15 September 2016 @ 02:56 am
First, let me thank you for writing me a story in one of the fandoms we share. I'm excited about all of them. (They're listed in alphabetical order, so as not to play favourites.) I should also say up front that I'm easy on getting either a trick or a treat.


  • I love worldbuilding and character pieces—stories that explore more deeply—through backstory, or by elaborating the setting/history/culture or exploring people's motivations and personal interactions.

  • I prefer gen; but I'm not asking you to ignore canon relationships. However, I don't like anything more than PG-13: explicit sexual detail is definitely a DNW for me.

  • I love casefic; and, more generally, I like stories that are canon-compliant.

  • I'm okay with violence if necessary to the story; but not gore for the sake of gore. On the whole, I prefer not to have characters die in the story; but references to canonical deaths are okay.


The Charioteer - Mary Renault (any nominated characters)

I'd like a seasonal story for preference. Mind you, Halloween wasn't commonly celebrated in the south of England at the time this book is set. However, if you want to include Halloween, I'm sure you can contrive something plausible. Alternatively, "seasonal" can simply refer to the autumn; or you could write about Guy Fawkes Night (or the lack thereof, in war time).

Either tricks or treats could have a spooky element, such as ghosts, premonitions, bad dreams, or superstition; or, if you prefer something more realistic, there's the horror of an air raid.

Flashpoint (TV) (any nominated characters)

A Canadian cop show focusing on the Strategic Response Unit in Toronto, a (fictional) unit dealing with bomb threats, hostage-taking incidents, and the like.

Tricks might be case-related, or deal with PTSD. Treats might delve into Halloween in the squad room, or something with Ed or Wordy's kids.

Forever Knight (any nominated characters)

With vampires in the cast, this show is made for Halloween stories. However, you have centuries of history to play with, depending on the character(s) you write about, as well as Nick's current role as a detective on the Toronto force. If you want to play with treats rather than tricks, then there's Halloween in the squad room or at the Raven; or maybe something about Schanke and his young daughter.

Sime~Gen - Jacqueline Lichtenberg & Jean Lorrah (no characters were nominated)

Given the usual relationship between Simes and Gens (not to mention the tentacles that Simes have), there is an obvious horror element here that you might play with.

No characters were nominated: I'd like worldbuilding here, whether you write a trick or a treat. Any period in Sime~Gen history would be fine, from just after the time of the Ancients through to the Tecton; but I'd prefer that you not go into the space era.
08 September 2016 @ 05:32 pm
More sad news has been posted to FORKNI-L. Sandi Ross, who played Grace Balthazar in the first two seasons of Forever Knight, died on 31 August.

There is an "in memoriam" here, with a precis of her career.

While I never met Ms Ross (unlike McLisa, who responded on list), I certainly recall Grace. Though the character appeared in only a handful of episodes, she had immediate appeal to FK fans, who loved seeing her scenes with Natalie at the morgue. Grace appears in many works of fan fiction, and must certainly be one of Ms Ross's most beloved roles.
24 August 2016 @ 12:16 am
There was a FORKNI-L digest today for the first time in a while; and it brought sad news of the death of Arletta Asbury.

This is Cousin Tok's post:
I have received word, from a mutual friend on Second Life,
of Arletta's passing.

"Hello all. I am sad to say that Arletta Martian/laneybell Martian
passed away Monday, August 22, 2016 at 12:15pm SLT. She went into
the hospital a few weeks ago to fix a surgery that was botched some
time ago. Complications arose and her body could not compensate for it."

The last time I spoke to Arletta, she'd mentioned the botched surgery
to me and said they were going to fix things. I'd just been thinking
of her recently and wondering how things had gone. I guess I have my
answer now. Arletta was my friend, my co-conspirator in times of
War, and she introduced me to Second Life. I'll miss you, my
friend. It won't be the same without you.

I've spent the last few hours working on the wiki—not just updating it with Arletta's death, but reading all her stories and making articles for them (or filling out stubs). Here's the article we have on Arletta herself; and it links to the other pages.

