mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
I wasn't going to touch this subject, but damned if it doesn't keep coming up in different forms of media.

I like Seth as a unit and as a character.  Like him a lot, in an "I can potentially identify with this guy kind of way."  And from the beginning, I kind of connected him with Cain in the way that Cain's shown in FE3, where he's not Red Cav anymore but is instead a trusted senior knight/advisor, a right-hand-man, the guy Marth leaves in charge of Altea when Marth goes off chasing trouble.  [Orson is the Abel to Seth's Cain, with even worse results than Abel saw in FE3.]

But I stopped writing and exploring him and basically just left him alone for a while, because... reasons.  The things I liked about Seth, and found interesting about him, didn't seem to be the reasons that fandom overall was interested in him, plus I caught a general sense that Seth was overemphasized into a "semi-protagonist"[*]-- placed above his station, so to speak.  And, since I liked Seth but didn't LOVE him, it wasn't worth the grief.  I could just write about Cain or some other character that filled that same niche to me.

Part of it is, I think, the essential difference in the knight/Lord dynamic between Eirika's Route and Ephraim's.  Eirika/Seth is a problematic pairing to me, but I really dig the interaction between reckless Ephraim and cool-headed Seth... and not in a sexual way (no thanks).

Japanese FE fandom had a very useful tip on understanding Seth, knight of Renais.  Ammie helped translate it (and much else) for me.  

In which we are NOT touching the psychosexual angles of FE8 )
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
This has been percolating for some time-- since I got my hands on the new Akaneia artbook, really.

If you had to pick one "hero" for Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, which twin would it be? I realize the natural answer is, "They both are!" but bear with me here. If you needed to pick one single represenative for the Magvel saga, whether for purposes of discussion or for inclusion in a Dissidia-style fighting game, which twin would it be?

I think the side of fandom we're familiar with (herein called E!fandom because the common language used for fandom purposes is English) might choose Eirika. She's the first Lord character playable in the game. Her route seems to be more popular, or at least the one enthusiastically recommended to newbies. EirRoute appears to be the prevailing influence on the E!fandom take on supporting characters like Seth. And-- not inconsequential-- the female twin provides a bit of gender balance to make up for the male heroes of the other continental sagas (Marth, Celice, Roy, Ike).
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
The roots of this 'fic go back to the summer of 1998.  I'd just arrived in Rome, and after tossing a coin in the Trevi Fountain and buying myself a gelato, I went into a souvenir shop.  A small statue caught my attention-- a miniature copy of the Augustus of Prima Porta.  The shop had quite a lot of them for sale, and seeing so grand a statue reduced to near-toy status really stuck with me.  Caesar Augustus, with his youthful face and fringe of hair, looked more like Peter Pan in an allegorical cuirass.  Such is fame-- in the year 98 BC, you rule the world; two thousand years later, you're bric-a-brac.  But hey, people still remember your face.  Augustus is remembered exactly as he wanted to be-- calm, composed, an idealized hero.  Almost a god.  The Caesar formerly known as Octavian had the PR machine to ensure that there wouldn't be any portraits showing Augustus as a man past his prime.  Peter Pan indeed.
 
Skip forward to Detroit in 2012.  The current DIA exhibit, Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, is all about the dilemma faced by an artist in portraying a human god.  Rembrandt started off painting the requisite "Christ as Northern European," tall and splendid, with chestnut hair and a perfect body.  Rembrandt's early Christ was a dynamic, explosive figure-- raising the dead with a gesture, casting the riff-raff out of the temple in a fury.  But Rembrandt's later prints and paintings often show a different Christ, the compassionate teacher, a figure of contemplation.  And, in quite a few paintings, a Jewish Christ, with dark hair and dark eyes and an unmistakable humanity.   
 
Given that Fire Emblem is my current obsession, and I'd been wanting to do something more with Forde and Eirika, things tumbled together in the usual way.
 
Eirika Route, Carcino.  Kyle, on the hunt for wooden figurines (x-ref Syrene supports), picks up a little copy of an ancient statue from "the mountains."  Forde disputes the given identification of the statue, because it doesn't match the standard iconography of any of the Five Heroes of the war against Fomortiis.  And, without really intending it, Forde embarks on an artistic quest that occupies the rest of his life. 
 
Spoilers for the 'fic )
I've now written 'fics incorporating requited Seth/Eirika, Saleh/Eirika, Innes/Eirika, and Forde/Eirika.  Grand slam, baby.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 #22: Something Silly

I'll give you silly.

