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:

There's also an 8tracks mix to go with it, if you're so inclined:
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: Pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy from documentary The Vital Juices Are Russian (vladimir ashkenazy)
Hello! This is my first time doing Yuletide so bear with me. I'm going to do a list of general likes/dislikes, and then go fandom by fandom, so hopefully you can find something in here that catches your interest.

Read more... )
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
So this is done!

It topped out at 133K words, and because I'm a very silly person, I've decided to turn this into a trilogy. I have an audience of maybe two readers, but I kind of...don't care? I like writing these characters and I want to keep exploring the political stuff, so that's what I'm gonna do.

The stats and summary:

The Heart's Landscape (133K words, complete) by F.A. MacNeil
Fandom: X-Men & Alpha Flight
Category: Gen, a very slow-burning M/M in the background
Characters: OCs, Alpha Flight team, Charles Xavier, Faiza Hussain, brief appearances by Jean Grey, Cyclops and Wolverine

Canadian superheroes, or not. In Montreal, two small-time mutant activists contend with bureaucratic humiliations, government agents headhunting mutants for a new department, and a sketchy neurological research centre. What they discover isn't pretty.

This story is a re-imagining of Alpha Flight, but you really only need to be broadly familiar with the X-Men end of the Marvel universe to follow what's going on.

Read at AO3 ... or maybe better start with this one but it's up to you, I don't know your life.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (poppy salesman)
Confederation Building, Ottawa

We had to go up to the city today, from home-where-I-live to Real Home, the city where I was born. We had to take care of dropping off some documents at a satellite office of the Russian embassy to get a visa for the trip we're taking in September, so it was a pretty boring trip. But look at how pretty the weather was! Downtown Ottawa was swathed in plastic sheets and tarps, construction going on all over Parliament Hill, and (for the first time any of us could recall) the green copper roofs of the buildings had been stripped and replaced -- the new roofs don't have any patina yet, so they look dull and wrong. Verdigris is the proper colour that you should see when you look up Bank or Elgin to the Hill; seeing plain copper-brown there is as wrong as seeing the Statue of Liberty without her green patina.

(Although there is a more modern type of green roof in Lower Town too, these days.)

But this building was still intact and untouched, so I took a photo like a tourist. I had to look up its name; it's called the Confederation Building, and...well, its purpose isn't too interesting. It's just full of offices, MPs and junior ministers. (Joel's father in The Aphanes wouldn't have had an office here, except maybe very early in his career.)

Here's the thing, though: from a distance, these neo-Gothic buildings on Wellington look dignified, staid, and sort of British. Up close, closer than any normal citizen will ever bother to look, the architecture is full of whimsical little touches. Mostly animals. Cougar cubs, bears, owls, squirrels, even a bat as well as carvings of Boy Scouts (?) and a broken weathervane ornamented with a tiny biplane.

Says the blogger at Urbsite:
I have a final question - castings or carvings? Usually multiples (like the lions on the Central Post Office at Sparks and Elgin were cast), but these beasts look like they were carved. Well actually I have another final question - why were they installed at a height where almost no one would see them?

Well, we know why -- we needed the company.
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: Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier (winter soldier)
I only recently (the other day) watched Captain America: The First Avenger. You get a really distorted view of the Marvel movies if you just absorb them by Tumblr osmosis, looking at gifsets and reading meta. Even fic leaves out a lot of stuff. I had this same feeling when I first watched Winter Soldier -- why was no one geeking out over how amazing Nick Fury was in that movie? I know people were mesmerised by the Steve/Bucky relationship, and so was I, but it was actually...a pretty small element of the whole thing?

it is the voice of nations, it is the thick voice of blood )
tocryabout: Pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy from documentary The Vital Juices Are Russian (vladimir ashkenazy)
Chapters 9 and 10 of The Heart's Landscape up today, Half a Heart and Let the Watchman Count on Daybreak. That happened because I was rearranging some scenes between the two chapters and had to work on them simultaneously, so...sorry for the spam, but you get closure right away on the kissing scene.

