Why post a placeholder chapter?

I am aware that ao3 has a Fannish Next of Kin policy and private arrangements have been made between fans before that policy came into place, but the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic of 2020 and the potential for dying from COVID-19 complications (potentially incredibly quickly) has prompted a temporary measure on my part – a placeholder chapter for a WIP.

As of writing this [May 6 – 8], I’ve only been 26 for a few months now, and that’s still considered relatively young to be concerned with ‘estate’ planning. Most people I’ve done a soft inquiry with don’t really consider making some sort of will until certain life milestones I have not reached (having children, owning a house, having enough money for descendants to squabble over, etc.). Honestly, I don’t have very much in the way of tangible, physical items to bequeath to someone, and I don’t have the money for an official will and testament. Even if I did, I’m honestly having trouble picturing myself explaining to my biological family that I’ve got a Drarry longfic, Severus Fix-It, etc. that I didn’t finish updating while alive, and I’d like someone to post a summary of how the fic ends.

Due to the speed at which a COVID-19 death can occur, and the inherent reliance upon in-person people notifying others, I cannot guarantee that friends I communicate with online will find out about my death unless they’re a long-distance Facebook friend. I can’t guarantee that any fannish in-person friends would be able to access my laptop or successfully access my Google docs during this pandemic quarantine. I can’t guarantee that my family will have the patience to abide by a fannish request list that may involve giving out passwords to apparent strangers, for starters. Be that as it may, I do have the current ability to upload a placeholder chapter.

In the event that I’m lucky enough to not have COVID-19 or I don’t have complications (a mild case that doesn’t involve death), I fully intend to write out the end of my fics, which may deviate from the placeholder summaries. In the event that I’m not lucky, I have backdated posts that summarize the endings for the following:

I may add links to additional summaries if I think it may be necessary. All summary posts and this explanation post will be backdated to prevent spamming followers with notification emails.

Placeholder Chapter (Serpent-Bearer)

While I don’t have anything uploaded for the rest of the parts in the Darkling series to require summarized endings, I would like to give enough of an idea for anyone who’s curious about where the other sections of Darkling were planned to go that the series doesn’t feel entirely incomplete. In the event that I do get to write them out and upload them at a later date, I may not strictly adhere to what’s written.

Part Four: “Serpent-Bearer”

Continue reading “Placeholder Chapter (Serpent-Bearer)”

Placeholder Chapter (Scutum: The Shield)

While I don’t have anything uploaded for the rest of the parts in the Darkling series to require summarized endings, I would like to give enough of an idea for anyone who’s curious about where the other sections of Darkling were planned to go that the series doesn’t feel entirely incomplete. In the event that I do get to write them out and upload them at a later date, I may not strictly adhere to what’s written.

I’m not really sure that anyone is enthusiastically wanting to know how I sometimes have scenes written in my notes, but I’m including my notes about Harry’s death as is (I don’t know if it’s the playwriting experience, but I do have scenes where the majority of the notes are just dialogue).

Part Three: “Scutum: The Shield”

Continue reading “Placeholder Chapter (Scutum: The Shield)”

Placeholder Chapter (Summer/Start of Part Three?)

While I don’t have anything uploaded for the rest of the parts in the Darkling series to require summarized endings, I would like to give enough of an idea for anyone who’s curious about where the other sections of Darkling were planned to go that the series doesn’t feel entirely incomplete. In the event that I do get to write them out and upload them at a later date, I may not strictly adhere to what’s written. Due to the length of the post for Part Two, the notes about the summer holiday have been separated.

Continue reading “Placeholder Chapter (Summer/Start of Part Three?)”

Placeholder Chapter (Ysgyfarnog: The Hare)

While I don’t have anything uploaded for the rest of the parts in the Darkling series to require summarized endings, I would like to give enough of an idea for anyone who’s curious about where the other sections of Darkling were planned to go that the series doesn’t feel entirely incomplete. In the event that I do get to write them out and upload them at a later date, I may not strictly adhere to what’s written.

Part Two: “Ysgyfarnog: The Hare”

Continue reading “Placeholder Chapter (Ysgyfarnog: The Hare)”

Cryopotions Headcanon

I am not a science-y person, but in the process of creating a potion that would fight the effects of hibernation on crossbreeds, I came up with cryopotions. This involved notes about what cauldron metals could possibly handle certain temperatures, burners other than Bunsen burners, spells and descriptions for how ‘cool flames’ would react while brewing, and then the ingredients and steps for brewing Primavera Ophidia. Under a cut due to length.

Continue reading “Cryopotions Headcanon”

Belief and Laity in (my) Fiction

As much as I’d like to think there isn’t some similarity in how I’ve included peripheral P/pagan elements in fanfic lately, I think there’s the possibility.

“Kai” is an example of where I very clearly look like I rifled through the pockets of some pagan spaces and Wiki pages to form deities because it’s currently the only one where known names are used and there’s a clear priest(ess) and laity divide. Quite literally, there are temples, groves, hofs, etc. where religious people handle the communal shrine keeping, organizing rites, offering xyz services as part of their sacred duties, and offering a variety of divination related services, and then there are people who are semi-agnostic but fulfill the basic requirements for the deity’s patronage. (The details vary, but even when someone’s getting divination and a particular cathartic rite done, it’s very ‘live and let live’ on what they believe as long as they’re respectful.)

