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The fic meme

January 2nd, 2012 (09:15 pm)
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Mudblood. 4124 words. Written for hp_kinkfest. I'd never written a kinkfest story before, and I found it a bit daunting because, although our culture encourages us to respect each other's sexual tastes, 'kink' does imply 'something forbidden', and I found myself treading a fine line between 'this is natural' and 'this is naughty'. The research was interesting, though, and turned up some deeply misogynistic folk fears/Victorian-style moralising ('menstrual blood is the dirtiest substance in the world'; 'have sex during your period and you'll go blind get endometriosis'). The finished story is a star-crossed romance with some messy sex and some intimate washing, and the only criticism it's received is of the deliberately ambiguous ending, which some people have read as Hermione's agreeing to become Draco's mistress. (Though I don't, btw, see infidelity as a black-and-white issue).

The Sad tale of Bubble and Squeak. 6874 words. Written for dmhgficexchange. Having had a bit of a run-in with the mods at Hawthorn and Vine, who -- I was told -- were taking the piss debating my use of commas, I was feeling pretty burned out at this point, but I had a deadline to meet, so I needed an idea that would carry the story, and I decided to do something I'd wanted to do for a long time -- write a hard-boiled detective story. The result is written in the first person, from Draco's POV, and alternates between 'voiceovers' and passages of straight narration. Draco's a private detective who does regular work for the Ministry of Magic. He's hired to investigate the disappearance of two house-elves, Bubble and Squeak, using methods he's cobbled together from watching Bogart movies, the CSI 'TeeVee series', and from reading Severus Snape's notebooks.

Prisoners. 2140 words. Written for the Hawthorn and Vine Ten Years Later challenge. I had just seen Deathly Hallows part 1, and was obsessed with terrified!Draco, but writing him was so traumatic, I couldn't sustain it for much more than 2000 words, and I decided to supplement the written story with some detailed illustrations.

The combination works quite well, I think, and Prisoners is one of my more popular stories.

The White Ladies of Eryn Carantaur. 27,294 words. Written for lotrgficbigbang. This story took me back to Legolas/Eowyn after a year of writing almost nothing but Dramione, and I love it for that! It's a continuation of two little ghost stories I had previously written for Halloween 2008 and Halloween 2010, it features ghost!Theodred and some fun OCs, and it allows Legolas and Eowyn to disguise themselves as merchants and gives them a gypsy caravan to play with!

There are several passages I'm quite pleased with:

Medicines,” said Eowyn. “Do they work?”

The lad shrugged. “We’ve never had any complaints. Master Derufin has them made up by a wise woman this side of Firien Wood. There’s flaxseed pastilles to make you shit; dandelion root powders to make you shit; prune and nettle tea to make you shit and piss—”

“We understand,” said Legolas.

Apparently, most patent medicines were basically laxatives.


She stopped the wagon outside the tavern and, whilst she saw to the horses, Legolas brought out a row of tiny bells and, using leather-covered mallets, began playing the catchy tune the lad had taught him as a way of attracting customers. Soon, the door of the tavern opened, and a few curious people came shuffling outside. By then, the Elf had warmed to his task and, inspired by the presence of an audience, he deftly turned the simple notes into a haunting Lay, singing, in his clear, sweet voice...

Eowyn finished watering the horses and, having taken a moment to prepare herself, stepped out into the light, drawing gasps of surprise from the townspeople, who muttered, ‘Faery folk...
Faery folk!’

“Good evening,” she said, smiling at each potential customer in turn as the lad had taught her, “let me show you our wares.” She climbed up the wooden steps—conscious that several pairs of eyes were fixed upon her seat—turned and, framed in the doorway, launched into her performance: “For the men we bring pattern-welded blades from Gondor, strong pipeweeds from the Shire, and Cocodrille-skin pouches from the sunlands of Far Harad; for the ladies, shawls of the sheerest Elven silk, kerchiefs edged with the finest Blackwork, perfumes made to ancient receipts...”


Though the sun was at its zenith, the trees were dense along Firien-dale and the path was shrouded in darkness, the gloom broken only rarely by pale splashes of light that, far from bringing relief, illuminated lurid fungi and teeming insects, which Eowyn would rather not have seen. High above her, magpies cursed and crebain cawed; all around her, unknown creatures rustled and grunted, reminding her of the great Boar of Everholt that had gored poor King Folca to death...

