labingi: (Ghanior)
Chapter 1
Chapter 2

Chapter 3

The next day we used the hand com to call for help. Again it was too easy. The general distress signal had been running not five minutes when an eager voice commed in:

"Hello? We are receiving. Respond please." The man spoke the Leddie language, Vunizh, for the same reason I am writing in Vunizh. For us, it's a lingua franca, and so for you of the future, at least, it should still be translatable. His accent was good but not native.

I described our situation, presenting myself as a diplomatic attaché and Chi'anové as a courier. It was so much our standard cover story it almost seemed the truth.

"I'm Tanez Shadowdell," said the man, "Of the Rha-Lutran Walking Academy."

Chi'anové and I glanced at each other. "Pardon me," I said, "You are the Tanez Shadowdell, the son of Sheseson?" If so, he was royalty among Walkers, son of one of the First to enter Jana.

"Yes, that's right." His tone, though amicable, suggested the question was a nuisance. "Two standard days ago, my fellow instructor, Soval, and I were taking three advanced students on a training Walk. Everything seemed ordinary, but when we Walked, Soval and I got slammed to this planet, like you."Read more... )
labingi: (Ghanior)
Mercy
By 'Eblia Te'Zhano Yoq

A story from the Continuation universe.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

I awoke again, squished in padding that propped me on my side. As on awakening from a nightmare, I lay still, afraid to move, the world reduced to my throbbing head and pounding blood. After some seconds, I deflated the padding and clambered out of my harness. Reports showed only minor damage. I began to be hopeful. Sensors read breathable atmosphere at 1.1 G, no electronics within ten, twenty, I went out to fifty kilometers. When I requested an astral location, however, my ship's gentle pulse clicked off; screens vanished; lifeless alloy surrounded me, battery-lit. The shutdown was so smooth and total that a message stating, "fools fail" could not have made it plainer. On some level, I must have guessed from the first that my ship had been sabotaged, but I'd treated the crisis as a force of nature. Now, the obvious humanity of my adversary filled me with a human anger.

I rolled the top hatch open on manual. It lay perpendicular to the ground. A whirling green before my eyes stilled into a coniferous forest, thick and moistly grassy beyond the lacerated earth. Morning? Afternoon? The air flooded in heavy with wet turf and smoke, though I saw no fire; my ears popped.

I listened. A breeze fanned my sweaty face. Two birds conversed with a monotonous "tich, tich," life barely touched by my passage. The damp dripped into my ship as if wrung from a washcloth. My mind poured outward furiously, the polar opposite of my usual self-encasement. Surging all my hypertelepath's power at the forest, I caught a faint hint of distant minds, at least a kilometer away, too far off for me to a guess a direction or a number beyond more-than-one. Friends or enemies? Not the slightest clue.
Read more... )
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29 – What is your current project or projects?

Being exhausted by 12-hour workdays in RL. But other than that, I have a good half dozen X-Men fic ideas. My current, current project is reworking my Raven/Erik fic to be, as it should be, more about Raven. I'm also trying to carve out time for Continuation stories because I don't want the fan fic (+ RL busyness) to completely kill my original fiction.

30 – Do you have a favorite fic you've written? What makes it your favorite? And don't forget to give us a link!

You know, my favorite fic I've written is probably the 30,000 word Banana Fish epistolary AU future fic because I feel like it does a nice job showing the transformations in Ash's and Eiji's characters and relationship over the course of several decades. I have to lump the sequel with it too because the letters don't have a proper ending on their own. Now, this is not going to be one people will rush off to read--cuz, dude, 30,000 words of old manga AU with touches of crossover--but here's the link.
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28 – Have you ever collaborated with anyone else, whether writing together, or having an artist work on a piece about your fic?

I bloody wish I could get an illustrator for my original fiction. I did get one picture once--of Dáromur--quite a good one, but that was years ago and the project didn't get finished. I have collaborated with [livejournal.com profile] louderandlouder on fic, mainly in the realm of heavily sharing ideas for one or the other's fic. But we did have parallel fics going for a Death Note--Bodyverse/Banana Fish crossover. The DN part, which was far and away the greater endeavor, is on indefinite hiatus now. The BF part is posted on my DW/LJ and AO3.


