prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
Originally posted by me at [ profile] arbitrary_fic

Characters: John Watson, Sherlock Holmes, OCs
Rating: Mature/R
Tags & Warnings: Vampire John, Angel Sherlock, Religious Themes, Demons, Vampires, Angels, Fallen Angels, Unhappy Ending, Revenge, Hell, Spiritual Corruption, John's life being all terrible all the time
Notes: A prequel to Graceless by belladonna_q, with her kind permission.

Hell is not a place, but a state.

Once, John can almost remember, the cosmos had been filled with light. He had been filled with music, made of it, his spirit a ringing, chiming note in a great joyous chorus of being.

There is no light here, nor music either. Humans refer to dirt when they speak of ugliness, but they can’t feel the radiance of earth, the brimming life of a swamp or cavern. But the beauty of life is in its meaning, in the love poured into it. That was gouged out of John’s eyes in the long burning fall, torn dripping from his memory. His Creator left him with the memory of a memory of having ever been loved, just enough to know that once, he felt something other than this eternal silent cold.

John learns, with clawing, bloody slowness, how to fend for himself. He learns the capacity to love wasn’t taken from him, or the need for it. He learns what it is to starve. To need things that aren’t given to him.

The humans are here, and he learns to love them in ways he’s fairly sure are new to him. With them near, he isn’t all alone. The bare, small song of their voices is an infinity better than silence. He learns that they can feed him. They’re sacred cattle with a worth and purpose beyond anything his blinded eyes can still see, and he can take it from them, and be warmed for a few minutes by the fire of their souls.

He loves these beautiful brief creatures savagely, helplessly, with a frightened need.

Read More
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
Originally posted by [ profile] ursulav at Swan Brothers

It happened one summer that a curse fell on my family. The details aren’t important. We could be here all night with who married whom and who cursed what. There was a curse, that’s all you need to know.

All seven of my brothers were turned into swans. From loud, hard-handed boys, they became mute birds, with wings as white as cloud and eyes as dark as heaven.

There was a great deal of chaos. There usually is, when someone turns into a bird. They went mad indoors and had to be ushered out into the gardens, to flap and sulk and arch their necks in beautiful reproach.

The wise woman of the woods came to me, with her hair wrapped up in leaf and copper wire. She told me that I was given the task of weaving seven shirts in silence, and only then would they be restored to human form.

A single word spoken, a single stitch unsewn, and they would be swans forever.

As soon as the wisewoman left the room, I pitched my spindle into the fire and sang aloud the raunchiest song I knew.

I never liked my brothers. They made much better swans.

The End

(This is my buddy Otter's fault. She's my editor and the last book has involved a lot of screaming and it...err...well, what with one thing and another, I thought I needed to write something based on the swan brother fairy tale, and then I realized it really didn't need to be novel-length...)

Ursula Vernon is magnificent.
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
Rock on.  Man, I wish 10,000 words wasn't like an entire NaNoWriMo for me.

Originally posted by [ profile] spikedluv at Announcement: Small Fandoms Bang Open for Author Sign-Ups!
[ profile] smallfandombang, the big bang for small fandoms, is open for Round Four!

All small fandoms (once they have been verified as small) qualify, and there is no requirement that you have to have written a long fic before you sign up. Also, the min is only 10,000 words and we give you plenty of time to get your fic written.

Author sign-ups are open now, so check it out! *g* (Artist sign-ups open November 1st.)


A 10,000-word big bang for small fandoms!

FAQ | Rules |Authors | Beta/Cheerleader | Affiliate

prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
I wish you could merge Livejournals, because I am over the days when I felt shy about writing genderswap tentacle-sex porn.

Also I think all my followers who would have been scandalized by this have stopped using LJ, soooooo.

Originally posted by [ profile] arbitrary_fic at BBC Sherlock fic: Six
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Rating: NC-17
Tags & Warnings: Omegaverse, tentacles, sexswap
Notes: Written for michi_thekiller. Betaed by the always delightful LapOtter!

