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Dear Scribbler (Fic Corner 2019)

Note: A good deal of this text has been largely ported from prior letters, although I have done a bit of editing, polishing, and reorganizing, and there are new and expanded prompts throughout.

Greetings, O Scribbler, and welcome!  And also, thank you!  A number of the following requests run from the moderately to the extremely obscure, and I am more than grateful to anyone who's not only searched out the same odd things that I like but gone to the trouble to add new chapters to these characters' lives.

These letters aren't getting any shorter, so while I've got detailed material farther down, I think it's only fair to give you the list of fandom requests up front.  So, those would be:

* Diana Winthrop series – “Kate Chambers”
*  Kairos (O'Keefe) series –  Madeleine L'Engle (Canon Tallis)
* The Night of the Solstice –  L. J. Smith
* Tom Swift Series IV –  Victor Appleton
* Young Wizards –  Diane Duane (Carmela, Dairine, Harry, Annie)

And we'll put the rest of this under a cut, because it's long:Collapse )

Only a little bit later than promised, here's what I've been doing for the last several months' worth of exchanges:


Mrs. Pollifax and the Irish Expatriate
for [personal profile] genarti 
Fandom: Mrs. Pollifax - Dorothy Gilman
Rating: General Audiences
Words: ~3400
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Emily Pollifax, Carstairs (Mrs. Pollifax), Bishop (Mrs. Pollifax), Grace Hartshorne

On a rare trip not involving an assignment from Carstairs, Emily Pollifax encounters the single person she least expected to meet outside of Brunswick, New Jersey.

This was almost a crossover (and indeed, one commenter very perceptively noted the potential for just such a connection), but the logistics involved in actually staging the necessary scenes proved more complicated than I'd initially thought, and time constraints forced me to scale back.  In hindsight, it may have been just as well; as much fun as it would have been to connect the Pollifax canon to that of Diane Duane's "Young Wizards" universe, it occurs to me that fully integrating the two would almost certainly have ripple effects much more complicated than I'd have been able to deal with in that one story.

But even without the crossover element, I am reasonably satisfied with this one.  I had initially been contemplating a number of other explanations for Grace's background (including the idea that she might have been Emily's guardian angel), but this strikes me as more satisfying than anything else. 


The Kincardine File: Notes from an Untold Case
for [personal profile] scfrankles 
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle
Rating: General Audiences
Words: ~1300
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Mary Morstan, Mycroft Holmes
Additional Tags: Epistolary, Untold Cases of Sherlock Holmes

What it says on the tin – a collection of notes and correspondence from a case for which no full manuscript has been found (almost certainly because Watson thought better of writing this one up for posterity).

This was a pure delight to write, not least because [personal profile] scfrankles has been one of the most dangerously accurate players in the guessing-game stage of Holmestice, and I wanted very much to supply a story that would slip beneath their guessing radar.  I succeeded in that endeavor, and also came up with what I like to think is a reasonably plausible canonical tale (although I slipped in a subtle nod to one of my favorite series of pastiches along the way). 


for [personal profile] lirin 
Fandom: Perry Mason (TV), X-Men (Movieverse), X-Men (Alternate Timeline Movies)
Rating: General Audiences
Words: ~4000
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Della Street, Moira MacTaggert, Paul Drake, Perry Mason, Sebastian Shaw, Original Male Character(s)
Additional Tags: Secrets

Don’t get me wrong," said Moira MacTaggert, " but if your boss really wanted to make a deal with Shaw, he’d have brought a whole other sort of professional girl with him. "

"Yes, well," said Della Street, "we shared our report with the local Treasury authorities. And if Paul Drake had run into you anytime during that investigation, Mr. Mason and I would have heard about it in Technicolor detail.”

This took the longest to come together of any of this year's exchange stories; I was contemplating various other prospective crossover plots involving different sets of fandoms until very late in the game.  But once I'd rewatched X-Men: First Class, I concluded fairly quickly that I wanted to do something with Moira and Della -- at which point it took a good bit of further brainstorming to work out just what Della's mutant ability might be.

