rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
I shouldn't have mentioned Until Dawn in my last entry, because now I've fallen straight back into it! I want to write fanfiction, but I'm completely at a loss for ideas. I've already written 'my favourite character is in love with everyone else' and 'characters are forced to question their perception of reality', which are the things I seem to write in every fandom these days. 'Everyone trains Pokémon' is also a recurring theme in my fanfiction, but I'm not sure that would really suit Until Dawn. I haven't written any Jess/Matt, which I do think is a really cute pairing, but I'm much more invested in Mike and in Mike/Sam than I am in anything else.

I'm just going to talk about some of my favourite moments and aspects of the game, in case it sparks something off. Not including the bear trap moment. I've already talked enough about the bear trap moment.

(I'm sorry, Mike. You just suffer so well. Every so often I check out the Tumblr tag for Until Dawn, and sometimes people are talking about how they always shove Mike's fingers in the bear trap because they hate him. It's so strange to me. I want to see Mike's fingers caught in a bear trap because I love him.)


Spoilers for Until Dawn. )


Well, I'm not sure this has spawned any inspiration for writing fanfiction, but I enjoy talking about this game anyway. Even if, before I robbed it of the ability to surprise me by spoiling myself for everything, it freaked me out so badly that I had trouble sleeping.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xv: prompto, the best character, with a touch of swagger. (looking ahead)
I hope you like it when I talk at excessive length about videogames, because it's that time again. Ginger, old friend and new housemate, is replaying Life Is Strange, and it's got me thinking about narrative choices.

In the last year, I've experienced three games - Life Is Strange, Until Dawn, Oxenfree - in which the gameplay consists almost solely of making choices. There's the occasional puzzle in Life Is Strange, there are QTEs in Until Dawn, but fundamentally these games are about the player making choices to shape the story.

In theory.

In practice, these games have a linear story to tell. You can't drag the game down wholly different paths, in the way a Choose Your Own Adventure novel might offer. There are a handful of variables, but every playthrough will hit more or less the same story points and end in more or less the same way. Even in Until Dawn, where the way you play determines who lives and who dies, it's not possible to kill everyone off in the first few hours and make the game go '???? roll credits, I guess?' - certain characters are guaranteed to survive long enough to steer you to a predetermined endpoint. Ginger is currently doing an arsehole run of Life Is Strange, making all the horrible decisions they avoided on previous playthroughs, and at moments it's painful to watch, but it's still much the same story I experienced on my own run.

I mentioned this to Ginger, and their response was something I wasn't expecting: they put forward a case for games like this following roughly the same path and ending in roughly the same way, regardless of player choice. I'd always just assumed that 'your choices have as much impact as possible on the narrative' was the ideal point for these games to reach, and the current 'your choices can change small aspects of the story without actually changing the story's direction' situation was a result of budgetary and time constraints. But Ginger pointed out the social aspect to playing games like this: when you've finished a chapter or a game, you'll want to discuss it and theorise with other people playing the same game. If your choices could make Life Is Strange branch off onto one of ten different paths, that wouldn't be possible; you'd go, 'Hey, wasn't it strange when Max drank from the magical fountain and became a unicorn?' and nobody else would be able to discuss it with you, because only 10% of players even come across the magical fountain.

Thinking about it, this applies to fanfiction as well. In total, I've written ten works of fanfiction for these three narrative choice games, most of them set post-ending. If I hadn't been able to go 'yes, I know that the reader's playthrough will have ended in roughly the same way as mine and therefore they'll be able to tell what's going on here,' I'd never have been able to write them. I feel 'we'd better make things easier for the fanfic writers' is possibly not that high on the list of game developers' priorities, but I'm still glad that I was able to create things inspired by these games.

Life Is Strange also has strong themes of memory and nostalgia, of beautiful fleeting moments, of returning to where you came from and realising you're no longer the person you used to be. Would it be possible to write a game with twenty different endings and make its themes feel coherent?

You could argue that a game shouldn't try to be a film, and, while the developers going 'we know the story we're telling here; you can nudge the tiller occasionally, but we're the ones steering' makes for a better narrative, 'the reins are entirely in your hands! go wild!' would make for a better game. But I think I've been persuaded that greater freedom of choice shouldn't necessarily be the goal of all choice-based narrative games. Maybe Life Is Strange isn't an example of a genre that needs to develop; maybe it's a genre that's exactly where it needs to be.

It could still be fun to have the occasional cinematic game where your choices really do shape the narrative. But, for the moment, with all the budgetary issues involved, that might have to remain the domain of visual novels.

I do think choice-based games could do with fewer endings that explicitly undo the effects of all your choices, though. If the entire game consisted of the player making decisions, don't render those decisions meaningless!
rionaleonhart: final fantasy viii: found a draw point! no one can draw... (you're a terrible artist)
A handful of people have been doing this AO3 stats meme, and I thought I'd attempt it myself, in celebration of the fact that the fifty-two works on my AO3 account have just reached 100,000 collective hits!

