I disappointed when I found out that both Glimfeather and Owl-Wol in Winnie-the-Pooh are male...)

It means that when the Jackdaw in The Magician's Nephew becomes the first joke, the Jackdaw is female.

It means that when the giant in Prince Caspian steps on a Fox in his distress and the Fox bites him, the Fox is female.

In fact, it means that you probably automatically assume some of the Mice are female, because "mouse" is a femininum.

It means that the Squirrels at the end of The Silver Chair default to female.

EDIT: The most striking example that didn't occur to me at first - in The Boy and His Boy, the cat that comforts Shasta and is actually Aslan is default female.

So, for your enjoyment and contemplation, I'm enclosing a non-exhaustive list of default-female species in Czech. Many of these, even where English only seems to have a complicated or Latin genus name (at least to be found online), would have a simple Czech name that a child moderately interested in the natural world (which many Czech children are, or at least were when I was a child...) and visiting zoos would come to recognise.
The list )
So, as you can see, you get a fairly encompassing range of "female Beast" characteristics in this default list, even if it often does tend towards the smaller (most of the larger animals are default male). But you also get the hugeness that is a whale, you get beasts & birds of prey as well as the peaceful dove and sheep, you get swans and crows, you get both the "bad" and "good" snakes, you get the chatty and the quiet, the fast and the bouncy and the flying and crawling and swimming and earth-dwelling and nest-building and tree-climbing, you get day and night. Have fun with it if you're writing Narnian fanfiction. :-)

(Interestingly and as an aside, "child" in Czech is grammatically neuter but "children" is feminine, to the confusion of many a student.)
marmota_b: Photo of a purple flower against sunlight, shining through (End of August)
I'm in the final stages of moving from one flat when at school to another. My family had been occupying the old one for over ten years, it turns out; my sisters before me. We kept finding Things. Little sentimental mementoes and practical things completely forgotten about because they were part of the landscape. A little ceramics whale I made years ago in art class. Four extension cords; I nearly forgot one. The dust pan and brush, and the bin. Father's tools. He even had a pair of jeans left behind in the wardrobe. The curtains in the kitchen window were about five shades of grey darker at the bottom than they were on top.
We have to move out because the house is a little over a hundred years old and apparently the electrical wiring in the flat hasn't been changed since it was first put in, or something. And there's a persistent gas leak. And the bath is in the kitchen, which was fun while we were there, kind of, except that there was no door, just a curtain, so, you know, the new tennants will no doubt want a more modern approach to in-house hygiene.
The old little green sink in the toilet that I'm so fond of and refused to have replaced got a stamp of approval from a member of the reviewing committee (there was my aunt, whose house it is, the young lady who helps oversee the house for her, and the man in charge of the upcoming renovation). It made me a little warm inside. Hopefully the new tennants will like it, too.

The new flat is somewhat smaller, which means now there's stuff everywhere, before I figure out where it all goes. And I kind of hate the bed; I slept on the floor in the old flat, because it turns out I like my sleeping surfaces really hard. So for now, I sleep on the floor again, which of course doesn't help the situation with stuff everywhere. And there are zero nails in the walls and we're not allowed to put in new ones, which is rubbish, especially because I have several pictures and a mirror.
BUT
There's a river at one side, and forested hills on the other side, and gardens everywhere, including right in front of the balcony that my room opens into. (The neighbours have chicken even, which is so much right, and I've heard a woodpecker and seen a jay.) And even though there's a fairly frequented road right in front of the house, it's still a considerable step up from the old place where there's one of the busiest streets, right next to a busy crossroads, and trams going underneath your window every ten minutes or so; and if your forgot your laptop open overnight, it would be covered in dust in the morning.
Also, internet. Right now, I'm sitting in the old flat with the mobile connection, which has been rendered mostly obsolete with the move.
So it's mostly a win.

All the moving and all the school stuff, though, means there hasn't been much fanfiction writing in the past months. I can't move on with The Peridan Chronicles, even though I want to. I'm stuck on a chapter that needs primarily stylistics, and an ethical/spiritual debate, and such like, which requires more thinking than I have mental capacity for for the time being. I figured out the stuff with the Polynesian heritage for Telmarines I mentioned before (it makes so much sense for this character I had had a vague idea for), and that's about it when it comes to inspiration for it.
There hasn't even been any sewing (aside from darning a sock recently), which tends to be my go-to activity when I'm intellectually depleted.

In other news, though, I wrote two limericks in the creative writing course, one as my regular assignment and one instead of a critique because the critique was to point out the rhyming scheme; so I feel rather accomplished in that regard. Me and poetry don't normally get on.


So I'm sitting in the old flat, writing a post to make sense of it. To put a thick line behind it. Something along those lines. I'll miss the green sink, but the green chairs went with me. On the bus. In three consecutive journeys over the weekend. My sister joked that the drivers on the line would come to believe there was a green-chair-wielding ghost haunting them.


This should not fit, but the mood does.

marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
There's definitely shades of Pitcairn Islands history in Telmarine history. Not in a "that's what Lewis meant!" way, but definitely in a "that's most likely the story he would have heard" way. I like the mention of how inaccurate navigational techniques made the islands hard to find for subsequent explorers - that's very easily what could have happened to the island the Telmarines came from and returned to! And the story of the Bounty mutineers together with Tahitians founding the few families that live there, and the subsequent infighting among the settlers: that does sound familiar.

