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: 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: 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 (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 (Default)
I had to break one giant ream of action into two chapters, even though I usually prefer to have them all much the same length (this lets me pretend I am Dickens, all getting paid a penny a word and published serially). So today we have Chapter 9, Under the Microscope [way to put the wrong link in, ed.], and in a week or two you should have another shortish chapter.

Words OpenOffice didn't know:

Words I'm surprised it did know:

[Read from the beginnning.]
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
The long-awaited Chapter 8, Snakes and Ladders, is done. Don't blame me, blame capitalism and Tim Horton (God rest his soul).

Words OpenOffice didn't know:

[Read from the beginning]

Yeah, it ends on a lame little cliffhanger. Not even worth mentioning, except that I usually have more closure at the ends of chapters than that.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
Chapter 7, Undoer of Knots, is finished. A week later than planned, because I got lazy.

Words OpenOffice didn't know:
Krav Maga
Telepaths (still! I was sure I added it after last time)

[Read from the beginning]

PS merci beaucoup to Eve Tushnet for the big pimpin'.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Joel - Hands)
The Name for Its Own Sake, first chapter of the second part, so maybe everyone who was wondering if I'd abandon it will relax now. I'm slow, but I am not faithless, for the names of my readers are written on the palm of my hand. (Anyway, it's only like three weeks since the last update! And I was in the hospital and not writing for one of those weeks, which means I am ON FIRE.)

Words not recognised by OpenOffice's spellcheck:
Toyotas (got a problem with the Japanese, OpenOffice?)

[Read from the beginning.]
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Joel - Hands)
Chapter 5, "The Darkest Midnight", is completed. Featuring! Walter Langkowski, the return of the long-suffering Professor, Christmas goose, burst capillaries, and Clare of Assisi.

Words not recognised by OpenOffice's spellcheck:
Adeste Fideles

[Read from the beginning]

tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
"The Ring of Gyges", voilà. Features a much-overhauled Snowbird (no, I am not writing a blond-haired Inuit demigoddess, actually), opera, status epilepticus, and a fucking soulpatch.

[Read from the beginning]

I'm hella glad to get this one done. For some reason it was absolutely exhausting.

P.S. In reading this entry on reader entitlement (linked on [ profile] metafandom), I'm a little shocked at how many people have blanket "no WIPs" policies. I understand how frustrating it is to start reading and have someone stop writing, but still, I find WIPs and serials to be the most entertaining part of online fandom. I like the soapiness of following a story as it unfolds, rather than bingeing on it all at once. More to the point (for me), I like writing that way -- there is no accountability like other readers and the instant gratification of feedback. I doubt I'd have finished Aphanes if I hadn't been posting it chapter-by-chapter.

Anyway, a little discouraging to see that so many people are probably skipping my stuff out of hand because it's not finished yet.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
"Legal Age Life at Dépanneur" is up. It's a long one, at 8,500 words, but it has an explosion in it.

[Read from the beginning.]

I should mention (somewhere, anyway) that I'm using the Ultimate version of Jean-Paul's backstory, more or less -- I find it more believable than the Alpha Flight version, especially since we really don't have violent separatistes anymore. Jeanne-Marie and Jean-Paul have been separated since the death of their parents, but Jean-Paul was adopted by the Martins while Jeanne-Marie was sent to Madame DuPont's.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Default)
Chapter 2, The Seat Is Empty, His Place Does Not Know Him, is up. [Read from the beginning]

Note that there's a glossary, if the French snippets give you any difficulty. (I often read books by Americans that are plumped full of Spanish phrases that I am apparently supposed to understand, and it bugs me, so I am trying to Help the Reader.)

Reminder to my secret undercover non-LJ readers that anonymous comments are allowed on this journal now, so even if you don't have an account you can leave feedback or ask a question.
tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (Joel Plaskett)

Summary: Five years after the end of The Aphanes, Joel and his friend Paul are working with homeless mutants in Montreal. When they meet Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, who is offered work with the Canadian government, Joel and his friends become embroiled in a system that may not be as benevolent to mutants as it appears.

Chapter 1 is The Pretty Girl in Santropol, but do go to the contents page first, if only to read the note on language.

Hope you enjoy.

(P.S., man, that summary sounds Sue-ish. It's not, I swear to God! I promise the sort of spazzy bitchy incompetence you're accustomed to from my characters.)


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

October 2015

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