marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
2017-06-04 09:59 pm

The question of justice

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...
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2017-01-04 09:38 am

Meme in G

Picked up from [personal profile] heliopausa : you ask for a letter and then think of five fictional characters whose name begins with that letter, and write your comments and ideas on them.

When I asked her for a letter, I feared I would end up with one that Czech names don't usually begin with. Of course I was given G which is exactly one such letter. Over half of the following characters' names don't involve it in Czech.

But, surprisingly, once I got started, the rest flowed very quickly.

Gordon Urquhart (I hope I spelled it correctly...), from Local Hero – is frankly a mystery to me; but that’s actually part of what makes Local Hero fun. He’s a shrewd, smooth businessman in a community where everyone has to hold several jobs; as the story progresses, one begins to think simutaneously that he’s wasted there, that he’s exactly the man this community needs, and that he'd gleefully drive it to ground for money (but then, so would the rest of the community...). And he’s played by Dennis Lawson, so you believe it all. The interplay between him and Mac, Gordon trying to butter up Mac and drive a hard bargain and Mac swiftly not giving a damn (I’m at a loss at how to describe "not giving a damn" progressively?) – that’s an integral part of the core of the story in Local Hero, and a lot of fun to watch. So Gordon has to be smooth and therefore a bit faceless; but as I said, as played by Dennis Lawson, he is all that and still very memorable. (Which is best exemplified by the fact that he was the first fictional character with a name beginning with G I could think of that I could imagine myself writing about and wasn’t my own :D). Hm, I should watch more films with Dennis Lawson. He does seem to have an inate ability to make characters memorable.

Goldberry – from The Fellowship of the Ring. Doesn’t get much space in the books, but she does make a deep and lasting impression, feeding right into stories of water fairies, to put into English the way I think of it in Czech. Which, of course, doesn’t make much sense with the way fairies are usually perceived in English these days. That was, I believe, precisely Tolkien’s point in writing about such characters.

She’s actually not dangerous like Slavic water fairies are (at least not in this story), but she certainly radiates power, in a bit of foreshadowing for the way Galadriel is portrayed later in the book. Why did I think of Goldberry before Galadriel? Probably precisely because she’s a category of character I was already familiar with when first reading the books, so she rests somewhere more firmly in my subconscious. Even though her name doesn’t begin with G in Czech. (It’s Zlatěnka in Czech.)

The impression I have of her is hugely visual. I'm not sure if it's just because I'm so visual myself, or because that's really mostly what we get. But what I get from that about her as a character is that she has a knack for making an impression. That would go a long way towards explaining how she made an impression on Tom Bombadil, who, if anything, is characterised by being above (?) things. And her hospitality shows that she's not just that.

– and now that I’ve thought of Tolkien, there’s actually a wide choice of G characters to pick from. I chose to go with Gimli, because of Gimli and Legolas, who demonstrate one of my favourite literary moments... motifs... something; namely, the way two characters are stronger together, not just in the universe of the book (although that’s certainly also true), but even more so, for the reader.

Gimli, on his own, is mostly the token dwarf in the Fellowship (pretty much literally). He has his moments, but were it not for his friendship with Legolas – even though we actually never learn how exactly that happened! – his gradual character development would probably be passing and somewhat unmemorable. Even his devotion to Galadriel would probably be a lot less impactful, were it the only connection to the Elves he formed; but now that he springs to her defence in front of Éomer and Legolas springs to Gimli’s defence against the Riders in the same scene, the shift in Gimli’s attitude is firm and unshakable. His friendship with Legolas seals the deal, and also makes it absolutely clear that this is one of the good guys who are going to save the world and who are worthy of saving the world. (A lesson a lot of the “saving the world” genre could take a few pages from.)

Plus, Gimli’s description of the Glittering Caves is, in my personal opinion, one of the most beautiful things Tolkien’s ever written. It’s probably insulting to Dwarves to say that one passage completely humanises Dwarves, but my human readers will know what I mean.

Magrat Garlick
from Discworld – surnames count, don’t they?

Whoo, Magrat. She’s like someone I know, except I don’t really know anyone quite like her. I love that Pratchett’s able to do that. I have my problems with him, but I love that he’s able to do that.

