raven: (misc - cherry)
Dear Yuletide author,

Hi! I'm [archiveofourown.org profile] singlecrow on the AO3. Thank you for writing for me. First up, please feel free to ignore everything in this letter if you'd rather. I want you to have a good time writing the story you want to write, and if you have that already in mind I'm excited to read it. If it helps you, though, here are some things about what I like:

Generally, I like: loving friendships, snappy dialogue, people being competent at what they do.

Generally I don't like PWPs (which isn't to say I don't like sex in stories! I do, a lot, but with other things) and I don't like men in positions of power over women, particularly in a sexual context but generally.

I don't have any triggers or squicks. If you want to write a story with loads of sex in it or no sex at all in it, I like both of those. Also, I hesitate to say this, but: some people do feel obliged, given the festive element, to write a cheerful and happy Yuletide story. I like those! I like them a lot. But this is me saying: if the story of your heart is bleak and despairing, I'm here for it. I want to hear it.

Here are my fandoms, with a bit more about each:

The Good Place )

Star Trek Discovery )

Murderbot Diaries - Martha Wells )

(One last thing - please feel free to assume I'm all caught up with Disco and the Good Place by Christmas.)

Thank you again, friend! To reiterate: write what you want, and don't mind me.
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
Happy new year, my friends. Unexpectedly, I had a beautiful day yesterday - a matinee performance of Rent at St James's, and then friends, pink wine and sparklers to bring the new year in. We still have a [personal profile] soupytwist on the sofabed and all is delight.

For Yuletide, I wrote two stories:

your shadow at evening, rising to meet you [NASA Mars posters]
It was a source of consternation to certain of Earth's constitutional bodies that the original Mars mission made landfall on Christmas Eve.

This is an even-less-than-two-minute fandom (the posters are great: they're these delightful official NASA posters in the vintage travel style) and on Christmas Eve I saw this request in the spreadsheet and decided - at 7pm, why - to write this in one frantic go. My darling [personal profile] soupytwist did an incredibly quick beta and I got it up just before the collection closed for posting. This story is so visibly by me I'm amazed more people didn't guess (hi, [personal profile] toft). It's basically original, which is in-keeping with 2016, the Year Without Fanfic, but I'm really glad I wrote this for Yuletide and not in any other context.

I also wrote:

Things By Witchlight [Society of Gentlemen - K.J. Charles]
In this year of our Lord 1819, in the tail end of December, a boy is hanged at Newgate for unnatural vices.

Dominic and Silas, a hanging, and a misunderstanding. If I'd had more time, I think the story in this story could have done with about 10,000 words and a lot more on-screen kink, but, bah, humbug, you do what you can do. I wrote it for [personal profile] marina, which was cheering.

I have nothing planned for the rest of the day except more quiet hangouts. All iz well.


Dec. 25th, 2016 09:48 pm
raven: white text on green and yellow background: "ten points from Gryffindor for destroying my soul" (sbp - destroying my soul)
It's been a strange but beautiful day around here; I still don't think I celebrate Christmas? But I do observe it, in a manner of speaking, and this is one of those times where I'm grateful for all the things of my life, my family and community and marriage. So there we are.

Yuletide! I got two gifts:

And Bear Unfaltering (1157 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Sense8 (TV)
Jonas in his cell, remembering.

This is really, really good: so richly textured and thoughtful. I liked it so much.

Only Time Will Tell (1340 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Oxford Time Travel Universe - Connie Willis, Hilary Tamar Mysteries - Sarah Caudwell, Doctor Who (1963)
Hilary Tamar gets some unexpected visitors.

And this is just ridiculously delightful. Hilary Tamar has visitors! And concerns about Professor Chronotis's scholarship! (A Cambridge man, though one can't blame the man for his misfortune.) It's everything I love in 1300 words.

There are two full-length stories by me in the collection. Both of them are so recognisably me it's obvious! from! space! so no points to anyone for guessing. (I've just given up on not sounding like me all the time. I have written nothing that doesn't sound like it's by me.) Have a lovely day, friends: I appreciate you all so much.
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
Dear yuletide author,

Hi! I'm delighted you're writing for me. I hope you have a good time, writing whatever you want to write: optional details are optional and in any case I'm much more interested in the story of your heart than anything specifically below - this is just in case it would be helpful to you to have more detail.

Generally, I like: friendship; kindness; competence; people expressing their love for each other in small ways; interesting power dynamics; breakfast.

There's very little I don't like. I don't like men in positions of power over women and I don't like the erasing of queers and that's basically it. I'm not super into PWP as all there is to a story, though sex and kink are both things I like. I have no triggers, but I'm ophidiophobic.

Also: you don't have to write fluff for me. (You can write fluff for me! I'd love that!) But if the story of your heart is sad; if it's bittersweet; or wistful, or just less hilarious than the canon - I want to hear it.