As with the Holmestice story, I also threw in a really subtle Easter egg, this one so small and tangential that it pretty much matters only to me.  (If you're curious, here are your clues: consider the relevance a carbon-refraction process might eventually have to paleontologic research, and then look for a subsequent generation or two of Mercers in a totally different fandom featuring dinosaurs....)


A Little Self-Knowledge
for [personal profile] desertvixen 
Fandom: Nancy Drew - Carolyn Keene
Rating: General Audiences
Words: ~1600
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Nancy Drew & Eloise Drew
Characters: Nancy Drew, Eloise Drew
Additional Tags: College, Family

Eloise Drew grinned. “You’re right, of course; the ‘idle rich girl’ life doesn’t suit either one of us. But you haven’t exactly been idle – and you don’t need a degree to sleuth. So why college now, Nancy?”

So, my match on Fic Corner this year happened to be to the same recipient I drew for Crossovering last year...and in both cases, the primary matching fandom was Nancy Drew.  In some respects, this story resembles a five-things story I did for Alexis Castle in the Castle fandom a number of years back, but the context is significantly different (although the Drews and the Castles have suspiciously similar taste in restaurants).  Obviously, being an exchange story, I couldn't establish any overt connection between the two stories on the initial posting, but as I noted later in comments, there's nothing specifically inconsistent between them -- and so now I've formally made a series to include the two works.  [One notable feature of this one involves some back story on Nancy's mother, further amplified in a subsequent comment.]


Astute readers will notice that there are four stories called out in this post, whereas there are six in the prior listing of gifts.  This is because, despite the best intentions, I ended up defaulting late in the game for Remix Revival -- a combination of unusually busy Life circumstances and a complete failure of muse on my part.  The latter rather surprised me; despite a great range of worthwhile choices, nothing whacked me over the head and said "remix me!"  So I bowed out of that one.  (I also did not finish an Into A Bar story within that challenge's designated window, though I do have a Plan for that one and hope to complete it eventually.)

The last half of 2018 went by entirely too fast, and I am just now attempting to dig out from under the backlog of Things I Ought To Have Posted.

Chief among these are thanks for several exchanges' worth of gift fics, and in the interests of efficiency, we're going to do this all at once. (On the plus side, there is a whole lot of really good reading in these, probably more than I deserve....)


The Birds in Bloomsbury
by Jay Tryfanstone
Fandom: The Ice Ghosts Mystery - Jane Louise Curry
Rating: General Audiences
Words: ~4000
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply, Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Molly Bird, Mavis "Mab" Bird, Peregrine "Perry" Bird, Ariel "Oriole" Bird, Gabriel Lanz, Professor Jeffrey Bird
Additional Tags: London, Bloomsbury, 1970s, The Exchange at Fic Corner 2018, pinch hit

Wreaking cheerful familial havoc on some unsuspecting foreign metropolis: the Birds in London.

This was my gift for Fic Corner; the source fandom is a one-off YA mystery novel with SFnal overtones (think a sort of cross between L'Engle's Austin and Murry/O'Keefe novels and the Happy Hollisters), and the new story captures the original characterizations beautifully while transplanting them to a vividly authentic London setting. I was and am absolutely delighted, and I think this is more or less readable as a stand-alone.


The Stakes (take two remix)

by Nadler
Fandom: Valdemar series - Mercedes Lackey; Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Words: ~1800
Warnings: Creator chose not to use archive warnings
Characters: Kethry (Valdemar, Tarma shena Tale'sedrin, Buffy Summers
Additional Tags: crossover, remix

Buffy in Valdemar, take two.

This was done for this year's Remix Revival, considerably expanding a triple-drabble I'd done for a challenge community on LiveJournal back in the day, and the author did an excellent job of capturing the wry fish-out-of-water tone of the original while amplifying very neatly on Tarma's and Kethry's take on the whole affair. Because so much of what I write involves crossovers, I tend to be hard to match in the remix world, but I have been immensely pleased to date with what others have managed to do with my work where remixes are concerned.


