perverse_idyll: (closeup)
( Jan. 23rd, 2015 11:48 pm)
Spotted here and there amongst my flist, most recently [livejournal.com profile] dbassassin, [livejournal.com profile] akatnamedeaster, and [livejournal.com profile] creascendo: When you see this, share 3 lines from each of 3 WIPs.

(In case you can't tell, I'm procrastinating, which I'm beginning to think is the arena in which I truly shine.)

1. Severus waits, unwilling to break the spell, as Harry's ephemeral presence circles him, rippling over, inside his skin, a ghost passing through as if he were a wall. It's Harry, he would swear to it before the Wizengamot, before the whole world, and when he closes his eyes the conviction grows so intense that he's not shocked when nonexistent lips touch his. Don't speak, they say, and the word "Harry" hangs suspended in the silence between them, glowing like a star.

2. Since she had no intention of delivering her next words to Rolanda whilst out of breath, Minerva said without breaking stride, "So. Now we're here, will you have me?"

She turned a keen glance at precisely the moment her companion dipped forward in shock and nearly forked herself broomstick-first into the bracken. Old hand that she was, Rolanda pulled up with reflexes so deft it was clear she'd barely registered her near-tumble, a simple twitch in the greater playbook of Quidditch moves.

3. Harry can tell when Snape bends forward, knows if he were to open his eyes, Snape's face would be right there, staring down at him with the devouring, contemptuous hunger that Harry can't seem to do without. He has a sudden image of himself suspended like a pendulum, blackness flapping, fading, Snape blurring in and out of view through banks of cloud, and he wishes he could have seen that. Could have seen how Snape fought the wind, how his magic kept them aloft, what the two of them looked like, bound together.

Observations: my sentences average out at rather too long, and I am a tad dramatic.
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I mentioned this idea in a previous post, and many apologies for the delay in setting it in motion. Sometimes life throws odd curves, such as the need to spend almost two hundred dollars and several days battling flea infestations and upgrading to a usable operating system.

Anyway, this is a preliminary post to explore the interest in such a community. I'm completely open to ideas, and in fact am soliciting them here and now. So far, these are my thoughts:

1. I'm interested in a critique/discussion group for HP fanfic that will be a forum for talking about stories, with topics ranging from investigation of characters, chats about craft and literary technique, canon embellishments, political implications, emotional themes, whatever seems most pertinent to the story. Whatever affects the reader or what seems most fruitful for analysis on the one hand and sheer heart-clutch or delight on the other.

2. It would be opt-in, and possibly moderated membership. Members of the group will submit a) a story of their own that they'd like to see discussed, or b) a fic they enjoyed reading, submitted by permission of the author. It will be your responsibility to contact that author and secure their participation.

2a, since I can't be buggered to adjust all the numbers: those who want to participate but don't want to submit their own fics are welcome. Ditto those who just want to rubberneck from the sidelines because they're shy or not confident in their own powers of analysis. Members can participate to whatever degree feels comfortable.

3. Each discussion will be moderated, and by that I mean someone will post introductory topics or opinions just to get the ball rolling and provide some basis for disagreement and extrapolation. The forum mod will also be responsible for keeping the conversation civil. Which leads to:

4. Concrit will be both acceptable and even expected as an element of discussion. Anyone who participates or submits a story must understand that the approach doesn't mandate praise, although I would hope that critical interpretations would be nuanced and more a matter for examining different facets than condemning the writer's approach. Attacks and insults will be cause for banning.

5. The forum will convene once a month for each new fic, although each discussion can run as long as people have something to say.

This is a bit slapdash, since I'm taking a work break to throw this together in exasperation after promising myself I'd post no later than yesterday. (Do I break promises to myself all the time? Oh, yes.)

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 6


The best day for convening a monthly discussion would be:

View Answers

Monday
0 (0.0%)

Tuesday
1 (16.7%)

Wednesday
0 (0.0%)

Thursday
1 (16.7%)

Friday
1 (16.7%)

Saturday
1 (16.7%)

Sunday
1 (16.7%)

See comments
2 (33.3%)



Please feel free to toss ideas around in the comments, expand, question, poke, cast doubt, cheerlead, or what have you.
I mentioned this idea in a previous post, and many apologies for the delay in setting it in motion. Sometimes life throws odd curves, such as the need to spend almost two hundred dollars and several days battling flea infestations and upgrading to a usable operating system.

