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UPDATE

(partly copied from bryndentully LJ)

I've had the worst year of my life. On top of it all, it's been a dry season for GoT. No Brynden Tully on TV, a season 5 I refused to watch for reasons, and now a new (imaginary) man in my life. I have so much more to write about Brynden. But when big changes happen in one's life, it's usual to change hairdo, lifestyle, and partners.

I even have some job assignments. They are paying me! Right now, opening GoT stuff again, I'd want to plunge again into Tumblr and my unfinished Brynden projects, but I can't. I've also discovered that my mother won't do a thing for the house management if I don't do it. For all intents and purposes, I am now head of the family. Astonishing for the Blackfish, huh? I'm never been so tired in my life.

If someone reads this, comments and hellos would be appreciated. I can't guarantee I'll answer, though. Next time you might find me at my most sociophobic.

ADDENDUM:

For those who follow me on FB, my new man will be a HUGE surprise. <3 So, which is actually pertinent to this fanfic blog, expect some Criminal Minds fanfics soon. (Yes, I always discover good things ten years later, when nobody cares about it anymore.) I really hope I'll burn this one out quickly, because I miss Brynden.
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POSTED "TALES OF SPRING"

So I'm back after the usual bout of depression and sociophoby. My love for Brynden was rekindled by the news that he would be in "Thor 2" (barely - don't go to see the movie just for him) and I've started promoting my Tullys and Mormonts once again.

"Tales of Spring" was posted already on Tumblr a long time ago, and it took an even longer time to get finished. I loved the idea - Jaime and Brynden taking it out on each other not in battle, but in a tavern - but I could not find a satisfying ending. I don't ship them except as frenemies, I love their interaction, but ultimately what kept them from settling their quarrel with words and then going their separate ways? Then I got the idea of the stories.

This story finishes the Present!Brynden cycle. After the meeting with Jaime he'll be whisked away by Maege to Bear Island for what he believe will be his retirement. He doesn't know than my rollercoaster novelette "Let the River Run" is just around the corner...

Before posting that, however (I haven't even finished it), I'll post a couple of ficlets and I have to finish two stories which will close the holes in Brynden's past and incidentally explain how he got to take that famous oath of chastity, which adds to his rebelliousness and his obvious bisexuality to explain why he never married. But I still have to do a lot of work on those.

No matter, I'm satisfied enough that I got working on Brynden stuff again. I'm also doing a makeover of my LJ main page, updating the links etc.
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POSTING FRAGMENTS ON TUMBLR

I haven't updated this fanfic blog in a long time, probably because of a lasting attack of sociophoby, but the recent good news about the Tullys (1: they will appear in the HBO series; 2: The Blackfish is Clive Russell, who looks very much like my mental image) did me some good. And I haven't been idle. For example, I polished and posted on Tumblr some fragments of my upcoming novelette, LET THE RIVER RUN, which I hope to finish soon. They revolve around the character of Roslin Frey, one of the most intriguing characters of the saga.
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POSTED "WHAT STRANGE HELL..." & "STARK IN WINTERFELL"

(Spoilers for my fanfics and ASOIAF in general)

So that's over. I've done the Bad Thing, and now I can go ahead with LET THE RIVER RUN and do more Bad Things. Brynden's peace of mind is still a long way ahead. He works so well to project my own fears and sorrows. Not that I've ever killed anybody, but...

I posted the two stories at the same time because once it was only one. Or rather: once it was a dream sequence inside FAITH. I had already written or conceived FAMILY DUTY HONOR, with which I wanted to end my Brynden saga. I did want to leave uncertainty about his eventual fate, but the damn man was already looking at me with that smile of his to get me writing again, and frankly I had never wanted to kill him off. Saving him was a sort of cop-out, but it was somehow necessary if I wanted to keep writing about him as a man and not as zombie, right? Lady Maege would have been most displeased!

