magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
Title: Many a Gleaming Golden Hoard
Rating: T.
Genre: Character study, collected vignettes, crackfic
Beta: Not even one-drop.
Continuity: Close-canon AU.
Wordcount: ~5,200.
Prerequisites: The series through the beginning of S4.
Summary: In which Mozzie may or may not have oracular powers, Peter is part-dragon, and Neal is longsuffering.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, I don't own the setting, I don't own the mythological creatures. The opinions expressed herein are the properties of the characters, and not of JRR Tolkien. Do not taunt Ninki Nanka. Questions, comments and chupacabras can be left in replies or directed to magistrata(at)gmail(dot)com. Thank you for reading!




Seriously though I had too much fun with this. )
magibrain: Peter Burke would like to know where you are at all times. (White Collar)
One of my quirks with regards to White Collar is that I tend to think Neal is kinda overloaded on narrative shininess, and so even when it might seem more congruent to give him wacky supernatural stuff, I tend to balk and aim the supernatural stuff at whoever else is in the vicinity instead. Which mostly translates to Peter. Sometimes Peter and Diana both. (Unless the supernatural stuff inconveniences Neal in some way, like that braintic I have where Neal died at eighteen and then got accidentally resurrected.)

But, you know, it tickles me when Peter gets to hand-rear a dragon hatchling or gets solicited to perform Great Works for various deities or gets to be a BTR-style guardian angel or has made friends with the eldritch creature that lives in Records and has been granted superpowers or, you know, etc.

So today I got the idea that Peter should have draconic blood. And some people with draconic blood hoard gold or jewels or sports cars or cats or something, but Peter? Peter hoards evidence. Also puzzles. Clues. Unsolved mysteries books.

And then it just kept getting better.

*My* draconic blood only makes me hoard ill-advised braintics. )

…though I feel like at some point I should give Jones some supernatural awesome, because poor Jones always gets left out.
magibrain: There ARE no tunes. It's TALK RADIO, Torg! ALL TALKING! (Still just talking.)
I occasionally feel kinda odd about maintaining two blogs – this one and [personal profile] magistrate – because I post so infrequently that it occasionally feels like I don't have enough content to reliably keep one blog interesting, let alone two. But I do feel like separating my fannish content stream from my more real-life stream is a good pragmatic decision; in how I conceptualize my own life, they represent different spheres of interest.

(I toyed briefly with the idea of separating my original fiction/professional writing into a third stream, but then I noticed that I never posted in it at all, so to [personal profile] magistrate it went.)

Being someone who grew up as a writer in fannish spaces and is now also trying to get somewhere in the big, bad world of original fiction, I think a lot about how skills and paradigms do and don't translate. The different genre structures and conventions, the different skills each type of writing emphasizes or strengthens. (I notice that in my original writing, characterization is something people continually call out as one of my weakest skills. Which is still kind of a mindscrew for me, because in fanfic, a lot of people seem to enjoy my characterization. Then, with fanfic, I have something pre-existing to riff off; one of the consequences of growing into writing through fanfiction seems to be that I have less experience in how to establish and differentiate character in my own work.)

Anyway. Given the amount of time I spend musing about fannish vs. original spaces, I kinda have to raise an eyebrow at myself for needing to discover (and rediscover, and remind myself of, again and again) the fact that the criteria for success for fanfic and original stories are often wildly different.

I think it's something of the same way in which the criteria for success for a TED talk and an awesome discussion in a group of friends is different.

In original fiction, I have to spend a lot of time thinking about arcs and structure and pacing, and how the plot and the story inform each other, and how themes are deployed, and how to create a polished and technically competent work. And, I mean, don't get me wrong, those things are great to pay attention to in fanfiction, but I find that fanfic rises or falls on something more like, broadly oversimplified, its ability to be an efficient delivery mechanism for squee.

I think the fanfics I'm personally most proud of manage to hit both notes; they extend and expand beloved aspects of canon, but they also work as well-structured, polished and tuned-up technical works. But I also find myself, a lot of times, flailing over posting something because its pacing is a mess, the structure is lopsided, there's that one horribly awkward phrasing at the beginning that I can't think of a good way to get rid off, the theme is a contortionist, and the arc thinks about arcing and then veers sideways into a wall, and I have this horrible urge to apologize to everyone for punting it out into the world, and then no one seems to care. Which is reassuring, at times, and then at other times it's just a boatload of cognitive dissonance and the vague suspicion that everyone's just being nice because... some... nefarious purpose of their own? I think a lot of writers share this anxiety. I think this anxiety enjoys the fact that it doesn't have to make sense.

