osprey_archer: (writing)
I have to leave Lily Dale today, and feel rather as though I am being pushed out of paradise. It is so quiet here! So quiet – and so many flowers – and I’ve gotten such a lot of work done – 7,000 words on a new novel!

Which is perhaps too similar to The Time-Traveling Popcorn Ball in some ways, by the by, but perhaps that one was not quite ready for prime time yet, poor thing.

But there are no rooms at the inn, so I must be moving on. I’m heading up toward Oneida, I think. We shall see if I actually make it all the way to my stated destination this time…

***

Oh, and also – I hope you’re happy, you monsters:

“Lord Peter Wimsey was one of your schoolfriends?” Troy asked.

“A schoolmate, at least,” Alleyn said, after a slight hesitation. “We investigated a case together at school.”

Under other circumstances, Troy might have laughed, or pressed for details. But now she simply smoothed the letter in her hand and frowned down at it again. “And now he wants me to paint his wife, the suspected murderess.”

“Acquitted,” Alleyn reminded her. “Not all suspects are guilty, you know.”

“Of course,” Troy said. Her own days as a murder suspect rose in her mind. She pushed them ruthlessly back. “But no one seems to have impressed this on the press. A suspected murderess painting a suspected murderess – soon I will be painting nothing but pretty murderesses for their rich foolish fans. So many criminals have the most boring faces.”

As she spoke, a newspaper photograph from the Vane case floated up in her mind. The girl had looked almost ugly, with a sullen mouth and a strong, dark brow.

It was the brow that made Troy pause now. There might be something in that. One could not tell from a newspaper photograph.

“I suppose,” she acquiesced, “it will do no harm to meet her.”

Lily Dale

Jul. 13th, 2017 10:42 am
osprey_archer: (shoes)
A few years ago I read a book about Lily Dale, a small town - a hamlet, really - founded in western New York in the late nineteenth century as a center for Spiritualism. It is still around today, a bastion of slightly faded gentility: the white paint feeling, the dock sinking into the lake, but all the buildings bowered in daylilies and hydrangeas and black-eyed Susans.

I know this because I saw a sign for it as I was driving to Chautauqua a couple days ago, and skidded round the curve (well, not literally, but psychologically, if you will) in my haste to visit the place. It might make a nice afternoon, I thought.

I am still here. It's just so peaceful! And quiet! And full of flowers! The hotel has no telephones, television, air-conditioning, or internet (I'm eating a cinnamon roll in a WiFi equipped cafe right now), which appeals to a strange luddite part of my soul. Although perhaps not so strange, because the lack of any distractions means that I have gotten quite a bit of reading and writing done.

And speaking of writing - I think this town, suitably disguised of course, would make a fabulous setting for a book. Something with ghosts, naturally, or time travel, or not so much time travel as the layers of time shifting and overlapping each other, because time is an illusion - and never more so in a place that has become such a sink of spiritual energy. Everything that will happen, has already happened, and is still happening, all at the same time...

NaNoWriMo

Nov. 6th, 2016 09:00 pm
osprey_archer: (writing)
Is anyone else doing NaNoWriMo? I'm about a day behind on my words because I only settled which idea to write on the evening of the first, but so far the writing is going well, although as generally happens at this point in the writing process it feels very disjointed.

The book seems to be falling into that structure that I've found terribly frustrating in other books, where you have two parallel timelines - one in the present and one from the past which explains how you got to this unfortunate point in the present, often with ominous rumblings about The Incident which will not be unveiled until near the end of the book and is therefore almost inevitably anticlimactic.

The Incident in this case is an exorcism that went wrong, resulting in the suicide of the exorcisee (is that a word? the possessed person?), and that basic fact is established in the very first chapter. Hopefully that will keep this structure from being too frustrating.

Maybe I should consider lumping most of the flashbacks together in one big section, though. Aaaaagh, I probably don't actually need the chapter about How Kat Met Charlotte and Valencia, dagnabbit, and I really liked that chapter. Well, I don't have to make final decisions about cutting it just yet.