So I wrote this scene in FAITH, at the point where Bryn falls asleep on Maege's knees. It was basically Sansa's apparition in THE STARK IN WINTERFELL, from "Kingslayer" onward. Overlooking Bryn's sudden ability to have prophetic dreams, I wanted to let readers guess that he would somehow survive the duel (even if it meant Barristan's death - another character I love very much) and find comfort in his reunion with Sansa.

When I posted FAITH I realized that if I was going to post LET THE RIVER RUN one day I needed a better link between its beginning and the end of FDH. One moment Bryn is rushing towards certain death, then wham, it's six months later and he's alive and with a new mess on his hands. It would have taken pages of explanation about what had happened. So I took out the dream sequence from FAITH and tried to shape it into a stand-alone story, THE STARK IN WINTERFELL.

But the story didn't seem to quite come together. The point of view of a comatose Bryn did not convince me, until I had the horrible heartwrenching idea that not only he would slowly understand he had killed Barristan, he would also see his old friend and lover (see CHALLENGE)... in a dream! It's WESTEROS INCEPTION! A dream sequence within a former dream sequence. This latest dream sequence took an autonomous shape with its own defined character. So I took THAT out in its turn from TSIW as an independent fanfic, and Bryn was kind enough to give me the title himself, WHAT STRANGE HELL OR HEAVEN.

At that point I was left with an unbalanced TSIW. The beginning with Bryn still in a coma and the continued first person style would maybe bore readers - and it had no clear ending, because of the Stoneheart matter. I fear I DID cop out here. In the old dream sequence, the dialogue went somehow like this: "Hello, Uncle." "Oh, hello child, I swore to kill your mother." "I know, don't worry, I'll help you." I could get away with this in a surreal sequence, but not in an actual, real-life dialogue! So I wrote half a page of dialogue with Sansa explaining to Bryn that she had seen Lady Stoneheart and knew about the "allegiance" sworn by Bryn to her in ALLEGIANCE and so she'd help him blah blah... but even half a page, apart from the fact that it extended the story too much, would not be enough for such a delicate matter. That CAN'T be the first thing an uncle and niece talk about after some ten years and a near-death experience. So now the ending is Bryn's renewed wish for life.

And I'm going to write another story where Bryn slays Stoneheart with Sansa's blessing... NOT. I've understood the topic is a trigger for some people, although I conceived it as a homage to the Clint Eastwood movie MILLION DOLLAR BABY. I insist that ALLEGiANCE is no more about euthanasia than MDB was; it's about a terrible choice between two individuals who love each other, it's not a general, ideological statement. (Also because I have very confused ideas on the topic, hope it never happens to me and if it happens, well then, I'll cross that bridge when it comes. Selfish? I don't even know.)

But there's another reason: I'm not really interested in writing that scene. For all its tragic content, it's in part a pretty straightforward matter, and in part I don't feel like working out certain details such as Sansa's exact role. I just want to go ahead with all the stuff that's going to happen in LET THE RIVER RUN, and trust me, some of it will be pretty tough too. Just know this, because I don't consider it a spoiler: by the beginning of LTRR, Lady Stoneheart is dead for good and at peace, and despite the fact that Sansa is actually grateful to him for this, her death weighs on Bryn's conscience along with Barristan's, and his mental health is not too good. Then the bomb hits... ok, enough anticipations.

I'd have more to say about the things that worry me as weak choices, such as Bryn's bisexuality, but this is long enough and that will be a matter for another post.
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SPLITTING FANFIC HAIRS

My "Stark in Winterfell" fanfic is at risk of being split in two.

It's the one that should follow "Family Duty Honor" (see FF.net link on the right). I had managed to put together a coherent narrative, if lacking in rhythm, and then I had another idea to add at the beginning, to torture poor Brynden even more. This initial dialogue grew so much apart from the rest that I'd like to make an independent story of it, tentatively titled "What Strange Heaven or Hell".

So: More work on it.

So: 2 fanfics, Bryn is in agony in the first one, then surprise... HE IS STILL IN AGONY IN THE NEXT ONE!

