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When I finished posting "If You've Got a Lantern Hold It High" (the small coda/companion story to my big "Be the Light in My Lantern" series), I looked at the series as a whole on AO3 and remembered – oh, right: now I mark it complete. This series I started writing in 2010 is now complete.

It actually feels kind of bittersweet (end of an era?), especially because the people I knew back then when I was writing the early parts of that story and when I first started engaging with fandom on LJ, the Remus/Tonks folks, are no longer active here (not to mention that even LJ itself has imploded in the meanwhile.)

Aah! Don't dwell on sad things!

Here's an awesome one:

Now that I've posted this latest fic to AO3... I've passed the 500,000 word mark on AO3! (Technically, 510,788. Plus there are another 42,000 here on my desktop that haven't been posted yet. And so on.)

But also? Of those half a million (!) words on AO3, a really significant portion of them, nearly half, are the "Be the Light in My Lantern" series. That one massive story, which I started because I was so new to fic that I didn't know better than to take on a massive multi-book-length project as my first thing out of the gate, really has kind of defined a whole arc of my life in the years since I rediscovered writing: who I met, what I learned (so much!), what characters I explored, what I'm ready to do next because I had that foundation first.

Wouldn't trade it for anything. <3 <3 <3

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On a less intensely emotional note (though...maybe not really?)  .....happy Deathly Hallows anniversary everyone! It was ten years ago today that Deathly Hallows was published and the Harry Potter series was complete. (I mean, yes, there are expanded-universe things like Pottermore and Cursed Child and now the Fantastic Beasts movies, but surely nothing quite has that same feeling as the book series itself being complete?)

Does it make you feel old? Or just a bit strange? For me, Deathly Hallows came out before I even moved to Berlin (though I already lived in Germany), and now I no longer live in Germany at all – even though I spent the bulk of my adult life so far there. How can all that have happened in the time since the last Harry Potter book came out?
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Holmstice wrapped! What fun that was, especially since I had an almost absurd amount of free time/attention to devote to it, through a lucky confluence of being on break now that the school year's ended + being extra chuffed to finally have time to sign up for Holmestice again + maybe also just really needing a good, happy Sherlock Holmes fandom thing after the trainwreck mess that BBC Sherlock S4 became. Anyway, I can't seem to do things by half measures, so I read ALL the fics and commented on ALL the fics, and put obsessive energy into making massive guessing posts about who wrote what, which is a fun (and daunting) thing I'd admired from afar about Holmestices past, and it was marvelous fun. Recommend!

I wrote a Greek myth fusion AU (which happened in my last Holmestice, too, also because of what my gift recipient requested!) This was also my first ever actual Sherlock/John story (instead of just hinting at the possibility), so I'm pleased about that. Taking out piles of books and reading up on Persephone and the underworld was fun as well. :-)  The gift I received was A Long Game by [personal profile] alafaye – a charming getting-together story about both Mycroft/Lestrade and Molly/Anthea in parallel. Most people in the fest offer m/m pairings, with of course also some genfic and the occasional m/f pairing or threesome thrown in, so as far as I can tell alafaye wrote Molly/Anthea (not at all part of what they'd offered in their original sign-up) only because my request asked so specifically for anything featuring the awesome female characters of Sherlock, and I just think that's the nicest thing. Besides...Anthea. Anthea!

Now I can focus back to wrapping up some other writing – my companion-but-also-stands-alone fic connected to "Raise Your Lantern High" is complete and the marvelous (and marvelously patient with my endless questions!) [personal profile] gilpin25 has beta-read it; then this evening I also finished revising my Snow Queen fusion adventure/romance story, where Tonks is the one who rescues Remus. So all of a sudden I've got these two big stories finished that I've been working on for over a year and over half a year respectively, both of which have not only female protagonists, but almost entirely female casts of characters, and showcase women being strong in a whole variety of ways... Feels like a good balance to the Sherlock/John I've just written, and the Remus/Sirius I'm about to write. (My RS Games fic is going to be (another!) very-fun-to-write fusion, but I probably shouldn't say more since I suppose that gives things away.) ;-)

Also...