Spoilers for FE8 EirRoute ending )

Maybe Ephraim really is the competent one...
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, I got Raphi in the fe_exchange lottery.  Our tastes are preeeeetty compatible, so it wasn't an assignment that was really going to push me out of my "comfy zone," though it's not like I need much of an excuse to go seriously weird.  A sliver of a vestige of an excuse will generally do.  And I was up for writing some FE8, but none of the ideas I had wanted to go anywhere.  I was throwing things at a wall and nothing stuck.

Read more... ) 

 
Oh, yes.  Second and final fe_fest prompt technically completed.  Whew.

ETA: located here at FFnet.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
All right.  With "Starchild" just about done, I feel comfortable posting notes-- but not the ones I wrote up this summer and accidentally cut-n-pasted into oblivion.  That was a kind of index of real-life space history figures and technological terms with some pointers as to how they tied into the 'fic (ex: the Saturn V rocket is the analogue to the Ashera rocket, Grigory Nelyubov was the inspiration for the "disappeared" Tear Ring Saga characters).  

I used to write exhaustive notes for all my 'fics, in part because I enjoyed writing them so damn much.  I enjoyed writing this one, so let's have some real notes.

Q: "Starchild": What the hell is this thing?

Answers under the cut )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Nineteen down.  One to go.

Utena reference completely intentional.

I was gonna do some comprehensive notes on this thing, wasn't I? 

...

Nope, too tired.  Later.

mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Oh yeah.  Chapter 18 is up.  I wouldn't expect to have 19 or 20 up any time soon; as I've said before, spinning out plot threads is the easy and fun part.  Tying them up neatly is the problem.

Subplot discussion under the cut )

Going to be in one of those barroom trivia contests today.  Hopefully this will go better than the last one, which was heavily skewed toward post 1950s pop culture.  My team of geeks bombed.  When your Hail Mary moment is remembering the title to "The Adventures of Pluto Nash," it's not an especially proud day.
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
Atlantis touched down safety just before six AM (EDT) this morning.  The space shuttle era is officially over.

-x-

I think one reason I'm so hell-bent on working on "Starchild" is that the level of intrigue at work has dulled my appetite for "Sleep of the Just"/"Another Piece of Blue" political machinations.  Too close to home, man.  The behind-the-scenes action in "Starchild" doesn't feel personal to me and it ain't keeping me up at night.  I tried to work on "Ghosts," an Archanea 'fic dealing with the ramifications of the two arguable canonical suicides, and that just was too heavy for me right now.  Do not want.

I did work on a glossary for "Starchild," with the historical reference points sketched out, but I accidentally deleted a chunk of it and then saved the deletions by mistake.  Whoops.  Maybe next time I'm bored...  

Anyway, here's Chapter Seventeen.  We've cracked the 30K-word boundary, and we've finally on the verge of an answer as to what this entire charade is about.  Hint: it's not about collecting moon rocks.

-x-

This weather is awful.  The Blue Angels were practicing at the airfield by my workplace, and it was too damned hot to go out and enjoy them.

-x-

Had some plans for a post about crit and literary reviews-- not in a fandom sense, but of possible interest to fellow fan-writers.  Too sleepy right now.  Zzz.
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
It's still the 42nd anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing... for another twelve minutes.  In my time zone.

So, here you go.
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
So, this story is not the same thing as this "experiment" from last month.  They were worked on simultaneously, but told two parts of the same scenario; the FFnet 'fic features the daughter of Eirika and Saleh in a little coming-of-age story, while the LJ "experiment" featured Ephraim's reaction to his niece once she shows up in Renais.

Brief Notes on "Palindrome" and its history... )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Utterly surreal week.  Power outages, all kinds of crazy bad stuff at work, getting interviewed for public access TV about that little trip to Florida we took last week, and a sinus infection. 

Oh, yes, and a family of adorable little skunks moved in two houses down.  Let me tell you, the sight of fluffy baby skunks with white gossamer tails frolicking around in the lawn in the firefly-sprinkled twilight is, at once, absolutely beautiful and completely ungood.

Also, here's a snack-sized update to "Starchild," in which has now surpassed "Another Piece of Blue" as my second-longest fanfic.  Yikes.  It'll definitely be THE longest by the time we wrap things up with Chapter 20.  Anyway, in Chapter 15, Eirika and friends (?) finally take off on the Peace mission with the intention of finally making that lunar landing that we've been talking about for 26,000 words.  And the lunar lander thingy gets a name.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Surprise, surprise.