When the mailing list was more active, Arletta was a regular correspondent; so her name was familiar even before I took part in any of the wars. Although she wrote several stories (most particularly in her Fourth Season elaboration of an early LK fic), I think it's fair to say that her biggest contribution was as leader of the Light Cousins, and an indefatigable war scribe, often in concert with Cousin Shelley. The pair of them were the co-leaders for War 13, which was the first one in which I took part—and a very successful war it was, indeed: a very good introduction for someone new to the game.

Later, when I started refurbishing old websites taken from the Wayback Machine, one of the first ones I tackled was Forever Light Cousins, their old faction site which had disappeared when the fan hosting it gafiated. A couple of people helped locate missing material; and everything was run past Arletta, as faction leader.

Although the mailing list is much quieter now than it has ever been, that doesn't mean that the good times are forgotten. She will be missed.
13 July 2016 @ 06:55 pm
For the [community profile] myoldfandom gift exchange, I wrote my sister "Jean at the Witching Hour", my third story based on Janet Sandison's series about a Scottish girl at the beginning of the twentieth century. It's a great favourite of Flo's, one that she requested more than once at Yuletide before she concluded that no one else would ever offer it.

This time, I thought I'd write about Doris, a tart with a heart of gold who appears prominently in the first book but recurs in later ones as well. However, when I reread the books (yet again!) in preparation, I found that the dates did not add up. Oh, the main portion of what I had planned still held up: i.e. her seduction when she was a fifteen-year-old scullery-maid at the Castle, leading to her father disowning her. However, in the fourth book it is strongly implied that her seducer is "Old Pillans", the villain of the series. As I scribbled down dates and did sums to work out people's ages, I realized that can't be true. I suppose it may be that readers are inferring something that the author didn't intend; but I suspect that it's more likely that Sandison was hit with belated inspiration, added the hint, and never really did her own sums.

So, in the end, I wrote Old Pillans' story.

This presents its own problems. Old Pillans is a pretty one-dimensional villain in the series—a boogey-man to young Jean in the first book, and an off-scene diabolus ex machina in the rest of the series. What little we are told of his past comes from brief snatches of Lochfoot history told to Jean by the elderly; and not only does the reader have to assemble the puzzle but also fill in a lot of missing pieces.

So I worked out how the history of the town seems to have gone during the last half of the nineteenth century, from its evolution as a farming community overlooked by the Duke's Castle to its growth as a commuter suburb of Glasgow with grungy tenements housing underpaid railway workers. In the latter era, Pillans is primarily known as the mysterious, loathsome owner of a secondhand/pawn shop, though he is actually the secret landlord of much of Lochfoot, with additional property in Glasgow. On the other hand, the scraps we know of his early days indicate that he was originally an incomer who worked as ploughman on a local farm, was the local milkman, and had a reputation as a seducer. "Jean at the Witching Hour" is, then, the story of how events turned Pillans-the-ploughman into The Loathsome Villain.

This is a long story: slightly longer than any I've written, in fact, barring the novel that I wrote for my first [community profile] fkficfest. I had Part One written by the upload deadline; and it could have ended there. However, rather than complete the story in sequels, I wrote two more chapters over the next week. Each chapter now has its own webpage, linked off a title page. However, as Flo was staying with me for a fortnight, I didn't manage to finish them until this week.

As with the previous two Jean stories, I selected a background to represent the setting: in this case, a stone wall suggestive of an old farmhouse. On the title page, I also inset a small panel with a grassy background and a picture of dairy cattle. This represents the most important business of Castleside Farm, where Pillans canonically worked when he came to Lochfoot and which he inherited in mysterious circumstances after the suicide of the owner's daughter.
13 July 2016 @ 06:16 pm
The reveal for [community profile] myoldfandom took place a couple of weeks ago—and was, indeed, a couple of days late since a last-minute pinch hit was needed. That makes this post more than a little overdue. However, as I was assigned to write for [personal profile] fawatson, who is my sister, and she to write for me (and for the second time this year!), I dare say she'll forgive me. Certainly we both were working on our stories right up to the very deadline, and tweaking afterwards.

