August 2017

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I think this is the first year I am able to participate fully in Back to Middle-earth Month since B2MeM has existed. Normally the events require quite a bit of work from the mods during the event; this one was structured quite by chance--though no less brilliantly--so that the work was heavily front-loaded, which means that I'm able to actually participate. (Usually I manage one story, maybe two. This year, I'm doing the nonfiction path with fingers tightly crossed that, when I reach the Wild square, I will roll the option to choose something from one of the more creative paths and can write a story as well.)

My first piece was "On Writing Aman, or the Balance between the Mythic and the Real." It's on B2MeM, SWG, and the Tumblr place.

My current project, for the prompt "Analyze a Chapter or Passage," is a comparison of the death scenes of Fëanor and Fingolfin. I had done a short analysis of these two scenes for the unpublished (though being presented at the Vermont Tolkien Conference next month) paper on historical bias, and I decided to expand this out into its own essay. I'm hoping it will be finished and posted before the end of break.

Also, "Assignation," aka "the skanky fanfic," is now up on SWG and AO3, in case you missed that literary gem. It's Aredhel/Celegorm/Curufin, though I like to hope it's more than just PWP. It's been up on the SWG, but if you want to read the skanky fanfic on AO3, now you can.

Last fannish thing. Hedonist by Heart has done another beautiful piece of fan art for Another Man's Cage called "Before the Hush." If you like it, please go show her some love over on DeviantArt or Tumblr.

 photo before-the-hush_hedonist-by-heart_zpsqesz9yvg.jpg

The AMC passage that inspired it ... )

Hedonist by Heart has done artwork for AMC before but I think this one is my favorite. I feel like the genuine love and affection I hoped to show between the characters comes out in her art. And I simply love how she has drawn Nerdanel and the intensity of her Fëanor. (And Celegorm! Who doesn't want to snuggle that little muskrat and forget all about that whole kidnapping-Lúthien-betraying-Felagund thing??) Anyway, I love the piece and wanted to share it (and her work).

It occurs to me that this is the first and possibly only journal entry I will write over my fabulously long Winter Break. (I still feel like I'm getting away with something. We don't go back to school till Wednesday.) It's been a busy one: first preparing for B2MeM, then I edited a doctoral dissertation (for pay!), and of course there's always papers to grade and units to plan, and I went in to work for a day to give my classroom a much-needed reorganization and straightening up, and the SWG lately has more chores to do than a farm. It sounds work-filled and awful, but I've loved every moment of it. (And there were doses of fun: We went to St. J's--which feels forever ago--we went to the Ski and Snowboard Museum in Stowe, I had a snowboard lesson, we saw La La Land, we've had a lot of really good meals out.) I've come to terms with the fact that, if I were a dog, I'd be a Border Collie: You know, the kind of breed that gets described as being "happiest when working." I've been working, and happy, but subsequently not around much.
For the Silmarillion junkies on my flist ...

*watches as 90% of flist looks up*

As many of you probably know by now, I have finished the Silmarillion Writers' Guild archive. It's still kind of unbelievable that it's finished. [ profile] nelyo and I started kicking around the idea of a website almost two years ago, back when I thought it would never be possible to have an archive where people could upload their own stories and I figured I'd have to code and upload them all by hand. Research and guidance by some of the amazing people who are members of SWG have allowed us to realize our greatest hopes, though, and now we have an archive to call our own!

So I'd like to invite other Tolkien fans to check out our site and consider putting their stories there. Or just to squee one more time that this project is finally finished!

The SWG Archive!

Secondly, the very talented [ profile] hrymfaxe has done a drawing for my novel Another Man's Cage!

Here's the scene, for those of you who have read AMC:

From Chapter Twenty-Seven )

Though even if you haven't read AMC, go look at the drawing! It's beautiful!
Some of you have told me that you want to read the epic Another Man's Cage; others have expressed that you would like to reread it. To all, I have beseeched you to wait because I have been in the process of revising the story for some time now--with extra scrutiny devoted to the troublesome first chapters--and wanted AMC to put its best face forward.

Anyway, I have started posting the second draft of AMC around the 'net. Like before, I will post a chapter per week, some time before Friday morning. To start, I am posting in four archives. I am considering others but haven't looked into their posting guidelines fully yet (and also am not sure that I am ready to devote an entire evening each week to making a dozen posts!) But if you don't see your favorite archive on the list, it's probably coming, but we all know that I need to take baby steps in these sorts of things. ;)

I like to think of this as a second draft rather than a finished story, so please don't hesitate to leave comments--including concrit--if you wish to. And again, I owe my sincerest gratitude to my flist, without whom this story might never have been finished and certainly wouldn't be nearly as good as it is after you all have devoted so much time and energy to it. I am in debt to everyone's wisdom, support, and keen eyes!