Mind you, this doesn't exactly incorporate anything from my STS-135 jaunt, but the experience did give me a kick in the tail.  I so want to write a sequel that's all about Ephraim, but I keep talking myself out of it, because sequels to AUs are so often fucked up and pointless (not talking about this fandom, just in general).

Speaking of Ephraim, I finally took his name off the description field of the story.  It wasn't getting me any more readers.

Oh yeah.  At Kennedy Space Center, the parking lots are numbered 1-7, each one given the name of a Project Mercury astronaut.  If you're in Al Shepherd's Numero Uno parking lot, you're special, and if you're in Deke Slayton's #7 lot, you have a hell of a walk.  This made me giggle, as I wasn't aware of the parking lot issue until last Wednesday.
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
 Back from Vegas, and it's nice to feel spring air again.  I don't care if it is late June.

While I was away, my most excellent spouse retrieved my dollhouse from its storage area of the last nine years, while the new telescope I ordered for him arrived.  It was like the Gift of the Magi (short story version) except not sucky and pointless.

-x-

OK.  So, clearly, the Vegas experience left me in some way unhinged, because I wrote upwards of 4,000 words of... jacked up Magvel stuff.  First there's the Forde/Eirika/Ephraim thing, which now comes in two flavors, angstfest and not!angstfest, the latter being called "Renascence" because apparently we need more Edna St. Vincent Millay references around here.  Then there's the Lyon/Eirika/Ephraim pregame AU from hell I just put down for the night.  I don't know if I'll post that either, because it reminds me more of the stuff I was writing for my own amusement once my original work went off a cliff.

-x-

PD received a surprise award yesterday.  His reaction on receiving it was to look, in the words of the award presenter, "like he was facing a firing squad."  He grimly accepted it on behalf of his members-- and then wondered aloud what it meant to get a lifetime achievement award at 41.  "Am I done?" he asked.

<3
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I left work early today, crawled home, and slept.  Sometimes there's just no other sensible option.

-x-

Anyway, after all the positive response to that fragmentary dump of "When Mila Walked the Land" (<3 <3 <3), I uploaded chapters 2 and 3.  That 'fic had not been updated since December of 2009, and the master file hadn't been touched since June of 2010.  That's a record for time between updates for me, heh.  

The project actually dates back even early, to the pre-LJ says when I was bopping around on DevArt talking to [livejournal.com profile] shimizu_hitomi  and almost nobody else.  I was only a couple of chapters into playing FE8 when the crossover potential smacked me between the eyes, and Hitomi's translation of the FE2 script cemented my belief that something Needed to be Done with the pretty obvious links between Archanea/Valencia and Magvel.  But at the time, I was really averse to the crackiness of a crossover that would, say, feature Marth and Eirika chillin' together and maybe hooking up for something.  Didn't like the idea.  Thought it would be lamesauce.

[Point and laugh, Raphi.  Go ahead.]

So, instead, I dreamed up a generation-gap scenario wherein the playable casts of FE2 and FE3 are twenty years older than we see them in the games, and then Eirika falls through a rabbit hole into Archanea along with bucketloads of dark critters.  Of course, she doesn't speak a word of the common language, so the chaos that ensues isn't exactly cute.

The other gimmick was a pair of OCs as the initial POV characters-- Lara (the daughter of Marth and Caeda) and Rudolf (son of Alm and Cellica).  These kids are closer in age to Eirika and thus relate to her on a different level than the adults.  Original explanation of story here.

Read more... )

Dunno when Chapter Four will go up, because it's more fragmentary than the other unfinished chapters and my schedule sucks right now.
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
I don’t give up on WIPs easily. Things may go on hiatus but are never discontinued, and I dust off and cannibalize one-shots months or even years later. So it killed a part of me to neglect a serious-business FE2/3/8 crossover after I’d written 12,000 words of it, even if I’d decided it had absolutely no target audience.

So, here are some selections from the story of the prince and princess of Magi Varl, who crash-land in a foreign realm with some striking similarities to their home. The amount of meta I generated for this that has leaked into my standard interpretation of 2, 3, and 8 is kind of jaw-dropping. Clearly, I spent waaaaay too much time on this piece.

Synopsis: the prince of Valencia travels to Archanea to marry its princess. Dark creatures spoil the party. Then things really get weird.  Excerpts of each unpublished chapter follow.

I do not own Fire Emblem or any of its characters.

Really, really, fricking long. )

Reasons for neglecting this included 1) the joys of writing two OCs and 2) a triple dose of no1curr on account of the subject matter.  For something that'd be close to 20K words in the end, complete lack of audience appeal was something of a buzzkill.  But for those tired of crazy!Marth, he was cold sane and 100% competent in this one.  And also was not married to Caeda.
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
 Bleh.