Also...!

John Finnemore's new series of Double Acts has been excellent. I thought the first series was quite good, but this second series has been amazing. Stephanie Cole as Queen Victoria? Una Stubbs? A three-in-a-row straight run of awesome roles for older women? (Seriously, I'm not kidding, why are all writers not John Finnemore? He continues to be at the forefront of writing interesting female characters and presenting gay relationships as simply a matter of course, in mainstream media.) And all this is wrapped up in clever, FUNNY writing, mind you!

Anyway, after all the excellence of the series so far, if I can believe what my eyes saw on his Twitter, I'm pretty sure John just announced that the sixth and final episode will be performed by John Finnemore himself, and...Michael Palin.

That Michael Palin.

Michael FREAKING PALIN, of Monty Python.

Excuse me while I fall over from hyperventilating. I'll just be on the floor until two weeks from now, when the episode airs.

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Every now and then, I eye my total word count on AO3 (AO3 is so excellent and user-friendly in the way it shows stats!) and think about what a satisfying milestone it's going to be when I hit 500,000 words. 500,000 words – that's like 10 novels, if you count in NaNoWriMo terms! (Yes, NaNo sets their word target at the low end of what can be considered a novel...but still.) Right now my fics on AO3 add up to about 489,000 words, so it's very much within striking distance.

Then I realized: I already have way, way more than those remaining 11,000 words sitting right here on my desktop. Between three different complete-but-not-yet-posted fics (one that's finished and I just sent off to Holmestice, one I just got back from its beta and will be doing final revisions on before posting, and one that I want to do another read-through of before it too needs to find a beta but it's definitely a complete story) I have about another 55,000 words sitting right here, nearly ready for the world. (Eep...another novel's worth??)

I'm way over 500,000 and I didn't even realize. (But it's still going to be awesome when that number is there in black and white on AO3.)  :-)
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Ahhhh, new favorite bookish/writerish thing to recommend: the blog Disability in Kidlit.

I stumbled on it last night through one of those chains of things that lead to other things, and have been reading their book reviews ever since. So good! Want to know if that book about an autistic character actually reads authentically as being from the internal perspective of an autistic character, rather than a neurotypical author's not-quite-getting-it-right attempt? Yeah, check out the reviews by these folks!

They also write posts that I found fascinating as a writer, on everything from what they term "autism voice" (again, what neurotypical people think autistic people think like) to in-depth thoughts on the many possibilities and complexities of how to represent sign language in writing.

Plus, OMG, after reading their review I now need to read the new book Queens of Geek (two best friends at a fan con; one is a bi woman of color, one is autistic and has anxiety; it's feminist and a romance and a geek friendship story and sounds beyond charming) even more than I already thought I did!

(Speaking of books I must read, I handed Becky Albertalli's new book The Upside of Unrequited to one of my most wonderful students yesterday, but when she's done with it...)

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The all-day book talk about the best recent YA was indeed excellent! Hats off to anyone who can talk for 7 hours about books and make it fun. :-) I heard about a ton of books, of course, but also she presented various fun resources for teachers and librarians. One of my favorites was Recovering the Classics, a project that encourages people to make (and sell!) beautiful, creative book covers for classic literature, instead of the drab covers they tend to get shoved into. (Re-covering...get it? Pun??) So basically, fanart, but cool to see it celebrated and promoted in a mainstream context. And omigosh, so beautiful.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'm not on Tumblr, but I occasionally visit, and there I recently stumbled across the suggestion that "The first line of almost any story can be improved by making sure the second line is, 'And then the murders began.'" (via copperbadge)

Excellent! This is great to do with any classic book, of course, but also fun to do with your own stories. Here are a few of mine:


Sirius' jaw dropped. And then the murders began.

Watching Dover disappear into the fog behind the ferry rail, Remus felt some constriction deep in his chest ease, just a fraction, for the first time since the news had reached him. And then the murders began.

Tosh flashed that disarming little smile Jack was quickly learning to associate with a stroke of even more brilliance than usual on her part. And then the murders began.


