briarwood: Sentinel: Jim (Predator Icon) (TS Jim Frown)
You know how when you're writing, sometimes it feels like a story (or part of it) didn't come from you? Like you're discovering how it 'really' happened instead of making it up?

When I was writing Wolves of Cascade I kept looking for a way to include Naomi in the story, and other than a brief mention of Blair's childhood, she just didn't fit. When I did the first round of edits, I made her absence more explicit. Only mentioned once, but it's there that Blair doesn't have any contact with her and hasn't for a long time. I had a vague idea why that might be, but left it open.

Today, working on the sequel, it all suddenly made sense. Two elements of the story that were never intended to fit together suddenly do, and in a way that totally doesn't feel like it came from me. It's not the way I originally imagined Blair's past, but it works and I think I'm going to keep it. I must keep it: when something comes to life like this, you don't argue!

I'm unclear if this means Naomi will make an appearance in this one; the relvelation/twist involves her, but it's past not present. But if not, I'm sure she'll show up in the next.

Oh, boy, did I just imply there's a third in this series? I 'designed' it as an open-ended 'verse but I get nervous when my muse plans ahead like that!
briarwood: Syfy Haven - Audrey, Duke and Nathan beneath the weathervane (Haven Trio)
I now have a complete draft of my story for [ profile] john_w_bigbang: around 24,000 words. But this is not my best work. It's a Supernatural/Haven crossover, and I think I fell into the trap I always used to with crossovers - a good idea for the world-building and figuring out how the two canons fit together, but short on plot. That said, it does have a plot...just not one I'm completely satisfied with. It would have been better if I'd been able to finish it when I intended - before Haven season two aired. Instead, while taking S2 canon into account gave me one pretty cool plot point, it also screwed up some of my original plan.

My usual beta isn't available - is there anyone familiar with both shows willing to take a look? There's plenty of time, as stories aren't due until near the end of March. Maybe a second pair of eyes will help me spot how to rescue the plot.

In other news - guys [ profile] sentinelbigbang is open for signups again - this time for a "reverse bang". Posting is in May. Do check it out if you haven't already. My co-mod [ profile] pattrose is running this one on LJ, but I am still around in the background.

I have written about 1,000 words of my original novel. I hadn't intended to begin the actual writing yet, but this is just the prologue scene and it's a scene isolated from the rest of the story: the execution of a woman who is one of the main characters' great-grandmother. It's safe to write this one scene before I'm done planning the rest; I can always rewrite or even chuck it later. I did a lot of the planning - character notes and a very broad outline - over the Christmas holiday, but then I set it aside to finish my [ profile] john_w_bigbang fic. Now I guess it's ready to be picked up again.

Hopefully I can get a scene-by-scene outline down then go back to the next of my fanfic WIPs. I am not going to abandon fanfic stories I have said I'll finish. There are still two major stories in my WIP file, but I am absolutely not signing up for any more challenges until I'm done with this novel ("Done" meaning a complete draft written or admitting to myself it's not happening. Either works.) Um...except [ profile] yuletide if I'm still not done by then. Everything stops for [ profile] yuletide :)
briarwood: (SPN John Grey)
Happy new year to one and all!

I think I forgot to say that yesterday.

I finished the second draft of my fic for [ profile] john_w_bigbang this morning. 22,800 words. Actually, I don't think it's very good. At least not yet. It feels more like the beginning of the story than a story in itself but I don't have any plans to continue it.

It's a Haven crossover, and that's one of the reasons it's sort of slippery plot-wise: Haven has so many unanswered questions that I found it difficult to merge the canons in a way that satisfied me. But I think I can bang it into shape and iron out the crappy bits. It's only on draft two; I usually go through at least four.

Finishing this one was my end-of-year goal; I didn't want to have to drop out of another big bang. I want to finish the first sequel to When The World Is Burning next. It's all there in my head, I'm just procrastinating because I have to write something that squicks me. Big time, but the plot demands it.