The King Under The Mountain
by rthstewart
Fandom: Agent Carter (TV), Indiana Jones Series
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Words: ~9500
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Peggy Carter, Henry "Indiana" Jones, James Montgomery Falsworth, Jim Morita, Gabe Jones, Jacques Dernier, Timothy "Dum Dum" Dugan
Additional Tags: World War II, Nazis, Crossover, MCU-Indiana Jones level references to torture

The War in Europe is finally ending. Doctor Indiana Jones and Agent Peggy Carter have to make sure it stays that way. They'll need ravens, a flute and a sack of grain (or maybe a bottle of 1935 Chateau Latour Pauillac).

I got this story for Crossovering, and it is a wonder and an epic and a hoot-and-a-half. The folklore, the characters, and the cinematic texture are all spot-on (and as noted in the story's comment-stream, we got what's very nearly a movie poster for the story elsewhere in the exchange). The movie version of this is absolutely a thing that should exist.


Bright Sons of the British Empire: an examination by an impartial Uncle John Watson
by Keenir
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes & Related Fandoms
Rating: General Audiences
Words: ~1100
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Irene Adler/Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes & John Watson, Sherlock Holmes & OC
Characters: John Watson, Sherlock Holmes, OC child
Additional Tags: Epilogue, Coda, AU, ...your mileage may vary, Christopher Lee's Holmes films

"Imagine it, Watson - a son!" - Sherlock Holmes & the Leading Lady
Some of the possible sons that Watson can imagine Holmes having.

One of the two pieces written for me in the recent Holmestice round, inspired (as the summary indicates) by a line from one of two gorgeous films starring Christopher Lee as Sherlock Holmes. This was thoughtful, and unconventional, and fascinating, and illustrates the immense variety of creative work that the Holmestice exchanges generate, especially from some of the lesser-known Holmesian source material.


By the Seaside
by Luthienberen
Fandom: Murder by Decree (1979)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Words: ~3300
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Additional Tags: Minor Angst, Fluff and Humor, Friendship, Slice of Life, Christmas

After unveiling the sordid conspiracy behind the Jack the Ripper killings, Holmes decides what he and Watson need is a holiday from London and where better than spending Christmas by the seaside?

The second Holmestice gift I received, also inspired by a lesser-known but first-rate Holmes movie (this one starring Christopher Plummer as Holmes and James Mason as Watson). This one is light and amusing, mostly (but not entirely) in counterpoint to the lurid, dark qualities of the movie (one of the several that pits Holmes against Jack the Ripper), but it's exactly that lightness that makes the characterizations resonate with those of the original film. Also, there's a quality guest star turn from an elegant black cat that has particular if highly coincidental resonance for me personally.


Return Home, Return to Yourself
by Musyc
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series, Uhura's Song
Rating: General Audiences
Words: ~1400
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Rushlight to-Vensre
Additional Tags: Future Fic, Homecoming, Returning Home, Musicians, Yuletide 2018

Rushlight has enjoyed his travels, but he misses his world and his people. He's been away from home for too long.

And finally, this year's Yuletide gift to me, a particularly vivid and well-done character moment for a fascinating secondary character in one of my half-dozen very favorite Star Trek novels of all time.  Like Kagan's original story, this one is notable in recognizing some of the things that make aliens, well, alien -- and yet no less wonderful for their differences.


Whoof.  That will do for tonight, I think - with luck, sometime tomorrow we'll get to my contributions to all of these.

Still absurdly behind...

 ...but wow, is there a wealth of wonder in the current round of [community profile] holmestice !  Mind, I can't be too specific in my praise just yet (so that when it comes time to guess who wrote what, people will credit me with various things I dearly wish I actually did write). But if Sherlockian pastiche is your jam, I highly recommend checking out the current run of stories.

Also, I have *two* stories waiting for me--so someone has written me a treat this round!  