“Do you still sense evil?” she asked.


“So do I.” She looked around, warily. “I should not be surprised if Baldor had stationed a few serfs—or even a glam of orcs—here to deter visitors.”

Legolas stopped, and turned back to face her. “Then the best strategy, Melmenya,” he said, softly, “is to be very, very quiet.”

Eowyn brought her forefinger and thumb up to her mouth, and pinched her lips closed.


“My son,” said Gléowyn, as she completed her count of the jars of pickled cabbage, “is spoken for. Twelve.”

Eowyn corrected the list. “My Lady?”

“He is betrothed. To the daughter of Walda son of Galfrid.” She started on the jars of strawberry preserve.

“I am
married, my Lady,” said Eowyn.

“To a merchant,” replied the woman. “He is a pretty fellow—there is no doubt of that—but a bright, ambitious young woman with a modicum of beauty can always raise herself by a more sensible marriage.”

A green-blooded fish has been found in the sea. WIP. ~2000 words. Started for journeystory big bang, and still unfinished. I love the idea behind this story, and will get back to it as soon as I can, but it's really, really fighting me, mainly -- I think -- because journeystory readers (I am such an optimist, LOL) needed a lot of backstory, and that's hard to pitch at the right level. Also, I decided to incorporate an OC from a previous story and, although I think he'll work well, I can't see why someone as sensible as Legolas would ever take him along... But, yay, I've just thought of a solution!

A Kind of Alchemy. 4478 words. Written for dramione_duet. This year, I modded the dramione_duet fic exchange, which proved much more stressful than I'd expected, not because I had to match up pairs of participants (that was actually easier than expected), and not because I read, formatted, created a banner for, posted, and reviewed every fic (besides being flooded with membership applications, and having to do several other time-consuming modly things), but because every story bar two was submitted late, and I was worried. For a whole month. At one point, I felt so ill I almost drove myself to A&E. (It turns out I have a gall stone).

I started A Kind of Alchemy as a pinch-hit and, when the original participant sent in her story, I decided to keep writing, but to depart from the original prompt (so that the recipient wouldn't receive two fics). At the same time, I was feeling the need to exorcise the terrified!Draco of Prisoners by writing a mended!Draco, well on the way to becoming the man JKR seems to be depicting in the Epilogue. It sort of works, but sort of doesn't... And the result is a story of two halves -- a fluffy romance followed by an NC-17 PWP -- each of which works by itself, but which don't really work together. Bum.

The Dead Forest. ~12,000 words. Written for my 2011 Yuletide Calendar. This was a strange one! It was originally going to be about rescuing the djinn (who was found by Eowyn in The Strange Sea Road, and lost by her in Westron Wynde), but somebody posted some icon textures of bare trees and I thought, "Ooo, a dead forest!" made some graphics, and then had to think up a new story. When I was young we used regularly to drive past a disused blue factory. It was in the middle of a forest, built from green slate, and it was totally bright, bright blue! It used to fascinate me and, eventually, I thought of using that (though I'd already made the graphics gold by that point). Story-wise, I think that maybe it peaks too early but, at the moment, I can't bring myself to re-read it, so I'm not sure.

The Best Laid Plans.... 4441 words. Written for dhr_advent. The prompt was elf, and I wasted a lot of time trying to think of a way to work Legolas into a Dramione story before I thought of using a house-elf, and writing it from his POV. His name is Tinker, and -- bless him -- he does, but without really understanding what is going on between his humans. My favourite bits are:

Just-Hermione Granger arrived punctually at nine. She was wearing a dress of pure white... stuff, tight and sparkly at the top, loose and floaty at the bottom; she’d darkened her eyes, and reddened her lips with something glossy; and her normally... full hair cascaded down her bare back in pretty curls spangled with tiny white flowers.

Tinker thought she looked lovely; he glanced at Master Draco.

Master Draco looked as if someone had just given him


Master Draco was silent for a few moments. Then he said, “Run that by me again?”

“You shout out her name, Draco. When you’re coming.”

