23 January 2015 @ 06:50 pm
On my website - "Couched Work"  
Yes, yes: a bit late to be talking about my Yuletide stories, I know; however, there's been quite a bit going on in my tiny corner of fandom in the past few weeks. Despite this, I have finally managed to squeeze out time to put up webpages for the four stories that I wrote. In due course, one by one, I shall describe these in my usual (no doubt desperately boring) style. First, though, I'm going to ramble a bit about my assignment.

Although it was the second written, my official assignment was a Forever Knight story. I was a bit dismayed to find that, for the third time in a year, I would be writing a story about Janette. However, I have nothing against the character: it was simply the one-pacedness of it that took me aback. (Why, people would start to think me a Ravenette!) I shortly decided to write an historical story, picked on the flashback to "A Fate Worse than Death", and set to work doing some historical research. I quickly realized that, given that the events were supposed to have occurred about a thousand years ago, that would mean that Janette's English friend came from Anglo-Saxon times. I tossed in a recently read book on medieval embroidery, which said that contemporary opus anglicanorum was highly prized in continental Europe. Then I spent ... well, it seemed a truly inordinate amount of time! ... trolling through Wikipedia and other on-line sources for information about medieval embroidery, Anglo-Saxon clothing, and Dark Age France.

Retrospectively, I realize that much the same thing happened when I wrote "Phases of the Moon". Basically, I keep clicking and searching for ages in a most frustrating manner while the story is stuck fast, until suddenly the whole thing sort of gels. After that, writing comes fast—though I'm still working with a lot of open tabs as I continue to check details.

Anyway, "Couched Work" is now up on my website. It has a vaguely early medieval pattern for the main background (actually taken from a Celtic site), with the central panel dominated by a metallic gold border. I used a graphic of a needle as a divider under the title, symbolizing the embroidery motif in the story. However, the main subsections of the story are separated by a large button that is the design of an Anglo-Saxon brooch (from a photo on Wikimedia Commons).

I should warn potential readers that "Couched Work" is not an easy read. In fact, the recipient described it as "harrowing"—in a favourable comment, I'm glad to say. (She did say in her Yuleletter that she was okay with angst.) The events behind the flashback in "A Fate Worse than Death" are unpleasant; and there's no point in glossing them over or trying to pretty them up. Janette was canonically a prostitute; she and Anna had a violent, abusive pimp; Anna was canonically sold to the brothel by her husband for being barren; and it is surely implied that a beating caused her death, directly or indirectly. So it's a hard read.

On the other hand, anyone with any knowledge of medieval times can only be astounded by the anachronisms and inaccuracies of the actual episode. (Or would be, if one weren't sadly familiar with the habits of television.) One thing the story is intended to address then, is a fair number of these. I'm sure there's still quite a bit of hand-waving....

If you are interested to see readers' comments, you can find them on the page for the story in the Yuletide collection on AO3.
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lightbird: Gators gonna gait[personal profile] lightbird on February 1st, 2015 03:32 am (UTC)
Linked here from [personal profile] brightknightie's page. I love your work in FK and I particularly enjoyed both Phases of the Moon and Couched Work, difficult a read as it is.
greerwatson[personal profile] greerwatson on February 1st, 2015 04:10 am (UTC)
"Couched Work" had hard moments in the writing (and hence for readers); but, as I said, I'd rather that than try to avoid the issues. It's a fine line: I tried hard to keep on the right side of it.

So thank you for your comment. I'm glad to know the story works for you.