daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
It's official now, or more accurately, it public now: I'm no longer on the Story Team for the Legend of the Five Rings. I've been writing L5R stories for years now, and though I still love the game it was time for me to stop writing L5R stories. Shawn Carman, the Story Lead, wrote a really nice announcement about it that's posted on the L5R site. It made me blush a bit, but I've read it several times anyway.

Being on the Story Team created no small amount of frustration in my life, from various sources, but I'm still glad I did it. In was in that time I finally felt comfortable calling myself a writer. It was also the time I faced a lot of technique problems that I had been able to avoid as a fanfic writer but had to figure out NOW because I was on a deadline. ('Cause there is no way I would have stuck with the disambiguation problem of a fight scene with four female Matsu samurai if I had had the chance of just walking away from it. But I didn't have that luxury, and in the end I figured something out.)

So now I'm writing on my own ideas, which is amazing and terrifying. I don't think I know what I'm doing, but I'll figure something out.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
I have a new fiction up on the AEG website: War of Hearts.

Plotting, heartbreak, and drugs.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
I have a new fiction up: Setting a Course. It was pretty entertaining to write, so there is that. It's been getting generally good responses, except for the one guy who slammed it for having really bad grammar. This is upsetting to me for its sheer FTF? quality--if I really did have bad grammar, I'm quite certain that someone in Ricepaper would have pointed this out to me long years before now.

Normally this time of year I'd be making posts about my garden. This year I barely have a garden and what I have is holding on by its metaphorical fingernails. We haven't had rain in 6 weeks, and we have had at least three weeks of temps in the upper 90s and lower 100s. I don't think I need to go into what a horrible combination this is for plants.

Oddly, it hasn't been that hard on me. This is odd because, as you may or may not recall, I don't use air conditioning. I will grant there have been more than a few days I just laid around and read or slept the heat away, but on the positive side I only had a $26 dollar electric bill for last month. More money for Gencon!!!

Speaking of, I need to find an apartment sitter: the heat makes it even more important that my plants get daily attention. I have gone back to making lists of all the things I need to get done in a certain interval of time, as experience shows I have trouble prioritizing without one. So right now I have a Things to Do This Week List and a Things To Do Before I Leave for Gencon List. Both of them are too long, but I am trying to stay calm about it.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
For those keeping track, or who are relying on me to keep track, I had two L5R fictions post recently.

The Shadow's Embrace part 2: the Crane

The Shadow's Embrace part 3: the Phoenix (The first section of this one is the rulebook fiction, which I did not write.)

Normally speaking I never do two stories in a row, as with my speed (or lackthereof) of writing this is a spectacularly bad idea. However, I had a particular reason for doing this, and I think it worked so, good enough.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
My new story was posted this evening: State of the Clans, Part 5. Not the most evocative title, but whatever. Phoenix and Crane courtier hijinks. Scandalous Phoenix courtiers for the win!
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
I was wandering around the L5R part of the internet today and stumbled across the Suzume Storyteller School, a new gathering place for L5R fanfic writers. This paragraph caught my eye:

Where We Come From

Introducing herself on the AEG forums Story Team thread, Nancy Sauer reveals that she got her start seriously writing in an L5R-based writing workshop mailing list named Ricepaper. The Suzume Storyteller School is inspired by her group and online communities such as Dreaming in Ink, and hopes to serve as a new community for creatives in a Legend of the Five Rings context.

It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to know that what we all did is rippling down and inspiring someone else to foster quality writing. Ricepaper had a good run, but all things under the sun grow and then fade. I hope this new group can pick up the torch and run with it.
daidoji_gisei: (Kakita Hideshi)
A friend asked if there was an index of these stories, and so I have created one. As is the nature of Story in L5R, their story is entwined with others and so sometimes they occupy only a part of the linked fiction. The arc is currently unfinished; I will update this as new stories are written.The arc is now finished.

I used Google to find all the links on the AEG site, so while I think these are in order I will be switching them around if I discover a mistake.

Acts of Virtue--Beniha had received screen time before this, but this was Hideshi's first appearance.

Letters and Bios--Hideshi's letter starts with "Esteemed Uncle"; scroll down to find his RPG stats.

