Dear fanfic writers,

Do you ever stumble across a piece of writing in your draft folder that you had completely forgotten and that amuses you when you discover it after all those years? I saw the other day that, back in 2006, I had written a Slobodan Milosevic*/Harry Potter crossover:

"Whatever happened to Slobodan Milosevic? Mystery crack

Milosevic is dead and on his way to larger-than-life martyrdom. There's nothing like being a criminal - alleged or convicted - and dying under mysterious circumstances to become a martyr. Rumour will have it that he's been poisoned by corrupt Dutch authorities. According to my latest information (radio, half an hour ago), his death was caused by anti-leprosy and anti-tuberculosis drugs which counteracted the effects of his heart medication. However, considering all facts, I can't help but see some parallels and notice some evidence that points firmly into a different direction. South-Eastern Europe? Connection to Kosovo-Albanians? A mother's untimely death? High-security prison? Where have I read all this before?

Let's have a look at this letter exchange:

July 1995

Dear Master-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,

Contrary to all the rumours that might reach you, I have not resigned my strategic position by the side of H. P. because of the threats uttered against me by the escaped convict Black. I have resigned it, because rumours of much more worrying matter has finally made it to Hogwarts: apparently, the region in which you are currently residing is under attack. A maniac who thinks himself fit to challenge the Greatest Wizard of All Times (yourself, Master) is on the war path and attempts to destroy all and everything around him. Including yourself.

I know of course that such rumours are greatly exaggerated, but I have nevertheless decided that I would be of more use at your side than skulking around the Weasley boy's bed. I have therefore set off and am on my way.

Sincerely,

P. Pettigrew

PS. I'm not sending this letter by owl but by wren, as in your present condition an owl might accidentally eat you.



a gust 1995

to: fithfl sssservnt in spe, baartmussss cruoch

havnig hard of ur latst misfortunessss, i hve deciedd to grant u the graet honor of freeng u frmo teh unwrthy cnditoin u hav ben ssssufffring undr. 4 furthr detials rfer to my obdinte sssrvant p.pttetigrw

ur master (exsss & in sssspe)

Lrd vald e mart

ps. plz x-cuse spell.work, hloding qill wehn disssmbodeid fuking hard. LOL!!!11



November 1995

Dear Barty,

I have received the order to inform you that your father is cracking under the strain put upon him by our beloved Master. He spends his evening hours sitting in what I have come to understand was your mother's favourite chair and reliving the story of your escape from Azkaban over and over again. Did you know your mother got the idea of impersonating you from an old school friend from Durmstrang? Apparently, that Mrs. Miloshevich (sp?) faked her own death by hanging, and spent the last 30 years alternately impersonating her son and whispering advice in his ear. It was she who infused him with such hatred against our Master. He has now sent out troops which roam the South-Easter-European forests and kill everything and everyone who looks "foreign" to them. How that Squib could have learned about our Master's whereabouts remains a mystery to me. But at least his trail is now cold. Mua ha ha!

Anyway, we decided it's for the best if your father took it easy from now on and are keeping him locked up in the basement.

Your friend and well-wisher,

Pete"

*Serbian dictator and war criminal responsible for the Bosnian genocide during the Balkan war

I also drafted an idea for an obscure crossover challenge where I brought Emma Woodhouse and Eminem together. (Unsurprisingly, Eminem was introduced to Emma by Mr Frank Churchill. Mr Knightley was not pleased):

Snippet )

So, do you have any weird ficlets lying around that will never see the light of day? Do share!
I'm currently reading Henry Fielding's Tom Jones. And you know what I realised? It's the story of Messrs. Darcy and Wickham growing up together at Pemberley, told from the more interesting character's point of view.

There's the Good Boy. Conscientious, non-troublemaking, obedient to authority (Messrs. Square and Thwackum in Tom Jones' case, his father in Mr Darcy's case), with no inner life or creative spark to speak of, no sense of humour, no particular interest in girls...

