owlmoose: (stonehenge)
21. Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?

Most of the characters I write about regularly don't have children, by happenstance and by design. I'm not opposed to kidfic; it's just not usually what I'm drawn to write about. I have given the characters children a few times: Paine and Nooj in "Promises", as discussed in my answer an earlier question, and Auron in AGL. Auron's daughter, Liss, is one of my most fully-realized original characters -- she had to be, since she was essentially the co-protagonist of her story -- and I felt the delicate balancing act of making her similar to her father while still her own person.

As for writing them well, I think I do a pretty decent job. On the other hand, they're all my OCs, so of course at least I have a decent handle on them. As to whether the young ones are realistic as children, I am less certain of that -- especially in the case of the Paine/Nooj brood, I had the nagging feeling that I wrote Jarl a little too mature, and the four-year-old twins as a little too immature, but no one complained, so it must have been at least close.

30 Days of Writing: Complete list of questions
owlmoose: (cats - lexi innocent)
18. Favorite antagonist and why!

I had thought at first that this would be a hard call, but actually it didn't take much thought to come up with an answer: Kinoc. Partly because I haven't written about many of the other canonical antagonists in my fiction -- Seymour makes a couple of appearances, as does Shuyin, and I wrote a short about Dr. Cid once, and I supposed Cid Raines counts as an antagonist, but in the latter cases, the stories were from the antagonist's point of view, so I wasn't really writing them as antagonists, if you see what I mean. But I have written Kinoc both as the hero of his own story and as the villain of Auron's, and I am fascinated every time.

Kinoc is a character who has always interested me. His first appearance in the game instantly raises questions about his past, about Auron's past, about the workings of Yevon. I wondered about him and Auron, especially: what kind of history lays between them, that Auron seems so contemptuous, to the point that he states flat-out that Kinoc would be willing to execute a friend... and yet he can still be moved to avenge Kinoc's death? As much as anything, it was my need to work out the answer to this puzzle that drove me to write A Guardian's Legacy.

I suppose what I like about Kinoc is that, in some senses, he's just so ordinary. Evil as middle management. He has no super powers, no secret headquarters staffed by minions, no mad schemes to destroy the world. All he has is ambition and the will do to what it takes to satisfy it, regardless of whom he might step on in the process. I find it very easy to, if not sympathize with him, at least to get a feel for where he's coming from, to write through his eyes, much more so than, say, a Seymour. [livejournal.com profile] kunstarniki once speculated that I might not be able to write a "thorough-going villain", and I agree, beyond a certain point. After all, most villains see themselves as the hero of their own stories; who, in the real world, wakes up and says "I think I'm going to do some evil today"? They have their ideals and their reasons, too. I may not agree with or sympathize with them, but especially when writing fiction I have to at least have some understanding of them.

30 Days of Writing: Complete list of questions
owlmoose: icon by <user site="livejournal.com" name="parron"> (ffx - mi'ihen sunset)
11. Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?

I don't know that there are any characters in my fandom that I dislike writing. If there were, I'd probably just avoid writing them. Some of them come more easily to me than others, of course: I used to have trouble with Gippal and Yuna, still sometimes have difficulty with Fran, and in my newer fandoms there are plenty of characters that I just haven't worked with yet.

My favorites, in terms of both enjoying writing them and feeling like it comes easily to do so, are Auron and Paine in FFX/X-2 and Balthier in FFXII.

12. In what story did you feel you did the best job of worldbuilding? Any side-notes on it you'd like to share?

Hands down, AGL. I already talked about this, in my answer to the very first question. The effort I put into building out the world of Spira gave me a framework that I continue to use in my FFX/X-2 stories to this day. Since I've gone back to this world so many times, I'm hard pressed to think of any details that haven't worked their way into one story or another, so instead, I'll open it up for questions, character-backstory meme style, except the character is Spira. Ask me about a place, an institution, a historical fact, whatever, and I'll give you some details about it from this universe.

30 Days of Writing: Complete list of questions
owlmoose: (ffx - auron young and old)
1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you've worked with and why.

My favorite writing universe is the first one that I created: fleshing out the Final Fantasy X universe for A Guardian's Legacy. In the process of giving Auron a backstory, I had to improvise details about Spira, its small towns, Yevon, the warrior monks, the other characters... And since half the story was written in Spira's future, I had to build the world in that direction, as well. I enjoyed the process a lot, and was quite happy with the world I came up with. Unless the idea I'm writing is incompatible with the AGL continuity, every FFX or X-2 story I write is, in my head, set within that iteration of Spira. (Aftermath is probably the most important example. I even re-used original characters.) I find it helpful, to have done all the world-building already, but also I think it's a pretty decent intepretation of the world we discover in the game. There are a few inconsistencies with Ultimania, but I can live with that.