Sherlock and Jonnie both gasped and jerked as another of Sherlock’s knots popped into her.
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
I just want to talk about my love for monster-boys and monster-girls. And monster-other genders, because if not all humans are boys or girls, there's no reason monsters should have to stick to that.

I love them so much.  I love minds that don't work quite like human minds, and instincts that want different things than humans want, and monster-emotions and monster-priorities and monster-ways of seeing the world.

I love when monsters can find a space to share with humans--where maybe they don't want the same thing, but they satisfy each other's needs anyway.

I love monsters that don't take shit, that don't apologize for what they are, that don't need to kill but will if you push them because fuck you, they're not human and they don't live by human rules, and you should never forget that.

I love monsters that love, fierce and raw with immortal minds and hearts, without pity.

I love immortality, and what it does to a mind, how being able to live as an immortal makes you a monster because the scale of the world shifts and your priorties can't be the priorties that humans cling to anymore.  How the world becomes so much bigger, how time becomes a place, how sanity becomes relative.

I love monsters who don't abide by human genders, because why should they?  Why should 'girl' mean to them what it means to us?  Why should their girls, if they even have them, want or need the same things?  Feral girls, ferocious girls, girls who drink blood so their bones and babies become strong, girls like hawks who are bigger and stronger and more territorial and hungry than any boy.

Monsters that aren't boys or girls at all.  Monsters who can be both or neither as they please, who never were either and don't understand it, or do understand it and know it's nothing more than a veil to wear to coax their prey close...

Monsters for whom humans are thin, transparent, gossamer things, more space between molecules than molecules themselves.  Monsters so dense and real that we can only see them when they concentrate, make themselves incorporeal enough for us to touch.

God, I love monsters.
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
I've seen a few people commenting on their struggles with adjectives and adverbs in their writing, so can we just talk about this for a minute?  I have a piece of advice on the subject:

Don't worry about it.  Do what works for you.

Writing descriptive text is one of the skills that writers continue to develop over years.  Wherever you are now, you're going to get better at it.  If you're currently at the stage where what works for you is lining up a few adjectives in a row, that's fine. It's not Chuck Palahniuk master class-level skill, but here's a little secret: most of the people who write for their career aren't that good either.  They don't need to be.  The #1 most important skill of a story writer is not to be able to sculpt words like clay, but to be able to communicate your story effectively to the reader.

If you go hunting for writing advice, then everybody in the world will have (conflicting) advice on adverbs and adjectives in your writing, and they frequently imply that if you don't do it the way they say then no one ever will read your work and you will fail as a writer and ALSO THE WORLD MIGHT END.

But seriously, there is a small minority of people out there anal retentive enough to count how many adverbs you're using per page, and their opinion is not important.  Use your words in whatever way accomplishes the job.

As you do that, you will learn and grow in your skill at deploying them.  If you actively set out to examine how other people handle adjectives, adverbs and other descriptive techniques and practice those for yourself, you may learn even faster.  But in the meantime, telling your story is the important thing.
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
For the writers out there:

Yuletide is, for my money, the best fanfic challenge/exchange out there.  This particular sub-challenge might appeal if you're looking for a change of pace, interested in finding some friends in one of your tiny fandoms, or really looking to make somebody's day (or week, or month).

Originally posted by [ profile] swan_tower at Some Day My Fic Will Come . . . .

"As we gear up for Yuletideapalooza 2014, I wanted to remind everyone of the Some Day My Fic Will Come mini-challenge. This is a listing of perennial Yuletide requests: fics people have asked for year after year, but have never had filled. If you're looking to write a New Year's Resolution story, or just want to warm up your fingers for Yuletide, consider browsing the spreadsheet for a suitable prompt. You just might make somebody's day!

My intent, by the way, is for SDMFWC to be an ongoing thing. That means we'll update the spreadsheet after Yuletide this year with any new perennials (either those which went into their third round this year, or weren't included in the first pass) and remove the filled ones from the list. I hope to do a lot of the latter. :-)"
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
Originally posted by [ profile] arbitrary_fic at BBC Sherlock fic: Cold
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Rating: R
Tags & Warnings: dubious consent, supernatural elements, monster Sherlock
Notes: Prompt from dirtycorzaharkness: "john/sherlock cthulhu or ballroom dancing au."

