Category Archives: Quick Fic

Friday Quick Fic: Mattress Topper

mattress topper

Sometimes something silly just falls out of my head and onto the page.  Thats where this little Friday Quickfic came from.

I was thinking about silly writing prompts and, having watched the epsiode of ‘Lewis’ which involves Lewis having a bad back, forcing him to buy an orthopedic mattress, I wondered if I could get anything out of ‘orthopedic mattress’ as a prompt.

I know, I know.

Its a bit obvious, right?

Anyway, I hope it makes you laugh.  You can read it here, at AO3.

Happy Creating,

EF

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New Fiction: Giraffe in Lipstick

Rocky-Horror-Picture-Show-Lips_1438789042_crop_550x299

Its the usual thing.  Getting out of my own way.

I don’t have writers block.  I never have a paucity of stories whirling in my head.  Usually I have four or five.

No, the problem I have is getting out of my own way to write them down.  Lately I have taken to opening random unfinished stories in my fanfic files and finishing them off, just for the sake of releasing some creative steam.

‘Giraffe in Lipstick’ is the product of one afternoon’s wrestling with the brick wall I had built around my muse.  I wrote the start of it last year, but then it sat there, gathering digital dust, until the other day I found it, re-read it, and the second half just popped into my head.  Its silly and thin, but I think its fun, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.

You can find it here at Ao3, and here at ff.net.

Happy creating,

EF

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New Fiction: Two Turtle Doves

Inspektor Lewis (Kevin Whately) und sein Kollege Sergeant Hathaway (Laurence Fox) fragen sich, wie ein Mord an einem Oxforder Professor mit der Staatssicherheit der ehemaligen DDR zusammen hŠngen kšnnte. Honorarfrei - nur fŸr diese Sendung bei Nennung ZDF und Robert Day

Kevin Whately as  Lewis and Laurence Fox as Hathaway in ITV’s drame ‘Lewis’.

I’ve been ridiculously obsessed with wingfics lately, most particularly with the exceptional story, ‘Jacob and the Angel’ by ComplicatedLight.

This is a little morsel I created, inspired by that fic.

“He’d kept his secret so long.  Nursed it like a baby.  He’d come to hate having to lie to Lewis.  The man was his friend.  More than a friend.  The man who knew him better than anybody ever had, or ever would.  James was under no illusions about his feelings for his boss, even though he knew they could never be reciprocated.  He knew that time, and what had been mostly his own mistakes, had strengthened the tie between them to tempered steel.  No matter how strong it might be, though, there were some things that could not be overlooked.  He had lied to Lewis.  Even if it was by omission, it was still a lie.  And he knew that Lewis would be deeply wounded to realise that James had not shared with him this, his last, his deepest secret.”

To read ‘Two Turtle Doves’ click here for AO3, and here for FF.net.

Happy Creating,

EF

New Friday Fic

IMG_20150715_183452A second addition to the ‘Departures’ series.

I was humming and hahing about publishing this one, but then my lovely fangirl niece Amelia said I shouldn’t bottle out because I’m afraid of criticism, so, having honestly accepted that I am rubbish at the vulnerability required to receive crit, I slapped this one on AO3 and am hoping for the best.

Light blue touch paper and retire, as the firework instructions go.

A little taster:

         “For two days he carried the man in his heart, the letter in his backpack, trudging along the Way across the mountains and ravines of north eastern Spain, trying to pray, trying to concentrate on God.

            God never had a look-in when He was up against Robert Lewis.”

You can read the full story here on AO3.

Happy Creating,

luv EF

Friday Quickfic: Juggling Knives

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox promo shot for ITV's 'Lewis' series.

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox promo shot for ITV’s ‘Lewis’ series.