Flo wrote me "Big Feet Speak Louder Than Words": a crossover based on two of Janet Kagan's books, Hellspark (which was the one I requested) and Mirabile (which she knows I've also read). Both Tocohl and Maggy were featured, solving an intriguing mystery that took them to Mirabile. It's a delightful story, with spot-on characterization of both of them. In so far as I have a complaint, it's that there isn't more of it.

I wrote her "Jean at the Witching Hour", based on Janet Sandison's series about Jean Robertson.
24 May 2016 @ 10:21 pm
The reveal for the Renault Exchange was this weekend; and I received two gifts. That I had been assigned to write for my sister (and vice versa) was no secret. She always does guess—I say "always" since it has happened before, twice in [ profile] rarewomen and again in [community profile] fic_corner. She is rather better at lying to me than I am to her. However, I've been posting our ITOWverse stories to AO3, which means using her log-in for her stories; and there it was in black-and-white: her sign-up and recipient.

So I wrote a story for her. And she wrote two for me.

My official gift—one can tell from the posting date—is "Bicycle": a series of vignettes, of varying lengths, involving sundry characters from The Charioteer with bicycles, in one fashion or another. Of course, petrol-rationing being in full force, it was a common mode of transportation during the war. This is not a formal "Five Things" story; but it's a similar format.

My treat is "Coach", a charming short story focusing on Hugh Treviss—a minor character from The Charioteer whose fanon existence depends on putting together the "Treviss" who coached Laurie in fencing for the school play and the "Hugh" who was Ralph's best friend at school: canon, certainly; but the references in the book are minimal, though much can be developed from them, in the way fans so adore. Here we get Hugh's impression of Ralph, with intimations of what he may or may not guess.

Flo had prompts for several of Renault's modern novels; but, as I only offered one of them, I naturally wrote to that prompt. She therefore got "A Letter from Abroad", in which Alec writes Sandy about a letter that Ralph has received from Bim, who (uncanonically, but reasonably plausibly, I hope) survived being shot down and was sent to a P.O.W. camp in Germany.

This now also has a page on my website. In a vague sort of way, the background was picked to give an impression of the sea—or the English Channel, I suppose, to be more accurate. For this, unlike the AO3 edition, I was able to separate the two pages of the letter and actually leave a space at the bottom of the first, as Alec says he did. For all its good points (not least of which is that fact that so many exchanges are run through it), AO3 has its disadvantages, too; and formatting can sometimes be a nuisance. Still, your basic prose can usually be cross-posted in a reasonably straightforward way.
25 March 2016 @ 10:31 pm
Dear Author, let me thank you right up front for the story you are going to write. Although you've seen the requests on my sign-up, I know that many people like a bit more to go on than just the prompt. If so, I hope this letter will prove helpful. These fandoms are all dear to my heart. Whatever you write, I'm sure I will love it!

And a bit about my requests.... )
25 March 2016 @ 08:47 pm
It's been a while since I posted a seasonal ficlet to FKFIC-L. However, I had an idea; so "Heat in the Kitchen" was posted in the wee hours, just before I went to bed. A good deal of the day was spent making it a page on my website; and I've just finished posting it to AO3 (so those whose ISP, for some reason, bars access to the webhost can read it there).

I decided to go with a thematic background for the webpage, and worked for a while with the tile I cropped from a screen capture of Natalie's office, doing it in different colours, before selecting a beige version (representing a backsplash). The frame around the story is done in wood tones (cupboards) and a sort of glossy white (formica countertop). I found a suitable wood-coloured divider to use under the title.

The picture after the story was, as usual, cropped from a photo on Wikimedia Commons. It looks delicious; and I'm sure Natalie's own baking was, too.
16 March 2016 @ 11:54 pm
Dear Author, let me thank you right up front for the story you are going to write. I've put some suggestions below. However, if none of those prospects appeals, then I am certainly open to your writing me something different.

