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.
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?
* * *
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.
"It makes me happy when I can sit down and write something. Writing does not have to be hard work, when you are well prepared. It's the same way with everything. I don't mean, in this case, the immediate preparation, figuring out what one wants to write and how it will go, how it will end. The preparations reach deep, deep, and sometimes it happens against one's will. It's the will to read a lot, and to read good books. Because that's also a way to learn for a person who's to write something. And it's necessary not to live in seclusion, but to live with people, to live with children, to observe everything around oneself, to think about it. And all that slowly, slowly adds up and adds up, and then when there is an impulse that tells one to start writing, all this will jump to assist."
ETA: I do have a beta, I just sent the story off into the ether later than I wanted.
Also, my creative juices, at least as far as writing goes, definitely flow better when I'm alone. That should not be such a surprise, I know I'm introverted; what surprised me was the force with which listening to someone and being around someone suppressed them this time. And then I needed time to get that out of my system when I was alone, which postponed the writing further. I really do need to work on that.
Also, they flow more freely when I travel through the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands by train often enough. Definitely not when travelling to Prague. I'm WEIRD.
(But I guess Bohemian-Moravian Highlands always having felt very Narnian to me does have something to do with it. The kick I was on when I started writing The Peridan Chronicles - phew, now I can finally focus on that - came from travelling through the Highlands after a long winter.)
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. :-)
... 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 transposable_element
Rating: General Audiences
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 syrena_of_the_lake
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 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
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 edenfalling , I wrote a missing scene from her work In Song and Story, Truth and Nothing but Truth
Rating: General Audiences
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 FF.net; 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...
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 FanFiction.net 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!
I've made three claims; two stories down, one to go.
Someone made a claim on my prompt overnight - yes, indeed, I've been sitting like a stupid watchdog on it. The claim's made me giddily happy, even though there's no story yet.
The whole exercise, especially thinking about a "safe story" for the prompt, has also made me realise that in the recent months (not sure how long), I've adopted a much more cavalier attitude towards my creations than I'd had for the rest of my life before.
( Read more... )
So now that I was looking at my stories, I realised I did not feel all that attached to any of them to prevent them from being remixed. I guess this means, if I ever publish any original work, I may be less bothered by fandom. :D
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.)