I'm sort of awed by that figure. Obviously the actual number of readers will be considerably lower: some people will have read a few different fics, some might have read the same fic a couple of times, the hits on my few chaptered fics will mostly be people coming back to see new chapters. But I was writing and posting fanfiction for well over a decade before I started posting to AO3 in 2013, so, when I think about it, the number of people who've read something I've written probably is in six figures.

That's slightly terrifying. I didn't realise, until AO3 and its hit counters, that the potential audience for fanfiction was so big.

If I could see a glow around everyone who'd read my fanfiction, how often would I pass glowing people in the street?

ANYWAY. STATISTICS.


My top fives on AO3! )


My bottom fic, by all three metrics, is my most recent: a little thing like the end of the world (Final Fantasy VI, Celes/Sabin), with a whopping seven hits and one kudos. (I was SO EXCITED when I got the kudos, four days after I posted it.) It's for a rarepair in a twenty-three-year-old videogame, so, to be honest, this isn't a huge surprise.

(I considered listing out the bottom five for hits, kudos and bookmarks, but it made me too sad! Unsurprisingly, most of them are for fandoms that are no longer active, or are crossovers between fandoms that don't have a lot of audience overlap.)
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xv: prompto, the best character, with a touch of swagger. (looking ahead)
My sudden, intense burst of writing for Final Fantasy XV again continues! This is rather less serious than my last couple of fics. Somehow I still haven't written a Noctis/Gladio/Ignis/Prompto fic, but at least this incorporates three of the four. Sorry for leaving you out, Ignis.

In a weird way, my approach to pairings in this game reminds me of writing for Top Gear. Even if there are some pairings I enjoy more than others, I'm happy to write the boys in any combination. Rather than 'shipping anything specific, I just have story ideas and then go 'right, if there's going to be romance in this one, which character combination would work best with the concept?'

(Newer followers: er, yes, I'm afraid there was a time when I wrote a lot of Top Gear fanfiction.)

I use so many italics when I'm writing Prompto. It's like I'm seventeen again.

I should note that I originally posted one of the scenes in this - the Prompto/Gladio one - as a kinkmeme fill, back in January (I was the second filler). It's been slightly tweaked to fit into the wider story.


Title: Well, This Is Awkward
Fandom: Final Fantasy XV
Rating: PG-13/R? Let's just go with the UK rating system and say 15.
Pairing: Prompto/Noctis, Prompto/Gladio, Noctis/Gladio, Prompto/Noctis/Gladio
Wordcount: 3,000
Summary: When you're on the road together, you can end up in uncomfortable situations.


Well, This Is Awkward )
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I feel really weird about this fic. I feel like, on some level, writing for something I last wrote for when I was fifteen has caused me to revert to the writing level I was at when I was fifteen. Maybe I'm imagining it. I hope I'm imagining it.

This fic also isn't screwed up at all, and that makes me uncomfortable. What's the point of fanfiction if nobody makes out with the wrong person or is trapped forever in a hallucinatory vortex of guilt?


Title: Clarity
Fandom: DN Angel
Rating: G
Pairing: unrequited Satoshi/Daisuke
Wordcount: 1,500
Summary: Daisuke finally realises that Satoshi is in love with him.


Clarity )
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I'm unsettled by the thought that some people read or watch DN Angel and come away thinking, 'Ah, yes, Satoshi, there's a young man who's definitely not in unrequited love with Daisuke.' I'm usually open to people having their own interpretations of characters and their relationships, particularly on points that aren't made explicit in canon! But Satoshi is just so painfully, tragically in love.

It will astonish you to learn that I'm rereading DN Angel. I must have first watched the anime thirteen years ago, and I've never really thrown off my emotional attachment to this ridiculous tale of rampant crushes and magical art theft. My feelings about Satoshi will lie dormant for years, and then I remember his tragic existence and those feelings BURN A HOLE IN MY CHEST.

I sort of want to write fanfiction where Daisuke finally realises how Satoshi feels about him (Riku probably tells him, because Daisuke is absolutely hopeless with feelings and there's no way he's ever going to work it out on his own), but I'm not sure where it could go. Daisuke approaches Satoshi to say 'I'm really sorry, I don't feel that way about you,' Satoshi goes 'well, I knew that,' uncomfortable silence, the end? It's not much of a concept.

It could theoretically be possible to make a 'sorry, I don't feel that way' conversation interesting, but it'd be tough with Satoshi. It's generally hard to make Satoshi have conversations. He's very quiet and intense.


Final Fantasy VI was on sale on the Playstation Store recently, and I lost my copy some years ago, so I bought it! Maybe I'll actually be able to finish it this time.

Here's an odd thing about Final Fantasy VI: at one point, a man tells Locke to give his son 'the password', but he can't remember what the password is. When you (as Locke) speak to the son, you're given three possible passwords to say, one of which is correct. So you have a one-in-three chance of getting it right. If you get it wrong, you'll be able to try again, after finding a fresh disguise.