Preparations part 2--A section of a large, multi-writer fiction; scroll down to the section headed 'The Crane'.

Gift of Ryoshun part 1 and Gift of Ryoshun part 2--both written by Shawn, and only relevant to explain where Hideshi got The Obi of Gaki-do.

Untitled, part of Scenes 2--Start with section that begins "The darkness was warm and soft and scented with flowers,"

Untitled,part of Scenes 5--Start with the section that begins "The headman's house at Kibi Mura"

Shadowed Hearts

The Shadow Court--there is a substantial time jump between Shadowed Hearts and this story, but I haven't calculated it out yet.

A Glimpse of the Soul's Shadow, part of Scenes 16--one of multiple small stories; scroll down to find it.

The Destroyer War part 9--written by Shawn after Hideshi had been picked for a tournament prize; I include it because Shawn made it relevant to the arc.

Failure, part of Scenes 18--one of multiple stories; scroll down to find it.

Flowers in Darkness--The last story.
daidoji_gisei: (Kakita Hideshi)
At this point I have been working on this plotline (which is taking place in the Legend of the Five Rings, the game I write for) for a very long time. There are several reasons for this, one of them being that this is something I've set in motion on my own, and so I've had to fit it into the main storyline whenever I've found room. For my benefit (and that of the tiny handful of people who are enjoying this story) I am collecting links to all that has gone before.

Acts of Virtue -- Kakita Hideshi first introduced.

Preparations, Part II --The section with the header of The Crane. ('“My mother was a Daidoji,” he said quietly, “and her father fought in the armies of the Crane at Oblivion’s Gate. He returned, and wed, and died fighting the Lion a few years later.”' Heh.)

Scenes from the Empire 2 --In the second section, starting with "The darkness was warm and soft and scented with flowers..."

Scenes from the Empire 5 --In the second section, starting with "The headman's house at Kibi Mura..."

Shadowed Hearts

The Shadow Court --Oddly enough, this one gets its name from a card that has nothing to do with Hideshi and Beniha.

A Glimpse of the Soul's Shadow --The third story on the page; scroll down.

According to Google this is all of them at this time; I will update this entry as new fictions get written.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
Getting connected from my mother's house was way more difficult than it should have been. Also, I am trying to decided if my ISP's helpdesk staff is awesomely easy to work with or a major security breach waiting to happen. It is possible that I am too twisty-minded for my own good, I guess.

However, I have a short L5R fic in this month's Scenes from the Empire, here. It's the last one, Dealing with Demons--so far no one who has commented on the AEG forum has noticed the plural. It is, I admit, a fine point.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
A number of my co-workers know that I moonlight writing for a game company, and a few of them have expressed interest in seeing my stories. I am compiling here links to a handful of my L5R fictions, with some notes on their context to help readers unfamiliar with the game make some sense out of them.

"L5R", by the way, is the community's shorthand for "Legend of the Five Rings", a game line that started (and remains) a collectible card game and also has a role-playing game based on it. I dabble in writing on the RPG side, but mostly I do fiction and card-related writing.

L5R is sometimes described as being based on Japan's samurai era, but it is much better described as being based on the samurai movie genre. It is a glorious (or horrifying, depending on how you feel about such things) mish-mash of Asian history and culture, containing Tokugawa-style samurai, Heian-style courtiers, Mongol-style horse warriors and the kitchen sink. Oh, and ninja. (That will be important later.)

These stories are all set in Rokugan, an imaginary land where the Great Clans (Crab, Crane, Dragon, Lion, Mantis, Phoenix, Scorpion, Unicorn) make up the Emerald Empire. The Clans cooperate to keep the Empire running, but they also struggle for power among themselves. Individual members of the clans have their own struggles. As most of the adult men of the Empire and an appreciable fraction of the women are running around armed with 3' long razor blades this creates a certain amount of drama.

First, a story from the last Crab-Crane war. There are two minor characters, Hiruma Aya and Daidoji Kojima, who in a previous story were shown to have a "relationship".
The Flowers, The Snow

I think this story pretty much stands on its own, but it is helpful to know that in Rokugan there exists a supernatural disease called Taint. Taint is essentially uncurable (though not completely untreatable) and if left unchecked it devours both the body and soul of the infected and turns them into an enemy of everything they have ever valued. Seriously bad stuff.

