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[personal profile] thirdbird asked me “what was the most difficult fanfic you've written? Which one are you most proud of and why?”

And since I’ve been trying to wrangle my Yuletide assignments this week, it seems a good time to answer it.

The short answer is: whatever fic I’m writing at the moment seems the most difficult fic I’ve ever written! And then, if they are really too difficult, I don’t write them at all, because I am a writing wuss.

The only-slightly-longer answer is: any fic over about 3,500 words is the most difficult fic I’ve ever written. Maybe 5,000. Almost without exception, the fics I’ve written that are longer than that, I’ve stalled out after about 5-6k, and taken months or years to come up with a second half. I suck at plot. Even the last fic I wrote over 5k, which literally took it’s whole plot from A Study in Pink, so I didn’t have to come up with anything, was really hard to write. I don’t know why I ever embark on such ventures, except that sometimes it seems like the only way to fulfill an assignment or prompt. Or maybe I think I’ll learn something as I go along—but I think my brain just doesn’t work that way. Sometimes they come out okay, despite the difficulties, but I hardly ever re-read them. I’ve been wanting to write a sequel to “Swim Until You Can’t See Land,” and failing because: plot.

So I guess it makes sense that the fics I’m proudest of are short! I like the fics I’ve managed to write that allow my own intense feelings about characters, and the characters’ intense feelings about each other, to shine through. Often, I feel like I get distracted by descriptive or figurative language, and that mutes the emotion in a story—or, the emotion is muted by my aforementioned difficulties with plot—so when I can get those things to combine, I’m happy. Often, these fics are the first stories I write in a fandom, since I guess the emotions are new and bright then—this is true of two stories I’m proud of: The Khyber Knife (John/Sherlock, R) (which just happened, so I’m amazed, more than proud); and A wind that passeth Away and cometh not again (Homeland), which I worked a lot harder on, and thus correspondingly prouder.

But sometimes I get a bit more into a fandom before I write something I like. For example, Four Kisses, which is a Southland fic, (Cooper/Sherman, R), and which was the third and last story I wrote in that fandom. I’m proud of it for a bunch of reasons: I think it’s in character, though the characters were hard for me to write—I certainly never thought I’d plausibly get them into a pairing; it has a 4X structure, but it still manages to have something of a plot; moreover, it has a “first time” plot, which is something I’m not very good at imagining; it’s not a particularly dark or gritty fic, but it has enough of an edge to it to make me happy—a lot of its emotional intensity is not connected to the romance; it has some nice images, but the story doesn’t get bogged down in them. And when I read it, it reminds of how much I loved the first few seasons of the show. It’s not one of my most read or best-liked stories, but it makes me happy.
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The [community profile] purimgifts fics have been revealed, and here are links to the three I wrote (all under 1,000 words, as per the rules of the exchange).

Counting these, I've now written six Homeland fics, which is a lot for me in any fandom. Apparently Saul is my fic alter ego of the moment, which stands to reason, I suppose.

These are all gen.

Five Times Mira Saw Saul for the First Time (what it says on the tin)

Like Fantasy Football for Spies (Saul and Dar Adal divvy up the spies of the Bible)

Morning in Beirut (Saul and Carrie get stuck in a tight place)

I also received three wonderful H50 ficlets by [profile] misslucy21:

Catherine's Unexpected Leave (fabulous sick!fic)

Five Times Danny Thought about Religion (half!Jewish!Danny)

Friday Night Smash (drinking in the spirit of Purim)
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I shouldn't be writing fic. And even if I were writing fic, I shouldn't be writing this.

A late entry for the porn battle. And, since it's het knifeplay in a tiny fandom,and not even the main pairing at that, probably of interest only to me.

Title: My tongue upon your scars
Fandom: Homeland
Pairing: Carrie/Quinn
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: bloodplay, knifeplay, painplay, people not being nice to each other.
Word count: 1,253
Disclaimer: not mine, no profif

a/n: for the prompts "knife" and "rough."
a/n: title from the Springsteen song, "Worlds Apart."

My tongue upon your scars (link goes to AO3)
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Happy New Year, everyone!

I'm back in the land of the speaking and readjusting to my life among the small rambunctious creatures, who are...not that small anymore. I'm trying to put together a post about the silent retreat, which was both very good and very interesting.

In the meantime, here are the stories I wrote for Yuletide this year, with a little bit of DVD commentary. First, though, a huge thank you to [profile] garry_owen for beta'ing two of these at the eleventh hour!

(I had a crappy week the week before Christmas, and I drowned some of my anxiety in fic writing. I think the stories may have been more therapeutic for me than enjoyable for readers. Hopefully 2013 will be better).