Anyway, this is a preliminary post to explore the interest in such a community. I'm completely open to ideas, and in fact am soliciting them here and now. So far, these are my thoughts:

1. I'm interested in a critique/discussion group for HP fanfic that will be a forum for talking about stories, with topics ranging from investigation of characters, chats about craft and literary technique, canon embellishments, political implications, emotional themes, whatever seems most pertinent to the story. Whatever affects the reader or what seems most fruitful for analysis on the one hand and sheer heart-clutch or delight on the other.

2. It would be opt-in, and possibly moderated membership. Members of the group will submit a) a story of their own that they'd like to see discussed, or b) a fic they enjoyed reading, submitted by permission of the author. It will be your responsibility to contact that author and secure their participation.

2a, since I can't be buggered to adjust all the numbers: those who want to participate but don't want to submit their own fics are welcome. Ditto those who just want to rubberneck from the sidelines because they're shy or not confident in their own powers of analysis. Members can participate to whatever degree feels comfortable.

3. Each discussion will be moderated, and by that I mean someone will post introductory topics or opinions just to get the ball rolling and provide some basis for disagreement and extrapolation. The forum mod will also be responsible for keeping the conversation civil. Which leads to:

4. Concrit will be both acceptable and even expected as an element of discussion. Anyone who participates or submits a story must understand that the approach doesn't mandate praise, although I would hope that critical interpretations would be nuanced and more a matter for examining different facets than condemning the writer's approach. Attacks and insults will be cause for banning.

5. The forum will convene once a month for each new fic, although each discussion can run as long as people have something to say.

This is a bit slapdash, since I'm taking a work break to throw this together in exasperation after promising myself I'd post no later than yesterday. (Do I break promises to myself all the time? Oh, yes.)

[Poll #1996402]

Please feel free to toss ideas around in the comments, expand, question, poke, cast doubt, cheerlead, or what have you.
perverse_idyll: (candles)
( Dec. 31st, 2014 11:22 pm)
Some whining, feel free to skip )

But to speak of better things: I want my fandom back! Or to be back in fandom. I've tried to be a responsible adult and focus on taking care of the desperate mess my life is in, and my efforts have resulted in little more than a sense of worthlessness. Well, to hell with that. Stories and writing and books and conversation and rhapsodizing about the never failing, always fresh talent in fandom - these things make me happy. My friends make me happy. (And oh dear, the first explosions have started in the streets. Sorry, Luna Cat napping beside me on the desk.)

I hope to find a place here again and give myself permission to enjoy. I want to keep writing. I want to read everything I've missed, and leave comments. I want to talk about writing and specifically about our stories.

In fact, I want to broach the subject of an HP discussion/critique group that looks at voluntarily submitted fic on a monthly or twice-monthly basis. (Can you tell I miss analyzing and giving feedback?) But that possibility can wait until next year.

It's not yet time in my part of the world to step over the boundary from today to tomorrow, but I know some of you have already put the old year to bed. May there be joy in the morning and a season of promise for us all. Happy New Beginnings, my friends! ♥

new morning
perverse_idyll: (Default)
( Dec. 25th, 2014 08:57 pm)
I'm late to the party, but wishing every one of my flisties both joy and peace in the holiday season, however you celebrate or don't. May you be surrounded by what you hold most dear. ♥

magical frost and sun


And for a touch of a PI Christmas tradition, here's the last scene from The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (I can't for the life of me figure out how to make video clips, so a link will have to do):

Tidings of Comfort and Joy
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I'm only half-awake and I've had no head-clearing morning tea yet or a good tooth-brushing or even a splash of cold water on my face, but I just slipped and fell into the first fic posted over at [livejournal.com profile] hp_crossgenfest - accidentally, not meaning to, but it was based on a prompt of mine, and - oh God, I'm in love. Again. How is it possible for fanfic to keep doing this to me? I've been in HP fandom for almost ten years now, and I never, ever tire of that thrill of delight when a story is so good I have to run to my flist in a state of jubilation and blither all over them. You. Whatever. You know what I mean. (Tea, I needs it.)