An entry on my favorite projects would not be complete without a mention of the Death Shall Have No Dominion AU that I wrote with the late, great [livejournal.com profile] kunstarniki. Although I am proud of the story we created, my fondest memories are about the process: sharing ideas, the awesome clarity of being on the same wavelength with a collaborator, surprising and delighting one another as we fired snippets back and forth. Collaboration is an amazing creative high for me. The Confessional was a similar experience, and even more intense: I have never written a story that quickly before, and I don't expect to ever capture that kind of exciting creative madness again.

If we're talking more recently, I think my favorite is probably Political Considerations, the FFXII pinch-hit I wrote for the 2009 round of Final Fantasy Exchange. That story threw some pretty difficult political and character curveballs my way, and I was quite happy with the way I handled them. I was still getting the ground under my feet in that fandom at the time, too, so the fact that I got it all to come together under time pressure was something of a rush.

30 Days of Writing: Complete list of questions
owlmoose: (Default)

Dear Diana Gabaldon,

I wasn't going to weigh in on your screed against fanfic for a number of reasons, not least because a lot of people got there before me and did it better (in particular, I refer you here, here, and especially here), but on reflection, it turns out that I have something to say after all.

I'm a long-time fan of the Outlander series (especially of the first three books; and of the Lord John stories), but I've never written fic for them.

Or have I?

My first major story, the one I spent a year pouring my heart and soul into, is actually two parallel stories. One is set in the past and focuses on a man, a warrior, living his life and fighting for a cause he believes in; the other is set in the present, and the central character is the man's daughter, a young woman on a quest to learn about the father she never knew. Remind you of anything? It should; the structure of this story, including the ways in which I mixed first and limited-third person points of view, was heavily influenced by Dragonfly in Amber. I didn't fully realize the source of the inspiration until a friend pointed out, but on reflection it was rather obvious to me.

Does that make my story Outlander fanfiction? Not by any standard definition of the term, no. But is it a derivative work? Maybe so. At the very least, I think that argument could be fairly made.

So where does that fall? Am I "stealing", or am I pulling from a legitimate source of inspiration? Does it change things if the man was a character from a video game? On the other hand, his daughter was an original character (who shares very little with Brianna, beyond height and some of the circumstances of her birth), as were many of the other characters who populated the world of my story. Where do you draw the line between original and derivative, between inspiration and appropriation? Is it even possible to draw such a line, or is it a continuum, with different stories falling along different points on that line? Where do you put a story whose male lead was inspired by a character on Dr. Who, and that is populated by a cast of historical characters extrapolated far beyond what the canon tells us about them? Aren't those key aspects of a transformative work?

I don't pretend to have definitve answers to any of these questions, but I think they are well worth asking. One of the things I love most about fandom is that we consider creation to be part of a conversation. Opening myself to that conversation is one of the best things I ever did for myself as a writer, and I am proud to be a part of it.

Revisiting

Jul. 14th, 2008 07:05 pm
owlmoose: (Default)
So my fic archive is pretty much complete, if not completely up-to-date -- I need to post the stories I wrote in June and July still -- with one huge exception.*

A Guardian's Legacy.

Converting and reposting 46 chapters is not a small task, but once I get started it should go quickly enough -- it only took me a couple of days to post all 35 chapters of Death Shall Have No Dominion, even with the formatting errors I had to fight, and by now I have the conversion process down cold. But that was just a straight re-post, except for fixing a typo here and there. I have this idea that I ought to do a no-holds-barred edit of AGL from beginning to end: tighten a few things up, tweak some of the characterization, and so forth. I like to think I've grown as a writer quite a bit in the last three years; there is a lot to improve this story. But that would be a huge project, and kind of daunting. So I keep putting it off.

So the question is, should I bother? I know I could make the story better, but that's true of everything I've ever written, and I didn't do serious edits on any of the others. Would it be better to just repost it, perhaps fixing egregious errors but otherwise leaving it as a historic document, a testament to where I started and a touchstone for how far I've come? On the other hand, much as I've enjoyed so many of the stories I've written, AGL is still my baby. It was the first, the longest, the most all-consuming. Shouldn't it be the best it can be? And the idea of diving back into it after all this time is really appealing.

