mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Uh, yeah.

So I finally finished "Starchild." Since it had its own tag here on DW I figure I'd better mention that it's done even though I suspect anyone who did care stopped caring three years ago.

Basically, I kept waffling on the ending.

Ending spoilers. )

Original character endings for the pilots )

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.


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.


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.


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: 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!)
 Haven't updated "Starchild" in a while, but I was working on the retooled Chapter 14 today.  My momentum still hasn't recovered from that "Just write!" error a while back.  It'll still be twenty chapters, and from here on out it's going to be really weird.


I've written three of the seven one-word prompt fills, so I'm behind schedule.  I'm working on #4 at present but the characters are not cooperating.


Not sure about the FE Big Bang, as my summer looks really disruptive.  We'll see.


Had a very cracky Lyn hypothesis that I should better keep to myself.  Yet another "why Lyn REALLY left Caelin" deal, only more wacked-out than most.  CGs are to blame.


I think the chances of that FE6!Eliwood/Rebecca story actually being written are pretty good right now.  See, I need a balance of life-affirming characters and bleak characters in my life, and once Raphi convinced me that Ephraim fell into the "bleak" category I glommed onto the idea of survivor!Eliwood to compensate.  So I've been all warm fuzzies over Eliwood ever since.


I guess "When Mila Walked the Land" will get its own post later.  Dinnertime! 
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)

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: (Dead Heero)
So I didn't make my goal of having Chapter 13 of "Starchild" out by tonight.  Oh, well... there are a number of personal goals I didn't meet this weekend.  Like buying a new vacuum cleaner.

Part of the problem is that a couple of weeks back, I followed a piece of writing advice that I normally avoid like it's poison.

"Just write.  Don't worry about it being good-- you can edit it later.   Just sit down and write."

Well, I did, and now I have a block of textual crap entitled "Chapter 13"-- or did until I excised that entire block of text like a tumor, dumped it into the slot labeled "Chapter 14" in case I needed to refer to it, and started over.  And since I did try to convince myself I could work with said textual crap, I wasted a lot of time with it.  I guess I could argue that the delay allowed me to refine the sequencing of certain events in Chapters 13 and 14, but I'd like to think I could have gotten there without writing junk text as a self-installed roadblock.

I'm sure that advice has its utility for professionals writing to deadline.  But in the case of someone writing for fun, it has always caused me more harm than good.  


Also, I did take an Eliwood/Fiora detour, but the junk-text issue was already ongoing when I wrote that.


Also, the squirrels have raided and feasted upon my carefully-planted canna lilies.  Evil little rodents.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 LMAO off at the fact that other people are interested in a crossover.

See, that's what "Starchild" started as-- a Fire Emblem/EVA fusion.  Only I got really, really sick of dealing with EVAbabble like LCL, progressive knives, sync ratios, and whatever the hell Angels would translate to in an FE mash-up.  So I said, "OK, Mark, throw all that shit out the window and go with what you actually know about," which is spaceflight circa 1961-1972.  And I proceeded to have sheer awesome fun with it.

Anyway, here are some notes for the aborted Neon Emblem Evangelion thingamajig.  They're not necessarily spoilers for "Starchild," though if you've read that you may see how one story draft went into the other.

Beware. Crazy ahead. )

Basically, it was fucked-up to the point where it was headache-inducing, and it was a great relief to take the damn thing and rework it as "Starchild"-- not least because I no longer had to think about EVA-based physics and biology.
mark_asphodel: (Adult Fin)
Nothing but "Starchild" language geekery )
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.


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)
I did not enter [ profile] fe_contest  this time, even though I liked the prompt.  I had an idea I really liked for "Vanity" involving courtship/marriage between Innes and L'Arachel in a 1930s-ish setting, an evolution of the 'fic I keep wanting to write entitled "A Simple Game of Self-Respect."

When a 'fic title is derived from Elvis Costello's "Two Little Hitlers," you know it's not gonna be very fluffy.

But honestly?  Writing something like that promised to be emotionally draining and a great deal of... work.  Work to make the dialogue actually witty, and the interaction smart and sexy... and the atmosphere what I wanted it to be.  And I really, really didn't want anything to distract me from writing "Starchild," which is a) a great deal of fun to write and b) something that needs to be finished so I can move on and not have my head filled with details of this cracked-out mashup world.  Seriously.  I've dreamed up mission logos.  I've tried to place the various continents on an actual map to figure out an orbital path.  I've wondered what sports the characters like best.  Is Ephraim more of a basketball guy or a hockey guy?  No, not baseball.  They don't play baseball in the Magvel Union.  That's what those foreigners down in Lieberia play.

Also, there's a sequel to "Starchild" germinating in my head, and it's awful.


I haven't done a meme in a while.  I guess I stole this from [ profile] hooves ... and half the rest of the f-list.

Name a character from one of my fandoms, and I will reply saying:

* How I FEEEEEL about this character
* All the people I ship romantically with this character
* My non-romantic OTP for this character
* My unpopular opinion about this character
* One thing I wish would happen / had happened with this character in canon.

PS: I have fandoms other than Fire Emblem (Utena, Gundam Wing, Harry Potter...) I just don't write them.
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.  


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?


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
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
This is kind of cool. "First Orbit" is a film that recreates what Yuri Gagarin might have seen out his window fifty years ago today (OK, yesterday). It combines vintage sound clips with new footage of earth from the ISS and has a pleasant Philip Glass-y score. (Though, to keep the audio rolling, they combine sound clips from the 10-minute ascent phase of the rocket with the first twenty minutes of orbital footage.)  Even if you don't care about the space geeking, some of the pictures are very pretty.  :)

Oh, yeah.  Uploaded chapter ten of "Starchild," which has stabilized as a twenty-chapter 'fic because I split up a few chapters for thematic integrity.

Anyway, halfway mark means it's time for a world-building dump.  

Read more... )
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
For those of you who don't know why I'm shouting in Russian, it's because we've made it to Cosmonautics Day, or Yuri's Night as it's been re-branded for everyone's enjoyment (think Dance Party, not Communist Party). Google is celebrating with one of their doodles, because fifty years ago today, a human being breached the atmosphere and orbited the earth for the very first time.

[Also, thirty years ago today, the late and lamented shuttle Columbia took off on her maiden voyage with the venerable John Young at her helm. But shuttles are old news, and Young is just old and unnerving, whereas Yuri is youthful and endearing forever. This is what a fatal encounter with a weather balloon will do for your image.]

Both LJ and FFNet have been intermittently broken today, but I did manage to upload a "holiday" double shot of 'Starchild" chapters-- one long, one short. We're not quite halfway done with it, at least in terms of chapter count.

OK. Better go to bed. Cosmonautics Day isn't a recognized holiday at MY workplace, no sir.
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
Spring.  Yay.  Fresh air and sunshine.  Detroit actually has more cloudy days than Seattle, so seeing some actual sunlight is a lovely experience.

Anyway, blasting ahead with Chapter Seven of "Starchild."  Still won't get this wrapped up by Tuesday, as there are about ten more chapters to go.  Also, the chapters are getting longer and more complicated, so my pace is slowing down.  Anyway, in this installment, the actual plot surfaces in the form of some... interesting... photographs that the newly famous Pilot 012 receives in the mail.  Plus we have a couple of other little hints that something is seriously weird in the Human Spaceflight Programme.  Besides Sephiran running the government, that is.  

Anyway, for the first time we get all the pilots together in one place, so in case you were wondering who was who... and who was what... it should be clear from here on out.  
Read more... ) 


mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)

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