The fic is entitled Needs Must, and it's a lovely slice-of-life, a cozy encounter between young Professor Snape and Filch the caretaker, wry and funny and the kind of character study so full of perfect notes and twinges of bittersweetness and heat and humor and common sense - no sentimentality here, not when it's Severus providing commentary on the ironies and late-blooming ecstasies of his life - so effortlessly balanced in its lightness of touch and unerring craft, that a whole person unfolds in less than 3000 words, a prickly boy from working-class Cokeworth who's aware of how thoroughly he botched his entry into the wizarding world, and who feels more at home in the caretaker's room, being rogered over the arm of the caretaker's couch, than he does at the high table breakfasting with his uncollegial colleagues. (Yay, run-on sentences, how I've missed you!)

It's a non-love story that feels suspiciously warm and sympathetic, and the writing is so wonderful and sly that I actually burst out laughing twice. On the basis of this story alone, I would follow this writer anywhere.

If you have a moment, nip over and treat yourself to Needs Must.

Now I need to wash my face and eat my breakfast so I can fortify myself to run back and leave the author an appropriately bouncy, overjoyed comment. *beams at the world*
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Title: Elegy for a Goat
Characters: Aberforth/Severus, a hint of Albus/Aberforth
Rating: R
Word count: ~17,500
Disclaimer: Not mine. Written for entertainment, not profit.
Summary: Ab has never been fond of his brother's protégés, but he's always had a weakness for goats. He's not entirely sure what to make of Severus Snape.
A/N: Written for [insanejournal.com profile] hp_beholder 2014

Part One )
Title: Elegy for a Goat
Characters: Aberforth/Severus, a hint of Albus/Aberforth
Rating: R
Word count: ~17,500
Disclaimer: Not mine. Written for entertainment, not profit.
Summary: Ab has never been fond of his brother's protégés, but he's always had a weakness for goats. He's not entirely sure what to make of Severus Snape.
A/N: Written for [insanejournal.com profile] hp_beholder 2014

Part Two )
perverse_idyll: (Default)
( Apr. 30th, 2014 03:58 pm)
…there's an Anon Fanfic Feedback Meme on Dreamwidth if anyone's interested. So far I don't recognize any of the authors who have posted there, but hey, it's just getting started.

Meme is here

My life is currently a bit out of control, and I haven't answered comments from the last post I made, so I'm closing comments here because, argh, the guilt.
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perverse_idyll: (Default)
( Apr. 30th, 2014 03:58 pm)
…there's an Anon Fanfic Feedback Meme on Dreamwidth if anyone's interested. So far I don't recognize any of the authors who have posted there, but hey, it's just getting started.

Meme is here

My life is currently a bit out of control, and I haven't answered comments from the last post I made, so I'm closing comments here because, argh, the guilt.
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Still around but so exhausted, I cannot tell you. My mother is terribly sick and bedridden again, my sister is still in rehab and yesterday took 45 steps with a walker, and I'm financially destitute and for the first time in my life cannot pay my taxes. (I'm usually at the lower end of the income scale and don't owe taxes anyway, so it's disconcerting not only to be broke but to owe a staggering amount to the IRS.) My life desperately needs a reset button. Blech.

And then last night while braiding my hair before bed, I very foolishly stuck my face into a fandom_secrets post and learned to my dismay that long, effusive comments are considered a waste of everybody's time. The general consensus is that they burden the recipient with a lot of pretentious dreck that no one in their right mind should be expected to read. Well, crap. I wish fandom had handed out rules sheets when I entered HP. It's a bit embarrassing to find this out so far after the fact. Aesthetically speaking, I seem to be stuck in the Victorian era, and fandom tastes are evolving in an entirely different direction.

However, there are fests running now that deserve celebrating, and a couple of pieces I want to (briefly!) single out.

snape_potter )

hp_beholder )
perverse_idyll: (closeup)
( Mar. 10th, 2014 02:15 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] iulia_linnea is weighing the possibility of a winter fest, and she's posted a poll to help her decide which defunct community to revive. [livejournal.com profile] snapecase is one of the candidates, and since it's among my top five favorite fests I thought I'd try to stir up some support. Go over to her journal and vote!