Will you ever forgive me, Bryn?
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THE FANFIC DEBATE

There's a rather brutal debate abour fanfic raging on Tumblr and elsewhere, and as an avowed, out-of-the-closet ASOIAF fanfic writer, I'd like to give my 2 cents.

I joined Westeros.org (sorry for the typo) in 2009 and liked it there. Webmaster Ran's (Elio's) posts were always balanced and to the point. Only a few days ago I found webmistress Linda's outburst against ASOIAF fanfic on Tumblr. Her previous entries are even more brutal. She writes a rather more self-collected essay on her website.

When Linda had started criticising "Game of Thrones" on Westeros, I was already leaving the ASOIAF boards. Since HBO had at best postponed to S3 my fave character, going there was painful, and with my temper I was constantly picking fights to defend my guy. So I can't judge Linda's alleged "racism" and other criticism of her point of view. Right now I barely know who the S2 actors are; I hope someday I'll be able to go back.

(I could bother reading some of Linda's comments on Westeros and her own site. My non-existent attention span forbids me.)

(I could also bother to argue the following point: if GOT Jeyne Westerling is "black" - and awesome as Oona Chaplin is - is GRRM okay with it? If he is, the author of the books, where is the problem? If he isn't, is he being slowly ousted from having a say in the TV series, as I fear? But this is a topic for another post.)

Linda's most cogent argument against fanfic is: the author doesn't want it. On one side I understand it. On the other I don't, because as a writer I've actually had fanfic written about my characters. OK, it was written by friends, because for now my readership is limited to family and friends; I hope to change that soon, but I was awed (as in AWWW) by the impression my characters had created on the readers, to the point that they had entered their own fantasy, not just mine.

(Such as the impression a minor character like the Blackfish has made on a troubled girl, how he has been a therapy for her - and the indifference she, and many others who asked, have encountered from author and producers.)

But I can understand that not all authors are as crazy as I am. GRRM is against fanfic. But not really for the reasons Linda lists. I feel Martin's motives (wish I could find the link) are mainly legal - as in, what if I now write a fanfic where Maege Mormont and the Blackfish are lovers, and unknowingly Martin makes them lovers in "The Winds of Winter", and then I sue Martin for stealing my idea? I would not - else I'd have already sued JK Rowling - but I understand there are enough crazies out there that they could do it. This is a legitimate concern.

Then, of course, Martin may be squicky about the idea of Maege and Brynden doing teh sexay, or whatever. He has a right to say so. Robin Hobb, my other living favourite fantasy writer, has FORBIDDEN all fanfic about her characters, and she is listed on FF.net as one of the authors who allow no fanfic. Hence, no Hobb fanfic on FF.net. There's no such caveat on FF.net about Martin. I seem to recall that he lifted the ban from FF.net. I might have imagined it, bear with me.

Anyway, Linda doesn't raise the legal issue in her Tumblr essay. (She does in the essay on her site.) She only insists on the will of the author. In this she is perfectly right, and we fanfic writers are wrong. If a friend tells us "don't do this" and we do it, we're in the wrong. I had to overcome a big sense of guilt to post my fanfics.

BUT. We're also talking about ART here. I'm convinced that Martin is art like Stephen King is art like every "quite useless" (in Oscar Wilde's words) human creation designed to elicit a purely emotional response is art. Now, since the beginning of time, art has been copied. And history has been its judge, culling bad art from good art. After a century, Martin will survive, BryndenxMaege will not. I'm fine with it. IT'S INEVITABLE.

It's a rather cruel argument to use against someone who doesn't want his characters copied. I don't like it myself. But the very fact that the topic has surfaced and is so hotly debated shows that it's important. However, fanfic is not slavery or any other pivotal argument. Fanfic is ART, derived from something else which is also ART, and it has its own rules.

