Poll: I was rereading "All the Dreams that Might Have Been" and got very angry at it. There are some things I really like, but some things which are annoying me. The question is, should I revamp and repost the beginning of the story? Vote Now!
Author has written 23 stories for Chronicles of Narnia.
I've been an avid Narnia fan since my 5th grade teacher read us the beginning of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe one rainy afternoon when she had no lesson planned. In fact, at the time (the stone age before the internet, it was) I was spinning stories about the Pevensies and Caspian who intrigued me so much. Silly me - I thought I was the only one! Of course this is not the case, and when I had a Narnia renaissance when the movie came out I was thrilled to find ff.net.
A little bit about me and my stories. I've spent a lot of time developing a Narnia universe with my best friend and other half, rooty-boots. Stories on my account that reflect that work are "The Hundred Day Winter," "Life Among the Stars," "The Artist's Tale," and "Peter's Dreams." This world contains some slash, though the slash content does not appear in every story (and for those of you who are a bit more sensitive to such things, I'll always warn you, so please read the non slash stuff). I'm thinking of writing a story set in Prince Caspian which explains this epic in story format, but in the meantime I think each story explains itself, either through the content or the author's notes. This work is particularly close to my heart; I love to hear feedback on it.
The rest of the stories are stand alone works. Some go hand in hand with others, and I think the most important of these connections is "All the Dreams that Might Have Been," which is a direct sequel to "Caspian's Queen." Also, you'll notice if you've read all my stories that there are some inconsistencies. For example, in "Children Do Grow Up" the kids' mother is not Helen but Julia (and no one tell me her name is Helen! Her name is Helen in the movie only) but in "How to Keep Well in Wartime" and "Conception" she's Helen. That explains the difference in character. Julia is one version of the Pevensies' mother, Helen is a more developed one, and I like her for that reason.
I update sporadically, in case you haven't noticed. Once upon a time I was extremely diligent about updating stories, but I have a lot of things on the burner at the moment, and I don't have the luxury anymore. Some stories it's been so long I've kind of lost the thread of where I was going. So as not to disappoint, here are updates on my current stories in progress:
"All the Dreams that Might Have Been: Redux" AsCast honored me by interviewing me regarding this fanfic and Narnia fanfic in general. It was very exciting and I was all about going on. You can listen to the interview here (and I highly recommend browsing around Narnia Fan Fiction Revolution. It is a way past a lot of the drivel.): But then life got in the way. But *then* the movie came out and now I have a fresh wave of determination. I also made a New Year's resolution to write a page a day in a notebook, which has been boding v. well for ATD. Those of you who are favoriting the original and occasionally asking for updates--I'm so flattered, really. But I like a lot about this revamp better, so I'm focusing my energy on finishing this. Maybe one day I'll go back to the first draft. I should take it down, but vanity prevents me. It has so many favorites!
"Conception" - I can't believe people liked Helen and the baby Pevensies so much. It was a lot of fun to write this story, and I'm definitely thinking of doing another in Helen's voice about her children. Thanks for all the great reviews.
"The Hundred Day Winter" is a story I'd really like to return to. I got inspired today while rewatching Prince Caspian, but I need to dig out my notes for where I wanted this one to go. I don't have any immediate plans for updating this one, but I by no means want to forget it.
"The Artist's Tale" has stalled because I need to do a major overhaul to the most recent chapter because rooty-boots and I changed the storyline a bit. I hate overhauls. Hence why I'm procrastinating. Like "The Hundred Day Winter" though, this story has never entirely left my brain.
"The Emperor and the Diplomat" - Sadly, this one is on indefinite hiatus as I forgot where I was going with it and can't seem to get re-inspired for a new storyline.
"A Reversal of Roles" - Every so often I get a review asking me to please continue. I'm so flattered, but this one is on hiatus for a bit too, though not quite as far down on the stack as "The Emperor and the Diplomat." I sort of vaguely remember where I was going with this one, but it would take a lot of recollecting my thoughts to get there. Don't count out the possibility of an update, but that would come in the distance, after I've finished the other works in progress I have on here.
"One Hundred Days, One Hundred Years" is not as shiny and new as it once was. It is far from dead though as I remember quite clearly where I was going with it. I just need to clear some of the steam from "All the Dreams...Redux" and I should get going on this again. Again, this is one I keep thinking about.
What I'm working on now
In case for some reason you find yourself curious about what to expect next (perhaps I am flattering myself a bit here), I've put up this bit to let you know.