KJ Charles - Society of Gentlemen )

Connie Willis - Oxford time-travelling historians )

Sense8 )

Hilary Tamar Mysteries - Sarah Caudwell )

Having said all of that: optional details are optional. Have a lovely time!
raven: (middleman - sleepy wendy)
Happy new year, friends. I had a very pleasant new year with my people, toasting it in with champagne and singing Auld Lang Syne out of the window, with the fireworks over the river just visible above the skyline. I unashamedly love New Year - I think there are many worse things than a non-religious ritual and an excuse to sing at people in the street.

I am here just to say, hi, I wrote a story for Yuletide this year:

live inside whatever flies (1018 words) by Raven
Fandom: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street - Natasha Pulley
When Mori wakes up again, Thaniel is in his bed, his weight making dips and hollows in the sheets.

At the time, I was mostly just glad I hadn't defaulted, and it's a hard style to get down right, but I think it worked out okay in the end. And now this is 2016: which I have many hopes for, but today I hope to sleep, and to write, and paint my nails a colour that isn't blood-red.
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
As we all know, friends, my misanthropy is great and awesome on Christmas Day. I am in the Frozen North; it is raining; I have slept very little, and written about two paragraphs about my spies, and all is as ever. But I've had a very quick look at the Yuletide archive and here we are. (I made out like a bandit!)

Firstly, my gifts! Both for The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, both just lovely:

A Different Sort of Complicated (1592 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street - Natasha Pulley
"I know you enjoy your work," said Mori. "But Parliament's about to make things more complicated."

I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. A and I woke up early this morning and I was reading this at 8am with the light rising over the woods and saying, over and over, "Someone wrote me a fic about the Labouchere Amendment. Someone wrote me a fic about the Labouchere Amendment!"

You guys, someone wrote me a fic about the Labouchere Amendment. Someone who knows me at that! It's this lovely little fic about Thaniel and Mori, settling into a quiet life together, but with the various stings and shadows of what might have been, or might be. And the Labouchere Amendment, as part of the Criminal Justice Amendment Bill 1885, has just been passed - the one that will be used to prosecute Oscar Wilde and Alan Turing (and plays a major role in my spies' story, as well). I'm so happy about this.

I also got:

Revisions (3927 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street - Natasha Pulley
Love and friendship, like learning another language and everything else in life, require practice to perfect.

I read this too quickly to start - 8am on Christmas Day, in bed without my glasses - and I'm glad I did reread it because it is so bloody clever. When did we meet, Thaniel asks - not for the first time, the real time, but the first maybe: and Mori tells him a long and complicated story about Thaniel as a figure with grey eyes, who appeared and disappeared in all that might be remembered. So subtle, so interesting. I love this so much.

And the fandom as a whole killed it, because I also loved:

The Watchmaker's Apprentice (3007 words)
Fandom: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street - Natasha Pulley
Thaniel and Keita form a family.

This is so sweet. So sweet, and believable, and sad in places, and aaaaah my feels.

And other things I have read and liked, in other fandoms:

The Amber Stone (2060 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Cadfael Chronicles - Ellis Peters
In olden days, gems as well as herbs were thought to have healing powers. Cadfael knows better — but beyond the realm of knowledge, faith still remains.

This is just so good. It instantly conjures up Cadfael's quiet and beautiful world, and features Hugh Beringar and Aline, which makes me happy. It has one line in it in particular that I adored but the whole thing is just wonderful.

A Piece in the Game (2457 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Kim - Rudyard Kipling
Many years after the events in Kim, 1919, he is once again in play. Kim must decide whether he's Sahib or not.

This is fascinating to me. Kim, a little older, choosing between selves.

Ephialtes (5270 words)
Fandom: Doctrine of Labyrinths - Sarah Monette
Ephialtes: Lit. Jumping on you. A term for nightmares coined by Greek physician Galen, 2 CE. An anxiety disorder defined by Dr. John Bond, 1753 CE, about the sense of being crushed or sexually assaulted by an incubus which accompanied a nightmare: "As soon as they shake off that vast oppression, they are affected with a strong palpitation, great anxiety, languor, and uneasiness – which symptoms gradually abate, and are succeeded by the pleasing reflection of having escaped such imminent danger".

'ware warnings on this, friends, please. I haven't actually finished reading the Doctrine of Labyrinths books yet, mostly because they are ridiculously ridiculously long and also very traumatic, so I have to read them in short bursts and constantly text [personal profile] soupytwist my constant feels. (And also feeling grateful I didn't read them as a teenager. I mean, I would have loved them. Loved, loved, loved them and read them all at once and cried and cried and destroyed myself.) But nevertheless: this is the story of how Felix left Malkar. And it's terrifying and breaking and sad, but Felix is brave, and still able to be kind, despite everything. I liked this a lot.

