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Te Mutunga o Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (End of Māori Language Week)
SSar's Beast
morbane
I've had two breakthrough moments this year in learning Māori. They weren't marked by fluency, really. Instead, each was marked by a revelation that I could use the structures and vocabulary and knowledge I already had to do something I wanted to do, that I had come up with independently of the exercises in our workbooks. It's such a joyful transition in any skill, when performance becomes use.

The first time, we'd been revising Māori numbers in class, and an online friend (thank you that friend | kia ora e hoa) mentioned improving their skills in long multiplication, and I realised I only needed a couple more verbs in order to do an example alongside my friend, writing out the steps in full in te reo. My friend supplied a 3-digit and a 4-digit number to multiply together. I gulped. I don't do multi-digit multiplication all that often in a normal week. It took me forty minutes and a lot of scrolling in chat to complete that one equation - no symbols or numerals, of course! It felt fantastic.

The second time was a few weeks ago. We learned a simple set of prepositions - above, below, behind, etc - ages ago, and were revising them then. Suddenly I realised I could make a very simple puzzle out of statements of objects' relative positions. And even better, I knew how to phrase the instructions. That might not seem like much, but we have been sticking to very simple structures in class, and I find it much easier to expand my vocabulary independently when learning a new language than I do my grammar.

I created the puzzle, tested it on my classmates/workmates, and then promised to create a more complex puzzle for the monthly office newsletter.

If you're interested, the puzzle is below! I think it's actually possible to solve without knowing te reo - all the main vocabulary is supplied. Though it may be a little tedious! Let me know if you give it a go and I'll send you a link to the answer.

Porowhita Puzzle for Māori Language MonthCollapse )


You may notice that most of the instructional text for this one is in English. The first version of the puzzle was basically step 2: here is a list of statements like 'white is above yellow', put them together. When you know that white is above yellow, you also know that yellow is not on the top line and white is not on the bottom line. And if you know that blue is to the left of white, and that green is above blue, then you almost have the entire placement of all of those four items, with merely some uncertainty as to whether green is in the top leftmost corner or yellow is in the bottom rightmost corner. Etc. But it wasn't supposed to be too hard, because it was about testing one's knowledge of colour and position vocabulary. The second version is designed to lean even more on language practice than on puzzle-solving, since the first part of the puzzle is pure language practice.

Anyway, this was fun, and it's nice to see myself making progress in self-motivation as well as fluency.

Tell me of your own progress with skills and languages, e ngā hoa (friends) (I think) (e hoa is friend but is that how you make it plural in the vocative? a question for next class)!

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and it seems to me I live my life like a candle burning at both ends
SSar's Beast
morbane
(I loved Rocketman, btw)

I keep imagining the smart, collected post I'll make, touching on many things that are easy to respond to and engage with, showing how I've improved as a person. It's not going to happen. Instead here's a post like what you get when you open a cupboard stuffed full of papers and they all flow out.

Fandom5K
This fandom writing exchange was important for me, as it has been each year it's run. This time I had my friend @eglantiere as a recipient, and oh, I panicked. Writing was a saga with a million false starts, and the story I eventually posted was conceived of halfway between deadline and reveals, and most of its wordcount emerged in midnight hours. I'm not happy with that but I'm happy with the idea.

In fairness, most things since then have been written by their deadlines. But I haven't signed up to anything since fandom5k ended. @Crossovering would have tempted me, but it doesn't seem to be running. The multifandom flash[speed] exchange with song prompts is SERIOUSLY tempting me, but I keep getting stuck on how to prompt. It's happening This Week, if anyone's interested.

WorldCon
WorldCon is happening in my city next year.

My. City.

I am tremendously excited about this. I've been vaguely aware of WorldCon for a while. I've tried some large cons and they've been a mixed bag. But WorldCon has such a huge overlap with my fannish friends, and... it's my city. Also, because Wellington is small, I have connections to a lot of the WorldCon 2020 organisers. (Which isn't saying much, because by necessity they know a lot of people. It just makes it feel more personal to me.)

And so WorldCon 2019 is happening right now in Dublin, and our WorldCon 2020 promotional accounts have been posting 'the weather a year in advance' updates on social media, with beautiful views over the harbour... This is such a beautiful city. I love it so much. I love the idea of people coming here and seeing it and connecting with others here.

I am so hoping I get to meet people and enthuse with people about all kinds of topics. I am so hoping people enjoy their visit here. I hope the whole thing goes well.

I bought a supporting membership, obviously, but keep dithering on volunteering. Can I actually commit? I attended a meeting about nine months ago, when we first won the bid, but haven't got any further, because the last thing I want is to dive in and then surface, spluttering. The last thing I want to do is flake out.

The other thing is the reading. I read for work; I read for fun; I read critically; but I read so, so narrowly. One of my biggest hobby activities is beta-reading/editing other people's work, reading carefully and earnestly and writing up where I see the gap between what they've said and what they're trying to say. But books, no; my published reading has stagnated horribly in recent years. So the obligatory Hugo reading worries me a lot even while I see it as an opportunity to lean back into mainstream reading.


Also part of me wonders what the heck I'm doing thinking of major WorldCon volunteering when I haven't sorted out my fandom commitments enough to give me space to keep the house properly clean and also do something actually truly community-oriented, like volunteering with the Red Cross.

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Tags:

Dear DJ
SSar's Beast
morbane
This is my letter for the Jukebox fanworks exchange. Thanks for reading!

General likes
I love competence, loyalty, and trust. I like uplifting and hopeful messages, and protagonists who champion them. I also like genuinely terrible characters and tragic arcs, and villains with strong motivations and critiques of the protagonists' goals. Characters are welcome in any shade of grey. I like seeing characters screw up and then learn (or not) from their mistakes. I like reading about characters doing constructive tasks together, for example to relax or to solve problems. I love original characters, outsider character perspectives, and worldbuilding. I love magical realism, dramatic weather, trains, telepathy, and dragons. I like getting a strong sense of time or place. For porn, I love xeno, voyeurism, dubcon, noncon, telepathy, praise kink, and awkward-but-not-emotionally-disastrous sex; intense oh-god-I-can't-believe-it's-so-good sex; gentle and loving sex. I love emotional intimacy whether or not it comes with physical intimacy. I love mentors and protegé(e) relationships, and relationships between characters who are juggling multiple identities. I love seeing the relationship between two characters at one point in time, and then seeing it again when the relationship is very different. I'm just as interested in break-ups as get-togethers. I like Big Damn Hero moments, and also days in the life, or stories about people who are just trying to make it by in a weird world. I love it when authors and artists incorporate something about which they have enthusiasm or specialized knowledge, however mundane or obscure that thing is.

