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Author: mephestopheles

World Building With World Anvil

Some of you may know that I write fan fiction. I’ve written it on and off for about a decade and change. The last big project I did with fanfic had so much world building involved in the making of it I’ve decided to restructure it and create something new from the bones. I’ve been on and off world building the bits and pieces of the world the story will come to inhabit, but if anyone is interested in following along, would like to see the progress I’m making in it as I forge ahead would be swell.

Most of the information is staying public until I get closer to publishing, even then I’m seeking either small press or self publishing which gives me some more options. Spoilers for the story will be kept secret and I’ll be adding short stories and snippets to fill out the world as I go.

If you’re interested in following along with me as build Evras from the ground up, you’re welcome to join me either by clicking the link below or by clicking the image at the top of the page. I’ll be mentioning things here as I update the world but if you want to keep up in realtime give it a follow.

Evras

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In other news, I’m still working on the meta post for morally grey characters, I’ve been a bit busier than I expected with work and I’ve started weaving with a friend but I’m hoping to finish the meta within the next three days.

Anyone who’s responded to the forms for the podcast, fear not, I’ve not forgotten about you, I’m hoping to find a spare minute to sit down with my equipment and get something in the bag for a first episode. I’ll be sending out emails for those interested to settle possible dates and such.

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Weekly Round Up

What I’m doing: Not much. It’s post backshift and I’ve been up for a few hours, but I get easily distracted by things. Like getting lost on tumblr, and changing the blog theme for the eightieth time. I spent a lot of the week knitting, will have a post up later with progress or stick on instagram. I got some paperwork signed for surgery, which is also going to need another phone call to the dr about the paperwork, but nothing is ever simple.

What I’m reading: Not much, my headphones are missing, I’m getting a new pair, but given my concentration is fucked so the point I haven’t read much in months, I’m a little miffed. However, I just got a link to a wingfic that I’m hoping to read the crap out of soon.

What I’m watching: Binged A Discovery of Witches this weekend, I need there to be a second season now, in the meantime I’m going to have to reread the trilogy. Roommates and I are watching Titans which is definitely interesting, dark but not grimdark, there’s enough humour and heart to carry it. Star Trek Discovery started up again which is fantastic and I love it to so much. Tilly is the best person ever and I love her. I loved her last season but suddenly this season I’m watching and the first episode just gut punched me with one line, I’m paraphrasing because I can’t find the exact quote: “Don’t die out there. I know it’s dangerous and you’re not supposed to promise things. Lie to me?”

What I’m listening to: Not much at this point, I caught up with Be the Serpent and Writing Excuses podcasts, I lost my headphones and I’ve been without them for two weeks which was just untennable. Dear sweet fuck I hated not having them. I ordered a new set and they arrived today (21.01.19) are charged up and ready to go, so I finally start listening to books again. I’m super behind on my audible list,I’ve got three of the Doomsday cycle books up and ready to go, I also picked up A Hat Full of Midnight and The Truth by Terry Pratchett as I continue to go through the entire discworld set.

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Avengers: Endgame

Dear gods, did anyone else see the trailer? Of course you have, are you dying like me? It’s absolutely killing me. Tony, just holy shit, Tony. So now I have to write absolutely painful fic to make it worse. 

That’s the goal. 

Strife has challenged me to write 10k of fic. That’s it, that’s my max word count. I am kind of petrified. Especially since the idea I have could expand to 100k with a breeze. 

But I will perservere and I will beat the shit out of this wordcount. I just have to be strict with my scenes. No dilly dallying with extra shots or places. I think I heard it from Writing excuses that each location change adds 500 words, each character is around the same. I have several location changes planned for Tony but his POV is a travel arc, I can imply many locations, and just keep it to showing about four, max six. The characters and people he meets can be extras, I want his travel and existence to be lonely for a reason. 

Steve’s POV is going to have more people that gradually diminishes as the fic progresses. So much tinkering to get this right. Also angst, because it’s me and why write something if I can’t make it hurt a little. 

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A Conversation

You know, I didn’t actually have a stake in the baby it’s cold outside debate, but apparently this needs to be said, again.

Connotations and social meanings change over time.

Comedy is usually the artform on the bleeding edge of that change, it is meant to be challenging, divisive and pushing the envelope in a way that calls attention to deficits and discrimination in a way that is easier to see and understand than in regular context.