On the whole, I'd prefer a story that is more-or-less gen—though that depends, of course, on what characters are included during which period in their lives. I certainly don't want canon ignored; it's more a question of focus. Backstory, missing scene, an exploration of characters often overlooked....

I'd prefer something canon-compliant in terms of setting and characterization. However, as some of my suggestions indicate, futurefic would obviously be okay.

Read more... )
07 February 2016 @ 09:40 pm
I began Yuletide eagerly last fall, with my usual list of potential treats and (seemingly) time to write several of them. Life decided otherwise. I did get my assignment started; but, as my mother's health worsened, I eventually had to admit that there would never be time to finish it, and defaulted.

However, when my mother died a week before Christmas, there was suddenly time to write. Or perhaps that's more accurately time to distract myself with writing. After the holidays were over, though, Real Life had to take precedence. It is only in the last couple of weeks, therefore, that I have finally found time to make webpages for them.

Trumpet St Peter's Angels

My assignment, "Trumpet St Peter's Angels", is a Last Knight story. (Yes: my third in the same year. Chance is odd that way.) My recipient had only one request, for LK fix-it fic.

The result is a story that I can only recommend to those who are trufen. It depends for its effect on your devoted knowledge of Forever Knight (in general) and the finale (in particular). Essentially, it deconstructs the events that lead to the denouement, and "fixes" them as requested. As such, the story is not an overwritten, underplotted melodrama an action-packed tragedy. Rather, it is a character piece with touches of humour.

Basically, if the last line resonates, you'll probably like the story.

The title, of course, comes from Lacroix's speech in the loft. To match it, I picked a ripply, vaguely feathery, gold variant of a background that I got from GRSites, matched with a bronze and silver border around the story. Those who can't access my website can find the story on AO3 in the Yuletide collection, along with comments.

Long is the way and hard

The first treat I wrote was "Long is the way and hard" (on AO3, with comments). This is actually the third in a series of divergent AU stories based on Mary Renault's novel, The Charioteer.

a bit of background )
As it is part of a series, its webpage has the same design that I used on the earlier two stories.

Hobbiton Farm

The last treat, "Hobbiton Farm" (here on AO3, with comments), was written in a flash. Whereby hangs a tale.

Over the last decade or so, the BBC has made a series of series in which a group of historians and archaeologists re-enact life on a farm in an historical period: Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, Wartime Farm, and so on. One of [personal profile] halotolerant's requests was for a story based on this "Historical Farm series". What particularly caught my eye was the conclusion of the prompt:
“Feel free, also, to set a story in ‘AU History’ - if you want them to be farm workers in a pre-industrial setting, it doesn't have to be ‘literally historically accurate 1650’ or whatever, some counter-factual history or setting in a fantasy world like Westeros or Middle Earth or Pern could also be cool!”
A crack idea? Undoubtedly: but best done straight.

Because I'd had the idea early in the fall, back when people had been posting links to their Dear Author Letters, it had been germinating on some level for quite a while. So, when I sat down to write it on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, the words just poured out with hardly any revision required. I uploaded the story shortly before reveals.

For the webpage, I decided that "Hobbiton Farm" needed something subdued and very respectable looking. The rich tapestry-like background graphic comes from; and the border to the panel with the story combines stone and parchment textures. I also made the story a fancy title in a font that looked suitable, and added (at the end) a clip from a Wikimedia Commons photo of the New Zealand "Hobbiton" set.
31 December 2015 @ 05:51 am
I was thrilled to get two gifts for Yuletide this year. One of them is for Janet Kagan's Hellspark, a very rare fandom. The other is for The Charioteer.