You're welcome to write in past or present tense, and in first, second, or third person. Epistolary and found-media formats are welcome.

Art likes
I really love highly stylised designs in art - geometric patterns, decorative patterns, fancy borders and framings. I like skylines and a sense of distance. I love being able to get a sense of weather from a scene. I love costume details, or character studies done through faces or poses. I like seeing characters in doorways or on stairways. I especially like like jewel tones and earth tones, and muted colours alongside greys. Though neons and rainbows can also be fun! I love art in the style of stained glass, or Art Deco. Playing cards can be fun. Mocked-up documents (handwritten letters, personnel files with pictures) can be fun. Please ignore these notes if they don't give you helpful ideas - as I'm not a visual artist, I have no idea what I'd find helpful as prompts.

Prompts by medium
FanficFanart
All Moments Leading to This - Lucid 3 (Song)All Moments Leading to This - Lucid 3 (Song)
Brother - Kodaline (Song)Falcon in the Dive (The Scarlet Pimpernel) - Wildhorn/Knighton (Song)
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac (Song)Spectrum - Florence + the Machine (Song)
Falcon in the Dive (The Scarlet Pimpernel) - Wildhorn/Knighton (Song)
Gold Dust Woman - Fleetwood Mac (Song)Podfic
My Trigger - Miike Snow (Music Video)All Moments Leading to This - Lucid 3 (Song)
Serenade - Steve Miller Band (Song)
Sons & Daughters - The Decemberists (Song)
Spectrum - Florence + the Machine (Song)


All Moments Leading to This - Lucid 3 (Song)Collapse )

Brother - Kodaline (Song)Collapse )

The Chain - Fleetwood Mac (Song)Collapse )

Falcon in the Dive (The Scarlet Pimpernel) - Wildhorn/Knighton (Song)Collapse )

Gold Dust Woman - Fleetwood Mac (Song)Collapse )

My Trigger - Miike Snow (Music Video)Collapse )

Serenade - Steve Miller Band (Song)Collapse )

Sons & Daughters - The Decemberists (Song)Collapse )

Spectrum - Florence + the Machine (Song)Collapse )

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Where the chips fall: two national preoccupations of the day
SSar's Beast
morbane
1. The Finance and Expenditure Committee began hearings today on the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill, which can be read in full here. Written submissions from the public are still welcome until 6pm tonight. I've been following Stuff's live updates, which are very interesting.

2. A Spinoff columnist ranked all chip flavours in NZ, and her hilarious follow-up report, "I Told New Zealand What Chips to Eat and New Zealand Told Me to Fuck Off" speaks for itself.

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Terrorism close to home
SSar's Beast
morbane
NZ terror attack; I'm safe but upsetCollapse )

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Dear Once Upon a Fic Writer
SSar's Beast
morbane
This is my letter for the Once Upon Fic exchange! ([community profile] once_upon_fic).

Dear writer, as ever, I am very excited for this exchange! Thank you for considering my prompts.

General fairy tale ideas
For stories written for fairy tales, I welcome:
-A sense of awe or the numinous, or uncanny things. I love seeing characters take in the sheer consciousness-expanding weirdness of magic. I love it when the presence of magic adds to the sense of atmosphere.
-(in contrast, I also welcome) Characters whose familiarity with magic affects their perspective on the world. It's fun to explore characters who take prosaically for granted things that would amaze us.
-Stories that play around with characters' genders or sexualities. Trans, ace, nonbinary, etc, characters all welcome. (Please also see DNWs.)
-A romantic story reinterpreted as non-romantic - or a non-romantic story reinterpreted as romantic.
-Stories that loosely blend elements of more than one fairy tale to create a new story. As long as at least one story I've requested plays a prominent part, you're welcome to draw ideas from stories I didn't request this year. (Please also see DNWs.)
-Stories that focus on or give backstories to magical artefacts and architecture and landscapes. I love glass mountains and golden bridles and enchanted knives.
-Setting AUs! Mundane, in space, in a particular country or time, centred on a particular industry or career - go wild! I really enjoy seeing how the shape of a fairy tale comes through in a very different context. Exception: please no mundane AUs for Heer Halewijn.
-Canon divergence AUs.


General likes
I love competence, loyalty, and trust. I like uplifting and hopeful messages, and protagonists who champion them. I also like genuinely terrible characters and tragic arcs, and villains with strong motivations and critiques of the protagonists' goals. Characters are welcome in any shade of grey. I like seeing characters screw up and then learn (or not) from their mistakes. I love original characters, outsider character perspectives, and worldbuilding. I love magical realism, dramatic weather, trains, telepathy, and dragons. I like getting a strong sense of time or place. For porn, I love xeno, voyeurism, dubcon, noncon, telepathy, praise kink, and awkward-but-not-emotionally-disastrous sex; intense oh-god-I-can't-believe-it's-so-good sex; gentle and loving sex. I love emotional intimacy whether or not it comes with physical intimacy. I love mentors and protegé(e) relationships, and relationships between characters who are juggling multiple identities. I love seeing the relationship between two characters at one point in time, and then seeing it again when the relationship is very different. I'm just as interested in break-ups as get-togethers. I like Big Damn Hero moments, and also days in the life, or stories about people who are just trying to make it by in a weird world. I love it when authors and artists incorporate something about which they have enthusiasm or specialized knowledge, however mundane or obscure that thing is. You're welcome to write in past or present tense, and in first, second, or third person. Epistolary and found-media formats are welcome.


Do-Not-Wants:
Harm to hands, amnesia, substance abuse; crack; narrators breaking the fourth wall; issuefic where the story and characters are the vehicle for a modern social issue that does not come up in canon.

To be clearer (hopefully!) about crack & narrators breaking the fourth wall: although I've seen this done well, I'm really picky about the execution, so please avoid stories in which the narrator knows all fairy tales and is commenting on them from a point of elevated knowledge. I'm fine with a narrator - especially an unreliable narrator! - who is also a character, and who has a specific, personal reason for telling a story. Crack taken seriously is welcome, but instead of pure crack, I'd prefer humour that is grounded in the events of stories and the characters' natural reactions to those events, or humour that preserves a sense of depth, wonder, and strangeness.

