Tag Archives: fanfic

New Fiction: The Luscombe Dilemma

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

Sometimes, you want to give someone a gift to cheer them, but you don’t have the right thing.

So you make them something.  Or you give them something that you have already made.

I wanted to cheer up my friend, WitchRavenFox, but I didn’t have the right thing handy.  But I had this fic.  I hope you like it, my dear.

Read The Luscombe Dilemma here at A03, or here at FF.net.

Happy reading,

EF

 

New Fanfic Series

IMG_20150715_170855One day, I woke up and felt like writing again.

It was wonderful, like standing under a waterfall after a long, hot hike up a tropical mountainside.

And then I couldn’t stop.

Its fun again. I can’t tell you how much of a relief that is.  My imagination is dancing around the campfire like a stoned hippie, happily tripping.  Which is my idea of bliss.

I don’t care if the stories I am producing are my best work.  The point is that I am working.

We are writers when we write, right?

So I have written a bunch of Lewis fics, and as I was looking at them today, I realised there was a theme amongst them, so I have batched them together, and put the first of the batch up on AO3 this afternoon.

A little taster:

‘Right,’ he says, turning to Lewis with a big, deep breath, hoping it will give him courage to finally say goodbye. ‘No sense in you waiting. It’ll be ages before I get to the front of that queue.

Lewis shrugs. He looks somehow smaller, older, a little wizened by his unspoken sadness and the impersonal scale of the check-in hall.

‘Don’t mind,’ he says, and manages a gentle smile. ‘I’ll keep you company.’

No, don’t do that, James thinks. Don’t make it harder. Please? But he can’t say it, of course, because he is still desperate for the tiniest morsel, the minutest sliver of time he can get with this man, this beautiful, brave, honourable man who has saved his skin and his soul, and probably his sanity, more times than is fair to remember.’

You can read the rest here at AO3.

Happy Creating,

EF

Friday Quick Fic: Suppose you threw a love affair and nobody came?

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox in ITV's 'Lewis'

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox in ITV’s ‘Lewis’

I promised myself I would never do it again, but I just can’t seem to help myself.

I made a new quick fic.  A Lewis one.  I made it for Lee, because she was kind to me when I needed it.  Thank you Lee.  I’m grateful.  You gave me faith.   I hope you enjoy it.

” ‘I said,’ James repeats with slightly slurred emphasis. ‘What if you threw a love affair and nobody came? Like throwing a party? That’s my life. That’s exactly how my life has been.’”

You can find it exclusively here at AO3.

Happy Creating,

EF

Learning the Lessons

Footprints Ardnave 1I have to admit to being a bit nervous about posting again.  Which is silly, really.  But last week’s battering has really knocked my confidence, and the events of the intervening days have been a rough ride.

But just when you think you can’t cope anymore, the Universe hands you a rose.  This time in the shape of Pola’s loving and kind comment on my last post:

“The reason I’m writing is to let you know that I really appreciate your talent in writing. I appreciate your devotion to your craft and your desire to help others in developing their own style and creativity. So whatever you decide, I just wanted you to know that I think you’re an important voice in the world of writing and that I hope you never give up in your endeavor to have your voice heard. This world would be less without it.”

Thank you so much, dear, dear Pola.  I cannot tell you how much this meant to me.

With your words ringing in my ears, I got back on the horse last night, and wrote a new story, 2207 words of trying something new with ‘Lewis’.  It was somehow important to start again with ‘Lewis’ given that it was a ‘Lewis’ story that caused all the trouble in the first place.  I don’t know where the story came from, it just popped into my head.  I don’t know if I’m ready to publish anything yet either, but it feels so good to be back in the saddle.

I was made to write.  I don’t know how not to.

Somehow, I’m going to have to learn to deal with criticism better, from the sort that is justified to the sort that is completely out of order.  Its very hard to do that when you are already in a tough place.

I realised that I posted the story because I wanted a confidence boost.  I wanted some good reviews to cheer me up.  And when I didn’t get them, got the reverse in fact, it knocked me over completely.

Important Lesson #1:  Do not post your fanfics just to get applause.

I posted ‘Not So Innocent’ on a whim.  I don’t have a beta, so it hadn’t had a second reader look at it.  There was no one to tell me that it had dodgey elements in it.  I had doubts about it, I have to admit, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what they were.  If I’d had backup, maybe I would have seen its faults.

Important Lesson #2: Get a beta reader.