A note to CBS All Access:

Do not advertise the ability to livestream the Tony Awards if you are not, in fact, going to allow your West Coast viewers to livestream the Tony Awards.  (On the other hand, judging by the clip of the opening number, Josh's and Sarah's hearts are in the right place, but neither their writers nor their execution are a match NPH's and/or Corden's energy.)
Herewith a quick signal-boost for an annual project from one of my favorite broad-spectrum fanfic writers:

[personal profile] jedibuttercup runs a "Wishlist" prompt fest every year at this time in which she accepts 24 prompts for stories (av. 500 - 3000 words) in the top tier of the broad range of fandoms with which she's conversant.  This includes the MCU [movies only; not the various TV shows], the Buffyverse, Leverage, Star Wars, and several other medium-to-large movie and TV series fandoms; for a fuller list, check out the link I'm about to give you.  In past years, this list has filled up in a day or so; for some reason, this year there are slots to spare, and it's always been a completely open exercise -- there are no pre-requisites to offering a prompt except reading and abiding by the overall rules, which are straightforward and not at all complex.  It should be noted here that[personal profile] jedibuttercup is even more of a crossover hound than I am (and extremely good at pulling off unlikely crossover premises, although that's not -- or at least not entirely -- what drives the Wishlist fest). 

Here's the post announcing and collecting prompts for the current round, which as I type this has seven slots left.  (I am writing and linking this on the DW side; there are, however, corresponding LJ posts if that's where you live online.)

Yes, I'm signed up for Holmestice and Yuletide, so of course it's a good time to dust off the 15-characters meme again....

I've made a list of fifteen (15) characters from a variety of fandoms.  Your job is to ask questions about various combinations of these characters (examples: What secret past do #8 and #14 share?  What if #2, #6, and #9 went on a road trip?  If #5 and #10 were having dinner, who invited who?), which I'll do my best to answer.

Once we've accumulated sufficient questions, I'll compile the results and make a new post or posts incorporating all the Qs and As -- this way, the Dreamwidth and LiveJournal readerships both get to see all the collective wackiness. (And there's still enough variance between the two lists that this is likely to be worth the crosspost.)

Different practitioners of this meme make different sorts of lists.  My approach tends to involve recruiting from as many different sources as I can possibly manage (in this instance, 14 unique fandoms are represented).  Thus, queries are extremely likely to produce Improbable Crossover Theater for various -- and sometimes really weird -- values of "improbable".  Management will do its best to respond to all queries posed, but reserves the right to designate some results Just Too Bizarre To Contemplate.

Let the game begin!

Yuletide 2017: Dear YuleScrivener

Note: A good deal of this text has been largely ported from prior letters, including a couple of recurring requests – although I have done a bit of editing, polishing, and reorganizing in some places, and there are new and expanded prompts throughout.

Greetings, O YuleScrivener, and welcome!  And also, thank you!  Where Yuletide is concerned, I am nothing if not a Requester Of The Seriously Obscure.  Thus I am always amazed when the technomancy of the matching process succeeds in finding a writer who shares my appreciation for said obscurity, and delighted on Christmas morning when a wonderful and wondrous story from that writer's (metaphorical) pen lands in my AO3 gift-folder.  We may just be setting out on this year's journey, but I know there's a happy ending to come, and I am grateful for it already.  Your work is (and will be) appreciated and valued, and I look forward to seeing its fruits.

These letters aren't getting any shorter, so while I've got detailed material farther down, I think it's only fair to give you the list of fandom requests up front.  So, those would be:

* Diana Winthrop series – “Kate Chambers”
* Gargoyles (TV) (Demona, Elisa, Macbeth, Titania | Anastasia)
* The Ice Ghosts Mystery - Jane Louise Curry (any)
* Young Wizards - Diane Duane (Carmela, Dairine)

General likes and dislikes

Feel free to wander backward through this journal and my fic on AO3 (linked to your left) to get an idea of my interests; what I write is very much also what I like to read – and has, over time, added up to rather a variety of fandoms. My past Yuletide letters (and those for other exchanges) are tagged "dear santa" herein; see the "Yuletide" tag too, if you like.

To summarize, though: text-driven pluses for me include effective use of wit (aka banter aka snark, etc.), as well as strong characterization & dialogue. I value both respect for and clever use of canon (including well-developed AUs -- the plot-driven kind, not the baristas/highschoolers/alt-species kind). I thrive on UST (heavy on both U and T), and am neutral where gen/het/slash is concerned; if the pairing is well-developed, I'll read with an open mind.

