magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
• An SG1 fic set in Ancient Egypt, wherein it turns out the Goa'uld are terrible at architecture and engineering (because of their habit of, you know, stealing all of their technology and not innovating), and so they have no idea how to actually build pyramids beyond going "Rargh! Humans! Build us a great platform!" So it would follow all the Egyptian engineers who had to design the Pyramids, solve the resource management issues, and manage conscription and labor. Because fuck you, alien conspiracy theories, the Egyptians were-too smart enough to pull that off and occasionally I come up with braintics to give agency back to people whom plot convenience has casually robbed of agency.

• A White Collar fic where some criminal trolls the police and eventually the FBI, in part by making latex fakes of Al Capone's fingerprints and using them to leave bewildering evidence at crime scenes.
magibrain: Peter Burke would like to know where you are at all times. (White Collar)
So I was looking up Kate Moreau's actress, because I was toying with the idea of doing some sort of Gunnerkrigg Court Realm of the Dead ficlet with her and I wanted to know which psychopomps would be fighting over her when some guy with a terrifying visage &/ bad costume showed up to offer her an out.

(That idea is backburnered because I realized I didn't have a plot for it. This happens surprisingly frequently.)

Anyway, I ran into the line, "At the end of 2012, Alex [Daddario] starred in the music video, "Imagine Dragons' Radioactive"."

Huh. Okay. I went to check that out.

This is one of those videos I've seen a grand total of once, both because I think the Lindsey Stirling version sounds better (strings! I fall so hard for string renditions of things) and because I'm not a big fan of the "pretty white girl, suffering white guys, and villainous brown men" imagery in the vid itself.

But... no, that's Kate. Engaging in some illicit underground muppet fighting. For the salvation of white guys and teddy bears everywhere. Not sure how to feel about this.

Part of me wants to prompt it as an AU on [livejournal.com profile] collarcorner, and part of me wants to go back to pretending that actors only ever exist in one role shhhhh.
magibrain: The Manchester skyline with bright blue skies, somehow less real than the sepia of 1973. (Where trouble melts like lemon drops...)
This is a very small photo appreciation post for White Collar's tendency to put Neal in scenes with people or objects which make him look like a tiny thing.

It just makes me really happy for reasons I can't articulate. )

That's it, White Collar writers. That's how to make me happy. Put Neal in a scene with someone 6'5", and/or with ostentatiously oversized furnishings.
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: A brain with eyes and an adorably innocent smile which you should not at all trust. (magibrain)
...I find myself vaguely wanting to write A/B/O fic, except less with sex and more with navigating tricky power dynamics and slews of body dysphoria, and with a heavily tweaked version of the whole A/B/O premise.

(Basically, the idea in my brain is that Alpha, Beta and Omega are just psychophysical modes people operate in, and while people tend to have "baseline" modes that they operate in for long stretches – sometimes even their entire lives – people can switch from mode to mode in response to various physical or psychological stimuli. Like, a baseline beta might find themselves going omega or alpha after a major trauma, for example. And there would be drugs and such which could affect what mode people operated in. Plus, while the modes would have specific physiological effects – people operating in alpha mode might have overactive adrenal glands and produce more testosterone, while people operating in omega mode would experience heat and all its attendant fun – it would only affect personality in as much as, say, gayness does. In that there would be a ton of stereotypes and there would be established cultures which people might or might not do any social commerce with, and aside from that, it's not really something you could tell by looking at someone.)

(...though you could probably tell it by scent. Because that seems to be a thing?)

(Also, people would be able to resist physical urges, with varying degrees of difficulty from "I am having this strong craving right now!" to "I am experiencing this with the intensity of an addiction." And there would probably be a lot of discussion on medical and political stages about that.)

I don't know. I've read a grand total of two A/B/O fics in my life – feels like the start of something and The toppiest girl in the school, and ironically neither of them is for a fandom I'm actually in – and I feel like this may just be a continuation of my picking at the assumed conventions of tropes I don't actually write or read (see also), which always makes me feel a little weird. But I feel like, given some of the discussion in the prompt thread for feels like the start of something, it might be a weird little space to explore which other people are also interested in seeing explored. And it does seem like there's a healthy movement in A/B/O writing areas to dissect the heck out of the trope, from what I've read.

Of course, it also doesn't help that I already have way too many other projects clamoring for my attention. Including the one where Neal is stuck on a magical Greyhound for five years.




