Tuesday, 15 November 2005 10:41 am
sigune: (Default)
I don't know what happened, but yesterday, for the first time in ages I felt the sudden urge to write a new part to Art of Darkness - you know, my infamous WIP. It's some 1500 words, and it is, alas, not the beginning but a scene I hadn't really planned. I like it so far.

I suppose that this means I should just learn to live with my chaotic writing process… My muse is wily (which is irritating), but at least she does show her face now and then :-).

I also submitted Luna Number One to SH for the Deathday Festival. A fragment is behind the cut, as a small preview.
Luna Preview )

*deep sigh*

Monday, 24 October 2005 02:06 pm
sigune: (Default)
Oh, my. Writing a long, chaptered fanfic is such a tough job. How do all you people manage it? And why don’t I?

For a year now I have been working on this story – or rather, something that started a year ago has evolved into the long thing I am working on now. I believe it must be half a year since the project took its present shape. I’ve been announcing it since forever. How many precedents are there? I have no idea. How many writers struggle with a fanfic for a long period, and after half a year still haven’t posted a word of it? Somehow this suggests to me that I am really treating this with too much sérieux, but that’s how I am. Or maybe I’m just hopeless when it comes to sustained efforts of a fictional nature.

So far I have estimated the story at 12 chapters, but I think it will turn out to be longer (I will need more time at the beginning). It will be patchy, dealing very quickly with some periods and very elaborately with others – it will span thirteen years and not all those years are equally interesting. There is an enormous cast, all of them needing pasts and manners and voices. It’s exasperating.

So far, I have written:
- part of chapter 3 (meaning: a few paragraphs)
- part of chapter 5 (a few pages)
- part of chapter 9 (one page)
- the entire chapter 10
- part of chapter 11 (about two pages).

Yes, that’s right: I have no beginning yet. I used to have one (it’s up at Occlumency under the title of Prelude), but it was shredded by HBP, and I didn’t want to go AU. Still, the chapter did contain a lot of things that I found essential in the conception of the overall story, so I would like to recover some of the material. It would go into chapter 2.

I have recently become convinced that much of my problem lies in the fact that this story is not a novel in book form, but a serialised fanfic. Because of the enormous cast, and because of the advent of HBP that tore up much of my existing backstory (Stephen and Septimia), I need a LOT of exposition. As I see it right now, there is going to be a few chapters of it. Now, if this were a book, I think a reader wouldn’t mind much – they’d read on because they’d know it is all preparation for what is coming, and, well, it’s not going to be boring, I should hope. But a reader of fanfic has to come back for the next bit. And are they going to come back just to make the acquaintance of the next batch of characters? I wonder. I don’t have much hope that they will.

My problem is that I don’t have major ‘bangs’ planned in my early chapters, and I don’t see how I could add them. I don’t have a very bang-productive mind. Also, I couldn’t write a cliff-hanger to save my life. I absolutely don’t know how I’m going to keep my readers’ attention and make them return for the next chapter.

I have even been desperate enough at times to think of turning the bits I have written into one-shots, but when I contemplated that, I was reminded of where on earth I got the idea of making it a long fic in the first place: I need too much backstory. Everything is rooted into something that came before, and if I don’t write that something, nobody knows what it is. But starting from the beginning means a lot of exposition, and a lot of exposition means no ‘bangs’, and no ‘bangs’ means no readers, and no readers means I spent a year struggling with this story for nothing.

And we’re back at the beginning :-).
sigune: (Default)
Previously on the Bromley Saga, I disclosed the origins of my OFC Brynhild Bromley and uncovered her previous existence as a Mary Sue. By the end of my exposé, I had her appearance fixed, but she had yet to take her first steps into the world of prose.

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Why did it take her so long to get there? The answer is very simply that I was afraid of how she might behave in writing. I was in the thralls of Original Character Anxiety, something I had never experienced with any of my other ‘concoctions’. Even after Bromelia was made over into Brynhild, I didn’t trust myself with her. And, to be quite frank, I wasn’t sure I had a story to tell in which I could justify her presence.

But the thing is that Brynhild wouldn’t go away - to use a hackneyed phrase that has been called upon to justify all, from silly characters to idiotic plot bunnies. She languished in my head until I knew all sorts of things about her: that her father was an ex-Quidditch player now into broomstick manufacturing; that she spent her childhood in Yorkshire and now lived in London; what her eating habits were and that she couldn’t cook; how she dressed; what shoes she wore; which books she read; what pets she kept; what she watched on television; how the inside of her house looked. I even knew perfectly well how she felt about Snape and what their friendship was like. I imagined she was there in the background, and that rather than staying for dinner at Grimmauld Place during the action in Order of the Phoenix, it was at her house that Snape had his meals. (He had to do the cooking himself, of course, except when they had fish and chips or went out.) I suppose I would have alluded to these things if they had somehow come up in my genfic stories, but they never did.

I did draw Brynhild and Snape together, occasionally; but I never finished those sketches into inked drawings because they always turned out fluffy. For some reason, Snape would always insist on smiling, and how unnatural is that?

