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Meme: Grill the Writer

storytelling
Borrowed from half my f-list

Ask a question about my writing and I'll try to answer it:

1) What I was thinking at the time I wrote a story, or a question about my writing as a whole. The question can be about anything.

2) Pick a character/pairing I've written and I will explain the top five ideas, concepts, etc. I try to keep in mind while writing that character/pairing.

3) Quote a few lines from something I've written and I'll comment on them.

4) At AO3 I have posted 112 works in 4 fandoms, which includes 7 series. Pick a number from 1 (the most recent) to 112 (the first story I posted there) or from 1-7 and I'll tell you three things I currently like about the story/series. Or maybe just one or two if you pick a drabble.

Obviously you don't have to ask all the questions, or indeed any, but if you feel like asking, please do! :)

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( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
paperscribe
Jan. 15th, 2014 04:56 am (UTC)
1) I have so many favorites among your fics. :) But I guess what I'd most like to ask about is the "On the Wings of the Dawn" series. How did you get the idea to give James secret wings? And what was the world building process like for that story?

2) James/Robbie. :)
lindenharp
Jan. 16th, 2014 03:55 am (UTC)
I'd read a couple of wingfics in other fandoms. I liked the concept, but those stories had been handled as fantasy or science fiction, and while I enjoy those genres, I wanted something more realistic. So I decided to make wings a very, very rare genetic mutation. One in a million, meaning that there were perhaps 60-something winged people in the UK.

Most of the world-building came out of necessity, or by asking myself the obvious questions. If James's wings were a secret, he needed a way to hide them, and so the binder came into being. What was the position of the Catholic Church on wings? What would James's childhood been like, living at Crevecoeur? My favorite part of the world-building was the story of Tom Martyn, a winged boy who was literally the property of the Crown during the Tudor era. I got to research all kinds of cool stuff for that, including the history of the zoo at the Tower of London.

Worldbuilding was easy--too easy! There are a lot of details I had to leave out because they really didn't advance James's story. Did you know that one of the 18th century Popes had a winged choir of "angels" at the Vatican? Or that the Scarlet Hawk was the star of a series of Wild West movies back in the 30s and 40s?

2. The main thing I try to keep in mind in writing James/Robbie, whether as partners, friends, or lovers, is that each one has his own strengths. We all know that Robbie is not stupid, though he's willing to seem so in order to crack a case. He doesn't have anything close to James's formal eduction, but he will read about all kinds of obscure topics if they're related to a case. And it's canon that James admires Robbie for his detective instincts and his skill at interrogating suspects. They complement each other in so many ways, and they know it.


Edited at 2014-01-16 03:55 am (UTC)
paperscribe
Jan. 16th, 2014 04:02 am (UTC)
I really liked that about the series, that it treated wings as a relatively straightforward thing that exists in a world much like ours. I thought the worldbuilding was wonderful, and it sounds as though it was a lot of fun for you as well! I love the level of detail you went into. :) (And I would totally watch those Scarlet Hawk movies.)

Thank you so much for your answers; I enjoyed reading them. :)
lindenharp
Jan. 17th, 2014 02:55 am (UTC)
Thank you for asking. Perhaps I'll write a ficlet at some point in which James and Robbie have a home film fest with Scarlet Hawk movies. James, of course, has never seen them, other than a brief clip on YouTube.
paperscribe
Jan. 17th, 2014 03:03 am (UTC)
You're welcome! Ooh, that would be fantastic, if you were so inclined/inspired! So James hasn't seen them…are they secretly Robbie's favorites? :)

Also, I am working on your story now, and it's a fun one to work out.
wendymr
Jan. 15th, 2014 04:58 am (UTC)
A somewhat different question: What, for you, is different about writing Lewis fic than, say, Doctor Who fic? What's different about writing James/Robbie (or James and Robbie) than Jack/Doctor?

And I'll choose a random number, then: 34.
lindenharp
Jan. 16th, 2014 04:52 am (UTC)
Writing Lewis is a lot harder than writing Doctor Who. Lewis is a realistic show set in a country that I know only as an occasional tourist and as a viewer of other British TV shows. Aside from the language issues, there are questions about Oxford, about policing in the UK, and about character differences based on class and regional backgrounds. I do a lot of research online, and I have a brilliant Britpicker, but I still struggle over various cultural details.

Doctor Who, though a British show, allows for a lot of handwaving about the characters and the setting. The Doctor is an alien; Jack is human, but from a colony world in the 51st century. I can invent all sorts of details and still be consistent with canon. I can write about their adventures on a alien planet of my own creation, and make the customs, laws, and daily life fit my whims and needs.

#34, Alfresco was written in December 2012. I was offering Hanukkah drabbles. The prompt for this one was 'picnic'. I decided that James would be taking Robbie on a romantic picnic with a very special dessert.

Edited at 2014-01-17 02:43 am (UTC)
uniquepov
Jan. 15th, 2014 05:13 am (UTC)
1. Talk to me about To Be His.

4. Series # 2 =)

Edited at 2014-01-15 05:14 am (UTC)
lindenharp
Jan. 17th, 2014 03:49 am (UTC)
To Be His is my take on BDSM (but mostly D/s) in the world of Lewis. It was one of those situations where my mind was drifting and suddenly the Muse said, "Write!". So I did.