And the terribly appropriate...

“Which is more powerful, do you think, love or magic?” Albus asked, bending a leafy bough out of the way as he followed Gellert through the sun-dappled woods that dotted the hills outside Godric’s Hollow. And then the murders began.


It's fun! Dooooo iiiiiiiit.

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The official result:

April word count goal:  20,000
April word count achieved: 20,900

Despite being so far ahead as of a week ago, I had to scramble today to still make the goal, after this last week turned into Hell Week (my housing situation for the rest of the year unexpectedly falling through and the mental toll that took, car issues that took all week to resolve, sudden job possibility that came up that I spent a lot of Friday figuring out details about, etc.); plus most of the writing I was doing this week was actually editing existing stories, which doesn't tend to generate many new words. So I came into the weekend a couple thousand words short, which isn't a lot of words...but is a lot of words if the only "writing" on the docket is revising an existing 30-page fic.

And then in a sudden burst today I wrote an entire short fic – a Sherlock one-shot – that I'd never expected to write, over the course of this afternoon. So now I've more than met my word goal and suddenly I have four completed stories on my desktop. What. 

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Being on break from work last week was good for writing!

I finished a complete first draft of the huge Snow-Queen-fairy-tale-Harry-Potter-characters fusion I've been working on since December (actually I reached the final word of the draft on the last day before I went on break, but the final section of it felt like a bloated, confused mess; so over break I did just enough editing and wrangling with it to make it feel like an actual, complete thing that can be set aside to settle for a bit, then returned to for proper editing/revision).

I also suddenly out of nowhere completed a 13k fic (also Harry Potter – nominally a little follow-up to my Be the Light in My Lantern series, but my hope is that it could also stand on its own if someone wanted to read it on its own) that I've had on the back burner for ages and kept adding bits to now and then, but was having trouble pushing through to the end. Now it has an end!

And in a sudden burst I wrote a small Sherlock fic I'd had the idea for ages ago, but wasn't sure I was ever going to manage to write. Now it's written!

So now instead of having four endlessly in-process fics sitting on my desktop, I suddenly have three complete drafts eager to be revised and posted. What! 

I'd also set myself a word count goal for the month of April: 20,000 words. That's not huge but also not insignificant, while still being realistic to aim for in a month where I was moving, going away for a few days, applying for a big-deal job that took all my attention for a few days, etc. I came back on Sunday from a few days out of town and did my latest tallying up to find 17,000 of those words written, and a week still left to the month. Yay!

.
 .
  .

    . . . I also came back from my days away to find that the friend I was going to move in with in June, who invited me to split the rent with her on a beautiful house in my favorite part of town where I was finally going to have stability and calm and a place to breathe after two an a half years of bouncing between house-sitting and sublets and always scrambling to find the next short-term solution despite my small budget and uncertain long-term plans, and I was looking forward so so so much to finally having a home after all of that, I can't even tell you...that friend is breaking the lease and backing out on me. Which is not yay.

And so I return to this perpetual peripatetic instability I'm so tired of.

I'm so tired.

.
.
.

The upside, at least, is that I'm free to travel as much as I want this summer, since I won't be paying rent. Ísland, ég kem! (Deutschland, zu dir natürlich auch.)

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About to embark on an all-day writing retreat, looking out over a gentle hill muted under fog. Wish me luck!
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First: You know that weird new(ish) feature LJ has, where you can "like" a post? Just a heads-up, if any of you like a post of mine...I can't actually see it.

I was baffled about this for a while: I would get a notification saying "Someone likes your entry!" (yes, isn't that annoyingly vague, that it doesn't even tell you who, just "someone"?) but then I would go to the post in question, and there was no sign of any liking there. (Whereas if someone likes a post of mine at a comm, rather than my own journal, that does show up.) Weird!

Eventually, I did some poking around and figured out this is because I don't have the latest LJ upgrade or new interface, or whatever it was... And apparently one side of that is that the new "likes" don't show up for me at all.

