tocryabout: Voyage of St. Brendan the Navigator (immram)
Whistling Shell
Fandom: Sunless Sea / Fallen London
Characters: Irrepressible Cannoneer, Zee Captain, & others
Length: 14,383 (complete)

The sacrifices we make for money aren’t always worth it. The Captain wants a piece of the red honey trade, and in order to secure her place with the smugglers, she sells something away that can’t be bought back. Or can it?

(Spoilers for the end of Zaira’s and the Irrepressible Cannoneer’s questlines.)

There’s a tune the Cannoneer likes to whistle, whenever we’re in sight of the bright green jewel-box of Aestival, or the darker swamp forests of the Sea of Autumn. Not so strange; the other zailors liven up in the air of the Calumnies too, and they all look forward to gathering crates of greens when we sail into port at Mangrove College. But the Cannoneer whistles that same tune when we’re under the hand of the Iron Republic, cutting the prow-light to hide from Unfinished pirates and Republican dreadnoughts…

Read at ao3: http://archiveofourown.org/works/5043175

There's also an 8tracks mix to go with it, if you're so inclined: http://8tracks.com/tocryabout/whistling-shell
tocryabout: Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister (day drinkin')
That feel when you decide to write a quick canon-compliant story for another fandom, just as a palate cleanser before launching into X-men Novel #3...and the story gets a little too long...and you come to the end and realise you really need to mirror it with a second one from the opposite perspective in order to make it all hang nicely...and now we're talking about 20K at least...

Well, a palate-cleanser is coming shortly, anyway, because the draft is done. It's in Sunless Sea/Fallen London fandom. Completely different from what I usually do, and yet not that different.

I'll aim to release the first three chapters of Novel #3 at once, just to be sure that I have all my dominos set up the way I want them to fall. Outlines are outliney, wheels are in motion.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
I'm not sure I could really tell you why, but I wrote Wolverine movieverse Sabretooth with the doomed Birdy from the comics, and then I threw in Al Purdy poetry and the possible murder of Tom Thomson because those things go with supervillains, right? Right. Also I'm going to get thrown out of the alumni society for dragging my alma mater this hard.

Read on AO3: Happy Hour Is Here
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Joel - Hands)
Ça va? Ça va. Long time no see.

I don't know if anyone who's still here even remembers me, but...

I wrote The Aphanes ten years ago in 2005. I know. This story (and The Heart's Landscape) never really left my mind. The old website is long gone and so is the computer I wrote this on, but I rescued the chapters from archive.org. I've never been 100% happy with the first three chapters (neither have my readers), and it felt really good to come back to them and tighten things up.

I made a lot of edits, massaged the dialogue, and tried to make the technology sound current. (The original mentioned a Discman, and people cared more about newspapers back then.) A couple of chapters have changed substantially; most are only different here and there. But it's the same story.

Anyway, it's now up on AO3.

I do plan to give the same treatment to THL, and to finally finish it, and yes I mean it this time.

(And yeah, I do feel old, thanks for asking.)

(Livejournal is WEIRD now.)
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Braaaaaaaaaaains)
[livejournal.com profile] the_epic asked me if, as a writer, I worry about being judged as a person for my writing (and subject matter, by extension).

Answer: Yes, I do. Why? Because writing is a moral act.

Does that mean there are things that we just SHOULD NOT write, if we are decent people? I think so. I think we SHOULD NOT write erotic stories about raping children. We SHOULD NOT write the equivalent of blood libel stories.* We just should not use words to dehumanise other people. We might also have a positive moral duty to use literature in life-affirming ways.

Or not. If you don't buy that, try this: writing requires empathy and a working conscience. Morality may not impose any restrictions on what we write, but the act of writing is not going to produce anything worth reading unless the writer is capable of moral thought. We need an understanding of how real people actually feel (both the strong and the weak, the victims and the oppressors) and a sense of justice, the fitness of things.

A story contains a moral world. In the world of Hannibal (the movie), it is okay for Hannibal to murder whoever he wants to. He doesn't receive comeuppance, and it is never implied that he is in the wrong. Morality is a part of the willing suspension of disbelief; what is right or wrong in the story is under the control of the writer/narrator. We feel betrayed when a writer uses this control to create a moral world that we find repugnant. It makes us feel all ooky.

Can we judge an author based on the work? It would be difficult and probably doomed to failure, but I don't think it's an entirely stupid idea. Most bad stories are just technically bad -- the author is immature, incompetent, or too lazy to do a good job. Some horrible abortions of fiction are more clearly the result of narcissism and other personality disorders; a few are actually offensive. Morally offensive books are memorable; you probably remember the very first book you ever read that really pissed you off and gave you the creeps.

