rynling: (Mog Toast)
Because why write new fic when you can torture yourself by editing old fic?

After the World Was Won
This is a story about sexism in STEM fields wherein Daryl is frustrated with Setzer for achieving more recognition for doing basically the same work. Now that I am closer to the age I intended Daryl to be in the story, however, I realize that intelligent adults don't express frustration in quite the way I had her doing. I therefore made Daryl's language less blunt and her sense of ironic detachment drier. Setzer has an awkward monologue that I could have edited, but I decided that it's in character for it to remain a bit stilted.

Another Chip in the Pile
Dubious consent was a major theme in m/m fanfic when I wrote this story. I remember being bothered by that but at the same time interested in what dubious consent can do that depictions of healthy relationships cannot. For whatever reason, I still find stories of emotionally damaged people stumbling backwards into sex compelling, and I'm surprised by how fond I am of this fic, which is about Owzer attempting to fuck Setzer out of his depression. Politics aside, editing this fic taught me that the word "guttural" achieves semantic satiation very quickly, and I am hereby instating an ironclad rule that it can only be used once in any given story about buttsex.

Every King Needs His Guard
This is a very short postgame fic about Sabin assassinating Cid so that Edgar doesn't have to. I edited it to get rid of some of the more florid phrasing while making Sabin a bit scarier.

The Lure of Machinery
You can really tell I was still developing my chops when I wrote this one. Instead of fixing the numerous instances of stylistic awkwardness, I just deleted them wholesale. I should probably delete this entire story, but I am still to this day super into the idea of Setzer and Edgar being engineer husbands.

I wrote this Setzer/Edgar story only five months after "The Lure of Machinery," but it is worlds better. It's not good, exactly, but it's moving in the right direction. I edited the dialog to make it tighter and crispier. I've been so tits deeps in the pretentiousness of Zelda fic that I forgot I enjoy writing banter... I should get back to that at some point.

Two Kingdoms
A year or two ago the great and noble Kashuan reblogged a post about how the OP immediately hits the back button upon realizing that a fic is written with a first-person narrative voice. I thought of this specific Peach/Bowser fic when I read that post, and now I have finally edited it to be in third person. This actually took a substantial amount of work, but I will not embarrass myself by revealing just how much. The story is still a heap of weird and pretentious garbage based on deep lore culled from the instruction manuals of the NES era Super Mario games, but at least now it's marginally less cringe-inducing.

Claws and Lace
This is not old fic, but I've been returning to it to make edits every week since I posted it. When I said that it needed a lot of editing I meant that it needed A LOT of editing; I am very serious about my crackfic and would never joke about something like this. If I am going to write a story about Peach and Bowser having awkward monster sex then it is going to be classy and well edited, so help me Crackfic Jesus.

Okay wow, making these cosmetic changes has indeed made me feel a lot better about my monumental lack of progress on more meaningful projects. Good job team!
rynling: (Needs More Zelda)
While I was in Tokyo I hung out with a friend who I met a good ten years ago in a semi-professional context and then stayed in touch with through Livejournal and Tumblr. She lives in Central Asia, and she was in Japan partially for business but also to meet up with a fandom friend. When she told me this, I was like, You know their name? And where they live? She was like, Of course, once you become a fandom mom everyone sort of already knows who you are anyway.

I think it's kind of cool how, once you reach a certain age in fandom, you stop caring so much about whether people can connect you to your real-life identity. To me, this actually seems like a much healthier social system than community-enforced anonymity. As someone whose job responsibilities include hiring both interns and salaried positions, I can say from firsthand experience that most potential employers are already overworked and aren't going to dig that deeply into your background as it exists as the result of a Google search; and, as someone who got balls-deep into the Gamergate nonsense a few summers ago, I can also say that anonymity isn't really going to protect you from the crazies on the internet. Real world action, whether it relates to social justice or literary and artistic movements, is based on real world communities, and anonymity within fandom precludes the possibility of such action among groups of people who are primarily female and/or minorities.

On the other hand, Super Mario Odyssey is giving me intense Peach/Bowser shipping feels, and I'm overwhelmed by the compulsion to write fic in which Peach, in full bridal gear, forces Bowser to strip until he's got nothing on except the white lace panties she's made him wear under his wedding suit.

They're both such awful pieces of shit, and I love them so much, and no one who knows me in real life can ever, ever find out about this.
rynling: (Silver)

I was working on a drawing I promised a friend, but then my hand slipped and this happened.