Other art forms have to deal with this as well, music is likely the next one to be pushing the envelope for a broader audience than say a novel or a movie. Arthouse movies and niche novels push their audiences but the reach is smaller.

So it is no surprise that a relatively old song has come up against a rapidly changing dynamic of social norms and practices than when it was first created.

In the case of this one song we are now having the same debate I’ve been hearing for several years
FB this isn’t new it’s been going around social media circles since 2012 and it’s getting old.

Someone tells you they can’t eat peanuts because they’re allergic you don’t feed them peanut butter because you think it will toughen them up.

Someone tells you that they hate horror movies you don’t make them watch them to get over themselves.

Someone tells you that a song reminds them too much of the time they were assaulted, you don’t play the song.

We all have ways in which we navigate the world around us. Sometimes we need to ask for help. If you’re response to that is “well I like it so it can’t be that bad” you are not only ignoring the person who had the courage to say something, you are telling them and all around them that you don’t care about other people’s feelings and what potentially may hurt them.

You do not need an explanation as to why someone can’t have peanut butter, or why they can’t listen to a Christmas song, or why the don’t do x, or can’t have y. You have an opportunity to say to this person, “I may not understand but my role is to make you feel safe and unharmed while you are here”.

That little offering goes further to helping foster trust and understanding between people than anything else.

As a caveat, as I know there will be mentions of it here. Calling out the inherent misogyny in one form of music does not negate the misogyny inherent in other forms. It is telling however that rap music is used as the scapegoat, when arguably pop music is rife with misogynistic lyrics.

I am not telling anyone they can or cannot enjoy something. I am however telling you that it takes a lot of courage to go to someone and say “I really would prefer/feel safer/it would help me if you didn’t play this song, etc”.

The world is shitty enough, the Nazis are back, fascism is on the rise, people are being killed and children are being locked up. Ultra right wing agendas are turning social media into a mess of puritanical bullshit.

Do something nice for someone, be open minded about why a song might bother them. You have not walked in their shoes and you do not know their struggles. You can however ease them, if just a little.

Okay have a puppy

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Day three is late

Yesterday culminated in the posting of a fic I’ve been working on since May. 46k of finished fic, closer to 60k+ of actual writing and rewriting. Two betas and four edit passes, and an artist in a pear tree.

It’s been wild and some of it just non existent as I let the fic settle and then changed everything as I started editing. At one point I changed something that seemed so insignificant aside from cosmetic changes that I assumed it would be a quick switch out of minor details.

Nope.

That change alone cut almost 15,000 words from my fic in edits. I lost the last two chapters and had to rewrite them from ground up. The second and third chapter were edits that became changes that became rewrites as I kept going back to them.

Plotlines were scrapped in favour of tightening the narrative. Things changed a lot from where it was originally to where it landed yesterday.

I am so so happy about this fic and what I did to work on it and how I pushed myself to the task. This is why I love fanfiction. This is why I write it. It’s fun but it’s challenging and it gives me opportunities I don’t usually get.

If you’re interested Drifting Sands is located through the link. It’s a marvel cinematic universe fanfiction, takes place between civil war and infinity war. Mind the tags and the warnings on the fic it’s explicit for those who don’t care for smut.

Also, Tumblr is getting ready to shit the bed with its new policies and I feel like I’m going through strike through all over again. So I might be importing a lot of old material here.

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Fanfiction and Coming out

Story time! I’m trans and I’ve been out since 2015. I used to write a lot. Like a lot a lot. I wrote a lot of fanfic and a lot of co op writing/RP with some fantastic friends.I wrote some many words in those days. The joys of college and few responsibilities.

Many of those words were very, very bad. I wrote in highschool and middle school on paper but never to the degree of engagement once I had access to the internet.

I also day dreamed all the fucking time. To this day I am so glad I did not have access to the internet at fourteen because the world does not need my self insert sailor Moon or Fear Street fanfic, let alone the crossovers.
I was a dorky kid with a very active imagination and not many friends that treated me well. I was also so far in the closet that I used day dreaming and writing to express those wishes in a way that could somehow excise them.
I dreamt about being a man and occupying male spaces. I dreamt of being kidnapped and coming home in a new body and oops everyone would have to accept me because of course they would. I was terrified to write those dreams down. I didn’t want anyone to know of those personal, very private thoughts where they might ridicule them.