I also still feel like my writing is still very sluggish. I'm producing more than I was, but that's not saying much. Almost every story I've posted in the last while is a old WIP I've dusted off and polished up. And I'm not sure whether spending lots time on editing an old piece is a good way to jumpstart the urge to sit down and write on a regular basis, or whether it's just a way of avoiding the issue.

Thoughts, oh ye many writers and editors on my flist?

*This is not strictly true because I also haven't brought over "Aftermath" yet, mostly to avoid the question of having an active WIP on my archive site, since I'm not exactly sure how I want to handle that. And kind of avoiding it entirely. Damn you story, why won't you write yourself like all the other big stories did?
owlmoose: (Default)
Title: House and Home
Fandom: FFX-2
Rating: G
Wordcount: 1234
Pairings: Baralai/Paine
Spoilers: No
Notes: "Deleted scene" from AGL, requested by [livejournal.com profile] hinikuish. The prompt was "housewife". Fits within Chapter 3.

Baralai began the ritual as he always did, by washing his hands in a basin of soapy warm water. )
owlmoose: (Default)
Title: Landing
Fandom: FFX
Rating: PG
Wordcount: 1017
Characters: Rikku, Wakka
Pairings: Wakka/Lulu, sorta; past Wakka/Rikku implied
Spoilers: Minor
Notes: "Deleted scene" for [livejournal.com profile] yuna_flowering, who requested a conversation between Wakka and Rikku, set during A Guardian's Legacy. For anyone familiar with that story, this fits between the cracks of Chapter 17.

Rikku bounded up the stairs from Luca to the Mi'ihen Highroad, hurrying to her destination. )
owlmoose: (Default)
I have posted the final chapter and the epilogue of "A Guardian's Legacy". They can be found here and here, respectively. Or, if you have some time to spare and are so inclined, you can read the whole thing from the beginning.

46 chapters. 146,489 words (!). Once upon a time, I had a childhood ambition -- someday, I would write a novel. Well, here it is. It's not exactly how I thought it was going to happen, back then, but how often can we really predict the future?

I still can't quite believe it. Even though I typed the words "The End" and changed the status to "Complete" and put that same word in the summary. I've been traveling with Auron for a long time now, and it's so weird to think that the journey is finished. Well, this particular journey anyway. I feel like I should have something momentous to say, something that will wrap it all up, but nothing is coming to mind. Maybe that's just as well.

The End.

posting

Dec. 29th, 2005 09:51 am
owlmoose: (Default)
New chapter is up. The editing on the others is going very well. The end is most definitely in sight.

Holy cow

Dec. 28th, 2005 09:00 pm
owlmoose: (Default)
I think I may have just finished writing AGL.

Not that it's "done", not by any means. There's still plenty of polishing to be done, and there's one whole section which may be unbearably cheezey and therefore require a total rework -- I still haven't decided about that. But it's all there, totally drafted. Two chapters and an epilogue, just as I thought it would be.

If the editing goes well, I may have this finished, as in complete, as in totally done, by the New Year. Shortly thereafter at the very least.

Um.

Wow.

update

Dec. 23rd, 2005 09:57 am
owlmoose: (Default)
A new AGl chapter is up.

Two more, I think. Plus an epilogue. (Which is actually part of the story, not a separate piece as my Confessional epilogues were.)

I really cannot believe I am almost to the end of this.
owlmoose: (Default)
So cute! :) Props to SE.

It turns out that the surest way for me to cure writer's block is to whine at people about how I haven't been able to write. My head unfogged with some inspiration around dinnertime, and I got a good chunk of the next chapter drafted. The problem? I think I was in denial about being able to skip ahead in canon. But no, the story really does demand this bit. And so tonight I wrote it, and it even came out pretty well. I think it should be easier to move forward now. Whew.

chapter

Dec. 10th, 2005 09:55 am
owlmoose: (Default)
The next AGL chapter is finished and posted.

This is the very definition of a transitional chapter I think. It came out well enough, I suppose, but it's not terribly exciting. Now once again I have to make a decision about what events to cover. I am feeling like I want to detail less rather than more, but will the story feel incomplete if I leave too much out? Decisions, decisions.

done

Nov. 27th, 2005 08:48 am
owlmoose: (Default)
Chapter 41 is posted.