I'm also having lots of fun with the world-building! I'm thinking that the world is quite a lot like ours, only exorcism is very slightly more respectable - but still a fringy sort of thing. I've been thinking what sort of symptoms demonic possession might have that would make it clear that it's not some other non-occult mental illness (although I'm thinking it would often be comorbid with other mental illnesses, and probably there's argument in the parts of the psychiatric community that do believe in possession exactly how it ought to be classified should they ever get it in the DSM) -

Sorry, where was I? Symptoms of demonic possession. The problem is that I can't make them too lurid or else all the medical professionals who don't believe in possession will look like total idiots. If a possessed person's head is spinning like a top on her neck, then even the most skeptical of skeptics would have to admit something's up, right?

So I've been thinking about the demonic as a destructive force, and also about the devil as the father of lies and illusion, and how one might distinguish demonically mediated antisocial behavior from the more usual kind. I'm still on the beginning stages of that, though.
osprey_archer: (writing)
[livejournal.com profile] hc_bingo is open again! I'm so tempted to sign up; it's always been my favorite bingo, and it's also been a while since I wrote any fanfic, so maybe it would get me going again...

But I've also been thinking that I need to focus on my own original writing, and hurt/comfort bingo is such a tempting distraction, perhaps I should resist it's siren song.

On the other hand, I have an almost polished first draft of Sage, and once I've finished that I really ought to take a brief break before jumping into another big project. (My current plan for my next novella - possibly novel? I feel like this one could grow alarmingly - is The Depressed Civil War Nurse and the Doctor with the Permanent Limp from His War Wounds Find Love Even Though They Believed Their Infirmities Made That Impossible. It will have a better title once I've actually written it.)

And what is better for a brief break than writing a short story about Stockholm syndrome or survivor's guilt or scars?

Sage!

Jun. 6th, 2016 04:48 pm
osprey_archer: (writing)
I finished a draft of the Sage novel! Oh my God, I actually have a draft! It only took... four years to complete, oh wow, but I wasn't actively working on it for most of those four years so that's not as bad as it sounds.

I walked over to the ice cream store to celebrate, and got one of the chocolate-dipped cones and the chocolate got a bit melty in the hot sun and it was delicious, and I am contemplating buying myself this Breaking Cat News mug to celebrate a bit more.

Then I got out A. S. Byatt's Possession, which I intended to read for the 2016 Reading Challenge "a book published before you were born"... only to discover that the book was published in 1990, at which point I was already tottering around and learning important lessons about not chewing on books.

I was 100% sure that Possession was published in 1980. It's very disturbing to realize that I was so certain and so wrong at the same time.

I'm still going to read it, because I've been planning to read it this month for aaaages and also I talked [livejournal.com profile] evelyn_b into reading it along with me. (Join us if you like! We could be a peculiarly dispersed little reading group!) But clearly I'll need a new book for the challenge.
osprey_archer: (writing)
Yet again I am trying to rewrite the novel about Sage and her three best friends in their senior year of high school as they apply to college, bake snickerdoodles, study calculus, and discuss whether or not niceness is for suckers.

I'm hoping that now that I have Reciprocity under my belt, I will be better able to cope with the multiplicity of subplots and the sheer sprawling size of the thing. It's not, for a novel, actually that long - it's about 60,000 now, and I'm hoping it will clock in around 80,000 when I'm done - but the plot is very, how shall I put this, diffuse.

The first half is actually pretty solid. The second half is a mess, and I had to rip out an appalling percentage of it, including an entire subplot about Sage's budding friendship-oh-wait-now-that-I'm-getting-to-know-you-I-think-I-don't-like-you with Geneva, which gobbled up page time without offering much of anything in return. I don't think I need to get rid of the rest of it, but the pacing is off and I'm not sure how to fix it.

Would anyone be interested in reading the first half? I think I may have reached the point where I need to talk it over with someone who knows the story.
osprey_archer: (cheers)
I sent out a query letter! It's only been... a year and a half since I sent the last one...

Next time I should try to be more prompt.

But still! Query letter! Sent!
osprey_archer: (Winter Soldier)
Total Word Count: 160,668 words

Total Number of Fandoms: Two, I guess. Almost all Captain America, with one Pepper & Natasha fic set during Iron Man 2. (I’ve been thinking about writing a PepperNat sequel to that one. “I’ll miss you after leaving Stark Industries,” Natasha said.

