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Things I do when I should be doing my homework: vars., incl. contemplating the Harry Potter mammoth nextgen fic that's sitting mostly in my brain and partly (only to the Sorting year one of what wants badly to be a full series) on my computer.

I know a lot of people dislike the Epilogue, and really so do I in a lot of ways, but the chief advantage is that there are opportunities to fix things. There's this generation of characters that JKR hasn't had the chance to screw up, whom I can use to highlight and work on setting right the problems with the wizarding world as written.

Basically, the story focuses on Albus Potter, Rose Granger-Weasley, and Scorpius Malfoy, because...just because it's kind of a cliché fic topic doesn't mean it's bad. It just means a lot of people see something there to write about. Like, an opportunity to screw with "House genetics" by putting Albus in Slytherin and Scorpius in Ravenclaw. Rose is still in Gryffindor, though, but with her I'm focused on the assumption that she's going to be just like her mother. She's her dad's girl in my story, for better or for worse. (Also, I like Ron better than it seems anyone writing nextgen stories does. So he gets to, like, actually have an important relationship with a protagonist.) Also on the cliché-train, I'm totally going to end up shipping Albus/Scorpius...because fuck you JKR, I'm going to write gay characters who are neither tragically bereft nor dead nor evil. So there.

On that subject, I'm declaring that all interview!canon facts are canon under advisement and I don't actually have to use them if I don't want to (e.g. I don't care what you say, Albus and Scorpius have the same middle name, because Hyperion is just silly). Or I can just choose to be selective in order to break down the incredible, overwhelming heterocentrism and nuclear-family-fetish going on. So, Audbrey [last name unknown]-Weasley is Percy's husband, not his wife, and their girls are adopted. And Luna is unmarried, has never been married, and doesn't feel the need for any help in bringing up her twins (not after they were both weaned and sleeping through the night, anyway). And I don't think Neville's married, or if he is I'm bizarrely fond of the idea of Neville/Millicent Bulstrode. And Ron is a stay-at-home dad, which I honestly think would make him happier. And they and their kids go by Granger-Weasley, because you know Hermione would demand it, awkward hyphenation be damned.

Because really, JKR, did you absolutely have to declare that no one important enough to be discussed in an interview is gay-and-happy, or a single parent, or just plain single, or without kids? Really?
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So, Disney's buying Marvel.

This does not worry me much, as no matter how evil Disney is, they'd have to try really damn hard to screw up worse than Marvel already is. If we're very lucky, the comics' downward spiral to GRIMDARK and the Disney fluffotron will cancel each other out. Hopefully.

But you know what's really important about this? KINGDOM HEARTS III: DEFEAT DOCTOR DOOM.

That's right, this makes Marvel officially fair game for the gallivant-about-Disney-properties-fest that is KH. Think about it. At the very least, my crossover ideas are now significantly less crossovery.
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I really, really need to learn how to be productive. Story is just not behaving itself; it feels like I'm never in the right mood AND the right place at the same time. *sigh* But I'll get through it! I totally will! (Also, I have way, way, waaaaay more ideas than I have time to write them. *sadface*)

So, a meme from Tuna. Give me a character, and I will tell you:

1. What would your character kill for? What would they die for?
2. What would they refuse to do under any circumstances? Why?
3. What do they dream about? [Either literal or figurative, specify please.]
4. What’s their biggest fear?
5. What single object would they be most hard pressed to part with? Why?
6. What is their fondest memory?
7. What is their worst memory?
8. What or who was were their most significant influence? Expound.
9. What do they believe makes a successful life?
10. What makes them laugh?
11. What are their religious views?
12. What is their greatest strength?
13. Do they have a fatal flaw? If so, what is it?
14. Who is the most important person in their life?
15. If they died, who would miss them most? How would they die?
cygna_hime: (Default)
The long ones, in particular, which I have the most trouble finishing. These are the stories I am happy to babble about.

Assorted fandoms, assorted genres )

If I could actually get any of these done, that would be nice...*sigh* I fail so hard at longfic.
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Actually wrote something, whee!

For [ profile] kh_drabble, prompt "Walls". There were basically two places I could have gone with this, and I took the other one. Which is good, since someone else picked up on the Pink Floyd, and I would've looked silly. So.

