Yup, that's all I have to say.

Oh, well, and this...


The Scoop, Season 1, Episode 5: Justin (liam2) and Road To Innocence

Good news, everyone!

It's time for a new episode of The Scoop, which the executive producers (mxpw and myself) have decided to make a weekly event rather than, like, every other day as you've seen before.  Today, I'd like to introduce a guest that's very close to my heart...with a scalpel...I should probably worry about this...oh well, this joke started sucking before it started being funny.  Moving on now.

Yep!  Justin aka Liam2 aka one of the sweetest guys on earth (even if he does have a disturbing propensity to call the blog audience "ferrets")!  You may remember him from such brilliant stories as Chuck and Sarah vs. Huey Lewis, my personal favorite Sarah the Vampire Slayer, and of course, the much-lauded and Awesome Award winning Chuck Vs. the Road to Innocence.   mxpw caught up with him last week, and this is what happened:

Last Day to Vote

Hey all!

Just a head's up: 31 August is the last day to vote in the poll over there, deciding what fic I write mxpw for his birthday!  We've got nearly 800 votes as I write this...who knows what will happen if we break 900...




Procrastination Station: Icons!

Yep, that's right.  I've only written a page of Fates today.  I still have half the chapter to go (or not, really, it's more like a third at MOST but it's coming slower than molasses in January and where was I going with this?  I don't remember), and I was bored, so I went and grabbed some images from the pilot...

And made icons out of them!



I did a little dance in my house today. Why? Because it's time to celebrate—I finished my first chapter of Kill Bryce and sent it off to mxpw for betaing! This is a milestone. Not only is it the longest chapter I've ever written (nowhere near Fates length, but hey, who can beat 11K? Not many people, that's who), but it's also a decent start to what I hope to be a really great story. Just for all you readers who visit the blog, here's a little nugget to show you a bit of what's to come after the prologue. :)


Just a Note

atcDave over at ChuckThisBlog has posted a review for some of the ongoing fanfiction stories, and yes, I do realize that by linking to his post on CI, I'm being insanely vain because he's a fan of Fates.  But hey, he's also recommending other brilliant stories like "Chuck and Sarah vs. Themselves" by ninjaVanish (hey, anybody interested in an interview with nV as part of the "Scoop" series I do?), Kate McK's pretty interesting series of one-shots on how to fix the "Charah Problem" of S3 that has just taken a turn for the even more interesting, and the new dark horse in the AUverses, Moonlight Pilot's "Walker's Eleven" (Sarah's background is the one that changes in that, not Chuck's.  Well, maybe.  The author still has yet to reveal if Chuck has the Intersect or not, but Frea thinks he doesn't.  Still, it's a fun read and the romance moves really fast, like mxpw commented the other day, as opposed to the molasses in January loooovefest that is What Fates Impose).

Oh, and the comments are giving love to one of MY personal favorites, "Double Agent," so definitely head over there and check it out, leave a comment, etc.

Hee, also, Dave: O'Scanlin.  Like Scanlin, but Irisher.  :)  Sorry, had to say it even though I'm blushing from all of the compliments!


PS - I've been giving a lot of love to the people on Twitter, posting random snippets from the next chapter as I write, as well as a picture of my true #1 fan (she's small, she's gassy, she sleeps 23.5 hours a day, is hairy, and constantly snubs me, but I love her nonetheless).

Am I the fat kid of The Cabal?

Takes drink of vodka tonic. Hello, my little ferrets. It's Daddy Liam again, with my third blog entry on this blasted interweb thing. It's been a while, so I thought I would pop in, hit on your girlfriends, tell you what's the what, and make a few random musings.


The Heart of the Matter

I feel like this video encapsulates the reason we're seeing so many "macho-Chuck" stories lately, which isn't something I'm going to actually talk about here, so I don't know why I just typed that except it's kind of true. Technically, the video is a well-edited project (save for a couple of WTFrea?! moments that I won't get into here because I'm not mean), well-timed to the music picked, but damn if it doesn't show the one thing that brings me back to this show again and again: the heart.  The show is called Chuck, not The Intersect.  This video flirts with giving new viewers a background about the show, but fails because it doesn't really give us a sense of the core cast (no Ellie, no Morgan, very little Buy More, doesn't explain Shaw at ALL (granted, that one's a puzzler to begin with, as Shaw is just hard to explain without multiple facepalms and a bottle of Jack)), and it has none of those fun emotions and hang-ups and day-to-day minutiae that make Chuck stand apart from any other show about a guy who becomes a cyborg/enhanced.  If I'd watched that with no prior knowledge, I would have just been like, "Um, okay?"