“I bet you say that to all your marks,” Pepper said.

“Oh no,” said Natasha. “I’m only a spy. We’re not at good at lying as CEOs.”)

Total Fics: 31


By Month )

Q&A )


From my past year of writing, what was the... )
osprey_archer: (books)
Picture books, picture books! The most thought-provoking one I read today was Ken Kimura's 999 Tadpoles, not so much for the content, but because it was originally published in Japanese and translated into English later. It seems to me that picture books are uniquely suited to be translated from language to language - the pictures, after all, are doing at least half the work - and yet this is the first translated picture book that I've seen come through mending. It seems too bad.

On the nostalgia front, I fixed a Mr. Putter book today. The Mr. Putter books are a series about an elderly man and his excellent cat, Tabby, who get dragged (more or less willingly) into adventure by Mr. Putter's equally elderly but clearly young at heart neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry. I read a few books in this series when I was in first grade - as my mother tells the story, she came to a parent-teacher conference armed with a couple of books I was reading at home to suggest that perhaps I had moved beyond the cat-mat-sat stuff, and Mrs. Smith's eyebrows rose at my morbid book choices. The Titanic? The discovery of King Tut's tomb, with the attendant mummy's curse? The Mr. Putter books were much more Mrs. Smith's speed.

I also finally got the opportunity to read Angelina Ballerina, which is one of those books I've heard about for years but never read. And I loved it! More for the illustration than the story, which was pretty straightforward; it has these wonderful, detailed illustrations, like Jan Brett or the Brambly Hedge books, with lots of little details (shelves full of preserves and pretty china, a room full of ballet paraphrenalia), the kind of thing I loved to pour over as a child.

On the opposite end of the illustration front - minimalist instead of miniaturist, if you will - I loved, loved, loved Paul Meets Bernadette, which is about a fish (Paul) who makes friends with the other fish introduced to his fish bowl (Bernadette) when she imaginatively transforms the things outside their bowl: a milk carton becomes a building, a pair of fried eggs become the sun and moon. The illustrations are simple and gorgeous, the paint so thick that you can see the brush strokes. Lovely.

***

In Nano updates, I have 15,360 words right now, and I'm hoping to hit 17,000 as of tonight. I have today and tomorrow off work, and I want to get a lot of writing done so I have a bit of cushion on my word count before I head off on my trip this Friday.

NaNoWriMo

Nov. 2nd, 2015 10:27 am
osprey_archer: (writing)
Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo? I waffled about it all of yesterday, but I woke up this morning and decided to heck with it, I might as well do it. Naturally this puts me behind, but I should be able to catch up. I already hit 2000 words this morning and I'm hoping to get to 4000 by this evening. Of course the beginning is always the easiest.

It's a Fourth of July romance, which is not really a thing, but I couldn't resist the flags snapping the breeze, the flag-patterned cakes (blueberries and raspberries and Cool Whip), or the possibility of red-white-and-blue Jell-O shots. The heroine is painting a picnic table with red and white stripes (her grandma is big into this holiday decorating thing, okay) when her childhood crush shows up and startles her so much that she smacks her head against the underside of the table and gets a streak of white paint right across her forehead.
osprey_archer: (writing)
27 – Where is your favorite place to write, and do you write by hand or on the computer?

My favorite place to write is wherever I can get the words to flow! I keep my computer by the couch in the family room, and I generally write on the couch there, although now that I have a laptop with a battery that actually functions I should perhaps try using it in different places around the house to see if inspiration strikes anywhere else.

Most often I write on the computer, but I also compose in longhand fairly regularly. I carry a little notebook with me just in case I have inspiration on my lunch break at work or while I’m out walking or whatever.

Particularly if I get stuck on a scene, it often helps to switch from computer to longhand or vice versa; I guess the change helps shake a few thoughts loose in my brain.
osprey_archer: (writing)
24 – Betaing – How many betas do you like to use to make sure there aren't any major flaws in your fic? Do you have a beta horror story or dream story?

That depends. I like to get at least one person to beta my stories (unless a story is very short or so obscure that I don’t know anyone else who knows the fandom); if I’m feeling insecure about a story, particularly for an exchange, I’ll sometimes get up to three, although usually only one of them is doing an indepth beta of the story and the other two are mainly supposed to reassure me that it is in fact coherent.