Other than that, my main writing goal for the new year is going to be my novel. I mentioned it in this post just before Christmas. While I was away I did some more work on the idea and I do think it will work. Me writing original fic? It's been a hell of a long time. But I can do this. I will share, when I have some written, but that may be a while yet. I can't write the way I write fanfic, because I've got to create the world myself. Which means planning is everything.

My other new year goal is to get back into baking, properly. I asked for (and received) Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet for Christmas - it's a brilliant baking book. Much more than just a recipe collection, though it's that too. I am tempted to try to do a "Julie and Julia" with it - bake everything, in other words, but that would be expensive and there are bound to be things in there not to my taste. But I'm going to do a lot. Starting with re-learning how to bake my own bread. I used to do it all the time but I've rather lost the knack. Time to get down and practice.

Day 2 of the snowflake project coming up later!
briarwood: Supernatural: John Winchester (SPN John Waiting)
Found via [ profile] andeincascade:

The Fandom Snowflake Challenge

Day One: 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. Drop a link to your post in the comments.

Wow, that's a hard one )
briarwood: (Hogfather Death)
You know, when they recommend adding whiskey to hot lemon and honey for a cold, I'm not sure it's Jack Daniels they have in mind. What a thing to do to good JD! But it does work.

Yeah, I have a cold. Currently in the miserable feeling-sorry-for-myself phase although objectively speaking it's not really bad. Still, this is a good thing because I'll be on the mend by Christmas. On Friday I leave for five days in Exmouth where I plan to, well, be alone. I need it. Honestly at this point I'd grab a proper retreat - the kind where you take a vow of silence and meditate all day - with both hands but there isn't one I wouldn't need a car to get to. Exmouth will do. I have a nice hotel, two miles of beach which will be wonderful in any weather and no plans other that making time to read my Yuletide gift and watch the Doctor Who special.

Oh, and while I'm thinking of Christmas, I was stupidly late sending my cards out. I got in early enough, I think for the cards going to UK and Europe to get there on time, but my friends in the USA are likely to get theirs in January. I am so sorry! I grovel in abject, uh, something or other. I suck at the holiday spirit this year. But if you are on my Christmas list (i.e. if you requested a card from me in the past and you're still on my flist) I didn't forget. A card is coming.

Two days ago I had the first idea for an original fic I've had for many years. I've been so immersed in fanfic original worlds just haven't had space in my brain. This one may come to nothing, either, but it's an interesting idea. It has elements I recognise from SPN but it's not going to be like fanfic "with the serial numbers filed off". It's more like SPN has made me think about some things and some of that is coming into this new 'verse in my head. I guess this will fall under the "urban fantasy" genre, so I can't claim it's never been done before, but it's not like anything I've read in the genre. No vampires sparkly or otherwise and no werewolves, skinwalkers, angels or demons. The idea is that all those mythological things are the same thing, a reality behind the folk tales. I've still got a lot to work out though and I have certain fanfic commitments that are gonna come first.
briarwood: Sentinel: My Kind of Justice (TS Justice)
1. Today I learned that my new job has penalties for doing things too well.

I finished up a report I've been slogging over for two weeks. It was irritating work, because my part depended on collating a lot of information that other people were supposed to give me. And mostly didn't. So I ended up doing a bunch of the analysis myself, downloading the statistics myself and pretty much guessing what would be in some of the missing papers. I explained all of the parts I'd imputed (that's what statisticians say instead of 'guess') when I handed the report over to my manager for approval.

She promptly passed it to her manager, who passed it to someone else. I came back from lunch to find J waiting for me. "This is excellent work," he told me, and I thought, okay, this is cool. Then he dropped the bomb. He wants me to present it to the frigging board at a meeting on Monday!!!

(Note: while normally this would be a real vote of confidence, I am conscious that the board are not going to like the content of my report. It concerns this big project and between the lines I'm basically saying they're going about it all wrong.)

2. Today I learned that The Sentinel is my happy place.

Well, I kinda knew that already. But it's nice to be reminded.