But the three choices are presented to you, the player. They aren't presented to Locke.

Perhaps we're meant to think the son gave Locke the three choices (although that doesn't seem like a great password system), but I prefer to believe that Locke was told 'give him the password, I can't remember what it is' and then got the password, by randomly guessing from all the words in the world, within three tries.
rionaleonhart: ffxv: prompto is trying to listen but actually thinking about his giant crush on you (prompto has a crush on everyone) (i can be serious)
Why didn't I keep writing for Final Fantasy XV? I wrote a couple of fics there and went 'yes, this fandom's so alive, there's an AO3 audience of thousands, it feels great, TIME TO PLUNGE INTO YET ANOTHER DYING FANDOM.'

In fairness, Oxenfree does contain a lot of themes I find really hard to resist. Time shenanigans, sibling relationships, strangers bonding under intense pressure. Sibling relationships between strangers who bond under intense pressure! That's not a combination you get to see often. I was doomed from the start.


Title: A Thousand First Impressions
Fandom: Oxenfree
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 1,500
Summary: Spoilers for the entire game. Jonas meets his stepsister for the first time.


A Thousand First Impressions )
rionaleonhart: final fantasy viii: found a draw point! no one can draw... (you're a terrible artist)
Someone commented on my horrible Oxenfree fic to say I'd made them 'ship Alex/Jonas, and I felt a bit weird about it. I don't think there's anything wrong with 'shipping it, but it seemed strange that I'd caused this, given that I don't 'ship it myself. How had I converted someone else to seeing a stepsibling relationship - a stepsibling relationship I enjoy a lot! - as romantic?

In retrospect, my first mistake was writing about said stepsiblings making out.


I received World of Final Fantasy for Christmas! I am pleased to report that, although it is very different from Final Fantasy XV in most respects, they share a penchant for terrible puns. When you activate a switch to progress in an early dungeon:

'A new path! Check out that switchcraft!'
'Now we know switch way to go!'
'Switchever one of you thinks you're being clever is about to get a knuckle sandswitch.'

I finished the game a week or so ago. It was cute, but I had little real emotional investment in it, sadly. I did very much enjoy having an adorable baby Behemoth on my head, though. Plus there's an absolutely incredible Final Fantasy X reference at one point.

Bizarre omissions from World of Final Fantasy: Bartz, Terra, Cloud, Squall, Tidus and Lightning are present, but no Zidane. There are no characters whatsoever from Final Fantasy XII. Aerith isn't there! For some reason, this is the one that really shocked me. I encountered Tifa and went 'well, obviously we'll be meeting Aerith at some point.' Nope!

Faris and Quistis have really poorly suited voices. This is particularly frustrating because Faris's voice would have worked perfectly well for Quistis; it's just not a voice for slinging pirate slang around in. I'm delighted that Faris is in the game, though!

I've started to come around to Doug Erholtz's voice for Squall at last, having disliked it in Kingdom Hearts II. This means that, for the first time, I've started to think seriously about the possibility of a Final Fantasy VIII remake. If the VII remake does well, is there a chance they'd do VIII as well? There's a part of me that really wants to see that, and there's a part that doesn't know whether my heart would be able to take it. This game means a lot to me.

If nothing else, I suppose it'd provide an excuse to replay it. I've played the original so many times I really can't justify doing it again. (I had to buy a replacement copy of Final Fantasy VIII a few years ago, having played my first copy until the discs just gave up and stopped working. The game lost the ability to tell when a battle had ended, so my party would defeat the enemies and then just... stand there, looking confused, waiting for orders to fight something that wasn't there.)
rionaleonhart: twewy: joshua kiryu is being fabulously obnoxious and he knows it. (is that so?)
I've hugely enjoyed the last couple of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend episodes ('Will Scarsdale Like Josh's Shayna Punim?' and 'Josh Is the Man of My Dreams, Right?'). In particular, I'm loving the Nathaniel storyline. He could be Jeff Winger's evil (well, more evil) brother; there's a definite physical resemblance, and half his lines sound like they could easily be coming out of Jeff's mouth. They're also both lawyers with father issues, come to think of it. (Plus, hey, Jeff canonically has an evil double.)

I don't love Nathaniel half as much as I love Jeff Winger, but he's fun. He also had a pretty incredible song in 'Josh Is the Man of My Dreams, Right?' (warning for weight-shaming, because Nathaniel is the worst).

I'm horrendously predictable when it comes to this character type.

Fiction: Hey, this guy's an arsehole!
Riona: Wow, what an arsehole!
Fiction: He occasionally shows glimpses of having feelings, though.
Riona: Uh-oh.
Fiction: What's this? Is he attracted to a young woman who he thinks of as off-limits?
Riona: Don't do this to me.
Fiction: He tries to resist! But he can't stop glancing over at her!
Riona: GOD, FINE.