Homeland )

Camelot )

Pirates!In an Adventure with Scientists )

Because I was away and internet-free most of last week, I haven't read all that much in the archive--but here's a story I loved that I haven't seen on any of the rec lists. I know a bunch of you loved Cloud Atlas as a book or a movie, and if you've been craving more Frobisher/Sixsmith, this will hit the sweet spot--so lyrical, so true to the characters and the era.

Grace Notes (1638 words) by just_ann_now
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Robert Frobisher/Rufus Sixsmith
Characters: Robert Frobisher, Rufus Sixsmith, Original Male Character

Thirty years after Frobisher’s death, Sixsmith finally has the opportunity to talk about him to someone who truly understands.

Okay--more on other things later!
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I got two (two!) wonderful stories for Yuletide!

Lines of Salt (6359 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Killing
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Sarah Linden & Stephen Holder
Characters: Stephen Holder, Sarah Linden

He’s sitting in the waiting room (gauze on his cheek and elbow. His hoodie is destroyed and he sort of thinks that’s the true tragedy of this entire operation), watching Carlson’s triumphant press conference on the criminal he just collared, when Linden hobbles out of the back. He stands gingerly and meets her halfway. “Want the good news or the bad news first?”

There is so little fic for the awesomeness that is The Killing, and this is wonderful. The relationship between Holder and Linden is absolutely my favorite part of the show, and this writer captures it beautifully from Holder's point of view.

Other Days for Dreams (2751 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Homeland
Rating: Explicit
Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Nicholas Brody/Carrie Mathison
Characters: Carrie Mathison, Nicholas Brody

What brought them together was gone; what was left?

This is a great fic focusing on a pivotal scene at the end of Homeland S2. Carrie and Brody's relationship is endlessly fascinating--and this writer brings out the hotness as well

Also! My gift for the Lewis Secret Santa exchange was posted last week--the very first one!

A Christmas Story (PG, v. mild Lewis/Hathaway first time).

A lovely story featuring H and L as the good eggs they are. It made even a non-Christmas-celebrating Grinch like me melt.

Hope you all had a good holiday, whatever it is you do or do not celebrate
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There is too much to watch on TV! Some things have already been regulated to the status of “okay, I’ll watch it with the boys if they feel like it after dinner” (sadly, this seems to mean that H50 and Elementary and Arrow are duking it out with Dr. Who, Alphas and Psych).

Here’s what’s rising above that at the moment (idiosyncratic, I admit):

Last Resort:

Read more... )

Merlin: Yeah, who would’ve thought that Merlin would have such staying power? But I continue to really enjoy it on both the cheesy (shirtless knights, anyone?) and emotional fronts (stories of good leaders are my number one bullet proof kink).

Read more... )

I blame tumblr for this


Homeland: I’m not sure what’s going to happen now that the “is he or isn’t he?” question has been answered. But I don’t care, because I’m still mesmerized by Carrie, Saul and Brody (only halfway through 2x02 on this one)

I have also, thanks to [personal profile] garryowen’s persuasive abilities, been watching Wallander. I watched the third, most recent, series first, because it was streaming on PBS (yes, this is one of the simple pleasures of sad souls like me that Mitt Romney would take away). I usually associate Kenneth Branagh with bombast, but he’s lovely and restrained and vastly appealing in this—middle-aged and poignant and tough and smart (and a hot mess). Also: Sweden is beautiful. I’m making my way through S1 now, which is grimmer and shot with a lot of surprise!close-ups and surprise!blurriness which bug me, but still well worth watching, if you like your procedurals with a lot of angst.

And that's more than enough!
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I wrote Homeland fic this year for Yuletide, which I enjoyed immensely, both because I loved the show and was glad to think more about it, and because it gave me a chance to write some of my not-at-all-secret vices: het and religion.

The experience was made even better by the generous beta help I got from [ profile] destina and [ profile] twoskeletons. Their names were redacted in the initial posting--but you can see them now!

Title: A wind that passeth away and cometh not again
Fandom: Homeland
Recipient: [ profile] marycontraire
Rating: Explicit/ NC-17
Warnings: um, impact play? I guess that's what you'd call it? Slightly violent sex. And y'all know how much I like to write slightly dissociative mental states, yeah?
Spoilers: through the few minutes of the finale.
Pairing: Carrie/Brody
Word count: ~2.8K
Disclaimer: not mine, no profit.

a/n: many thanks to [ profile] destina [profile] twoskeletons for the generous and expert betas.

Y'all--I am starting the year with three WIPs. Not good. Not good at all.
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Very brief thoughts on three episodes I think I'd like to see again.