I started writing Sentinel fic with stories about serial killers. Wild Justice has possibly the most odious villain I have ever created (and, yeah, I include my SPN fics in that); I still feel the need to scrub out my brain after re-reading those murder scenes. And Predator took a hero and turned him into a serial killer. (Actually I am amused by how close Dexter has become to my Dark!Jim. I wasn't even aware of Darkly Dreaming Dexter when I wrote Predator and the TV series hadn't been made.)

Anyhow, my point is Sentinel used to be a place for my darkest side to come out and play. My creative brain has been in a dark place lately. No light and fluffy stuff for Morgan, I've been all death and addiction, betrayal and PTSD, the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-is-the-headlamp-of-an-oncoming-train kinda dark. My Yuletide assignment fit that perfectly, which is probably why I found it so easy to write. More serial killers and betrayal, though I did manage to squeeze a positive ending out of it.

Tonight, I have written 2,000 words of Sentinel. It's a little angsty, but it's basically two guys in love, trying to live a normal life. It might turn into might not. But it's like a pallette cleanser for my brain. I'm back in a happy place.

Very cool.
briarwood: Fic icon for When The World Is Burning - dark image of the Impala with fic title (Fic WTWIB Impala)
The first of my sequels to When the World is Burning currently stands just shy of 20,000 words. I've been rushing to finish it in the hope of getting it done for [community profile] ladiesbigbang. It's a good candidate for that challenge, being mainly focussed on Anna and some other female characters but although it's just feasible I could, I don't think I'd be doing the story justice if I hurry it. I've reached a good point to pause and let what happens next unfold more naturally.

For those waiting for a resolution to the Dean and Sam storyline in WTWIB, this isn't it. The idea is that this story Hour of Need has the same first chapter as the other sequel (as yet untitled), and the two run in parallel, so HoN follows Anna and to a lesser extent Castiel, with Dean and the others involved only peripherally, and the other will focus on all the characters in WtWiB and Dean trying to save Sam from Lucifer. Ideally, you'll be able to read the two in any order. I'm beginning to think my planned trilogy might need a fourth installment to wrap it all up...but I don't know yet.


ION they posted the second round of vacancies at work last week and lo and behold, there's one I like. ONE. But it has some very specific requirements which not many people are going to be able to fill - and I'm one of them. So unless this is one of those where they've already got a candidate lined up, I'm hopeful. Got my application in today. I have no clue when I'll hear but it'll probably be a few weeks.


May. 23rd, 2011 09:25 pm
briarwood: Castiel (SPN Castiel)
So, my head is officially the weirdest place ever. Sort of. Maybe.

How exactly did I go from my BB fic which is dark, dark as in the light at the end of the tunnel is the headlamp of an oncoming train dark, to writing both femslash and sexin' angels in the sequel. In the same fic.

Apparently my brain has forgotten my golden rules. I don't do angels. Period. Except apparently now I do. *sigh*

I dunno about the femslash thing, though. I need it in my plot, and I like the pairing, but there's a reason I've written only two femslash fics, ever. Maybe I'll beg [ profile] geonncannon to spice up my sex scenes. I'm a gay woman, but I can't write f/f sex.
briarwood: (TS Jim DL)
Stories I posted in 2010, with links (includes my Yuletide fic) )

My statistics:
Stories posted: 11
Gen fics posted: 4
Het fics posted: 4
Slash fics posted: 2
Femslash fics posted: 1
Total number of words: 98,212

My fanfic review of the year )
briarwood: Supernatural: Sam's Ass :-) (SPN Sam Ass)
I have my fic review of the year to post, but I really haven't written all that much this year. My Jennifer's Body crossover, my [community profile] ladiesbigbang story, a couple of short fics... Mostly, this has been a year of stories I've started but not finished, because my brain/muse insists on producing ambitious epics.

Next month starts Big Bang season in SPN fandom, which means I'm perusing those ambitious WIPs and thinking about which ones I might be able to finish.