I am also a sucker for the well-executed crossover, whether via oblique allusion or head-on fandom collision. Yuletide being Yuletide and Optional Details Being Optional, I have absolutely no expectations along this line...but I have included an EXTREMELY OPTIONAL BONUS POINTS section in each of my requests, because I live in hope, and because I can’t resist this sort of opportunity.  Take these in the spirit in which they’re given, or set them aside as you prefer.

None of my requests call specifically for mature/explicit content.  This doesn't mean I don't appreciate sizzling erotica/smut/porn; it's just that my fanfic-reading interests and my e/s/p-reading interests mostly don't tend to intersect.  That said, if your muse happens to take you into explicit territory in the context of one of these requests, I'm generally willing to follow along for the ride.  I have few outright personal squicks save for noncon, incest, or adult/child kinks so long as a given relationship is age- and canon-appropriate.  

Character matching and prompts

Where I request single characters is not because I'm opposed to relationship-fic or multi-character stories – far from it. My goal is to give you greater flexibility in introducing additional characters, whether from those nominated or from wider canon. Even where I supply relatively specific prompts in a request, I want you to be able to shape the story; my suggestions are meant as springboards, not outlines.

I have typically requested single characters most often in past years; this year is an exception (two “any” requests, one list of four, one list of two).  Where I've requested specific characters, I've given a note in each request indicating what I’m looking for in terms of meeting the prompt.  Either way, you're absolutely encouraged to bring in any additional canon characters (or OCs) you feel should be involved given the demands of your plot.

#### SPECIFIC REQUESTS ####Collapse )

And in other non-news....

[eyes rec post]

[eyes shopping post]

[shakes head bemusedly]

At least now we know what people are reading the journal for....


Oh, I know, it's not a valid comparison -- with story posts, such response as there is shows up on the story page (or is supposed to, at any rate).  Nonetheless, I am amused to observe that the Thinkgeek post represents the most comment traffic on a single entry that this journal has had in years.  Clearly I need to re-think my posting strategy.
Remix Revival is live!  I can't tell you what I wrote yet (anonymity, you know), but I can tell you that I was remixed by a Super Genius (probably not the actual Wile E. Coyote, but one can't be too sure nowadays).  The work below takes a bit of whimsy I put together for "Into A Bar" a couple of rounds back, and cranks both the crack-o-meter and the hey-this-is-good-o-meter up to C-11. 

[puzzled reader voice] "C-11"?
[Foghorn Leghorn voice] "That's a joke, son!" 
Which you will totally get if you read the story.

Needless to say, I am delighted.  And have been chuckling all day.

The Super Genius Caper (The "Left Turn at Albuquerque Caper" Remix) (7650 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Castle, Gargoyles (TV), Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, Looney Tunes | Merrie Melodies
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Words: ~7650
Relationships: Kate Beckett/Richard Castle
Characters: Victoria Gates, Richard Castle, Carmen Sandiego, Kate Beckett, Wile E. Coyote, Zack (Carmen Sandiego), Goliath (Gargoyles), Elisa Maza, The Chief (Carmen Sandiego)
Additional Tags: Crossover

As he hung suspended from an ACME branded rope, Castle's first thought was to hope it was something Carmen had stolen from the detective agency... and not one of the coyote's oft ill-fated purchases. (Seriously, did ole Wiley never read Consumer Reports? Or Amazon reviews? Or the Darwin Awards?) His second thought, as the Gargoyle's stone skin began to crack in the fading light, was to wonder how he'd ever explain this to Beckett.

Root beer, A&W, cold....

Being a properly qualified member of geekdom, I have on a handful of occasions ordered things from ThinkGeek.  Most notably, I ordered one of the "con edition" Bags of Holding almost instantly after their initial release, and it's still in my regular rotation of messenger-like bags.

And then, early last week, I got email from ThinkGeek announcing their first Oregon store.  On one hand, it's in a shopping center all the way over on the opposite side of the metro area from my abode (which is somewhat less centrally located than it was at this time last year).  On the other hand, the grand opening was on one of my days off, and this was after all ThinkGeek....