To be clearer (hopefully!) about issuefic: I'm happy to get conflict and resolution around issues like gender equality, or the horror of war, or capitalism, or religious tolerance, where it suits the characters or fairy tale. However, please also give the characters goals and struggles that relate to other things. If you're writing a story about a social issue like these, I'd prefer the protagonists have flaws, and the opportunity to grow and change, rather than being perfect mouthpieces for morality (or being lectured by other perfect mouthpieces for morality).

If my DNWs are unclear, sorry, and please feel free to ask for clarification through my co-mod, Rosencrantz.


The BearCollapse )

The Colony of CatsCollapse )

East of the Sun and West of the MoonCollapse )

The Groac'h of the Isle of LokCollapse )

Heer HalewijnCollapse )

Kemp OwyneCollapse )

The Lute PlayerCollapse )

The Princess and the PeaCollapse )

RumpelstiltskinCollapse )

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Exchange promos: Worldbuilding Ex and Once Upon a Fic
SSar's Beast
morbane
To those on my f-list who like multifandom fic and art exchanges, I want to belatedly promote the Worldbuilding Exchange - [community profile] worldbuildingex. One for gen fans more than shippers - although shippy stuff does get written, creators and recipients match on single-character tags and on tags that deal with some aspect of worldbuilding. For example, in Harry Potter, some of the nominated topics are, "Non-UK Wizarding Education", "Quidditch", "The Founders Attempting to Establish Hogwarts", and "Therapy In The Wizarding World". It's also alternate-formats-friendly - you can ask for, and offer, in-universe meta as a specific type of fic, and there's a challenge in the comm where people can indicate their interest in IF and vids.

As someone who loves worldbuilding, I am all over this. Last year I didn't sign up, but ended up taking on a pinch hit anyway. This year I am bowing to the inevitable! Though I am scrambling to finish my sign-up prompts...


Rosencrantz and I have also started up the Once Upon Fic exchange again - [community profile] once_upon_fic. This is an exchange for fairy tales, tall tales, myths, urban legends, etc. Sources must be in the public domain & available online. As well as enjoying this because it's my exchange (well, Rosencrantz is the main mod, but I have been part of it from the beginning), I am particularly fond of it because I'm more often pleased with what I write it in that I am in most other exchanges. And I like exchanges where you can read all the collection if you so choose. (Last year I couldn't read the stories about Sedna because aaaaugh hand squick, but that's an exception.)

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AO3 collections moderation queue "bug"
SSar's Beast
morbane
This is a conversation I'm having with AO3's AD&T, through Support; I'm posting it here because the outcome may be of interest to other AO3 gift exchange moderators. tl;dr: there is a thing, relatively minor, that I don't want AO3 to do, and I am attempting to further argue the case.

Obviously, this post has an agenda. I am hoping other moderators will also say, to AO3, please don't do the thing. There is a difference between "Morbane gets a bugbear; these are the wishes of one user" and "Multiple users have demonstrated the utility of a function in several different use cases" - not that I expect AO3 to ignore the wishes of one user, but I expect them to prioritise the latter more. But, if other moderators mind less, that is also useful to know.

Background: works in the moderation queue of an AO3 collectionCollapse )



Correspondence with Support to dateCollapse )


As I did not indicate any urgency to those follow-up questions, I have not yet heard back.

My chief issue is: this is a useful, reliable thing that works to help moderators do a thing they want to do. I'm sure it's possible to abuse it, but given it's worked this way for years and coders did not know that, I feel that reports of its abuse must have been rare to nonexistent.

And their fix does not make it impossible for me, or another moderator, to abuse it - it merely makes it hard, at the same time as making other things hard. If it's a power that can be abused and they want to do something about it, why leave me with that power? After their fix, I could still go mad with power and go back and hide a single work in each of Yuletide 2010, 2011, 2012, etc, etc. The poor author and recipient might not notice for months or years, and then be very dismayed when they did. If that's the kind of abuse they mean (and abuse it would surely be!), then the fix would in no way remove my ability to do it.

Thoughts and suggestions very welcome - including if you disagree with me! And if you're a moderator who also would like AO3 not to "fix" this "bug", please tell them so.

ETA: further correspondence and thoughtsCollapse )

NOTE: In replies others have received, CJ suggests grouping multiple comments to this issue in single documents/emails to aid Support in processing comments on this issue. The original support ticket I was assigned is ## 206703 ##. If you send a new comment to AO3 about this, I suggest quoting that ticket in your subject line.

Reply, post-pondering
My third reply. It's long.Collapse )

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Tags:

start in the way that you want to go on / tear down the fence that you sit upon
SSar's Beast
morbane
Yuletide is over, the New Year is here, and I'm sitting in the empty restaurant of my motel in Citrus County, Florida. I'm here to visit family, on the same turn-on-a-dime schedule as last year.

Life
Last year was 'just' a visit; this year, we are moving my grandmother out of her apartment and into an assisted living facility. The main part of that is going well. My grandmother, at nearly 92, is an extremely positive person, lucid and competent except for her short-term memory, and by the time Mum arrived she had really decided for herself that this change was necessary. I am so so glad that this is so.

The trip over was quite reasonable, since I'd booked it earlier than I did the last year. We spent January 1st cleaning up from our New Year's party (remind me to find and add a picture of the ball pit), then I left Wellington in the early afternoon of the 2nd, spent a couple of hours with my Dad in Auckland, gave him a gourmet selection of all our NYE party leftovers, including duck ragu (sp?), potato curry, and apricot-almond pastries, flew 13 hours to Houston, managed to hop on an earlier 2-hour flight to Tampa than the one I'd booked, had a nice dinner at the airport, then got a shuttle to my hotel at 9pm on the 2nd. That was delightfully fuss-less. A 13-hour flight isn't that bad when there are only short flights and stopovers on either side of it.

When I arrived my mother was the most stressed out I've ever seen her in my life - day one was awful - and procrastinating on the move. A few gentle hints from my aunt at just the right time helped un-stick her, and now my grandmother is moved in. "Oh!" she exclaimed, walking into the room we'd unpacked for her, with her quilt on the bed and her clothes in the closet and her radio plugged in on the table and her favourite throw on the new chair she and Mum had picked out together. "When did you have time to do all this? It looks so homelike already!" I know that is a memory my mother will treasure.