For spn_j2_bigbang I have three possibilities. When The World Is Burning is an apocalyptic story, an AU beginning after the season 4 finale. It has a huge cast: Sam and Dean (obviously), Bobby, Ellen, Jo, Castiel and brief appearances from a lot of characters who have appeared in just one ep: Haley from Wendigo, Missouri Mosely, Kat from Asylum, Mara from Folsom Prison Blues...possibly some others. Original characters, too. It's, well, ambitious. I've got nearly 35,000 words written and I'm nowhere near the end. I'm not even sure I'm at the middle. It's written in episodes, a bit like a virtual season, and I don't have a full season plan yet. I originally intended it to be a slow-burn wincest fic, but so far there's one sex scene between Sam and a female character, sparkage (but no action) between Dean and Jo, and just the one hint of possible Sam/Dean. It could end up going in any direction.

My second option for spn_j2_bigbang is a post-season-5 fic. Again, it's AU, largely because I started it right after the S5 fact, it picks up right at the last scene of the finale. This one is a dark tale about just how far Dean is willing to go to pull Sam out of Hell. I don't have as much of this one written (less than 3,000 words so far), but I've got a clearer plan for how this one will go. The working title is A Season In Hell. This one would be gen, but with the emotional side of the Sam/Dean relationship very full-on. So sort of wincest without the sex, if you follow me.

I do have a third fic that might be suitable for spn_j2_bigbang. Tentatively titled Kingdom Come this is another apocalypse fic, but this one is how it might have gone if both Mary and John had lived. In a way, this is my favourite of the three, because Dean is so very different I actually like him - he's largely angst-free, he's not a hunter when the story begins, he still has daddy-issues but totally different ones... it's fun to re-imagine Dean this way. It's also the only one of the three that involves John. I've written about 4,300 words, but while I have a very clear plan for this one it's going to be the longest of the three. I'm not at all confident I can finish it at all, let alone to a BB deadline. It's het (John/Mary, though not explicit) and slash (Dean/Bobby).

For sncross_bigbang I have two choices.

Both are fics I've begun on paper, so I don't have a wordcount, but I'm in the 'act one' stage of both. One is a crossover with Haven and the main characters from SPN are John Winchester and Gabriel. I'm still a wee bit fuzzy on the plot for this one, but it's more about the mythology of Haven - what the town is, why weird things happen there - than it is about SPN. This is gen, maybe with implied het for the Haven characters. Sam won't appear; Dean may have a cameo.

The other is a crossover with True Blood. This involves some fuzzing of the timelines as it's set pre-series for SPN and roughly current for True Blood. It involves John being obliged to work for Eric Northman (John owes him a serious favour) and the boys raising some hell in Bon Temps while John's busy elsewhere. I don't exactly have a plot yet, but it's definitely Wincest, because with a telepath around to get a psychic earful, how can I resist that? My tentative idea for a plot involves the boys working on what they think is a hunt, that turns out to be something else (like maybe mistaking Sam Merlotte's shapeshifting for a werewolf?) I dunno, I haven't thought it all through yet. I've been concentrating on the worldbuilding, and introducing the characters to each other.

Five stories, all of them super-long, and I'd love to be able to finish all of them. If I try to do that, though, I'll probably finish none, so I must choose. Comments/suggestions/votes welcome :)

Oh, and, happy new year!
briarwood: Fic icon for 'The Haunting of Jessica Moore' (SPN Jessica (Fic))
Writing The Haunting of Jessica Moore was an interesting experience. I found myself struggling to remember my own student-days, and working really hard to portray the kind of female friendships that, being fundamentally anti-social, I never really experienced myself.

These are just my own musings on the story and what I hope people will find in it.

Read more... )
briarwood: (SPN Meg Blue)
Yesterday [ profile] admiralandrea and [ profile] krazykipper got their degree results and I couldn't be more happy for both of them!

My OU course result showed up this morning. Not as exciting as theirs, since mine is a pass/fail thing and only a level 1 course, but I passed. I got an 81% average on part 1, 74% on part 2. Which is pretty darn good considering how many issues I had with the material on part 2. Now I've got to decide whether or not I'm continuing with this next year. Part of me really, really wants to. But the bigger part of me is focussed on the cost: in money, but mostly in the things I'd have to give up to really concentrate on study. Like fandom. I reckon I could deal with the monetary cost but the rest? I doubt it.