I should be doing something else, of course, but I got to thinking how much of Polynesian culture (assuming it's Polynesian, which I find most likely) might have filtered down to Telmarine culture, and that's the kind of rabbit hole that sort of thinking leads to.

The headcanon I'm working with now is that the independent-thinking Western Telmarines I've mentioned in The Peridan Chronicles are those who've retained most of their Polynesian roots (adapted to new circumstances and mostly unaware), and are most content with being where they are (which may not necessarily mean "settled down" in their case). Whereas the Central/Eastern Telmarines are those who are most like their forefathers of European descent, including the drive to conquer and subjugate.
Very simplistically told, because they're not all the same, of course. Now I'll have to find out more about Polynesian culture and what of it I could use, but I don't really have time for it now.

                                          

Also, Dreamwidth needs to introduce an "inquisitive" mood indicator. "Curious" is close but not quite.
marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
I've just found out that the hierarchy of aristocracy I'm sort of unconciously following in The Peridan Chronicles - i.e. Lords/Ladies on a higher level and Sirs/Dames (knights) on a lower level - is an old Czech medieval/early modern distinction. Later it got muddied up with the arrival of Habsburgs on the throne, especially during and after the Thirty Year War, when many foreign aristocratic families (Catholic) replaced the old Czech (Protestant) ones - bringing in all the foreign titles like Dukes and Princes and whatnot.
There are some old Czech aristocratic titles I'm aware of, possibly to do with one's function in some cases, but it was apparently a much simpler system than later, basically with only two levels in the hierarchy, excepting the ruler.
I followed it unconsciously, myself unaware that that was really a historical fact, but I like it very much for Narnian headcanon. A simple system during the Golden Age and following it, no one nominally better than others in their own rank except when fulfilling a function; and then completely muddied up with the Telmarine rule, where Caspian can go and name Lord Bern a Duke just because.
marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)

Do you assign actor likenesses to characters?

For long, I had not been one to do that. Maybe this was in part because we’ve never had TV, so where others grew up with visual stories, I grew up imagining everything from the pages of a book. Then with DVDs, this changed. I still don’t do it with that systematicity of some people who have lists of characters and actors at the beginning of their stories (that sort of approach always feels somewhat false to me, although what do I know). But some likenesses have worked their way through.

Kněžna, who makes a cameo appearance here, actually goes way back to what I now believe to have been my very first piece of fanfiction, written during my teenage years at the request of “a short story, to be beautiful” by my sister for her birthday. It evolved into novel proportions and was finished years after that particular birthday. It was based on ideas and environment developed by Czech writer Jaroslav Foglar, but populated entirely by my own characters (and five characters of my sister’s creation). I still call it “my short story”, even though it’s actually not. Anyway, Kněžna has, for a long time, looked much like Libuše Šafránková, especially in her incarnation as Cinderella. This happened, in part, because a certain scene in the story was inspired by a drawing in a 1970s knitting and crocheting manual – I would flip through it, look at the pictures of young ladies in knitwear and try to imagine why they were in those strange poses they were (back then, the concepts of “fashion illustration creative licence” and “pattern illustrations are weird” were still beyond my grasp). Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella is from 1974, so apparently there’s some similarity. My mind works in mysterious ways like that.

The next character to have a likeness assigned was Edmund. My headcanon Edmund, as I mentioned in the note to the first chapter of The Peridan Chronicles, is dark-haired, because of the Czech illustrations. Then, later, I watched 4:50 from Paddington in the latest Miss Marple series and suddenly realised that Michael Landes’ character reminded me of Edmund for some reason; once I realised that, I could not go back. In this funny roundabout way, my headcanon child Edmund actually looks a lot like Skandar Keynes, although otherwise pretty much nothing else about my headcanon Narnia looks like those films. (Well, maybe except some of those parts that were filmed in the Czech Republic, because not too surprisingly, a lot of my headcanon Narnia looks like that which I’m familiar with.)

Then adult Lucy started looking much like Rosamund Pike. This happened because I played with the idea of Susan being similar to Grace Kelly (dark-haired, of course), the same sort of half gracefully aspirational, half tragic character. That one did not quite take root in the looks department, but along the way, I came across a photoshoot of Pike Grace Kelly-style, and went all “oooh, Lucy” – and that one stuck. There’s no arguing with my mind when it does that.

It’s for tracing these crazy roundabout mysteries of my creative process that I wanted a fanfiction-y journal. I’ve never gotten into the habit of writing a personal diary, but sometimes trying to keep track of this without it is rather maddening... I think it’s the concept of writing something private that anyone can at any time find and read without your permission anyway that doesn’t sit well with me – growing up with two sisters in a small house will do that to you. And all the stories of famous people’s diaries. Better to just make it public right from the start, I guess.

WIP meme

Mar. 8th, 2015 09:50 am
marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
If it goes on like this, I'll fill this journal with memes and nothing else.

via [personal profile] transposable_element When you see this, share 3 random lines from 3 WIPs.


“Fancy going to the movies tonight? A friend just called he had to take a dog to the vet, and now I have one ticket too many.”
“You’ve got to be kidding,” Frank said.


For a while, silence settled on the courtyard. Peridan seemed deep in thought; Thunderbolt was still stunned by what he had seen and heard. In the background, there was only the never ending hum of the wind in the spruces and firs that had, once, been so familiar to him before it got replaced in his subconsciousness with the hum of the sea.


The new shiny ones were mostly Asian produce. One older Dodge and one battered black Ford van were the only representatives of the once proud American car industry.
With a small shock, Steve realised he could tell when each of them had approximately been made.

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