Pictorial Fluff Warning )

(no subject)

Tuesday, 27 September 2005 04:57 pm
sigune: (Default)
In case anyone should be interested, I have recently posted a slightly trimmed and HBP-compatible version of Professor Snape's Address at the Online Wizarding Library (O.W.L.). I'm wondering if I should edit the story everywhere, or leave it as evidence of the fact that in essence the pre-HBP story still works :-)... I remember being very apprehensive about what new canon would do to it; it was the only instance of my writing something past present canon.
sigune: (eyebrows)
Here is the story I won in [ profile] _vocalion_'s ArtPad contest. Grainne wrote a Sue of my making into Chapter Two of HBP, and the result is as delicious as chocolate with hazelnuts. Enjoy!

An Uncommon Flower:
“Spinner’s End” Revised


Dedicated to Sigune, who kindly lends her to well-established talents to the ephemeral world of ArtPad.



The Bromleys officially belong to Sigune (although I’m not sure if she’ll want Bromelia back); all other major characters in the story belong to JKR. The beginning of the second section, up until Bromelia’s arrival, is transcribed almost directly from the canon (I have changed the verb tenses and inserted some of Snape’s thoughts). Everything else is my own damn fault, including my poor imitation of Sigune’s sly humour and gorgeous writing style. I have inserted a few references to the words and works of a certain notorious wit, so in the event that the story fails to amuse, one can at least have fun finding where the Wilde things are.

Sue/Story Summary:

Bromelia Bromley has a spirit as irrepressible as her frizzy hair, a wardrobe any streetwalker would die for, amazing wandless powers, a head for Legilimency, and a penchant for fine Italian boots. What is this perennially perky and dreadfully determined anti-heroine doing in a grotty place like Spinner’s End? And, more importantly, will she be at all welcome on an evening when that street’s most enigmatic resident is already entertaining some unexpected female company? This is the tale of what happens when one Sue rushes in where most fan authors (rightly) fear to tread—Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Chapter Two.

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Read more... )
sigune: (Young Severus)
I had a story brewing since ... June, I think - my first funny tale (mind you, it's still a Sigune story so please don't expect to roll over the floor laughing), which to my mind was quite an event. For two months or more I struggled, would you believe it, with the ending alone :-). BUT now it's finally ready and posted at no less than three archives at once - a bit of an overreaction, I guess... However, the Sycophant Hex mods were the quickest to validate it, so if you don't want to wait for FA (where I made it into Riddikulus, *at last*!) or Mugglenet (where it is supposed to support poor ailing Gryffindor House), you can read it at Occlumency. Oh, and it's dedicated to Steph, who hopefully won't find that a cause for embarrassment... *grins*

Monkey Business
Some animals are just not meant to be pets. A tale of friendship, choices and many, many familiars.

Situated before HBP.
Rating: my usual PG
Genres: Humor, Friendship
Characters: Brynhild Bromley (sorry - she just keeps popping in), Albus Dumbledore, and Severus Snape of course.
sigune: (Default)
After the publication of a new Potter book, there inevitably comes a point at which the writer of fanfiction sobers up, recovers from her excitement and inspects the damage J. K. Rowling has wreaked on said fan writer’s cherished creations. It is a painful moment that calls for serious decisions and reconsiderations.

So here is my accident report – with pictures…

Accident Report )
Eileen and Severus )

Now for some fiction

Thursday, 23 June 2005 10:43 pm
sigune: (Default)
This week has so far been rather marvellous: [ profile] _grainne_ (with The Pleasure of Your Company), [ profile] _vocalion_ (with The Futility of Reason), [ profile] larilee (with Overnight Sensation), [ profile] seaislewitch (with Wand Stories), [ profile] perselus (with Confessions of a Death Eater) and yours sincerely have all done well at Sycophant Hex’s Spring Faire Festival. I don’t know about you ladies, but I am still enjoying the fact… :-P

The Spring Faire has gently reminded me that I am a writer, too, so I thought that for the occasion I’d post a snippet of fiction. I have plenty of unfinished or discarded fragments of stories floating around on my computer, and what follows is one of them. It is only fair to warn you that it has not been beta-read – I never intended it for any fanfic archive.

Then why post it here at all? Consider it a glimpse into my fanfic kitchen. Before I start writing a character ‘for real’, I need to know all about them: their favourite food, the shoes they wear, the books they read (or if they read any); but also how they were as small children, as teens, as young adults, and who their family are and what their relation to them is. My reflections about characters tend to lead to drawings, but also to snippets of text; more often than not, these remain unused – they are just a kind of exercise in getting the voices or the tone right, and they become an invisible part of the background to other stories.

As She Likes It, my Spring Faire story, is more or less the official introduction of my OFC Brynhild Bromley. (Strictly speaking she had already made an appearance in The Good-Morrow, but there she remained anonymous.) She was a long time in the making – she was the first original character I invented, but I struggled with her for a very, very long time. She would probably never have made it into (virtual) print without the encouragement of my friend Potioncat, who managed to convince me that OFCs are nothing to be ashamed of if properly written. (Yes, I did need convincing; at that time I had not yet discovered Occlumency and its enticing Original Females…)

One day I found I had Brynhild pinned. She had a large family with a history; a broomstick obsession; hobbies; a record; an evolving dress style; a career; a distinct personality; and several pets (with names, temperaments and all). She was Severus Snape’s friend from childhood. Instead of pouring the details into a list, I shaped them into a sketch – an exploration of several characters at a given moment that also features Severus as a seven-year-old, his mother Septimia, Gunhilda von Bork, and winks to my other great passions, the Wilde family and Arthurian legend. Here it is, imperfect and sketchy.

How they met... )


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