Of course, there are other worthy contenders in the running, but I'm hoping my flist will give Snape a leg up.
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perverse_idyll: (closeup)
( Feb. 12th, 2014 04:05 pm)
I still owe responses to my last post, which got knocked out from under me by - well, long story short, I've decided that I'm really quite adept at functioning under stress in everyday life, but my brain saves it up and takes payment in insomnia. I've seen more than my share of 5 a.m.s recently, and not because I'm an early riser.

Anyway, have some rambling tidbits.

--First, have you been over to [livejournal.com profile] birdsofshore's HP Character Love Fest?



banner by [personal profile] capitu


Several of us Snape fans have already weighed in, but I notice that wonderful characters like Minerva and Albus aren't getting enough love. Pop over if you have something you'd like to add. The mini-fest runs through Valentine's Day.

--Next, an interesting possibility for some of the podficcers on my flist. Do with it what you will.

ETA for clarity: I have nothing to do with this personally. I'm just passing along a request I noticed in a fannish podfic comm, and I thought it might be relevant to some of the people I know.

"Hello amplificathon community members,

I'm assembling a feature on fan fiction and shipping for my programme, The Blackwood Review, on the Edinburgh student radio station, FreshAir.org.uk. I am hoping to use one or more short excerpts from podfics in order to illustrate the feature.

I am seeking podficcers who would be willing to grant me permission to use their work. I plan to talk about Harry Potter fandom and the Lord of the Rings fandom*, so I am interested in podfic from those fandoms in particular. It should be noted that the show is for a general audience, and thus the excerpt used would need to be PG (but not the entire piece its excerpted from, of course). M/m, f/f, and m/f pairings are all welcome.*

I will treat the topic, your fannish identity, and your work respectfully. If this sounds like something you would be willing to help me with, please contact me by emailing me directly at daniel@favand.net."

*(Emphasis added.)

--Thirdly, in news related to my current non-Potter reading fandom, the TV show Person of Interest:

Holy mother of fine writing! For those familiar with the show, I beg you to go take a look at the amazing WiP Armor by [livejournal.com profile] livenudebigfoot. The prevailing pairing in PoI is Finch/Reese, which if you've seen the series will not surprise you. This is Finch/Fusco, fastidious, physically damaged billionaire computer genius & stocky, bulldog-shaped bad cop on the rocky path to redemption, and it's full of suit porn and painful emotion and splendid writing and perfect voice. For fans of the conventionally unattractive, the sort of pairing that can't be taken on faith and needs a long, luxurious build-up, this is a lavish treat. Chapter 22 of 27 just posted, so I think you can depend upon it being finished.

--Lastly, two non-fannish recs for those interested in folk music. I had never heard of these musicians before, but I'll be waiting impatiently for future releases:

Fire & Fortune by Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker. The singer's voice is gorgeous, like cool, clear water.

Mynd by Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin. Another gorgeous voice, with a bit more dusk in it.
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perverse_idyll: (Default)
( Feb. 12th, 2014 04:05 pm)
I still owe responses to my last post, which got knocked out from under me by - well, long story short, I've decided that I'm really quite adept at functioning under stress in everyday life, but my brain saves it up and takes payment in insomnia. I've seen more than my share of 5 a.m.s recently, and not because I'm an early riser.

Anyway, have some rambling tidbits.

--First, have you been over to [livejournal.com profile] birdsofshore's HP Character Love Fest?



banner by [personal profile] capitu


Several of us Snape fans have already weighed in, but I notice that wonderful characters like Minerva and Albus aren't getting enough love. Pop over if you have something you'd like to add. The mini-fest runs through Valentine's Day.

--Next, an interesting possibility for some of the podficcers on my flist. Do with it what you will. ETA for clarity: I have nothing to do with this personally. I'm just passing along a request I noticed in a fannish podfic comm, and I thought it might be relevant to some of the people I know.