And then there's the Bad Boy. "Adopted" by a rich man, undutiful (Tom sells his bible and is friends with the game keeper!), not respectful of his elders and betters, dissipate, too much interest in girls, tries it on with the girl who is out of his league, joins the regiment...

And yet, we know from Tom Jones that nothing is as it seems. I bet George Wickham was not the evil dissolute scoundrel he was made out to be, either. It's not his fault he was charming and had easy manners!
From [livejournal.com profile] florahart:

* Comment on this post.
* I will give you a letter.
* Think of 5 fictional characters and post their names and your comments on these characters in your LJ.


Flora gave me T and it took me long enough to come up with five characters. Here they go:

1. Tigger from A.A. Milne's "House on Pooh Corner". Winnie the Pooh was probably my first fandom. I made my parents read the books to me over and over again, and I knew them by heart by the time I was, oh, four years old. I also replayed vital scenes with my little plastic animal toys, such as the adventure where Tigger and Piglet get stuck in a tree and have to jump down. I spent hours pushing little plastic!Tigger from the back of an armchair onto a handkerchief. Also, I totally imitated Tigger's roar ("Uorauorauora"), which is the thing Pooh hears when Tigger makes his first appearance showing up on Pooh's doorstep at night. However, being too young to be able to produce an "r" sound, the roar came out as "Uoiauoiauoia" instead. It's still being quoted at me as part of our family's conversation canon.

2. Tom Sawyer. A fanboy if ever there was one. I'm pretty sure I used to play "Tom Sawyer" with my friends as a child, and so there was me roleplaying Tom who was roleplaying a pirate or an Injun. There's a meta commentary in there somewhere.

3. Teddy Kent from Lucy Maud Montgomery's "Emily" series. I am not a great fan of Teddy's, but he is a good example to illustrate why I'm not too keen on LMM's romances. I think that her novels could do without squeezing in the soulmate-ish, meant-to-be true love and work perfectly well as young girls' coming-of-age stories. ("Jane of Lantern Hill" does exactly that.) I think that her friendships between girls ring very true and are very touching, but the romances with the boys feel a bit tacked on. The only instance where I got the love vibe between Emily and Teddy was where he rescued her from Mad Mr. Morrison, but apart from that there isn't all that much real interaction between them. Emily speaks of Teddy as of one of her closest friend, but we don't see them being close friends together. We see Emily and Ilse being close.

Teddy and his mother, on the other hand - now there's a story to sink your teeth in.

4. Tiffany Aching. The only female character with a "T" I could think of!

I am as yet undecided on Tiffany. On the one hand, Pratchett writes female characters that I like (he makes them attractive, no-nonsense and independent), on the other hand, Tiffany is not self-absorbed enough for my taste. She's level-headed, rational and sensible - all qualities that I like and admire in real people, but I prefer my fictional characters to be more... I don't know... convinced that theirs is the only right way of acting and thinking? Possessed by the hiver, Tiffany was an interesting character, because she was ruled by her deepest and darkest desires. Non-possessed Tiffany is a bit bland. Also, I didn't particularly like "Wintersmith" and that has probably tainted my view on Tiffany. Let's see how she fares in future books.

5. Tom Lefroy. Strictly speaking, he's not a fictional character, but the Tom Lefroy from "Becoming Jane" very much is. I was surprised and delighted to see that the love interest in the Jane Austen "biopic" didn't resemble the conventional Jane Austen hero, but the Jane Austen anti-hero. The Tom Lefroy in the film is charming, elegant, playful, witty, superficial and a great coxcomb - everything that her anti-heroes are and her heroes are not. I like him a lot. I like the scheming seducer in the Jane Austen novels. And as much as I love BBC's "Pride and Prejudice", I wish they had made Wickham a deeply charming bastard you can't help but love, instead of a slightly creepy lech.
While reading old LJ entries, I came across this:

A long time ago, I made a post about how Remus Lupin = Jane Austen villain. And look what I said:

When I was considering a HP adaptation of "Sense and Sensibility", I settled for the obvious cast of Snape as Col. Brandon (naturally), Sirius as Willoughby and Remus as Edward Ferrars. But this is nonsense. Remus doesn't have any of that moral integrity that is Edward's most striking feature. He should be Willoughby and abandon the girl in an act of self-preservation.