I wouldn't say I 'ship him with Rebecca, exactly. I definitely don't want them to be together. (I don't really want Rebecca to be in a romantic relationship with anyone; romantic relationships aren't good for her.) But I do want them to have lots of uncomfortable sexual tension and possibly make out sometimes.


Given Life Is Strange, Until Dawn and now Oxenfree, I seem to have fallen heavily into the Bad Teen Decisions Simulator genre of videogame. (Come to think of it, Dangan Ronpa is also a series of games about bad teen decisions, although it doesn't let you make those bad decisions yourself.)

This is a great genre because it lends itself so well to one of my favourite fanfiction themes: characters undergo traumatic experiences, and then the story focuses on them talking about them, or refusing to talk about them, or not having anyone to talk about them with. The entire concept of these games is 'a handful of people go through horrendous experiences that nobody else will ever understand or believe'. They're perfect.

I didn't actually realise I had such a fondness for this until I looked back at all the one-shots I posted in 2016. There are fifteen, and this theme crops up in no fewer than seven of them. Whoops.

At one point in Oxenfree, I accidentally chose a dialogue option that made Alex say she exercised a lot every morning. I was very annoyed with myself. No, I've made it canon that she's disciplined and she exercises and now I can't relate to her any more! (Alex is still great.)


I've suddenly remembered one of my all-time favourite YouTube videos, and I thought I'd link to it in case anyone hasn't seen it yet. It's two men dancing to Moulin Rouge's 'El Tango de Roxanne' in the street. The video itself is low-quality, sadly, but the intensity of the dance comes through so clearly that it barely matters (and the intensity of the song doesn't hurt). You can watch it over here!
rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
This is not at all the fic I meant to write. Honestly, I was planning to write about Hinata and Kuzuryuu making out. But then the making out caused canon to diverge, and Komaeda somehow seized the focus, and I ended up having to cut out the Hinata/Kuzuryuu entirely because it just felt like an awkward plot device in a fic that had become more about the relationship between Hinata and Komaeda.

Which is a shame, because Hinata/Kuzuryuu is a great pairing. (I've been replaying Super Dangan Ronpa 2, and their relationship has really struck me this time around.) Maybe I'll manage a real Hinata/Kuzuryuu piece eventually.


Title: (Mis)fortune
Fandom: Super Dangan Ronpa 2
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 3,700
Summary: In which Komaeda's best-laid plans are thwarted by his own luck.


(Mis)fortune )
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
I haven't officially participated in National Novel Writing Month since 2004, but I've tried to write at least a little every day of every November since 2009. It's an interesting exercise, and it sometimes means I write things I might never have considered otherwise. For example, here's an unexpected second part to Worth Something, which was really supposed to be a one-shot. The first part was Hinata and Koizumi; this part is Hinata and Kuzuryuu. I'm half-tempted to write about Hinata meeting the entire class, but I think I'll probably resist the urge.


Title: Worth Something, Part Two
Fandom: Danganronpa 3 (Despair Arc)
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 1,300 (this part; 2,700 cumulative)
Summary: Against all advice, Hinata approaches Natsumi Kuzuryuu's brother.

Part One


Worth Something, Part Two )
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
I wrote this entire fic today. I'm not doing National Novel Writing Month, but if I were I'd be on track on wordcount!

My Until Dawn fanfiction consistently gets low hit counts on AO3; all five of my Until Dawn fics are in the bottom seven when you sort my works by hits. I think there's some strange, stubborn part of me going 'I'M NOT GOING TO STOP WRITING FOR THIS FANDOM UNTIL I COME UP WITH SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE WILL ACTUALLY READ.'


Title: Wrong Road Home
Fandom: Until Dawn
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 2,300
Summary: Mike thinks the others just don't want to talk about that night. Maybe the truth is stranger than that.


Wrong Road Home )
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
I don't know why I've ended up writing such a huge entry on a game none of you have played, but, er, here you go. (The last few paragraphs of the entry still concern Until Dawn but may be of more general interest to people who play videogames.)


I ended up spoiling myself for just about everything in Until Dawn, because I was far too freaked out to keep watching when I didn't know what was going on, and it's amazing how much of a difference it made. Every QTE was terrifying when I was unspoiled; every decision felt like a matter of life or death. Once I'd looked things up, I was absolutely fine; I could just watch and enjoy this story about a group of flawed teenagers in a horrible situation without being constantly on the verge of dissolving into petrified sobs.

In a way, I do regret robbing myself of the opportunity to play the game blind, making my own bad decisions and seeing who survives to the end. On the other hand, even if a first playthrough is probably a powerful experience, I feel it wouldn't be an experience I'd enjoy.

It's really interesting to see the way the game's situation brings out certain qualities in its characters. Mike and Sam are at their absolute best when they and their friends are in mortal peril (even if Mike screws up sometimes). Emily very much looks out for herself, but she's able to stay focused and keep going. Ashley doesn't do well under pressure at all, although, to be fair, she's put in really horrifying situations. You might die! You might not! It's completely up to the person who's weighing your life against something else, and all you can do is wait helplessly!