The following story concerns the conflict between Shosuro Jimen, the Emerald Champion, and Kakita Noritoshi, daimyo (lord) of the Kakita family and the Empire's greatest currently living duelist. Jimen became Emerald Champion (the Empire's chief law enforcement official) by hook and by crook, touching off a bitter feud with Noritoshi in the process. I have written at least 4 stories in this plotline, but I think this one stands alone the best of the group.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
The story I'm posting here requires some background because is not fanfic, but it isn't canon either. It's one of the stories I wrote when I was applying for a position on the L5R Story Team, way back in 2006. I had gotten Shawn's permission to post it a long time ago, but then I switched computers and lost sight of it and forgot about it until recently when I was sorting through my Sent mail file and realized that I had a copy of it there.

So. When I got an email from AEG inviting me to apply I freaked out, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone familiar with L5R and my improbable love for this game. After calming down and talking myself into going for it I freaked out a second time, because one of the things I needed to send in was a 2000 word story about any Lotus-legal character. Now I ask you, fellow L5R players, if you could write any story for L5R and had the thinnest shred of a chance of it becoming canon, what would you do? How in the world would one choose?

It was easy enough to narrow down the field to Crane Clan characters: in a situation like that I think it is important to play to your strong points, and I'd written a lot of fanfic with Crane characters in it. Going over the list brought Daidoji Takihiro to my attention. Takihiro has the minor distinction of being the (unwilling) subject of the only scene in canon fiction to mention the tattoos all Daidoji bushi bear as sign of loyalty to the clan. The Daidoji tattoos have always intrigued me: What is it like to go though life with a symbol,that you may or may not have wanted, permanently inked onto you? It was something that I had used in passing in my fanfic, but could I do something using a canon character and the canon storyline?

I went back and reread the story with Takihiro in it, Fires of Toshi Ranbo part 4. For your convenience, the first few paragraphs:
No chains or ropes bound Daidoji Takihiro, but he could not move. The Ashalan's commands still shackled his mind, binding him upon the wooden table as the strange gaijin did his work. The curved crystal needle traced its path across Takihiro's flesh. Pain seared through his body. He felt a cold energy burning his soul, wearing away at his very being. As the needle carved its patterns upon his body, sinister magic wove itself into his mind. The Ashalan looked down impassively as he worked. The pale man's face was painted in dark, twisting patterns similar to those he now drew upon the Daidoji.

"I am impressed by thine willpower, Takihiro," Rashol said in a gentle voice. The Ashalan looked at him with detached curiosity. "Not many could endure the binding without screaming."

Takihiro glared into the Ashalan's eyes. "I will not be bound, gaijin," he whispered hoarsely.

The Ashalan's dark eyes showed no reaction. "Thou art already bound," he said. "Do ye not see?" He took the Crane's right wrist and turned his arm palm upward, displaying the crane tattooed upon his inner forearm. "Ye bear the symbols of another master. These symbols bear no magic but they are not without power. Thine brothers and sisters stand beside ye even now, Daidoji Takihiro. Ye draw strength from them. I respect thine strength, but it is an obstacle to me. Ye must serve."

Oh, yeah. This had possibilities.

And so I got to work writing, and when I finished I immediately started worrying that it was too short. I fiddled with it a bit, trying to make it longer, but anything I did made it a weaker story and so I decided that it was better to have a good story and left it the way it was.

So that is the story behind this story. And here is the story. )
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
I had a new story go up on Monday night: The Last One. It was a hard one to write, but the reader reaction shows that I mostly accomplished my goals, which pleases me. I'm also told that I might have set a new record--five carded character deaths from the same clan--which does not please me, but it does amuse me.

Helen, if you see this, the fic is Crab-centric and grim, so it is (I hope) totally your cup of tea. :-)
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
I am so very tired! For a number of reasons, including that I spent most of the weekend bleeding out a new story. You would think that sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen would at least be restful, but no.