John opens his eyes when he feels the bed dip. Sherlock swings one immaculately naked ivory leg over his hips and stretches out luxuriously atop him, a heavy, living weight of muscle and bone.

He is cold as winter marble.

John can’t move, except to reach up and wrap his arms around Sherlock’s frigid shoulders. The chill soaks into him till he’s wracked with shivers, but Sherlock’s eyes are so warm when they meet John’s with a teasing smile, and his lips are the perfect soft kiss of the first winter snowfall as they brush at John’s with gentle desire. Even though John knows what comes next, he can’t bear to turn that affection away. He’s wanted too badly for too long, aches too deeply, and Sherlock knows it.

They kiss langorously, mouths moulding and tasting, in just the way John never believed he could have. And when John’s lips part under Sherlock’s coaxing tongue, Sherlock’s breath pours into him, a gelid tendril creeping down into his lungs. John can feel it there, the frost piercing the blood-air barrier of his lungs to invade his bloodstream, feasting on his heat to multiply in his veins and spread through his body.

He wakes up alone, chest aching with the cold. Every night, it seeps a little deeper. John doesn’t know whether to love or dread sleep.
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
Remember that first paragraph or so of the next Odalisque chapter that I pulled apart and rewrote a couple of weeks back?

Here it is again:

"Or is it Watson-Moriarty, properly?”

John feels the smile twist on his face and lets it fall.  “Doctor Watson will do.”  So much for coincidence.

The threat clears his head, the way it always does.  His thoughts leap forward, quick and lucid. Fear’s still there on some level, but he lets the contempt push it out.  For having his time wasted, for yet another idiot lining up to get his head taken off.  “Whatever you’re after, you won’t find it here.”


And now, after redrafting this scene in Sherlock's POV, this is the first bit (still in sketch form, you can see I haven't finished incorporating all the threads of physical space/dialogue/headspace together yet):

Does he want me dead?  Is this his final move?  It can’t be.  There’s still something I’m supposed to do here, or something I'm supposed to trigger.  This isn’t climactic enough for Moriarty.  I interest him.  He’s played the game but this is only the beginning of the end.  That’s you, Watson, that’s what you’re meant to lead me to.

Sherlock watches the smile twist bitterly on Watson’s face as he understands the game is up.  “Doctor Watson will do.”

So many lies in this room.  Watson’s spine straightens.  Sherlock watches the timid little rabbit fall away, leaving a clear-eyed, grim-faced man standing across from him.  There’s still fear in his eyes, but it’s hardened, compacted down into a force Watson can use.  “Whatever you’re after, you won’t find it here.”

Maybe this fascinates me more than you guys, but it's just so interesting how switching the POV can reveal so much that was hidden and hide so much that was seen.
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
Have finished the first scene of the next Odalisque chapter from Sherlock's POV, and as sloppy and 'just splat it down' as it is, when I hit the end of the scene, I thought, "Damn, I think this is supposed to be from his POV."

Which actually could solve a huge problem I thought we had.  If the last scene of the chapter is supposed to be from Sherlock's POV (and I have a suspicion that maybe it is, because when we first conceived of it, we were thinking of it from Sherlock's POV and maybe we should have admitted to ourselves that that meant something), then it'd be weird as hell if things just suddenly switched over to it.

But if an earlier scene starts from his POV, well.  Then suddenly we've got a rhythm going.

And then suddenly I may have a lot more ideas of what the second scene should be doing as well...
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
You know, I keep writing these little ficlet things I don't finish, and then I sit on them because they're not finished, and that's just stupid. What else is the internet for?

Sometimes Sherlock steps back into the shadows and vanishes, and then John can feel him everywhere.