I hate to say this, but when an author puts out a work of art, he can no longer control the way this work of art will be used. Salvador Dali is the author of the Mona Lisa with Moustache - is it, or the Mona Lisa, not art? Of course, Leonardo is dead. What if he were alive? Would it be Leo vs. Salvador like Linda vs. fanfic writers?

Isn't these dynamics the thing that keeps art alive?

(Am I not syntax-challenged?)

Anyway, for me there's a much more cogent argument. When you refer to adversaries on Tumblr as "girls" (with a negative connotation) or "twats" (the female genital organ used with a negative connotation) or even liken writing fanfic to masturbation and even paedophilia, then sorry, not only I don't follow you but I don't share your views anymore. I once inferred on a board that a certain someone had administered BJs to certain someones to get a certain something, and then I apologized. Not that I'm better than anyone, but I try to understand which things hurts which people.

Linda, I like you, and I'd like to see the same graciousness on your part.
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Posted "Family, Duty, Honour"

I'll just copy my Fanfiction.net foreword to explain how hard it was and how unsatisfied I still am with it:

FOREWORD

This WAS to be my positively final ASOIAF fanfic. In early summer 2010 I wanted to get rid of my Blackfish obsession. So I threw this story together, using poor Dany as an excuse and not caring very much about believability. I only cared about ending it all.

The original story began with Brynden saying "What have I done that the gods should punish me thus." We barely glimpsed Daenerys, and the two armies did clash. It was pretty final.

Of course, "my" Blackfish did not want the saga to end; so much that FDH was followed (after a brief connecting sketch, by now named "The Stark In Winterfell") by the novel-length story "Let the River Run", which is pretty good, not because I say so.

But at that point, FDH ceased to be a somewhat dream-like, symbolic conclusion. Its follow-up was very rational, so FDH had to be well rooted in the rest of the saga - and it was not. Daenerys and/or Brynden looked like the bad guys for causing a bloodbath out of pure stubborness.

My genius Bro suggested Brynden's proposal. I had the idea of Daenerys' Stark obsession. My aunt read the story and declared that, given what we see and hear at the end, Brynden's obduracy is vindicated.

I don't know. I wrote additional dialogue, but to me they still look like bad guys, which was not my intention, especially in regard to Daenerys. But I've had this story on my hands for too long, and if I don't post it I can't go on to "Let the River Run". So here it is... Hope you enjoy it despite everything!

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IDEA TO FINISH FDH!

A friend gave it to me, and not just any other friend, my Bro. It was one of the highlights of the other weekend, which for the rest depressed me so badly that I started questioning the choices of a lifetime, such as living in the city instead of my folks' (who are mental and scare me shitless, but have kittens and a thriving community).

Bottom line, in the city I'm alone. Mind you, I see friends once or twice a week in the evening, I go to gym, I attend lectures and dream of following some class. Not to mention that I'm supposed to be working on my serious stuff. But when I get back into my flat I'm alone. I'm not being pathetic, it's the naked truth. Add that I've somehow attracted groups of friends (maybe because of my gentle and patient disposition, RARRRRR) who are awful bigots, Holocaust negationists, homophobic, anti-USA, anti-UK, anti-Italian - well, not all in the same group. But if you friends are reading this, dare to disprove it. And don't say I never told you. Friend: "Oh, those Americans are really pompous and exaggerated, they have flags everywhere." Me: "For me it would not be a problem, I have one hanging over my bed, it's the first thing I see in the morning."

Maybe it was too subtle?

Enough with sucky real life. I feel like putting into practice Bro's suggestion. Remember the "Family, Duty, Honour" problem? Dany wants the North, Bryn doesn't want to bend the knee if a Stark does not tell him so. A slaughter ensues. Both look like complete idiots.

BUT (Bro's idea), what if Bryn tries to avoid the slaughter by asking for a trial by combat? This way he spares his army and he does a honourable thing, because he's sure he'll get killed and so his army will submit with honour. Then stuff happens, but that's another story.