I also think an author can WRITE perfectly decent stories and still LIVE an immoral life. The reverse is not true, I don't think. Anyone who wrote truly horrible things would not be invited to my dinner parties or allowed to pet-sit my cats. Because of the ookiness.

So that is my answer, and that is what I think of people who write Family Guy darkfic for non-ironic reasons.

_____________
* Blah blah disclaimer. Yes, Lolita is a good book, yes I'm sure there are good books written around the blood libels. I'm talking about writing that fails to problematise morally repugnant things, and you know it.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Joel Plaskett)
I've got a first draft of the next chapter, which I am writing here in the family kitchen. I don't like writing in any context where someone can look over my shoulder and comment, but on the other hand, I'm lucky enough to have an extremely supportive mother. If she sees that I'm writing, she doesn't ask me to run to the store to buy lightbulbs, or to surrender the computer so she can use it, or to stop illegally downloading Robyn Hitchcock mp3s onto her hard drive. It's rad.

I'm also noticing that I can't write action sequences. Not only do I write them poorly, I also feel embarrassed while writing them, as if I were writing a sex scene. Anyone have tips or book recommendations or things of that nature?
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
Am I a nerd? Before you answer, let me mention this: I'm currently reading two books on the Charlottetown Accords. AND LOVING IT.

The first is Pierre Trudeau's long speech (with question period!) "A Mess That Deserves a Big 'No'", and you have to love a book with a title like that. It's all full of typos and the publisher claims the gov't of Quebec tried to suppress it. Even though the speech was, y'know, televised. Anyway, Trudeau is love. Love, constitutional-law-style.

The second is Joel Bakan's Just Words: Constitutional Rights and Social Wrongs. This is more serious, and I'm mainly reading it for story research, but he quotes Martin Buber sometimes and I'm all, "Sweet, Buber is the shit."

It also occurs to me that I really fucked up the timeline with regards to Joel's father in the backstory. If he's in his early sixties, it's really unlikely that he's been a senator for all of Joel's life. I mentioned a stint in the House of Commons, but how many backbencher MP's get a Senate post when they leave? Zero (okay, it could happen, but it's unlikely). Probably he was a cabinet minister who lost his seat in a nasty election.

Making sausage, people. Timelines always screw me up -- I can totally see how Shakespeare ended up making Hamlet 30 years old by accident. This is also why I hate trying to follow canon, particularly comicverse.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
Had to chuck an entire completed chapter because it was about 90% poo. A couple of good moments, but mostly poo. I'm starting to think about going on [livejournal.com profile] x_edit to hunt for betas, although I usually just edit myself. I'd like to have someone else's perspective.

I really wish right now that I had something else to work on, but I don't: all I have are some old poems that I could touch up and submit somewhere and a big flabby old novel from last summer that probably can't be saved. I do have a few chapters of something I started a while ago which could be promising, but I, uh...cannibalised it for Aphanes, so I'm not sure what to do about that now.

I just saw the Enterprise finale a few nights ago. Now THAT is poo. They have been unremittingly unfair to those characters straight from the first season, which is when I stopped watching it. I always thought that they could write a lot of really interesting stories with those characters (I found Reed in particular to be sort of enigmatic and intriguing, in his sad way), but they wasted every chance they got. I'll have to buy a DS9 box set to cheer myself up.

Amusingly enough, the section for Writing & Publishing at Chapters is located right next to Childbirth & Parenting. Ho ho ho.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Mary Margaret O'Hara)
Chapter 3 is done and I'm letting it steep a bit. I had several different directions I wanted to go in, and was also a little antsy about the fact that I intended to have more Jean and Scott but they haven't been around much.

Right now, "letting it sit" means giving it 24 hours or so; sometimes it means putting things aside for months at a time. I write poetry the fastest, and I've had the most success with it. Original novels are hardest (although I did my draft this summer in three months), but I just love the novel as a form. I like my worlds to be big, my plots expansive. I don't like the way short fiction demands an ending after a moment of revelation, because to me epiphanies don't work like that. I need a lot of epiphanies to stack up before I'll change, and my characters are the same.

I do wish I could write original fic this fast, but when most of the characters are already written for you it's just easier. And as much as I dislike the "it's only fanfic" excuse, knowing that it doesn't have to be OMG GREAT ART makes it easier to avoid the crippling perfectionism to which I'm prone. I have about sixteen different variations on the opening for my novel, some of which would require massive rewrites for POV and tense. And if I thought any of them would work, I'd do those rewrites. At the moment I'm just not sure how the thing would work for anyone else, but I'm not satisfied with it enough to show it to someone.

But hey, you might see an excerpt here one day. Just hold your nose and pretend it's fanfic.

writing meme )