So y'all are welcome to like posts if you want, but it's just kind of going out into the ether, unfortunately... I get a mysterious "someone likes your entry" message, but I'll never know who!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This Harry-Potter-verse, even-more-feminist Snow Queen retelling I'm working on is still a total blast! I've now written to just before the big final denouement ...which is set on Svalbard, so I get to look at lots of pictures of far-northern landscapes in the name of research. Ooooh. (Latest new favorite thing: Rossøya, the furthest north little island of the Svalbard archipelago, at 80°N latitude, a thousand kilometers from mainland Norway, where it juts up out of the ocean with stern, quiet dignity. Ohhhh Svalbard. I wonder if I will ever get to Svalbard, someday?)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My reading is still kind of out of control (there are so many books I want to read...so I keep this long list of them...and I then get compulsive about tackling the list... and now I've somehow landed myself in THREE book clubs??) I keep catching myself thinking it must be almost time to do my quarterly round-up, because I've already read so much, but it's still only February...

I can definitely tell you that the Mirka graphic novels are indeed awesome ("Just another troll-fighting Orthodox Jewish girl!"), and Nimona is indeed awesome (my colleague's been telling me to read that forever!), and I've been catching up on some of the excellent LGBT+ YA books in our library that I've been meaning to read (including Forgive Me If I've Told You This Before, which I read on the recommendation of one of my students, and Skim, which I read on the recommendation of one of my colleagues.)

I'm dying to get my hands on The Last of August (sequel to the modern-day-young-Holmes-and-Watson A Study in Charlotte I loved so much last year), so while I'm waiting, I read yet another modern-day-young-Holmes-and-Watson reboot: The Great Shelby Holmes, which was pretty darn adorable. (They're young kids in this one, so it's Watson's mom who's an army doctor, and 9-year-old Shelby Holmes takes on neighborhood cases like...dognappings.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Right now I'm wrapping up in a café where I was having a hang-out-and-work afternoon with a friend (working on her writing project), her boyfriend (doing his grad school reading) and me (reading-and-feedbacking a friend's play script). The friend who was here today is also the one who's beta reading my Snow Queen story, so she read a chapter I'd asked for feedback on and discussed it right here with me, in real time. In person. Haven't gotten to do that (writing feedback, in person!) in an age. Also, having local friends who want to sit and write together is the besssst. I missed this.
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A little belated, now, because there was so much else going on in January, but I didn't want to let the turn of the year go by entirely without doing this reflection on "what I wrote this past year." (Even though, wow, there's not a whole lot to say about last year in the writing department.)

This is, of course, in addition to my massive reflection on everything I read last year, which you can find here: "Books in 2016!"

And by the way, because I'm a dork (and a librarian in training...) I've added some tags to make everything even more easily searchable: In addition to my general "books" tag, each year's reflection on All The Books I Read is now found under the "year in review – reading" tag, and each quarterly post where I talk about some of my favorites from those three months are under "quarterly books." (My years' reflections on my writing, like this one, will also be findable under "year in review – writing," though I'm not sure why anyone but me would be interested in searching back for that?)

Anyway! What I wrote in 2016...


FIC/FANDOM MEME )

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I met my word goal for the month! I mean, I feel kind of silly saying that, because I only even decided I had a word goal partway through the month, once I had some good momentum going on the story I was/still am writing (The Snow Wolf) and wanted a specific motivation to keep pushing forward and getting more words down.

So I decided my goal was 15,500 words in January, because that’s an average of 500 words per day. And I can now report that by my count I wrote 15,600 words this January. :-)

Now, 500 words per day is tiny – though I don’t think I ever actually wrote 500 words in a day. I wrote 1000+ words lots of days, and then I must have taken at least a week off (because I reached a point in the story where I couldn’t keep writing forward until I figured out some backstory stuff first, and I wanted to discuss some of it with my beta-reading friend but she didn’t have time to meet for a while). And then I got back on track and for the last few days I finally did the thing properly, where I had a goal to meet and thus an approximate word count I needed to hit each day if I wanted to make it.

