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 (Joel Plaskett)
Chapter 15, "Toute en Splendeur", is complete. Referendum! Annoyingly political relatives! Hockey!

Upon some consideration, I decided that since I'm doing a sequel I have nothing much to say in the epilogue. So we're done. 65,700 words. Endnotes are here.

As a DVD extra sort of thing, I also found a file on my computer which you may or may not find interesting: the McCree/O'Brien family tree, with unimportant siblings left off (I was trying to save space). Nana is Margaret Macdonald, a reference to my own great-aunt who died this year. Grey text = deceased.

Finally, new banner:

(That's Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers, not Joel Plaskett.)

Hooray for me, anyhow. The first chapter of the sequel is quite close to complete, so you'll be seeing it quite soon. As soon as I think of a title. (I always regretted giving Aphanes its rather impenetrable Greek name; not really a grabber.)

*drinks wine*
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
Chapter 14, Stendhal Syndrome is finished. Piotr and Bobby! James Joyce references! Epilepsy!

The last chapter and the epilogue will appear together, probably fairly soon.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
Lucky Chapter 13 is up. I can't really talk this one up, because it's not a happy-fun chapter, but I'll give it a shot. Father issues! Atypical antipsychotics! Inuit art! And if you thought Joel was annoying before, he's pushing it now.

Link to the contents page, for those just joining us.

tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Joel Plaskett)
Chapter 12, A Mess That Deserves a Big 'No', is up (up and atom!). Uh, let's see. Seeking behaviours! Civil rights issues! The Sacrament of Reconciliation! Jokes at John Turner's expense! This thing has it all.

(Read from the beginning)

Three more chapters left, plus the epilogue (which is mostly written). We're up to 48,100 words.

tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Joel Plaskett)
I feel guilty posting fanfic on a day like today. But obviously not guilty enough. Anyway, I'm not good at writing thoughtful responses to sudden world events like this: all I can ever think is something along the lines of, "Poor London."

I'm also thinking of some crazy woodcut I saw once that depicted the Black Plague as a team of giant skeletons merrily wreaking havoc in London, with the caption, "Lord have mercy on Engelonde. Wee dye." But that's just depressing, and a little over-the-top, so I probably shouldn't have brought it up.

Anyway, Chapter 11, "And Those at Sea." Featuring Mark's Work Wearhouse, the book of Job, and the well-documented phenomenon of old Maritimer women who say insensitive things at funerals.

(Read from the beginning)
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
Chapter 10, The Wide Unknown Country1, is finished. Scott! Wittgenstein! Major plot turning point!

(Read from the beginning.)

1 I always heard that line as "wild and old country", but the official version works even better.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
Chapter 9, "The Paper Birds", is done. Law, order, Cerebro, lobster bisque, and An Actual Girl all make their appearances.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Joel Plaskett)
Chapter 8, Blackburn Hamlet, is done. (Read from the beginning)

Also, I just finished reading Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Losers. The good news: it can still provoke a reaction, after 40 years, and it is readable. Not every hippy po-mo novel can say that for itself. The bad news: F. still comes off as a disgusting, inconsistent bully. And he's your hero. I found the unnamed narrator much more sympathetic, at least until the end when Cohen decided to make him a pedophile. WTF, Leonard? No. Just -- no.

The Kateri Tekakwitha plot is intriguing, though, and Cohen does produce real insight with it (particularly the Mohawk journey of the dead). The separatiste plot feels more tacked on, less honest. I didn't even realise the characters were supposed to be French themselves until halfway through. (This is one pitfall of not naming your characters.) The truest moment in it is when F. confesses that he envied his friend, who understood suffering, who had power in his weakness. That's a Canadian literature moment.

But I confess that I'm still amazed and delighted when I read about someplace I've been. Rue Ste-Catherine! Kahnawake! It almost makes up for the line where F. praises the rape of a 13-year-old girl. Almost.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Scott's optometrist)
Chapter 7, Dead to Rights and Wide Awake, is finished, and a few minor edits have been inflicted on previous chapters as well, to make things fit. (For instance, I realised too late that it's completely implausible time-wise for Jim McCree to have been appointed by Trudeau. So whatever, it was Chrétien. Sorry about that.) Thanks to Minisinoo for stirring up interesting discussions on Catholicity in Marvel and Xavier's own faith.