“Darkling” is a few steps removed from that because the clergy and religious components aren’t as widespread. The Dark community has experienced peaceful co-religious blending, being forced to new areas where assimilating into that place’s majority religion was inevitable after centuries, and in some instances, forced or faux conversions (as Christianization has been interpreted as one component of some Light communities).

This means that ‘the Ancients’ and the residual pagan flavors in certain holidays feel more like folkloric customs (an expression of culture rather than religious belief), and this allows for different levels of interfaith Dark communities from one country to another. The characters who are the main points of reference for the Dark community in the story take a stance where the Ancients are conceptualizations of magical forces more so than deities they ought to hold certain beliefs about.

“BSL” and “Coven” more or less share a Universe where the differences lie in when and how Harry is introduced to this toned down iteration of the Dark/Grey/Light divide (hard of hearing!Sirius post-PoA vs ‘curse damage as chronic pain’ post-war). Honestly, I wanted to make magical equivalents to wheelchairs based on clouds, and this whole disability, chronic illness, and chronic pain element showed up (magical accessibility aids, spell-signing, we don’t have space for my spell stuff). The coven structure that includes inter-pantheon religious stuff actually isn’t quite as prominent (in the plot and what I’ve worked out in the notes).

In “Coven”, Harry’s exposure has more to do with seeking out a means of mourning and catharsis that’s lacking in the Light community. Like, religion is kind of there, fictionalized titles are used instead of deity names, and some people believe, but it’s mostly a coping mechanism during grief (in part, because Dark folks have a community-wide recognized rite, support roles, and reintegration timeline that recognizes mourning while supporting the mourner).

“Kintsugi” is a little different in that the plot and Universe have to accommodate this underground, international, consensual D/s system. While I was thinking about how some people combine Pagan beliefs and BDSM, I didn’t really want to get into the particulars that might lead to ‘but why did you use my deity?’ conversations where the point of having divine support for D/s roles and rituals could get lost. So, I made a specific point of fictional tweaking to the two main deities for this system, so that readers hopefully wouldn’t focus too much on who the deities were and would pay attention to how they help a new power dynamic pair.

The inter-pantheon home practices are dependent more on familial lineages, change from one generation to another, and can have a variety of other deities (who may be more recognizable), but this winds up being very ‘home and hearth’ focused rather than the community element from other fics shining through. (It may feel familiar to people used to being solitaries with home focused practices.)

Ultimately, between all of these fics, there’s not really a sense that someone ought to hold a certain belief system or that it’s better for them to personally believe in these pagan-ish deities. It’s more that engaging in certain rituals, which may be communal or solitary, can be cathartic or otherwise beneficial to the individual. If we really delve into whether a deity exists, there’s some sort of transactional and/or reciprocal element (human does A and deity does B because it’s an arrangement). In more than one, the community aspect comes through because of grieving and mourning processes (seeing as how I’m writing HP fic, this isn’t just because I’ve got opinions on how people do or do not turn to religious communities while grieving something).

It doesn’t feel unrealistic, but it also does have moments where I worry it’s a touch impersonal. Even in scenes where there’s near death experiences and interaction with a deity in some way (rites, divination, etc.), the deities sort of just exist. The main characters whose points of view are telling the story aren’t the ones who necessarily have to believe in the deities, often don’t have solitary rites or devotional activities, and often don’t have personal connections with the deities. Other people are the ones doing the divination, starting and maintaining the shrines, planning the rites, and so on.

Someone filled my prompt (!)

Collection: trans_positivity_fiction

Prompt: Trans Witch, Wizard, or Wix

Fandom: Harry Potter – J. K. Rowling

Tags: Marauders’ Era, During Canon, First War with Voldemort, Post-First War with Voldemort, Not Epilogue Compliant, Queer Friendly

Summary: Posting for my own accountability to finish a plotbunny. Open to any relationship type (M/M, F/F, Multi, etc.). I haven’t specified characters, but I would like to see minor or background characters, especially someone other than the Trio if the character is a student at Hogwarts.

I haven’t specified Gen as a category, but for those erring towards Mature and Explicit, please avoid cross-generational ships, Teacher/student, and incest. I would ideally like to see something that isn’t torture porn or abusive, and canon can certainly be tweaked to avoid character death, especially if dealing with the Second War.

—–

Fulfilled by:

From the earth to the fire by  ichor (sbzpruiosnejre)

  • Gen | No Archive Warnings Apply | Complete
  • Ships: Padma Patil & Parvati Patil, Lavender Brown & Parvati Patil
  • Characters: Parvati Patil, Padma Patil, Lavender Brown
  • Tags: Trans Female Character, Minor Canonical Character(s)
  • Summary: A piece exploring Parvati Patil as she begins a new life: at Hogwarts, as a Gryffindor, as a girl.