I ordered a cheap set of Pigma markers, which make my lines darker and a little more stable. What I'm trying to do here is to use a thicker pen for broad shape outlines and a thinner pen for the smaller details, but I suspect they're both going look the same. If I want the pen lines to have the same weight and depth as the pencils, I'm going to have to work with something better than crappy industrial-grade photocopy paper so that I can experiment more without destroying the physical page. I ordered a pad of Bristol board, so we'll see how that goes.

Last night I went out drinking with an artist friend around my age, one of these assholes who hates Tumblr culture and avoids the site but still has 40,000 followers. I was like, "What's your secret," and she leans forward and whispers, "Bitches love yaoi."

Sooooo I ordered two posable artist figures, a little dude and a big dude. I'm going straight to hell for this, I know I am, but I figure maybe I can get off light if I draw Satan's OTPs.
rynling: (Gator Strut)
"I love your Zelda meta post," I say to a friend. "I'd like to draw a comic about it!" So then of course I proceed to not talk to them for a week, and when I finally sit down and put my pencil to paper this is the sort of garbage that comes out, Jesus Christ.

rynling: (Default)
Although I probably won't get around to it until May, I'm looking forward to the series of Peach/Bowser flashfic stories I'm planning on writing.

I think it would be interesting if Bowser were totally conventional, meaning that he wants romance and marriage and kids. He knows that Peach doesn't respond to his relationship ideals or his usual brutish way of getting things done, so he's at a loss for how to communicate his affection. Over time, what started out as his innocent confusion and mild frustration has transformed into real bitterness and anger.

Meanwhile, Peach is a psychological mess from having lived her entire life according to a harshly enforced set of double standards. Bowser is the only person who sees how stressful this is for her, but he doesn't seem to understand the larger implications that her precarious position has on their relationship, which she finds infuriating. She doesn't want to compromise what she's worked to build, and she hates how easy everything seems for him from her perspective.

In this set of stories, Peach will have had a fling with Mario, and Junior is most definitely her child. I can't think of any other circumstances that will cause her and Bowser pain at the moment, but I'm sure something will come to me.

I'm still considering the "different species" thing, and
rynling: (Silver)
My problem with art is that everything takes too long. For example...

"Mario, help! Please save me!"

Peach ran into the foyer of her castle, her heels clicking on the tiled floor.

"It's no use running, Princess! I'm gonna get you!"

Bowser followed behind her, a huge grin on his face.

"Oh no!" Peach paused, looked over her shoulder, and pretended to trip.

Bowser caught Peach's outstretched arm and pulled her to him. She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him.

Luigi, who had been watching this scene unfold from an upstairs doorway, rolled his eyes. "Goddammit, not this shit again," he muttered.

Bowser lowered his head and brought his lips to Peach's ear. "When we get back to my castle," he whispered, "I'm going to fuck you so hard you'll scream for Mario to save you."

Luigi took a drag on his cigarette. "Nerds," he said, the corner of his mouth lifting in a smile.

I timed myself, and this took me about five minutes to write. If I were to draw it as a comic, I'm estimating that it would take at least twenty hours.

I'm still gonna do it, though.
rynling: (Teh Bowz)
I've been playing a lot of Mario games while waiting for Breath of the Wild to come out, and fuck me but I'm getting back into the Peach/Bowser ship.

I'm really into the idea of Peach and Bowser carrying on an illicit affair behind closed doors, of course, but I think it would be cool if, instead of being caught up in some sort of epic love story, they're actually kind of bored with each other but too lazy to break off the relationship. It's interesting to imagine that, while Mario is off saving stars or collecting beans or whatever, Peach and Bowser are getting into petty arguments about inane bullshit, like...

- Bowser gives Peach genuinely useful baking advice, and she's furious that he let her think he didn't know anything about cooking
- Bowser confesses a fantasy specific to his (species??), and Peach is frustrated that he told her despite knowing it's something she could never physically do
- Bowser is supposed to win a tennis match so that Peach gets threaded out of the tournament and can sit back and relax, but he loses on purpose to piss her off
- Bowser goads Peach with snide comments during a public event, knowing that she can't retaliate because she has to act like a princess
- Bowser makes an unfavorable comparison between Peach and Zelda, essentially suggesting that Peach is lazy and unromantic
- Bowser is annoyed that Junior always listens to Peach but not to him
- Bowser is upset that Peach refuses to flat-out say "I love you"

Idk, idk. I know how silly this is, but the Mario games are so aggressively wholesome that it amuses me to think of Bowser and Peach, who are both canonically selfish and awful people, being mean and shitty to one another off camera.
rynling: (Terra Branford)
Why yes, I do in fact need more postapocalyptic Mad Max themed Super Mario Bros cosplay in my life.