A lovely Christmas to those who celebrate it, and a peaceful Friday to those who don't, and love to my fellow misanthropes. We're mulling wine. My father has accidentally bought three crates of oranges. (He said he was standing in the aisle and surrounded by people doing their Christmas shopping and couldn't move in any direction and hey look oranges.)
raven: white text on green and yellow background: "ten points from Gryffindor for destroying my soul" (sbp - destroying my soul)
Dear Yuletide author,

What a pleasure it will be to meet you - after all, I already know you have great taste. :) Thank you very much for writing for me. This letter is to set out various things I like and don't like, and a handful of prompts that happen to be in my mind, but if you have the story of your heart planned out and ready: go forth, my friend! I will love it whatever it is. These details are only if you'd like them.

Just so you know, I have no triggers or squicks. I'm ophiodophobic, but not in text format.

Generally, here are some things I like:

-Dialogue, wit, banter. Straight-up competence and people being good at what they love. Found families and unusual friendships. Queer gen. Quiet moments between people amidst crisis, and otherwise. A sense of place.

Things I don't like:

-PWPs, and changing characters' queernesses (straightening queer characters, or making bisexual characters straight/gay - if on the other hand you want to queer up the straight characters, I am here for that!).

In terms of ships, go wild - I'm good with anything you like, if you want to make the attempt to convince me.


Hilary Tamar mysteries )

A Spy Among Friends )

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street )

Grantchester )

A final note: even those who love me best could not honourably describe me as a ray of sunshine. (Perhaps you know me, and know this already.) Which is to say, if the story of your heart is a sad one, or a dark one, or with a bittersweet resolution - I want to hear it. Equally if it's a joyful fluffy delight! But just in case, I mention it.

Just for your reference: my AO3 name is [archiveofourown.org profile] singlecrow.

All best to you:
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
I wrote four yuletide stories this year! One Imperial Radch, one Pushing Daisies, and two Mathey & Lynes. Undoubtedly, the hard part was writing two stories, more or less at the same time, with two different magic-using detectives named Ned. (I did two yuletides with a time-travelling detective named Ned! Apparently it's a thing.) Here's my assignment:

A stillness full of lights (1722 words) by Raven
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Awn Elming, Justice of Toren One Esk Nineteen | Breq, Mercy of Kalr, Seivarden Vendaai, Daos Ceit

A gift from Mercy of Kalr; or, a brief history of becoming.

This one was hard, you guys. I find Leckie's worldbuilding very complete in itself, which makes writing fanfic hard. I'm not sure how it came out - I wrote it all at once, pretty close to the deadline, with some cheerleading from [personal profile] silly_cleo and [personal profile] cosmic_llin - but people seemed to like it.

And the treats:

In Praise of Half-Eaten Things (2734 words) by Raven
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Pushing Daisies
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: Charlotte Charles/Ned
Characters: Ned (Pushing Daisies), Charlotte Charles, Emerson Cod, Olive Snook
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe, Yuletide Treat

Some ways Ned and Chuck could have touched, and one way they definitely didn't.

1919 (2046 words) by Raven
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Lynes and Mathey Series - Amy Griswold & Melissa Scott
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Julian Lynes/Ned Mathey
Characters: Cordelia Frost, Ned Mathey, Julian Lynes
Additional Tags: Future Fic, Yuletide Treat, Misses Clause Challenge

Metaphysicians from the Commons had thought only of the defence of the realm, and not of the young girls hiding from the Zeppelins and teaching one another the grammar.

Feel The Earth Move When You Speak (9630 words) by Raven
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Lynes and Mathey Series - Amy Griswold & Melissa Scott
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Julian Lynes/Ned Mathey
Characters: Julian Lynes, Ned Mathey
Additional Tags: Case Fic, Victoriana, Magic, Ghosts, Oxford

"Lynes. Do you believe in ghosts?"

(He doesn't. But Ned might be losing any choice in the matter.)

I wrote this one as a treat for [personal profile] st_aurafina, then trashed it from the collection in a panic because I suddenly thought, what if her original author defaults and she gets nearly 10,000 words of Iona-patented gloom as her only gift? On Christmas Day?

...yeah. And then I re-read the Pushing Daisies story, looked at my life and choices, and pressed "delete".

But that aside, I'm mostly pleased with them (I restored them both a couple of hours before the deadline when it was safe). In the case of Mathey and Lynes, I completely adore them and the universe they live in, and have been making everyone I know read the books, so I'm pretty sure it wasn't very ambiguous who wrote my two stories. (Also, Oxford! The pretty attic in the eaves I gave Ned as a first-year room was my first-year room, too.) Writing is hard, as I believe I've mentioned, but it got easier when I realised it really was two stories I was trying to write, not one. They're in the same universe, though, and both owe a lot to the authors' explanation of how metaphysics works.