See? I knew it. I knew Remus would run at the first opportunity. And if he and Tonks hadn't died, he would so have abandoned her and Ted some time later - Harry's preaching notwithstanding.

*feels smug*
Seeing as a big part of my data (shows! films!) might be lost, I need something to cheer self up. Fortunately, I made some caps before my disk died, which I can now use to discuss a deeply disturbing fetish:

Anyone who's followed this LJ for a little while might have noticed that I use it primary to talk about my crushes on fictional characters. And apparently, in many instances what gets me crushing is period clothing. - Give the man a cravat and boots, and I'm his.

Case in point )
... or: Is Donna a miserable old crank?

A friend of mine has written a novel and asked me to proof-read it. One of my major quibbles has been the way she handles the romances. For my taste, her romances rely far too much on "love at first sight" and the difficulties are caused by "external obstacles" as opposed to, y'know, your basic doubts and troubles and trust issues and general disfunctionality. But it's difficult to bring that across. If I say: "But these characters don't really know each other! Surely, the authorial voice should acknowledge that?", the author answers: "Oh, but they do! They used to play together as children, and when they met again, many years later, they fell in love instantly." Which I just don't buy.

Generelly speaking, I only buy romance in fiction when it's among equals who have a general idea of what they are doing. It's a very pragmatic approach, but there you go. And the aspect of "equality" is highly important for me.

Take Jane Austen's novels, for example, which I like a lot. Her romances often do not convince me.

"Sense and Sensibility": Col. Brandon falling in love at the age of 36 with a 16-year-old girl, because she reminds him of an old lover? Totally creepy.
"Emma": Mr Knightley falling in love at the age of 28 with a 13-year-old girl and spending the following 10 years forming and shaping her into what he wants his perfect woman to be? Creepy.
"Persuasion": Even though it's my favourite Austen novel, I think that spending eight years pining over someone you knew only for a couple of months in your late teens/early twenties is a bit pathetic.
So, I read the books because I like Austen's charaters and her wit and her criticism on society, but I couldn't care less about whether the girl gets her man or not in the end. I'd be perfectly happy if her heroines remained single.

And there's also the general disfunctionality, which makes me doubt the lasting success of a relationship.

A perfect example for that is the romance between Natalie Holden and Peter Carlisle in Blackpool - even though I do love the show to pieces for many reasons (David Tennant's fabulous wrist-on-headboard action being only one of them). "The love of my life" after only one date? Please. And even if I did believe in love at first sight etc., I still don't believe that Natalie and Peter will be happy together. Peter is not that different from Ripley. He is charming and tender to Natalie, sure, but I am convinced that Ripley was the same when he first fell in love with her. (We get glimpses of tender and gentle Ripley every now and then.) And both men rely far too much on Natalie's following them like a good little girl. Peter freaks out when she dares refuse going away with him and immediately starts abusing her in the worst possible manner. (And I don't care that he loved her and that he was hurt. Saying "I only slept with you to get to your son and Ripley" is just. Not. On.) Natalie herself realises that Peter's "got an eye for weakness". - And he has. And so, even though they are in love, I think that this will work only as long as Natalie doesn't stand up for herself. Just the same as it was with Ripley.

Moreover, I like romance only when it is rooted in a realistic setting, not an idealised one. Take that kiss in "Torchwood", for example:
Captain Jack is dancing with Captain Jack, in the 1940s, in front of a bunch of soldiers, and as sweet the kiss in itself might be, it just doesn't do anything for me. It's so obviously artificial, so created (as opposed to naturally evolved) that I can't identify with the characters' longing and desires.