Preferably someone who knows the fandoms I write in, has excellent capacity for spotting my hidden prejudices, and my inability to cope with apostrophes.  I read last night’s creation to Husband (a stickler for apostrophes), which was a very useful exercise (reading your work aloud is always enlightening), but he doesn’t have the time to be a proper beta, and he’s got enough stress on his plate as it is.

I’ve always fought shy of having a beta because I don’t like the idea of the delay it involves.  I’m probably too protective of my work anyway, so having an editor would be good practise in stepping back, and would probably help me handle criticism better.  Plus I’ve had bad experiences with supposedly ‘helpful’ readers in the past.  And I know what a lousy beta I am in terms of getting around to reading other people’s work I’ve offered to read.

If anyone is interested in being a beta for me, and can offer a fast turn-around time, dedication to grammar and a fine eye for possible offending material, please let me know.

Its hard not to feel over-sensitive at this point.  I confess I am still very wobbly.  Things in RL are on shaky ground.  I’m trying to support Husband and his family members as best I can, while dealing with my own illness, and the onset of the most difficult time of the year for me in terms of mental health.  Taking it slow and looking after myself, so that I can look after him, is the best I can do.

Important Lesson #3:  Look after yourself.

And of course:

Important Lesson #4:  DON’T GIVE UP.

So thank you for your continued support.  One way or another, we’ll all get there.

Happy Creating,

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

Deep Breath

The view from my bedroom window.

The view from my bedroom window.

Samhain is past, and we are well into the Mourning Moon, a time of releasing the old, and accepting our own power. Here in rural South Norfolk, we’ve had soggy and unseasonably mild weather, which has lately meant long days of grey skies and continual downpours. The last of the trees to shed their leaves, the oaks, have begun their brown weeping. The landscape is smudged khaki and brown and yellow, the edges blurred by autumn mists.
A fortnight has passed since my last post, a space during which I have been trying to recover a little of my strength, and some of my thinking capacity. The first week was one of complete surrender. After it, I felt more rested than I had in a whole year, I think.
The second was more tense, punctuated by a day-long dash to Oxford and back, to take the elders to the doctors for important assessment and treatment. Seven hours in a car, split in half by four hours of pushing a wheelchair and repeating myself every ten minutes, was enough to exhaust almost all the good will my body and I had built up between us. Since then I have been lost in a hormonal, anxiety-ridden mist, feeling OUGHTS and SHOULDS mounting up like an impending avalanche over my head. Add to that the impending doom of the Christmas season, and life-changing news from several friends, and I’m not sure I’ve come out of this much recharged.
Let’s just say, this has been a time of reassessment and reflection.
While I have come a long way in my year of ‘DARE’, I’m not sure that I can face another action word year. After ‘REVOLUTIONARY’ (2013) and ‘DARE’ (2014), I’ve attracted way too much change into my life for comfort, and I think I need a rest, thank you, Mrs Universe. I’ve decided that next year, I need a gentler world to ease my way. ‘BALANCE’ or ‘NURTURE’, perhaps. Or even just ‘EASE’. A reminder to be kinder with myself, something that, like most women, I find difficult to allow myself to do.
Tectonic shifts are happening in my creative life too. The relief I felt at giving myself a rest from blogging caused a delicious upsurge in other creative outlets. I immediately went off and made the back door curtain I’d been meaning to sew for the last six years. I’ve been hand-quilting a Christmas stocking for my guide-daughter too, which is enormously satisfying. I hope I manage to get it finished in time. Being able to sew again feels fantastic, although I had a few scary moments trying to remember how to thread my sewing machine!
I’ve decided I need to be using my journaling practise in a much more systematic way, too. I want to try a lot more guided journaling, by which I mean journaling from prompts rather than the simple stream-of-consciousness method I have always used. I’m feeling the need for more deep self-exploration, and I want to use my creativity as an integral part of the work I do with my Gestalt counsellor on a weekly basis to effect this.
I haven’t stopped writing, in the meantime, even though I haven’t been blogging. I’ve got two big fanfics on the go at the moment, great sprawling things that seem to be growing every time I look at them. My head is full of scenes stored up to be written out. That’s not a brilliant way of writing, especially when my head is so blurry. The other day, I sat down to write a scene, only to realise that of the two emotional points I wanted the characters to thrash out, I could only remember one.
A bit not good.
The result was some serious re-evaluation of my notebooking habits, which I still haven’t resolved, but hope to share with you soon.
As well as putting some conscious intention into my reading habits, I’ve been contemplating a new original writing project too. In the wake of the In/Famous Engagement, and the storm that followed it, I came to the conclusion that I needed to get away from fanfiction. And yes, I know I’ve been saying this for ages, but sometimes it takes a big event to push us to make real changes. So much is shifting in my life right now, and I want to move on to something fresh. I don’t think I’m going to be able to give up writing fanfics, nor do I honestly want to, but there is an idea knocking at my door, scratching at the wood like the ghost of Cathy in ‘Wuthering Heights’, and it won’t go away. As I used to say to my school friends:

‘I think I’ve got a story coming on’.