I got a couple of gifts for friends at a local pottery studio, but other touristy stuff is up in the air. If I'm here again next year - I hope so, I hope Grandma is still doing well - I will try to be more strategic about meeting fandom people.


Fandom
I think on balance Yuletide went well. Ask me again in a few months when the parts that didn't go well aren't raw! But internally, I think the team worked well - I am hopefully getting better at the communication and prioritisation things I need to get better at. I think, from the outside, the Yuletide machine looks smooth and competent. Mostly. I think we do what we promise to do and what people expect us to do. Lots of people wrote and received a heck of a lot of amazing, amazing fic, and I am still enjoying mine and browsing through it all.

I am still in dialogue with AO3 coders (AD&T) and Support about a challenges thing that I consider to be desired behaviour and they consider to be a bug that invites abuse - more on that later. I think other moderators might have opinions.

Fic exchanges coming up for me: Chocolate Box (art, fic, multifandom, small minimums); WorldbuildingEx (art, fic, meta, multifandom, worldbuilding theme); Once Upon a Fic (fairy tale/myth/etc fic).

Last for now: I'm daydreaming of a specific fic idea for Jupiter Ascending that I don't think I can write myself, and it's too specific for exchanges, but gosh it would be fun... I really, really want to imagine Jupiter interviewing various lawyers and economists and black market geniuses to create a crack team out of Earth talent that can take on galactic bureaucracy. Kind of a heist feel to it, with the sense of "we need THIS skill set and THIS skill set to achieve THIS thing" but without actually being a heist. Scenes of them actually achieving things would be even better. (If anyone knows of anything like that, recs are welcome.)

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Dear Yuletide Writer 2018
SSar's Beast
morbane
Hi, and thanks for your interest in my letter, whether you're considering writing for me or just curious about my prompts!

This year for Yuletide, I've asked for:


Crossovers or fusions between these fandoms, or between one of these fandoms and another rare fandom I know, are welcome.

On AO3 my username is Morbane.


Do-Not-Wants: harm to hands, addiction and substance abuse, amnesia.

I would prefer not to receive interactive fiction. My ideal gift length is between 200 and 20,000 words; if you're thinking of writing a drabble for me, then the thought is appreciated, but someone else might enjoy your effort more - drabbles are hit-or-miss for me.

General likes


I love original characters, outsider character perspectives, and worldbuilding. I love competence and loyalty. I like uplifting and hopeful messages, and protagonists who champion them. I also like genuinely terrible characters and tragic arcs, and villains with strong motivations and critiques of the protagonists' goals. Characters are welcome in any shade of grey. I like seeing characters screw up and then learn (or not) from their mistakes. I love magical realism, dramatic weather, trains, telepathy, and dragons. I like getting a strong sense of time or place. For porn, I love xeno, voyeurism, dubcon, noncon, telepathy, praise kink, and awkward-but-not-emotionally-disastrous sex; intense oh-god-I-can't-believe-it's-so-good sex; gentle and loving sex. I love emotional intimacy whether or not it comes with physical intimacy. I love mentors and protegé(e) relationships, and relationships between characters who are juggling multiple identities. I love seeing the relationship between two characters at one point in time, and then seeing it again when the relationship is very different. I'm just as interested in break-ups as get-togethers. I like Big Damn Hero moments, and also days in the life, or stories about people who are just trying to make it by in a weird world. I love it when authors incorporate something about which they have enthusiasm or specialized knowledge, however mundane or weird that thing is.

You're welcome to write in past or present tense, and in first, second, or third person. Epistolary and found-media formats are welcome.


Drive Angry (2011)Collapse )



The Shadow (1994)Collapse )


Simoun (Anime)Collapse )


Solitaire - Kelley EskridgeCollapse )


Soon I Will Be Invincible - Austin GrossmanCollapse )


Sucker Punch (2011)Collapse )

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Kua tuhi aha au? Ka tuhi aha au?
SSar's Beast
morbane
(What have I written? What will I write?)

Which is not to say that my te reo Māori (Māori language) has increased in leaps and bounds, because it hasn't. At least, this year, I felt as though I could participate in Māori language week, and really noticed it happening around me.

This is not a well organised journal entry. Writing them is an atrophied skill. Please bear with me.


I have written a lot of fic this year (for me), and very little else. I have written some good comments on fic, but very few comments on people's lives and thoughts. I miss various people. Time to go find them/you again. It hasn't been a very reflective year, but as I look at it, it's been a year of forting up and retreating. Perhaps it's been a selfish year.

Some things that have made me happy: bright Venus in unusually clear winter skies; making progress on the mortgage; last Embers weekend. I'm just home from another weekend of cooking for LARPers. I return with a cold, but also with some very nice comments. It's always nice to hear someone with intersecting food restrictions (in this case, pre-diabetes and no red meat) gush, "I can't believe how much of what you've cooked I can eat!" And this time, it wasn't until Sunday afternoon, after pack-down and clean-up, that 20thcenturyvole and I found ourselves slipping into tired, punch-drunk, giggly mode. Usually that happens midway through Saturday afternoon.

I read four or five Scarlet Pimpernel books earlier this year, because on a whim just before fandom5k sign-ups closed, I decided that a prompted crossover would be fun to attempt. And it was! It really was. For the second year in a row, fandom5k was a nail-biting race to the finish line and also helped me produce something I was really proud of. For a hat trick next year, I just want to finish something and get it beta'd in good time.

Other media "recently" consumed: The Good Place (something I solidly love - we are definitely keeping up to date); Murderbot Diaries (very fluffy and light, but consistent); the new Doctor Who episode 1 (not.... sure.... it'll woo me back, but I was so terribly soured on it before, and now my expectations are probably too high); Wellington Paranormal (if you liked What We Do in the Shadows, I recommend this with utmost confidence); Spinning Silver (enjoyed the worldbuilding, stayed up late at night to finish it, have quibbles as well as delight); Avengers: Infinity War ("okay, now I am up to date with the MCU, ticked that box"); and Star Stealing Prince, an indie game that I tried and failed to play under NightsMistress's nose. That part was at least amusing.