I think an Animorphs AU for Until Dawn could work really well: it's a similar 'hey, teenagers, here's an awful situation you've suddenly been thrown into, you're going to have to think strategically to not die, good luck!' concept, and I'd love to see how the Until Dawn characters would handle it. Given that there are eight characters involved, though, it'd probably be too ambitious a project for me to attempt.

(Would Mike be the leader? Sam? Maybe Mike's the leader in name and Sam's actually the one who keeps things together.)

I don't think I'll be writing any more Until Dawn fanfiction, although admittedly I thought that after my first Until Dawn fic, and indeed after my second. But I've written 'Mike and Sam are miserable and make out', 'Mike and Sam are miserable and don't make out' and 'Mike wants to make out with everyone (and is miserable)'. Where else can I go? I can't just write endlessly about Mike being miserable, but it's the only thing my heart is interested in.

(I got a review on my Mike/everyone fic that said 'THIS WAS SADDER THAN I THOUGHT IT WAS GONNA BE. ;A;', which I'm pleased with because it is exactly according to my evil plan. The summary is 'Mike Munroe has a lot of attractive friends, and he'd make out with all of them if he could.' Hey, this'll be silly and fun! NO. NO FUN. MISERY. IT'S UNTIL DAWN.)

If I could write sex, I'd probably write a fic where Mike and Sam are the only ones left alive, they're still trapped on the mountain, and they end up banging unhappily because they're probably going to die anyway and it's the only thing they can think of to do. Alas, it's not in my skillset.


I've been skipping around and watching bits of a lot of different Until Dawn Let's Plays, and not just because I could watch Mike cut his own fingers off all day. I really like watching people slowly warm to Mike. He makes such a bad first impression (the first two things he does are 'participate in a cruel prank' and 'jumpscare you'), and I love the way a lot of players gradually progress from 'who's this arsehole?' to 'actually, I'm really invested in this arsehole's survival.'

Something I found interesting: at one point, when ChristopherOdd was playing as Mike, Jessica called to Mike for help. ChristopherOdd commented on 'the sheer terror in her voice, calling out our name'. When you play as Mike, does Mike's name become your name as well? Referring to playable characters in the first person is common enough; if Nathan Drake falls off a cliff when I'm controlling him, I'll usually say that I fell, rather than that Nate fell. Referring to yourself and the playable character together as 'us' isn't unheard of; you might say, 'Come on, Mike, let's see what's over here' (I'd never say 'we fell off a cliff' in the Uncharted example, though). But thinking of the name of the character you're playing as 'your' name strikes me as unusual.

Then again, if you saw me playing Silent Hill 2 and asked what was happening in it, I feel I might say that I'm looking for my wife. I don't know why names are specifically the point at which I feel a barrier falls between me and the playable character.

Are there any studies on when people refer to playable characters in the first person? Does it happen more with customisable protagonists, with silent protagonists, with protagonists that share the player's gender? Does having more than one playable character in the game affect it? (I feel I don't generally use 'I' in Final Fantasy games, for example, where you can usually control the actions of multiple characters.) Does whether the player likes the protagonist affect it? It's a difficult subject to Google, unfortunately. I don't want to know about first-person videogames; I want to know about people talking about videogames in the first person!
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
I've been waiting for the start of a fresh month to share this story! On the first of August, I was contacted by one of my clients.

'I've got a new book coming in for you to edit,' he said. 'It'll need to be ready by the end of the month.'

'Okay! How long is it?'

'About thirty days.'


Unfortunately, I also have to share a story where I'm the one who ends up looking silly.

'I don't know why I finished Life Is Strange and immediately started writing horrible fanfiction about [unpleasant character],' I said to [livejournal.com profile] reipan yesterday.

'Don't take this the wrong way,' Rei said, 'but I'm really not surprised.'

'I don't know. I've always thought of my writing as reasonably wholesome.'

Rei laughed in my face.

Here's the thing: I was serious. And then I started scrolling through my Archive of Our Own account, trying to find the most recent wholesome thing I'd written. And scrolling. And scrolling. And scrolling.

'Let's see... psychological trauma, psychological trauma, two teenagers discuss the horrible murders of their classmates, someone is afflicted with a hallucinogen and nearly kills her brother, someone isn't afflicted with a hallucinogen and nearly kills her friend... does "someone ropes a friend into having sex with her purely so she can use her pregnancy to evade execution" count?'

'No.'

'A guy has the memories of fourteen other people loaded into his head and has a mental breakdown, a photographer deliberately cuts off her fingers so she can't hold a camera... hey, my fic where the Final Fantasy VIII cast become l'Cie is all right!'

'Doesn't that mean they're doomed to become either monsters or crystals?' Housemate C asked.

'IT'S A LOVELY WHOLESOME STORY ABOUT MORTALITY.'

So, yes, it turns out that everything I write is horrible and somehow I never even realised it. So much murder! So much guilt! So many psychological breakdowns!