Chapter 8 should be finished sooner rather than later, so long as I don't suddenly get cursed with a full-time job.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Professor X by pureglasscup)
Chapter 6 is completed and up. Terrorism! Telepathy! Thoreau! This has it all.

Read it from the beginning here or go straight to ch. 6, "The October Crisis".

I am enjoying this fic, even though in many ways it doesn't resemble most fanfic, so I hope other people are at least reading it. Feedback of all varieties is craved -- particularly criticism.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Professor X by pureglasscup)
Yes, Chapter 5 of The Aphanes, "Voices from the Wilderness" is up. See, I meant that about being almost done with it. Just over 17,000 words at this point, and the novella should top out around 55,000 words.

This is also one of those chapters where things actually happen, so you might be interested in checking it out. I'm slow to get going, but I do have a plot here besides "Charles works his brilliant telepathy/psychotherapy magic; breakthrough results." Plot is not really one of my strengths; I always feel like I'm being hideously obvious and then people tell me I'm actually being obscure and then too abrupt -- things in my stories seem to happen inexplicably, even when I feel like I've explained everything. So please let me know if you see that sort of flaw in this (I really would rather know about flaws than virtues in my writing).

And I'm probably the only one who enjoys the regional stuff, but if you're a fan of the national capital region, this chapter has Archibald Lampman and yellow plastic mailboxes. It don't get more O-C than that, my friends.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Jean Grey)
Chapter 4 of The Aphanes, "A Strong Perfume" is up. It's short, but another one ("Voices from the Wilderness") is following close on its heels. And this time I'm not lying to you, for serious.

One of the reasons why it took so long was because I had debated adding a semi-romantic subplot with Rogue; I thought it was the sort of stupid, doomed crush that Joel might get on a girl, and it is, but it was clogging up the rest of the plot. Also, it seemed a bit early for that sort of thing: you can definitely have that sort of a crush and still be depressed, but I thought Joel's actions and mental states are a bit more understandable if he is completely isolated (except for his relationship with the Professor) and without any interests or prospects, no matter how delusional. There's definitely a moment when you're miserable and you realise that the only person you ever talk to is your therapist, and it pushes you towards the edge like nothing else.

So I took that out, and the thing is moving much easier now.

The Aphanes

Feedback, constructive criticism, deconstructive criticism, it's all welcome. Hit me.

(By the way, I apologise for not answering comments. That will change; I intend to check this account much more often. Feel free to bug me in my "home journal" [ profile] waterstrider if you feel ignored. :D)
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 )
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
Chapter 2 is now up. Thanks to the badass [ profile] fourlittlesongs for beta-reading.

The Aphanes (contents page), or go straight to Chapter 2, Underneath the Ice.

Heads up for profanity, in case you didn't already know that.

Edit: I'm about finished with Ch. 3, so it will probably be up in a few days. Then I'm leaving town (and my computer) for Christmas break, to return in early January. I usually get some writing done longhand while I'm at home, but I always miss my lovely computer with its dear old ergonomic keyboard.

By the way, if you write a lot and you're thinking of buying one of these fancy-dan keyboards, they are well worth the money (I think mine was about $80). I used to have to stop every few hours to try to get the circulation back into my hands, but now I can type top speed all night. The only disadvantage is that now, when I do have to use ordinary keyboards, I make a lot of mistakes and I cry and I miss my proper keyboard.

As for writing longhand, the less said the better.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Peter Wingfield in X2)
I'm moving as quickly as I can, because that seems to be the only way to keep from losing both my nerve and my interest while writing. So the first part of my X-Men novella/serial/thingy is up. It's about 3,600 words, and I'm sure there are dumb little spots where I use the same word too often or write some crap-ass sentence. Anyone who wants to volunteer to beta-read will be loved forever.

Voilà: The Aphanes (main page), or go straight to Chapter 1.

Feedback is hot. Comment here or email me at surlybird
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
All right, I'm going to post an extremely small excerpt from the fic I just wrote, just because right now I like it and want to make some notes on it. It introduces the original character and sets up a bit of the plot -- it's your usual "new student comes to the mansion" story.

Title: Untitled, as yet
Author: Alex (to_cry_about)
Email: surlybird at gmail dot com
Fandom: X-Men, movieverse
Draft: First

Excerpt )

Notes and Comments )


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

October 2015

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