26 June 2017 @ 05:30 am
WIP. Please check back.
10 September 2015 @ 10:17 pm
The past month has been hectic for personal as well as fannish reasons. However, the relevant matter here has to be the two gift exchanges in which I participated, [community profile] fkficfest and [community profile] fic_corner. The former is specifically for Forever Knight and the latter for children's and YA fiction.

FK Fic Fest:

One of my FK prompts was for casefic; and [profile] vorpalblades has written me the delightful "On-the-Job Training". This is a first-season fic, where Nick and Schanke are only newly partnered by Capt. Stonetree. However, it is unusual in following Schanke, so that we get his perspective on the oddball mystery to which the two have been assigned. Most episodes have a scene or two at the morgue; but here it becomes the crime scene itself. A body has blown up. (“It’s a damn Jackson Pollock painting in here,” has to be one of the funniest lines I've ever read.) Who planted the bomb inside the corpse? And why?

The mere concept is darkly hilarious. The story is full of jokes, both in- and not. (There is a running joke about paperwork; and a point being made that you need to read between the lines to appreciate, since Schanke certainly won't get it.) Altogether a very funny story, but also a genuine casefic with real detection, not least from Schanke. Heartily recommended!

Exchange at Fic Corner:

Okay, it is true that I have twice been assigned to write for Flo in [profile] rarewomen; so it was not desperately strange to get her prompts in another exchange. However, it starts to get a bit silly when it turns out that she got assigned to me. (She guessed the truth; but she lied through her teeth so that I wouldn't know who'd got my prompts.) The one saving grace is that she wrote me a story based on Kipling's Stalky & Co. and I wrote her one based on his Puck of Pook's Hill. If I had also written her Stalky—and I might well have—then it would have been truly absurd.

Be that as it may, she actually wrote me two stories. The other was a charming little treat based on an utterly nostalgic request for "another" Milly-Molly-Mandy story. Joyce Lankester Brisley's series about a little girl in an English village in the '20s utterly enthralled me when I was ... oh, say, between five and eight years old. I practically had the stories memorized. Certainly not one of those things I go back to nowadays at all really; but deeply, unforgettably dear to my heart.

"Milly-Molly-Mandy Helps Out" is almost classic MMM. It starts with her family in their nice white cottage with the thatched roof, and takes her off to her friends in the village; and, typically, she helps out with various chores suitable to her age. In Flo's tale, she thus acquires quite a lot of pennies! There are perilously few Milly-Molly-Mandy stories in the world. Another added to that precious number is simply wonderful to read. (Even if I do have to peel off decades to appreciate it in the spirit in which I would have read it back in the day.)

My main gift was "How The Beetle Got His Name". This is written in Kipling's very style (and his style is very distinctive). It goes back to his earliest days at the Coll, long before Study Five got their study—indeed, even before the late-written story, "Stalky", in which Arthur Corkran got his famous nickname. Its focus is the school, but when Our Heroes were themselves mere fags; and, as such, it draws heavily on certain stories, such as "The Moral Reformers", that hint at a backstory in which Beetle, in particular, was the victim of bullying. It is such an incident (and a nasty one indeed) that leads to Corky Corkran taking him up, turning his life around, and bestowing upon him the nickname by which he is known through all of Kipling's own stories. Indeed, "How The Beetle Got His Name" is really very Kipling.

I suspect that the Milly-Molly-Mandy story is one to appeal only to someone who was a fan in the day (like me). Stalky, on the other hand, is a more lasting joy; and I can honestly recommend that gift to everyone.
20 June 2015 @ 03:05 pm
Thank you so much for taking part in [community profile] fic_corner. Clearly we share at least some dearly beloved fandoms; and I'm sure I will enjoy the story you write.

I'm going to start by expanding a little on the prompts I gave. At the bottom, I've added some general guidelines and (in case it's useful) a link to my website.

Milly-Molly-Mandy - Joyce Lancaster Brisley:
Characters: Susan Moggs, Billy Blunt, Milly Molly Mandy
I loved this series as a little girl; so what I'd really like to see is a new Milly-Molly-Mandy story, similar in style and tone to the original.
When I was—oh, say, anywhere from four to seven years old—Milly-Molly-Mandy was absolutely my favourite character in fiction. I wanted to live in a nice white cottage with a thatched roof, and have a room like hers.