NM: so here's a fic to beta, it has time travel shenanigans and an unreliable narrator
Me: I need to keep track of what the protagonist is supposed to know, but I can't figure out whether asking about a point of confusion will conflict with what NM knows about what I know - help

So I failed in the quest of Surprise My Friend With an Epic Fic about a Canon She Doesn't Even Know I've Consumed, but at least I enjoyed the game.

I recently attended Get/Together, a small but tenacious local con in which 30-40 fans, mostly women, give presentations, do a pub quiz, break the ice with fannish pictionary, eat pizza, and chat. I'd only really poked my head in during my previous two attendances. This time I was there nearly the whole weekend. It was fun. It felt, not precisely relaxing - I needed quite a bit of alone time afterwards - but relaxed; I could see where I fitted in to it.

It's Yuletide again - sign-ups are open. Well, for me, it's been Yuletide for over two months already, but mid-October is really a more sensible time to be thinking about Yuletide. Probably.

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Dear Overcrosser 2018
SSar's Beast
morbane
This is my letter for the [community profile] crossovering | Crossovering fic and art exchange for crossover works. We're coming to the end of sign ups - if you love crossovers, go check it out! This is one of my favourite exchanges for the year.


Dear my author, and anyone else who's curious,

This letter is intended to complement my prompts for specific crossovers and fusions. Those prompts can be found on the middle of this page.

General likes


For crossovers and fusions specifically: My favourite things are stories that take note of both canons' worldbuilding and underlying rules and remix them together. I love original characters and outsider viewpoints in crossover fic, and I love stories that create a world that bridges two canons rather than representing one or the other fully faithfully. After that, I most enjoy fusions, and stories that either imply that the two canons always took place in the same world, or use canon-plausible portals/travel.

More generally: I love competence and loyalty. I like uplifting and hopeful messages, and protagonists who champion them. I also like antagonists with strong motivations and critiques of the protagonists' goals. Characters are welcome in any shade of grey. People screwing up and then learning from their mistakes is also welcome. I love magical realism, dramatic weather, trains, telepathy, dragons. For porn, I love dubcon, noncon, telepathy, touch starvation, praise kink, and awkward-but-not-emotionally-disastrous sex. I love mentors and protegé(e)s, and identity porn. (In the context of this exchange, identity porn where a character was always from another universe and has been hiding it for a while might be fun!) I love Big Damn Hero moments, and people who are just trying to make it by in a weird world. I love it when authors incorporate something about which they have a lot of specialized knowledge.

Please don't feel constrained by either my AO3 prompts or my fandom notes. I like a lot of things, and I look forward to receiving something I didn't expect as much as I look forward to you fulfilling my specific prompts.

General dislikes


DNWs: Amnesia; substance abuse, addition, really self-destructive behaviour based on substance abuse; graphic harm to hands.
Exceptions: amnesia is fine in canons where it's already present, such as The Good Place, Interstella 5555, and Dollhouse, if you use it in a similar way to how it's used in canon. I don't want to be surprised by it popping up in a new way that doesn't follow from existing worldbuilding, and I don't want to see it involved with romantic tropes. I hope that leaves you plenty of room to work!


Specific canons

Canons below cutCollapse )

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Dear DJ 2018
SSar's Beast
morbane
Dear potential writers/artists/recorders - sorry for the delay! I look forward to any gifts. Thanks for reading.

General Likes

Prompts for All Moments Leading to This - Lucid 3 (Song)
Prompts for The Chain - Fleetwood Mac (Song)
Prompts for Glorious Dawn ft. Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking - John Boswell (Song)
Prompts for Gold Dust Woman - Fleetwood Mac (Song)
Prompts for Instinct - Crowded House (Song)
Prompts for Kemp Owyne (Traditional Song)
Prompts for Outlook for Thursday - DD Smash (Music Video)
Prompts for Stranger Song - Leonard Cohen (Song)
Prompts for Yellow Flicker Beat - Lorde (Song)
Prompts for Der Zwerg | The Dwarf - Franz Schubert (Song)




General Likes


Do-Not-Wants: amnesia, graphic harm to hands, substance abuse/addiction.

Likes:
I love original characters and worldbuilding - and this exchange is wonderful for those. You are welcome to write/draw/record work about any combinations of genders.

Fanfic
I like uplifting and hopeful messages, and protagonists who champion them. I also like genuinely terrible characters and tragic arcs, and villains with strong motivations and critiques of the protagonists' goals. Characters are welcome in any shade of grey. I particularly like seeing competence and loyalty.

I love mentors and protegé(e) relationships, and relationships between characters who are juggling multiple identities. I love seeing the relationship between two characters at one point in time, and then seeing it again when the relationship is very different. I'm just as interested in break-ups as get-togethers. I like Big Damn Hero moments, and also days in the life, or stories about people who are just trying to make it by in a weird world. I really like the trope whereby everyone's the protagonist of their own story, even if they may not appear to be at the centre of the most exciting or meaningful events that are happening.

I love emotional intimacy whether or not it comes with physical intimacy. For porn, I love xeno, voyeurism, dubcon, noncon, telepathy, praise kink, and awkward-but-not-emotionally-disastrous sex; intense oh-god-I-can't-believe-it's-so-good sex; gentle and loving sex.

I love it when authors incorporate something about which they have specialized knowledge, however mundane that thing is.

I love magical realism, dramatic weather, trains, telepathy, and dragons. I like puns and absurdity and banter.

You're welcome to write in past or present tense, and in first, second, or third person. Epistolary and found-media formats are welcome.

Fanart
I really love highly stylised designs in art - geometric patterns, decorative patterns, fancy borders and framings. I like skylines and a sense of distance. I love being able to get a sense of weather from a scene. I love costume details, or character studies done through faces or poses.

I like jewel tones and earth tones and grays best of all. I am less keen on Lisa Frank-esque bright rainbow palettes.

My fic likes also apply here, where relevant (ie for porn preferences and character dynamics).

I don't ask for art as often as I ask for fic, and I am also not an artist. So I apologise if these aren't very helpful notes, and I hope the individual prompts are more helpful.

Podfic
I'm sorry, I really don't know how to prompt for podfic. I'm excited to possibly receive it for Glorious Dawn or Outlook for Thursday, but I must trust to your judgement and skill in deciding what to make and how.


