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[personal profile] ljlee posting in [community profile] write_away
All of us here, from what I can tell, write stories to share them whether commercially or over the net. Does anyone have stories without plans for publication in any form, strictly for personal enjoyment? Our own[personal profile] sarillia discussed writing for personal enjoyment, and I also have a few that are for my eyes only. They are in various stages of completion without a clear end: I just pull them out from time to time to add to and edit, or just to read.

I like these stories because I can be as ridiculous as I want to be without thinking of quality or acceptability--it's just a fun romp through the farthest reaches of my mind, where I can be totally me. I thought I'd describe one of these stories and would love to hear about yours in as much or as little detail as you like.

The most active of my private stories, both in terms of writing and re-reads, takes place in an East Asia-style fantasy world. It's set mostly in a kingdom called Suro ruled by a line of shaman queens. (They have powers like telekinesis and extrasensory perception, and are revered religious as well as political figures. They're not the only ones with such powers, but the royal line is the most powerful. Only women, but not all women, had these powers the last I checked, though it looks like men are also genetic carriers.) The country is invaded by a race of nomads called the Assur, and the young queen is forced to marry an older warrior-aristocrat of the invaders. She has a daughter, Kaya, but later escapes to join the Suro resistance, abandoning her daughter and husband. She then marries a Suro noble in the resistance and has children with him, including a daughter named Yerim.

The story begins when the resistance triumphs over the invaders and drives them out. The teenaged Yerim is now the new shaman queen-in-exile, her mother having abdicated in her favor. Yerim comes at the head of her army to reclaim the palace, only to come face to face with Kaya, who was the invaders' puppet queen for almost 20 years since their mother left. Kaya didn't go with her father's people because she would never have a place with them, and wanted to formally surrender her palace as the outgoing queen fully expecting this to be her last living act. Yerim doesn't even know at the time they were sisters, yet she decides to let Kaya go over the objections of her followers. (Later, after she learns the truth, she has a Fridge Horror moment and ensuing angst on realizing her parents would have let her kill her sister.)

And then comes a convoluted series of events where Kaya is framed for an attempt on Yerim's life and is captured, then sacrifices her life for an injured Yerim only to end up blind and alive. The sisters grow somewhat reconciled and then Kaya steals the man Yerim had a crush on for years. Kaya and the guy are in love and happy when war breaks out again between the two peoples and she decides to up and leave--to join her father's people, everyone assumes.

In fact Kaya makes her way to a third country, a distant empire called Harren, and offers to marry into the Imperial family so they will be in possession of the royal bloodlines of both Suro and Assur. This gives Harren a potential claim to both nations, meaning Suro and Assur had better stop fighting each other if neither wants to be easy pickings for the empire. Kaya's families in both nations feel betrayed that she's brought this threat to their doorsteps, but she reminds them that they're all relatives of Harren royalty now and have a great deal to gain if they can keep from each others' throats. It was her way of saving both her peoples from constant warfare by forcing them to unite against a common threat, even if she had to be that threat. The whole thing would probably have worked better if the existence of Harren were better foreshadowed, but then the whole story is rough and incomplete.

As if the whole thing weren't already enough of a soap opera, it turns out Yerim is infertile and she and her husband (Kaya's ex, who married Yerim after Kaya left) have no children. What do you know, Kaya was pregnant back when she left for Harren and her first child is actually Yerim's husband's biological son. Yerim begs Kaya to leave the child with her to raise, drama ensues, and Kaya finally relents, using her son's presence there to extract more concessions from Suro. And, of course, she ends up doing something she had sworn never to do: She abandons her child. The last scene I wrote so far has her parting with her family and the ex on a friendly but bittersweet note.

Over the years that I've played around with this thing, my thoughts on the story and characters have evolved quite a bit. I obviously started out with Kaya as the hero, but I now I see her as more a protagonist villain or a ambiguous hero at best.  it was Yerim, whom I thought was so goody-two-shoes, who grew on me quite a bit. There was this one exchange in particular that brought home how damaged and destructive Kaya was, when she said good-bye to her former boyfriend at the end:

Kaya: I'm really happy for you and my sister. I always thought you two would be good together.
Myeong-hyeon: You did?
Kaya: Of course! Why else would I have gotten between the two of you?
Myeong-hyeon: (shocked pause)
Kaya: I'm joking, silly! Well, half joking. I'll always be half-and-half.