She’s insecure and has odd beliefs (I mean, even among the witches in the books) and half the time you roll your eyes at her ideas, and you still root for her, her success against the villains, her progress in the world and her awkward romance. I'm unable to dissect this the way I was able to dissect Gimli, but I think part of the trick is seeing into her head in her Crowning Moments of Awesome. It makes her both relatable and kind of aspirational. We don't usually get this with Granny Weatherwax in her Crowning Moments of Awesome, only in what leads up to them, which makes Granny both seem even more awesome but also more distant. Granny's the shining leader (with lots of faults), Magrat is the underdog you root for.

Also, a group (Eh... what exactly is the terminology here? “Voluntary association”, as provided by Wikipedia, sounds weird.) for free time activities in my hometown, founded largely by women (including two of my art teachers), was named after her ("Magráta"). I wasn’t familiar with Magrat yet when it happened. Now that I am, I wholeheartedly approve of that choice of name. It’s exactly the sort of pursuit she would approve of.

– my take on Glimfeather can be summed up thusly:

“You can't trust mammals to know a thing about Birds, tu-whoo. But you do know that female Owls are bigger than males, don’t you?”

A huge part of the reason I insist on keeping female Glimfeather is precisely because it doesn't matter whether Glimfeather as a character is male or female (aside from my hobby-horse fact above: it would presumably be even easier for a female Owl to carry a human child). Glimfeather is default; Lewis defaulted to male and the translator defaulted to female. There's a sad shortage of default female animal characters, even in books originally written in Czech (like, more tomcats than female cats in popular Czech children's books, even though cat is default female). Jill, for example, isn't as default as that. For one thing, she plays up her femininity when it suits her; the surrounding characters do treat her differently. Glimfeather, being a Bird and an Owl in particular, can be either and we mammals would be none the wiser (which is also my headcanon for why Lewis treats her as default male).

Glimfeather's obviously following the "wise owl" trope, which apparently isn't true in Real Life. But this is Narnia, so who cares. What I like is that she's shrewd and common-sense: her wisdom is practical, active (unlike the completely satirical Owl-Wol in Winnie-the-Pooh or the Owl in the Czech Little Mole cartoons, who's learned but rather out of touch as a result).

And I like that she's one of the Beasts who are very obviously Beasts.

So... if you want, and haven't done this yet (or maybe even if you have), you can ask me for a letter, too.

Also: happy new year!
marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
2016-12-15 03:05 pm

I feel like this should go into Kangarooverse

This Tumblr conversation preserved in a picture

Although maybe it's more like a gift to Sister Serpent after all those previous mishaps?

Yeah. Maybe Anansi felt bad after his spider joke and wanted to make up for it.

marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
2016-10-12 08:21 am

Could you explain this to me?

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 when I finally get around to updating the story.
marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
2016-07-30 01:08 pm

NFE 2016 - Take 1

So the assignments have been sent out, and a few days later, I have started working on an idea. I have 591 words of mostly accompanying fluff / character exposition. I love the character side of the plot already. The other side of the plot that should happen somewhere in between turns out to be a whodunnit, and will have to be a lot longer than that. I have only a vague idea about what it should actually revolve about.

It also requires research. Lots of research.

Inspiration is *insert expletive of your own choice*.

P.S. 1153 words in. More of the character plot. Only a teeny tiny bit more of the other plot.
marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
2016-07-23 09:14 am
Entry tags:

Dear NFE writer, 2016 take

Dear Anonymous Writer,

I would like to thank you for participating this year, and apologise for having such a specific, un-taggable request.

You see, I've been craving more stories of the smaller nameless inhabitants of Narnia probably ever since I found out there was such a thing as fanfiction. One of those is the Robin in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: it plays such a vital role (I'm pretty sure it's the same little bird that saw Tumnus' capture, too), and yet it doesn't even get a name, and is never heard of again. Add to it the fact I've learned that the Czech Ornitology Society, which has been naming Birds of the Year since 1992, bestowed that honour on the European Robin this year... I really do want to read her story now.

Hers. You see, "robin" is default female in Czech. So the Robin of my childhood is female, and I would very much like it to remain that way.

I've just learned, thanks to the Bird of the Year article, that robins are pretty fierce fighters. Even the females.

The females look the same as the males, so that's easy.

I do not insist on the story concerning what happened in the Winter. It could very well be happening afterwards. I just really, really want her to have a name.