But even done so haphazardly, the experience was good in that it showed me, okay, doing a NaNoWriMo type thing is possible; it isn’t even that hard (at a technical level) to write 1,667 words a day (or whatever the NaNo average actually comes out to – 1,613?). Of course, the real challenge would come in staying the course, pushing on even on days when the motivation’s not there, etc. – and that’s all stuff I didn’t have to face while doing my dilettante-ish 15,000 words.

But. But. "Mini-NaNo" was meant to be exactly that, a mini version of the real thing, a tiny bit of a taster of what real NaNo might be like (someday!) even though I didn’t have the capacity right now to commit to the real thing, and I feel like that worked. And it kept me writing! Definitely writing more and faster than I would have done otherwise, pushing forward at times when it would have been easy instead to say, eh, I don’t feel like it, maybe tomorrow.

And the best news is that this in combination with the motivation-inducing deadline of [livejournal.com profile] rt_morelove has led me to write a whole complex multi-chapter story that wouldn’t exist otherwise! The story’s turning out longer than I expected, too, definitely proper novella length.

It feels so good to have a proper, big writing project to sink my teeth into again. 
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Those of you who also follow [livejournal.com profile] rt_morelove might now understand why I've spent most of my spare time lately googling information about reindeer and random locations in Norway – because I'm writing an adaptation of The Snow Queen!

Yes, after giving over 2 or 3 months of my life to stage managing a play version of The Snow Queen, I'm now also writing a version of it... I actually think I'd enjoy someday writing an entirely "original" adaptation (for example like Anne Ursu's Breadcrumbs) – it's such an endlessly fun story to play with; it's usually kept as a children's story more or less in line with the original, but I think it would be interesting to give it adult characters, and maybe two female protagonists instead of a girl and a boy – f/f romance maybe? Anyway, who knows, someday I may also write a full-length original novel version, but first, right now, I needed something to write for rt_morelove and stumbled on this idea of doing a Snow Queen fusion (Harry Potter characters and universe + Snow Queen plot) and it's SUPER FUN to write. Whee!

So, yeah, I spend lots of my time lately looking at pictures like this:


(Photo from Wikipedia.)

That's the town of Honningsvåg, very near to the very, very northern tip of Norway. I was gazing soulfully at this picture at work the other day, and showed it to my colleague when he happened to pass by my desk, and thus learned an interesting difference between the two of us: When I look at this picture, I think, WANT, whereas his response was, "If that's the sky that's coming at me, I think I'll run the other way."

Anyway: looking at pictures of far northern landscapes = always the best, writing a fusion of Harry Potter and The Snow Queen = SO FUN, and best of all having this project (and a deadline attached to it) has kicked me back into writing regularly for the first time in ages. As a direct result of all this writing-ness, today, too, I finally got unstuck on another fic that's been sitting here for ages: It's going to be four chapters total, and I've been stalled on the very last (but crucial) bit of Chapter 3 for months. Tonight, just now, I figured out and wrote that last bit, and finished the chapter. Wheeeeee!

I didn't do NaNoWriMo in November, partly because I didn't have time and partly because the friends here in town who'd wanted to do it together ended up not doing it. Then I didn't do NaNoWriMo in January for the same reasons (still didn't really have enough time, and the group of friends who'd said they didn't have time in November but would totally do it in January...didn't end up doing it in January). But partway through this Snow Queen/Snow Wolf writing process, during a week when I was pushing myself to write at least 1000 words each day to keep up toward the rt_morelove deadline, I decided to aim for a "mini" NaNo this month, see if I can get my writing by the end of January to average out, at the very minimum, to 500 words/day. Doing well so far! (Average of over 600 words/day, and that's only because I didn't really start writing in earnest until partway through the month.)

Writing mojo reclaimed, or at least once again visible to the naked eye, after a long disappearing act.
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One of the greatest things about writing (well, among many things!) is the delightfully random assortment of things I find myself needing to research for story purposes. In the last 24 hours, for example, just a few of those things have included:

–what precisely is considered the border between the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea?
–are there any Norwegian women's names that mean "deer"?
–what's the difference, in appearance, between female and male wood pigeons?