I used to produce a lot more fiction. I mean, that was something like a decade ago, when I was bouncing all around my million FFVIII fics, but I remember being significantly more prolific than I am right now. I think a major factor in my slowdown is the fact that I started turning my attention to craft, and really struggling a lot with the places where I could see something wrong but I didn't know how to fix it.

(Or where there wasn't a plausible way to fix it. If I go back through my braintics scraps collection, for example, there's a ton of stuff which flat-out does not work on a logical level, but which amused me enough to put scenes down. There's also stuff where the tone is too wildly self-indulgent for my sense of propriety, or where it's clearly just me working out my beef with a certain character, or where I looked at it and just went "Nope, not going to write that, because I'm not going to typecast myself as that author who only writes stories where horrible things happen to Sam Carter and the boys go D: and then the whole rest of the fic is only there to showcase how tough and embattled Sam is." (Yes, I have enough of those braintics to make it its own genre. I'm not proud. I also regret nothing.))

This is, of course, not entirely a bad thing: it lets me continually improve my writing, even if I'm not aware of the improvements as they're happening. (But I can go back and look at works from a few years ago – works that represented the best I could do at those times – and see immediately how I could improve them, and that's a humbling and kinda nifty feeling.) But it is, I think, something I also need to become more aware of. Because the other great thing about fanfiction is that it provides a space for me to play around with ways of telling stories in this fantastically open and engaging and forgiving environment, and that's also a fantastic resource for growth. Letting my internal editor set up roadblocks there isn't actually helping me.

(Besides, you people don't mind if I completely shed my dignity now and again, right? Maybe I'll clean up the ridiculous angstcrack scene where Neal is vaguely suicidal circa As You Were and discovers that Peter has an invisible dragon living in his house. Or the wtfery of the braintic where Sam Carter's consciousness gets transposed across a universal boundary and put into a partially-uplifted mountain lion who's a working animal with the USAF. I once heard the Pern books described as "tapping into the 'I want a PONY!' instinct, except for people who liked fantasy." You can probably tell which kind of kid I was.)
magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
Title: Elephant Jokes
Rating: T.
Genre: Character study, background casefic, background crackfic
Beta: Unidentifiable.
Continuity: Quite probably not canon-compliant, as it takes place post-S4 and as of this writing S5 hasn't aired yet. (This fic also dodges all issues of how the end-of-S4 cliffhanger was resolved. In fact, you could probably just pretend that it never happened.)
Prerequisites: The pilot, most of Sara's episodes through "Shot The Moon".
Summary: Our Heroes have a case where there are plenty of clues, and yet still no one knows what they're looking for. In the case or outside of it. (Post season-4, but very little canon plot involvement.)
Disclaimer: I would eagerly engage in complicated negotiations to be invited into arrangement of ownership of White Collar; so far, though, no one has asked. The opinions expressed herein are the properties of the characters, and not of Michael Swanwick. Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors. It is unlawful for a person to possess a wild animal in the state of New York. Questions, comments and cape buffalo can be left in replies or directed to magistrata(at)gmail(dot)com. Thank you for reading!




It started, as these things did, with an unknown large animal and a patio grill.

-


Read more... )

....

Jul. 3rd, 2013 11:10 am
magibrain: Peter Burke would like to know where you are at all times. (White Collar)
My dreams for the last two days have been:

1) Peter Burke and Jack Harkness not being pleased to learn that Neal Caffrey's post-anklet plans resolved to "flee the country and join the Time Agency"*, and

2) Peter getting framed for corruption and leaving the FBI, only to adopt a dragon a la "Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher" and setting up a PI firm with her**, and using his alleged criminal ties to become a criminal informant for the FBI. Not the kind that wears a tracker, though. The kind that has an intermittently-visible dragon friend, apparently.

I think I may need evening plans other than "write fanfic until I crawl into bed".




*Why did Neal think this was a good idea? Why did he think Peter would approve? Why is Jack Harkness hanging out in Peter's diningroom? The world may never know!

I haven't read this book in years. But I remember that Jeremy Thatcher hatched a dragon egg, and only he could see the dragon, and the dragon set someone's shoe on fire! I don't think they started a PI firm, though.