So. It can easily be a fluffy story without a plot if that's what you do better. It can involve other characters. I think I actually would like it very much to involve other characters, because there's so much scope that remains uncovered in most Narnian fanfiction. Are there talking Frogs? Newts? What are the songbirds up to? Do Dormice get along with Squirrels? Do Squirrels pay attention to the colours of their coats? (I bet they do.) Do other Narnians complain about the noise Hedgehogs make? Do Marmots emerge from their burrows hyperactive of a Spring, and get on the nerves of those who do not hibernate, or are they sleepy and disoriented? How did the hibernating species live through the Winter?!!!

How do these smaller Narnians get along with the bigger ones, and do they pay attention to what's happening in the Big Picture? Oh, let me rephrase that - what roles do they play in the Big Picture? Or maybe the other way round - can we see that even the Small Picture is important?

Thank you in advance for taking all this into consideration. And don't feel bad if inspiration strikes elsewhere. As I said, what I want most is the name. To make the Robin a person.

Good luck with your writing, and good luck in receiving the kind of story you crave!


marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
2016-04-06 10:53 am

"... and all the sort of things girls do talk about on such an occasion."

I've just had a thought. And maybe it's wrong and putting too much stock in Lewis and his wording (which is rather unfortunate), but what if that whole sentence actually goes to show that, look, they don't have to be only one or the other, Lucy isn't limited into either being a "lady" or "more like a boy" and Aravis can still enjoy talk of clothes with a likeminded woman?

It might stink of "Aravis arrives to her destination and instantly becomes more womanly", except that Lucy's been there for years, she's the queen of that place (well, the neighbouring place), and she's clearly both. So it's more like, Aravis arrives to her destination and finds out that, phew, it's okay to be the sort of woman she is.

Because, after all, knowing our characters we do know they aren't that one-dimensional. It's kind of like Jill who's heritage of Narnia is both taking up archery and keeping the fine clothes. Or, for that matter, Susan who's a womanly woman but also good at archery and swimming (just not in a battle context).

And maybe it's obvious, but I had to write it down. :-)

marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
2016-03-31 07:13 pm

A challenge from the past

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)
2015-07-14 12:01 am

NFE '15: Take 1 + Thoughts on my request

So I signed up for the Narnia Fic Exchange proper this year, and have received my assignment, and now pondering commences.

Elizabeth Culmer has the problem of obviously her worldbuilding and characters threatening to give her away as the writer. I don't have that problem; I've barely published anything and most of my worldbuilding is happening in the background so far (although I did already have to drop Twinkletop from my remix). My problem is that I almost immediately got a vague idea of a direction to pursue which would have spoiled one of many future plot points for The Peridan Chronicles.

The good news is, trying to come up with a way to write around that seems to have started a flurry of ideas including a hint of a plot (always the greatest problem for me!), so, yay.

Also, some hopefully interesting female characters (as of now, still nameless) have walked in, and some potentially interesting discussions and a theme are forming, so, more yay.

Now I'm becoming worried if I'll have enough time to write the beast this idea is quickly growing into.


During my annual attempt to bring some order to my mess of stuff, I found some old, old pictures I made inspired by Narnia. Maybe. Because through them, I remembered one of the sources for my version of Narnia, the cozy country of small Talking Beasts and Birds and the undertaking of practical projects: a series of lavishly illustrated books by Tony Wolf.

We used to borrow them from the library; I only have the third one, which also has the dwarfs/gnomes and introduces giants. I feel like it's the last one that might pass for Narnianish; the next one has fairies and the sort of magic wand magic that I never truly liked in a deep liking way. Even then, while definitely daydreaming about both, I instinctively liked the Deep Magic of worldbuilding more than the willful magic of power, I guess? It was the former that found its way into pictures. And I was more fascinated by the clever things the animals and the gnomes built and made than the things the fairies could conjure.
Seeing as Czech fairies are more like the Narnian Naiads and Dryads than these wee magical beings, I guess it's no wonder I related to the Narnian sort more... and in the Tony Wolf books, to the three mouse sisters. They sewed and wove, and wasn't that just fabulous, making things with their... paws?
Also, there's the weird genderised thing going on between the all-male gnomes and the all-female fairies; I never gave it much thought, but I liked the mixed up animals better than either. The Czech default genders may have had a hand in it again, because I'm finding the venerable Rat was definitely meant to be male, and who knows about the turtle or otter.