This is one of the ways you can tell I'm ace. I find tropes that are deeply rooted in kinky sex and then expend considerable time and energy carefully plucking out the sexybits so I can nest in the kinky power dynamics. <_< One of these days I'll write and post my WC OT3 fic and it will be 80,000 words of neither sex nor romance, continuing my trend of OT3 fic which is neither sex nor romance, and everyone will be able to tell me that I'm doing it wrong. AND I WILL LAUGH FROM ATOP MY ASEXY THRONE, I SHALL EAT THE CAKE THAT IS MY BIRTHRIGHT, AND KNOW THAT I AM THE OVERMIND, THE ETERNAL WILL OF THE ACE COMMU – no, wait, that got away from me, sorry.
magibrain: A revolutionary new world awaits you bastards inside these school walls. (Upupu)
You know, the worst part of this White Collar/Dangan Ronpa crossover is how everyone is so goddamn cute at the beginning, what with organizing into teams to explore their Super High-Level Office Dormitory Building, and, like, there's Elizabeth with a freaking label maker so they can label all the buttons in the elevator and Mozzie is theorizing about nanobots and Hughes has taken control of the rolling whiteboard and June is holding court in the conference room and you just know that in a chapter it's just going to be murder, murder everywhere.
magibrain: Peter Burke would like to know where you are at all times. (White Collar)
So, What Happens In Burma has this exchange:

Peter: In the last year, it was held in a secured vault at a state mining facility, under army guard, in the middle of a jungle.
Neal: Not exactly a prime location for a college kid to just walk in and grab it.
Peter: No. The mine is in the Mogok Valley.
Neal: You can get there by a helicopter or a seven-hour jeep ride over some nasty terrain.
Jones: You just know these things?
Neal: Yeah, that's why they keep me around.
Peter: Mm.
Neal: You'd need some muscle, a cargo plane, and a few grand in bribe money just to get started.
Peter: You would?
Neal: And who knows what else? Because I've never considered stealing gems in Burma.


(Emphasis added.)

In Forging Bonds, when Mozzie walks in with the information on Kate's whereabouts, Neal is doing some red-ink work on a map. The conversation there:

Neal: Hey. Rubies in Burma. I'm gonna need a bush plane to get–


–and then he sees the look on Mozzie's face and asks him if his pigeon died.

Tongue-in-cheek examination of probably-unintentional canon implication. )
magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
Someone please tell me not to cross over White Collar, Live Arcade, Magic for Beginners (the short story, not the entire collection), and Candle Cove. At least, tell me not to try it until I've finished some of my other projects.

I just think it would be terrific, slightly-brain-melty fun to have Neal up at odd hours, watching a television show nestled in the snow of a dead channel or twenty, which seems to keep predicting, altering, or crossing over with Neal's life, but which no one else can see.

In related news, wow has my mental image of Neal's loft deviated from the actual set. I could have sworn that couch was red and claw-footed.


[ETA: Okay, and now it also wants to be an Alphas crossover (on a more literal than thematic level), and it is entirely the fault of this fic.]


[ETA 2: Son Of ETA: Oh, brain, we're also crossing over Dangan Ronpa? Oh, so we're also crossing over Dangan Ronpa.]
magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
I've made a blood pact commitment to [personal profile] sholio that I'd clean something up and post it this week, but in the mean time, it's quiet around here, as always. So I'll steal other people's memes and tweak them a little. And maybe give people a way to get to know me that isn't just me being awkward and weird at them in comments.

So. Ask me anything! Fannish, real life, hypothetical, etc.

If you ask me something I'm just not going to answer, like "What's your home address and social security number?", I'll just write you a drabble for a fandom we're both in. (If I'm not aware of any shared fandoms, I'll just write you a drabble about an improbable crime-fighting duo or something.)
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.)
So, searching around in my drafts folder, trying to find something to jump-start my brain out of a dry spell, I came across a file titled creepsteriffic.rtf that I don't remember creating. There is no summary in this file. I have left no notes to myself. I don't know where I was going with it. What it does contain is the header template form, and the following text:

I'd probably go with 'wrong', personally. But then, I am duly chastised. )

...

...

...other things in my drafts folder – my SG-1 drafts folder, mind, not some random drafts folder I might store formatting data in: a file called temp.rtf which consists of 2391 words of Lorem Ipsum, closed with the line "And as it turned out, THEY WERE ALL BEES!!"
magibrain: A radiation symbol. It appears to be a little bit on fire. (Default)
Title: U is for Unheimlich
Author: magistrate ([personal profile] magibrain)
Rating: T.
Genre: Character study, ghost story
Beta: Walked away.
Continuity: Canon-compliant.
Prerequisities: Doesn't really relate to any specific episode.
Summary: It's all ghost stories, sir.
Disclaimer: Stories told to certain audiences may have unanticipated results. Hear that, MGM? The opinions expressed herein are the properties of the characters and not of R. L. Stine. The door is open. Questions, comments and creepypasta can be left in replies or directed to magistrata(at)gmail(dot)com. Thank you for reading!

Author's Notes: This is 9,000 words. I don't know why it's 9,000 words. All I know is that I started out writing this the day I got the prompt, and yet somehow I still found myself finishing in a desperate throw-words-at-the-page rush at 2 AM the day it was due. WHY.