I got a frantic call from Sis yesterday telling me Mum had texted her and she was really sick and when was I going home. I was almost at the end of my work day so I begged a lift from a colleague and headed home double-quick. I don't know what she'd told Sis but Mum seemed fine to me. She'd been unwell, and was being sulky and miserable, but Sis made it sound like I'd need to call an ambulance the instant I got in. Someone needs a stern talking to about exaggerating ailments. I just need to figure out which one. Grr.

Poppy has her next checkup at the vet tonight. She still isn't walking properly on that leg, but I don't think it's hurting her any more and she's back to being fit and active and running everywhere. She'll use all four legs when she runs - that's why I'm sure it's no longer hurting her - but if she's walking or standing still she still tries to keep it off the ground. Habit, maybe? Hopefully the vet will be pleased with her.

I made a start on a fic for [community profile] hc_bingo: just outlining so far. It has an...unusual pairing, which seems to be a habit with me just lately. Then it occurred to me that I've got a WiP which fits fairly well with another of my squares. I'd just have to make the 'hurt' stuff a bit more graphic than I originally planned and it might be the push I need to finally finish this one. And then I sat down to write...and ended up with more than 5,000 words of a completely different story. And this one is no good as a bingo square!

How does this happen to me? I know how it happens. I just have this really well-populated back-burner. I get ideas, I shove 'em back there and someday they pop up as if to say "Right, my turn now!" and it just flows. It seems easy, but it's because I've been thinking about it at odd moments for years. In this case, it was an idea about Sam and his friends staying in a supposedly haunted house while he's at Stanford, and how would he deal with it while trying to keep his friends both safe and ignorant of who he really is. Then I thought about tying that idea in somehow with The Haunting of Hill House, just, you know, because. But the idea when I originally thought of it went nowhere. Now suddenly I've got the 'hook' I needed to make this work and I've got all this stuff written...and weirdly, it's all from Jessica's point of view. I think that's a big part of my 'hook': I don't need to explain who Sam is or what he knows - the reader knows all that. The interesting part of the story is Jessica's ignorance: how does she perceive the paranormal activity, how much does Sam inadvertently give away, what will she see in his actions? In a sense, she's a perfect unreliable narrator because the reader will have more information than she does. This could be really good.

Of course, no one will read it because it's icky het and from Jessica's POV :D

I really must do more than outline that [community profile] hc_bingo fic. And get back to that TV meme. Soon.
briarwood: Supernatural: The Winchesters (SPN Brothers)
This is my warnings policy. It is not fixed or final, and I welcome critique and suggestions, particularly for anything I may have omitted.

I really struggled with this. I want to warn responsibly for those who truly need those warnings. I have more than one friend with PTSD. I understand the issues, though I'm lucky enough not to suffer from PTSD myself. But at the same time, I feel strongly that being too specific with warnings can spoil enjoyment of the story for many readers. It often does for me.

Caveat: I am not interested in "squicks". This policy is about warnings for potentially triggering content which can cause genuine harm to survivors. If you're squicked by something I write you know where the 'back' button is. Please use it.

This post will be linked from my sidebar and user info, and (as long as I remember) from the headers of any fic I post from now on.

Warnings policy - in brief )

Warnings policy - longer explanations )

Definitions )

Ratings Policy )

I'll end this post by repeating what I said at the beginning; I welcome critique and discussion of this policy and I am happy to consider suggestions for things I may have omitted from my list.

I will at some point go back through my stories and ensure that, on LJ (and its clones) at least, my headers all comply with this. For now, this should be taken to apply to anything I post from July 2009 onward.
briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (Default)
As fandom is in the midst of the annual warnings debate...

I strongly dislike warning on fic. I think much of the time warnings act as spoilers. But you know what? I still put warnings on my fic. Because that's just what you do when you write stuff as dark as I do. You take account of the fact that some of what you're putting out there can hurt people.