January 12 - I thought I would have a snow day today and could write write write! But of course, my stupid mayor is very stupid and kept NYC public schools open. I should go teach in the suburbs. Fun fact: teachers weep when they don't get snow days too. So I *would* have finished the next chapter today, but you can thank Mayor Bloomberg that I didn't (I'm not bitter).
More to the point--the next chapter of "All the Dreams...Redux" is just about done. I've handwritten it out in draft form, and now I just need to type and revise. I have had the following chapter, the memory chapter, written out for a long time, so basically it's a lot of typing over the next few days and I should get some stuff up within the week.
Shout out to my peeps
To everyone who reviews my stories, favorites them, alerts them...thank you. Truly. It makes me want to write more and it makes me feel good about trying to do the writing thing for real. I just wanted to take the time to say that. I don't always reply to reviews, but I always appreciate them, and I wanted to take the time to say that.
Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The movie
I'm still not sure how I feel about this movie. On the one hand there were things that I really loved. On the other there were things that felt very flat to me. And I hated Gael. To expand:
The 'meh': It all hinges on the Light Water. There wasn't any! Reepicheep sings his song, but there's never that moment of joy in the discovery that they are in the Utter East, that they have come to the end of the world. There is a beautiful sense of wonder in that moment in the book which was missing from the movie overall. I don't really have a problem with them amping up the quest, making the temptation which all the characters do actually face in the book more vital, but in so doing, the movie lost its sense of wonder in the discovery of a new, unexplored world, which was really one of the best things about the book. And the idea that one could have such a grand adventure in a now familiar place made it feel as though we could all go on that discovery. The movie forgot this, and made it all a little too serious.
Which brings me to the evil mist. Good idea, terrible execution. As I said, the idea of reinforcing the conflict that each of the characters face, and tying it all into a greater sense of evil is really effective, because it creates a throughline for what is admittedly a very episodic story. Finding the swords and each sword symbolizing some temptation overcome is very cool. The prisoners? I didn't really care about them. Never had a reason to. Also, the fact that they made the mist this weird semi physical manifestation of evil...it was trying to tread the line between being a character and being a symbol, and as it wound up being neither it was kind of lame. The writers needed to make more of a commitment to the symbolic level, which could have really worked, rather than dumbing it down for kids. Why does Hollywood never realize that a movie that's too smart is far better than a movie that's dumbed down. Pixar gets it. I don't see why other people don't.
Also, this movie needed more Caspian! Somehow his role got diminished, and that made me sad because a) he's so cool in the book and b) Ben Barnes really does a great job as Caspian. Where was Caspian's temper? They inferred one for Peter in Prince Caspian (and astutely so, I thought), but then you take away an actual character trait which provides more momentum for the movie? It doesn't really make sense. I liked the uncertainty they gave Caspian, how he worries about his father and the type of king he is. I've seen that conflict for Caspian myself in some of my stories. But there needed to be more of it!
The good: Edmund. Skandar did a great job with Edmund's character. One of my quibbles with Prince Caspian is that they took away all of Edmund's sly wisecracks, but I consoled myself with the idea that Dawn Treader would be 'his' movie and he'd come into his own. Was I right! Edmund is heroic and funny, and his journey to being an adult for a second time is well played out. I've always thought that Skandar is the best actor of the four, and he definitely proves it here.
Eustace. What amazed me in LWW is how much the Pevensies were exactly what I pictured in my head when reading the books growing up. I've never had that happen to me before--even the Harry Potter actors have a couple of quirks that make them slightly different from what I pictured in my head. Will Poulter, however, is very much part of the Narnian tradition. He got Eustace Clarence Scrubb down to a T.
Lucy: That moment where she's sold at Narrowhaven is 10x more powerful than in the book, where Lewis glosses over the scariness of that moment. Georgie brings it to the audience with just one grimace. She also does a very good job of showing Lucy's kick-ass side. Again, I wanted more! I wish they had played out that little moment at the beginning where she's talking to Caspian about a bride and touching her cheek flirtatiously, even if it wound up being a one sided crush.
Edmund and Caspian. Their 'bromance' was great. I've always been so focused on Caspian and Lucy that I forget that Caspian and Edmund have a cool relationship. In a lot of ways it mirrors what happened between Caspian and Peter in Prince Caspian, but this round was much more subtle, and as Caspian is more sure of himself, he and Edmund are on more equal footing. They took that great scene on Deathwater and turned it into more of a plotline. I always like when movies expand on what's there.