The same scene works for me perfectly in "Queer as Folk, UK", where Stuart and Vince are dancing together at the wedding. Because there, it is realistic. The authorial voice acknowledges the difficulties, the reactions of the people around them, and I think it's sweet and lovely and very, very sexy. Even though they don't kiss.

In a nutshell: I'm fine with romances as long as they are not idealised. No "love conquers all", no "love at first sight" no "it's us against the rest of the world". Just give them some real difficulties and struggles.

Oh, and: It's not that life has made me callous and sucked any romantic feeling out of me. I've always been like that. I was ten when I read Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe" for the first time, and I commented on Ivanhoe's and Rowena's marriage with: "And after they had been married a while, Rowena would nag at him to empty the rubbish bin, and Ivanhoe didn't, and they had many rows and split up in the end." I wrote this down in my copy of the book, in pencil, and it still makes me laugh.
[livejournal.com profile] ithurtsmybrain issued that challenge that affected my brain badly indeed, and so I started writing an Emma Woodhouse/Eminem fic. I intended it to be a shortish ficlet and to post it straightaway, but it didn't quite work out. Now I'm stuck between giving it up entirely, leaving it short, or taking the story somewhere.

Would any of you like to read it through and advise me to give it up what to do? It's an attempt at the Austen style. I'm agonising about Eminem, because I totally don't know what the man sounds like when not rapping, and I can't have him contribute song lyrics alone even though it's fun. Does anyone know which phrases he uses, apart from "like"?

Here's how it begins )

Apart from that I'm well. No permanent brain damage done yet. Drowning in work at the moment and owing comments aplenty. I will get down to it asap, I promise.
I said so some time ago to [livejournal.com profile] neotoma, commenting on how to write Lupin, whose notorious passive-aggression makes it difficult to see him in action.

Now, I'm in the middle of Jane Austen's "Persuasion", and here's what she's got to say about Mr. Elliot, the resident villain:

His manners were an immediate recommendation; and on conversing with him she found the solid so fully supporting the superficial, that she was at first, as she told Anne, almost ready to exclaim, "Can this be Mr. Elliot?" and could not seriously picture to herself a more agreeable or estimable man.

ETA: quotes cut for length )

Of course, Mr. Elliot turns out to be a lying, manipulative scumbag, whose only goal is to make sure he's not cut out from the legal succession of the baronetsy.

I should take the opportunity to point out that I like the Jane Austen villain. Colin Firth's magnificent smouldering in "Pride and Predudice" notwithstanding, the character bores me to death. Wickham, now, Wickham is fun. His cheerful lies and charming insolence never fail to make me smile. The discrepancy becomes ever more evident in "Bridget Jones" (the movie), where Daniel Cleaver has much better chances to win my, ah, heart than Marc Darcy (here again, Darcy's redeeming feature is Firth's magnificent smoulder). I love Firth's Darcy, mind, but I don't love Austen's Darcy.

In "Emma" in particular I developed a major crush on the anti-hero (Frank Churchill), while Mr. Knightley made me roll my eyes in exasperation. Frank's got charm, style and panache, while all Mr. Knightley's got is integrity. Frankly, I'd rather be entertained. Her villains might be great coxcombs, but at least they're fun.

To come back to Remus: He's got exact that sense of self-preservation and carefully maintained facade that characterises Austen's villains. He lies and sidesteps neatly and is generally pleasant and well-liked. The only one who sees right through him is Snape, which, logically, would make Snape the Austen hero.

When I was considering a HP adaptation of "Sense and Sensibility", I settled for the obvious cast of Snape as Col. Brandon (naturally), Sirius as Willoughby and Remus as Edward Ferrars. But this is nonsense. Remus doesn't have any of that moral integrity that is Edward's most striking feature. He should be Willoughby and abandon the girl in an act of self-preservation. - In fact, this is what Remus does at the end of PoA, when he abandons Hogwarts (and Harry) because his condition becomes known and he finds himself socially stigmatised.
Last week, it took my fancy to read Lucy Maud Montgomery's "Emily" series. I've never really been into the series as a child and have never owned and read the first book, so I hunted it down on the Internet. And then I met Dean Priest.