Daughters in Boxes/A Box Without Walls

The chief thing the prompt stirred up in me was by-now-slightly-vague memories of Kishida Toshiko's famous (and yet unavailable online in English, as far as I can tell) feminist speech "Hakoiri Musume", or "Daughters in Boxes". Specifically, I thought about her entirely justified complaint (at least at the time) that women were not taught even the things necessary to run a household, that they were imprisoned in boxes where they could not see out, and even in a very comfortable box, without windows it was a prison. And I thought about her exhortation for women's education, so that they could live in a box without walls, though she did not yet suggest that women should or could compete with men directly. And then I though about the Princesses of Heart.

So, there's Cinderella, and Aurora, and Snow White, who go in a minute from servitude or (apparent) poverty to royalty. Aurora lived in a cottage in the woods all her life! What do they know, what will they do, as royalty? But they got their happy endings, because they are beautiful and therefore married well. What they're to do after that does not enter into the question. They seem to have bought into it.

And there's Jasmine, who doesn't know exactly what has been kept from her but knows at least that something has, and hates it. She tries acting out against her upbringing, but because she was never taught, for example, self-defense, she can't do a very good job of it. And that's sad, because she's stuck and knows it. (At least her marriage is likely to be an improvement.)

But there are also Belle, and Alice, and Kairi, who are none of the above. The thing everyone knows about Belle is that she reads. No one has kept her from learning things, at least in theory. And it shows. She knows what she does and does not want, she makes choices. Her appearance in KHII is incredibly true to character: unlike the above princesses, she's capable of saving herself. And then there's Alice, who's...a seven-year-old girl from Victorian England, who goes on this ridiculous dreamworld adventure. And does quite well, for her age. She's been educated (even if only some of it stuck), she does things, she has firm ideas about what should be and should not be. And she's no kind of princess at all. And then there's Kairi, who has one game of princessly distress, one game of us learning a great deal about the difference between a princess and a witch (none), and one game of flatly refusing to be anything but active.

But it's not that they're in some way different. It's not that the first four are weak for putting up with it. It's that even if you're strong, you need something to be strong with, some suggesting that strength is possible. It's that they've been put in boxes, while the last three have those boxes without walls that Kishida talked about.

It's a bit soapboxy of me, I admit, but KH fandom is so very focused on the male characters. People often dismiss the girls as weak or uninteresting, and that's just not fair. Until we take a good long look at what makes them that way, we're just perpetuating a problem of women in fiction. "Why are the female characters so boring?" is the cry. Well, they damn well didn't make themselves that way. But my soapbox is much more interesting as fic.
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Because for a kerfuffle that seems to me to be so damn obvious, it sure is going on for a while. ([ profile] metafandom has links to most of the relevant posts, if you've been fortunate enough to miss it.)

So, to warn or not to warn? )
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So, I wrote some more on the story I'm working on (which is the same universe as another story idea I have with winged people, only when I started writing what I thought was going to be a winged people story it turned out to be this instead). I've found out a lot, which is always nice, like that the main character is a magician who likes to sew and wear pretty dresses (...yes, he is a man) and he has two cats named Clef and Fermata by his twelve-year-old brother (his brother likes music, and Clef keeps starting things with her brother and Fermata is bloody stubborn and holds on to an argument forever, because names tend to be accurate around here) and he's kind of weirded out by mirrors because all mirrors are magic mirrors eventually (and mirrors are just freaky) and his parents own the Black Griffin Inn (their matriarch cat is a black cat named Griffin--I know way more about these damn cats than has any relevance, probably) and today is his sister Alison's sixth name-day (she likes stories of dragons and adventure; he made her a miniature toy dragon which can't hurt anyone and won't last long, but boy will she ever love it while it does last) and the woman I've known he's going to end up going to sort out an evil magician with is in fact his sister Melanie, who's twenty-two to his twenty-four and has turned her dislike and distrust of him (he was a bit of a bully as only a child with magic whose younger sibling has none can be) into a distrust of magic generally, or maybe it's just that she expresses these views when she's home, and I think he has two other brothers in between Zachary and Melanie who don't have names yet, and he's cracked like all magicians which in his case means that he talks to magic like it's sentient, which it really kind of isn't, and also the dresses (not that he looks like a girl; he looks like a man in a dress) if that really counts, which it sort of doesn't because it's not that he's crazyish, it's that he wants to wear dresses and if you're a magician you can get away with that kind of thing, and his cottage just got turned into gingerbread by a stray bit of magic again, and his name is Jeffrey.