In canon, James said that he is not "a joiner of things", but that refers to groups. I see him as a person who wants to belong to someone else, to submit himself as a kind of gift to someone he loves, and to be possessed and cherished. At the time that To Be His takes place, James is already in a loving, sexual relationship with Robbie, but he hasn't dared to tell him about his other desires. Fortunately, Robbie is a skilled detective and wants very much to make James happy.

As for the How to Train Your Sergeant series... you really should ask wendymr, who started the whoe thing. She said something in chat that made me think of Innocent as a dominatrix, then I told her she should write something similar for James and Robbie. And it all snowballed from there...
wendymr
Jan. 17th, 2014 04:13 am (UTC)
then I told her she should write something similar for James and Robbie. And it all snowballed from there...

...which actually means it's all your fault.

And I still can't believe I had anything to do with that series, given my aversion to BDSM *g*
lindenharp
Jan. 17th, 2014 04:20 am (UTC)
Well, it is the crackiest crackfic ever, and James rather subverts the BDSM premise by topping from beneath.
bailangwang
Jan. 17th, 2014 07:42 pm (UTC)
I have the same aversion, but that series is lovely. I know it's all a joke, but what I love about it is the feeling of joy and fun, and mutual affection, that is absolutely sweet. There is not one installment in the series that would be inferior or clumsy. They are all little gems of wit, no exception.
lindenharp
Jan. 19th, 2014 04:03 am (UTC)
Thank you, on behalf of the entire Sisterhood.
complexlight
Jan. 15th, 2014 09:47 am (UTC)
I've always loved Falling to Safety. Tell me what you like about it.
lindenharp
Jan. 17th, 2014 02:47 am (UTC)
I like that it's very physical as well as emotional. I like the play on words with "falling". And... I think that's it; we're talking about a drabble here. *grins*
complexlight
Jan. 17th, 2014 08:42 pm (UTC)
Yes, I love the physicality of "Lewis' sturdy bulk presses against his back" etc.
I also love the last line: "Too late, Robbie. I fell a long time ago." It communicates so much about James' predicament - that he is fully aware of his feelings for Robbie and Robbie's apparent obliviousness, there being very little chance of anything ever happening between them and so on. Oh, unrequited love!
bailangwang
Jan. 15th, 2014 08:58 pm (UTC)
1. If I Speed Away, of course! I can't even begin to say how much I love it! And all the descriptions of James's wings, with their colours, and different shapes and textures! And all the emotional tension, and the - well, honestly - sexual tension between Robbie and James, even though nothing happens, but Robbie's thoughts when James was getting dry by the fireplace:) Oh and I just wanted to add - the light, all different kinds of light: daylight, moonlight, the changing colours of the evening, the glow of the fire, and even the lack of light at night... What was the inspiration for that work of art? were you aware you were creating something special?
2. I choose number 15 :)

Edited at 2014-01-16 08:39 pm (UTC)
lindenharp
Jan. 17th, 2014 04:18 am (UTC)
The scene by the fireplace was suggested by my beta/Britpicker, wendymr. She was constntly teasing me to turn this friendship fic into slash. I didn't want to do that (still don't), because though I'm happy to write them as lovers, in this AU, I thought that the wings and J's angsty self-image made it much too complicated to add a sexual relationship.

James, being restless, had gone for a walk in the rain, and Robbie was building a fire in the fireplace. Wendy nagged me to write a James-naked-by-the fireplace scene. I wasn't sure if I could do that in a gen story, but it worked pretty well. James's wings are aesthetically beautiful, and it makes sense for Robbie to admire them, whether you view that scene with slash goggles or not.

As I was writing the story, I was aware that I was writing something different, and that it was certainly the first wingfic in Lewis fandom. That's something about small fandoms: you get the chance to do something new.

@15, if I'm counting correctly, is the "Greetings from Scotland" graphic I did, showing a topless, winged James with Robbie. The original picture of James is from a photo of LF on a beach holiday with his wife. Fortunately, it was easy to crop her out, paste in Robbie and a bottle of beer. The background is from the southwestern Orkney Islands.

Edited at 2014-01-17 04:26 am (UTC)
bailangwang
Jan. 17th, 2014 07:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks for replying and it really was a lucky strike, I had no idea that no. 15 was my favourite graphic for my favourite story :)
wendymr
Jan. 19th, 2014 04:42 am (UTC)
The slash hints were just teasing - as I mentioned recently, to me it feels as if his James is very likely asexual, and that they could well end up in a close, possibly intimate to a degree [implying cuddling, hugging, perhaps kissing of some sort] asexual relationship. But that's just what seems to me to follow from where they are now; your own plans for them may be entirely different.

And, yes, I love Robbie aesthetically admiring James's beauty in the firelight.
wendymr
Jan. 17th, 2014 04:35 am (UTC)
Actually, I have another question, and it's on the wingfic series. All joking aside, how do you see James and Robbie's friendship in, say, ten years' time? As we've discussed, I doubt that James will end up in a relationship with anyone, whether or not he is actually inclined towards that anyway. So, with Robbie retired and James doing whatever he's doing at that point, whither the two of them?
lindenharp
Jan. 19th, 2014 04:05 am (UTC)
I haven't made any plans for that far along in the timeline, but it might be a possibility that they would live together. Hmmm...
wendymr
Jan. 19th, 2014 04:37 am (UTC)
That does make logical sense to me - and, yes, I have been thinking about these versions of the characters! See what you've done to me - and I hated wingfic!
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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