Anyway! That was my yuletide. And I'm very grateful to [personal profile] soupytwist for her eagle-eyed beta skills.
raven: black and white street sign: "Hobbs Lane" (quatermass - hobbs end)
I had a very quiet Christmas with friends, and with Shim, and now Boxing Day is as grey and windswept as it ought to be, narratively, and I am quite contented. This is just an initial batch of Yuletide recs, probably there will be more coming, and in no particular order:

The Banishing of Winter (1156 words) by Anonymous
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - Susanna Clarke
My gift! A lovely fairy tale of how the Raven King banished winter for four years from the north of England. Charmingly, it's set in Sefton - which is not the place I grew up; I grew up in the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton so named because it's not a real place! But it's named for a village that may have existed on the Sefton coast, once, a long time ago, and here it is.

Soft Offering (1034 words) by Anonymous
Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
Breq is given a gift by Mercy of Kalr, and it's the sort of gift only a ship can give. Just lovely.

What's Caught is Gone (4382 words) by Anonymous
Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
A few small scenes of breathing space between the end of Ancillary Sword and whatever comes next. I love this! It's just what it says on the tin, slice-of-life aboard ship, complete with all my favourite running gags from the novel - Kalr Five, and the rose dishes! Bo's rousing choruses of "Oh, tree! Where's my ass?" - and brilliantly, it's from Mercy of Kalr's point of view and evokes how aptly named the ship is: the story is all quiet warmth and kindness, and just, I loved this a lot. Possibly my favourite of all of them so far.

Bzzt (4148 words) by Anonymous
Playthings (Gun Safety PSA)
The canon for this one is a 30-second gun safety PSA. In the true spirit of Yuletide, I am now deeply invested in the internal lives of these people.

The Mystery of the Egyptian Curse (3722 words) by Anonymous
Lynes and Mathey Series - Amy Griswold & Melissa Scott
I am a tiny little bit dubious about the premise of this one - I think given the historical setting, the characters wouldn't take the risk they take, in this story - but given that it is unutterably and ridiculously delightful. Miss Frost is the best detective, the best ally and basically the best everything, just as she ought to be. (Also! "For every David and Jonathan, there was a Naomi and Ruth" - eeeee.)

The Sand In The Bottom Half Of The Hourglass. (2015 words) by Anonymous
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - Susanna Clarke
Arabella Strange and Emma Pole are visited by the Raven King. This one made me tear up and I'm not entirely sure why.

The Cartographer Tries to Map a Course (2018 words) by Anonymous
Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch
In which Abigail Kamara is grown up, and goes to visit the genius loci of Ettersberg, who has returned - and doesn't take Nightingale, who is too afraid - and too young - to go back. This gives me chills, all the way down into the ground and all the bits of me that love places in fiction. If the one above isn't my favourite of the whole collection, then this one is.

I've read lots more! So probably there's more to come. I also really, really, really liked Cabin Pressure - Shim and I listened to "Zurich" very happily on Christmas Eve while allegedly cleaning up the kitchen, and had to stop cleaning up the kitchen in order to bask in the utter perfection of it. Oh, my show! It was so warm and funny and careful of its characters, and the cast were clearly having a ball, and just - after all these years, it was such a beautiful ending and I love it so much and still.

I've also been enjoying the Radio 4 Good Omens, but don't actually have much to say about it; the characters have lived in my head for so many years that it seems nice, but unremarkable, that they're on the radio.
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
A quiet moment for this, finally! Dear [community profile] yuletide author, thank you very much for writing for me. I'm delighted that you like one or more of these small fandoms as much as I do. My AO3 name is [archiveofourown.org profile] singlecrow, just for reference.

Generally, about me: I like found families, competence, people showing their love for each other in small and unconventional ways; I like angst and woe, but not hopelessness; I also like stories that are people in the worlds they inhabit, living their lives. I like gen and queer gen a lot, though honestly you should feel free to pair whoever with whoever, that's all fine with me.

I have no triggers or squicks in particular, though I don't tend to like PWPs very much.

Here are my requests:

Imperial Radch - Ann Leckie )

Frasier )

The Best of All Possible Worlds - Karen Lord )

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell )

In conclusion! Thank you again for writing for me, dear author; if you enjoy writing it, I will enjoy reading it, I guarantee you.

raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
It's become increasingly clear that I won't get my meme answers done before the end of December. Never mind; they'll keep my brain ticking over in January. Y'all asked me lots of interesting stuff which I still fully intend to answer - just, perhaps not now.

Things. Things and stuff. Okay, so, it's December 21st. I've been doing my new job for not quite three weeks, and yesterday I got a card from my new colleagues, full of sweet thoughtful messages for the wedding, and today I got paid for the first time. Career-wise, I'm still chewing some things over, but right now I feel settled and happy in a way I haven't felt for a long time, perhaps since I came back to the UK in 2011.