The work of these two fabulous dudebros inspires me. Writing "A Game of Castles" was a lot of fun, but the story had a tight focus on Bowser and Peach and didn't pay too much attention to Mario. Although I have other business to attend to at the moment, I think one day I'd like to write the story (such as it is) from Mario's perspective. In my head, he is more or less Hunter S. Thompson, except that instead of journalism he has a strong commitment to murder.
rynling: (Terra Branford)
I finally beat Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, but I found very little joy in the accomplishment.

There is a gauntlet of boss fights at the end of the game. After a long string of battles with regular enemies, Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario fight the seven Koopalings across three successive battles. They then fight Bowser and Paper Bowser, a battle that has two stages. In the first stage, Bowser and Paper Bowser compete over who can do the most damage, but their attacks are relatively easy to dodge and counter. In the second stage, Paper Bowser transforms into a shiny set of papercraft armor that Bowser wears like a skin suit uses to defend himself and launch a set of special attacks. This is a harder fight, but by this point most players will have a stash of highly effective healing items, as well as a special "battle card" (don't ask) that can be used repeatedly to lower Bower's level by five. I remember Dreamy Bowser (from Mario & Luigi Dream Team) (yes, the final boss is called "Dreamy Bowser") (he literally sparkles) being much more difficult, but it could just be that I've gotten better at these games during the past two years.

Even with two Bowsers and all of the Koopalings in the same place at the same time, there are no jokes and no witty banter, which was a disappointment. There are also no major revelations or betrayals, and the only emotional aspect of the dialog involves just how much the Koopalings trust and respect Bowser. My own delusions regarding Bowser aside, the adoration that his minions express toward him has always been striking to me. Even in Super Mario 64, which has relatively little text, the boss monsters of each level still talk about how much they love Bowser.

The ending montage of Paper Jam is a parade of giant papercraft through the various regions of the game, which looks stunning in 3D but feels fairly routine. Right at the tail end of the game, after the credits have rolled and all the paper characters are ready to return to their paper universe, Peach hugs Paper Peach with a surprisingly long and detailed animation. It was touching, and you could tell that the game designers put a lot of thought and effort into the scene. Paper Peach eventually excuses herself, saying that she had better go check up on Paper Bowser.

Haha, of course she does. But seriously, is this ship canon now? Did I miss something?

In any case, it took me a bit more than 38 hours to complete Paper Jam. The level cap for this game is apparently 100, but I was able to breeze through the final boss fights at level 44.

Now that the Paper Jam cartridge is no longer permanently lodged in my 3DS, I've resumed my Master Quest playthrough of Ocarina of Time. Someone on Tumblr sent me an interesting Zelda/Link prompt specific to the game, but I'm having a bit of trouble remembering the interactions between Link and Sheik. I'm therefore writing the fic at the same rate as I progress through the game. Although I feel bad for making the lovely person who sent me the prompt wait, this is actually a good pace for me, and it's nice to be so close to the source text.
rynling: (Terra Branford)
Some lovely and wonderful person left a comment on one of my Powser fics saying that the bickering between Peach and Bowser reminds her of the dialog on Archer. I was like, What the fuck is Archer. Five hours later, the Netflix app on my PS4 was telling me that prolonged periods of physical inactivity may be accompanied by health risks.

What I've been trying to capture in the Peach/Bowser dynamic is a theme I'm going to call "adults being shitty to one another." I'm not into sexy kidnapping or any sort of Beauty and the Beast redemption nonsense; I'm into the idea that both characters have terrible personalities. Bowser is thoughtlessly obnoxious, Peach is cloyingly passive-aggressive, and they're both extremely narcissistic.

I thought I'd made good progress in how I write the characters, but watching Archer has taught me just how much of a novice I am at adults being shitty to one another. I need to step up my game, and I want to get started by writing flashfic. Here are some scenarios I came up with:

* Peach shits on Bowser for buying ridiculous things
* Bowser taunts Peach for not having children
* Peach cuts Bowser down for complaining about villainy and double standards
* Bowser mocks Peach for being obsessed with beauty products
* Peach gets up in Bowser's business for eating nothing but garbage
* Bowser tries to bully Peach into admitting she has a problem with alcohol
* Peach and Bowser bring on the snark as they speculate about who Mario and Luigi are dating
* Peach and Bowser accuse each other of being an unpopular character in Super Smash Bros
* Peach and Bowser get nasty and jealous about Zelda and Ganondorf
* Bowser gets sloppy drunk and calls Peach
* Peach watches Bridget Jones and calls Bowser

The romance, such as it is, needs to come from the sense that these two garbage people have somehow managed to find an equally garbage partner; and that, underneath their spiteful pettiness, they care about one another because of their flaws, not in spite of them. A lot of shipfic I read tries to normalize characters with difficult personalities through romance, but honestly bros, that sort of thing stopped being interesting to me a long time ago.
rynling: (Mog Toast)
Fuck me, but I'm writing another Peach/Bowser story, and I'm worried that I'm becoming more radical in my constructions of their relationship.