And finally, I’ve got some ideas for non-fiction that I want to have a go at. I think the phrase is ‘watch this space’.
Thank you, dear readers, for sticking with me through this break, and throughout this bumpy year. While I know it is only going to get bumpier for a while, I’m grateful that you are with me, listening to my ramblings. It is good to know I’m not shouting into the unresponsive darkness.
Happy creating,
EF

Friday FanFic: In Praise of Plato

John and Sherlock - Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC's 'Sherlock'.

John and Sherlock – Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC’s ‘Sherlock’.

Olivianoelle14 messaged me on ff.net a little while ago to ask me if I would consider transferring my old fic, ‘In Praise of Plato’, to AO3, on the grounds that the interface there is so much easier to read.

How could I refuse?

When I went back and looked at it, I decided to make a few tiny amendments.  Its two whole years since I wrote it, and it feels like a lifetime.  I can’t believe I wrote 38 fics that year.  Not all of them were publishable, or published, but still, I must have been on a huge roll!  I certainly haven’t matched that output since.

Anyway, here is a much loved old faithful for you to enjoy.

“‘They don’t understand how two men can be so devoted to one another, and be sharing a flat, and not be having sex. It doesn’t fit into their stereotype system. They can’t fathom how it can be possible, and therefore they fear it.’”

Read it here on AO3.

Happy Creating,

EF

Friday QuickFic: Seeing in the Dark

Laurence Fox as James Hathaway and Kevin Whately as Robbie Lewis in ITV's 'Lewis'.

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

I’ve been struggling all week to recover from my looking after the wrinklies last weekend, so you can imagine my amazement when this little number boiled out of my head yesterday afternoon!  A little Lewis angst for a Friday afternoon.  I seem to be big on cuddles these days again.  Maybe that augers well for other works.  But don’t quote me on that.

A taster:

“Suddenly its dark. Not the kind of dark you get in his flat at night, that eerie apricot glow from the street lamps filtering through the curtains. Not even the kind of dark you get on dark nights, shadows catching at the edges of your vision. No, this is the utter absence of light. Blackness in all its soul-crushing emptiness.

He hears James cry out.

‘No!’

And then some metallic thumping. Angry fists on a rusty blast door.

‘Bloody hell!’ There is real fury in that shout. And something else Lewis can’t put a name to yet, something hovering in the tone. No, can’t be. He dismisses it.”

You can find it here on A03, and here at FF.net.

Happy reading,

EF

Bank Holiday Bonus Quickfic: Hats

Laurence Fox as James Hathaway and Kevin Whately as Robbie Lewis in ITV's 'Lewis'.

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

It looks like I’ve got my writing mojo back!  Hooray!  Two fanfics in two days, though Sherlockians will be disappointed that they aren’t Johnlocks but Lewis fics.  Never mind, there is more Sherlock to come, I am sure.  In the meantime, I knocked off this shameless bit of slop and couldn’t wait to share it with you.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

Here’s a little taster:

“They stared into the glittering surface of the river. A fish was lingering amongst the weeds. James could see the grey-brown sliver of its body amidst the golden shimmer of the evening light’s reflections. A pair of couples came out of the pub and sat down at the picnic table nearby, chatting together.

‘Tried on any new hats lately?’ Lewis asked after a while.

‘Hats don’t really suit me, sir,’ James said. ‘You know that.’”

Read ‘Hats’ here at AO3, or here at FF.net.

Don’t forget to comment, I love your feedback!

Happy Creating,

EF

Friday Quickfic: Song for the Asking

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox in the TV series 'Lewis'

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox in the TV series ‘Lewis’

Okay, I’m in a schmaltzy mood.  As an antidote to last week’s misery and grief, here is a sloppy little romance from the Lewis stable.  Its a proper quickfic too, I knocked it off last night, having thought up the idea in the afternoon whilst listening to Simon and Garfunkel’s lovely ‘Song for the Asking’.  I’ve been thinking a lot about role reversals lately, and this seemed a good opportunity to try one out.  Hope you like it.

You can read ‘Song for the Asking’ here at AO3, and here at FF.net.

Happy Creating,

EF