Two More Questions to Go )
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27 – Where is your favorite place to write, and do you write by hand or on the computer?

My very favorite place is sprawled with my laptop on my sofa bed in front of the fire, but this only works in winter. Most of the time, I write at my desktop, which is not exciting but is where my main resources are (my laptop being somewhat old and broken). These days, I only write poetry/song by hand (and I do that rarely). I did write by hand from about age 13 or so when I seriously began writing up to around 23, when I started to transition to composing (vs. transcribing) on my computer. It was a hard transition. I still have many of my old notebooks, and sometimes they are valuable for checking old story ideas and Continuation canon. It makes me realize the dangers of digital ephemera. I have notebooks from when I was 15, but I've rarely managed to hold onto computer files that date from younger than 25, and those are fairly few, the big ones, like my novel that I keep saving and re-saving. Something's lost, quite literally, in moving to the computer.

Small Remainder of the Questions )
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26 – What is the oddest (or funnest) thing you've had to research for a fic?

I don't like research in general. This is part of why my original fic is science fantasy set in a universe I don't have to reality check with current or historical facts, also part of why I didn't want to become a tenure track professor. But I have found recently that writing in X-Men fandom requires a heck of a lot of research on topics as diverse as paraplegic sex, the Holocaust, when the word "nerd" came into common usage, and almost 50 years of X-Men comics canon. It actually has made for quite an educational experience. The oddest thing I've researched for a fic (though not fun) is probably the Holocaust--odd because fan fiction seems a trivial window into it. But it is where it is. (The funnest thing I research is probably etymologies of names.)

Rest of the Questions )
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25 – Music – Do you listen to music while you write? Do you make playlists to get into a certain "mood" to write your fic? Do you need noise in general? Or do you need it completely quiet?

I rarely listen to music as background for any other activity. I find it distracting, and if I tune it out enough to work, I usually feel like I'm missing it, so it's pointless to have it on. I do have playlists (mental playlists) for characters, though, and I do sometimes go through my character-typed songs as part of the same creative process that leads to fic. Most recently, I've been finding songs for Raven (X-Men), which has been inspiring me to fix my Raven fic.

Rest of the Questions )
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24 – Betaing – How many betas do you like to use to make sure there aren't any major flaws in your fic? Do you have a Beta horror story or dream story?

My history with betas reflects my history with fan fic in general: it's gotten a lot more casual over the years. When I first started posting fic around 2004, I got everything betaed, big fics sometimes by more than one. Today, I rarely put forth the effort and patience to recruit a beta before posting, unless I'm writing in an area I know I'm not competent to field alone, the most typical example being the British idiom. To that end, I usually go to [personal profile] vilakins's door today, and she is very obliging and helpful.

One effect of not getting stories betaed anymore is that I almost always have typos because I'm not a very good proofreader. As for quality, I think it depends on the story. Sometimes I can put out a decent quality story on my own (in my own estimation). Sometimes my stories fall flat, and I'm sure a beta would have been helpful.

I do still sometimes get major works betaed. [livejournal.com profile] louderandlouder and [personal profile] sixish did some lovely beta work for my on my giant Banana Fish fic a few months back.

Rest of the Questions )
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23 – When you post, where do you post to? Just your journal? Just an archive? Your own personal site?

I crosspost on DW and LJ these days, which seems a good system for automatic backing. I'm also coming to post more commonly on AO3, though I haven't gone back and posted much of what I wrote before I had an AO3 account. In the olden days of 2003-05 or so, I posted on fandom specific archives: BFA for Buffy and Leviathan for Farscape. I'm amazed I remember their names! My personal site (which is outdated and about to be moved) has some background reference information for the Continuation universe. Maybe some very small story fragments? Maybe not.