That more than anything else told me what this character was like, about her mixed motivations and the malice she might have held underneath all her protestations of noble intent. It reminded me of how unknowable people are, even to themselves.

So, that's my  "private fiction," (not to be confused with private eye fiction) the most complete and least silly of the lot. Do share yours, if you like!

Date: 2015-05-31 10:31 pm (UTC)
splinteredstar: (Default)
From: [personal profile] splinteredstar
I have a whole host of what I term "headfic" which is what I call fanfic that i write in my head when I'm bored, and only occasionally actually write down. There are ridiculous crossovers that I'm never going to go to the effort to actually set up! I know damn well the source material explicitly says this isn't possible, but I want to see it anyway! Why are those characters on speaking terms? I don't know, but gosh watching them argue is fun. I know realistically this relationship would be complicated, but i want to see them snuggle.

It keeps me entertained.

Date: 2015-05-31 11:15 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
That sounds like a really cool story!

Date: 2015-06-01 06:55 am (UTC)
chordatesrock: The Punishment of Loki by Louis Huard (detail) (Default)
From: [personal profile] chordatesrock
Interesting! I feel like, frequently, these are the works I'm most proud of, because if there's something I like, I just throw it in. All the cool stuff goes into these first. It doesn't necessarily take a form anyone else would like but oh boy is it ever full of awesome. Quite a few of the things I actually end up attempting to write for an audience are attempts to "rescue" some part of the idea and package it so that other people will enjoy it, too. (You specifically will recognize some examples we've talked about privately: Sora, both comics I'm procrastinating on, and... well, now I realize one interesting thing all the stories including "rescue" pieces have in common is that I can't link to any completed ones because there are so far none that I've actually finished and posted. Hmm! Gotta wonder whether that means something.)

Of course, this category is kind of fluid for me. Things will sometimes move out of it, and they also sometimes enter it after I realize it's not going to work out for me to finish them and show them off. I tend to still want to, and yet realize it's not likely to happen, either. You know?

I'm curious to know how you structured this project, by the way. Like. Did you do it like a story (top-down outline, then fleshing out scenes), or did you go scene-by-scene and something built itself up? Is it fixed in this form in your head, or are there alternate versions? I have some where... hm, like, Character A and Character B initially meet at a specific event where Character A impresses Character B in ways that wouldn't make sense in other situations, and then I go from there, and then I go back and work out Character A doing the impressive thing using resources they got from their friendship with Character B that shouldn't exist yet, and then I work out an alternate start for it. Or I'll put together a situation and some characters, and then have lots of totally unrelated vignettes where, in each single vignette, none of the others are ever referenced or relevant at all. Or several versions of similar storylines, like... "Character A acquires MacGuffin B by traveling to Mount Doom" and there are lots of different versions of the trip there. Is that a thing that you do, too?

Anyway, yours is interesting.

Date: 2015-06-01 10:27 pm (UTC)
chordatesrock: The Punishment of Loki by Louis Huard (detail) (Default)
From: [personal profile] chordatesrock
*keyboard smash without suspicious 7* I had an entire long reply typed up and then hit the wrong key and ugh.

So it's kind of a continuum, too, from most secret to most other-people-oriented. Something like WLFS is more other-people-oriented than something like OAANL, for instance. And then there's stuff that isn't in a fit state to show off yet but that I hope someday will be, like Sora's Story, and then there's stuff I don't really mean to show to anyone but will talk about if asked directly (I have trouble with actually just up and talking about it without a specific question about the specific verse, because, IDK, I need the excuse to talk when I'm pretty sure it's not going to interest other people?) and will hint about to make it more likely that people will ask. Then there are some that I don't bother to hint about. Some are even secret.

