Woo! I finished the 5,000+ word prequel to the Tirragenverse! I'm unsure whether I should actually post it or not. I still haven't got a response to any beta-requests. But hey, the first part of this is settled, and I've finally got a handle on how certain plot-threads come together and how I can avoid my World's a Stage OC can avoid coming across as a Mary Sue. ...I might post it on AO3 first.
Something that might not be easily deduced from the tags: I am a major fan of Tamora Pierce. Have been ever since I first picked up the first book of the Protector of the Small quartet. I worked backwards from there, next tearing my way through The Immortals quartet. So you can imagine that I also tore through Song of the Lioness pretty damn fast, expecting to like it as much as I had PoTS and Immortals. Which I did...except for a few itsy-bitsy flies in the ointment. It was something of a shock, dealing with four books of Alanna, whose temper reminded me of my own, when I'd become so very used to Kel's stoicism. But once I got used to that, and realised "silly Lizzy, Alanna's not Kel", that fly disappeared. Leaving just one: Alexander of Tirragen. There are plenty of people in the TP fandoms who find his motivations to conspire with Roger a mystery. Frankly, wanting to "be the best" is not a reason for high treason. Not in and of itself. I've read more or less every fic which tries to shed more light on why, how, and when he became Duke Roger's man – why, how and when, if you will, he became evil. None of it was terribly satisfying. Partlybecause I have a thing for Tall, Dark, and Snarky swordsmen, and partly because I still couldn't get over the fact that the one character who was constantly described as "dark" (Ambiguously Brown) was the one who turned out to be a traitor. That, I couldn't stand. Which brings me to my point at long last. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the Major Project of however long this takes: a For Want of a Nail AU where Alex of Tirragen does not become a traitor.
So, after another absence of almost a year, here I am. Back again. Much changed, and much more mellow. So, given this newfound mellowness (and thus less need to Scream into the Void) why am I back, you ask? Mostly because I've actually found something that I can use this journal for. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, high school has finally finished, and I am officially a free woman. Well, free from high school, anyway. Particularly since I'm planning to take a gap year. So until March rolls around (where, if I guess correctly, and a couple of things go away, all of my time will be consumed for five months) I have time on my hands. Time, and no school, as you can tell from the run-on sentences. Which means: I'm back. And I have projects! *grin*
So, a few days ago, Vathara finished Embers. Oh. My. God. For anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about, Embers is a popular (but base-breaking) Avatar: the Last Airbender. It explores fridge horror, fridge logic, and plays up certain elements of the show, such as the Spirit World and "fire is life." It's controversial for a number of reasons, but a huge reason is the early Alternative Character Interpretation of Aang and Katara. Now, I'm a big fan of those two, but I like their Embers counterparts as well. I like the fact that it takes Aang a lot longer to get accustomed to the world, and to get his head around all the sheer responsibilities and consequences and nuttiness that being the Avatar entails. I like how Katara is much more protective and insular in the show, and how Vathara really gives her a bigger arc in coming to terms with everyone else. I also like the Fridge Horror. Anyway. Embers. Finale – for all intents and purposes, the last three chapters. Oh, my. Everyone did at least one AWESOME thing. Katara kicking the sea serpent's ass. Aang striking down Kyoshi's decree, thus freeing the Fire Nation from clinical insanity, and effectively grounding Koh. Sokka killing Ozai. Suki taking an airship. Zuko healing Asagitatsu. Toph fending off airships. Teo and the gliders throwing fire-ice bombs! Langxue killing Makoto! Iroh and the White Lotus defending the North Pole! And…just to emphasise my favourite bit in all of that? Aang grounding Koh. Because let's go into what that entails: mastery of his emotions. Coming to terms with who the REAL problem behind all the trouble is. Understanding of what the balance is, must be, and how he must correct it. Understanding and mastery of himself. Using his Air Nomad upbringing to stop the darkness. The final chapter was also awesome, mainly tying all the loose ends up. Aang keeping his promises to Zuko. Toph and Teruko bargaining to help each other win Zuko and Shirong, respectively – both of which I totally nailed. Azula becoming the Lord of the Caldera… Oh, and the bit at the end with Amaya. Embers, in terms of prose, isn't brilliant. Don't get me wrong. There are way, way too many fragments. But if you want a long, lovingly built, incredibly well-researched, logically reasoned to the nth degree story, which is also brilliant in terms of characterization and character arcs and narrative structure? If you want dragons, healing, a different way of looking at something? If you were ever curious about why the Fire Nation might be the way it is? If you want a closer look at what the Spirit World might have been like? If you ever wanted over 750,000 words of 95%-proof awesome? Embers might just be your fic.