Rest of the Questions )
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22 – Have you ever participated in a fest or a Big Bang? If so, write about your favorite experience in relation to one. If not, are there any you've thought about doing? And if not, why not?

Rarely. When I was new to LJ (around '04), one of my first activities was a Blake's 7 ficathon, which introduced me to a lot of my early LJ friends. I subsequently did a Farscape ficathon and a couple of smaller ones. I enjoy these, but given all the irons in my fire, they almost always get cut from consideration. Often, the fan fic I'm personally inspired to do--when I have time to write at all--takes time from my original fic to the point that my original output is almost nil. I enjoy doing challenges and writing to prompts, but the fic and original writing closest to my heart comes first, and there's rarely additional writing time.

My favorite experience is probably the B7 ficathon because it was new and exciting, and I got to meet lots of new B7 fans.

Rest of Questions )
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21 – Sequels – Have you ever written a sequel to a fic you wrote, and if so, why, and if not, how do you feel about sequels?

Yes, I have. I wrote a sequel to "Sons and Lovers," a Death Note/Monster crossover, and I wrote a sequel to Love Letters, my epistolary Banana Fish epic. In both cases, more story needed to be told. "Sons and Lovers" took place in 1999(?) and DN (anime) takes place in 2007, so it begged the question of where the characters would be and what would happen in '07. The BF fic necessarily ended when Ash and Eiji stopped writing regular letters, which also happened to be when they met again, so obviously I had to write their meeting. Bascially, if there's more story, I'll tell it. (Oh, I also wrote a sequel to the Katze/Guy Ai no Kusabi fic, and that was to see how Katze and Guy would be doing once they'd been a couple for a while.)


Rest of the Questions )
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20 – Do you ever get bunnied from other people's stories or art in the same fandom?

"Getting bunnied" sounds like something awful that would happen to Anya in Buffy. In any case, sure, this has happened a lot with Death Note. I got a lot of initial inspiration from [livejournal.com profile] serria and subsequently had a great deal of cross-pollination with [livejournal.com profile] louderandlouder. I'm currently getting a lot of this from X-Men fandom because it is being so prolific right now. It's hard not to absorb bits of emerging fanon and play with them. I don't think it's ever happened for me as a direct result of artwork.

Rest of Questions )
labingi: (Ghanior)
This is a Continuation story that is properly a side-story of the The Dying Cycle, but I'm going to start posting it as a standalone, mainly because I fully intend to write a crossover in which 'Eblia meets Charles Xavier. But of that odd psychological space, more later. Many thanks to Jamie and Jodi and [livejournal.com profile] louderandlouder for the excellent critiquing.

Mercy
by 'Eblia Te'Zhano Yoq


Dedication

'Ghanior, this is my love letter to you. It's for posterity too, for while this account can't be published in the current political climate, it might be of some historical value when these events have been forgotten. You and I know from 'Hasha's writings that love and history are not mutually exclusive. So here it is: my love for you--and for 'Shoan.



Chapter 1

I registered the signs but did not respond to them. In the month since Qer'yem had left me, she dominated my thoughts. I went to work in a fog, navigating by force of habit, and when the scenery changed, I noticed without noticing.

I was a spy then, an "Eye-man," in our language. (In Ash'torian, women are Eye-men too.) My partner, Chi'anové, and I served the Trae'dah Eye as field agents, he the tracker and I the reader. He would Walk in first to scout the assigned location. I'd follow in the guise of an attaché and listen in telepathically. This is against international law, but our government, for a warrior people, is remarkably discreet.

I've said Chi'anové was a Walker and assumed that you, my future readers, know I meant. Do you still have Walkers in your time, those adventurers implanted with a device that lets them enter the dimension called Jana and punch a line through it to instantly travel anywhere in our known planets? If you've never heard of this, it must sound like an incredible power. And it is. Yet I took it for granted, as I did Chi'anové.

Our assignment was routine, the kind we'd played dozens of times as smoothly as a high hand in fast-tac. But as soon as we were in the hall, Chi'anové said, "Damn, but you could smell the photo fear at that briefing," the fear of being held accountable.*

And I said, "Yes," because I'd felt it too, and thought no more about it.