My first multichapter Powser story was like, "Bowser kidnaps Peach, but he has a good reason." My second multichapter Powser story was more, "Peach is kidnapped, but not by Bowser, who is just as confounded by the situation as she is." The current story is shaping up along the lines of, "Peach is in no way kidnapped, but Bowser needs her help to undo several major magical mishaps, which are such that it would be politically inexpedient for Peach to admit she's collaborating with him."

I'm not sure how far I can go in this direction. What comes next? Peach is not kidnapped by Bowser, because she's actually holding him hostage?

(Actually, I would totally read that.)

Meanwhile, if I were to write a story about Bowser abducting and brutalizing Peach before pumping her full of gallons of monster jizz, I would get a hundred kudos overnight.

So I guess what I'm wondering is how to construct a story that engages with the BDSM themes that make the heroine/villain dynamic so compelling, only without all the ridiculous sexist tropes that make me immediately close the browser tab when I encounter them in other people's fic.
rynling: (Terra Branford)
So this is a thing that I might be responsible for...

...and I never thought the world could be such a strange and beautiful place.

The artist is the incomparable Fungii, who I suspect is probably a legendary pokémon in real life.
rynling: (Mog Toast)
When I mentioned "the fic that gets an inordinate number of readers" in an earlier post, I was referring to Bowser and Peach: A Love Story. Because I serialized it at the height of interest in FFN, it got a lot of traffic, and it's currently indexed very high on Google.

This story is my first fic, and I feel bad for the version of myself who wrote it. She was so innocent, and she had no idea what the fuck she was doing. I've since gone back and edited it twice. The first time was to find and correct typos, and the second was to delete every instance of the female lead crying or being unnecessarily stupid.

The story is still a mess, however, and hurts me to look at it. It's like a train wreck, with cargo exploding into flame and passengers and livestock attempting to flee. Do I try to save the people and put out the fire, or do I just let it burn like the magnificent spectacle of failure that it is?

I've been content to avert my eyes in favor of other projects, but this ridiculous story still gets over a hundred hits a day, so it's probably time to roll up my sleeves and wade in.

Meanwhile, I'm still fixing small typos and wooden dialog in A Game of Castles. Despite my general incompetence as a writer and editor, people seem to be reading that story too (atthough it's been more or less ignored on AO3 and Tumblr). According to the statistics gathered by FFN, something like two to three dozen people are reading the entire story every day. This makes me wonder where all these silent readers are coming from. I suppose I'll never know. I'm assuming that a portion of the "readers" are spambots, but that's okay; it would make me happy if the nascent singularity ships Peach and Bowser too.
rynling: (Teh Bowz)
This game is just too much fun. I can only play a few levels every night, though, because I can only maintain the requisite intensity of concentration for so long before I start dying every few seconds.

The pixelated graphics on my huge tv are gorgeous. I want to play more SNES games, but for some reason the stupid Nintendo eShop took down most of them. I especially want to replay Secret of Mana, but it's no longer on the Virtual Console. I've been side-eyeing A Link to the Past, but I keep telling myself NO BITCH DON'T DO IT. I need to finish Wind Waker first, but... there's just so much... sailing.

I finished the Bowser/Peach fic, and I'm currently in the hardcore editing phase. If it weren't staring me right in the face, I might have trouble believing that I wrote a 20,000 word story loosely based on Super Mario World. Meanwhile I've been hearing Super Mario Western Show more or less on permanent loop in my head since I started playing the game.

Some people are afraid that playing too many video games makes people violent, but they're wrong - I am what happens when you play too many video games.
rynling: (Terra Branford)
A Game of Castles, the Peach/Bowser fic I'm working on right now, is probably the most self-indulgent thing I've ever written. Essentially, Peach is romanced by all of the Koopalings, each of whom is a gorgeous adult with a hint of villainy thrown in for spice. That's not where the story began, but that's the direction it went in, and I just sat back and let it happen.

Meanwhile, I'm having a lot of fun writing the Mushroom Kingdom as a postapocalyptic wasteland and Luigi as a caricature of nihilistic existentialism.

It's almost embarrassing how much I'm enjoying myself.