I think back on my own search history, and it cracks me up. :-)  (And by the way, if you can guess what story I'm working on just from those clues, I'll be very impressed!)


I just spent a few hours at a café, having a sitting-and-working-on-our-respective-projects writing meet-up with a friend. Yes, I finally made a local writer friend here in my new-ish town! I am rapturously happy.

It was when I was cracking myself up over my own research of wood pigeons that I admitted to my new friend about the exact nature of the fanfic/fusion project I'm working on; she's a Serious Writer from a Very Literary Background, not a fic writer, but she said it sounded amazing and she wants to read it.  !!

That's even more motivation to write thousands of words in the next few days if I possibly can, and complete this story. (This is the fic I'm writing for [livejournal.com profile] rt_morelove, and I'm 10,000 words in but still only maybe...2/3 of the way through the plot? Because it's a fusion, there's a fairly clear plot arc I have to follow, and I've got a few sections of it still to go!)
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So, I've always thought the Snowflake Challenge looked like a really fun thing to do, but I've never managed to do it, through the usual combination of too little time and too much "I have to think and ponder over stuff so much before I dare to dive and do something, and by the time I'm halfway ready to do it so much time has gone by that the opportunity is past..."

Considering the above, the Snowflake Challenge now being on Day 8 and me being on Day 1, I'm not even that far behind!


Day 1

"In your own space, post a rec for at least three fanworks that you have created. It can be your favorite fanworks that you've created, or fanworks you feel no one ever saw, or fanworks you say would define you as a creator."

Since this is my first time doing this, I'm going to lean towards the "fanworks that define you" side of things:

The Be the Light in My Lantern | Raise Your Lantern High series (read on AO3 | read on LJ)
     This, this is the story that defines me. 200k words written with a lot of love and hard, hard work and intricate worldbuilding over the course of SIX YEARS. Once upon a time I thought: it would be interesting to see what the adults of the Order were doing all that time while the narrative of HP books was with Harry, wouldn't it? ...and thus the next six years of my life and my journey into fandom were shaped. I'm also really proud of the world and culture I created for the werewolf pack Remus lives with during HBP. I haven't seen many people do that.

Neville Longbottom and the Year That Was (read on AO3 | read on LJ)
     I've experimented with setting myself different limits and challenges and found that they do surprisingly good things for my writing. Especially word limits – when I set myself a word limit, they turn into really good words, because I have to craft and weigh every single one. So I've discovered kind of a thing for telling a whole story through a series of related drabbles – like this one, which essentially tells all of Harry Potter year seven in 14 x 100 words. And I think it works quite well! Also, it's gen, which has always been my first love as a writer.

On a Windswept Cliff (read on AO3 | read on LJ)
     My first Remus/Sirius, my first slash, my first true AU... All things I wasn't sure I dared to do, or could do justice to, so it was a big deal to break that barrier and see that I could. Plus, it's a gothic romance, so I got to be all dramatic and sexy and romantic, stuff that's way outside my usual wheelhouse. And I like it! I'm quietly proud of this little AU world I created, and the way Remus and Sirius (and Harry and the Weasleys!) slot into it. 

In the Wrong House (read on AO3 | read on LJ)
     This was one of my earliest fics – my very first multi-chapter fic! – and to my surprise, I think it still holds up. It's a slightly alternate imagining of how the Marauders became friends almost despite themselves, and it's young, angst-filled 11-year-old Remus newly at Hogwarts and convinced that friends are not a luxury his life will allow him, no matter how desperately he might wish it, and, yeah. All my Remus love, condensed into wee!Remus form.

The above fics were all Harry Potter 'verse and very male-character-centric (because, well: Remus!), so I feel a need to mention:

1) I'm also all about the strong female characters – for example I have a bunch of stories about my other character fascination, Andromeda.

2) I also write Sherlock and Torchwood; for example the "Brothers, Bitter and Sweet" series about Sherlock and Mycroft's brotherly relationship over the years.