"Hello amplificathon community members,

I'm assembling a feature on fan fiction and shipping for my programme, The Blackwood Review, on the Edinburgh student radio station, FreshAir.org.uk. I am hoping to use one or more short excerpts from podfics in order to illustrate the feature.
I am seeking podficcers who would be willing to grant me permission to use their work. I plan to talk about Harry Potter fandom and the Lord of the Rings fandom*, so I am interested in podfic from those fandoms in particular. It should be noted that the show is for a general audience, and thus the excerpt used would need to be PG (but not the entire piece its excerpted from, of course). M/m, f/f, and m/f pairings are all welcome.*

I will treat the topic, your fannish identity, and your work respectfully. If this sounds like something you would be willing to help me with, please contact me by emailing me directly at daniel@favand.net."

*(Emphasis added.)

--Thirdly, in news related to my current non-Potter reading fandom, the TV show Person of Interest:

Holy mother of fine writing! For those familiar with the show, I beg you to go take a look at the amazing WiP Armor by [livejournal.com profile] livenudebigfoot. The prevailing pairing in PoI is Finch/Reese, which if you've seen the series will not surprise you. This is Finch/Fusco, fastidious, physically damaged billionaire computer genius & stocky, bulldog-shaped bad cop on the rocky path to redemption, and it's full of suit porn and painful emotion and splendid writing and perfect voice. For fans of the conventionally unattractive, the sort of pairing that can't be taken on faith and needs a long, luxurious build-up, this is a lavish treat. Chapter 22 of 27 just posted, so I think you can depend upon it being finished.

--Lastly, two non-fannish recs for those interested in folk music. I had never heard of these musicians before, but I'll be waiting impatiently for future releases:

Fire & Fortune by Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker. The singer's voice is gorgeous, like cool, clear water.

Mynd by Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin. Another gorgeous voice, with a bit more dusk in it.
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I'm not sure how I feel about this, even though Ron and Hermione have never seemed particularly compatible to me. I suspect there's a lot of wailing in certain corners of fandom right now. To be fair, I do understand JKR's point of view, because it more or less coincides with mine; I'm just not sure it needed to be said publicly.

J. K. Rowling regrets Ron and Hermione's relationship
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For the first time in three weeks, I'm having a day on which I'm awake and functional in a more or less normal fashion - and not working (don't let me jinx that) - so here, let me join the meme brigade. It feels a bit fraudulent, considering I haven't finished or posted any new fic in two years, but I can't help it. I love discussions that swirl around the whole subject of craft. I just wish there were some way to have a roundtable of fandom writers sitting around and talking about it, but this will have to do.


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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We'll take it as read that I don't post much during periods of insomnia, but as I'm hoping to re-introduce the concept of sleep into my life this week…

In your own space, promote three communities, challenges, blogs, pages, Twitters, Tumblrs or platforms and explain why you love them.

Hmm, how to whittle down? I suppose I'll have to be satisfied with singling out one all-purpose shipping community, one fest, and one reccing com.

Let's begin with [livejournal.com profile] snape_potter, dedicated to the pairing that brought me into fandom and Potterdom in the first place, the OTP I'm most passionate about. The site is run by the tireless and devoted mods [livejournal.com profile] accioslash and [livejournal.com profile] torino10154; they help keep the enthusiasm for Snape/Harry alive and provide the structure and incentive for fans to write more stories and produce more art. The com hosts several fests per year (for example, it just wrapped up the Secret Snarry Swap, which showcased a fantastic total of 64 entries), encourages posting and linking of Snape/Harry-related work, and occasionally opens up discussions and friending memes. It has been a lifeline to me within the larger fandom, and I'd be lost without it.

There have been and continue to be so many wonderful fests that the competition for choice is fierce, but at this point the one I look forward to with the greatest excitement and affection is probably [insanejournal.com profile] hp_beholder, originally founded by [personal profile] bethbethbeth and currently under [personal profile] delphi's expert stewardship. It's a gift exchange that challenges participants to explore the unconventionally attractive, often-overlooked characters populating HP. From the most unpromising material, the fest has spun a reputation for artistry, subtlety, excellent character studies, surprisingly persuasive pairings, and entries that run the gamut from raunchy and hilarious to sharp-witted and heartbreaking. It doesn't hurt, of course, that Snape is a recurring guest on the premises. If you were looking to convert an unbeliever to the protean talents within fandom, you could do worse than to drop them off the deep end into the backlog of our wonderful Beholder.