Tonight, Shim and I fly out; we'll be in Delhi from Sunday morning, and while I am still quite anxious and apprehensive about a lot of elements of this wedding, I am looking forward to seeing all our wonderful friends who are flying so far to be there for it. I have had a lot of trouble expressing it, so I'm just going to state, baldly, that you all have no idea how much this means to me, and that race and culture and families are so hard, but that fandom and Oxford, in their ways, were the first real communities I had, and here you all are, and I love you all so much.

Lots of wedding stuff. LOTS. The actual wedding is December 29th, though, with reception on the 30th, and Shim and I are having a proper honeymoon this time around: we're missing New Year through the miracle of flying east, spending a few days in Bali and Singapore, and returning in the new year hopefully refreshed. (My boss said, listening to this today, taxonomy sounds positively restful after all of that: I quite agree, and I think my job may be the calmest and most peaceful thing in my life right now. Nothing wrong with that.) In January, it's my birthday. I'll be 27, which isn't a dramatic age, but 26 was a dramatic year and I still want to mark it somehow: I think, right now, on my skin. I read recently the thought that a woman who gets a tattoo is marking out what she owns - that in this few square feet of space, no one's rules matter but hers - and that resonated with me, here at this place where my personal and professional identities are settling, but are what I made them, nevertheless, so. So, I am here. See all of you on the flipside of the year.

One final thing! There are five stories of mine in the [livejournal.com profile] yuletide collection: four full-length, one treat, in four different fandoms. If you can guess any of them before reveals, your prize is a small ficlet. And if you're my author, I apologise sincerely for the delay. I will be back, I will read your story, and I know right now that'll it'll be awesome.

And that's all, and goodnight.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
Dear [livejournal.com profile] yuletide author,

Thank you very much for writing for me. I appreciate it. As I say every year, I am a very strong believer that optional details are optional, and also that it does me good to read things I didn't expect to read. So if you have your assignment and your idea, go away and write that now and never mind me, and I will love whatever it is.

If you like to have more guidance, then here we go:

The True Meaning of Smekday - Adam Rex )


Parks and Recreation )

Amstel Lager - The Chef )

Generally I like: people being competent; people being kind; found families and communities; gen and queer gen, though I'm down with any kind of pairing you like, inc poly; cliché tropes; friendships.

Generally, I don't like: women being erased; PWPs; character-bashing.

Lastly: I just got married. It was great, we threw a party. Why do you care. Because it was wedding no. 1 of 2. Wedding 2 of 2 takes place on December 29th and 30th, in New Delhi, a city which is approximately 4500 miles from where I'm writing this. While I may have time to read/comment on yuletide the week before the wedding, I may well... not. I honestly can't say at this stage. And after the wedding I am away another week, so I may not read your story until, ah, Epiphany or reveals or whatever. I am so sorry about that, in advance, and I don't want you to think I hate you or your story or that I'm not enormously grateful to you for writing for me! Because I don't and I don't and I am, and thank you, again.

Happy yuletide!

raven: black and white street sign: "Hobbs Lane" (quatermass - hobbs end)
I wrote The Light Always Burning for [archiveofourown.org profile] Taabe, for Nation.

Of this story, I note that [personal profile] happydork posted a v. sweet rec for it and noted that "the author of this story has written their name on it in ten foot high letters. (If you're reading this, Totally Anonymous Author Of Total Anonymity, then <3.)"

<3 right back, darling. Hi. And okay, I don't usually post extensive commentary on my writing, but this time I kind of want to - a story that was so recognisably me it was visible at a hundred paces sort of demands a few words at least.

Nation is a standalone Pratchett novel about a girl called Daphne, a boy called Mau, and an island that used to be called the Nation before everyone living there was killed by a tsunami. It's about how they rebuild a community, and it's about how communities are built; it's about race and post- and just-plain-colonialism; it's about women and friendship; it's about atheism and faith and, oh, a dozen other things. It is, as [personal profile] happydork also noted, a story about kindness. It's a novel of ideas but a fundamentally optimistic one, and when I first read it I felt that it said something true that I already knew.

And this story comes from that. It's a story about how I don't believe the world is, but how it ought to be. I am not even going to try and enumerate the ways in which the story is recognisably mine, but I think - perhaps wrongly - that it's recognisably me, and not just in my usual style, which it isn't.

Technically speaking - well, Shim and I had returned from Madeira on December 12th and I still hadn't written a word of it. I'd had a vague idea initially of writing something about terra nullius and Mabo - maybe it's twentieth century and the British government is trying to claim eminent domain, something like that - but you can't write something like that in a week. Then I had the even vaguer-thought that maybe I could write the modern-times story of two modern editors, having a very modern post-colonial battle of ideas interspersed with Daphne and Mau's letters. But that didn't gel, because the theme of that story would be "brown people are pretty cool, you know", and we are, but let's take that as read, okay.