That's me! ...Other Snowflake Challenge days will be less wordy, I can almost definitely guarantee it. :-)
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Someone asking to translate something of mine into another language will never not be about the coolest thing I can imagine! And in this case, it's four stories: translations of the three short fics in my "Golden, Ripe and Rotten" series (about young Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald), plus "Sharp Lightning against a Dangerous Sky" (the Dumbledore/Grindelwald duel).

This is a particularly nice translation – I mean, not that I can actually read it in Chinese myself, but I can see that the translator even put in footnotes explaining different linguistic and cultural things to a non-English-speaking readership, which as a language nerd and a translator myself, I think is really cool.

Here are the translations, by zzh2728. Thank you again!

"Sharp and Bright against a Golden Sky"
      original fic here
      translated into Chinese by zzh2728 here

"Ripe as Summer Quinces"
     original fic here
     translated into Chinese by zzh2728 here

"The Rotten Core"
     original fic here
     translated into Chinese by zzh2728 here

"Sharp Lightning against a Dangerous Sky"
     original fic here
     translated into Chinese by zzh2728 here
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FANFIC FESTS VS. LIFE

It's definitely been frustrating to see so many cool things slipping by over here in fandom land, and barely having time to glance at them as they whiz past, let alone even think of participating!

Holmestice sign-up season came and I was so tempted, but I couldn't see how I would possibly have the time. The Remus/Sirius Games are now posting, and it's all I can do to skim the entries and maybe bookmark one or two for sometime later. I'm not participating this year, not even a pinch-hitter.

And Yuletide! I did consider trying to learn the ropes and do Yuletide (back before my time – or lack thereof – went completely nuts) because, how cool. It's a fest for small fandoms, and people can nominate any fandom as long as it's below a certain number-of-existing-fanworks limit, which means you get stuff like:

–Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (surprised that made the cut-off, actually)
–Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
–the Lord Peter Wimsey books
–the Cadfael Chronicles by Ellis Peters (that series about the medieval mystery-solving Welsh monk)
–that book On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta that I liked so much recently
–or even Norse mythology!
–...or John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme! (writing about the actors and not the characters, I assume, given that it's a sketch show and the characters are different each time?)

Then there are really, really small fandoms included, like for specific board games or TV commercials or blogs. Or fandoms that consist of anthropomorphizing cities, or wines, or varieties of cheese. What? But cool.

But... No time.

...and why is that...? )
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I spent all summer traveling – to Germany, briefly to Belgium, to Iceland. Now that I'm looking back on it, I realize even more how unbelievably, stunningly lucky I feel to have been able to do that. (I mean, I was able to do it because I work at a school and have the summer off, so it's not that weird. But still!) I'll try to share a few pictures, whenever I finally find time to organize allll of a summer's worth of photos.

Okay, actually, here's one to start with... I walked past this view every day for three weeks, up in the West Fjords of Iceland:




The only unfortunate thing about this whole amazing, beautiful, stunning summer? I barely wrote at all. I'm still between writing projects, and it still feels deeply weird. (I posted the final chapter of "Raise Your Lantern High" just days before I left the US in June, and haven't posted anything but a tiny fic translation since then.)

I did manage to get about halfway through the first draft of a small follow-up story to "Lantern" early in the summer, but I keep trying to pick that back up now and finish it, and I just can't seem to get inspired. Even the process of writing feels unfamiliar – I've fallen out of the habit of it, while focusing so hard on other things (language course, music, etc.)

So:

• Does anyone who's in HP fandom feel like bouncing around ideas with me? Specifically about an 11-year-old soon-to-be-Hogwarts-student's first experience of Diagon Alley, a la Harry's first visit there in the first book, but with a very different backstory.

• Anyone have a go-to place for getting prompts and inspiration? (I do have a few pages bookmarked, I should browse through them.) I basically need to remember how to write anything at all, and a short fic off a prompt (not a daunting story that I've been working on forever and feel a lot of pressure to get right) might be just the thing.

• Or I should sign up for a fest or two. Maybe I'll do Holmestice again? Or dare to join Yuletide for the first time? (There's also maybe maybe maybe going to be a revival of [livejournal.com profile] hp_holidaygen, which is very exciting!!)