"Five Years Later" is a delightful story that pops into the Hellspark world to catch us up on what's been going on. It's the sort of sequel that warms the cockles of a fannish heart! Practically everyone is in it, with their own cameo, as Tocohl and Maggy return to Lassti to revisit the Survey Team and find out how much progress has been made in the intervening years. The story is clearly written by someone who knows the book and the speech patterns of the characters—all the more important, given the significance of language in Kagan's worldbuilding.

There are so few Hellspark fics: it's lovely to have another one. :)

In "Unbreakable Ties", Laurie's mother has unexpectedly died in childbirth, and he has to return to the village to attend her funeral. Although he meets relatives and in-laws he had hoped to avoid forever, he is a couple of years more mature than in The Charioteer, and startled by new insight into their feelings.

My immediate reaction was that the (still anonymous) author must be someone aware that my mother just died. Belatedly, I realized that this need not be so, for it is not a new idea that Lucy might, at her age, be endangered by pregnancy. I'm sure anyone might have chosen such a topic. However, the timing seems significant; and, if it was written by a friend, then it was a most sensitive and kind gift, indeed, and much appreciated.

Thank-you, both of you, whoever you may be! I hope your own gifts were equally satisfying.
19 December 2015 @ 02:07 am
My mother died on 17 December shortly after 11 p.m., exactly one month after her 94th birthday.

My sister Flo and I were with her. For the last hours, we were moved into a separate room so that we would not be disturbed. The ICU at Toronto General is very sensitive to the needs of both family and patient; and we much appreciated it. They had a radio, which we tuned to a classical music station (for my mother generally had music on at home); and Flo and I simply sat and talked, sometimes about our mother's life and sometimes other things, but maintaining a pretty steady chat. As our mother drifted deeper, the sounds that she heard were those of familiar voices and background music, as close as possible to having a nap at home.

She died peacefully in her sleep.
17 December 2015 @ 12:44 am
At the moment, my mother is still alive. Flo arrived at the hospital around 6 p.m. on Tuesday; and, after I updated her on the stroke, spent a short time at the bedside. However, she was very tired from jetlag. So we discussed things, and decided that she would return the following day to spend a few hours, after which we would tell the doctors to take my mother off life support.

This all changed the following morning when, just as Flo was about to leave, the hospital rang to say that our mother had woken up.

Sad to say, although her vital signs were improving and she was conscious, this did not alter the effects of the stroke. As afternoon wore on, it became clear that my mother was aware that she was, as they say, "trapped in her own body". Her left arm has long since been paralysed by the effects of radiation for the cancer she'd had in her late forties; now the right arm is paralysed by the stroke. Furthermore, she several times tried weakly to talk; but, although she seemed to be forming words, Flo could make no sense of them. By afternoon, therefore, our mother was starting to give Flo looks of despair and pleading.

I had gone home to have a nap; but, after I returned in the early evening, I also recognized what my mother was trying to convey. I am sure that she does not want to die; but, for her, this is a fate worse than death.

We have therefore told the doctors that, from now on, she is to receive palliative care only. They, in turn, have told us that they think it is likely that another crisis will occur sometime over the next day or so, for victims of massive strokes often have such complications.

So, for now, we wait.
14 December 2015 @ 09:15 pm
Right now, I don't feel up to adding to the long friends-locked post that I have been adding to for the past couple of weeks. However, for anyone who has been following it:

My mother had a catastrophic collapse this morning. They called Code Blue and resuscitated her; but she is now in the ICU on life support. The prognosis is ... well, poor hardly describes it. She's in critical condition.

Flo has managed to change her flight, and will arrive Tuesday afternoon. Of course, I don't know whether my mother will even survive the night.
24 October 2015 @ 07:29 pm
Dear Author, let me thank you right up front for the story you are going to write. Although you've seen the requests on my sign-up, I know that many people like a bit more to go on than just the prompt. If so, I hope this letter will prove helpful. All these fandoms are dear to my heart. Whatever you write, I'm sure I will love it!

And a bit about my requests.... )
20 October 2015 @ 07:19 am
Not the outcome I would have preferred; but clearly this is the will of the people. It could have been worse, obviously.