The Scoop, Season 1, Episode 4: crystal.elements, Kill Bryce, Closet Gleek, Adorable Psycho

Here we go.  Frea here.  So when mxpw and I launched the Scoop, we agreed to split the Cabal two ways--I would interview mxpw, I Am Not Amused (aka Chris), and Wepdiggy.  mxpw in turn got to interview Crystal, Justin, and me.  Crystal, however, was so fascinated by the idea of the interview that we agreed to let her sit in while mxpw interviewed me.  And then I returned the favor when it was time for her to be interviewed because I was just so excited to see what Crystal has to say about her stories.

This is a problem.  As you'll see, Crystal is awesome, adorable, and well-behaved.  I am...simply  awesome, if we're going to be honest here.  Letting me anywhere near this interview was just a bad, bad, bad idea on mxpw's part.

But too late!  It's done! So enjoy watching mxpw as he tries to herd cats, er, I mean, interview Crystal and keep me in line!


What the Frak is Wep Reading? Week 3

The OMG D'Awwww Charah Round-up

So this morning I woke up and saw a debate raging amongst the trenches of Castle Inanity. Apparently, her majesty was displeased this morning that everybody was giving her flak over the slow pace of What Fates Impose. Well, you know what? Those other people are right! The story is moving at a snail’s pace. At least it is in regard to the Chuck and Sarah relationship. And believe me, as the beta, I know how frustrating it is better than most. You see Chuck and Sarah together, you see their amazing chemistry, which I must acknowledge is rendered deftly by her highness, you see the ease with which they can relate to each other, and their closeness and rapport, and you think to yourself, “Why are they not making like Westley and Buttercup already?” Or Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy? Why are they not embracing the obvious attraction and just going wild with it?



The Scoop, Season 1, Episode 3: I Am Not Amused, A Simple Twist of Fate, and Jill Roberts

Hello, lovely readers!  Episode 3 of "The Scoop" comes from earlier today, when I Am Not Amused and I finally sat down and had our interview.  We've been trying to set this up for over a week, but things popped up: inebriation, internet loss issues, Frea's weird sleep schedule, and an oversized muskrat attack.  Thankfully, Justin showed up to beat that one off with a stick because we know how I feel about Rodents of an Unusual Size (they're funny, and I giggle for hours at that part).

On a serious note, though, I was really excited to pick I Am Not Amused's brain because as you've seen from his articles here on Castle Inanity, he always has an interesting approach to writing.  Some days we're convinced we are the same person (our life stories are oddly parallel)...until we sit down to talk about writing.

Which we did here!  Enjoy!


Why We Write #3

The last time I hit you lovely readers up with a column on Why We Write, it was about that almost plot-less, sometimes sappy and extremely popular form known as fluff. It's a thing that I'd thought a lot about at the time and, after posting it, Aardie asked me if I'd do-- his words-- "a companion article about the pitfalls of unrelenting angst."

At the time, I didn't know how to approach it. After all, if you read my story Chuck vs the Simple Twist of Fate, you know that it's a pretty angsty story. How do I dissect something in an objective manner when I so obviously gravitate towards it in a subjective way? Then, some time last week, a few posts popped up on the Chuck fanfiction forums. I'm not going to name names, but you'll be able to pick up on them anyway, so let me preface this by saying that, while I'm disagreeing with the assertions made, do not mistake my disagreement for personal attack.

So, without further adieu, follow the break for an examination of why we write angst.


The Writers' Mouthpiece: The OC

I warn you, I'm about to rant.

I take no prisoners when I rant.  I'm going to TRY and avoid naming names, but I can't make any promises.

So you know what I hate?  Original characters that have no idea of their frakking place.


The Bank Job

To be perfectly honest with you, I don't even remember how I talked myself into writing this story. I remember the line in Chapter 13, when Carina and Chuck are talking while kidnapped, about Chuck being "Bunker Boy" and it stuck with me. I was like, "Wow, that sounds like a really interesting story. I should pester Frea about writing that." So I did, and in the process, I somehow became not only the author of this story, but her beta for Fates as well. Boy, what a mistake that was.