Tolkien Fan Fiction

Open Scrolls Archive

Henneth-Annun Story Archive (members side only; you must be registered and logged in to view it)
I had made a promise to myself not to get all weepy and sentimental over posting the last chapter of Another Man's Cage, AMC. And I even managed to behave in the post, without falling all over myself and gushing too much.

Alas, friends and readers had other plans for me. Some of the comments and tribute posts that followed the last chapter of AMC made me get all teary despite my promises not to. And it really made me stop and think of the power of words--simple letters and syllables--in our lives.

So I'm going to wax sentimental for a few minutes. Maybe I'll even establish a brief spell of coherence. We can hope. :) But I'm giving in to the urge because ten years from now, I might be jaded by writing again. I might look back at this entry and maybe it will remind me of how much I love this and how much words have changed my life.

Maybe I will let them change it again.

The Power of Words.... )

To all of you who have read AMC--whether you commented or not--and to those who have commented and helped me and poked me from an angsty mass of nervous pudding into...well, a slightly-more-functional writer, who have given suggestions, found typos, lobbed plotbunnies; who have read my work and drawn a picture or written a story; who have answered questions and helped me with translations or Telerin music schools or canon (or fanon); who have challenged me or nudged me from a stupor and made me think...or made me laugh (or scream or cry or need a cold shower): Thank you! You have changed my life with your words.
Well, this is it: The last posting for AMC, the final chapter and a short epilogue by Tyelko to (hopefully) bring the story around in a circle, to close the year.

The final chapter, from Nelyo's PoV, you should be aware is rated adult for sex.

I have far less to say than I thought I would! AMC is far from over; besides more stories in the series, I hope to soon begin revising and editing it to make it more suitable for publication at Tolkien archives and (eventually) my own website. Because of the dedication of my readers, who have never been shy to point out my typos and mistakes or to bring up issues of which I had never thought--or simply to provide encouragement on the weeks when I didn't want to continue with this story, when I thought it beyond salvaging for whatever reason--AMC will be better than if I had done this alone. And for that, I thank every one of you who have ever read a chapter or left a comment. Jenni said to me in a comment a few weeks ago that this last chapter would be the end of an era, and that's certainly true for me. And I replied that I don't know if I'll ever have as much fun with a story again. I hope that I do, but the reaction and support I've received for this story is something that I never expected and was truly a gift. For that, I thank you.

Before I shut up and give you the chapter and epilogue, [ profile] oloriel did me the honor of illustrating a scene from last week's chapter, between Maitimo and Rumil, and I wanted to share that here because there is no greater compliment to one's work than to know that it has inspired others.

So without further rambling: the last chapters of AMC....

Chapter Fifty-Two )

Epilogue )
I have decided to divide the last part of AMC into two posts. It is simply too long for a single posting, and I wish also to tinker a bit with next week's chapter, as there is a rather important event that deserves more attention than I--in the rush of finishing a 350K-word novel--was willing to give it at first.

But this week's chapter continues, as it has been, in the PoV of Nelyo. The family is preparing to leave for the New Year Festival. The "mystery guest" makes an appearance and plays quite a significant role. I like this chapter because it has a little bit of angst, a little bit of humor, and even a little bit of naughtiness--though nothing graphic--but naturally, I am interested in any thoughts or suggestions that my readers might have and welcome comments of all sorts. Or just read and enjoy!

Chapter Fifty-One )
AMC is the big 5-0! Woohoo!

Well, to those of you waiting to find out who the mystery guest is, you can stop calling me evil and accusing me of being unnecessarily cruel because it is in this week's chapter.

In last week's chapter, Macalaure and Feanaro went to Tirion to see the mare that is the mother of Macalaure's imminent spring colt. Duty required them also to stop at the House of Nolofinwe to visit the newborn Turukano. Nelyo, meanwhile, was studying a rare metal for--he assumed--his father's use in swordmaking. Findekano is staying with the Feanorians until his baby brother is better settled. And that takes us into this week's chapter.

I'm keeping the chapter at a general rating, although there is one line that is a little nefarious and Macalaure does sit about for while in just a towel. But I--and Nelyo--remained remarkably well-behaved.

Per usual, all comments, criticisms, suggestions, whatever are welcome. To all who are reading--whether or not you are leaving comments--thank you!