Also if I frequent a fandom chat - this was particularly true of Sutcliff fandom - sometimes everyone in the chat would end up reading a story before it got posted, because we’d all brainstormed it together so of course everyone deserved a sneak peek at, say, Alexios’s nervous collapse after being forced by vile circumstance to kill his soulmate.

I don’t have a beta horror story. My beta dream story is [livejournal.com profile] littlerhymes’ excellent work betaing the Reciprocity series, which is approximately a billion words long (well, 150,000ish at this point), the installments of which she has faithfully, incisively, and punctually betaed for over a year at this point. She’s also helped me brainstorm directions for future installments on a couple of occasions when I got stuck, reassured me that I should go ahead with ideas I was waffling about (should I really make SHIELD all that sketchy? Yes! Yes I should), and generally been a wonderful guiding presence. Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] littlerhymes! You are the best.
osprey_archer: (writing)
Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] sineala:

Ask me a question about one of my fics or series. It can be absolutely anything in any project and I will tell you the honest-to-goodness answer (even on the progress/plans for next chapters of current series).

Don’t hold back. Whatever you ask, I’ll answer as truthfully and as completely as possible. You can also ask about my writing as a whole, if you like.
osprey_archer: (window)
Via [livejournal.com profile] sineala: When you see this, share 3 random lines from 3 WIPs.

1. “I'd been looking for months and I couldn't find you, and no one seemed to be fighting Hydra. If the devil himself had risen out of Hell and offered – not even that he could bring you back – but that we could destroy Hydra together. I would have said yes.”

2. It wasn't Greenfield’s death that bothered her, really. Perhaps the war had made her callous. She didn’t really feel unwell, unless anger was a sort of sickness, which - Sybil admitted to herself - Papa might very well think.

3. Passengers already filled the aisles, and every time the train lurched they brushed against Will’s shoulder. Normally he would not have minded the crush, but trapped between the crowd and Bran’s smoldering fury, Will sunk lower and lower into his seat. Occasionally Bran cast Will a glance, as if he hoped to see that Will had evaporated, only to turn back to the window at once when he saw Will was still there.
osprey_archer: (window)
I have been meaning to do the snowflake_challenge for years, but I also forgot until the middle of January. But this year! This year [livejournal.com profile] egelantier's post reminded me, and so I am doing it.

In your own space, create a list of at least three fannish things you'd love to receive, something you've wanted but were afraid to ask for - a fannish wish-list of sorts. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your wish-list if you feel comfortable doing so. Maybe someone will grant a wish. Check out other people's posts. Maybe you will grant a wish. If any wishes are granted, we'd love it if you link them to this post.

1. Ficlets! I always like ficlets.

-Sutcliff fandom. I'm particularly fond of Lucius from Frontier Wolf, or fix-it Alexia/Jestyn/Anders from Blood Feud, or anything Bonnie Dundee.

-MCU. I am into most combinations of Steve, Bucky, Sam, and Natasha, shippy or otherwise. Actually, a fic where they all just hang out and have a pleasant afternoon might be nice. I could totally see Bucky insisting that they all watch The Matrix, and he and Natasha practically end up crawling under the couch because it hits so many of their paranoia buttons, but they refuse to turn it off because that would mean the movie wins. Okay, that's actually not a very pleasant afternoon after all...

- Agents of SHIELD. Simmons/Bobbie, Simmons/Skye, Skye/making ridiculous faces - okay, probably that would make more sense for fanart than a story. I feel like I could be into Fitz/Mack, but I'm leery about reading the fic because there are so many ways that could go wrong (chief among them bashing Simmons, who is my favorite. I probably would never get over her either if I was Fitz. Nonetheless, Fitz, you should work on that.)

2. Fic recs of any of these things! I think I've read most of the Sutcliff stories on AO3, but I know I've only skimmed the surface on MCU fics, and I'm not sure where to start with AoS fic.

3. Related works for my fics. I am especially partial to fanart or related fics (or ficlets), but podcasts and translations are glorious too.