The most private ones almost never even get written down (I just make them up, for my own amusement, in my own head, working on them daily for months or years at the longest, crafting a story structure and a plot but not always meeting my own quality standards for things that I would be willing to share), so they don't function like stories that *do* get written down, so I'm afraid there's no good answer to what happens to the splintered and looping ones. They loop and splinter. *shrug* (Most of my stories spend some time in this state, but some of them get pinned down later.) Rethinking is for drawerfic; rewriting is for the most other-people-focused fics that I want to make as good as possible.

So for me, there aren't really any boundaries to cross over. There are just current intentions, algorithms for determining what I should be doing with a story, and the story itself.

I'd sort of like to talk specifics, but some of them are secret, some of them I find it hard to bring myself to talk about without being specifically asked to, and some of them I *have* talked about before when they were supposed to be posted eventually and then that changed.

IDK, though. I may add another comment later with some specifics about my drawerfic.

Date: 2015-06-05 06:53 am (UTC)
chordatesrock: The Punishment of Loki by Louis Huard (detail) (Default)
From: [personal profile] chordatesrock
I wonder what if you tried making them private for the eyes of yourself plus one or two other people? Like your husband, or someone in the same fandom, or something-- someone selected for "probably going to enjoy this even if it's not technically skillful" so you can take some of the pressure off? :)

My drawerfic! So, quickly passing right over two and a half secret verses and three that I might answer questions about via pm but not here, moving on to the others. I actually have surprisingly few drawerfic verses right now, because I decided my newest two were good enough to do something with, even though I didn't intend to do anything with them when I came up with the ideas (witch & vampire, we talked about those).

Drawerfic that was initially intended for posting but now won't be posted, probably ever: actually has a title and everything! Loki's Priest is what this one is called. It's the one that grew out of the absurd "two packs of cigarettes at once" comic idea. Freyja gets Loki out of the cave, Loki is... something. Different. Somewhere in the meantime Sigyn had gone missing (she shows up later on and this is a plot point), so he'd gotten extremely used to being alone, developed hobbies like constructing mathematical proofs, conducting imaginary friendships with the bugs that crawl over him, and generally getting even less typical-minded or easy to get along with than ever before. He's really unhappy staying with Freyja, and arranges to move out almost immediately, while in really terrible shape. He moves in with a Catholic priest whose church Freyja goes to (there are reasons why Freyja goes to church and even more reasons why it's this church, and they're good-ish reasons, sort of kind of), the priest attempts to convert Loki to Christianity, Sigyn reappears, Loki likes food in general but particularly likes unsweetened yogurt with kimchee (together, yes, because... yum?), attempts to figure out modern society, discovers Wikipedia, I have no idea where I was going with this and it never really came together as a story at all despite individual good (or funny) ideas.

I forget if it was ever intended for public consumption: while looking through the list, just rediscovered something I forgot I wrote, where Loki... broke his neck and is discussing the Geneva convention with Odin? And eyeshadow? 194 words I forgot entirely but somehow know exactly how to continue with (now it's 201 words :P).

Never meant to be public, but written down anyway: a Jak and Daxter Peggy Sue, of a slightly unusual sort (the episodic (?) memories go back but not the older personality), Jak 3 intro to Jak II intro (which means lots of misunderstandings, because some of the things Jak believes in the third intro turn out to be false). The plot goes way, way off the rails in paradoxical ways. It's fun. It might be OOC or not entertaining for anyone else to read. I don't care. I like it.

Something about mermaids, IDK why I ever liked this idea.

Something with a knight and interesting character relationships and a main character named Sir Placeholder because I got lazy trying to name him and wanted to get on with his conversation with King Othername, who is legally obligated (I guess it's a constitutional monarchy?) to torture Sir Placeholder, whom he loves dearly.

I started out playing with vaguely ominous-themed stories to practice a few different poetic forms, ended up with Why Ragnarok Is A Good Idea, A Persuasive Essay By Loki, Presented As A Sequence Of Linked Novelinees. I might like to show people this one but I just. It's very weirdly and poorly structured. Featuring such inspired rhymes as "with sword and shield aready, you're aching / to end those who only wait here quaking."

Paying the Piper: a weird J&D AU.

I have lost track of my fic about Loki using shapeshifting to have kids, if I ever really wrote that one down.