On those nights, he likes to go walking through the darkest parts of London. It’s not that Sherlock will keep him safe, necessarily. London is hard, and cruel, and has one hell of a sense of humour sometimes. And he knows, of course, that John is in it for the danger. So John can’t trust that London won’t cough up some skinhead gang member, or a mugger running hot on crack, or even something more dangerous--the kind of criminal that Sherlock and John walk wary around, the ones Sherlock will go to the wall to put away.

John’s not quite clear on the relationship between Sherlock and London. He’d say they’re one and the same...except that they’re not. Maybe Sherlock is too small to hold it all. Maybe he’s just one more path to tread through the ancient city.

Even so, when he walks through the alley ways and Underground stations and back rooms, the shadows flutter over him like long pale fingertips. The air with its myriad textures rolls and bumps and scrapes, enfolds and crushes. London wraps around him, cold and hot, soothing and smothering, alternately making love to him and forcing its way inside.
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
A few people seemed interested, so I thought I would share the versions the first paragraph of this chapter has gone through today and give you a look at my revision process.

This is where it started in the draft:

John’s smile bleeds away, along with his last flicker of hope for a coincidence. He ought to know better by now. “Doctor Watson will do,” he replies, the words low and level as his gut starts its old peptic churn of dread. “What do you want?”

And then as I started putting Sherlock's POV together, I realized the pacing was off. )
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
I’ve been stymied recently on a pivotal scene that happens in this upcoming chapter.

It’s absolutely critical to the whole story. In fact, we maybe hung too much on this scene, which makes it trickier, but nonetheless we thought it through and figured it should be doable.

Only, now that it comes down to writing it, it hasn’t been working. Everything I’ve tried, I couldn’t get it to go forward without the action feeling random or the characters coming off OOC.

Finally figured out: it’s Sherlock. Because the story is from John’s POV, getting into that big brain and making the case for why Sherlock is doing what he does gets difficult sometimes. But if you don’t understand the line of reasoning going through Sherlock’s head here, everything that happens just seems crazypants.

I think we sort of saw this coming. When we were outlining this scene way back when, we noticed at one point that we were consistently approaching this scene more from Sherlock’s POV than from John’s, and I think we even have a note lying around somewhere to the effect of “This might screw with us.” But somehow, when it was still living in our heads, it just didn’t seem as urgent or potentially problematic.

This, guys and dolls, is why you outline. (A skill, incidentally, which I am only beginning to really learn as [ profile] bobrossanon and I progress through this story.)

I’m not entirely sure how to fix it. I’m trying to tackle it by scripting the scene from Sherlock’s POV, and then once I have the thought process and dialogue down, maybe that’ll make it easier for me to convert it over. Hopefully. Or you might get treated to sudden random POV switch in the next chapter.

Guess we’ll see!
prettyarbitrary: (Default)
Okay, since I have people on my flist who I don't want to bug with fanfic, and I've been writing a lot lately, I finally got around to moving my writing over to a separate writing journal, which goes by the wildly creative name of [ profile] arbitrary_fic.

I've got some original fic on there, too, though those always seem to be long plottish things that I promptly abandon before they actually get anywhere. Still, if you're curious, they're handily filed under the tag "original fic."

In other news: school is going well, I haven't been too depressed, and I've got a job interview for a consulting position at Crowe Horwath tomorrow (well, today, now)! Wish me luck!
prettyarbitrary: (Default)

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I Write Like H. P. Lovecraft

..Well. Okay, then.

Also tried it using my recent blog post on Centralia, and it tells me that based on that, I write like Chuck Palahniuk.

...So I guess I write like Lovecraft.

Actually, I suppose that doesn't surprise me.
prettyarbitrary: (Default)
3) Reading Fanfic As Literature

Let's be clear: I'm not talking about the dreck that exists because somebody's too lazy to come up with their own ideas. But the fact that a lot of fanfic sucks doesn't change the fact that some percentage of it is quality work that deserves recognition not only for its own literary merit but also for what it brings to the text it derives from.

Yes, seriously. Some fanficcers write as a way of engaging with the original text ('text' including movies, tv, anything with the elements of a story). It's their way of teasing out the threads of a story and communicating their own experience of it, their thoughts on it, their interpretation of it. These writers use fanfiction as...I guess you might call it an allegorical form of literary analysis.