Hate. So much hate right now. Ah, I feel better already. But what's wrong? Gentle hypothetical readers ask. What's wrong, indeed. Ha. Well. As you know, I live in Australia. I love it. It's sunny, the surf is awesome (though I'm hardly a beach fanatic), and we just won the Ashes. Sunshine and daisies, right? Until the idiots open their mouth. In this case, one particular backbencher, Senator Bernardi. Senator Bernardi is an idiot. In 2010, he called for the burqua to be banned in public. Not in banks or airports, where you can argue the burqua needs to be removed for facial identification. Just in public spaces. He thinks legalising gay marriage will lead to bestiality, disregarding the fact that an animal doesn't have legal rights of personhood. He thinks the "green agenda" (aka, people who think we should get off our arses and do something about global warming) value plant and animal life over humanity. Apparently, it's missed his notice that humans live within the environment that the Greens and other environmental activists are so concerned about. He is an idiot. An idiot who has published a book, entitled The Conservative Revolution. In this book, he decides to air his idiot's grievances with the world. He says that couples who undergo IVF and surrogacy (which he believes to be on par with human cloning) don't understand that children are "gifts, not commodities." He says that step-families, blended families, and single-parent households should not be considered equal to the "traditional" family. And the final kicker: He says that people who are pro-choice are actually pro-death. Cory Bernardi, you see, does not understand abortion. He does not understand what a chemical pregnancy is; in fact, I doubt he knows whether they exist. (And yes, he believes life starts from conception. Half the reason this view pisses me off.) He does not understand that abortion has been around since Ancient Greece. He actually thinks that abortion used to be rare, but now Australia's rate of 80-100,000 terminations of pregnancies per year is "horrendous and unacceptable." Question, Mr Bernardi: have you seen data on what septic abortions used to be like? Not just as far as numbers go, but how surviving children were left without a mother, how the mother and the foetus often died horribly, how so many lives were shattered, how they were absolutely godawful…? I'm pro-choice, but I still think abortion's a tragedy. You know why? Because it's horrible that she has to get one. Unplanned pregnancies are horrible. Impregnation from rape is horrible. Being pressured into getting an abortion is horrible. Having a baby you're not ready for is horrible. Falling pregnant for a child you couldn't support is horrible. All of those things are horrible, and it is awful that a woman feels that she has to get an abortion. An Australian woman, named Donna Mulhearn, who was human shield from the early days in the war in Iraq came to my school. She had taken a photo of a little eight year old girl with a gun in her hand. She had been given that gun by her neighbours, after her parents had been shot; the neighbours had told the girl that she was now responsible for her younger siblings. Some ladies near the girl had called her over. They thought that Donna didn't care about the girl as a person, and that when the woman took that photo, it was just like another attraction to her. Understandably, they were pissed off. Especially when Donna said that she thought it was disturbing. I don't blame them. But I think what Donna was trying to get at is: it's disturbing that girl had to pick up that gun, to defend her little brother and sister. And it's really sad when a woman has to get an abortion. Tl;dr?
Post type: spitefic Spitefic type: how it should have gone, alternate ending, AU Inspired by ljlee, a discussion on one of her posts, and her incredible fanfiction, Shadow of the Dragon King
“You traitor!” shouted the Lieutenant. I could barely believe my eyes, as the man charged his leader. Amon lifted his hand, paralysing him – The Lieutenant had taken on the world for Amon, for what Amon represented. Now Amon had betrayed him, and he would hurt, he would kill the man most loyal to his cause. No. Not if I could help it. Air is freedom. I surged to my feet with a kiai, and spun, whirling my arms, like I was running the gates. Air gathered and flew, knocking Amon against the pile of wood. Amon stared at me, dumbfounded and gasping for breath. “That’s impossible,” he whispered. No, I thought, feeling almost dizzy from the sudden rush of adrenaline. No, it isn’t. You can douse my fire. You can dam my water. You can yank the earth from out under my feet. But you can’t take my freedom, Amon! Freedom is not merely the ability to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Freedom is the ability to define, mould and shape ourselves, and thus, the world. The words of the scroll, read in Tenzin’s voice, echoed through my mind as I sent two more blasts of air at Amon. The Lieutenant lunged forward, apparently recovered from the bloodbending, the two kali rods now connected to form one long rod that flashed out to shock Amon. Amon wasn’t used to being struck; as he divided his attention between the Lieutenant, his new injury, and me, he lost the concentration required to paralyse Mako. With a cry, Mako sent a fireball at Amon’s head. I whirled around and let loose a spinning, razor-edged disc of air at Amon, as the Lieutenant dodged under our strikes and lunged again. Amon only just managed to twist away, dodging it by a hair’s width, before running. Moving as one, we chased him. * * * * * “Why did you stop him from bloodbending me?” asked the Lieutenant, his grey eyes cool as he stared at me. I took a deep breath and did the hardest thing I’d ever done. I knelt and bowed my head to an enemy. “I’m sorry. I have failed you, as an Avatar. I’ve failed all the nonbenders. The idea of my bending being taken away terrified me so much that I failed to see the cause of your movement. And the roots of your cause lie in pain: the pain of nonbenders, victimized by benders. And that fear stopped me from realising something. Something I only realized when I saw you being bloodbent by Amon.” I rose, looking him in the eye. “I realized I have to help. I have to make things better. I can’t reverse the damage done between benders and nonbenders. I can’t bring back opportunities denied. I can’t bring back the parents and children lost. But I can make things better. I have to make things better. And I have to do that because…I’m your Avatar too.”