Merlin 4x12 )

Grimm 1x07 )

Homeland finale )
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Is anyone still watching Homeland? If so, do you want to talk to me about

question that is a big spoiler )

So, clearly not everything you see on tumblr is true, but these things seem to be:

Ben Whishaw, Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons in the new BBC versions of Richard II & Henry IV I & II

If the casting of BW as Richard II is anywhere near as perfect as it sounds, that one, at least should be amazing.

Ben Whishaw has also been cast as the new Q to Daniel Craig's Bond

Am shipping Bond/Q already.

And he's going to be in a film about Jack Kerouac (played by Chris Evans) and Allen Ginsburg (played by Daniel Radcliffe) and their friends

No. You read that right. DR is going to play this well-known Jewish poet from New Jersey:

Okay, he's going to play him when he looked like this:

So I suppose it's vaguely plausible (though not as plausible as Jesse Eisenberg would have been. Still, Chris Evans as Kerouac sounds awesome.

My week has eased up some, thank goodness--hope yours has too!
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why yes, I do want to discuss Homeland 1x07, how did you guess? (spoilers) )

In other news, my audiobook for running and driving at the moment is Neal Stephanson’s Cryptonomicon,

blathering on about books )

Also, I was overcome with a wave of Anglophilia when I signed up for Yuletide, and only requested British books and shows (The Hour, Whitechapel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Regeneration). I offered some US stuff though!

I have been amusing myself by scrolling through the requests from time to time, and being tickled to death that multiple people are requesting fic for “Jane Austen’s Fight Club” and “Feminist Ryan Gosling.” Viral video rules, apparently.

Happy Friday, folks!
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Did anything happen in H50 2x06 except Steve getting in the ring? 'Cause I saw him put that mouth guard in, and start hopping up and down like a bunny, and then I started thinking about this:

And wondering if Steve would get anybody in an unbreakable thigh lock and force them to tap out like Joel Edgerton does repeatedly in the movie. And then I started wondering what would happen if Steve had to fight either Tommy or Brendan. And. Yeah....I kinda lost track.

I guess other things happened? The boys were pleased to see Kono with a rifle.

Homeland 1x04 spoilers )
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H50 2x05 )

Homeland 1x03

Someone else is watching this, right? right? If not, maybe you should try it; it is pretty fucking good. If someone is, can they please talk to me about the whole "Semper Fidelis" moment and how awesome Damian Lewis is? And about one of the most disturbing, not-sexy sex scenes I've ever seen on TV?

(these are not spoilers: Damian Lewis is consistently awesome and the psycho-sexual stuff is consistently disturbing, though not gratuitous or unrealistic, I don't think)
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I have watched too much TV in the past week, y'all. This really can’t go on. But, since I did, I might as well give you a brief report:

I have already shared my rant thoughts about Downton Abbey 2x03. Kudos to Julian Fellowes for pinpointing the exact moment in history when it became impossible to sympathize with the British ruling class (Evelyn Waugh notwithstanding).

But I also watched Merlin 4x01, which I loved with an unembarrassed love.

Merlin 4x01 )

H50 2x03 )

And two new shows, b/c 2011 seems to be the year of creepy stalkers as heroes. Both shows are obsessed, in an classically Foucauldian way, with the way in which the sheer quantity of information we are able to gather about other people only makes us that much more anxious about the things we can’t know—the people who live, and the things that go on, off the grid and under the radar and behind locked doors.

I’ve now watched two episodes of Person of Interest, and the second (1x02) is much better than the first. Jim Cavaziel and Michael Emerson even managed some chilly, lizard-voiced banter with each other, and I approve of the show’s penchant for rendering Cavaziel bloody and battered in an early scene and leaving him that way through the rest of the episode. I actually found the plot pretty interesting and coherent, and I think with just a little more character development the show could spawn some fic. It would be great for xovers with other shows set in NYC. What if the machine spat out Elizabeth Burke’s social security number? Mike Ross’s? What would they make of Reese lumbering around in the shadows.

I watched the first episode of Showtime’s Homeland, and, really, this is the best of the lot. It has a kind of Old Spice cast (“take a look at your cast”—“now look at our cast”—“now look back at your cast”)--Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, Mandy Patinkin)--and a creepy Manchurian Candidate style plot: Lewis is a POW who’s found in Iraq after eight years of captivity; Danes is the CIA analyst who thinks he’s been turned; Baccarin is his wife and Patinkin is her mentor.

Homeland 1x01 spoilers and warnings )

Still listening to Regeneration, and it is just as unrelentingly poignant as I remember. It’s been twenty years since I first read it, and I am now much closer in age to Rivers, the psychiatrist, than I am to the young soldiers he treats, and that has made a re-listen really interesting. It’s also made me want to read other novels that take psychiatrists/psychologists as their protagonists—any suggestions?


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