So it got to December 14th and I still hadn't written anything and was considering defaulting, and then I wrote, as a trial run, the 200 words of Winters and Gethin-Archer on the shore, talking about the light always burning, and the questions then became, how do you get them there - how do you get to the point where a white male academic born in the 1920s is barefoot on a beach, holding out his hand to a brown woman? And what is born of that moment - how is the Nation's world shaped by them and Daphne and Mau, how do you take them into a future that differently shines?

The hard part was pretending I know anything about anthropology (spoilers: I don't), or history (spoilers: I don't; Shim wrote three of the historical extracts to order and refused to be credited - I edited them down and was v. grateful) or literature or computer science (guess what I know nothing about either of those things) but having only a few days to write while working full-time is a great idea in many ways - it rids you of the ghost of perfection. I wrote it over three fairly frantic days and swore a lot; Shim read it and [personal profile] soupytwist read it (thank you!) and then I spent Christmas Eve fighting with the nightmare AO3 formatting, and then I was pretty convinced my recipient would hate it or at least go, "....bwuh?" if they had been expecting, I don't know, a sweet Daphne/Mau romance or whatever. It was an experience.

But I am glad it came out how it did, and that I had an opportunity to write this.

Generally speaking, I think 2012 was a good writing year. It's becoming clear to me that I will never write stories an awful lot like the rest of fandom - mostly because I so rarely write romances qua romances - but always seem to write epistolary planetary histories or paeans to transport planning or space opera espionage or Star Trek AUs of everything but hey. I write what I like, and mostly it's okay.
raven: (middleman - sleepy wendy)
Dear Yuletide author,

Hi! Thank you for writing for me. I appreciate it very much. As I say every year, nothing here is to be taken as gospel - I am a firm believer that a) optional details are optional and b) it does me good to read things I didn't expect.

That said, if you're the sort of person for whom extra information is helpful, read on. Generally, about me: I like people. I like characters being competent at what they do; I like worldbuilding; I like sparkling dialogue. If you want to write a cheerful, happy story I like those; if you want to write a grim angstfest I like those too. I like stories about ladies, and their internal lives. I pretty much like everything, don't mind me.

Details about me that might be useful for the particular fandoms, yes. I have no triggers generally, and specifically, was not unable to read anything in Code Name Verity. And I am a Hindi speaker. If you wrote for 3 Idiots and did a whole story in Hindi I perhaps wouldn't be able to read it without a little more concentrated effort than I'm usually capable of on Christmas Day, but short passages, I can handle.

Additional commentary on the fandoms:

Nation - Terry Pratchett )

3 Idiots )

Code Name Verity - 'ware spoilers, really don't click if you haven't read this book )

Thursday Next )
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
Life. It continues. Itemised:

1. Last night, after five, I was tidying my desk and flipping through Farmers' Weekly (really, by god), and the Caped Crusader rushed by, came to a sudden stop, rushed back and said, "Iona, can you witness a stat dec?"

"Yes," I said, a little doubtfully, read the document, watched him read the document, watched him sign the document, and then wrote my name, address, occupation, and signed to say that the above-named individual had signed in my presence in accordance with the 1835 Act, etc., and then thought to ask, "Why are you making a statutory declaration to say you read over someone's will?"

"Blind testatrix," he said. The funny thing is, I thought later, that the testatrix in question is a young woman. If she lives her allotted span, that document will be pulled from its envelope along with the will a half-century from now. If it becomes part of the root of title for something, well, I have a will in my files that was signed in the presence of witnesses in this year of our Lord seventeen hundred and forty-seven. That scrap of paper with my writing on it will outlive me by centuries.

2. Still quite depressed. Ahaha, I say "quite". Went to see new GP yesterday, which I hadn't done since arriving in Cambridge. He turned out to be very kind and very nice, and alarmed me somewhat by turning to his computer screen and saying, "Right. I think I should sign you off work for a week and put you on something."

I persuaded him not to do this - it's ten days till Christmas - but he told me to come back in January and rethink. (Actually, he was really nice; he said I had a sensible approach to things.) And I think he was right about January being different - I always find January and February harder than December. Usually I look forward to my birthday, but for some reason I don't want to be twenty-five. I feel like twenty-five ought to be, to have done, to have become something... and me, I read Farmers' Weekly. You get it.

3. Speaking of Christmas. This year as most years, I am out of the country. (Once, on Christmas Eve, I spent eight hours on a departure gate floor, listening to "I'll Be Home For Christmas" on repeat over tinny airport speakers. It was hell.) Today at work, I went to see one of the partners to get something signed, and not only is she a lovely person, she has an endearing relationship with the two departmental trainees (me and the Caped Crusader): she's new, and she doesn't want to annoy her secretaries or make her colleagues think she's dim, so when she wants to know how the photocopier works and where the spare envelopes are and what idiotic thing her computer has done now, she asks us and thus feels she owes us a favour.