I guess I can't really help it. The allure of Carina was too strong for me to resist. Add to that the idea of Carina and Sarah robbing a bank? And Chuck helping them but nobody knowing about it but Sarah? Plus, more Sarah POV, Sarina flirting, and seeing how those two years played out for Sarah after Chuck screwed her all up? It was too good a potential story to pass up.


The Scoop, Season 1, Episode 2: Frea O'Scanlin and What Fates Impose

Crystal here, bringing you the intro to Castle Inanity’s newest edition of “The Scoop!” As promised, today we’ve got the interview I’m sure many of you have been waiting for: a behind-the-scenes look at Frea’s masterpiece, What Fates Impose. I’m actually not even sure what I’m doing here, since mxpw was the one who interviewed her. I just sat in on the group chat and made side comments that Frea ended up editing out of the post. But alas, mx thinks he can order me around and get me to write his damn intro to this thing. Yeah, it worked. (You owe me, mx!!!)

Anywho, since I know half of you have already skimmed past this and have gone on to read, I present to you: “The Scoop” with Frea O’Scanlin – What Fates Impose.

(Can I go now?)

6 Month Anniversary What What?

So, funny story:
Six months ago today, I posted the first chapter of What Fates Impose on fanfiction.net.  I had actually tried to post on February 16 vs. February 18, but I ran into issues with the site not wanting people to spam and a 48-hour waiting period.  At the time, I had six chapters done, well on my way to finishing either the seventh or eighth.  I had put three weeks of solid writing in, and had devoted hours of research to figuring out things like "how do Sarah and Chuck get from Siberia to St. Petersburg" and "if Sarah has this much fuel in this type of plane, how far will she make it before she has to land and ditch the plane?"  Decisions had to be made like how to format the scene headings, how much detail, will people like a Chuck who is essentially broken, and all of this.  And oh man was I nervous when I put that first chapter out there.  I wasn't even sure if I liked the name What Fates Impose since it was picked extremely last minute. 

Hard to believe that was six months and over nine hundred reviews ago.  Did I expect Fates to take off like it did?  Hell no.  I didn't even expect it to be this long.  But it's like the story that keeps on giving back, really.  I can plot and plot until I'm blue in the face and somebody (COUGHSarahCOUGH) will do something that completely startles me and makes me go, "Hmm.  Okay, that works."  And people still continue to amaze me with the amount of support and faith they have that Fates will continue to be a story that they can enjoy, even though they haven't the first clue where I'm going with it.

Anyway, when I imagine stories for the first time, I usually see them a lot like a movie in my head, with the major scenes giving me glimpses of what's to come.  I had no idea when I started Fates what lay in store for the characters save that they were in a Frea Vehicle, and that usually means bad things to come for them.  Anyway, the following section was one of those major scenes that played in "What Fates Impose: The Trailer."  It's what starts off the next chapter, which unfortunately won't be ready for the big six-month anniversary.  I could post it on its own on ff.net, but I'm very particular about how my chapters begin and end, and that they tell a story.  So we'll be celebrating the six month anniversary of Fates on the blog instead.

So now I present to you, a scene that both excited and terrified me, and which has been on my mind since I started writing What Fates Impose*:


The Scoop, Season 1, Episode 1: mxpw and Double Agent

Hey all!  Frea here.  Sorry I've been kind of quiet lately.  I had a couple of really good posts going and then I forgot what I was going to say or something shiny happened and I got distracted.  Oh, right, and that pesky little project that barely takes up any of my time at alllll.  It's not like Chapters 33 and 34 didn't absolutely kick my butt or anything...*mutter mutter*

Oh, right, I had a point before I started whining.  Anyway, on mxpw's post yesterday, BDaddyDL mentioned that he might be interested in seeing how mxpw and I came to be writing Double Agent and Fates respectively.  And I thought, Ooh, yay, a blog post about how Fates got started...and then I got distracted (are you sensing a theme?).  And then I thought, how the heck am I going to explain how Fates came about?  I can barely remember what I'm talking about from the beginning of one sentence to the end.  So then it hit me--mxpw and I keep on subject (mostly) in these epic long chats we have about our plots.  So...why not just interview each other and post it on the blog?