I love when stories do this. My job is just to not get in the way.
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Best AU that ever was canon.

So, apparently it is now Marvelverse canon that a)in an alternate universe where Tony Stark was female, she and Cap got married, and b)as a result of their relationship giving them more motivation to not break upresort to violence, Civil War never happened. Which leads me to the logical conclusion that if 616!Cap and Tony had been able to get married the way they OBVIOUSLY WANTED TO, none of the shit that's happened since Civil War would've happened.


I really don't know what the writer was trying to convey, other than, "Cap and Iron Man are TOTALLY MANLY and NOT AT ALL GAY, but if it weren't gay, they would totally get married".

There are a lot (a *lot*) of slashy subtexty moments for Steve/Tony, but this one sails happily over the line from subtext to just text.

Original story idea for [ profile] capiron_bigbang: outlined, but I have a sick suspicion I won't be able to actually fill enough words, and it doesn't really go anywhere or say anything new.

Story idea spinning happily off of this single image: detailed outline of an extensive plotline, complete with dialogue snippets, exploring an alternate universe and the problems Tony would face as a woman.

I...guess I'm switching stories, then.

(Funnily, I'm least happy with the actual True-Love-prevents-Civil-War portion of the outline, because I'm so convinced that Cap and Tony's love is already pure and true in 616--they're certainly the best of friends, who usually trust each other and talk about issues, especially political ones--that I'm having trouble constructing a reason it would go differently. Other than, of course, the fact that the way it went in 616 was totally inconsistent with all prior canon on similar subjects.)
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First, a reminder of how awesome this school is: today the chapel bells were playing...the Indiana Jones theme. Yes. I laughed out loud--no, really, in real life out loud.

And now, back to our show. For French, we have to read Le Cid, and I just finished. Man, I am all over this play like white on rice. Not only is it wonderfully written, to the degree where it takes all my force of will not to start declaiming in public while reading, but it hits like all of my general-writing kinks.

For example: Our Heroine and the Infanta like each other, despite both being in love with Our Hero. (Or, well, Our Heroine may not know. But the Infanta does.) In fact, she angsts about it, because she knew she couldn't marry a mere knight and therefore set him up with Our Heroine. But she loves him anyway. But she doesn't want to. But she never acts like she dislikes or bears a grudge against Our Heroine on this account. She set them up! She wants them to be happy! Despite being the Other Woman, she's not OMGevilMcBitchy! (Two female characters, romantic rivals at that, who like each other? Never happens.)

For further example: I love so hard stories where the source of the conflict is in the characters' virtues. What keeps the lovers apart is that they're too honorable! I loooooove that! It also makes them look like much more cohesive characters, since traits they love in each other and that are considered virtues get in the way. (As opposed to the all-too-frequent Mary Sue style where they seem to have no flaws, or only informed flaws.)

And also: the main issue comes from honor vs. love, which can be a dicey affair when I'm reading fiction written in/about a different time period, because sometimes it seems like they're making mountains out of molehills. And honor depends on society so much, it's tricky to convince me that (whatever) will reduce their honor. But here, it works, mostly because all the other characters know the trap the lovers are in and agree that yeah, that's a no-win situation there. It's a much clearer picture of societal values. (Note that everyone else, including the king, still thinks the heroine goes a bit too far, but, again, character trait.)

While I'm on the subject, there's no misunderstanding between the lovers. Each understands the position the other's in and sympathizes with their mutual plight. This makes it much easier for me to believe that they're in love, because it's not one of those plots that'd be solved in an instant if the lovers just *talked* to each other. They *do* talk, they *do* understand each other's problems, and the problems are *still there*.

So, yeah. A rollicking good read, if you read French (or if you don't, I guess, although I doubt there's a translation nearly as good as the original), and one of the few things I've read for this class in which I honestly believe that the heroes are sympathetic, in love, and not stupid.
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So, apparently when I write original fic about an orphan who turns out to be a werewolf who was adopted after crazy bigots killed his "pack" but thought that the children could be "saved", my inspiration stalls out and/or I realize that a)this fic would be similar without the werewolves and b)it wants to have chapters, with an option of c)I have a character arc but no plot to hide it in. On the other hand, when I decide to write about a "pack" of werewolves with kids living in suburbia, 2,000 words just dance by. I don't even know.