This is a genuine revelation and I don't understand how I never noticed it before.
rionaleonhart: kingdom hearts: sora, riku and kairi having a friendly chat. (and they returned home)
THE BOOKENING TITLE #4: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, Becky Chambers.

Oh, wow. This was a joy from start to finish. I'm sad that the sequel isn't out yet. Hello, new favourite book?

Here's something I don't think I've mentioned here before: I'm afraid of space. It's so big and so empty and so unknown. I think stars in the night sky are beautiful, but I can't look at them for too long because I start thinking about how far away they are and I get unsettled. The Total Perspective Vortex would destroy me. So I was a bit nervous at the prospect of reading a book all about scary space.

But it wasn't a problem at all. Space is so alive and fascinating in Small Angry Planet. I loved all the information we got about society and history and the differences between assorted sapient species. The whole universe was so much fun.

The structure is interesting; it's very episodic. Rather than focusing on telling one overarching story, this book introduces a cast of characters and then goes 'and now we're going to see a series of their escapades!' It's essentially a series of interconnected short stories. It could be adapted very well to television.

And it's a great cast of characters. I'm fond of everyone. Kizzy might be my favourite (I wasn't sure at first whether she would be irritating or endearing, but she came down firmly on the latter side for me), and I love her relationship with Jenks. Oh, wait, maybe Ashby's my favourite? WHO KNOWS; EVERYONE'S GREAT. Sissix, Dr Chef, Rosemary, everyone. Even Corbin won me over towards the end.

I can't stop picturing Ohan as Randall, the chameleon guy from Monsters Inc. This is not even slightly right (Randall doesn't have fur, for one thing), but for some reason my mind refuses to let go of it.

When I was almost finished with this book, I went, 'Hey, I should see how much fanfiction is waiting for me once this is over.' The answer: literally none. Nobody has written Small Angry Planet fanfiction.

Maybe I should fix that.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I want the entire crew of the Wayfarer to have a big Aandrisk-esque cuddlepile-stroke-orgy. Sissix said that almost all feather families have group sex at least once! I can understand why the Wayfarer crew is the exception, but I'm also sad that it's the exception. (Corbin elects not to engage in the orgy; he just sits off to the side and complains throughout.) This is probably not something I'm going to write.

I might write something about Lovelace, actually. I've made a small start, but it's tricky; the book is in past tense, and I want to try to match its style, but I haven't written in the past tense in so long. (This is perhaps why I so rarely write fanfiction for books; my instinct is always to replicate the writing style, and it's tricky!)

I'd really like to see some flashbacks to characters' early days on the Wayfarer in the sequel. But, honestly, I'll be happy so long as we get more of the ridiculous adventures of this pack of space misfits.

OKAY, I'VE JUST CHECKED THE BLURB FOR THE SEQUEL AND IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS NOT, IN FACT, ABOUT THIS PACK OF SPACE MISFITS. Noooooooo! The lack of fanfiction is now even more tragic than it was before.

Anyway, this is a thoroughly delightful book. I'm so happy to have read it.
rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
(EDIT: The music linked in this entry has now been taken down, alas. (What am I going to listen to endlessly now???))

My housemates were listening to the Hamilton cast recording recently. I happened to be in the room during a song from the second half, and I was very aware that I probably looked absolutely furious. I was not furious. I was just trying so hard to hold back my tears that I looked really angry.

(I was slightly angry because HOW COULD A SINGLE OUT-OF-CONTEXT SONG FROM A MUSICAL MAKE ME CRY, I DIDN'T KNOW ANY OF THE PLOT SURROUNDING IT, THIS WASN'T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN.)

I've now actually listened to Hamilton in full, and it's extremely good! Good music, good lyrics, some very striking moments. Early on there's a cute song, and then the song that follows suddenly makes it heartbreaking in retrospect. I was very upset.

It also depicts important historical political discussions as rap battles, which is pretty great.

I can't stop laughing at how EXTREMELY DRAMATIC this musical makes essay-writing, though. To experience for yourself the most dramatic writing has ever been (short of Death Note), listen to 'Non-Stop' for about a minute from the 4.10 mark (the link should take you to the right point).

I'm also going to drop the link to 'Wait For It' here. There are some songs I can't listen to without making dramatic gestures and mouthing along. This is one of them. I'll never be able to listen to it in public.

Alternatively, if you're curious about the song that emotionally wrecked me even though I heard it completely out of context: 'Burn'. (Just listened to it again, and, yes, it still makes me sob.) Spoilers for the musical, although they might be things you know already if you know much about Alexander Hamilton as a historical figure.

(I've just had the terrible revelation that this is not, in fact, the only time an out-of-context song from a musical has made me cry. I cried the first time I heard 'Breaking Free', before I actually watched High School Musical. I'm so unhappy with myself.)