Last week, I gave you ‘Cooking Breakfast’, a little insight into the intimacy between Robbie Lewis and James Hathaway. This week, I have finished the companion piece to that – told from James’ point of view:

“I’m chopping mushrooms, dancing between hob and chopping board, cha-cha-cha. Paper white flesh of fungus. He says mushrooms have no place in a fry-up, but I haven’t noticed him complaining much these days when I put his plate in front of him. Just looks up at me with those twinkling eyes, and I melt. Bastard knows it, too. He can do anything, and then look at me like that, and I’m putty in his hands.

I’m not complaining.”

You can read it here at AO3.

Happy Creating, And a Happy Valentine’s Day to you all,

love,

EF

Exhausted and Overwrought – and Deleting ‘Not So Innocent’

Following mature and thoughtful discussion in the comments section of my last post, I’ve decided to take ‘Not So Innocent’ off AO3.  The whole thing has upset me too much, especially since we are now facing a new personal crisis in RL.  Its just not worth it.

Right now, I don’t want to publish a fanfic ever again.  I just can’t face it.  I’ll get over that, I suppose.  I always do.  I certainly don’t want to spend today writing, as I had planned.

I want to say something erudite about the way women are treated by society, but I just don’t think I can.  I’ll just say this:

Jimmy Saville’s victims number in the hundreds.  More come out every day.

Accusations are now filtering out about not just sexual and physical abuse, but children being killed as part of sex parties by a ring centred in Westminster in the 70s and 80s.

Bill Cosby’s career is in freefall after accusations of rape.

Rotherham.

Birmingham.

Rochdale

Oxford

Telford

Syria and Iraq

Boko Haram

Women being executed for bringing ‘shame on their families’ by being the victim of rape.

Just about every photoshopped photograph in every glossy magazine published anywhere in the world.

Every diet company that preys on women’s poor self image.

Gala Darling’s recent revelations

Every girl who’s afraid to walk down her own street at night, but thinks the only way to be acceptible to her peers is to go out scantily dressed on a Friday night and get so drunk she can’t even stand, let alone take care of herself and keep herself safe.

Every boy who thinks that when a girl says no, she means ‘yes’ because she’s ‘playing hard to get’.

Every person who judges me because I don’t have children, or because I let my hair grow grey, because I’m not behaving like a ‘proper’ woman.

My husband’s 86 year old aunt, who weighs no more than 6 stone, telling me her thighs are fat.

And the fact that the acceptance of abuse is so ingrained in both my mind and yours that often we don’t even notice it.  Because I certainly didn’t.

EF

 

An Essay on Prammage*, or How Not to Take Your Own Advice About Adverse Criticism

*Prammage: noun, colloquial.  The act of throwing one’s toys out of the pram;  going off in a flounce or a sulk; a passive-aggressive act of self-harm or self-sabotage in response to not getting one’s own way; see also ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’.

I was going to write you a lovely blog post about playing with language today, but events have taken an interesting turn, and I wanted to share them with you.

On Monday 17th November I posted a Lewis fanfic called ‘Not So Innocent’ that I’d had hanging around on my hard disk for a while.  It was written as a quickfic, and I found it again, and thought it was funny, so I decided to post it as a quickie and didn’t think much about it.  Being a Lewis fic, it didn’t get masses of attention, because the fandom is relatively small, but the person I posted it for as a gift liked it, and that seemed all that mattered.

This morning, Wednesday 19th November, I woke up to vicious criticism on both FF.net and AO3 for the story.  The reviewer basically accused me of condoning and inciting sexual harrassment and rape.

Hmm.

This didn’t go down too well with me, since I have been victim of both sexual harrassment and abuse.

I am also not in a good place at the moment, and my response to this unexpected attack was to delete the story on both AO3 and FF.net.  I have never written a dub-con or non-con story and I wouldn’t.  It disgusts me.  I have written quite aggressively dark stories that include child abuse and public humiliation sex, but which explore the psychological wounds that underly and result from them.  For anyone to accuse me of condoning sexually abusive behaviour was just too much.

I can’t be arsed.  I’ve got too much other shit going on in my life to bother with making myself a target for such oversensitive extreme-feminist bull.