Hello, everybody!

So I haven't posted in a while and I thought I should do some kind of update. I'm not sure how many of you are burning to know the status of my stuff, but I figure there are a few readers of this blog at least mildly curious, if for no other reason than they want to know if I'll make the October 9th deadline. Well, that's what I'm here to tell you.


It's here!!!

Enjoy, and as always, feedback is appreciated! 

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to sleep away the next two days to catch up on all the Z's I missed making this video.


Justin's Damn Blog Entry, Mark II

Takes drink from my screwdriver. All right, my little ferrets. It's Daddy Liam again. Or as your girlfriends and sisters call me, "Dr. Love". Actually, your girlfriends and sisters call me anytime, but that's neither here nor there.

So here's my deal. I'm not good with this bloggy thing and I'm not much into "Chuck" fic anymore. Think it's been February since I posted anything. Road to Innocence is still up in the air. Got a few others that'll probably see the light of day at some point. And my schedule is hardly conducive to writing. I know weirdos like mxpw do their best work at night. And while theoretically there's a lot of down time for me at night (I work overnights at a youth detention facility), it ain't the best time for me.

But alas, I actually got a weekend off. And soon, I'll have my first proper vacay ever in early September. So I'm actually gonna be doing a spot of writing (Hey, how novel a concept is that? A writer who writes?) Dunno how much will be Chuck related. But I do plan on sharing some of my original stuff. I have a script called "Young Dracula" I plan to share the first 20 pages of with you lot. I think it's pretty good. And that's not just my word, but writers like crystal, Frea, mxpw, Wep, and Daydreamer all thought it was decent. Not sure about I Am Not Amused. He may have read it, but was probably too drunk to recall sending it. Frankly, he was probably too drunk to remember reading it, the booze hound. Anywho, gotta do a bit of format conversion in order to post it here, but expect it sometime this week.

Takes another drink off screwdriver. Vitamin C. Hits the spot. You may not realize this, but drinking alcohol makes you look 20% cooler. And even if you're the lamest dude on earth, if you just drank a little booze, that would make you 20% cooler than someone like Armadilloi or that Nirvana12 bastard who keeps wanting me to update "Road to Independence". The world would be so much better if people had to come to me for permission before they could breed.

I had a point I think I was gonna make. Can't remember now. Oh well, couldn't been too important. Well then, I guess this is Justin, signing off. Remember, I love you all, but I love your hot sister more.


The Roundup

So if there's one thing bloggers love to blog about (for hooooours on end), it's "how to write."  You know, write what you know really applies in that case.  Even CI authors are guilty of it (not that it's a bad thing), even.  Chris has his fantastic "Why We Write" series, mxpw's doing a series of workshops designed to inspire fanfic writers, I'll be periodically popping in with posts on things like "The Vulnerable Badass" and "Stay on Target: Consistency, Consistency, Consistency."*

What the Frak is Wep Reading? Week 2

And now it’s time for the weekly reminder that Wep has no life. Er, I mean, it’s time for me to talk about some of my favorite Chuck fanfic. Yeah. That’s it.

You’ll notice this week (or I’ll just tell you), that I’ve decided to kind of change things up a bit. Instead of just telling you about one story, I’ve decided to go with two. Why? Well, in the world of fanfic, often times a reader will value a serial fic over a one-shot, or vice versa. For me, I tend to be a fan of the serial fic. I don’t know why, possibly because that’s where I cut my fanfic teeth, but I know I do.

So to balance that, I’m implementing a new rule for myself this week. Instead of one recommendation every week, I’m going to recommend two of the many, many fics I’ve read in the fandom. There will be one serial fic, and one one-shot. I figure that’s only fair, to make sure everyone is properly represented.


The Aesthetics of Non-Visual Art

I overuse line breaks.

It's true.

Not line breaks in the sense of a physical line that divides two sections of text, but in the sense that I like to set single sentences in their own paragraphs. There's a lot of reasons for this. It allows me to bring a greater attention to those particular sentences. By singling these sentences out, I lend them a gravitas that they wouldn't have, tucked into the adjacent paragraph.

But, perhaps more importantly, it creates a physical space. This is obvious. You can see the white space between the breaks of the paragraphs. But, too often, we overlook the importance of this white space.