Every time someone said I sounded masculine, or did something that was considered masculine, a part of me thrilled and wished to my very core that all of me could be perceived as such.

I didn’t have the language then to understand that I was trans and experienced a massive amount of dysphoria. It was the nineties and in a town that had a very small lgbt population, and didn’t have a pride parade until the early 2000s.

So I dreamt, and I sometimes wrote. But I never wrote consistently, and I spent my twenties lost. I became very anxious and scared to make even the smallest of decisions.
I did write.

But I wrote in safe places, online forums, co-op settings that would give me the ability to write but I never had to finish anything so if I dropped something the only people I was disappointing were faceless, and if I disappointed them fast enough they would learn not to expect much from me. I was so afraid of success I prepackaged failure to keep from being found out.

I felt like I was keeping a terrible, horrible, secret. That if anyone found out that would be the end of me and all I cared about. I stayed home and went to college locally instead of going for what I wanted.
Staying still felt safer. I developed anxiety and depression-like symptoms as a result. I say depression-like because despite diagnosis of those in high school it was episodic and the result of a exigent circumstances.

But still I wrote.

Haphazard, and unfinished, I wrote lots and lots of bad words. I expended a lot of energy learning how to write by writing with friends and then writing the occasional piece of fanfic. I never wrote more than a one shot, generally nothing above 5k, and at most one 10k piece.

But I packaged in the idea of them being standalone, never to be picked up again, because anything beyond a chapter one felt like too much of a commitment, too much chance to be found out and discovered for what I was hiding.

Much of this writing was done between 2004 and 2009 and if anyone remembers their fandom history, this bridges the gap of several large events in fandom history that made it even harder to feel safe in fandom spaces. You had FF.net shutting down all mature material, you had the terror and paranoia on Adultfanfiction.net and their attempts to close everything possible so they could say they took the time to keep the children safe. Blogs were being targetted, Xanga a blog system no one remembers was one of the first to introduce a ratings system for blogs themselves, a system that ignored their tagging system entirely and was another kneejerk response to the general hue and cry of supposed watchdog groups.

Then came Strikethrough, where suddenly blog after blog disappeared overnight and fandom went into a spiral of archive saving before shit really went down. This situation did not help my already terrified sensibilities. I joined a writers group that appeared to be open to all fiction but due to a character name mix up, — as in a wrote two different pieces which happened to feature two characters with the same name. I ended up banned from the group because again middle of the hysteria of strikethrough and a wave of censorship that crops up with the writing every few years from one group or another.

See 04-09 was one of the last real digs where conserative media groups and mainstream groups to get rid of fanfiction and the growing queer communities on the internet. It’s not a surprise that I was writing some stuff that was pushing boundaries and this was the group where I discovered I was trans and found myself banned shortly after. One 1500 erotica short is not an automatic ban in most writing forums, especially an adults only forum.

A few friends from that forum and myself created another writers group, but now I was worried and I didn’t want to fail and I really didn’t want to kind of succeed only to have it removed because of some arbitrary decision based on someone else’s views of me as a human. So I did a bit with that group but the second I needed to actually shit or get off the pot with my writing I drifted away and found other things to do that would be less risky.

In the meantime I didn’t complete college, was in a dead end job that at first offered some modicum of autonomy and then destroyed even that. I was stressed, couldn’t function, and had to leave work and was left without any idea of what to do with myself. I had a plan to go back to school and had to wait an entire year in order to get get that started.

That was when the trouble really started with writing. I was picking at it, but this was a year after realizing I was trans but no where near able to accept it as part of my identity — thank you massively transphobic society and media for making me question my fundamental core, go fuck yourself.

I finished school in between my father having a heart attack, losing two of my uncles to cancer and kind of coming out to two friends but wanting nothing to change because hot damn I was fucking terrified and there was already enough stress in my families life I couldn’t risk the thought of them unable to accept me.

So I put it behind me, I put everything into becoming an LPN, met some old friends and started dating someone. At that point I put it so far behind me I stopped identifying as trans. I redoubled every feminine thing I could, I bought pretty clothes and really tried to find the inner girl everyone wanted.