All Moments Leading to This - Lucid 3 (Song)Collapse )

The Chain - Fleetwood Mac (Song)Collapse )

Glorious Dawn ft. Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking - John Boswell (Song)Collapse )

Gold Dust Woman - Fleetwood Mac (Song)Collapse )

Instinct - Crowded House (Song)Collapse )

Kemp Owyne (Traditional Song)Collapse )

Outlook for Thursday - DD Smash (Music Video)Collapse )

Stranger Song - Leonard Cohen (Song)Collapse )

Yellow Flicker Beat - Lorde (Song)Collapse )

Der Zwerg | The Dwarf - Franz Schubert (Song)Collapse )

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Konei, konā, korā
SSar's Beast
morbane
Hello again! I hope to post regularly again. Unsurprisingly for me, it's wanting to promote fandom events that has finally tipped the balance.

Life
Last year ended well for me. I had a good Yuletide - each year has its unique stresses, but I think this one was less stressful than some (and I didn't spend most of December sick, unlike in 2016). There are always parts of Yuletide I wish I did better - losing my temper at a person, or making the wrong call in handling interpersonal drama, always sticks in my head - but I hope most of the duck-paddling is not visible in the smooth surface progress.

The ending of last year also ran very precisely to schedule. We threw a huge New Year's party, including a ball pit - remind me to put up a photo.

( I set the time of the event at 7pm when setting it up, then reflected that now we had an outdoor activity, I should move it forward to 6pm. Those of you who have heard of Dashcon: I hope you applaud the inclusion of an extra hour in the ball pit.)

Guests had gone and we had done preliminary cleaning by 2am. We spent the entirety of January 1st cleaning, of course, including the six person-hours required to disassemble the ball pit. And then I got up at 4am on January 2nd to fly to Florida to spend ten days with family. For me, January 2nd lasted 37 hours.

My grandmother is in reasonably good health and spirits, but her short term memory is distinctly failing. My mother (who lives in NZ, not Florida) is doing her best to be long-distance support, and her annual visits with my grandmother are very chore-focused - setting up reminder systems, doing a lot of check-up appointments, fixing things around my grandmother's apartment. Effective but stressful. My aunt is a half-hour's drive away from my grandmother; my mother and my aunt work together in some things, but I am not sure if the arrangement is quite ideal for either.

My grandmother was pretty happy to see me, anyway, and my mother was also glad I was along, and I am thinking of doing the same thing next year (with the same precision of timing). And I got Mum to come to a tree-top adventure course with me, so that was a couple of hours she wasn't worrying about Grandma. (I had a great time, but also fell, past a steel cable, so that I had a really impressive scrape-and-bruise for the following two weeks.)

The other part of the precise timing was that I landed back in Wellington on the afternoon of Friday 12th January, and it was two good friends' wedding the next day at 1pm. The big miracle of the trip was that I had zero jetlag coming back. I have no idea how I managed that.

The post title is in honour of a work initiative: our senior management team decided to sponsor te reo Māori lessons, during work time, for anyone who wanted them. The Māori people are the pre-European settlers of New Zealand and "the history of te reo suppression and promotion in NZ" is a bit long for this post, but as you can imagine it's had ups and downs. I, a white person in NZ, have spent many years thinking "I should learn te reo Māori," and I am beyond grateful that something external has pushed me to do it. I'm having a great time. "Konei, konā, korā", btw, is probably not an actual sentence - it's what our lesson consisted of last week - saying that things are here or there or over there. But I am amusing myself by thinking that I can now sing a line from a Beatles song in te reo.

Fandom
Jukebox is running! MY BELOVED EXCHANGE. Just over a day to nominate songs and music videos that can then be explored in podfic, art, and fic gifts and requests.

I'm also about to sign up to [community profile] bravenewbork, which is a small and cracky exchange where you offer and request canons based on osmosis. Don't know a canon? All the better. Sign ups are closing very soon! [personal profile] seekingferret, I nominated The Grounding of Group 6, just in case. :P

And I'm going to edit in some more things I'm taking part in! But right now I really want to run off and take part in a Pokémon Go raid.

ETA
Right, Piloswine and Jynx raids defeated. [personal profile] elanya, I think you'd like the March Pokémon Go loading screen image.

Other fandom things
Fandom 5k, a multifandom gift exchange for fic of 5k or longer, has sign-ups open through April 7. I'm signing up even though it runs in parallel with Jukebox, because I was really proud - in the end - of the story I wrote for that last year.

The Worldbuilding Exchange revealed its works last week. I wrote a pinch hit! I guess, if you like, I could offer a beta job if you can guess which one I wrote, but reveals are in the next 24 hours so you may not have time. I have been flat out all week approving Jukebox nominations in the time I allot for fandom, but now that it's a public holiday and I am off work, I will read and comment on some more things. Join me!

Night on Fic Mountain is currently open for nominations. This is a rare fandoms exchange, kind of like a Yuletide at the other side of the year, but with art as well.

I'm also doing SmutSwap, so I currently have open writing assignments for [community profile] smutswap and [community profile] once_upon_fic.

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Dear Yuletide Writer 2017
SSar's Beast
morbane
Hi, and thanks for your interest in my letter, whether you're considering writing for me or just curious about my prompts!

This year for Yuletide, I've asked for:
  • Drive Angry, a 2011 standalone supernatural/action B-movie;

  • Pegasus, a YA fantasy novel that is the first book, but probably the only book, in an incomplete trilogy by Robin McKinley;

  • The Shadow, a 1994 superhero movie based on a radio drama + pulp novels (I only know the movie);

  • Simoun, a 26-episode fantasy/war anime from 2006;

  • Soon I Will Be Invincible, a standalone light sci-fi/superhero novel by Austin Grossman;

  • and Sucker Punch, a 2011 standalone fantasy(?)/action movie.


Crossovers or fusions between these fandoms, or between one of these fandoms and another rare fandom I know, are welcome.

On AO3 my username is Morbane.


Do-Not-Wants: harm to hands, addiction and substance abuse, amnesia.

General likes


I love original characters, outsider character perspectives, and worldbuilding. I love competence and loyalty. I like uplifting and hopeful messages, and protagonists who champion them. I also like genuinely terrible characters and tragic arcs, and villains with strong motivations and critiques of the protagonists' goals. Characters are welcome in any shade of grey. I like seeing characters screw up and then learn (or not) from their mistakes. I love magical realism, dramatic weather, trains, telepathy, and dragons. I like getting a strong sense of time or place. For porn, I love xeno, voyeurism, dubcon, noncon, telepathy, praise kink, and awkward-but-not-emotionally-disastrous sex; intense oh-god-I-can't-believe-it's-so-good sex; gentle and loving sex. I love emotional intimacy whether or not it comes with physical intimacy. I love mentors and protegé(e) relationships, and relationships between characters who are juggling multiple identities. I love seeing the relationship between two characters at one point in time, and then seeing it again when the relationship is very different. I'm just as interested in break-ups as get-togethers. I like Big Damn Hero moments, and also days in the life, or stories about people who are just trying to make it by in a weird world. I love it when authors incorporate something about which they have specialized knowledge, however mundane that thing is.