Fanfiction update: the Visitorverse is still going. I stopped posting it here because there was just too much of it, but it's still going. It is 600,000 words long. This ridiculous, incomprehensible, self-indulgent Assassin's Creed AU is longer than The Lord of the Rings. It's longer than War and Peace. There are three of us writing it, admittedly (and one of my co-writers has written more than half of the total (?????????)), but it's still only been in existence for nine months. I'm scared.

Seriously, I don't understand. We've produced hundreds of thousands of words. Half of this thing is just setting up increasingly elaborate excuses to make everyone cuddle. This - this was supposed to be a one-shot.
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
Assassin's Creed is now the single fandom in which I have written the most by wordcount. In about six months, it managed to beat the record it took Top Gear a year and a half to set. I loved my time in Top Gear fandom, and it was where some of my strongest fandom friendships were forged, but it was a slightly odd thing to have at the top of my writing leaderboard for almost a decade.


I finished playing Final Fantasy Type-0 HD a couple of days ago! It's an interesting game. On paper, it's not great: it's a PSP port and looks it; the plot never really gripped me; it throws a load of incomprehensible jargon at you the second you start the game up; there are so many characters that none of them get any real depth or development, although most of them are likeable enough (and then there's Machina, who is the worst). But the battle system is great fun, and the ending really stayed with me and, I think, retroactively made me care a lot more about everyone. Possibly even Machina. I can't imagine how much it would have affected me if I'd been more invested from the start.

Final Fantasy Type-0 also deals with a concept I find fascinating; it's set in a world where, as soon as someone dies, all memories of that person are erased. It's interesting to see the different ways people cope with that. Some people are glad not to be held back by grief, or find it reassuring to know that their loved ones will be able to move on if they're killed; some fear being forgotten. One character writes down the names of everyone she meets; if she looks at her list and finds a name she doesn't recognise, she'll know that someone she once knew has died. Everyone carries a tag with their personal details on it, so that it's possible to establish who they were and contact the next of kin who won't remember them. It could be an interesting thing to borrow for AUs.


On a very different note, I attended a recording of The Unbelievable Truth last week, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] reipan! I can remember very little, I'm afraid (I don't know how I used to write up those huge recording recaps five years ago), but here are a couple of pieces. The guests were Jon Richardson, Henning Wehn, Susan Calman and Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Entry, i.e. Jack Dee; the host, as ever, was David Mitchell.


Calman spun a bizarre tale in which absolutely nothing sounded remotely plausible. Everyone sat in silent confusion, not daring to buzz. Eventually, Wehn buzzed just to exclaim, in despair, 'Something has to be true!'

At the end of her lecture:

Mitchell: And at the end of that round, Susan, you've managed to smuggle four truths past the rest of our panellists.
Richardson: Not the bloody lasagne sandwich.
Mitchell: One of them was the lasagne sandwich.
(Richardson expresses his emotions by knocking over his water bottle)

I just like it when they make jokes that will never work on radio. At one point, Calman sang the praises of Boris Johnson and said we should leave the EU, then shook her head and mouthed no. Richardson pointed out that the broadcast could very well end up misrepresenting her views.


When other people buzzed in, the light indicating Henning Wehn would sometimes incorrectly light up. During Henning's first lecture, there was a buzz and Mitchell did a wonderful double-take. (buzz) 'Henning. - Henning???'

Given that this error couldn't be reliably reproduced, Mitchell started to wonder whether he was just imagining Henning's name by the light.

Mitchell: (looking at Henning, frowning) Maybe I love Henning.
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
Recently, I found myself thinking 'hmm, I've heard good things about How to Get Away with Murder. Maybe I should watch it? I should find out a bit more about what it is first.'

So I opened Google, and then I was struck by the terrible realisation that I was about to type 'how to get away with murder' into the search bar.

I ended up searching for 'how to get away with murder television', just in case the eyes of the government were on me.

I'm now about twelve episodes in!


Thoughts on the first twelve episodes of 'How to Get Away with Murder'. No spoilers for the main plot. )


An exchange with one of my Visitorverse co-writers:

VampireBadger: No! No, Altair and Desmond are not going to make out! Stop it, don't you dare write them together.
Riona: VAMPIREBADGER, YOU KNOW THAT TELLING ME TO STAY AWAY FROM HAYTHAM/AVELINE JUST MADE ME THROW MORE WEIRD HAYTHAM/AVELINE IMPLICATIONS IN.
VampireBadger: YES BUT ENCOURAGING YOU TO WRITE WEIRD PAIRINGS ALSO RESULTS IN WEIRD PAIRINGS. THERE IS NO WAY TO WIN WITH YOU, RIONA.

I think this is the best thing anyone's ever said to me. (I have not, incidentally, written Altaïr and Desmond making out. Although I did write a scene on which multiple people commented to say '...I'm pretty sure you were picturing those two making out when you wrote this,' and they were absolutely right.)