I had assumed that next week would bring the last chapter and epilogue. However, I have fourteen pages of Maitimo's section left in Felak!font (TNR 10px, single-spaced), which is quite a bit, considering that there are an additional three pages of epilogue. So it might be two weeks of posting, but I have to read the last bit and see if there is a logical chapter division. If not, next week's chapter will just be a really looooong posting.

I know, I waffle a lot. One week, two weeks...make up your damned mind, Dawn! :^P

And I shall now stop rambling and give you the story.

Chapter Fifty )
This week's chapter continues from the PoV of Maitimo. Last week, when we left, Maitimo sought news of Annawende and was going to first visit Vorondil to see if he had word, then use the seeing-stone. This week's chapter picks up in Vorondil's cabin and details the outcome of this excursion.

I must confess to enjoying people's speculation about who the "mystery guest" is. So far, it seems that there are three hypotheses out there: 1) Melkor, 2) Rumil, and 3) no one--the "mystery guest" is in fact Feanaro interacting with his seeing-stone. I will tell you that one of these three is correct. I will also tell you that one of them is not correct by virtue of canon that you can find in The Silmarillion. I know: Dawn using canon details? Unheard of! Well, I bent my own rules just this once.

Edit: Apparently, a fourth hypothesis has been thrown into the barrel. The "mystery guest" is none other than [ profile] ann_arien. That's why Feanaro spends so much time in the room with the guest and doesn't want to come out. (She makes it well worth his while to stay!) Also, this explains why there is a nefarious feel to the whole thing. Because Alina is a very nefarious person.

I will not tell you who the mystery guest is. You have to wait for next week for that. >;^)

With that said, I leave you with Chapter Forty-Nine. I'm keeping it at a general rating, although there is a teensy-weensy bit of sexuality. How naughty it is depends on how naughty your interpretation is; I will tell you that I meant it fairly innocently, hence the general rating. But I know that some of you pervs will take it the wrong way.

Thanks to all who are still reading or have read and reviewed in the past! The long journey is almost over, and I have you all to thank.

Comments of all sorts are always welcome.

Chapter Forty-Nine )
I am posting a day early because Bobby and I are driving up north to Hershey tonight to see Stars on Ice, and I am off from work tomorrow. And I know myself. I will not wake up until ten (maybe eleven); Bobby and I will go out to lunch; we will find ways to distract ourselves for a couple of hours. By the time I find my way onto the computer, you all will be wondering if I've dropped off the planet. Such is the way on the weekends.

So AMC is here, now, so that I don't need to slip out of weekend reverie to post tomorrow and I don't have to worry about forgetting. (Which is always a possibility. Tomorrow feels like Saturday to me, after all, not Friday.)

There are only four chapters and an epilogue left in AMC. Last weekend, this realization kept coming upon me at odd moments: Four chapters. I would mention it randomly to Bobby, "Can you believe there's only four chapters left? Four chapters!"

The remainder of the chapters--save the epilogue--come from the PoV of Maitimo. I find it interesting when you all tell me whose sections are your favorites; I think just about all of the characters have a fan out there somewhere. But when I devised and first wrote AMC, Maitimo was the star of the story, so it makes sense that the story would end from his perspective.

This chapter is rated for general audiences. There is a mention of a mention of nudity, but it's so silly that most of you probably won't even notice it.

That's that. Here's Chapter Forty-Eight.

Three chapters left. o.O

Chapter Forty-Eight )
I know I said that I would post tomorrow, but since Jenni is working tomorrow (and wants to read the chapter today), and I have it finished, then why not? It seems I am more able to finish projects than I give myself credit for.

This is the final chapter of Macalaurë's adventures in Alqualonde. Next week, we will return to the PoV of my beloved Nelyo for the final PoV section in this story (four chapters, I expect) besides the short epilogue by Tyelkormo. And then, amazingly, it's done.

This chapter comes with no particular warnings. It's a nice safe general rating with my Elves behaving, aside from a few innocent kisses. As usual, I welcome all sorts of comments--both praise and suggestions--and am most grateful to everyone for their help and support with the last few treacherous chapters.

Chapter Forty-Seven )
I will be posting AMC on Saturday--not Friday--this week. Why? Because I have about five pages to write, and I haven't started. I can probably manage five pages in a day--the muses have been kind to me *touch wood*--but why stress myself out? This way, I'll only have to muster two-and-a-half pages per day. If I manage more: yay.