I started a fic that, IDK, might someday get shared or might not, except the computer ate it. It was about a totally-made-up genesis of belief in the Aesir, and there was a lot of astronomy and fem!Loki.

More weird poetry, this time free verse!

An alternate future for SBTSverse that's actually partly written, plus another few that aren't. They're all happy endings, by the way. (Is it a spoiler to conspicuously mention that the *alternate* endings are all happy?) Plus a fix-fic that is totally my headcanon but never going to be actual canon for the verse. The AUs are awesome; there's one where Loki adopts a mortal kid, is even more severely disabled than canon but it's okay because they make everything work, and just generally ends up all the lovely things that canon!SBTS!Loki will never be again.

Completed drawerfic: all of my planned-out Jak and Daxter AUs, including at least three drawerverses (out of eleven total verses of which two have already been finished and posted), have a crossover where they meet in The Nondescript Meeting Room With Folding Chairs Between The Worlds. They talk a lot. Most of them come from AUs I haven't posted yet but intend to someday. They compare their lives, figure out the points of divergence, learn what would've happened had they been slightly different people or made slightly different choices, come to decisions about their lives based on new information.

Not completed: a similar one using a slightly different set of universes and versions of a different character not represented in the last one.

Not sure if maybe I should do something with: a Zelda fic that begins "The Hero of Time stepped into Hyrule Castle Town for the first time in seven years and was immediately eaten by the redeads." Also contains the following line of dialogue, spoken to a disguised Zelda as she's about to reveal herself and ask for help: "You're Zelda, Princess of Hyrule. My first cousin on my mother's side. They said you were all dead, but they only found my uncle and aunt's bodies, and my other cousin's. Not yours. But you know what? You know how many people have come claiming to be you? Most of them have better disguises than yours, too. My cousin had blonde hair, you nitwit."

Date: 2015-06-09 12:14 am (UTC)
chordatesrock: The Punishment of Loki by Louis Huard (detail) (Default)
From: [personal profile] chordatesrock
I don't find it particularly satisfying to reread stories I never meant to make public, as compared to ones I did; if I never meant to show anyone, then I had no reason to write entertainingly, you know?

Hmm, the two packs at once thing actually ended up not happening, which is odd, since it's the thing that created the whole verse. But no, it wouldn't've had anything to do with the reasons he likes kimchi and yogurt together. It was more to do with choice paralysis resulting from not having any choices whatsoever, and that interacting with Loki's personality in kind of an awkward way. The thought process that leads up to it is something like:
-Hey, they still have tobacco, it might be cool to try the modern preparations
-How do I choices. There are multiple brands how do I choose which to get?
-Eh, get both.
-Okay, so, how do I choices. There are twoscore identical cigarettes!
-I seem to recall being very good at this kind of thing before.
-Past!Loki would have done something ridiculous here that would distract from the solid minute of staring at all these cigarettes wondering which to smoke first.

So it's not so much him wanting to smoke that many cigarettes at once (would they even physically fit in someone's mouth, anyway?) as him getting back into the swing of making spectacularly bad decisions like he used to. This one's a little heavier on the "bad" and light on the "spectacular" but still. He's hardly at his best after several centuries of lying there in that cave being tortured; what do you expect him to do, end the world or something? Oh, wait. :P

Whereas the kimchi and yogurt thing is more of a good choice; he just has, uh... idiosyncratic taste.

The reason why the story grew away from the original idea is that I decided it should involve a slower physical recovery than the initial idea, and then this ended up no longer feasible. (And then I ended up playing up hopelessness more than choice paralysis.)

Date: 2015-06-11 01:04 am (UTC)
inkdust: (Default)
From: [personal profile] inkdust
I really need to check that I'm logged in to DW more often when I read my page. Missed this post, and it's so relevant to me right now! So I'll be late here.

For the past few years I haven't written much that's just meant for me, but now that I have a close writing buddy, I've been writing a couple stories to share just with her. Funny thing is they're both (fan)fic of my actual novel - I took two of my main characters and in one I put them in the 1920s for silly dramatic romance and in the other I'm writing them as teenagers in a boarding school for more silly with less drama. It's so great to write just for fun. I don't intend to stop for any length of time again.


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