Second chapter has a cameo of a character from a show that hardly anyone remembers, because that's what I bring to the table.
tocryabout: pete wisdom saying "gotta love those happy endings" (wisdom)
Ch. 8 of The Heart's Landscape, Snakes and Ladders, is now posted. Faiza Hussain of Captain Britain and the MI:13 shows up in this one, because she works nicely here as a foil, a religious and peaceful person who 100% thinks superheroes are awesome, rather than being suspicious of the general concept as Joel is.

I love Faiza.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
Chapter 7, "Undoer of Knots" is up. Lots of fairly big changes. Most of the chapter is now from Hodya's POV, since I took to heart the criticism that she didn't feel detailed or real enough before. I think we now get a much clearer sense of what she wants and why she sticks around, but feel free to correct me.

We're also leading into a major plot pivot, which is new material because I had no idea where the plot was headed when I first wrote this. I now have a real outline and everything.
tocryabout: Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier (winter soldier)
Finally watched Wolverine: Origins or whatever the title is last night -- I'd been avoiding it because I'm really not a Wolverine fan. In fact, I tend to resent him for getting so much commercial attention and pulling the spotlight all the time, at the expense of other characters. But! I wanted to absorb as much of the "canon" Weapon X stuff as I can, and I do like Huge Ackman, so I put it on.

Dude. I was not expecting to like that as much as I did.

this got really long! )

must see TV

Jul. 6th, 2015 03:00 pm
tocryabout: Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister (day drinkin')
Let's get this out of the way: I was an only child, with no friends, and when I was a kid I had to make my own fun. Dial-up didn't come to our house until I was 16. Truth.

So when I was like, 13 or so, I had a TV problem. I don't just mean I watched a lot of it, although I did; I mean that I kept a notebook and wrote down every single show that I watched, summarised the episode, and listed the commercials that aired during the program. It scared my mother.

To be less jokey about it, I got into this stuff because I was bullied and one day I was watching a stand-up special on CBC and I realised: in the moment that I'm laughing myself sick at a comedian's bit, for a second, it's impossible to be unhappy. So I read TV Guide every week (such as we did in those days), filled up my schedule with shows, and went chasing that dragon.

Now that I'm older and properly medicated, I get frustrated because I can't binge-watch TV shows. I just can't -- three episodes of something and I'm done, I want to do something else. That means everybody else I know is ahead of me, and I'm left saying over and over again, "No, that sounds good, I'll definitely watch it sometime." For a long time I either didn't have TV or didn't have cable (parsimony, not snobbery), so that made the problem worse.

So my super-dorky solution was to create my own TV lineup for every day of the week. I know. But it's a fun game! Try sorting all your favourite shows into 4 hours of prime time where one thing leads naturally into another. Include reruns for palate cleansers. Make time to rewatch old favourites. Slot in time for movies and documentaries. What's not to like?

Here's my schedule for now:

SPY NIGHT: Catfish (2 reruns), The Americans, Homeland, [Movie]
NYC NIGHT: Seinfeld (2 reruns), Broad City, Louie, Brooklyn 99, Girls, The Sopranos
SKIFFY NIGHT: ST:DS9, Daredevil, Orphan Black, Doctor Who
COP NIGHT: Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wire, True Detective, [Movie]
COMEDY NIGHT: Robot Chicken, [Standup Special], Futurama, Arrested Development, [Another Standup Special]
DOCS & HISTORICAL: [Whatever looks enlightening on Youtube], Cosmos, [Documentary], Rome
DOUBLE FEATURE: [A new movie], [An old movie], Slings & Arrows if I'm still awake

I don't keep this to the letter, and I mix up the themed nights as I see fit, but I feel less weird pressure when I only have to watch one new episode of something and can then reward myself with comforting reruns.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
It confuses me greatly that the "Marvel Cinematic Universe" doesn't include the X-Men films. I mean, it doesn't confuse me because I understand that there are weird IP issues, but it confuses me in a sort of broader, fannish, existential way. The current X-men movieverse, such as it is, is a cinematic universe and it is Marvel, and the characters are connected, but even fans are pretty obedient about separating the two.