As far as I was concerned, the reader had simply not identified the subtext which runs through the story, which is that all participants know exactly what is going on, and are party to it, an irony from which the humour is supposed to arise.

Obviously I didn’t make that subtext clear enough, I realised, as I stomped off to the bathroom to shower.  (I do most of my thinking and story planning in the shower.)  And then I really got to thinking:

Was my own experience of sexual harrassment at work being a ‘normal’ part of a woman’s career colouring my work?

FULL DISCLOSURE:  I have been on the receiving end of some serious acts of sexual harrassment in my younger days (before I lost my looks, haha!).  It was regarded with a shrug as something that went on.  Indeed, at some level, ‘Not So Innocent’ must draw on the experiences I had as a young academic at a number of conferences.

At one, I allowed myself to be seduced by an older man who was also the leader of a rival project.  He was charming and intelligent, and I was lonely and desperate for comfort.  It later transpired that he was only interested in me because he thought he could extract from me details of what our project was doing.

And this is where the question of consent comes in.  We had fully consensual sex that night, but it turned out that we were consenting to two different things.  I thought I was consenting to beginning an intimate relationship with long term prospects.  He thought I was consenting to being exploited for information.  The question of consent between two people having sex turns out to be a lot more complicated than just ‘do you want to, or not’.

My own experience of conference ‘pursuits’ is not something I have examined much before, except to realise that its pretty exploitative, but I can see that in writing ‘No So Innocent’, I’ve displayed some attitudes that I had internalised without thinking.  Instead of thinking: ‘this is what happens’, maybe I should have realised: ‘this isn’t something that should happen.’

I began to reflect on ‘Not So Innocent’ in a different way, by considering what both James and Lewis are consenting to, and what Innocent is implying.  Would she really go through with her threat?  I think not. I think she’d sit James down on the end of her bed and give him a good talking-to about how much he loves Lewis, and how much Lewis clearly loves him.  I think I knew that when I was writing it.  I think James knows it too.

And even if they did have sex because he chickened out with Lewis, I think it would be lovely, passionate, and above all, uncoerced.

There was intended to be a sexual frisson between James and Jean.  I wanted him to be torn to a certain extent, attracted by the prospect of Innocent’s considerable charms.  I happen to think she’s a very sexy woman, and I think James sees that, just as she finds him attractive.  I realised I underwrote the irony because while I was writing, I wasn’t sure how the thing was going to end – and I secretly wanted James and Innocent to end up in bed together.  That is the danger of publishing an unpolished quickfic.

As for the scene where James gets into bed with Robbie, I honestly don’t think there is a consent issue there.  Robbie is clearly consenting, and if he wasn’t, he’s quite capable, both in terms of physical strength, and authority, of ejecting James.  In my opinion, it is clear that they are also both consenting to the same thing, and they both know it:  the start of a loving relationship, and the end of their unrequited yearning for each other.

And yes, it would be different if it were a man getting into a woman’s bed uninvited, or a man threatening a woman with seduction, but that isn’t what is happening.  These are two people who are in love, finally being pushed through their inhibitions by a fond friend.  The fact that they happen to be co-workers, with the ensuing power-politics, becomes irrelevant in the face of love.

I wish I hadn’t deleted the story, because I have deleted the comments of the readers as a result.  I wish I had left it so that people can make up their own minds.  Because, if nothing else, this story might make people rethink attitudes at work that they have previously taken for granted as normal, as I have.

I also think its a work I have clearly under-written in terms of subtext, and all the participants’ complicity, but I’m not going to rewrite it, or change it in any way.  I want it to stand as a testament to the fact that I will no longer throw my toys out of the pram because someone doesn’t like my work.

I have never censored myself because of a review, and I won’t start now.

So I’ve decided to republish ‘Not So Innocent’ on AO3, so that you can make up your own mind.  I’d love to have a discussion with you on the subjects raised, either in the comments here, or on AO3.

I’ll look forward to hearing from you,

love EF