She heard him say, "My God!" softly to himself. [...] "How can I help you?" said Dean Priest hoarsely, as if to himself. "I cannot reach you--and it looks as if the slightest touch or jar would send that broken earth over the brink. I must go for a rope-- and to leave you here alone--like this. Can you wait, child?"

And then:

Emily knew he had been to college, that he was thirty-six years old--which to Emily seemed a venerable age--and well-off; that he had a malformed shoulder and limped slightly; that he cared for nothing save books nor ever had; that he lived with an older brother and travelled a great deal; and that the whole Priest clan stood somewhat in awe of his ironic tongue. Aunt Nancy had called him a "cynic." Emily did not know what a cynic was but it sounded interesting. She looked him over carefully and saw that he had delicate, pale features and tawny-brown hair. His lips were thin and sensitive, with a whimsical curve. She liked his mouth. Had she been older she would have known why--because it connoted strength and tenderness and humour.

Here, I had to stop reading and drink some cold water. Now, apart from the fact that I've got this insane thin-lips fetish (I'm probably the only person in the fandom who gets actually turned on by Snape's thin lips - instead of ignoring them bravely or explaining them away as being rather pouty, really, once one gets a better look at them. I rather ignore fandom!Sirius' lips being described as "full" and "girly" and - ew! - pink and - ewww! - fleshy.) - who could resist the connotation of "strength and tenderness and humour"?

But within a few paragraphs only, I fell out of love as quickly as I had fallen in. There are some things I do find disturbing, especially when they are voiced in passing and matter-of-factly. Then again, that's probably just me.

Behind the cut, Donna rambles randomly about pedophilia, respect, literary crushes and Snarry vs. Snack, but doesn't talk about men's lips as much as she intended to. )

Whee!

Feb. 9th, 2004 03:04 pm
[livejournal.com profile] scribbulus_ink is setting up a challenge that proves interesting for all those who are even remotely interested in classic literature. I tried to resist temptation for, oh, like two minutes, and then thought, screw it all, who needs a life anyway, I'm in for the fun.

Like I'm sure most of you know, it's all about the adaptation of a piece of classic literature using HP characters. My first choice was Jane Austen: writing Emma Harry Potter style surely has a huge entertainment value. The cast is obvious: Hermione as Emma, with Ron as Harriet and Harry as Mr. Knightley. Brilliant. The minor characters require some thought (Pansy as Mrs. Elton is a bit too cliché), but that's managable. But: I'm not so much interested in writing about Harry's generation. I want adult players.

Sense and Sensibility then. Even more obvious: Alan Rickman, er, I mean Col. Brandon is Snape. Remus is Edward and Sirius is Willoughby. Plain as could be. But, there are no matching female characters. Remus/Hermione shippers could easily cast Hermione as Elinor, but I'm not one of them, and I don't even like Hermione very much. Minerva would be great (and I like to ship her with Remus anyway), but she has to be close to the other female character. And I'm not entirely convinced Snape could seriously pine after Trelawney...

No Jane Austen for me, then. And then it hit me: Tom Sawyer.

Before I had done laughing at the initial idea, my mind had already supplied Tom's cast (I'm not telling!) and I was laughing even harder when I realised how perfect the setting was. Only problem: the season. Tom Sawyer is set in the summer, and I don't want to change that, because the whole novel has such a summery feel to it. It will require some thought on how to twist it to make it fit.

As soon as Tom was settled, Huck Finn made himself oh so obvious, as well. At this point, I was fully satisified and decided to go to bed. However, my mind had even more in store for me and kept supplying the remaining cast (Sid! Oh, Sid is perfect.) as well as plot details (the graveyard episode, the trial, the treasure hunt...), and I know exactly how to introduce the novel to the wizarding world. It just makes so much sense.

Extra bonus: I will have to re-read the book. Haven't done it in ages.

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