By bus and light rail, this turned out to be a trip of a bit under two hours.  And there was an actual line to get in (the crowd being good-sized, and the store's square footage relatively modest).  But there were also Imperial stormtroopers, and some other cosplayers, and small bits of swag, and interesting geeky things to look at.  And I may now have a set of coasters that look like Star Trek transporter pads, complete with blinky lights and sound effects.  (Fortunately, there's a mode for "blinky lights only"; otherwise, your glass makes transporter noises every time you pick it up and put it down.)  Now if the next release will just include a working replicator function, so it will actually refill the glass of root beer on demand....

The trip was also justified by the discovery that the B&N at the other end of the mall had significant markdowns on a large selection of their genre DVDs...and I have a B&N membership/discount card.  Thus, among other things, I now have the first season complete-series set for Class, the Doctor Who spinoff, in my stack of things to get around to watching eventually.

Meme: 15 Movies

Borrowed from

[personal profile] sharpest_asp, because of course I ought to be working up a couple of exchange signups:

Here are 15 quotes; your job is to guess the movies from which they come.  (For extra style points, identify the actor or character who's speaking.)  A couple of notes on this list, which may or may not be of help: purely for amusement value, I sorted the list alphabetically by film title.  The films date from 1965 to 2015; five are musicals, two are Westerns, and three are Disney movies (by which I mean originated by Disney proper, not from franchises acquired by Disney over time).  All were theatrical releases, although one in particular was an indie project with a narrow distribution window in its initial run.  OTOH, that one also had a couple of other lives on cable and DVD (I bought my disc at a local supermarket/dept. store chain), so it's not hopelessly obscure, only partially so (and worth looking up, IMO).

#1: “I guess a curse just ain’t what it used to be, huh, sir?”


#2: “Throwing insults into the mix will not do anyone any good.”

#4: “There goes the 12:20.”
      “At 12:20.  What a terrible time to break a perfect record.”

#5: “He’s altogether a marvelous man.  And he understands the Irish.”

#6 “...there’s a big ostrich-looking dragon chewing on the Chrysler Building, and every tree in Central Park is eating people!”

#7: “You can’t be a leprechaun; you’re too tall!”

#9: “This entire band is under arrest.  You’re confined to quarters until further notice.”

#11: “...there had been abuse in my family, but it was mostly musical in nature.  My father used to lock me away in a room with nothing but the Percy Faith recording of Bim Bam Boom, and then send me to bed with nothing but dessert.”

#13: “Four. The only permissible recorded music shall be the following: Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, Jack Jones, the marches of John Philip Sousa or The Star-Spangled Banner.”

#14 “Dave, you should run.”

#15: “How do you think people responded to the prospect of imminent doom? They gobbled it up like a chocolate eclair! They didn't fear their demise, they repackaged it!”

## Solved ##


XX - [personal profile] sharpest_asp (Batman) • #3: “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”

XX - [personal profile] malkingrey  (The Great Muppet Caper) • #8: “It’s exposition, dear; it has to go somewhere.”

XX - [personal profile] sharpest_asp  (Maverick)  • #10: “Now I’ll bet I can change your mind.  I promise that I will lose for at least an hour.”


XX - [personal profile] sanguinity   (Murder By Decree) • #12: “You squashed my pea.”


LiveJournal side: new ToS

A degree of fuss shows up, not surprisingly, as LJ updates its terms of service with new language [specifically, Russian(!)].  As I observed last time around, I am not inclined to panic unduly about that in itself, although I admit to a degree of startlement at having to agree to be bound by an agreement in a language I don't understand and can't read.

However, one observer points out a clause that makes my writer-persona's eyebrows go up:

If User participates in any rankings or if User’s Content is used in any editorial projects of the Service, User provides to the Administration an additional authorisation to modify, shorten and amend his/her Content, to add images, a preamble, comments or any clarifications to his/her Content while using it, and in certain cases based on the Service functions, an authorisation to use User’s Content anonymously.

Essentially, their observation (which I think is valid) is that this amounts to a license  not just to re-use anything one has posted to one's LJ account,  but to rewrite and alter it as they see fit without permission or credit to the original writer -- including fanfic, for instance.  Now, ToS agreements often include a non-exclusive license to republish content, but the rewrite-and-modify aspects of the language are rather more sweeping than I've seen in most ToS language...and also, this is written under Russian law, and I wouldn't want to bet on Russian copyright protection being as robust as it is in the US and UK, for instance.