On a completely unrelated note, I ripped the muscle in my hip again. Yup. I'm beginning to think that I should create an LJ tag called "dawns stoopid leg" or something. Anyway, I wish I could say I hurt it doing something heroic, like a really tough skating skill or pulling an old lady from a burning car. But it was incredibly, embarrassingly stupid. So stupid that I'm putting it behind an LJ cut because then it feels less stupid. )

Anyway, I went to skating tonight anyway, and I'm hoping that it works like last week, that it stretches it and loosens it and helps it heal in the end. Until then, I'm going to be keeping Cool-Heat and ibuprofen in business.
Well, after the disaster that was last week--up to and including last week's chapter--I wasn't sure how this week's posting was going to turn out. In fact, I put off even reading this chapter until yesterday afternoon. If it sucked...I was going to skip a week. Luckily, it wasn't nearly as bad as last week's chapter, so here it is.

It's still rough; there are still sections that I want to add and sections that need tinkering. This whole Macalaurë section is in for an overhaul and the revised result will likely bear little resemblance to what I am posting now, in that the chapters will be divided differently. But this is a first draft for a reason.

This chapter contains a wee bit of sexuality but nothing too crazy, so I'm keeping it at a happy, healthy general rating.

Chapter Forty-Six )
I call this Chapter 45.1 because it is shorter than most of my chapters, and I am probably going to include further sections in this chapter when I revise. Alas, this is what I have for now, after too many hours of rewriting and reworking this chapter. And do I need to say that I'm still not happy with it? Of course I'm not. So any suggestions for improvement would be most heartily appreciated.

I should have mentioned this prior to posting Chapter Forty-Four, but it slipped my mind. For this entire section from Macalaurë's PoV, I owe a lot of thanks to [ profile] frenchpony for answering my myriad of questions concerning music and music education and helping me to construct a music school that is somewhat believable. Or, at least, I hope it is! I have, of course, derived a bit to fit more how I see education in Elven society, but this whole chapter was inspired and based off of a conversation we had last week pertaining to placement auditions (which Felak the Musically Challenged didn't even know existed) and the bureaucracy of education.

This has probably been the most challenging chapter I've had to rework so far. Yes, even more so than the notorious Feanaro chapters that needed rewriting and the Magically Disappearing Chapters 42 and 43. I really don't know what I was thinking when I wrote this original chapter--the version that shall never see the light of day--and I'm painstakingly working through all the kinks. So, like I said, if something sounds/feels weird, please let me know. I'm hoping that a few months away from these chapters, once they're posted, will enhance my ability to find out what's missing, what's wrong.

Until then, I give you a (rough) 45.1, without any warnings for once. Thanks, as always, for reading. :)

Chapter 45.1 )
Well, I thank you all for your attention and attempts to finding the acknowledged awful pun in the last chapter of AMC. Since many of you are sitting on the edges of your seats--do not deny it! Carnistir sees you in his palantir! and tells me everything!--waiting for the answer, and since I have a winner, then I will not force you to wait for next week's chapter.

First off, congrats to [ profile] levade, who emailed me with the correct passage!

And now, for the bad pun....

The not read this if you still want to attempt to find the bad pun in the last chapter of AMC! )

I couldn't resist leaving that in. It was just too terrible to resist! I'll probably reword a bit for Draft Two. Probably. Unless I enjoy tormenting my Pit of Voles readers as much as I love tormenting you all!

On a completely unrelated note, I had a unexpected--but pleasantly--busy weekend, on top of recovering from a nasty cold (necessitating frequent naps and much laying-on-the-couch with the husband). So to those of you who I promised to read chapters, etc., it is coming! I actually did my Monday-morning work on Friday afternoon, so I should be able to catch up at work tomorrow.
This week, we dive into the PoV of Macalaurë, as he and Nelyo at last go to Alqualondë for his studies. Macalaurë's section is a long one--and another that the ending of which was lost when RamBo died--so plan to be here, in Alqualondë, for a long time.

This section was weird, when I reread it. I really don't know what I was thinking when I wrote it; probably that, for once, I had a concrete plot to get through. And so it wasn't very AMCish, if that makes any sense. It was almost like a summary of the boys' trip to Alqualondë. Needless to say, this was unacceptable for me, so I went through and made it AMCish. Rereading it now, it still sounds a little rough and undeveloped in places, so I am interested to know if any of you feel the same way. I believe that these next few chapters will eventually require a lot of revision, but unless I have posting deadlines to meet, I will never do it. So I am going to do my best to keep my regular posting schedule.

This chapter is rated for general audiences, but there are a few sexual mentions. Nothing egregious; this is Macalaurë, not Nelyo. Oh, and there is a horribly bad pun that I left in solely for the amusement of those of you who can find it. It'll probably come out for the second draft because, yes, it is Just That Bad. But if you can find it, I'll write you a story or a drabble or something as a prize.