Check out more after the break.

Fates 34: Trouble Strikes Back

Announcement: The next chapter of What Fates Impose goes live on Friday.  Sorry for the slower updates.  The Jill arc, while being exciting and new for me as a writer, kicked my butt.  It really was...wait for it, wait for it...trouble.  And Chapter 34 should be an interesting game-changer/conclusion to that particular arc.

A little bit from next chapter after the break!


A Chuck/USA Promo!

For the record, do not take this seriously.  Chuck is not moving to USA.  This is just a fun what if that...kept Frea away from writing Fates...


I think I'll run away now.




I Now Direct Your Attention To...

aardvark 7734's brilliantly written "Blue Skies" post.

No, it's not a breakdown on one of my favorite Echo personalities from Dollhouse (Taffy, just in case you weren't following my train of logic), but a very thoughtful, very well-written look into whether or not Chuck fits the formula for being one of USA's shows, like White Collar or Burn Notice.

Aardie, for example, makes the argument that

I believe that we’d have been better served had Chuck been picked up for its third season by USA Network rather than NBC.  It’s even arguable that, overall, we’d have been better off if Chuck had originated on USA Network.

And if that's not enough to convince you...well, this might help:

Go do yourself a favor and read it.  You can ogle that picture over on Aardie's blog just as well, since that's where I stole it from.

Good post, Aardie!!




Possible Spoiler

Now, fans, you have to ask yourself this one very important question: is the following passage from What Fates Impose Chapter 34, or did Frea get mad at mxpw and start messing with his head?

Sarah cried out.


"It's okay, I'm fine." But her face was oddly white, and she had clapped a hand over her upper arm. Red flowed between her fingers. She grimaced. "Damn."

Let the speculation begin. Remember, at the end of 33, Sarah grabbed a rocket-launcher and said they had company. Company doesn't always mean good things.




The Vulnerable Female that Can Still Break You In Half

"And you would enjoy every second of it." -- mxpw

If there's anything television has taught us, besides the old Mr. Clean jingle (okay, maybe that's just me), it's that society enjoys a paradox, especially one that can smile shyly at you over a date and then go out into the back alley and single-handedly beat up six or more thugs, usually providing sarcastic commentary.  The Badass Female is a multifaceted creature: she can take a hit, she has a handy arsenal of skills not uncommon to McGyver, she's smart, she's capable, she can drive like it's the Grand Prix every day, she knows her way around guns, knives, security systems, and anything you throw at her, and most importantly, she can kick your ass.

Did I mention that she looks fantastic while she does all of this?


A Day of Mourning

Warning: Spoilers ahead! Do not read if you don't want to see! It's not a big spoiler, but it's still a spoiler.

The Results

In case anybody was interested.

Spoilers for Just Say the Word, Trouble after the cut.

Outtake #8: From "Just Say the Word, Trouble"

I've talked a time or two that Chapter 33 kicked my butt while writing it.  Maybe I'll talk about why at some other point, but I've got to hand it to mxpw here.  The poor guy.  He's in the middle of a major move, and every time he gets online, it's to a message from me with the gist being, "I think I'm going to change what happens in 33."

In fact, mxpw is STILL probably suffering from whiplash, days later, and that'll be my fault, too.  Well, to be fair, he usually suffers from whiplash.  Having a conversation online with me is a little like dumping sugar and a cut up thesaurus into a barrel of monkeys and watching the carnage unfold (while it travels along a roller coaster - mxpw).  This chapter was just worse than usual because I swear, every day was a new change for him to hear about.

I'm including the original first scene from 33 because I still like it, even if it didn't fit.

Outtake #8: "Just Say the Word Trouble"
Takes place in the motel room


What the Frak is Wep Reading?

So it occurred to me the other day, as I was sitting around doing absolutely nothing, that I don't have a lot to offer compared to the other contributors to this blog.

I'm not all analytical of motivations like Musey, I'm no expert on the writing process, or Sarina, um, I mean Carina like MXPW. I don't have incredible video editing and graphics talents like Crystal and Frea. I don't have Liam's dark twisted sense of humor (okay, I have that a little, but not on Liam's level). And most of all, I don't have tons of out-takes from fics I've written lying around waiting to be published here on the blog.