I've also been thinking.... I want to do NaNoWriMo this year.

Every year, there's some reason why that's not a good year for it. (Like, you know, the year I was packing up eight years' worth of life and moving internationally...) This year, too, is probably not quite the right one, given that I've earmarked this fall for "figuring out what I'm doing with my life professionally, and whether I'm applying to grad schools, and if so, applying to them." But there's never going to be a perfect year with nothing else going on. And I'm in a stable work/apartment/etc. situation for once, and I even have a local friend who wants to do NaNo too. So......?
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Ah, how wonderful, someone indeed took me up on my translation offer/challenge – [livejournal.com profile] nightchild78 translated my fic "Foreign Languages" into French. (It's now a quadrilingal fic!)

Check it out here: Langues Etrangères
 ...especially if you want to know what Ianto calls Jack in French ;-)

Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] nightchild78!!
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Calling all language fans, Torchwood fans, and everything in between...

I wrote a little Torchwood fic (actually a series of 5 drabbles) highlighting little character moments for each of the Torchwood team through the use of 5 different languages. Since the fic focuses on languages, I was extra thrilled when someone asked to translate it into Russian. In fact, I liked it so much that I went ahead and did a translation too, into German!

To keep the fun going, I thought I'd open this up to the world... Anybody else want to try their hand at a translation?

It actually makes quite a fun little translation exercise, because it's very short (500 words), but there's also the additional challenge (if you want it) of trying to the same word count as the original, of exactly 100 words per drabble. (You don't have to do it that way, though, unless you want to.) You don't even need to be familiar with Torchwood, necessarily; my German-language beta said she enjoyed the fic and got a good sense of the characters despite not knowing them beforehand.

Here's the original fic:
"Foreign Languages" on LJ or on AO3.

Here are the translations so far:
"Другие языки" translated into Russian by bfcure – on AO3.
"Fremdsprachen" translated into German by starfishstar – on AO3 or on LJ.

Anybody who wants to join in, go for it! Post or link in the comments here; and/or post and link on AO3. (I really like AO3's linking feature, and would be happy to link to anyone's translation there!)
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So, as I'm gently pondering What to Write Next, there's still this idea in my head about drawing on the mythology of selkies... Possibly for my young-Sherlock-and-Mycroft-mythical-AU idea, or possibly for some original story yet unknown.

Or maybe it won't end up being selkies, maybe I'll try to learn more about Icelandic folklore while I'm there later this summer, and look for inspiration there? Or perhaps something else that I haven't even thought of yet will emerge, as I'm on the lookout for fascinating fantastical creatures?

All I know is that I'm intrigued by the idea of doing something along the lines of the capaill uisce in Maggie Stiefvater's "The Scorpio Races" – drawing on folkloric traditions, but with a modern twist. (Like J. K. Rowling did, too – all those magical beasts, boggarts and hippogriffs and all, she didn't invent those, she drew from existing mythology.) Although, I think I like even more the idea of creatures that are sort-of-human-sort-of-not – like werewolves, or selkies, or even the dragons-that-can-disguise-themselves-as-humans in Rachel Hartman's "Seraphina."

However – as a Rachel Hartman or a Maggie Stiefvater proves – creating a richly imagined and culturally respectful inspired-by-mythology original work doesn't happen overnight. In fact, generally it happens through years of research. (And brainstorming and world-building and trying and failing and trying again...) Which I guess leads me to my question:

Any thoughts about how to go about this sort of research? I don't mean by reading novels, though those could be good too, if they're well and accurately researched. But I'm more thinking nonfiction – actual academic books on the history and traditions and origins of Scandinavian folklore, or maybe Celtic folklore... I would want to get well beyond the superficial read-it-on Wikipedia level – but I'm also not sure how committed I would be to reading dry-as-sandpaper academic texts. Is there nonfiction out there that's engaging? Is there fiction that's so well-researched it could serve as a source to learn from?

What do you do, writer friends??

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