In retrospect, it's clear they wanted to nullify my hypertelepathy. As an HT, I made a good spy, in part, because my telepathic skills are so sensitive that thoughts leak to me even through blocked minds, and since I don't have to reach out to read them, few sense the intrusion. But this could be as much as hazard for our handlers as for our marks. In this briefing, our handler had oozed unease. I was too preoccupied to care.

So much for my obtuseness, but what of Chi'anové? Later, for a time, it puzzled me that he wasn't more mistrustful. But it isn't hard to fathom. Covert intelligence is a fabric so famously woven of lies that lies become its honesty. They lied, he thought. We all do. Information, perversely, thrives in obfuscation. Insects call in the grass because on a slab, they'd be eaten. And so we grasshoppers sprang dutifully out into the meadow and into the waiting mouth.Read more... )
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19 – When you have bunnies, do you sit down and start writing right away, or do you write down the idea for further use?

I never write down an idea for further use, unless it's a story detail or a line I don't want to forget. Then, I don't do it often enough and lose a lot that way. Sometimes I sit down and write the story almost right away. Sometimes (more commonly), I ruminate until the story is more-or-less written, or thoroughly outlined, in my head. This happens with both original and fan fiction, but it happens a lot more with fan fiction because in fan fic, I can ruminate over vignettes that don't require plotting. In original fic, at least 75% of the mental work has to be plot work, and I never get plot plot bunnies, so that process is a lot of sitting down and staring at blank screens and intensive freewriting and outlining to try to figure out something to hang my story on. Hate it. I love plot bunnies though.

Rest of Questions )
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17 – Titles – Are they the bane of your existence, or the easiest part of the fic? Also, if you do chaptered fic, do you give each chapter a title, or not?

I'm okay with titles. Sometimes I strike on one I really like... um... "The Madder, Better World" for my Please Save My Earth fic, which is a Doctor Who allusion and just came to me and captured what I wanted to illustrate. Sometimes I get really stuck for a title, and it's usually a sign that I don't know what my story is about yet. Usually, I come up with something that's fairly descriptive, either literally ("Kagetora and the Women") or metaphorically ("Exorcising the Demon," i.e. in Naoe's neurotic head).

Rest of the Questions )
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16 – Summaries – Do you like them or hate them? How do you come up with them, if you use them?

I kind of hate them. Summaries are one of the reasons I'm a very poor candidate for success in traditional publishing, where a vast amount of making it out of the slush pile is dependent on writing a nicely enthralling, self-propagandizing summary of your brilliant novel. I don't sell myself well that way. Some native sense of propriety says it's a cheap trick to sum up the "brilliant" highlights of your own work.

Thus, regardless of the actual tone of the story, my summaries tend to be brief and functional and often a bit ironic. There are exceptions: I summarized my Charles/Erik fic as "young and in love," which is probably strongly correlated to why it's gotten a lot of hits. But it's more usual to get summaries like my Erik/Raven fic: "Forty years together, and it does seem a day too much." (This is for a fic that's actually quite serious and angsty.) All in all, my summaries probably lose me more readers than they gain. But I do get a laugh out of some of them. I don't know how I come up with them...

Rest of Questions )
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15 – Warnings – What do you feel it most important to warn for, and what's the strangest thing you've warned for in a fic?

Probably in this particular moment in fandom, it's most important to warn for potential Fail, which is close to the same thing as warning for common triggers. I'm defining "important" as limiting potential reader distress and the chances of becoming the object of a flame war. Thus, I try to remember to warn for things that touch on various kinds of abuse, disability, racism, homophobia, etc., not least because I'm not entirely confident that it will be clear what bits of discourse the story is tacitly endorsing and what bits are simply the most realistic POV for a given character/time/place.