So she signed my letters, and asked, "Are you going home for Christmas? Where's home for you?"

And, and, I have this issue with home and going home and homelands. Y'all know. Since coming back from the States it's only got worse. Every day I track people and plans and landscapes - I call Land Registry, I register interests, I use documents and time to map people onto the water, rocks and earth they call their land - and I get more worried, theoretically speaking, about what any of it even means and if it means anything. Me, I own no land. (To get technical about it, I do hold an interest in land, but whatever.) But I sometimes worry I own no land metaphorically: that I grew up in one place and spent all my adult life in another, that I've lived in three countries and left bits of myself in all of them, that I never sit still, that I never go home.

All very melodramatic and banal, as per; I guess I have a homeland in my body, all five feet and seventy-percent water of it, and the spaces I pass through.

All of which is a ridiculous prelude to the answer to the question, which is: India. I am going to India on the evening of December 23rd, for the first time in two years, and the real first: Shim is coming with me. I think it will be strange, but good.

4. Possibly related to 2, writing is not going so well. [livejournal.com profile] yuletide, it is a hollow laughter. I have written, oh, 300 words, and I have a perfectly serviceable plot which for some reason I do not write down, why, self, why. The novel is going a bit better, but I'm stuck in chapter nine. I don't know why. Nothing very exciting happens in chapter nine. Some people talk to other people. (Actually, that describes my entire novel. Absolutely nothing happens, and then characters talk to each other about it. It reads rather a lot like the sophomore effort of a woman who has spent the last decade writing fanfic. (Be glad you weren't around for the freshman effort.)

And so on, and so on. Still flying, still breathing.
raven: (stock - scotland)
I got my [livejournal.com profile] yuletide assignment. As is the way of these things, I had a brilliant idea on seeing it, wrote three hundred words and then nothing more. I'm still cautiously optimistic I might make progress soonish. I think I shall have to rewatch re-read replay re-consume the canon and hope for the best.

Here are some things that make a post.

1. Work continues difficult and anxiety-provoking. (What a surprise.) Had a meeting this morning in which there was much discussion of single farm payments, solar energy and renewables generally, inter alia; my supervisor said, sternly to all present, that we should pay attention to such things; we should keep apprised of what's happening in our world. It's a world composed mainly of anxiety and grit, from my perspective. Grit that comes off deeds, grit that accumulates in my ears and nose after a day of deeds, grit from site visits, grit under nails, grit that shit grows in. At least it's about growing things, says the part of me that would quite like to go on site visits to windswept moors in the middle of nowhere. My supervisor gets in beautiful full-colour periodicals of blue-sky pictures so we can sometimes see what the land we handle looks like to stand on.

(We have reached the turn of the year where sunset is at three thirty. I am... feeling it.)

On the brighter side, on my way to work is a Buddhist retreat and education centre. They are having a charity bake sale. The Dharma Buns. FOR SERIOUS.

2. Shim and I have spent some evenings this week listening to Warhorses of Letters, and finished today to a joint chorus of NO THEY CAN'T LEAVE IT THERE. Please tell me you are listening to this, flist. Please tell me. It is a four-part Radio 4 fifteen-minute comedy that details for us the correspondence between two star-crossed lovers, Marengo and Copenhagen. Both of whom are known to history for being close friends of Napoleon and Wellington respectively, oh, and being horses. But, as their collected correspondence tells us, terribly gay for each other, though prone to jealousy and ah, needing rolls in wet grass to compose themselves. "It's not easy," as Copenhagen puts it, "being a gay horse."

KISS KISS HOOFPRINT. I have hearts. It's nominated for [livejournal.com profile] yuletide, which makes them sparkly hearts.

3. Speaking of [livejournal.com profile] yuletide and historical fiction, which I totally was, I am re-reading the Lord John Grey novels and rather enjoying the experience. I am still very far from being Diana Gabaldon's biggest fan - I cannot, no matter how hard I try, get into her Outlander books, which are just too doorstoppish and full of deathless! romantic! hero! tropes for me. It baffles me somewhat that she can also have written Lord John Grey: Lord John, who is a terribly romantic hero, in so many ways, being as he is charming, aristocratic, classically-educated, an expert swordsman, and indefinably attractive to women. But then, he also has a sense of humour. And he's queer. And, you know, I love that, I do: I love that Lord John is queer in a way that makes sense for the world he lives in (which is eighteenth-century Scotland, and London; he was born in 1729) but also just makes sense. He's proud of it in his own quiet way; regretful that he can't ever tell his adored brother and mother; and when asked if he thinks it's a sin, his answer is that he was made in the image of God. And I love his romances, doomed as they all are by exigencies of plot; I love that they happen in and around adventure-mystery fare; and I love that he's a soldier, and it's a part of his identity with his queerness, that they both characterise him.