Even the first three books don't quite fit in with Narnia: the animals tend to be smaller rather than larger, the dwarfs are different... But in introducing a number of various fairly realistic-looking species beyond what Lewis bothered with, and thinking about a different sort of implications for such a world, I think the books jumpstarted my interest in the lives of the smaller inhabitants of Narnia - and, for that matter, Spare Oom as well. :-)
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2015-07-06 08:00 am

Remix Madness, take 3

So the authors were revealed, as inconspicuously and outside of our notice as Čapek describes buds in the spring opening. Josef Čapek, that is, in a feuilleton I read on Saturday, although I suspect Karel wrote something very similar somewhere...

... anyway, as I said, the authors have been revealed, so it's time for Take 3.

I got two stories.

Condiments (The Morning After remix) was written by [personal profile] transposable_element 

Rating: General Audiences
Archive Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Category: Gen
Fandoms: The Avengers (Marvel Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe
Characters: Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanov, Clint Barton, Thor
Additional Tags: Fluff, Breakfast, Pancakes, Bickering
Language: English
Words: 430
Chapters: 1/1

After the Battle of New York, the Avengers indulge in a little friendly bickering over pancakes.

I love all the culture-and-taste clashing. I love the subtle and less-than-subtle characterisation between the Avengers. I love that Clint likes his with blueberries, because yay, blueberries!!!! I love that Thor eats his pancakes with lingonberries and is surprised by their thickness.

(Fun fact: Czech actually has two words for the two kinds of pancakes. The thin, crépe-like ones are called palačinky (which, wow, is related to placenta via Romanian and Hungarian and Slovak) and the thick ones, leavened or with baking powder or soda, are called lívance (which comes from the verb lít, to pour). One of the zillion reasons I like my language!)


Pack Rat (Remix of "Packing for the Journey") was written by [personal profile] syrena_of_the_lake 

Rating: General Audiences
Archive Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Categories: F/M, Gen
Fandom: Chronicles of Narnia - All Media Types
Relationship: Aravis/Shasta | Cor
Characters: Corin, Shasta | Cor, Aravis
Language: English
Words: 532
Chapters: 1/1

Sometimes, Cor can be a little too prepared. And Corin, though an exasperatingly bad packer, is paradoxically something of a hoarder.

I love how Syrena expanded on my tiny mention that Corin did, of course, come back from his diplomatic journey to Calormen with trouble on his heels. "Corin's second diplomatic trip to Calormen fell short of a complete disaster in the same way that a lost and unhorsed soldier in the desert would at least not be swept away by floodwaters. It was not Corin's fault by word, deed or inaction, but the brunt of the misfortune had nonetheless fallen upon his head." Hehe. Read on if you haven't yet, it's hilarious!

Hmm. I'm still not sure I've figured out this formatting thing.

I wrote three stories; but one of them was something I actually started writing years ago, and the Remix Madness provided an opportunity to pull it out.

For [personal profile] syrena_of_the_lake , I wrote Dear Jenna, Father Christmas (and Ilbereth), a remix of a three-sentence fic of hers that she wrote in response to my prompt... yeah, I did do that.

Rating: General Audiences
Archive Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Category: Gen
Fandom: The Father Christmas Letters - J. R. R. Tolkien
Characters: Father Christmas, North Polar Bear, Paksu, Valkotukka, Ilbereth
Additional Tags: Mischief
Language: English
Words: 217
Chapters: 1/1

Arm wrestling with the cubs wasn't the best idea. Letting them pack the chocolates was a worse idea.

It needed to be put into proper letter form, you see!

Ilbereth's post scriptum was actually inspired by a little brochure we had when I was a child (it must still be lying around somewhere), full of lavish illustrations of ways you can re-purpose ordinary items and junk and fruit and vegetables into toys and ornaments. With handwriting and poems. There was a Christmas section. I'm not sure there were any orange rind boats, but the spirit of it was an obvious fit.

For [personal profile] edenfalling , I wrote a missing scene from her work In Song and Story, Truth and Nothing but Truth

Rating: General Audiences
Archive Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Category: Gen
Fandom: Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis
Relationship: Edmund Pevensie & Peridan
Characters: Edmund Pevensie, Peridan (Narnia), Original Female Character(s)
Additional Tags: Newspapers
Language: English

Edmund wants to establish newspapers, but he keeps running into problems. Do newspapers print the truth?

In which Edmund's search for people willing to undertake the newspaper project continues, unsuccessfully. Because Narnians do not know what newspapers are, and my headcanon Peridan (who, if he is Methos, does...) could not refrain from pointing out another obvious glitch in Edmund's argument. It's a glitch that has been discussed many times over the years in this family, which is, I guess, why it jumped to my mind immediately when reading the original story.