Edmund and Lucy. They didn't get to talk much, and there was a lot of "Edmund!!" "Lucy!!" but I really liked the closeness that they had, and how they worried for each other and fought for each other.
The cinematography: I *loved* the look of the Dawn Treader, the shots of it on the water, the Silver Sea and the end of the world--all of this was fantastically realized, which is what you want in movies made from fantasy novels.
The end. The battle with the sea serpent was thrilling. It completely caught me up, and the end actually made me cry--the first of the Narnia movies to do so. The segue into the end credits with the Pauline Baynes illustrations compounded my sense of nostalgia and made me remember reading the book as a kid.
So there are a lot of good things about this movie. I haven't even listed them all, or gone into depth. But there is one thing I actively hate about the movie and that is:
Of all the pointless, useless characters! I didn't even understand why she was there at all until Rooty-boots pointed out to me that it was to give Lucy some confidence in herself. Ok, I can get on board with the Lucy conflict, but Gael is not necessary to play that out. How about Caspian? She could have a crush on him and he could talk about Susan, and then they could have their moments of understanding together that they have in the book and she could realize that she's important to him too, even if he's not in love with her. In addition to Gael being a boring and annoying example of a helpless female, a stereotype Narnia consistently subverts, she divides Lucy from the other characters, particularly her brother and Caspian, leaving a goldmine of character development and exploration untouched. There were a lot of great little moments between the characters in the first two movies, and I firmly believe Gael prevented that in this one because she kept the characters separate.
Prince Caspian: The movie
A lot of Narnia purists are infuriated with Prince Caspian because it makes a lot of changes to the book. This reminds me of my friend, who swears she can't watch the Two Towers because it plays so fast and loose with Faramir's character. But I liked the Two Towers a lot, and I read the book before seeing the movie. This made me start to rethink how literal I should be about adaptations, and I used to be very literal. So when I started seeing trailers for Prince Caspian, I had a feeling it would be the Two Towers of Narnia. It was, and I still like it. Peter fighting in the train station--Well, what else would he do? I always imagined Peter would have a tough time going from being the High King of Narnia, respected the world over, to a kid who people think they can boss around. Peter v. Caspian? I actually don't think this is such a character stretch. Peter and Caspian are both quite strong willed (at least, Peter is in my brain), and this is just their wills warring. I had the opportunity to attend a Q&A with the cast at the NY Comic Con, and I specifically asked about that when it was my chance to ask a question. William Moseley actually said something quite perceptive, which was that Caspian and Peter are both alpha-males, and they're both jockeying for position. They want the same thing for Narnia, but they see different paths to get there. This seemed so astute that I haven't had an issue with it since, particularly since they end in the same place that Lewis has. A lot of people feel that Caspian should have an almost holy reverence for the Pevensies, but in all honesty, I think that makes the story less fun.
And of course the major beef: Caspian and Susan. Now, as you can probably tell from my stories, I'm a big Caspian and Lucy fan and always have been, but I really liked the way they handled the romance in the movie, very lightly and with real sweetness. The attraction is natural--Susan is beautiful and gentle, and Caspian is young and dashing and noble, some of the same qualities that a certain Prince of Calormen possesses. Is it in the book? No. Does Lewis leave huge massive holes in his stories where there could be room for such a thing? Yes, absolutely. That is after all, why I like writing Narnia fanfiction--I often feel that the story is but half written, that he glosses over parts that I always want to see more of. I usually consider this a credit to Lewis as a writer. I'm telling you though, if one more person mentions that Caspian is supposed to be younger than Susan, I am going to hurl a copy of the book at their head and make sure it falls open to the chapter "Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance," where Peter sees Caspian for the first time and notices that he is about his own age. Therefore if anything, Caspian is supposed to be older than Susan. People need to stop referencing the BBC production.
Overall, I thought the movie was wonderful, and it had a great arc. That scene where Peter is looking at the trapped soldiers in the night raid gets me every time, and there are so many other wonderful highlights. The acting is much better this go 'round too, and Ben Barnes was great as Caspian. My only real beef is that they kept taking away Edmund's lines! He was the one to recognize it was magic in the train station, and he was the one to observe "That's the trouble with girls--can't carry a map in their heads." Those lines were so Edmund I was sad they dished them out to the other characters.