Fandom: House of Night Book: Marked Chapter: eh, the one with the Dark Daughters' ritual. I need to catch up on the sporkings. :D Summary: Because what teenager prays for genocide when you have an opportunity to get high? AU – no attempted rape in Chapter 7.
I glanced around nervously at the entrance of the building. It looked normal – well, by House of Night standards. In keeping with the overdone gothic theme, the gargoyle over the threshold leered at me. I steeled myself. Vampyre school or not, suspiciously lively gargoyle or not, they did not get to intimidate Zoey Redbird. ….Well, they did, because this place and that gargoyle was fucking creepy, but I wasn't going to give them that satisfaction. This thought in mind, I rapped my knuckles against the door. Three times, just to be on the safe side. A few moments later, the door swung open. Aphrodite beamed at me, clad in blue skinny jeans and a sparkling silver top. "Hi, Zoey!" My eyes widened. Holy – where, exactly, had all this friendliness been hiding? Had to be an act, I decided, as she seized my wrist – oddly enough, not tight enough to claw. Y'know, you didn't have to dress up," Aphrodite said amiably, as we entered. I gritted my teeth. "Well, I wasn't sure what to expect," I said, trying to keep my voice neutral. "That's fine," she said dismissively. "One of the minions will lend you something." "Minions?" I asked dubiously, as we entered the living room. My nostrils twitched, flared, and then an almighty sneeze had me doubling over. Pot, mixed with frankincense and myrrh. Meaning that everyone at this Ritual-thingy would be slowly but surely getting high. Charming. Aphrodite didn’t seem to register my expression, or my remark. She beckoned over a girl – a grey-eyed strawberry blonde whose expression was remarkably impassive, her curvy figure emphasised by her tight purple dress. “Charlene! Can you lend Zoey here an outfit? We forgot to explain the dress code,” Aphrodite said mildly, smiling broadly. My eyebrows shot up. Hold on, Aphrodite was admitting fault in this? Oh, seeing this plan unveiled was going to be good. The logic of it had to be slinky-shaped, or something. “Certainly, Aphrodite,” Charlene said. Her voice was a cool, almost gravelly monotone. I squirmed as she looked me up and down, feeling the blood rush to my cheeks. God – well, Nyx now, I guess – dammit. I never was a nice blusher. Again, thanks to my Cherokee heritage – but also, in this case, the make-up I had chosen to wear would have actually emphasized the blush, rather than covered it. Sometimes, I hated the beauty industry. “This way,” Charlene said. I started, feeling my cheeks flood with warmth again – I had so busy monologuing to myself that she was already at the door of the room. I hurried after her, quickening my pace into a jog. We went down the hall, to a small room on the right; a small alcove, by the looks of it, a pack dumped in the corner. Charlene withdrew a bundle of fabric, and tossed it to me. “Here,” she said curtly. “Thanks. So…where do I…” She rolled her eyes. “If you want, I’ll turn my back.” I nodded, clutching the fabric to my chest. “Thanks,” I replied. “So,” she said, turning around. “What d’you think about House of Night?” “Uh…” “I asked what you think, Miss Favourite,” she said. “Hey, I’m not just a teacher’s pet, you know,” I answered hotly, sliding the dress on over my head. I smoothed it out; it was pretty. Pleated skirt flaring out from the hips, floral pattern twining around it from the collar downward. “Oh, aren’t you? You should hear the rumours. That your Mark means you’re blessed by Nyx herself; that’s the reason Neferet’s taken you under her wing. But funnily enough, that’s not even my main issue with you. You done?” “Yeah. What d’you mean, ‘my issue with you’?” Charlene’s eyes as she turned around were flat as steel. “I’ve been best friends with Aphrodite since we were younger than you. For some reason, Zoey Redbird, she likes you. Not that she realises it. She’s always been a little unsure of these things. And I have no issue with that. The point is, Aphrodite is the leader of the Dark Daughters. She is Neferet’s protégé, and I don’t care if Neferet is your mentor. She is the High-Priestess-to-be, and has been groomed for it for years.” “So what? I’m supposed to kowtow to her every time she walks past in the corridor?” I threw back, crossing my arms defiantly. I couldn’t help but shiver, as Charlene chuckled, low, throaty and devoid of humour. “No. But there is…how shall I say…there is a certain amount of deference involved. You know the seventh formers’ symbol?” “The whip, yeah.” “It’s the symbol of Nemesis, daughter of Nyx – goddess of revenge, balance and justice. Don’t get on a pedastel – it just makes the fall greater. Don’t go through life expecting only