I'm sorry if this is absolutely incoherent.




Not exactly a ghost story. )
magibrain: A radiation symbol. It appears to be a little bit on fire. (Default)
Random question, but I need it for reasons research.

If you had to sell me on two characters – gen or ship – and you only had 500 words or a 30-second video clip to convince me that they were the best no seriously really... what clips or works or excerpts of works would you point me toward?

I am going to think on this and see what I can come up with... after I sleep for a while.

(Context is that I'm playing with a story-in-the-background-of-a-story in one of the things I'm working on, and I want to pick apart some mechanics of what makes for minimum effective doses of getting people engaged with characters.)
magibrain: Peter Burke would like to know where you are at all times. (White Collar)
You know, I need to get over this thing where every time I watch something, I end up wanting to cross it over with White Collar. Sure, some of them work really well, but I do not have time to write all of them.

But, consider:

The Finder. Willa pickpockets Neal! Neal is confused as to how this is possible. And then Walter shows up unannounced in Neal's apartment and starts doing his Walter thing and just casually excavating all the secrets that stand between him and whatever he's looking for, and Neal has what he feels are legitimate questions about the whole thing.

Alphas. Hey, it takes place in NYC already! And Peter could know or know of Bill already, considering Bill is an FBI guy. Probably not working white collar crime – 'cause, I mean, Bill – but, you know. And Nina could put the whammy on Neal, and Mozzie would feel so, so very vindicated when the Alphas thing went public. And then it would turn out that Keller was the only one among them who was an alpha, and everyone would feel as though this was incredibly unfair.

Bones. Continuing my fascination with cross-canon FBI friendships/rivalries/awkwardness. I feel like Peter would derive endless amusement from Booth's relationship with his squints, his extremely unconventional partner, and pretty much all of the weirdness that goes on in his life (and Booth's frequent discomfort with said weirdness). And then Peter and Booth would both go bang their heads into walls when Bones and Neal decided that flirting with each other was the natural next course of action. ...and it would all be worth it for the look on Neal's face when Bones first stuck her hand into something bug-riddled and rotting.

Orange is the new Black. I just want you to consider the possibilites of Kate serving a sentence parallel to Neal's. We know it's a federal prison. (And oh, the extent to which Kate would not put up with Piper's well-meaning but privileged and often ignorant crap.)

Primeval. If any of you can say that you don't want to see the team dealing with prehistoric megafauna, I am going to suspect you of lying. (Again, Mozzie would be so, so happy!) And Peter would get the added fun of realizing that not only does he have to worry about his CI running off to Venice or something, he may have to worry about his CI running off to Venice through time. (If you ditch your anklet in the late Cretaceous, who is ever going to be able to track you?)

The Avengers. Because I like aftermath stories, and you can just imagine the gang looking out at their poor, abused city and wondering how to put it back together again, now that all the flashy heroics are done with.

I'm starting to suspect that White Collar just goes well, crossed over with anything.

(Fortunately, I got no ideas for a crossover after watching the first episode of Twin Peaks. Mostly because I'm still not sure what I the hell I was watching. *g*)

And we will just alllll pretend that I don't already have a Scrivener project with a Puella Magi ☆ Madoka Magica crossover started in it, because on a sliding scale of one to ridiculous, that one clocks in at a solid stop now.
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... )
magibrain: A radiation symbol. It appears to be a little bit on fire. (Default)
My partner introduced me to the WTFery of Dark Silent Hill, Google Maps version. (Just... go forward.)

Now I want a fic where this happens to Peter and Neal. They're just driving along, off to talk to a witness or examine a crime scene or authenticate a statue or whatever, and then suddenly the entire world around their car is a terrifying melting Goya and Peter slams on the brakes and, you know, horror ensues.

...I'm not sure I want to write this fic, but I want it to happen.


I have no idea what the hell happened to that Google Maps car. But it cannot possibly have been anything good.

....

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.)
Awesome! I think I've found a three-part strategy for approaching H/C Bingo. Those three parts are:

  1. Start as many fics as possible all at once, just to make sure I'm always distracted from finishing any of them,

  2. Make sure that the fics I am working on are carefully positioned to cover the maximum possible space on my card without actually forming a bingo, and

  3. Layer more complexity and plot into each fic than is strictly necessary to fulfill the prompt, so that each one takes a long time to complete, and will surely need extensive edits once done in draft.


...I don't think I'm doing this right.

(To be fair, though, I feel like 2 isn't actually my fault, 3 has not been intentional in half the fics, and 1 is just how my brain works anyway. But re: 3, I started off writing the Poltergeist prompt, and then it decided to absorb two other prompts that aren't even on my card, and as it stands the thing is 6000 messy words and maybe, at a generous estimate, 60% done. It's going to be longer than Misfire. That's just wrong.)

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