I adore the idea and can't understand how I didn't think of it myself (when you read the fanfic you'll understand why). I'm still doubtful about why Daenerys would be so obdurate, but probably she still blames the Starks for the fall of her father. Anyway I'll have to open the story and add dialogue as it comes out of my brain, then keep the relevant parts. What's important is I've overcome my writer's block.
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WHY I AVOID GOT-ASOIAF SITES

This one should be more at home in "Sane Inside Insanity", but it talks of ASOIAF and fandom, so I'll write it here where GOT-ASOIAF peeps can find it easily. Maybe I'll paste it there later, because it also talks of my disordered brain.

The trigger ofr my umpteenth panic attack this time was a post on Tower of the Hand which criticized the Blackfish. Objectively it was very debatable; when I got to the comparison between Brynden and Hitler I screamed "Godwin's Law" and freaked out. I felt the author was so biased against Brynden that there wasn't any possible rebuttal. (Also I had lost the password to the site.) I was so shocked that I couldn't even read the comments, which probably contained some defense of Bryn and nice words about him.

But it could also be said that in general I can't handle criticism of myself and the things I care for. (My Catholicism is another example; as for poltics *spit*, I haven't had occasion to quarrel with people for being a Conservative for quite some time, maybe because I care less about it, but there have been some spectacular rows in the past about it). I guess it's mostly true, but I have my reasons for this behaviour.

Borderline personality disorder is a bitch, but I'm in treatment and fight it every second of my life. Unfortunately it's a long (and winding) road uphill. Among other things, the disorder makes me feel like I'm just a piece of shit, literally unworthy of living. This because for a long time of my early life I was so attuned to the needs and whims of (disturbed) others that I LITERALLY forgot myself. My feelings were there, but they didn't matter. What I'm doing now as therapy is recognize my feelings and try to understand them and the way they are tied to the bad moments - like, why do I freak out if someone criticizes (for example) the Blackfish? Because it's like they criticized ME, what I am, and told me "Yes, you're a piece of shit, you're different, you don't even deserve to live, so here is a bullet between the eyes for you, BANG!"

No, really. I insist on LITERAL because that's exactly how I feel. I even have a recurrent dream when a Nazi shoots me in the head. Why? Because I exist. It was drilled into me as a child, in some way I still have to understand.

Another aspect I'm working on as therapy is acceptance. I'm improving, but there are things I can't do right now, and I must accept that. Oh, nothing big, just trifles like working, dating, driving my car. I know if I do one of these things I'll have a panic attack with catastrophic results. Or not - but how can I be sure? This fear of fear itself is so strong that it even messes with my feeling, making me not want these things. Last week I slept in the same room with a guy I like and I just thought "Meh, I don't care for him all that much." Which is damn stupid, I mean, at least speak to him, get to know him! Nah.

This is the stuff I must accept for now. And returning to the subject at hand, I must accept that for now I can't go on the GOT-ASOIAF forums, because it upsets me. And it's bad, because I do want to support the Blackfish, I feels he needs it in view of the damned GOT show. But I can't support anyone if I'm a crying, cursing wreck like last night. My folks called and I started telling them obsessively that I want a cat of my own to keep here at home. Then I realized I could not go back to the computer, I needed sleep. So I closed every window without even looking, shutting down chats without a goodbye. This morning I woke up and felt better, but there was the sun through the trees and I kept seeing the moving shadows as a kitten following me. THAT's what I have to measure defending the Blackfish against. It's not worth it, right?

Hey, it can pass. I lost my fear of flying last year; I wait patiently to overcome all my other fears in the roundabout way I'm learning. But I miss the forums, especially WiC, which lately I was following more than Westeros for the easiness of the blog format to get the latest news. There are some awesome peeps there, beginning with the three webmasters. But (like on other forums, I'm sure) I can't stand the mad swing between desperate Tully supporters and sociopathic Tully detractors. I think I've already spoken of this somewhere below.

I'm at the point that if someone tells me "Go on [insert forum], they cast the Blackfish!" I wouldn't.