This latest iteration of the debate led to [ profile] trigger_fence being created. I started to think about drafting a warnings-policy of my own that I can link to from my fic headers or wherever. But I found doing so a lot more challenging than I expected.

[ profile] trigger_fence lists the following as things that are triggering and should be warned for:

Cut for length; discussion of triggering issues under the cut )
briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (Default)
[ profile] lamardeuse has a post about concrit here in which she likens fic to a co-worker showing off his photographs. Before I actually get to the point, I've gotta say, her analogy doesn't work for me because if some twerp in my office tried to shove his holiday snaps in my face I'd tell him to bog off, whether or not that's considered polite.

That where such analogies to fandom fail. No one posting fanfic is forcing anyone else to read it. Fen tend to be pretty careful about labelling stories so no one has to read stuff they don't like. Now if someone did put a metaphorical gun to my head and force me to read crappy fanfic, and was then dumb enough to expect me to respond with thanks and praise...I'd be likely to give my honest and scathing opinion. 'Cause holding a gun to someone's head (even if it is only a metaphorical gun) = not polite.

But inappropriate analogies aside, I want to talk about constructive criticism.

Let's start with now I feel about concrit on my own fic. I can sum that up in three words: bring it on! It baffles me that this is even a question. Of course I want concrit! I welcome it, I devour it with a spoon!!! ...but I don't demand it because I recognise the effort involved in offering it.

More about concrit...oh boy, this got long! )

Reviews and recs are not concrit...and shouldn't be. )
briarwood: Supernatural: Sam's Ass :-) (SPN Sam Ass)
This is a response to [ profile] thefrogg's post about consent issues in fanfic and to [ profile] theladyscribe's response in which she describes one of her own fics as possibly "dub-con" (Dubious consent).

This is a touchy subject. Here's where I have to insert my standard feminist disclaimer: I am not discussing real life. I'm discussing fanfic, and specifically sexual-fantasy fanfic. In real life, there's no such thing as "dubious consent". In real life, either informed consent exists, or it's rape. Please don't think I can't make that distinction between fiction, fantasy and reality.

Thoughts on dub-con as a fanfic kink )
briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (V4Vendetta)
I saw Surfs Up on Saturday in a cinema full of amazingly quiet children. It's a nice film. Nice is the right word. It's not particularly innovative, nor particularly witty but it does tell a complete story and it's a diverting tale. I generally avoid kids films but the mock-documentary style of this one intrigued me enough to go see it. Blair-Witch-style camera work in a CG-animated movie? It's not overdone and actually, I really enjoyed the "interviews" with various characters.

Plus - surfing penguins! How can you lose? LOL!

Last week's movie was Waitress and that was...well, a tad disappointing. Good script, good story, fantastic lead actress (Keri Russell), and I did love the ending. I can't tell you why, 'cause that would be a spoiler, but it's the same reason I adore Halle Berry's Catwoman...not that the two films have much in common.

But the male romantic lead was Nathan Fillion and, hell, I know he can do better than this. There was very little chemistry between him and Keri and he darn-near sleepwalked through some scenes.

Like most films marketed as "romantic comedy" I was left wondering which parts were supposed to be funny, but that's probably just me. I recommend it for the story, but maybe not if you're a Nathan fan.

(BTW, I go to the movies just about every weekend - would you guys want to read my reviews on a regular basis? I can make more of an effort if it's something my friends would like to read.)

As for the rest of my weekend...

Cut for ramblings about my fic )
briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (Morgan Sark)
It never fails.

I start writing a sex scene; my muse goes bye-bye.

briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (Morgan HL Sex)
Why do I always hit writers' block when I get to the sex scenes?

I mean, seriously. I'm 12000 words into this story, I finally get to this crucial scene and...pfft! It's gone. Suddenly I'm tidying my room, sorting through DVDs, mixing a drink - anything to not go back to this fic. Damn, girl, anyone would think I'm scared of sex. It doesn't even need to be especially graphic...


briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (Default)Morgan Briarwood

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