On the other hand, I'm actually happy with this story. It's kind of unbalanced--two sections for two kids at 500 words each, followed by a section at 1,000--but I like these guys. They're fun, they're fresh, they don't bore me or make me wonder what the point is of having them be werewolves in the first place, they don't make me feel like I'm indulging in teen angst, and above all, they're different. I feel like this story is actually saleable, or will be after a few more scenes and some editing, because it's not the same old stuff. Werewolves? Meh. Pack of werewolves, actually living together? Slightly less meh. (Seriously, writers, social creatures.) Werewolves raising kids? Nonmeh. Werewolves in white picket fence land? Tell me more!

Maybe it's just me, but...werewolves living in a more wolflike pack structure with Mom and Dad and then a whole bunch of aunts and uncles? Adult werewolves? Werewolves with children? Werewolves at PTA meetings? DO WANT.

The person who paid good money for a story with werewolves and m/m sex if you've got it may not agree, though. I may end up writing her another one, but...werewolves at PTA meetings!
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See, the way it works is:

  • I am not about to go upstairs (=hotbox) between noon and 10 pm. Because agh agh death.
  • The network cable is upstairs. This controls my access to the Internet and its many distractions.
  • Therefore, I do not go online between noon and 10 pm.
  • Writing requires little movement and produces minimal heat.
  • Writing can be done downstairs, in the land of comparative cool.
  • I have only limited brain available during the afternoon.
  • On the other hand, after dark I start to perk right up.
  • Writing is also quiet and does not disturb the sleeping.
  • Writing can be done at all hours.

    Therefore, I wrote...something like ten pages? Of handwritten story today. It's original, a fun thing inspired by a series of short stories I read elsewhere. Hopefully different enough not to make me feel guilty. But. I have at least three other stories of the same length floating in my head, and that's not counting the vignettes. Yeah.

    And yes, it is in fact 2 am. And I'm more awake than I've been in hours. This heat wave is screwing with my sleep schedule.

    I believe I shall type this story tomorrow. Draft two time!
  • cygna_hime: (Default)
    Today I re-read this book by Jules Feiffer (which is not a household name, although I don't see why not), which was one of the favorites of my childhood. I was pleased to discover that it remains just as good, just as funny, just as touching, and just as real when I read it now as it did ten years ago.

    It has been said that the measure of a good fantasy novel is that it is as good at five as at fifty-five. By this standard, A Barrel of Laughs, a Vale of Tears is an excellent fantasy novel. It stands up just as well to my critical adult eyes as it did to my youthful ones back when I only knew what I liked, not why. Now, however, I can at least make a go at articulating the why.

    This is a fantasy book. It is the story of a young prince who is sent out on a quest so that he will grow up a bit and stop being so naïve. He does, gets the girl, and lives happily ever after. No, wait, that can't be right. I've become sick of the whole bildungsroman trope, and my summary makes it sound just like one. Let me try again.

    This is a story about people. It is a story about a prince who makes everyone laugh, not by being funny, but just by being, and the quest he gets sent on so he'll stop, because it's hard to get anything done when everyone around the prince can't stop laughing. It is a story about the people he meets, each of whom has his or her own quest and his or her own personality, made real in a handful of sentences.

    This is a mix of many things I like. It has a hero who gets rescued by a woman more often than the reverse. It has a narrator who keeps talking directly to the reader. It has a fairy-tale feel but a nontraditional ending. It has complex morality. It has no fourth wall. It has lines like: If you read Homer's book The Iliad, you'll find that his heroes, before entering battle, tell their opponents almost more about themselves than you'd want to tell your best friend. Where they're from, what their father does, their entire life's history, except, perhaps, what they did on their summer vacation. How can you resist a book for children that can reference the Iliad without sounding patronizing?

    It is a story about life, a story that makes life funny and tragic and hopeful and unexpected. Now that I think about it, a lot of the other stories I like best are like that. Maybe it isn't "realistic". But it's real.

    And, like I said, it's just as good now as it was when I was eight. I highly recommend it.
    cygna_hime: (Default)
    So, I was writing a fairy tale today... )

    Does anyone else feel this way about fairy tales, or am I the only one? How do you feel about fairy tales?


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