I would very much like to see the OTW legal team comment on this provision. In the interval -- on one hand, I'm not leaving LJ *yet*, and I don't intend to delete anything I've posted to LJ as yet (I don't think it's likely that the Russian Overlords will reach backward into LJ's archives for drabbles).  But I do not think that, under the new ToS, I'm going to be willing to post or crosspost new fanfic on the LiveJournal side, and I would encourage others to think carefully before doing so.  (Holmestice participants, I am definitely looking at you!)

By popular demand, this is that post....

Well, for relative values of "popular", anyway.  At any rate, some observations on the new live-action iteration of Disney's Beauty & the Beast:

First and foremost, this is very much its own movie -- although it's spun from the same root, the fabric of this narrative is distinct from what you've seen in the animated version and/or stage production.  (I have seen the stage version -- specifically, the first national touring production, which inherited some of its cast from the original Broadway run.  I also own the Broadway cast album for the show, as well as a set of CDs including not just the animated soundtrack, but additional developmental material by Ashman and Menken.)

Think of it this way: the animated feature is essentially Belle's story -- she is the primary focus around whom everyone else orbits.  It's the closest of the three to a pure romance, and the one of the three that really acknowledges the passage of time as the central relationship develops (compare "Something There" in each version, and you'll see what I mean).  By contrast, in the stage version, it's Lumiere who's at the center of things -- it's his musical presence and status as nominal host that focuses the action, particularly in the second half of the show, driven in part by the expanded attention given to the Beast's houseful of transformed servants (notably in the long number surrounding "Human Again").

This shifts again in the live-action movie: this time, it's Gaston who's chief catalyst and motivator.  It's Gaston, much more of a direct threat much earlier on than we've previously seen, who propels Belle and Maurice into the events that lead them to the Beast's castle.  In this version, what happens to Maurice and to Belle is in significant part driven by Gaston's active antagonism, and likewise the Beast's actions are driven in part -- if less overtly -- by Gaston's influence.  This is an altogether nastier, darker, more knowingly Evil Gaston than he's been before, and the whole movie is colored by that difference.

Which is not to say that all is dark and grim and moody, because it's not.   "Be Our Guest" and the post-climax grand ball are still spectacular, the banter between Lumiere and Cogsworth is still delicious, and Kevin Kline injects some wonderfully dry wit into Maurice's character.  Indeed, this is a more character-driven film than either of its prior counterparts -- we get more back story for all of the principals, including additional songs for Maurice and the Beast (in fact, very little music is borrowed from the stage musical).  There is also some further context for the spell and its effects, with ramifications that are likely to generate a good deal of fanfic.

All in all, I liked the movie a great deal.  Ironically, the one area where it doesn't quite sparkle is the singing, which just can't quite compete with the iconic performances from the animated original (although the live version of "Gaston" comes close).  Don't get me wrong -- it's mostly very good, just not really at the level of either of its predecessors.

There has to be a story here....

 I  had originally planned to see Skull Island today, but matinee showtimes worked out to make Beauty & the Beast a better fit. (I definitely recommend the new version, but this is not that post.)

No, this is the post about the trip home again on the bus, and the trio of teenagers who occupied  the seats across from  mine. There were two girls, one with dark hair and washed-to-almost-white denim jeans, the other not quite blonde with a black skirt  and top plus white sweater.  Their companion was a young man with neatly waved wheaten hair and pale grey jeans. All in all, not quite clean-cut enough to be Mormons on mission, but considerably more tame of dress than one tends to see in the weekend bus-riding teen population out here in the burbs....

...except that one of them was carrying  a small rectangular shopping bag clearly labeled and striped as coming from...

...wait for  it...

Victoria's Secret.

And it wasn't either of the girls.

And what I realized only just now: there is no Victoria's Secret  in the shopping center where we all boarded that bus.

Clearly there's a story here, but I am not at all sure what it is.


This is a fanfic journal. I'm interested in a wide variety of fandoms as well as in meta- and theoretical discussions; see my interests list for specific fandom categories. Comments, critiques, recs, reviews, and the like are always welcome.


July 2019



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