**Burke and Ness quickly develop a reputation as terrifyingly efficient, completely unshakeable, freakishly resourceful, and – among certain circles – really hard to kill. No one ever sees the mysterious Ms. Ness, and the clients who demand to see her under pretenses of knowing who is working for them are turned around, told firmly that "Ness prefers the freedom to work without threat of recognition." For some reason, no one ever puts this together with the fact that he belongs to multiple CSAs which, together, deliver him way more farm-fresh meat than a typical household could reasonably consume. Dream!me did not see fit to include the reactions of Neal, Elizabeth, or Satchmo into this scenario, except I feel like Elizabeth would have named the dragon something like "Lady Day".
magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
So, I'm not sure exactly why I decided that a story covering Neal Caffrey's entire adult life through the the resolution of Most Wanted was a good idea, but I did, and that, I feel, was a mistake. It's currently unfinished at 8,000 words, in four parts. None of these things were my intention.

In fairness, it totally fits one of the prompts, if you squint and tilt your head and take certain things very thematically. ...one of the prompts that isn't anywhere near the bingo I'm working on. But it fits into a series with two other prompts! ...one of which is on the bingo I'm working on.

Hush.

I feel like I could have had at least one of these fics finished by today, if I hadn't taken a weird left turn somewhere and found myself writing out 15,000 words of fiction where the US correctional system is a modern version of convict leasing, but on the plus side, I have 15,000 words of fiction where the US correctional system is a modern version of convict leasing!

Look, I never claimed to be good at this.


(I also feel a bit guilty about all those words, because I've totally been using fanfic as a way to hide from the stress of unemployment when I should probably be spending more of that time doing productive things. Hey, if anyone knows of a San Francisco Bay Area company that wants to hire a PHP/MySQL developer with a bunch of experience and an active interest in picking up new languages but no CS degree, point me their way, aight?)


Stats )
magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
My editor-brain has gone to bed without taking my writer-brain with it, which is why I find myself contemplating a White Collar/Briarpatch crossover. (It'd be great. Neal has access to the Briarpatch, and the Light is in some way tied up with Kate, and Peter has no affinity for the Briarpatch at all but manages to find his way in there while searching for Neal and completely refuses to back down for a little thing like being inconceivably in over his head, and hijinks ensue. And Diana somehow ends up completely intimidating all the bears.)

I think this is symptomatic of some kind of weird reaction to writing in a fandom which isn't speculative fiction of any kind. I mean, the great bastions of my fandom work to date have been Final Fantasy VIII, Stargate SG-1, Torchwood/Doctor Who/Life On Mars as one giant amalgam, and a recurring theme of Silent Hill getting into everything. You know, the kind of fandoms where I can go all wacky with time loops and mind control and giant monsters and split threads of causality and stuff, without deviating that far from actual bounds of canon-established reality.

I think my brain just flat-out refuses to accept the real world as a template, and this is why my White Collar WIPs folder consists of a handful of short character studies, a complete re-write of half of Season 2 and all of Season 3, a fic in which Peter is a really atypical guardian angel, a fic that's three AUs that got in a car crash*, and a crossover with Puella Magi Madoka Magica, of all things. (Neal wanders into a Witch's Labyrinth. Hijinks... ensue? None of the main characters get to be magical girls. It's for the best, really.) And it's probably for the best that all the snippets with the White Collar guys having to deal with [community profile] damaged_people!Jack Harkness are remaining in the braintic purgatory of my Gmail where they belong.

*Back when I was learning about these things in highschool physics, a perfectly inelastic collision was described as one in which two objects collide, combine their momentum, and continue onward with a shared velocity. When the teacher asked for examples from the class, someone offered up "A guy getting impaled by a charging rhino?" I'm not sure why this popped into my head, other than the fact that the three-AU-pileup in that fic is pretty damn inelastic.

Anyway, I'm not sure why I'm writing this out to Dreamwidth, other than it being late and me not having gotten much sleep and everything seeming like a good idea right now. (But really, Neal-and-the-Briarpatch would just be fun to play with, even if it's not Tim Pratt's Briarpatch. And even if Neal as Br'er Rabbit kinda bucks the whole Neal-as-fox metaphor I have way too much fun poking at.)

Someone please tell me to quit the browser and go to sleep.



Current sleep-deprived typo correction count: 18

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