As usual, I welcome all thoughts and comments--both good and bad--but am grateful to all who are simply taking the time to read this story. Thank you! :)

Chapter Forty-Four )
Now I know that some of you have been kept awake since Chapter Twenty-Eight, wondering, "Where did Feanaro go during his fugue? What was he doing?" Yes, I can hear you wringing your hands and pacing all the way over here in Baltimore.

I confess, though, that during the interim, it has been entertaining to see what you all thought Feanaro was doing when he "went away" for those five days.

And, no, none of you were right.

Now it might just be that this chapter has the answer, from the mischievous and misunderstood perspective of Carnistir.

I am warning for a few mentions of violence but keeping the rating at general. Next week, we'll go to Alqualonde with Macalaure and Nelyo.

As usual, I welcome comments of all sorts, both good and bad, although please feel no obligation to comment. I understand how that goes.

Thanks to all who are still reading and commenting!

Chapter Forty-Three )

Yes, it is a day early. Sort of. But I finished it this afternoon and thought, "What the heck?" since it's three days late already. And I have warrant-type things (a.k.a. real work) to do tomorrow morning.

So here is the elusive Chapter Forty-Two, from the PoV of the recalcitrant Carnistir. As it turns out, this chapter is too large for LJ! So it seems that it will be two chapters after all....

Nonetheless, the chapter is very young and I'm not fully acclimated (and therefore comfortable) with it, so I appreciate feedback for those who wish to give it. Or simply read and enjoy...whichever works for you.

I do owe sincerest thanks to [ profile] myrsine, who gave me some much-needed (and appreciated) advice on the Telerin names that will be appearing in the next few chapters. Thanks to everyone else who offered help and advice on this subject as well!

This chapter is given a general rating, but be forewarned of some obliquely sexual references between Nerdanel and Feanor, being overheard in true Carnistir under-the-table fashion. Oh, and there's some blood and violence too, but only in miniscule amounts, not even enough to bother a neurotic blood-phobic like me.

So, without further rambling ado, I give you Chapter Forty-Two....

Chapter Forty-Two )

Okay, I hate that this is the second time in short time that I have had to use the same title. Grrr.

(And, yes, I did just use the h-word. Anyway....)

I don't think that I'm going to be able to post my wee Carni devil's chapter tomorrow. I have about seven pages so far in Felak!font, which means TNR, 10-pt, single-spaced (a.k.a. squintingly tiny), and I could post what I have, but as most of you know, I simply lack confidence in sharing hot-off-the-presses writing. And then I'm stuck in a situation of having to write a whole other chapter versus just two or three pages to finish up this section, which is probably all it will take. I could be surprised and end up with two Carnistir chapters, and I don't mind surprises, but I don't like having to force a chapter to fifteen pages when it only wants to be ten. Anyway.

Tentatively, I'm hoping to post on Tuesday, Ye Second Posting Day of Yore. This is a long weekend for Presidents' Day, and I have relatively little on my schedule. No hockey. No skating. So Carni and I should be able to write to our little hearts' contents this weekend and have a fresh chapter for Tuesday.

My apologies for this--and for the late notice--but I feel that pushing myself to do three pages (or more) in an evening to post tomorrow morning will either require sacrificing quality for wordcount or will drive me to the depths of exhaustion again, and I've been sleeping well and keeping my head above the water of late and would like to keep it that way.

I had a perfectly suitable Chapter Forty-two (or whatever it is up to...I can never remember), but blame the Computer Gods for devouring it when they hurled a lightning bolt onto my RamBo, may he rest in peace in the desk drawer where he now resides because I'm too sentimental to throw him away.

So anyway: AMC on Tuesday. Hopefully a quality, full-length chapter. And hopefully none of these posts again anytime soon.

Edit: Oh, and Juno, as you can see, I didn't get to try the Super Sekrit Rebellious Scheme. I had a pile of warrants to deal with and by the time those were done, it would have been pointless to try. So let's keep our fingers crossed for tomorrow, then? :)
When we left Chapter Forty, Maitimo had just gone to put his cousin Findekano to bed when he decided to close his eyes for just and moment....

And that brings us to Chapter Forty-One.

Please be forewarned that Chapter Forty-One was one of those almost entirely eaten by RamBo before he died, taking pieces of stories with him forever. As a result, I had to rewrite most of this chapter, and so it is far newer than most work that I am interested in showing the public. Alas, it is either that or postpone posting AMC for another six months or so, so I decided to swallow my discomfort and forge ahead.

As such, I am very interested in people's opinions of this chapter, and please don't hesitate to point out problems with it. I haven't had time to do my usual twenty-or-so rereadings/editings, so this would be a huge help.

Or just read and enjoy! Either way, thank you. :)

Chapter Forty-One )