I would also probably die of joy if someone wrote fic for my books, although I realize they are completely the wrong genre for that sort of thing. I would probably ship the characters with anyone they aren't actually related to, though. Just throwing that out there.
osprey_archer: (Winter Soldier)
I am so behind on the December meme, you guys. Apologies to people who asked my questions that I haven't answered yet. I'll get around to them!

December 9: Tell me about a story you've written that veered away from where you thought it would go, but one in which that veering proved to be a good thing. (for [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume)

Cool story, bro, the fic series that has been eating my brain is basically this. It is this in spades. It was originally going to be one-shot metal arm porn, wherein the metal arm actually plays very little part because Bucky has taken it off, because of course the neighbors can't see it because that would totally blow his cover as a secret weapon and then he would clearly have to shoot them. Steve hears this explanation and is like "How do you even think like that, how does your brain work, I don't understand you."

And I had read a lot of stories about beautifully sad and often infantilized Bucky who is crushed under the guilt he feels for his amnesiac assassin past, and I wanted to do something different. So Bucky is this story is difficult, demanding, paranoid, and callous (he enjoys bragging about his past assassinations to Steve), and has complicated (and in the first story, mostly unexpressed) Bolshevik issues.

And Steve has been living with him for nearly a year at this point and is slowly beginning to crack up under the stress of dealing with someone who seems to relish being as difficult as possible and has no apparent intention of even trying to get better.

It turns out that this characterization (Bucky's, in particular; Steve's characterization is mostly a reaction to his) is a freaking gold mine of fic ideas. Most of the stories start out in my head as "How would Bucky react if...?" and the answer is usually BADLY, although only once so far has BADLY involved hitting someone, because he cottoned on fairly quickly that SHIELD doesn't approve of people beating up its own agents. (He would never actually say this, because SHIELD would probably take it as disloyal, but on his crankier days he recalls bitterly that Hydra let him hit pretty much whoever he wanted.)

So a lot of the fic is about Steve slowly starting to suss out the underlying logic to Bucky's behavior, and realizing that (for instance) part of the reason why Bucky isn't recovering is because Bucky doesn't believe they've actually reached the post part of his traumatic stress. As far as he's concerned, he's going to need his terrible coping mechanisms and he isn't fucking giving them up.

When I post the next story, the series is going to be 35,000 words, and I have like five more stories planned. I did not intend for this to eat my life.
osprey_archer: (Winter Soldier)
I've finally given in to the inevitable and started writing Winter Soldier fic. Currently writing: Steve's air conditioner breaks on a hot summer day, leading Steve to contemplate the fact that Bucky's empathy seems disturbingly foreshortened by his years as the Winter Soldier. With bonus metal arm porn!

So far it is tragically devoid of Stalin references or attempts by Bucky to convince Steve to behave like a proper Bolshevik, but doubtless I can use that in other stories.

Memage!

Aug. 21st, 2014 09:40 am
osprey_archer: (writing)
Via [livejournal.com profile] goldjadeocean: Forty questions meme for fic writers.

Give me numbers, and I will answer your questions! (My traveling companion is ill - just a cold, nothing major - so it's going to be a quiet day, so please, please pick as many numbers as you want.)

27,588

Feb. 15th, 2014 01:21 pm
osprey_archer: (writing)
27,588 words. I said it'd be just a little shy of 30,000, didn't I? And that's a draft of the runaway robots story.

I suspect the final draft needs to be just a bit longer. But we'll see how it goes.
osprey_archer: (writing)
Via [livejournal.com profile] anactoria. Because yay, memes!

Put a number in the comments and I’ll answer accordingly.

The mission for those of us who answer the questions, should we accept it, is to stay positive about our writing and ourselves, but to also be fair about our shortcomings.

1. Of the fic you’ve written, of which are you most proud?
2. Favourite tense
3. Favourite POV
4. What are some themes you love writing about?
5. What inspires you to write?
6. Thoughts on critique
7. Create a character on the spot... NOW!
8. Is there a character you love writing for the most? The least? Why?
9. A passage from a WIP
10. What are your strengths in writing?
11. What are your weaknesses in writing?
12. Anything else that you want to know... (otherwise known as Fill in the Blank)

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osprey_archer: (Default)
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