Tinker’s ears shot up. Suddenly, he had Another Plan. He didn’t know where Master Draco had been coming from, but he did know where Tinker was
going to.


Just-Hermione Granger squealed, grabbed a towel, and clutched it to her chest; Tinker yelped, clamped his hands over his eyes, and—for good measure—turned his back.

“What are you
doing here?” said Just-Hermione Granger.

“Tinker needs to talk to Just-Hermione Granger,” said Tinker. “It’s urgent.”

“Yes... Well... All right,” said Just-Hermione Granger. “Go and wait in the lounge. I won’t be long.”

Bonaccord's Old Curiosity Shop. 3346 words. Written for dhr_advent. The prompt was bells, and I decided to write something a bit Dickensian, with an omniscient and rather intrusive narrator, maintaining whose POV, but keeping it light, gave me some hairy moments. I had a good look at The Mystery of Edwin Drood to see how Dickens-the-narrator handled characters' names, especially in dialogue. (The answer, of course, is 'instinctively', but we 21st century people no longer have the same instincts). What was easier to mimic was Christmas:

A Christmas Day at The Burrow puts all other sorts of Christmas Day to shame.

Mr and Mrs Weasley, their children, their children-by-marriage (like Harry Potter), their children-by-marriage-to-be (like Hermione), and their grandchildren all sit round the table—though some are forced to perch upon stools hastily Transfigured from Muggle artefacts—all wearing party hats and eating turkey and stuffing, with gravy and roast potatoes and carrots and sprouts and bread sauce, followed by Christmas pudding and mince pies, nuts and tangerines, and the excited pulling of Christmas crackers...

And everyone is eating too much, and laughing too much, and too many charms are needed to stop the sprouts sprouting, and the crackers crackling, and the bread sauce getting saucy with the ladies (courtesy of George).


But we must leave The Burrow now, and travel to Malfoy Manor, to see a very different sort of Christmas Day.

Here—although the table is long enough to accommodate at least
two families of Weasleys—there are only six diners: Mr and Mrs Malfoy and their son, Draco, and Mr and Mrs Greengrass and their younger daughter, Astoria. The food is elegant (and impeccably behaved), served in modest portions (because the lady of the house does not want her guests to think her vulgar), and the Dining Room is silent, save for the quiet click of silverware.


Malfoy Manor. A version of the Bellatrix-Hermione torture scene in which Draco secretly intervenes.

A turning point.

Stubborn fools.

Win-win. And it did!

My daddy. Written by six-year-old Scorpius Malfoy.


Sparkly. Inspired by an episode of Mork and Mindy in which Mork moves a huge 4x4 into the sitting room piece by piece and doesn't understand why no one is impressed, and Kindly translated into Czech by larapidez.

A helping hand.

Lucius's worst fear.

Get your coat, Malfoy. I'm pleased with the last line of this one :-)

Total word count in 2011: ~67,697

Looking back, did you write more fic than you thought you would this year, less, or about what you'd predicted? Slightly less, I think. But I seem to have done less of everything than usual this year. I've only read 24 books (plus a couple still in progress), for example.

What pairing/genre/fandom did you write that you would never have predicted in January 2011? I didn't write any new pairings or in any new fandoms in 2011, but I did create Buffy-Stargate Atlantis and The Eagle of the Ninth artwork, and I am preparing to write an LOTR-The Eagle of the Ninth crossover in 2012.

What's your favorite story of the year? Not the most popular, but the one that makes you happiest? The White Ladies of Eryn Carantaur :-)

Did you take any writing risks this year? What did you learn from them? The Sad Tale of Bubble and Squeak, Prisoners, The Best Laid Plans..., and Bonaccord's Old Curiosity Shop were all a bit experimental: The Sad Tale of Bubble and Squeak is my first First Person narrative; Prisoners is very short and intense, and incorporates illustrations; The Best Laid Plans... is Close Third Person and attempts to mimic the speech patterns of house-elves in the narrative; Bonaccord's Old Curiosity Shop is Omniscient Third Person. I tend to see these experiments, though, as a failure of confidence on my part; I'm like a person who needs novelty to stimulate his or her jaded appetite, ahem. And something I've not so much learned as confirmed is that I am the slowest writer in the world, even when the writing's going well.