Yes, I did grow up; but this exchange is for auld lang syne, isn't it?

Choir School series - William Mayne
Characters: Charles Unwin Sutton, Dr Sunderland (Choir School), Mr Ardent (Choir School), Trevithic (Choir School)
I'd like you to write about some incident at the school, similar to the sort of thing that Mayne used to flesh out his books. Preferably seen from the point of view of one of the boys (since that's how he wrote), but not leaving out the adults, who are so much part of the series. Which boys to include is up to you: Trevithic is the only one nominated; but feel free to use any of the others Mayne mentioned, or an O.C.
Although each of the four choir school books has a plot, it's the incidents that really make up the story. Through them we get to know the characters; and, when I say "characters", I refer less to the protagonists (though Mayne does distinguish them) than I do to the many and varied people in the supporting cast.

References to any of whom would be welcome, though I think I nominated the most obvious ones. Don't feel you need to work all of them into one short story, though. Still, the more the merrier.

Albion's Dream - Roger Norman
Any Character
I'm not specifying characters for this one, since I'd like to leave it open for you to go back to previous generations (in which case, depending on how far you go back, you could well be writing OCs). I must admit that I find the ancient origins of the game intriguing, as well as the idea that previous generations must have played it. Alternatively, you could follow up with another game played by characters in the book; or simply have them talking over events and their consequences.
I spotted this in the tag set. It hadn't occurred to me when I was putting in nominations; but a quick re-read immediately started up questions. I think what I'm looking for here is world-building (for which the "any characters" is proper). However, if that's not your cup of tea, then some post-book illumination/discussion would be interesting, too.

Paddington Bear - Michael Bond
Characters: Paddington Bear
I'd like "another" Paddington story please, similar in subject and style to canon.

Aside from P. Bear himself, I'm not requesting any specific characters: not all would fit in the same story necessarily, anyway; so I'd prefer to leave that part of it open. However, I would like to see other familiar faces in the story, whether nominated or not.
I met Paddington as an adult; but immediately realized that, if I'd known the books as a child, I would have been delighted. He's a real charmer—though the havoc he leaves in his wake would be the despair of anyone in real life. Still, young bears from Darkest Peru are hardly the stuff of real life; so one can simply strip away the decades and enjoy his antics for the entertainment.

Stalky and Co. - Rudyard Kipling
Characters: Beetle, The Head (Stalky), King (Stalky), M'Turk (Stalky), Stalky Corcoran
Stalky being stalky; his friends backing him up; the masters trying to keep on top of the situation....

Basically, what I'd like is another story like Kipling's—not forgetting that part of his tales usually looked, at least briefly, at the adult perspective on the boys' activities.
I knew the original, shorter volume as a child; but it was only in my teens that I really came to appreciate Kipling's hero and his associates. It was at that time that I discovered there were a few additional stories (and good ones, too). It takes fan fiction to continue the tales.

As with the other requests, I'm particularly interested in something similar to Kipling's own series.

General Guidelines:

As far as general guidelines are concerned, I seem to say pretty much the same thing for every gift exchange. (Which makes sense, I guess.)

What I Like:
* Plot and/or character (both being the ideal, of course!)
* A sense of humour and being able to recognize the ridiculous when it pops up; also wit and wordplay, if the story calls for them. (Having said that, I totally leave it up to you whether you write a serious or comic story—or a serious story with comic interludes.)
* Stories that are true to canon (though I've certainly enjoyed some flat-out AUs)
* Background research, esp. for stories with an historical setting
* Rating: no higher than PG13, please. For stories based on fiction written for younger children, I'd appreciate it if you stick to G-rated, like the original.

What I Dislike:
* Poor spelling, bad grammar and punctuation, and blatant Americanisms uttered by British characters (unless they're aware of what they're doing, which is another matter entirely)

My Own Writing
If you want to have a look at some of my own stories, you can find them on my website.