Since I'm mourning the imminent closure of [livejournal.com profile] crack_van, I've decided to do a shout-out to its sister com, [livejournal.com profile] crack_broom, which specializes in monthly recs for a wide variety of HP fanworks. I say "fanworks," although the community skews heavily toward fic (but then, so do I). Regardless, I love reading the tributes paid to various authors and artists, vidders and (recently) podficcers. I also love writing recs, and I've taken several turns on the 'broom for the sheer pleasure of serenading readers with my opinions. Every month a volunteer crew of reccers spotlights stories and art to share with the larger fanbase, urging the curious to take a chance. There are regularly featured ships - such as Snape/Harry - and looser categories for femslash, next gen, and rarepairs. I always enjoy hearing people talk about what they love and why, and [livejournal.com profile] crack_broom is an ongoing forum created for the purpose of sharing that love. (Btw, they're in dire need of more reccers for the opening months of 2014!)

Day Three: Post a rec for at least three fanworks that you did not create )



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.

So I'm already behind! How is this possible? I say it's due to spending fourteen hours counting a store full of books and subsequently melting into the bathtub in a trance of post-tedium paralysis. Now I'm about to burrow into bed - I'd very much like to dig a hole and hibernate for the next 24 hours because dear God, there's yet more counting to do - but first I should start the year out right.

I've produced so few fan works that it makes me slightly uncomfortable to rec them; I'm better at reccing other people's stuff. I wish I had a somewhat wider field to choose from - why aren't I more prolific? - but in the spirit of breaking my writer's block, I pledge to finish a fic or two this year. In the meantime, here are my choices:

When the Rose and the Fire Are One, Snape/Harry, NC-17, ~81,600 words. It's not my best or my most popular, and it's probably more interesting to me than to most readers because it so clearly broadcasts what preoccupied me at the time. The fic is full of restless, infatuated energy poured into posing questions about loss and punishment and guilt in the context of the Potter world. I made Harry act out in anger, but I was frustrated with the role "love" had played in the series, so I mucked about with that as well. Plus, you know, imagery up the wazoo. And I was determined to figure out how to make Snape sexy if it killed me. Or, more likely, him. Anyway, this was my first attempt to get a handle on what fascinated me about this pairing. The summary, for once, really does tell you all you need to know.

In Infinite Remorse of Soul, Dumbledore/Snape, with a bit of Snape/Harry clouding the background, NC-17, ~10,700 words. I sometimes think I'm even more opinionated about Dumbledore than I am about Snape, and if you put the two together, I apparently enter a magnetic zone of moral ambiguity in which everyone behaves badly, and Dumbledore thinks floridly and in old-fashioned paradigms of sin and poetic justice. I had fun creating an interior landscape for him and even more fun stripping Snape back to his canon intensity and letting him destabilize everything in his orbit. Let's face it, any story where an author writes things like Albus spares a moment to note that Severus' fixation on Harry has acquired an element of dusty indecency, redolent of decomposing velvet, is clearly a story in which the author is wallowing in self-indulgence as happily as a pig in mud. I fumbled the ending, alas, but I still get a kick out of the surrealism of their afterlife showdown.

My third self-rec is a podfic, because I simply can't keep hawking the same old stories over and over, so instead here's something I enjoyed doing even though I'm not very good at it. It was a bit nervewracking to tackle voice recording on a completely amateur level and then offer it up for public consumption, but it reminded me of the benefits of trying new things purely for a lark. Actually, I'll rec both podfics I recorded, as I don't see myself ever repeating the experience, and this will suffice as a farewell wave. One is a reading of Covenant, a Snape/Harry wartime fic by [livejournal.com profile] auctasinistra, and the other is Truth Beyond, a story about Minerva McGonagall and Rita Skeeter and the power inherent in self-control, beautifully written by [livejournal.com profile] kellychambliss. Links to both lovely fics can be found in the header info.
I love writing. I love working my way deeply into a story, following its internal compulsions and clusters of imagery, which I'm aware are theoretically under my control but which feel more like a trail of clues guiding me to discover what the true story is. Perhaps best of all, I love persuading readers to follow me in my love for the characters.