However, this varies by fandom. For example, in Mirage of Blaze it's such common knowledge (and generally not a trigger for most fans) that [character I'm omitting for possible spoilers for the uninitiated] is a rape victim that I probably wouldn't be very rigorous about warning for mentions of this in an explicit way. I might simply rate high for "themes," for example. In other words, it depends a little on the population I'm serving.

The strangest things I've warned for: "much religiosity," as in Naoe in church, and "reincarnation interpretation." This is a warning for my Please Save My Earth epic and a decent example of tailoring warnings to population. This is very important to warn for because it expresses where my fic diverges from canon and (implicitly) critiques the manga that is the standard for most fans.

Rest of the Questions )
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14 – Ratings – how high are you comfortable with going? Have you ever written higher? If you're comfortable with NC-17, have you ever been shocked by finding that the story you're writing is G-rated instead?

I've written G through NC-17. The bulk of my fic probably hovers around PG-13. Of course, I follow the [personal profile] vilakins school of rating, which states that a cautious NC-17 may be warranted if you have explicit reference to genitals. I don't think I've ever written a fic that would warrant NC-17 on the basis of graphic violence or awfulness in themes. I'm not a graphic sex or violence writer, and how "high" I'm willing to go content-wise is pretty much a matter of degree of detail (vs. act). The kinkiest sex I've written is probably the eunuch-dildo sex in my Katze/Guy fic (it's hard to write AnK without being kinky), but as per usual, I didn't describe it in much detail. In general, I'm not much into kink (or what usually gets labeled as kink), so I don't tend to write it. I'm perfectly content to write G if an idea grabs me. But since I usually write fic that has at least a trace of angst, painful past experiences, etc., I'm more commonly at least in the PG for themes range.

Rest of Questions )
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13 – Do you prefer canon or fanon when you write? Has writing fanfic for a fandom changed the way you see some or even all of the original source material?

Well, reading fan fic (The Body) has utterly changed my view of Death Note. It's harder to say with writing fic, because the process of my transforming a fandom through my writing is seemlessly connected to the process of just being a viewer/reader and starting to fill in the gaps to make meaning. But ultimately, I think my writing of Watari in Death Note changed my view of him.

As for preferring canon or fanon, it depends. On the whole, I have a deep enough respect for canon that when a canon does something I really, really wish it hadn't, I usually try to accommodate it in my mind somehow. In the case of Kousaka in Mirage of Blaze, I accommodated right out of having any real connection to the character. If fanon adds to canon (rather than contradicting it), I add fanon gladly (thus, a lot of my fic is future fic). The Body is mostly in this category. If fanon contradicts canon, I occasionally take it on if canon has done something I really can't abide, something that just hurts my fundamental reason for liking a story, like killing off my favorite character, for example. And sometimes, as in Blake's 7, canon and fanon exist side by side for me, mutually contradictory but equally important, and either a universe I can dive into.

Rest of the Questions )
labingi: (Ghanior)
12 – Have you ever attempted an "adaptation" fic of a favorite book or movie but set in a different fandom?

If I understand the question, I have only done this in translating fan fic ideas into original fic. I guess I feel that if it's worth the trouble of "recasting" characters with new names, places, whatever, I might as well be able to get the cred for doing "original" work. My adventures in fic-to-original adaptation usually progress away from fandom resemblance toward greater originality as I go through drafts (I hope). Fandoms I have used as fairly close models for original ideas or characters include:

* Blake's 7
* Star Wars
* various Star Trek: Next Gen-era shows
* The Lord of the Rings (well, who hasn't?)
* The Mahabharata (feels weird to call that a fandom)
* My only real RPF "fandom": the life of T. E. Lawrence
* Tiny bits of Les Misérables, if I go way back.

My most shameless of these, and one I'm generally quite proud of, is my composite of LotR, the Mahabharata, and the life of TEL. It's about half done in draft form and currently on hold, but I honestly think it could be one of my better originals. Oh, it also has a tiny bit of Abelard and Heloise.

But the fact that Ghanior's life almost exactly parallels Dream's is purely archetypal. I wrote my first Ghanior novel before I ever cracked the cover of The Sandman.

Rest of the Questions )

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