I have some things to say about this one, but read the chapter first. )

The story isn't quite finished. I have the shape of at least two more chapters in mind and an epilogue completely drafted. Those chapters may spread out over more. But the end is coming -- I can finally see it, after all these months. My feelings about this are understandably mixed. I'm excited to think that the story is finally going to be complete. But I'm really going to miss it.
owlmoose: (Default)
Two chapters in one week! AGL 40 is posted. And 41 is almost done -- just one scene to write, then an overall polish. I'm really hoping to get it finished and posted before I leave for the East Coast next week. Maybe I'll have time to do that this weekend.

We're getting close to the end, I think. Whoa.

chapter up

Nov. 23rd, 2005 12:19 am
owlmoose: (Default)
AGL 39 is up, here.

Most of this chapter, about the first three-quarters, has been drafted for a long time. Months and months. In fact, I believe I wrote it before I even started on my part of The Confessional. So this has been awhile in the making. Compared to most things I write far ahead, this piece has stayed essentially intact -- I added some things and cut one partial scene, but for the most part it is unchanged from the original draft, just tightened and broadened and polished.

The next chapter is also almost finished, and large portions of the chapter following are drafted as well. We may get a few in quick succession here. Then again, we may not, with holidays and travel getting in the way. I'll have to see how my time shakes out.
owlmoose: (Default)
I have been trying to make this photo into a userpic of Tori all morning with no success. Because I took it without a flash, it's just too orangey and dark. But everything I do to make it brighter washes out the color too much. I am not a natural with image manipulation software. I'll keep working at it though. It's just such a cute picture of her. Then I need to make another userpic or two of Lexi, because he's falling behind on image count. Don't want to favor one kitty over the other. It's not his fault that Tori is more photogenic.

The next two chapters of AGL are entirely and mostly written, respectively. My goal is to get at least one of them done before Thanksgiving. I think that's more than doable, assuming I get some time to work on them tonight.

Last night I made brownies for the office Thanksgiving party. I haven't made brownies in ages. I use the recipe in The Joy of Cooking, which is excellent. I think I may have used a pan that's a bit too large, though -- they're a little flat. I'm planning to frost them. Maybe with mint frosting, maybe peanut butter (Cook's Illustrated has a peanut butter buttercream recipe that I want to try, it sounds yummy). Unfortunately, I won't get to eat them until Wednesday. Fortunately, that's what the bowl is for.

Also last night, I made a new music game. That'll go up in a couple of hours, around 9:30 PST or maybe a little before. See you then.
owlmoose: (Default)
Lexi can be such the love-monster. He lets me know he wants affection by leaning against my legs and purring. It's completely adorable, but it's also problematic when I want to do something like walk. I almost tripped over him half a dozen times last night, and again this morning. I hope he learns the secret of the lap soon.

I got home fairly late last night, but I also had to write down a conversation that has been buzzing in my head all day. It's one that the story has been leading up to, and as a draft I'm very pleased with it. It's not ready, by any means, and much of the chapter around it still needs to be constructed. But it's in good shape. I think this bit will come out well.

And now (or soon, anyway), to work. Where I will spend literally all day in meetings. A four hour inservice in the morning, followed by an Education Management Team meeting and the weekly manager's meeting. In some ways it's nice to get it all out of the way, but I fear it will be somewhat mind-numbing.

progress

Nov. 12th, 2005 06:24 pm
owlmoose: (Default)
Despite everything else going on, I found myself drawn back into writing yesterday and today. T was working late yesterday night, and I ended up spending a lot of time with the game, making notes and just watching. Then this morning I started turning the notes into text, and I got a good chunk of the next chapter drafted (along with a scene that probably isn't going to make the cut; too bad, because I liked it. But it doesn't really serve the story, so out it goes. I did save it in a separate file. Maybe it will morph into a one-shot someday -- it's too long for a drabble). These replays have been really useful, reminding me what these characters look and sound like, how they react to events and one another. Although I wish I had known a couple of years ago that I was going to be doing this. I could have saved a lot of slogging through pointless battles if I'd held on to a few more saves. Now I'm paranoid about overwriting any, since I never know what I'm going to want to watch again!

I'm still in the bridge material, leading up to what I consider the next major event in the arc. I'm writing far more of Yuna's pilgrimage than I had originally intended, but I think it's all been necessary -- leave too much out, and the story becomes choppy. Not that anyone reading the story doesn't already know what happens in the game; they can certainly fill in the gaps. But I want the thing to have a cohesive narrative on its own. Silly, I know.

No guess yet when this will be done. There's still a scene largely undrafted, some other bits are still rather rough, and the cats are a perpetual (if thoroughly welcome) distraction. Maybe in the next couple of days.

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