You're welcome to write in past or present tense, and in first, second, or third person. Epistolary and found-media formats are welcome.


Drive Angry (2011)Collapse )



Pegasus - Robin McKinleyCollapse )


The Shadow (1994)Collapse )


Simoun (Anime)Collapse )


Soon I Will Be Invincible - Austin GrossmanCollapse )


Sucker Punch (2011)Collapse )

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A fandom handful
SSar's Beast
morbane
1. I'm co-modding the Alternate Universe Exchange and starting to worry about a pinch hit that's been lingering, with fandoms Prince of Tennis, Tiger & Bunny, and Attack on Titan. Only 3 weeks remain in the writing period. Which leaves me tossing up whether to try to consume enough canon to take that pinch hit. It is a perennial mod problem. Just because I can consume a canon and turn out some competent prose doesn't mean it's a good idea, compared to - hopefully - another fan with pre-existing enthusiasm for the canon, + an interest in the prompt, coming along. But that fan may not exist, get wind of the pinch hit, or have time available.

I have consumed canons for pinch hits before, several times. I do try to make "am I actually likely to enjoy this canon" a deciding factor. But time is tight and I'd really rather the decision were taken away from me. (Obviously, I will not update this post to say whether it is or isn't...)

(Besides, there may be further pinch hits as the deadline approaches, and there aren't many of the requests that I could tackle.)


2. After seeing someone talk about an unfilled need on AO3, I asked Flamebyrd to make a userscript. The Mark for Later userscript affects your AO3 experience by adding a "Mark for Later" button to the summary of every work. This means that you can add works to your "read later" list without clicking on them and adding a hit count. Script is here. It also allows you to quickly move items between your main History and your To Read Later history. I anticipate this being very useful for people who have the problem of opening a million things in tabs and never getting to them. Also, testing was fun. Thanks, Flamebyrd!


3. Yuletide is only a month away, AAAAAAAHH!!, but meanwhile, the Fandom Growth Exchange is in sign-ups. This is an exchange for very small fandoms and pairings. Minimum wordcount is 2k.


4. I am doing Fandom Giftbox and submitted a comment to the Fic Positivity Meme, which I mention mostly to aid accountability; I need to go leave comments & snippets.

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Tags:

Cross My Heart: Dear Crossovering Creator 2017
SSar's Beast
morbane
This is my letter for the [community profile] crossovering | Crossovering fic and art exchange for crossover works. Sadly, sign-ups have closed and this letter is VERY late, but I encourage anyone who's interested to check out the prompts.

Dear my creator / interested readers:

This letter is intended to complement my prompts for specific crossovers and fusions. Those prompts can be found here: middle of this page.

General likes


For crossovers and fusions specifically: Art can be any style of combining canons, but for stories, my favourite things are stories that take note of both canons' worldbuilding and underlying rules and combine them. I love original characters and outsider viewpoints in crossover fic, and I love stories that create a world that bridges two canons rather than representing one or the other fully faithfully. After that, I most enjoy fusions, and stories that either utilize canon-plausible portals/travel, or imply that the two canons always took place in the same world.

More generally: I love competence and loyalty. I like uplifting and hopeful messages, and protagonists who champion them, and also villains with strong motivations and critiques of the protagonists' goals. Characters are welcome in any shade of grey. People screwing up and then learning from their mistakes is also welcome. I love magical realism, dramatic weather, trains, telepathy, dragons. For porn, I love dubcon, noncon, telepathy, praise kink, and awkward-but-not-emotionally-disastrous sex. I love mentors and protegé(e)s, and identity porn. I love Big Damn Hero moments, and people who are just trying to make it by in a weird world. I love it when authors and artists incorporate something about which they have a lot of specialized knowledge.

Art likes
I really love highly stylised art - geometric patterns, decorative patterns, fancy borders and framings. I like skylines and a sense of distance. I love costume details, or character studies done through faces or poses. However, I don't consider myself particularly visually literate / good at figuring out ambiguous images, so if you're deciding between something very simple, and something very complicated and ambitious, I think I'd prefer the former if it would ensure I can easily interpret what you have created. I like jewel tones and earth tones and grays. I am less keen on neons and Lisa Frank rainbow palettes and pastels, unless contrasted with black/grays/muddier tones.

Please don't feel constrained by either my AO3 prompts or my fandom notes. I like a lot of things, and I look forward to receiving something I didn't expect as much as I look forward to you fulfilling my specific prompts.

General dislikes


DNWs: Amnesia, esp. tropey amnesia; substance abuse, addition, really self-destructive behaviour based on substance abuse; graphic harm to hands.
Exceptions: canon-style amnesia is OK for The Good Place and Dollhouse.


Specific canons

Canons below cutCollapse )

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I'm still here, it's getting late
SSar's Beast
morbane
So, hi.

It's winter; the fire's on; the headphones I just accidentally gave a bath to are hung at a strategic distance from it, across the fire-screen, which is an irrelevant piece of furniture because the fire is gas. (It comes in handy when drying clothes, however.)

Offline, I've been settling into my new house. Our longtime friend AC moved in as a flatmate in February, and in April, another old friend, AR, moved back from Scotland and came to live with us for two months while looking for his own place.

The house has been good to us. There was one miserable and expensive week when we checked out some suddenly-blocked drains and the plumbers, while dealing with that (in a temporary fashion - the tree roots that caused the problem have yet to be worked around), alerted us to a gas leak caused by corroded pipes and then arranged for those pipes to be replaced. No hot water for five days while I was in bed with a cold and the tradesmen had to dig a trench through the reinforced concrete that forms the support for the house's front extension. In other house maintenance respects, I am yet to kick into high gear. We need a large pair of curtains downstairs to keep the heat from flowing out and away at the large French doors, and I have not enjoyed my dealings with the curtain consultants thus far. But I love having a spare room. I love being able to offer guests space with a real bed. I love having two ovens. I love the giant converted garage and the view over the valley to the western hills. I love having a bay tree and a lemon tree. I love having a house on street level. Before this, I moved out of my last street-level house in January 2006.