this is my usual spoilery trigger warning when recommending the Lord John books )

So, anyway, I forgot to nominate, offer or request Lord John fic for [livejournal.com profile] yuletide, but luckily other people did not. I am reading them cheerfully, and feeling a little better about life now I have lived through another week.
raven: (mash - last goodbye)
Hello, hello. My name is Raven, it's nice to meet you. Thank you for writing for me; I hope you enjoy it and I hope you don't find it difficult; I am easy-going as pie, honest. I will enjoy anything you write for me, and more so if you enjoyed writing it. I have no triggers, if that worries you - especially in fandoms of ANGST and HORROR - and I like happy stories, sad stories, wistful stories, thoughtful stories, sparse stories, etc., etc. I don't especially go for cracky or off-the-wall, but otherwise I will read most anything.

Some additional detail follows below, if you would find that helpful.

Here's what I requested:

M*A*S*H )

Sapphire & Steel )

Diana Wynne Jones - A Tale of Time City )

Anyway! Have a lovely time writing, dear author, and don't worry too much about me, if you like it, I will like it. I should mention at this point that I will be travelling around a bit from December 23rd, so if you don't hear from me on Christmas Day it is not not not because I hate you. I will be back just as soon as I can.



[1] Do you understand why the AO3 insists on giving them all their full names, down to "Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce"? No, me neither.
raven: (misc - mortimer)
My letter to my author will go here. Eventually.

Dear author,

Hello! How nice of you to write for me. I hear that this time around, it's more likely than usual that we may match on more than one of my requests, and even if we only match on the one, may I take a moment to commend you on your impeccable taste.

If you like extra pointers when you write, here are some things I like: snappy dialogue, clever plots, characters' affection for each other, happy endings, sad endings, humour, women being awesome. I don't tend to like PWP and character-bashing, and other than that I'm easy as pie.

Here's what I requested, with a bit of extra detail if you find it helpful: Casson family, Chrestomanci, Gentleman Bastards )

But, a general caveat: anything I've said here is optional. If you have your perfect story in mind, please write that! Please, please do, I will guarantee I'll love it.

Oh, also! I have no triggers.

Thank you again!

raven: Alex Kingston as River Song, holding up a gun (doctor who - river song)
If another American academic tells me that Britain doesn't have a constitution, I am going to KILL THINGS. Hi, I woke up cranky.


[personal profile] thingswithwings did a signal-boosting post (thank you!) for [community profile] dark_agenda's people-who-aren't-white in Yuletide project. Here it is - it's pretty interesting.

So of course I was thinking about my Yuletide nominations, from the other day. There aren't non-white people in many of them, actually; there are in Deep Space Nine, of course (Julian Bashir, Sisko and Jake, Kassidy Yates, Worf), and while the characters in "Recessional" could feasibly of any ethnicity or origin, Vienna Teng herself is not white, so.

Then I started thinking about the Chronicles of Chrestomanci. Millie. Is Millie (and, thus, Roger and Julia, I s'pose) a brown person? I can't remember an explicit reference in the books, but her origin story isn't suggestive of her being white. I'd love a story that actually explored this in some way - I mean, I think every single one of the other characters is white except Nirupam Singh, who never interacts with her anyway, so there would be lots to explore - but somehow I do end up writing these things myself.

In other news, Shim sent me a box of Jammie Dodgers. I love him.

(I mean, I did love him before. But.)

In other other news, the sudden grey weather and my inability to do any work today and yesterday may be related. FIE UPON YOU TOO, UNIVERSE.
raven: David Tennant as Eddington in "Einstein & Eddington" crying, comforted by his sister (e&e - grief)
For me, it's Saturday morning. In the UK it's mid-afternoon, and Shim is cooking a hare (long story). I am doing my [livejournal.com profile] yuletide nominations. We are doing this at the same time via Skype. It is, at once, we're-living-in-the-future!, and oh-woe-why-am-I-not-home-cooking-a-hare.

Still. You do what you can, etc. I went out last night to drink cocktails, and then I slept soundly overnight for once, and whatever black wave of mood wants to eat me is stuffed firmly down for the moment. Also, Shim bought a garlic press and we are officially grown-ups now.

yuletide noms, and blurb )

I think it's time for breakfast.

edited to add: two more things.

Firstly, I forgot to mention: [personal profile] icepixie is running The Small Fandom and Rare Pairing/Rarely-Written Character Promote-a-thon for a bit of yuletide-type fun a couple of months early.

Secondly, [livejournal.com profile] rs_small_gifts is running again. Do I want to sign up, flist. Do I, do I.

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