This is what happens when I take the "just write!" advice I usually avoid.  I write a chunk o' crap, get derailed on editing, and don't update for a solid month.  Yeah, life events happened as well in the last month, but mostly it was the editing.

And Chapter 14 is also in a deeply unsatisfactory state, so don't expect that one any time this month.

So, yeah, a couple of different flavors of wtf romance in this chapter, plus some shady political developments.  Yay.
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
Got an awesome new band to rec: Slothpop, whose self-titled album is really a little gem.  Encountered them last week opening for Wye Oak, who were my awesome new band of 2010.  Wye Oak remain awesome, as they have a new album, Civilian, that is a damned good contender for best album of the year.  Also, they have this brilliant cover of Danzig's "Mother."  No, really.

Speaking of albums of the year, so far PJ Harvey's Let England Shake is tops.  It's a close-to-perfect album, and I say that as someone not enthralled by Polly Jean's previous work.  It works as a wonderful counterpoint to Arthur by the The Kinks, which is arguably the best narrative concept album in rock music history.  

While I'm talking of one-off brilliance, let me pimp Boxer by The National, an actual perfect album from a band whose catalogue is otherwise not worth a listen.  I don't know how they did it, but Boxer (whose underlying theme seems to be professionalism and work identity) is simply brilliant.

-x-

So, "Starchild" barrels along with Chapter 12.  I'm tempted to write up a glossary for this AU, a sure sign that one is Too Damned Deep in a project.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Got this in the mail today for "Starchild":

"FE8 is hardly my favorite so having the focus on Eirika and Ephraim was a big turnoff for me. I'm glad I gave it a chance anyway. I actually think you're making me like them a lot more."

Awwww.  Nice semi-anon reviewer with no FFNet account who therefore cannot be properly thanked.

Y'know, I consider FE8 to be my "mainstream" interest compared to my other interests re: Fire Emblem (Archanea/Valencia), so it doesn't really register with me that E&E might actually turn readers off.  I mean, I know that FE8 is still very much a dark horse and that E&E don't excite the love and passion that fans give to, say, Hector and Lyn, but...

I mean, I deliberately billed it on FFNet as a story featuring Ephraim (as opposed to Marth, who actually gets more screen time) because I thought that would make the story seem less fringe and bizarre.  

-x-

It's cold.  It's mid-April, most of the trees aren't even in bud, my daffodils still aren't in bloom, and when I went to the park today it was snowing.  I like spring.  Why is nature vacillating between summer and winter?

-x-

I still wonder why it is that I can tear through non-fiction books like crazy but look at fiction recommendations and just feel either "meh" or repelled.  I don't know if it's that Harry Potter killed my desire to read popular fiction the way X-Files turned me off television, or what.  I used to read fiction, follow anime, dabble in manga, and now it's basically been a straight-up diet of non-fiction for... three or four years?  I think it's another aftereffect of 2007, which was my personal Year From Hell.  Coinciding with the release of HP7, oddly enough.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Chapter Eleven.  How ominous.

I hated the first draft of this chapter and ended up totally re-writing it, which isn't normal for me as far as fanfic goes.  Original 'fic, yes.  Fanfic, no.

It needed, among other things, more Ephraim.

This chapter in its finished form introduces a couple more anvil-sized hints of sketchy stuff, a new mystery, and some references to Tear Ring Saga. (Remember how I said there was another continent to be accounted for?)  Oh, and Sephiran.

Part of the reason this chapter was troublesome was that we're halfway through the story and I really should be tying plot threads together instead of spinning more out.  And things will start coming together... somewhat... in the next few chapters, but it really is a pain to have five or so subplots[*] kicking around when we're technically into the falling action.  That's one reason I was very happy with the way Asylum turned out-- I reworked the last two chapters so that the fifth and final installment was more about falling action and resolution.  

Also, when it comes to ambitious multi-part stories, I always remember Jacquemart.  That was a post-series Utena epic by one of the best writers in that small fandom, a story that he simply could not finish.  When reading it (it had already been abandoned), I could see exactly why the 'fic was doomed.  There was no conceivable way all the different plot threads could be knitted together into anything sensible.

This is why I always (except for DSoD) have an ending in mind before I start posting.  It is damned hard to get where you're going it you don't have a destination in mind.

* Subplots:
1) Ephraim and his frustrations.
2) Eirika and her love life.
3) The doctored photographs
4) What Sephiran's up to.
5) General disorder in the pilot corps

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