AC is a fantastic fit as a flatmate. She and I share the idea that although other kinds of social interaction are worthwhile, the most pleasant is to be in the same space as someone else, each with a computer, very occasionally remarking on interesting and amusing things that pass our screens. Also, she is a fandom writer and artist. Also, she and Joel have somewhat compatible tastes in games and TV. I have had really good luck in flatmates over my years in Wellington, but in my last major shared flat, my flatmates were the kind of people who are pure introverts when they get home. I respected that, but this is my ideal.

I'm already missing AR a little. Four people in the house was really nice too. AR flatted with me and Joel in 2007-2009, and then flatted with AC and two other friends in 2015, and then he went off to Scotland, and then ten months later he returned. It is a nice way to be tangled together. He's coming around for dinner and boardgames tomorrow night. I hope he brings Codenames. He introduced AC & me to the game last week and I really, really liked it: simple mechanics + word-association problem-solving & teamwork.

There are, of course, also politics going around me and other offline updates, but perhaps another time when I'm not trying to dust this journal off after months of silence. (Joel, btw, is currently in Las Vegas, in the 'holiday' part of a North American business trip.)


Online, I've been struggling to catch up after Yuletide. Here's what's caught my interest:

  • Night on Fic Mountain went live a few days ago, at a solstice. This is a fic and art fandom exchange for rare fandoms - basically, mini-Yuletide on the far side of the year. I used to co-mod it, but nowadays dhampyresa does all the work and only calls on me occasionally. *waves pompoms* I did write a pinch hit, and enjoyed several pieces of art and fiction. Have a look.

  • Alternate Universe Exchange is a new project from Rosencrantz, whom I also team up with when Once Upon Fic comes around (see below). This is a fandom exchange (fic-only) for alternate universe ideas - whether they're of the "but what if Bob didn't die" or the "everyone works in a coffee shop" variety. Tag approving is.... interesting. If you think you might want to nominate, get in quick.

  • Speaking of Once Upon a Fic, that went live in May, and I still have stories to comment on. This is a challenge for interpretations of fairy tales and similar canons, and I love it so much. I was really disappointed in myself that I did not complete a work this year, and I would like one day to make it up to my recipient. Meanwhile, however, the works that were created are brilliant. bleodswean, I think you in particular would appreciate Children of wild, legends round our neck, must shatter, a 30,000-word celebration of the stories of Baba Yaga and Koschei and Vasilisa and Ivan(s).

  • The other exchange that I delight in the most is Jukebox, which went live earlier this month (again, I'm still browsing and commenting). I love seeing all the different directions in which people take song lyrics and music videos. Again, I recommend the works. They are fantastic. I am, of course, biased. Even so.

  • After Yuletide, I made two poor fandom decisions, the first of which was to sign up to Worldbuilding Ex despite already feeling burned out & having a tonne of Yuletide admin to catch up on. I can't entirely blame myself because this is a concept I get really excited about, and I had a blast discussing ideas with the mod, and there were amazing works and I got amazing gifts.... It's just that it was unwise for me at that time. I hope next year I manage to be in a better shape after Yuletide.

  • The second poor fandom decision was to take on a pinch hit for Fandom5k, a fic exchange for all fandoms and works of 5k+. I mean, I can sincerely say that it was a fun prompt and I felt I was on my recipient's wavelength, that it offered me the challenge of something I rarely do (write for a TV canon), and that it was satisfying to know I could confidently sketch out a plot that would be long and dense enough and then bring it to fruition. But it was also bad timing and I stressed myself out for a continuous month over the thing.

  • Now I look at my AO3 assignments page and there are NO OPEN ASSIGNMENTS and it is beautiful. Beautiful.

  • ... and while I will not finish a NYR before Crossovering starts, I can at least work on one, and so I will begin to feel on top of things. (Crossovering is awesome! Come play with me! Get your fandom crossovers here! Ahem.)




And in my silence, the song I keep coming back to is Crowded House's How Will You Go, because on their album Woodface, this track ends in over a minute of silence and then a sudden refrain... I'm still here, of course. Looking it up just now, I see it is labelled a bonus track, which makes sense yet never occurred to me before now. I just thought it was .... all the same track. With silence in the middle.



[personal profile] seekingferret, thanks again for the playlist - I really liked "Mah Yedidus" and I grinned to hear it, and the rest comes in shades of appreciative interest. More later.

I also have some gifts from all these exchanges I've taken part in lately. I shall post later about my recent gifts.

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Dear DJ
SSar's Beast
morbane
I feel a little sheepish that I didn't get this up earlier, to also serve as an advertisement to anyone who might be interested - but I think anyone in my flist/circle on either LJ or DW probably already knows about Jukebox! Anyway. So this is my letter for the Jukebox 2017 fanworks exchange. Jukebox is my precious pet project, so I am inclined to look on anything I get as a gift through a rosy haze of joy and pride, BUT my gifts tend to be fantastic anyway. Win/win. Dear person who is reading these prompts - thank you for reading, and I hope you find them interesting without being restrictive.

Note: I'm going to come back and add links and tidy up the formatting a bit, but the prompt information will not change.

DearCollapse )

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Once Upon a Fic: Dear Author Letter
SSar's Beast
morbane
Dear author or passerby, thank you for your interest in my prompts.

General likes: I love retellings that enter into the world of the story and explore the characters' motivations and mindsets, or the machinery of the magic: why did Elisa have to weave shirts out of nettle, or how did Chrysaor feel about his heritage? I'd equally be happy with a very loose retelling of any of these stories: add or subtract characters, or transpose them in space, time, or genre. I'm happy with a multitude of prose styles (or poetry if you wish!) including second person and 'found' media scraps. You're also welcome to mix in elements from more than one story I'm requesting now, or from stories I have requested or written in the past.

Do-Not Wants: Please don't include any harm to hands, any substance abuse / addictions / addiction-related behaviour, or any amnesia.

By story:
The Lute Player, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, The Bear, Kemp Owyne, Jorinde and Joringel, The Fairy of the Dawn, Medusa, The Wild SwansCollapse )

I hope there is something in this that inspires you.

Thank you again!

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