In other news, we are two episodes into the final series of Peep Show and I've realised once more how deeply invested I am in Mark/Jeremy. If Peep Show doesn't end with Mark and Jeremy falling into some sort of awful self-loathing mess of a sexual relationship, I will sob.
rionaleonhart: kingdom hearts: sora, riku and kairi having a friendly chat. (and they returned home)
I have now written over 28,000 words in the Visitorverse, taking into account both the original Visitors and the increasingly inappropriately-named 'gratuitous wish-fulfilment edition'. This means my work in this universe has now overtaken With These Signs Upon Our Souls, my previous longest work of fanfiction.

With These Signs Upon Our Souls took me two and a half years to write.

I started Visitors six weeks ago.

The format of Visitors is 'a billion little ficlets in a consistent universe' rather than 'one big fic', but this is still slightly ridiculous. I just... I just love this concept so much. And I'm having an absolute blast with posting it on AO3; I almost never post things chapter-by-chapter, so this 'gradually getting to know readers as they comment on each new part' thing is exciting and new!

I think most of the people tracking me on AO3 are hoping for Dangan Ronpa fanfiction, though, so I do feel slightly bad about suddenly posting things they don't care about every few days. SORRY FOR THE BILLIONS OF ASSASSIN'S CREED NOTIFICATIONS.

I don't think anyone still watching this journal is looking for Assassin's Creed fanfiction either (this isn't a dig; it's just that I don't think any of you have played the games, so this probably wouldn't make any sense to you!), but I like keeping all the things I write here, so I'm afraid I'm posting it anyway! Here's a second 'wish-fulfilment edition' collection, because I think the first one is probably nudging the LJ character limit by now. This one is occasionally not horrible to Desmond, because I'd been tormenting him so much that my reviewers started begging me to be nice.

(The easiest way to keep track of this universe, if you are reading it, is probably the newly created series page on AO3, which contains both my writing and all the amazing fanfiction that two(???) other people are writing in my AU(?????????). (It's great, don't get me wrong, but I'm still having trouble believing this is happening!))


Title: Visitors (Gratuitous Wish-Fulfilment Edition), Part Two
Fandom: Assassin's Creed
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Shay Cormac/Aveline de Grandpré, occasionally
Wordcount: 7,500 (this part; 16,500 cumulative)
Summary: Visitors was a collection of scenes from a universe in which most of the Assassin's Creed protagonists kept meeting through involuntary time-travel. This is the same, only now they all cuddle and fall asleep on each other. Don't give me that look.
Notes: These side-stories may occasionally conflict with the established Visitors timeline. It's the gratuitous wish-fulfilment edition and everything is permitted.

Part One


Visitors (Gratuitous Wish-Fulfilment Edition), Part Two )


Part Three
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
SOMEONE IS WRITING FANFICTION FOR VISITORS. Someone is writing fanfiction for my Assassin's Creed fanfiction. This is so weird and I'm delighted.

Even better: someone is writing Visitors fanfiction with Shay/Aveline. Somehow I accidentally caught this 'ship (which there was literally no fanfiction for) while writing Visitors. They never canonically interact, but they could, theoretically; they were only born sixteen years apart. And there's definitely the potential for a really intriguing dynamic; they're kindred spirits in being pushed to doubt the Creed by their mentors, but they fight on different sides.

I'm glad someone else is carrying on the Visitors universe, because all my further ideas for it are unwritably ridiculous. I'm desperately trying to restrain myself from attempting Visitors (Gratuitous Wish-Fulfilment Edition): exactly the same concept, only everyone is constantly cuddling and falling asleep on each other. It would be terrible and deeply implausible. You don't know how much effort it took to keep myself from ending the 'traumatised post-hanging Ezio meets Desmond for the first time' scene with the two of them platonically bed-sharing. I keep going 'BUT SHAY'S TIMELINE OFFERS SO MUCH SCOPE FOR HUDDLING FOR WARMTH' and then having to drag myself away.

(I really want Shay to be warm. It's very important to me. I accidentally fell into freezing water in Rogue and couldn't find a way out and he froze to death and it was horrible.)

I'm not even a fluff writer most of the time, but apparently all I want to see from Assassin's Creed is this collection of mass-murderers snuggling up to each other.

And also Shay/Aveline. Seriously, I couldn't have ended up 'shipping two characters from the same game?

...aaaaand now I've written the below. Wow. This is embarrassing. I'm sorry that this journal has turned into nothing but weird self-indulgent AU fanfiction for a fandom none of you are in.


Title: Visitors (Gratuitous Wish-Fulfilment Edition)
Fandom: Assassin's Creed
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Shay Cormac/Aveline de Grandpré
Wordcount: 9,000
Summary: Visitors was a collection of scenes from a universe in which most of the Assassin's Creed protagonists kept meeting through involuntary time-travel. This is the same, only now they all cuddle and fall asleep on each other. Don't give me that look.
Notes: These side-stories may occasionally conflict with the established Visitors timeline. It's the gratuitous wish-fulfilment edition and everything is permitted.


Visitors (Gratuitous Wish-Fulfilment Edition) )


Part Two