Ben Barnes is awesome
And not just because he's a pretty face (although let's call a spade a spade, he is). Dude can act. I had the good fortune to see him in Birdsong in London and it was absolutely phenomenal. He put such passion into the role that he was actually crying the very first moment he walked out onstage. Furthermore, he's exceptionally intelligent. He clearly puts a lot of thought and analysis into his projects, and to hear him analyze Narnia from a more secular, literary point of view is both astute and refreshing. He's also quite charming (based on interviews) and very kind--after a certainly draining performance in Birdsong he came out and signed playbills and took photos when he really must have just wanted to go home and rest.
Why am I writing this here? Because I tried to express some of it at the stage door of Birdsong and wound up blabbering instead, and it needs to be said.
The longer I'm on this site, the pickier I get. Fanfiction is great stuff, but a lot of the work on here is highly unpolished. I try not to judge too much because when I was 14 I was writing some real crap. I laugh to think of it actually. However, that means that those stories in my favorites and those authors who I've favorited are carefully selected, stories that I found really grabbed me, that really did a good job developing the characters. If you happen to be reading this because I favorited you (I do love that alert, it always makes me happy), my hat's off to you and my thanks for simultaneously filling my need for more things Narnia and writing a worthwhile story to boot.
This issue came to my attention first via my buddy Andi Horton (who, by the way is an amazing writer and you really should go check out her stories if haven't already). In her profile she thanks 'spelling conscious Americans' who try to correct her when really she's just using the British spellings of words: colour instead of color, etc. Then my friend rootyboots and I started a lot of collaborative writing. Rootyboots is English, and I'm American, and I'm constantly finding myself using words or phrases British people simply don't use when speaking or writing. For example, a slight change of preposition: the British way is "Different to" and the American was is "different from." I also just found out this very week what a rag and bone man is. And then of course the classic--what you call underwear. In England, as you probably know, 'pants' is the word, but in America that means trousers, and we'll say panties or boxers, being the gender specific bunch that we are. The question I have is this: I am an American writing stories about British people. It is necessary to be British-English conscious in everything I write? Should I endeavor (endeavour) to make the characters speak completely British? Actually, that's not even really a question because nothing annoys me more than when I'm reading a Narnia fic and Peter says "Yeah"--although that's more anachronistic than anything. Obviously I don't want my characters to sound like modern Americans, so having them say 'awesome' is out of the question, unless they mean the old version of the word, which is 'inspiring fear and amazement in a person.' But if they say pants instead of trousers? Does that really put a jarring note with the story? And what about the narration? Is it necessary to anglify that as well? I ask these questions in all earnestness. What do you think? Care to comment?
The word Suspian. It makes me want to hurl. I have no problems with Caspian and Susan as a couple, but Suspian?! Really?? Lucian is so much better as a couple name, although I'm a bit leery over all about morphing a couple into one blob-like being. It's always scary. Note: TomKat, Brangelina, etc. I did just think of a cute one for Lucy and Caspian though. Lots of people favor Lucian but that weirds me out because in my own personal Narnia-verse, Lucien is the name of Lucy's son with Corin of Archenland in the Golden Age. But LuCa is kind of cute. Well...Luca is. LuCa just winds up sounding as teeny bopper-esque as Suspian. No winning.
Also the lack of good Susan/ Caspian stories out there. There's a lot of potential for that romance and I haven't yet found one story for them that really grabs me. They're all such cheesy, angsty romances, the kind that you might find written about Marius and Eponine in Les Mis. I want a good, real romance that does not just use Susan and Caspian as stand in romantic leads with no character development but actually takes their personalities and shows how they might fall in love. They're very different people, and it could be very interesting. Any suggestions? Let me know! (Disclaimer: I find Susan and Caspian an intriguing possibility, although their potential is rarely realized. That does not, however, change my opinion that Lucy and Caspian are totally soul mates).
Oooh, another pet peeve, and this one makes me really mad. I hate when people are complaining about Ben Barnes (who, for the record, I really liked as Caspian. He definitely got the character, and I was able to forgive him his dark hair just as I forgave Georgie Henley) and they're like "He's too old to be Caspian! Caspian is younger than the Pevensies!" WRONG, people. Wrong. Go get your copies of Prince Caspian and open to the chapter "Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance." When Peter and Edmund storm in, Peter notices the werewolf leaping at a boy "about his own age." So Caspian could be slightly older than Peter, or perhaps slightly younger, around Susan's age, but there is no way he's younger than Lucy. That influence comes from the BBC production in the 80's which got it wrong. There. I'm glad I got that off my chest.
A last random thought: I wish my user ID # was 24601.