I was blown away by so many of the stories in the NFE (I haven't yet read more than a few in the Madness Round). I am just speechless at how brilliant some of the writers are -- it was a real feast of reading. Thank you, Snacky, for running this! (And aurilly, too, for the tag-wrangling part.)
And I received a brilliant
story, Concerning the Daily Maintenance of a Large Country House
, written by the lovely, generous and clever-as-all-get-out
writer, WingedFlight. As I've said here previously, this story not only opens up the whole Narnia concept (why should these four children be so special? people ask. Oh-ho
, says WingedFlight.) but also gave two wonderful, and amazingly economical, character-sketches, including one of the best literary housekeepers of all time. What none of us knew about Mrs Macready! :D
In the Madness Round, I received a lovely story, Lost and Found
, by Transposable_Element, a detailed and moving look at the Archenland royal family facing the loss - through miscarriage, illness and kidnapping - of their children, over years, and also working to use their grief to give to other children.
And also was one of five recipients for a sombre, reflective story by edenfalling, How the Skeleton Aches
, which looked at the last stages before WW2, and how to respond to the times, through the eyes of Digory and Polly.
It was terrific
to read all of these, and to feel somehow associated with them; thank you so much, wonderful writers!
And then there's the stories I wrote. :)
I wrote two, an assigned one, and a pinch-hit.
My assignment was for metonomia, who asked for "a story from any viewpoint on the lady of the green kirtle, especially perhaps an au that could include more of the star's daughter/rilian's mother."
I thought, and leaped in to write "...the marks of that which once hath been"
, as a story about the relationship between them, which I imagined as beginning after an attempt (by persons unknown - in the story the attempt killed them) to summon up Jadis in the last years before the Telmarine incursions; I imagined the summoned-up Jadis as reincarnate, reborn, fresh, with another chance at life.
My recipient hasn't been around to read or comment, which takes some of the fun out of it, but I'm not unhappy with the story in itself. I think I maybe trimmed too much, trying to get under 10,000 words, and should have kept more words, and made some things clearer (for example, the importance of what happened offstage in the three days between the first and second meetings of the two) but overall it got most of the way to where I wanted it to go. I wanted it to be very clear on the energy and passion in female friendships, and the potential for good, and the damage that can happen when they get on a wrong track. And I wanted the ways that 'good' people can do harm to be as clear as the ways 'bad' people can do harm, and how they can tangle up. Much as this paragraph is getting tangled, so I'll skip on to the pinch-hit. :)
This was the first time I've done a pinch-hit, and it terrified me! I was assigned aurilly who prompted that "Tirian's the best, and I would like Jill to have some fun. Her two adventures were both so depressing and then she died, wtf. I loved their dynamic in TLB. I ship them.... Anyone else you like can appear as long as the focus is on their relationship. Could be that he visits our world. Or maybe they succeeded in averting the apocalypse and she (and Eustace, if you want) stay in Narnia to help Tirian pull everything back together. Please assume Jill was 17/18 during TLB and Tirian 20/21 so it isn’t squicky."
I spent possibly a day in a gibbering panic, wondering how to avert the apocalypse, and then found an idea, and wrote like the wind for about three days in a row on To hold back the night
. (Thursday is my totally-free day. :D and long may it stay so!) And tinkered as long as I possibly could, and squeaked in under deadline! Thanks to WingedFlight the parts which scraped a bit were smoothed out, and my recipient was happy. :) I wish I could have written more, but time -- and respect for the readers' patience -- constrained me to stop where I did. But I do know more of the story (including what Aslan said about it later), and maybe one of these days... (that's a joke -- the number of stories that are in the wunna-these-days bucket is legion).
Saying it again -- the stories in this collection were stunning. Thanks all; it was an exhilarating experience. And
I still have most of the Madness Round to read! (happy anticipation!