But I still wrote.

Half assed barely cogent, always ready to run at the least opportunity.

And then the person I was dating finally admitted it wasn’t working and he did what I couldn’t do and break up. This was the first time I couldn’t write. The dry spell on my creativity lasted between 2011 and 2013. I was financially stressed because of former student loans and shift work and casual don’t allow for a stress free existence.

It wasn’t until 2015 that I could write again.

This was the result of three major changes that happened in 2014. I became finacially stable in that my job became permanent. Between 2013 and 2014 I started birth control to try and take care of my pcos — a failed endeavour of epic proportions and I was maid of honour for my cousin’s wedding.

The permanancy of my job finally gave me enough stability to pay attention to my health and my floundering sense of self worth and increasingly awful dysphoria.

At this time in my life I’d push myself so far back into a closet, I no longer felt I had the right to call myself trans. Yes, let me say that again, socialized shame, lack of represenation, and fear violent retaliation kept me locked away. 

So 2015 opened with a lot of agony, and me feeling absolutely awful without really understanding the why of it. In the meantime I fell head first into The Hobbit fanfiction, and felt an overwhelming need to fix the last movie. I read a bucket of fanfic and watched the movies until I could see them in my sleep.

Then I started writing. 

And writing a lot. 

I joined the Hobbit Big Bang, a competetion to write at least 25,000 in a specific time frame, usually three months. I proceeded to write 150k between January and May of that year. 96k was published over the course of a month and half. 

Those first words, that fic, was an exploration of all of my fears. I wanted to write something about gender. I was fascinated by the idea that gender meant something different to the dwarves and what that would mean for the culture and their society. 

I also wanted to look at the effects of that on the hobbits and how they would respond to gender outside of the apparently strict gender roles. Bilbo became my exploration, a way for me to figure out what my fears were regarding coming out and whether I could continue to hide. 

I met my best friend and fellow writer at this time and she was the first person I came out to and felt confident in that acknowledgment of who I was. Her support was the bedrock I needed to come out to others. I had somehow faced all of my fears in writing about all the potential ways coming out would go wrong, about all of the things I felt and how much I was hurting and unable to acknowledge it or in some places even be aware of it. 

I started my transition as much because of writing this fic as because of the support I received at a crucial point when I was rediscovering who I am. 

It’s been three and half years since I came out, two years since I started testosterone and now I’m getting ready for surgery in the coming year. 

But even more so, the comments I’ve received since posting my fanfic, the support for my writing, the sheer number of people thanking me for creating a space where they feel represented within fandom and their media has been astonishing. I’ve had so so many people thank me for giving them a Bilbo who felt the way they did, who feared coming out, but knew they had to face it because choosing anything else wasn’t an option. 

I will never be shamed or feel embarrassed for creating fanfiction. I will never be shoved aside because I choose to create something that is wonderful and open and free for people to enjoy. I will no longer quiet my voice when I know it can do so much. 

I’m going to include a link to the fic I’m talking about, and while the follow up work is not somethin I’m super proud of because of changing fandoms, I will forever be happy with this first one for all it has come to mean for my life and my happiness. 

Interludes of my Still Beating Heart

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I WON NANOWRIMO

I am so excited, I pulled this win out of the ether with twenty minutes to spare. I became a rebel halfway through this month to finish up a fanfic I’ve been working on since May. It needed so much restructuring and I had to rewrite at least 40% of it. 

So all tolled, I wrote maybe 4k for Off the Grid, I wrote a blog post, and I wrote a bunch of world building stuff for the universe that Off the Grid is set and then started looking at Drifting Sands to tidy it up. 

And found it was a mess. 

Not unsalvagable but holy shit the one tiny change I made in the beginning of the fic for the location created it’s own butterfly effect. So I had to rewrite most of chapter two, add a bucket of things to chapter three and four. And rewrite most of five, and all of six.

Now, I’m exhausted, I have some last minute editing to do and I work backshift tonight. 

I’m trying something new this month, I’m going to see if I keep up daily blog here while I do some writerly things and more creative pursuits. Just of the cuff, nothing really edited or article-esque at this point. 

I’m also participating in Worldember over at WorldAnvil. If you want to see what I’m writing and what I’m doing there you can watch the progress here or follow my worlds over there. Would love to see people. 

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