Now, of course, they're talking about NDP numbers as if their success four years ago had meant the country truly had begun to trend socialist, making this a catastrophic collapse. (I'm not saying it doesn't feel that way.) However, if one takes an historical perspective, it is sadly clear that (a) they only became the Official Opposition because the Quebecois collectively decided they couldn't bear the thought of voting for the Liberals or Conservatives ... or even the Bloc. And (b) Layton was enormously popular personally, far more than his party ever was.

So the Orange Wave turns out to be a passing ripple. :(

In fact (and this is weirdly true of all the parties), these election results are not unlike the figures of thirty years ago. I mean, I remember when the NDP's winning forty-odd seats would have been a triumph. Hell, I remember my parents squeeing over a mere half dozen or so.

So the numbers in this election are hardly something newly dire. Perhaps it will even result in the party turning from the centre to find its roots again. Mulcair has been excellent in the House; but he—and Layton before him (for all that I, like everyone else, admired the man)—have tried to get votes ... and a mandate ... by becoming a social democratic party rather than the NDP of yore. Or the old CCF that my parents worked for, years before I was born. Before pink turned orange, you might say.

The Liberals have a reputation of running from the left and governing from the right, but—
—if running deficits really does lead to infrastructure investment
—if we get the long-form census reinstated
—if taxes go up for the rich and down for the poor
—if they unmuzzle research
—if (and I really do care about this) we keep getting our mail delivered!
—maybe this time the new broom will sweep clean more than the dirt of the past ten years.

At least we've got rid of Li'l Stevie and his back-up band.
19 October 2015 @ 05:05 pm
Well, now it's a case of wait and see. The polls don't close until 9:30 p.m.; and there won't be results worth bothering with for at least an hour after that. Probably later (though that won't stop the newscasters and pundits from speculating), since it looks as though it's going to be a tight race. Certainly I expect so in this riding.

(If, that is, one can make predictions about such a recarved political landscape. At any rate, this area traditionally see-saws between the NDP and the Liberals, though neither of its recent past incumbents is running in this particular new riding. They're down to the south of us, where another new riding has been created.)

Sadly, it looks as though the best that can be hoped for is a Liberal minority propped up by the NDP. At least the latter is a party experienced at making the most of the opportunity; but it would have been so much nicer to have it be the other way round. (Truth be told, there's good in both platforms; and, if one could pick and choose, raising taxes both on high earners and big business would be better than simply one or t'other.)

The worst, of course, would be another dose of Harper.

It's been an absurdly long campaign; and, at this point, I wouldn't trust any of the polls to predict the outcome. Fingers crossed, though, that the country really does want change, and the Tories don't manage to sneak their way up the middle.
25 September 2015 @ 02:24 am
It's that time of year again: Yuletide nominations are about to open. Is anyone else planning to nominate Forever Knight?

I hope so. With so many characters to pick from, but only four permitted per nominator, it would be good to have at least one other person (even two!), and coordinate our efforts so that we don't waste any slots through duplication.

As it is, I am bewildered which to pick. Nick must be nominated, obviously. Natalie? Lacroix? If I do all three, then I have only one more character I can list.

Some would say that it must be Janette. (Certainly, any Ravenette or Immortal Beloved would insist.) However, there is a good argument for including Schanke or Tracy: Nick is, after all, a detective. With only one slot, though ... which to choose?

Or should I drop either Natalie or Lacroix and put in both of Nick's partners?

(Certainly, I cannot nominate all six characters.)

And then there's Vachon—who has not been the focus of much recent fic, but certainly has his followers. As do Screed and Urs. The three captains. Grace, Divia, Fleur, and Miklos. (The list goes on.)

Perhaps I should go for Nick, Schanke, Screed, and ... Reese? Though whether anyone else would request a Yuletide fic from such nominations is another matter entirely.

If someone is thinking of maybe including Forever Knight in their slate of Yuletide nominations, please could we coordinate?
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.