Anway, the story is up on the AEG site: Shadowed Hearts. I like Shawn's description of it: A simple tale of a noblewoman, her devoted yojimbo, and the complexities of their relationship. The yojimbo is Kakita Hideshi.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
I have a new fictionette up, one of this month's Scenes From the Empire. I could say, "Guess which one is mine!", but let's be realistic here: How likely is it that I didn't write the one with the hot-looking tainty Crane boy-toy duelist?
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
I forgot to say this earlier. My newest L5R fiction, Conjunctions and Aspects was posted this weekend.

I suspect I could have given it a better title, but I always have trouble with titles. I also suspect I could have done a better job at making it cohesive, but that might be my obsessive perfectionism talking. If I get around to doing a Writer's Notebook entry on it I might explore the question more.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
This story, Autumn Chronicles, was an exercise in killing my darlings. I don't mean Rekai, who was too old and too established a character to qualify as being mine, insofar as any L5R character could be considered "mine", I mean I had ideas for a lot of things for this story--themes, bits of information, lines of dialog, or fight moves--and during the course of writing I had to junk at least half of them. It was very painful, but it's really true that as a story is being written it sometimes unfolds in a way that doesn't accommodate your original ideas, and when that happens you need to steel yourself to reject them. I think the story is stronger for my decisions, but I'm going to be honest: I really, really wish I could have kept the part where Gempachi called Rekai an ugly, goblin-fornificating old witch. It would have been awesome.
A few more thoughts on craft. )
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
My most recent L5R story is up (finally! I was so horribly late with this one): Autumn Chronicles.

From time to time [livejournal.com profile] yhlee and [livejournal.com profile] helen_keeble make mention of having music lists for stories when they are writing, and for my most recent story I decided to try it.

The list I came up with is probably not optimized, if indeed that concept can be applied to a project like this. The list was assembled from songs I happened to have loaded into my MacBook at the moment, and I didn't go through any of my CDs to see if they had anything appropriate. It was fairly entertaining, and when I do get my music collection in order it might be fun to come up with lists for other stories I've done. I can't really say that it helped me write, but I've had so many problems with this story (and most of them non-writing related!) I'm not sure if that is conclusive.

For the curious, here's the list:
The Chain, Fleetwood Mac
Total Eclipse of the Heart, Bonnie Taylor
Courage (For Hugh MacLennan), The Tragically Hip
Too Good to be True, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Devil Inside, INXS
Silvio, Bob Dylan
The Dark of the Sun, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Three Pistols, The Tragically Hip
Zombie Zoo, Tom Petty
Kick, INXS
Divinity II, Advent Children soundtrack
All the Things She Said She Said, Simple Minds
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
A few years ago [livejournal.com profile] helen_keeble demonstrated the boundless depths of our friendship by writing a an L5R fanfic for me. About exploding possums. Earlier today I discovered that recently Helen herself hadn't been able to find the story because she hadn't tagged it and it was lurking in the dusty corners of her LJ.

As fate would have it, I have it bookmarked because last spring I was trying to find it, and [livejournal.com profile] d_silverblade heroically battled the forces of entropy on my behalf. Clearly, the only fit thing to do is to put up a link here, so that other people may benefit from [livejournal.com profile] helen_keeble's writing and [livejournal.com profile] d_silverblade's heroism.

The series of events that would later be referred to variously as the Season of Teeth (by the Crane), the War of Dire Beasts (by the Lion), or That Thing With The Possums (by everyone else) started, as so many wars do, with a party.

daidoji_gisei: (Default)
I had a new L5R story go up on Sunday: Changes. It was supposed to go up on Friday, but to my shame I'm the slowest writer on the team and when I'm under stress (you know, like from impending grand openings) I get even sloooower.

Anyway, aside from that I enjoyed writing it. It had a standard-issue monk in it, and I like writing those kind of monks. I don't have anything against the fire-breathing variety, I just don't find them as interesting.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
I have a new fiction up on the AEG site: The Burning Wall, part 1.

Yes, that is my second fic in two weeks. Yes, I am going to go collapse now. (And by 'collapse' I mean 'go wash all the dishes and clothes that piled up when I was writing'.)

ETA: I just noticed an error in the very last line of the story. ARRGGG! *headdesk*


daidoji_gisei: (Default)

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