Do you have any fanfic or profic goals for the New Year? I've signed up for hp_kinkfest again, so I need to write a kinky story sharpish (one problem being that I'm more interested in the non-kink part of the prompt than the kink part). I've also signed up for eagle_bigbang and, although I have a fairly clear idea of the plot, I've left the writing a bit late. My main aim in 2012, though, is just to keep writing and, if possible, actually to enjoy doing it.

From my past year of writing, what was...

My Favorite Story: The White Ladies of Eryn Carantaur.

My Best Story: Maybe The White Ladies of Eryn Carantaur, maybe The Best Laid Plans...

Story Most Underappreciated by the Universe: The White Ladies of Eryn Carantaur -- it got one lovely review from my mate curiouswombat, one from trix, a guffaw from maria, and one complaint ('It might be proper to add AU warning in the description. I'm huge Faramir/Eowyn shipper and I didn't expect L/E pairing but some companionship, and Eowyn being with Faramir. I've been dissapointed. Thank you for understanding.'*), which provoked me into hitting the Caps Lock and adding a huge WARNING for those of a delicate disposition :-)

On the other hand, thanks mainly -- I think -- to the fabulous job the mods did promoting the fest, The Best Laid Plans... and Bonaccord's Old Curiosity Shop have had the sort of feedback I can normally only dream of. It's like seeing your team win.

* The complainant doesn't seem to be a native English speaker, which raises an interesting (to me) point: on the web, a large proportion of your readers, even if they use a translation program, are not going to be fully aware of the way you are using language but will be focused on your ideas.

Most fun: The Best Laid Plans....

Most disappointing: A Kind of Alchemy. What a mess!

Most sexy: I haven't actually written much sex this year because it hasn't really fitted into the stories. My favourite sex scene is this one, from The Best Laid Plans...:

Master Draco was kissing Just-Hermione Granger, and—though Tinker didn’t know much about kissing—he could tell that Just-Hermione Granger was enjoying it. And, as Tinker watched, Master Draco lifted Just-Hermione Granger into his arms, and carried her out of the lounge and into another room, kicking the door shut behind them.

Tinker hurried to the door and, pressing his one of his big ears to the wood, he listened.

There was no more arguing, just a gentle murmuring, and some sighing, and then a quiet, rhythmic squeaking.

Suddenly, some instinct told Tinker that
this was the thing that hadn’t happened in Paris, the thing that Just-Hermione Granger had wanted so much, the thing that made her face light up when she thought about it...

And Tinker Apparated home.

The sexiest scene with explicit sex in it is probably one of the sex scenes in Mudblood or in A Kind of Alchemy; in both stories, Hermione turns out to be more experienced than Draco's expecting.

Hardest to Write: A green-blooded fish has been found in the sea!

Most Unintentionally Telling: I already know that I'm most comfortable writing OCs, so The Best Laid Plans... isn't really that telling.


Posted by: Ree (reetinkerbell)
Posted at: January 4th, 2012 12:37 pm (UTC)

I don't know that I used all of them, but I had the choice and I wasn't locked into making a scene that fit exactly what you see in the art, in a way that most artists probably feel like when they create art for a story. There was a lot more freedom for both of us, but when it's the other way, the artists "has to" (or at least seems to be encouraged in the bigbangs I've done/seen) take a scene from the story and create art for it, not create art that is inspired by the story as a whole.

I think I would like to read that story, do you have a link handy? I can't promise that I'll be able to read it right now, but I will certainly put it on my list! It sounds like something I'd probably like to read.

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: January 4th, 2012 01:50 pm (UTC)

I see what you mean. And I think you're right -- I think that someone used to illustrating stories would automatically want to interpret the story, but the mods do tend to encourage people to illustrate particular scenes by asking the writer to pick out scenes or otherwise provide content. They probably think they're making it easier for the artist. (I've had to read some quite long stories when people have asked me to make them a banner, and in those cases I would probably have preferred to have been given a scene or a summary, but when you sign up for a big bang, I think you're expecting to read the entire story).

The story's called 'The Beginning' and it's here, at H&V:


It comes with two warnings:

- It contains a Cruciatus Curse torture scene.
- One of the characters appears to be very OOC, but if you read to the end, you'll find that there's a reason why!

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