In the chapter I'm going to post tomorrow morning, Peach and Bowser finally get together. Their relationship isn't exactly fluffy, so they haven't been flirting, but the entire story has been an ongoing process of the two of them figuring out that they can drop their barriers when they're alone together. When Peach finally allows herself to get legitimately angry at Bowser, which is the one thing she'd never do in front of anyone else, he's overcome with emotion and kisses her.

I've gotten very few comments so far, but I expect at least one person to jump out of the woodwork at this point to be like, THIS IS ABRUPT AND MAKES NO SENSE.

To which of course my response is, WHATEVER THEY ARE CUTE AND I DON'T CARE.
rynling: (Teh Bowz)
I decided that the B plot to the Peach/Bowser fic I'm working on is going to involve Luigi chasing after Mario and despairing over what his life has become.

To get myself in the mood, I started re-reading Le Mythe de Sisyphe, but it's not as bleak as I remember it being.

I therefore asked Google "what is the bleakest existentialist shit," and the search returned a bizarre piece of absurdist writing titled 5 of The Worst Possible Things That Could Ever Happen To You. It's kind of brilliant:

And so I, ever the concerned teacher and human being, placed a figurative bookmark in my rousing lesson and asked this child what was wrong. After many agonizing seconds of waiting, me silently praying he wasn't going to bring up, say, existentialism or war or a pervading fog of meaninglessness, all of these Important Questions to which I could provide no comforting answer—and praying too that he wasn't going to vomit on/cry on/otherwise soil these handouts, as I really needed them for the next class—this poor, innocent child finally worked up the courage, despite an obvious fear of what the truth may be, to ask me if shrimp were made of milk.

For what it's worth, I think the bleakest existentialist shit is probably T.S. Eliot, but not even for the sake of a giant turtle monster banging a mushroom princess will I read The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock again.
rynling: (Mog Toast)
I was suddenly struck with an urge to delete things on AO3.

Essentially, if it was less than 1,000 words and only got one or two kudos, it's gone.

I got rid of the two Chrono Trigger fics. Dredging them up from the cesspit of adultff.net was a bad decision.

I got rid of two old FFVI drabbles. I'd get rid of the newer ones, but good people have left good comments on them that make me feel special. Cthulhu bless the FF fandom.

I got rid of the two recent Peach/Bowser ficlets. I'm planning on eventually posting them together with a longer story fragment called "Until Mario Comes" that I couldn't quite bring myself to expand into porn. I love Bowser, and I love Peach, and I love the two of them together, but I can't quite wrap my head around the intricacies of graphic sex with a giant turtle monster. It's not that I disapprove or think it's gross, but rather, what goes where how ouch.
rynling: (Celes Chere)
* Beat the game
* Finished all the extra levels
* Got all the upgrades
* Found all the puzzle pieces

It's a gorgeous afternoon in Paris, where it already feels like fall. I got out of Israel just in time for Rosh Hashanah, thank god. Too many teenagers walking around with rifles. Anyway, in between going through three hours of security so I could get on a plane and actually flying, I finished Super Princess Peach. The Nintendo DS battery lasts approximately forever, true story.

Some people might consider this game to be "easy," but I'd rather label it as "low stress." There are two reasons for this. First, the levels are more like interactive mazes than obstacle courses, and there's no timer, so the player is free to take her time to explore them. Second, Peach starts off as powerful and gradually becomes even more powerful, so the obstacles the game does throw at the player can be overcome by creative problem solving instead of by platforming prowess. Of course you can treat the game like a platformer if you want to challenge yourself, and it's really fun to do speed runs.

The main thing about this game is that it's adorable. Three examples:

When Peach invokes her anger powers, she goes balls-out batshit; but, when she un-invokes them, she does this cute little animation where she shrugs her shoulders and brushes herself off before returning to normal. It is so badass.

When Peach beats a level boss, she frees a Toad, and she and the Toad clasp hands and spin around before doing a victory pose. At the end of the seventh level, Peach frees Luigi. When she tries to spin with him, he fucks it up and goes flying before falling to the ground. Peach looks at him to make sure he's okay before doing the victory pose by herself.

Bowser is just, I can't even. Words cannot. He is such an absolute dork and he is so clearly in ridiculous puppy love with Peach. The final boss fight is enormously fun and very silly.

I love these characters so much. There's no helping it; I just love them.
rynling: (Mog Toast)
Said no one in the history of ever, probably.

Still, I find that when I am absolutely stuck on a passage, it helps to write like Raymond Carver.

She poured the coffee into a cup and drank.

"We're leaving," he said.

She took another sip.

Sometimes that's all you need. Like, oh, you need to convey the fact that your characters don't particularly like each other? There, you're done. Good job. Moving on.


rynling: (Default)
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