I understand, in theory, that it's probably very satisfying to write something that's totally canon-compliant, something that could have happened and that logically should belong there. I've just never been able to do it.

I actually haven't yet watched Days of Future Past, so maybe that'll be how I punish myself tonight.


Jul. 5th, 2015 01:50 am
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
Livejournal import feature is not working out like I'd hoped, so far. We'll see if anything shows up.

ETA: Annnnd never mind, there it is.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Joel - Hands)
So the first three chapters of The Heart's Landscape are up on AO3. These chapters are coming out pretty quickly, because I'm going through material that's already written and editing/formatting. But if you want to follow updates on this stuff, on a platform that isn't half-dead, please feel free to follow on tumblr:

Thank you merci!
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 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 (Doctor Who - Political Animal)
I have been watching Doctor Who's S3 and got one of my rare hankerings to write proper fanfic, all short and contextual and everything. Because (a) Tennant's performance impressed me that much and (b) I can never resist meditations on mortality and identity.

The Cry of Man - S3x09, "Family of Blood". You all knew John Smith would have to bite it, that's not a spoiler. Off he goes. No warnings that I can think of.

Scratched that itch.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
Chapter 11, A Harsh and Dreadful Thing, is available for your perusal in the usual location. [Read from the beginning.]

It feels good to be alive.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Joel - Hands)
It's been what, a year? Almost? I got sidetracked by other writing projects, including one that was HUGE and came very near to completion, but I learned my lesson about serious collaboration with other writers (LESSON: Don't). It went kaboom, and while I'm still trying to gather up the fragments of it into something useful, I'm also ready to head back into this.

There are certain benefits to starting again after so long: my notes have been wiped from my HD twice over after computer problems, as have my crappy versions of chapters and my big File O' Mystery Meat where I put quotes and cut paragraphs that I love and so on. All that stuff can get to be stringy and tough with overcooking, so just as well that it's gone.

So this morning I'm rereading what I wrote and (largely) haven't reread for many months, with some interesting results. Mostly I notice how heavy I was hitting the homosexuality angle, although it wasn't intentional; I remember being a little bored with stories that did that, and worrying that it came out of nowhere when I wrote it in. But not so much. There is gay all the way through, just not the popular slashy kind.

As always, I wish I could go back over it and take the story in better, saner directions. I'm a little appalled at how much I piled onto the engine of the plot, but WE SHALL MANAGE SOMEHOW. I'm more excited by it than I thought I'd be. The project lives again; see you when I have a proper update.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Joel - Hands)
I've been having a lot of trouble with this story. I wasn't sure how exactly I wanted/needed things to unfold, which is (partly) why this chapter took so long. After awhile, just the fact that it was difficult was becoming a problem, and I needed to just get it OUT and move on. It was either release this chapter as is or give up on writing this story.

So this chapter is ugly, like a boxcutter-and-ballpoint-pen tracheotomy is ugly. But it has saved the story's life. I can keep going now, hopefully with a bit more style and insouciance and such.

This is the weird thing about writing this way; you're not reading a first draft, but you're not reading something polished and completed either. If I were presenting you with something finished, I probably wouldn't talk about it so much -- I wouldn't spend as much time defending my intentions and explaining myself, and I'd just figure that if people didn't get it then I LOSE as the writer. And you might as well be a good loser. But we're a bit earlier on in the process, so I talk to you guys.

Chapter 10: Let the Watchman Count on Daybreak

Read from the beginning


tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
F.A. MacNeil

October 2015

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