Saturday, 15 December 2012

A Little Too Caught Up in Research

This is a question for writers as well as for anyone who’s had to do in-depth research on an obscure topic, perhaps for work or school: Have you ever got so caught up in researching your subject that you forget most people aren’t experts on, say, global warming disaster theories or foreign policy in Tang Dynasty China? It happened to me the day before yesterday. I was with a group of friends, hanging out at someone’s house, and I got up to go to the loo. When I came back, the topic had somehow turned to the Internet in the early 90s and one girl remarked that at that time, not that many people in America used the Internet.

Pretty much all of my research for this fic has pointed towards that definitely not being the case! Certainly amongst such users that were online in the early 90s, America had the biggest demographic by far. In true online forums fashion, I chimed in on a discussion in progress having only heard the most recent comment. “But there were quite a few people on BBSes.”

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Excerpt 2 | Durham University Computer Lab | 10:09 PM

Author’s Notes: This is the same excerpt of the story that was on my NaNo profile, but there’s extra context at the beginning and end so that there’s new stuff to read even for those of you who’ve already read it. I chose it for my profile excerpt because I think it’s a good representative of the story content, plot and style. There’s a mixture of narrative and online chat (and I admit, I’m not sure how accurate my descriptions of BBS chat are, but I based them on the information I have available), a bit of late 80s technology, some familiar names from the Peter Pan canon, an interesting revelation or two and hints towards the larger plot. I wanted to give people a flavour of how the characters will be depicted in this universe, and give them a sense of the setting. By and large, I used the same criteria when I picked the first excerpt to post in this blog.

On with the show!


The building was dark, but not deserted at this time of night. There were a couple of guys sitting at terminals who looked up and nodded as Wendy came in, then went back to what they’d been doing. Wendy sat down and dialled in the number for the CompuChat BBS, which by now she knew off by heart. It felt like forever since she’d last accessed the board at home.

By now, Wendy’s reply to the secretive user ‘Tiger Lily’ had disappeared off the board, and in the week or so since she’d made the post, nothing had come of it. Wendy was relieved and disappointed in equal measure. Her search for ‘The Neverland’ had already hit a dead end and she wasn’t sure where to go from here.

At almost the exact second she thought this, her screen split in two and a chat opened up on the right-hand half of the screen, headed by the words,


Sunday, 9 December 2012

A Blast from the Past

Inspired by a conversation with Wrimo YukiAme, on Friday I downloaded the original J.M. Barrie novel Peter and Wendy and read it that afternoon and evening. As a public domain book, it is free to download from Amazon Kindle and if you download Kindle for PC, you can read it on your computer. I also downloaded Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by the same means and finished it on Saturday.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Evolution of Characters: Peter Pan

When writing an alternate-universe fanfiction, I tend to make sure that the characterisation is as consistent with the original book/series/film as can be, and the same goes for crossovers. If you’re going to change the setting, the time period and the what have you, then all that’s left for the readers to recognise are the characters; without those it wouldn’t even feel like a fanfic, just your own work with some familiar names and faces slapped on. Plus, aren’t the characters what we love the most about any given fandom? I know I do.

With that said, this has to be the AU fanfic where I’ve changed the most about the characters. Some of it is necessary to the setting – this is (almost) the real world, so Peter can’t fly and he does grow up, extremely reluctantly and resentfully. Other stuff, Ive changed just because it seemed like a cool idea at the time. I’m actually enjoying seeing how much of my own spin I can put on the characters while still keeping them recognisably faithful to Barrie’s original.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Excerpt 1 | Peter's Room | 04:34 AM

Author's Notes: So here we have an excerpt from Peter's point of view. I wrote this as an exercise in character development and titled it "Random Scene From Peter's POV" in my Word document, but I think I know whereabouts in the plot it will come. That's a secret, though ;3 I decided it would work best as the first story excerpt for this blog, because it pretty much stands on its own. There's some context that you can probably infer, but not so much info as to give everything away. Enjoy!

(The setting is in the late '80s, for those of you who got interested in this story back when it had a more modern setting - I decided to push the setting back a bit because late '80s Internet was SUPER COOL).


It was always dark when he woke up these days. Peter supposed that in the time zone of some country he might be keeping normal hours, but he had yet to figure out what it was. When he peeled himself from the pillow after two, three, four hours of sleep he always felt groggy, but then he never really rested. The clicks and beeps of his modem wove themselves into his dreams, creating bright patterns. He watched the patterns spin themselves into being around him, admiring the interplay of colours. If the pattern ever broke, he would wake up immediately, stumbling towards the computer to fix whatever bug had presented itself. He couldn’t sleep at all when there was a break in the pattern.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Greetings from the Other Side of NaNo

So, November is over for another year and I can chalk up my third consecutive “loss” after my first and only “win” in 2009 (70,425 words) to the blackboard of my various attempts at NaNoWriMo. At 15,924 words, I’m pretty damn far from the target of 50,000 words in 30 days that NaNo sets for each of us. But I’m also finding it hard to be disappointed with my efforts this month. First off, nearly 16,000 words of anything is not to be scoffed at, as I’m sure any writer will agree. (Well, 16,000 words of Lorem Ipsum is perhaps not the most useful thing, but even that could be used as website filler).  Moreover, I’m still as excited about this story and where it might be going in early December as I was in late October when I first decided to do it for NaNo.

Part of that is because of the epic background research I’ve been doing. (The early years of the Internet and synaesthesia – two subjects that are so damn fascinating I feel like I can’t cram the information into my head fast enough. I also get to pass off reading cyberpunk fiction and various adaptations of Peter Pan as research). Secondly, the characters are coming alive in ways I could never have imagined when I started. (I don’t want to spoil too much, but I owe a lot of fascinating plot development to AuthorXIV’s idea about Tinkerbell. Thanks!!)

Third and most surprisingly, people really like this idea. I’ve had interest in my stories before, but the enthusiasm over the idea of a cyberpunk Peter Pan has just been unexpected. It scares me a little, because what if the story I eventually write isn’t what people had hoped for? The story has changed a lot since the synopsis I initially posted on NaNoWriMo, so what if the people who were interested by that don’t like what it’s turned into? Are my characters too different from J.M. Barrie’s? Am I shooting myself in the foot by trying to stick to the basic plot of Peter Pan – or am I deviating too far? Does my story even class as cyberpunk or is it just a story about people with computers? There is no end to the questions I subject myself to.

On the whole though, I’m psyched to have an audience of interested folks who want to see this story finished as much as I do, and so I’m creating this blog for you all. And for me, because the accountability that it provides will hopefully keep me chugging along with the writing and editing. I will still be serialising the story on my and AO3 as promised; but until it’s in a fit state to be published online, this blog will be home to progress updates from the battlefield, excerpts of the non-awful bits, background information and whatever else I can get away with classing as “relevant”. (*cough* Peter Pan GIFs *cough*)

I have ambitions for this blog that include reader input on the plot and characters and an old-timey BBS look for the site (providing I can rope Emi into helping me with the CSS… *makes a note*). But for now, all I want to ask is: how was your November? :D