Or at any rate, I used to love writing. I don't know what my problem is these days, but I don't trust my own judgment anymore. I can no longer tell if I've written a shapely sentence or a moving scene or simply a collection of flaccid words that imitate my memory of how storytelling works. Right now I'm depending on [livejournal.com profile] wrisomifu to prod me word by word through the month of November, and let me tell you, it's a knock-down drag-out fight with my lack of motivation every damn day.

In the process of pep-talking myself, I reviewed what I think my stories do well. Of course, no one can read their own work entirely objectively, or get an outsider's view of their virtues and defects. We can figure out our selling points but we can't experience their impact in the same way a reader can.

So the thing that surprised me? My endings are excellent. Even the open endings. Maybe especially the open endings. It wouldn't have occurred to me if I hadn't lined up the fics in my head, but I realized that, with the exception of "In Infinite Remorse of Soul," which suffers from too abrupt a conceptual leap when it hits the finish line, I'm happy with every single ending I've written. I've earned them; or rather, the fic has. And I can still scarcely believe that I pulled them off.

What about you, oh writers and artists on my friends list? What are you good at? Have you surprised yourself with something you've accomplished? Is there a gift that runs consistently through your work that you can point to with pride? Go ahead, boast. I'd really love to hear what the rest of you think about your own abilities. Fandom firmly discourages any frank declarations that we consider ourselves talented in some respect, presumably because inflated egos are a pain to have around, but also because the idea that a hobby/silly idfic/derivative porn could ever be "good" invites claims of pretension. However, most of us are already self-doubting enough that we talk about craft in general terms and don't discuss our personal successes; we don't actually need policing.

So tell me what your favorite things are. In your own work, not someone else's. Give me examples. Name names. Point to particular instances. Provide links. I'm really curious to hear what you have to say. *chinhands*

1. If you feel a sudden overwhelming urge to balance what you're good at with a mention of what you're not, stuff the dormouse urge upside-down in a teapot until it falls asleep.

2. I know Sunday is a Day of Chat for many flisties, so please feel welcome to chime in several days later. As you all must have figured out by now, I myself am beyond fashionably late.
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So I think it's time I abandoned the pretense of meeting the posting challenge and just … continue to post as often as I can without fanfare.

I'm currently avoiding working on a fic and living down to my [livejournal.com profile] wrisomifu sworn vow of ten minutes a day by assembling a half-assed version of a meme I'm sure has circulated in one form or another in the not-too-distant past. For a variety of reasons, a retrospective view of beloved and personally important books has been much on my mind lately, so in a fit of procrastination I decided to put together a list of 50 books and authors that have shaped who I am, how I think, what I treasure in reading, what I aspire to in writing - in short, encounters that have left an imprint. (I threw in a special mention at the end whose work is entangled in the various infatuations of my reading and writing life, just because.)

I'd love to see comparable lists of whatever length if anyone enjoys doing this sort of thing. I'm not talking here about reading achievements, but of literary documents (apply definition of your choice) that sent you careening off in intellectual pursuit or struck you with a sense of discovery or seemed exactly what you needed to hear at that point in your evolution. It doesn't have to be a long list. You can pick a few titles and describe them; describe the effect they had on you and what exactly was so damn wonderful about them. (Although I grant this can be an elusive project. At one point I was head over heels in love with Kafka. His books were a strange, meaningful, parallel world for me, but I couldn't for the life of me explain to you what effect they've had on the person I am now.) The things we identify with, however obscure or eccentric, are often fascinating.

Without more ado, the list )

The last book I finished, Andrew Sean Greer's "The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells," will not make it onto any future list, alas. It's beautifully written but extremely disappointing, a failure of imagination that leaves me simmering with discontent and tempted to write a long, discursive, haranguing letter to the author. Ah, well. The next book on the stack is "The Golem and the Jinni" by Helene Wecker, and if I'm lucky it will cleanse my palate.
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