I need to get shorter with these. )

Anyway, that's why fanfic as literature: I see it as an extension, explication, and/or interpretation of the primary text, and as such, if well-constructed, it's perfectly viable as a secondary source with which to extend my understanding and appreciation of the work (though granted, not necessarily legally or academically viable--at least, it's not academically viable yet; wait for that one, guys, because there are young academics out there working to win its scholarly legitimacy).
prettyarbitrary: (Default)
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Ahahaha! I have had the following said to or near me:
"The Sixth Sense is fantastic. You find out the guy's dead at the end."
"Wait till you get to the part where Flint dies."
"When I got to the spot where Dumbledore died, I had to put the book down."
The entire plot of the first Anita Blake book, in an attempt to tell me how good it was so I would read it. It failed.
All the other highlights of the Dragonlance saga, in an attempt to get me to read it (I categorically refuse to ever do so, both on grounds of having been spoiled for it so thoroughly and because frankly it doesn't sound all that fantastic or original).

Things I have spoiled for someone else:
Empire Strikes Back (I'm sorry, but with 95% of the modern world being familiar with it, why'm I supposed to assume you're the 1 out of 50 who doesn't know?)
The ending to Titanic (Me: "The ship sinks." Idiot who won't shut up about Leo:"OMG, how could you spoil it like that?!" Me:" O.o Seriously?")
Pearl Harbor (Person: "I can't wait to see it!" Me: "It looks interesting. (cue me nattering about the actual events at Pearl Harbor)" Person: "Wow, thanks for ruining it." Me:"O.o Seriously?")
Dumbledore dying. Oops.

A book I explicitly asked to have spoiled for me that the other person then lied about:
Deathgate Cycle. Me: "I can't bear to keep going without knowing what happens. Does Haplo die?" Him: "Yep." Me: *sadface* *keeps reading* An hour later, "NO HE DOESN'T WTF WAS THAT ABOUT YOU JACKASS? DID YOU THINK I WOULDN'T FIND OUT?"

prettyarbitrary: (Default)
You know those stories where the emphasis is on a relationship (often sexual, but doesn't have to be), and the characters involved seem to exist in a vacuum? Where it's as though there's nobody else in the world, and established friends and allies are mentioned in passing at best, or if they are included they're written in in a way that feels intrusive. There might be a bad guy (who's probably out to rape somebody), and that's pretty much the only other person who gets any screen-time whatsoever. You know those stories?

Yeah. They creep me out.

Well, no, they don't always. There are stories where that dynamic is exactly what draws me. It's why I love Farscape, for example (Scorpius only wants you for your mind, John!), and Sarah Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinths (essentially an examination of two abused personalities and their quest to stop being so f***ed up), and the Coldfire Trilogy (premise: good guy and bad guy team up to save the world, because it's where they keep all their stuff; but the bad guy can't resist screwing with the good guy, seeing as he's right there and all). But the thing is, it's not meant to portray anything healthy there. Quite the opposite: in both those cases, the convention is deliberately used to evoke a victim/victimizer motif. It's intense and creepy and wrong-bad, and it's intended to be.

What creeps me out is that increasingly, I'm running into it in stories where I get a feeling as if the writer wants their happy couple to exist in isolation--no friends, no support network, no one else to talk to or ask for help or advice when things get bad, because that'd be a distraction. The reader is asked to consider this acceptable, even when the relationship in question takes a nasty turn, because it's all for the sake of True Love (in this iteration, it's almost always True Love).

I understand the attraction of the setup: when you remove all other social ties, and the only one left is so emotionally fraught, it lends terrific intensity. You've got nowhere to look at except for two people and their connection to each other laid bare. But that's not how healthy relationships work in the long term. A character existing in that state for an extended period of time is an indicator that something is about to go wrong with their mental health, if it hasn't already, and if the writer thinks that that's perfectly fine, then I find myself questioning the writer's psychology.

Is this just me?


prettyarbitrary: (Default)

October 2015

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