It’s a really nice oneshot from Parvati’s POV that alternates between the summer before her First Year and just after getting Sorted. It feels nicely low stakes compared to going up against societal limitations or life-or-death stakes. Yes, there’s concern over getting a place in the girls dormitory and an instance of deadnaming, but it feels realistic for a First Year’s perspective. The details with the Patil family, the references to Parvati’s relationship to femininity, the equal weight to her twin bond altering from split Sorting. As I left in my comment, “I can’t leave enough kudos on this fic.”

@ichor responded, “I wanted to bring something that touches on those small moments you get when everybody is trying to be supportive, but ultimately are unable to help the odd slip-up. I didn’t want everything to be alright but I didn’t want Parvati to be weighed down and feeling alone. That kind of loneliness of being the only one who knows how it feels is a whole other thing.”

—–

Why share here?

1) A story with a trans headcanon + no angst / suffering / death = Scratches a nice itch.

[ETA (Aug 2019): I have a different story that’s going to fill this prompt (featuring genderfluid!Tonks), but I’m leaving this info here.]

2) I, uh, should get back to my fic that prompted this. #Rat Fic on tumblr (under Writing Projects >> Other Writing Projects >> Rats here on WP).

3) Admittedly, my fic has a lot going on other than the trans HC, and the main POV isn’t even the trans character (I suspect some don’t want to read Snape POV, even if it’s a Fix-It). So, I’m debating how best to pull out the trans specific portions into their own fic (Ch 1?) and tweak to Charity’s POV (Ch 2?).

4) The whole process of Charity wanting Snape to help figure out a partial Transmogrification Potion that affects certain areas instead of doing the full kit’n’kaboodle is a direct parallel to how some trans people don’t want the typical MtF/FtM transition arc covered by the media. It’s pure wish fulfillment to just handwave all dysphoria relieving and transition topics away because Magic, so I have some thoughts for realistically not-simple and not-instantaneous but still possible magic.

I just have a lot of Feelings about how fictional magical worlds can include trans people without it being “unrealistic”.

Fanfic as Coping

[Cross posted from my main tumblr blog, and originally posted on 7 Oct 2018. I don’t plan on this WP blog turning into an exclusively fandom related blog, but certain fanfics have either been instrumental to coping / grieving or Someone has decided to hijack an element, so I’m going to have some fanfic content.]

I know I’ve mentioned my grandfather’s cancer diagnosis but not really gone into it here, but I wanted to explain why it suddenly seemed like the only content I was reblogging had to do with fanfiction or inspiration for WIPs (part of my #writing prompt tag). Honestly, it may not make sense to some people, but I was drawn to reading fics with certain themes or elements when he was first diagnosed, and part of coping throughout the summer and fall included writing.

I was in not necessarily nice, proper, or polite tags on ao3. Rape / Non-con, dubious consent, consensual non-con, Master/slave, sexual slavery and Ownership, and elements where there was a loss of control. Because there’s nothing like a loved one facing a terminal illness and mortality to make you feel like you have no control over anything. There’s nothing like trying to ignore the initial anger and blame [1] and the fear to make you feel like you need to have control over something.

I came across a Master/slave fic back in April that I liked some ideas from, but obviously, I had some ideas of where I would try to take things in a different direction. The premise is that Harry is emotionally manipulated into a training school for slaves and the trainer he’s involved with will supposedly win his contract at auction, but given that it’s a Drarry fic, it’s not a surprise that the recruiter isn’t his Owner / Master. In my opinion, “Playing with Fire” seemed to gloss over the problems with this dubious training and the fallout for Harry afterwards, and I’m not even sure I can adequately explain why I wanted (needed?) to make it darker.

Some people talk about how writers like to play God, and they tend to go for a motivation by hubris. This wasn’t about pride that I could fuck Harry up more or write some part of the fic “better”. Writing the dissociation, having Harry struggle with stepping away from his body, digging into the anger at the trainer mixed in with the guilt for missing him (or at least expecting his reactions), and interspersing the memories, triggers, and flashbacks comes down to control. Figuring out if I wanted to flashback to a rape scene, only hint at it, and how it might affect Harry now is about controlling the loss of control. I, as the writer, can fuck around with this character’s body and head, and I can choose to leave us in angst or turn the arc a little upwards, and I can get us to a less fucked up place by the end. (Hopefully.)

As I’ve written about recently, my grandfather died at the end of September (a bit over a week ago). I uploaded the first chapter to ao3 last night, and I’m honestly not going to be surprised if this doesn’t get a huge amount of attention. But I’m not abandoning this fic because it’s cathartic, a bit self-indulgent in places, and it’s the closest I’ve been to something that’s not original fiction in a while. Because even as I’ve got Dark shit in the past (that’s not directly or explicitly in the current chapters), I’ve got non-sexual submission / kink, Mind Healing, kintsugi as therapy, and less fucked up shit in the future chapters. (Assuming someone sticks it out until then.)

. . .

[1] In a post from the time of the initial diagnosis, I talked about the types of cancer (lung cancer + lymphoma) and how it was partially do with an activity my grandfather chose to take part in (smoking). A part of me understands that there were other variables and doesn’t blame him solely, but initially, I did struggle a bit with that.