The two ladies in the story, Amathea the Naiad laundress and Lady Dariam of Heather downs, are people I came up with for The Peridan Chronicles, though neither of them has made it to the main body of the story yet - Amathea is mentioned in a deleted scene and Lady Dariam ought to be mentioned in a chapter I haven't managed to finish yet.

The third story, the one I'd written before, is Survivors, inspired by daegaer's Captain Crowley series, particularly Bright with his Splendour and a short WW2 piece published on LiveJournal that doesn't seem to have made it to their AO3 account. And by LeonaWriter's delightful story And He Smiled over at; that wasn't part of the challenge, it's just just because it found its way into it inevitably, it's that lovely. I think I'll leave this one for another post...
marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
2015-07-01 10:40 am

Remix Madness, take 2

I got not one, but two remix stories!

And to top it off, they picked two of my favourite of my stories to remix.

There's "Condiments", a remix of "The Morning After" which I wrote during the Three Sentence Ficathon. "After the Battle of New York, the Avengers indulge in a little friendly bickering over pancakes." And over the different condiments to put on them (or in them), drawing on my Natasha's sour cream. :-)

And then there's "Pack Rat", a fun expansion of "Packing for the Journey" which I wrote for Ariyah in the Secret Santa over at last year. "Sometimes, Cor can be a little too prepared. And Corin, though an exasperatingly bad packer, is paradoxically something of a hoarder." Both are nice logical conclusions of the relationship and details I hinted at in the original piece. And it much funnier. :-)

This, once again, goes to show me that the best pieces often come from a challenge - both of the remixed stories (which, as I mentioned, are among my favourites) were written in response to a prompt. So I'm glad to see that passed on.

There will definitely be a Take 3 after the reveal. For now, go and enjoy these if you haven't already!
marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
2015-06-25 10:32 am

To Anonymous NFE Writer, Marmota, Scribbler, Greetings

To Anonymous NFE Writer, Marmota, scribbler from the Czech Lands, Greetings.

Thank you very much for generously offering to lend your time and talents to my whims.

I have long been wishing for a greater number of stories that tell of the smaller and less known inhabitants of Narnia rather than the famous kings and queens (not that I find the reasons they are famous unimportant). I would like to hear the story of the Robin that led the Pevensie siblings to the Beavers. And to know her name (see my previous post as to why "her"). I would like to know what Pattertwig's journey to the Lantern was like, and when and how he came back, and whether he had a family. I would like to read of the exploits of Narnian Frogs, and what the Kestrels are like. Or I would like to know if there are Dormice living in Narnia, and what their culture is like. Or whether the Jackdaw who became the first joke became wise in old age. That kind of stories.

I would also like to know if there are other creatures, considered mythical in our world, living in Narnia or the world around. Did they, perhaps, travel to our world at some point, to account for the existence of the myths and folklore? Or were the myths and folklore, in some inexplicable way, the basis for their creation?

Come to think of it, how did the Marshwiggles come to be, and what are their relations with Water Rats like?

Basically, I am really interested in what the NFE tags deem Narnian Subcultures and Backstory, with a dose of Worldbuilding, Mythology & Folklore or Mythical Creatures thrown in.

I prefer stories of friendship over romance (but I like a good, character-based romance, too, when it comes to it); I prefer not to read slash, definitely do not want incest, and would prefer for my story to stay in the area up to T.

Thank you, once again, for listening to my ruminations, and good luck in trying to accommodate them - and may you receive just the kind of story you wish for!

Written in an undisclosed location in the Czech Lands, on the twenty-fifth day of the month Redthrive, in the year 2015.
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2015-06-13 10:55 am

Female Beast representation in Czech translations of Narnia

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.)
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2015-04-04 08:13 am

Headcanon accepted

There's just been a fic posted on that tells the story of why Coriakin was punished by governing the Duffles, and in the process manages to explain Stars, Tash and Zardeenah and another thing or two. It has echoes of the Music of the Ainur to its worldbuilding, and it all makes wonderful sense. I don't think I could come up with anything better now. I particularly like Zardeenah's role in it, as a sort of counterpoint to Tash.

Starfall by Gryphinwyrm7

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2015-03-23 08:58 am

Thoughts on Telmarine history

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.
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2015-03-19 10:47 am

Lords and knights

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.
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2015-03-09 09:28 am

Headcanon mysteries and why I need a writerly journal

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.

marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
2015-03-08 09:50 am

WIP meme

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.