What I do have is a sadly thorough knowledge of all things Chuck fanfiction, past and present (still working on future). So to satisfy my need to contribute, I talked with Frea, and decided the best thing I could do was to discuss fics I've read (I've read literally everything on FFnet, and most Chuck fic posted elsewhere) that many of you may have missed. Some of these, I'm sure you will have read. Some of them, you may have not, and hopefully I'll help you uncover some gems.

This week marks the first in what will be a weekly series in which I discuss some of those stories. I'll do one a week, and hopefully this will be a feature you'll enjoy.

Why We Write #2

Last time on Why We Write, I tackled the topic of why we write fanfiction in general, and then focused down on how we can more effectively write fanfiction by stylizing our prose. Today, I thought I'd take a different look at things and examine why we write fluff. Shout out to verkisto for the inspiration on this one.

So... why do we write fluff?

Holy Frijoles, Batman!

So a little bit about how I operate when writing the Never Ending Story What Fates Impose:  each chapter forms its own document, labeled "Bunker 01.doc" to "Bunker 33 and a Half.doc" (Word freaked out on that last one, so I had to save two versions of it, and rewrite the ending--GRRRR), but when each chapter is finished, I put it, minus the quote and the author's notes, into an overall master document simply called "Bunker.doc."

(Yes, I know Chuck is no longer in the bunker in the story, but Fates didn't get its title until about twenty minutes before I posted it on fanfiction.net for the first time.)

Today, I put the newly finished Chapter 33 into the master document, and I happened to look down at the bottom of the document:

Yes.  What Fates Impose is half a page away from being 500 pages long.  This is not including the fourteen pages of outtakes sitting in my "Bunker Spare.doc" file, or the sister story, To Resist Both Wind and Tide (which is 70 pages, for the record).

I feel like hitting 500 pages calls for a celebration. Any ideas?

- Frea


Loki in a Skirt

So Frea and I were chatting one day, as we are wont to do, and somehow (I don’t remember how) the topic of conversation turned to Carina. Now Frea has a take-it or leave-it philosophy with Carina. I, of course, am a huge Carina fan. Have been since Wookie. And no, fellow pervs, it’s not because I like Sarina. Okay, not just because I like Sarina (come on, if you really thought an article written about Carina by yours truly would be completely devoid of Sarina content, you haven’t been paying very close attention). Anyway, we started talking about why I like Carina so much and why I wish we could have more of her on the show, when Frea suggested I write a blog entry about the character of Carina Hansen aka Carina Miller because she doesn’t necessarily get the appeal. It sounded like a great idea to me, so I agreed to write it, all while I was thinking to myself, This will be easy. I mean, it’s Carina, and she’s awesome. Everybody knows this. It’ll practically write itself.

Well, as it turns out, not everybody knows this, and to make matters worse, it certainly did not write itself. Most of the problem is that not even I’m sure why her awesomeness is apparent. (Please note, if you will, how hard I am trying to avoid the very obvious reason why Carina is so awesome, but I’m trying to write a semi-serious post here, so I’ll not resort to puerile statements. For the most part.)

Vote Here for Fates 33

Since the next chapter of Fates will be up on Tuesday (fingers crossed), I've decided to do a quick poll. Answers will be tallied when I post the chapter and take the poll down, and I'll of course post the results here because I'm nice like that.

If you would like, leave a comment and let me know what you think is going to happen.  This last chapter was a bit--a, er, rough one to write, so feel free to get as creative as you like.  Can't say that I'll have aliens or Snake Plesskin in Fates ever, but if they strike your fancy, let me know.

Oh, and speaking of polls, I'm kind of surprised everybody is voting for the Hayloft rather than the Bungalow in mxpw's birthday poll.  You're really missing out, I think...  :)

Happy voting!


Updates, updates...

Well, besides Photoshopping pictures just for these posts, I've actually been hard at work. For those of you not over at the Google Groups, there's been a change of plans! The story I had planned that was originally based off Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? It's officially been merged into Kill Bryce.

What exactly does this mean? Only good things, folks! Not only do you get a story that's published sooner (I tend to freeze up when I have too many projects on hand, so who knows when these would have been posted otherwise), but now you get twice the Awesomeness. Combining the two stories has actually made the plot better than either one was originally! Yay!