good things – there has to be balance. And the necessity of justice. As you can imagine, then, there is a certain level of respect accorded to the High Priestess, and to her protégé.” Charlene folded her arms. “And you, Miss Zoey Redbird – why, you just strut in, and decide to be frankly awful to Aphrodite, when she’s trying to be nice to you.” “Nice? Look, I don’t know who you’ve been friends with for three years, but–” She gave a long, low hiss. “Shut. Up.” She stalked forward. “You know nothing, Zoey Redbird. You know absolutely zero about my friend. You don’t know that when she first came here, she was sick and scared. You don’t know how it is for vampyres who actually give a damn about the humanity they lost, and can’t get back. You don’t give a damn about learning to be a vampyre and growing up and having to get off your ass and do something, and you definitely don’t know anything about my friend. So either shut the fuck up and start listening or get. Out.” She slapped me across the face and walked out of the alcove.
I'm really not a fan of the Fault in Our Stars. I didn't like the characters – and you have to be very good to make me interested in a story when I don't like the characters. But even more than that, the plot broke my suspension of disbelief. I also hated the male lead. So. Without further ado? How The Fault in Our Stars Should Have Ended.
"Hazel?" my Mom asked me.
"Why do you want to go to Amsterdam anyway?"
"It's to meet Peter Van Houten, Mom. To find out what happened at the end of An Imperial Affliction."
Mom took off her glasses, and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Hazel, honey. Let me show you something." She leaned over my head, peering at the computer screen, and threaded her arms around my shoulders to type in a URL. "That's fanfiction.net," Mom said bluntly. She clicked the BOOKS section. "And wouldn't you know it, up the top is An Imperial Affliction."
She clicked the link to the archive, then stepped back, rapping her knuckles gently against my head. "Go and read. Now. I have flights to cancel, forms to fill out, and a creep to ward off." I didn't pay attention. I was too busy reading.
I’d never given much thought to my first boyfriend. I’d seen how happy my best friend was made by hers, but other people I knew got really stressed out by the relationship. All in all, so much easier just to focus on the rest of my life. So much easier. Which made this moment quite fitting, in my opinion – if still scary as fuck. Hands shaking, scream tearing from my throat, I drove the stake home.
I'm either going to have to put this bunny up for adoption, or get some serious help. :/
That was the first thing I decided to experiment with this NaNoWriMo. The second thing was a different format. I'm a prose writer. I've read several books which were epistolary novels – told, to quote gehayi's definition, in a series of documents. The documents in question involve transcripts of mentorship sessions, voice recordings, text messages, Skype conversations, emails, and building sign-in sheets. I'd actually thought that I couldn't write one. I've marvelled at the way writers such as Jaclyn Moriarty and Meg Cabot tell the story. But, well, I managed to prove that was false. I suspect this is actually because I read those novels and looked at how they did that with their structure. The key thing, I think, is to choose a setting that both suits the format and you know well. Other than that, just write. So what else did NaNoWriMo involve for me? A lot of late nights, and ranting to my friends, and second-guessing myself. Important thing is that I've done it. Hallelujah. I think I've got about another 5,000 maximum words to write, and then I'll be done. At least for a while. The thing I probably struggled most with is the dividing of it. Meg Cabot didn't divide her novels, but I think a lot of the people I dragooned into reading it really needed some additional structure to the story. It didn't have chapters; though, now that I think about it, I can't think of a real reason why it shouldn't have had chapters. Because of that, it was just one huge document – which also makes keeping a timeline hell. Because I work with a Mac and not a PC, this meant that my readers and I would be referring to very different pages when they pointed out typos and assorted other problems. So I think maybe the structure will help with that. After much mulling over, I've divided the story into 10 weeks of a school term. Finally, timelines. My poor readers of the first draft. I gave as few dates as possible, because I had no idea. But…I think I've got it worked out now. Thank God for iCal.
…And now I have officially done the stupid reflection thingy that the voice suspiciously like my conscience has told me to do. YAY! Onto more fun things!