My Entire List of Yuletide Recommendations

Need something to read? Well, Yuletide was unleashed upon Archive of Our Own, which is where I hang out more than fanfiction.net these days, which means that a bunch of smaller and non-existent fandoms (Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me has a fandom now, guys) get the blessing of loads of fic. The authors will be revealed soon, but I've been going through and reading some of the best, and I've culled them here for you to read. I'll match them up by fandom and everything. You might surprise yourself.


A Change to the Blog

Hey all,

 Previously I had the entirety of Curtain Call and Romeo and Juliet But Without Teenagers or Death...Well, Okay Some Death posted under the fanfiction tab, but that was messy. Instead, you’ll find links to those in the fanfiction chart. I have added Previous and Next links to each chapter in the blog to enable easy navigation. Of course, it’s probably easiest to just download, you know, the ebooks from the page.

In addition, I have completed the Ultimate Fates Guide with color coded table cells, listed by date. That is located underneath the fanfiction tab.

And if you’re curious about how I’m doing with Nanowrimo, the answer is completely ambivalent and about 5k behind, so good times all around!

Happy Monday!



Stuff and Updates and Other Stuff!

So the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (or possibly that’s just science/experimentation, but what do I know?) and here we are, about 8 days into November, and I’m stressed and headache-y, and thinking, “I get this way every November. Why do I do this to myself?” And then October rolls around again and I’m like, “Hey, I finished Fates and that was 400k long. A little thing like November is NO BIG DEAL.”

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Currently, I’m on track (as of yesterday). I’ve completed two chapters and am halfway through the third. It only just occurred to me last night I’ve signed up for an entire month of writing climaxes and endings, two things that require a lot of thought, second-guessing, and mental fortitude. Evidently, I like challenges to remind myself every once in a while that sleep is a luxury, not a right.

You’ve likely seen some of the fruits of my labor by now, too. Max and I posted the fourth chapter of The Bank Job. The first two chapters were co-written; the last two were written by me (yes, even the hand-job line) because I lost a bet. You can read it here on ff-net and here on AO3 and I’ll try to get the ebook posted for everybody’s downloading pleasure soon.

I’m finishing up The Abbey, so my Downton fans can rejoice in that much, at least. The seventh chapter is done. I’m letting it percolate while I finish the eighth because they’re so deeply intertwined, so people will be able to rejoice to see quick successive updates on that. My next project was supposed to be That Which is Greater, but I’m struggling so much with The Abbey that I’m going to give myself a break and work on something Avengers-related because that’s where my passion is at the moment. I signed up for a fandom winter exchange, which will be released upon the world in a little over a month, so you’ll get to see something very different from me in December.

Speaking of things that are very different, have you guys heard of this new writer Alexandria Dunn? She hasn’t done much with her website yet, so I don’t want to link you to it, but she’s (begrudgingly) signed up for Facebook and she has a Twitter, and if you like my writing, you might like her. It’s weird that she and I have the same real name and we look exactly alike and our writing style is, like, completely identical, plus she also feels the same way about all of my favorite shows and…okay, have I dropped enough hints yet? Not much there yet, but it’s a start.



 PS – if you want more consistent updates about what I’m doing, it’s much easier to check my livejournal.


Scary Halloween Statistics

I did something scary for Halloween: I tallied my word counts and put them in a chart, and I even added some stories that weren't on the chart you might have seen last night if you follow me on Twitter. This chart does not include Sarah vs. the Curse or my birthday story for quistie64, for some reason (or the millions of tiny Tumblr fics I've written, like Sarah taking Vi grocery shopping), but I did, you know, add RaJBWToDWOSD.

It hurts my head, guys. Enjoy at your leisure, I suppose. I'm going to sit in the corner and quietly comtemplate my life.


Nanowrimo Survival Guide, Part II

This edition of the guide has some handy links for you, and not too much else at the moment. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Write or Die

Write or Die is a web application that encourages writing by punishing the tendency to avoid writing. Start typing in the box. As long as you keep typing, you’re fine, but once you stop typing, you have a grace period of a certain number of seconds and then there are consequences.

You know that lab experiment where you have to keep doing something or you get zapped? WOD is like the Word Processor version of that. There’s downloadable apps, it’s online if you want to use it there, too. You can customize how long you want to write and how “gentle” you want it to be when you stop writing. Kamikaze mode, just FYI, is insane, and if you do that one, you must be a glutton for punishment.

Written Kitten

Written Kitten was created by Skud, Emily and contributors. We like positive reinforcement, so we decided to make something a bit like writeordie but cuter and fuzzier. Images are randomly selected from Flickr's “most interesting” photos matching the tags “kitten” and “cute”. Enjoy!

WK is like WOD’s much nicer maiden aunt who gives you cookies and kittens instead of beating you mercilessly about the head. If you’re convinced your writing is lacking small, fuzzy creatures, it’s the perfect solution.


Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft.

Scrivener, to me, is like Evernote and MS Word had a baby and it grew up to be Captain Awesome. It’s a great program. It’s a word processor, but it lets you store a bunch of different things in the same place—word documents, research, outlines, images, notes, etc. It’s great if you’re not organized (like me!), and it’s powerful and easy to use. Plus, the company offers an extended trial period during Nanowrimo.

They Fight Crime!

He's a Nobel prize-winning moralistic ex-con with a mysterious suitcase handcuffed to his arm. She's a high-kicking nymphomaniac mermaid on the trail of a serial killer. They fight crime!

Need a plot? Look no farther!

Try a Character Sheet

You can use this one here or try Googling a few. Fill them out about your character, or if you really want to get creative, AS your character. Get to know the people you’ll be spending November with while you can.


Bromance and Romance and Jobly Things

I’m attempting to write a Clint/Natasha story that’s supposed to be a romance. I say attempting because as much as I adore reading romance between them, I seem to have a hard time writing them as anything but...heterosexual life mates. It’s like I have the opposite problem than the one I have with Chuck and Sarah, where every single one of their conversations threatens to turn adorable and fluffy. Clint and Natasha skew more toward the understated and double-talky narrative.

Or it’s possible that Downton Abbey spewing feelings everywhere is killing my groove.

But yes, apparently I have talked myself into writing a Clintasha Bromance. Halfway through, I watched the Iron Man 3 trailer and it dumped half my plot dead in the water, too. So that was a bucket of fun.

In other news, a project that I’ve been stressing out about has been given a “Holy crap! That’s awesome!” rating, so…yeah, I’m no judge of my own abilities anymore. I’ve been beating myself to hell and back, convinced I was screwing up all over the place and meanwhile my boss is like, “This is amazing.”

Peter facepalming

Here’s a sneak preview of the Clintasha story I’m writing:


The Nanowrimo Survival Guide, Part I

I can’t actually give definitive rules for Nanowrimo because, let’s face it, I’ve always been of the opinion that no two writers are exactly alike. It’s like telling all artists to paint with only one brand of paint, or on one type of canvas, or even one category of subject. You just don’t do that.

That said, I’ve done Nanowrimo a few times, and I’ve only “lost” once (I moved cross-country in mid-November, so I kind of think I had an excuse, but you may proceed to mock me now), so I could probably give some advice. Which I will proceed to do after this fascinating introductory segment coming up right now.

So for the uninitiated, Nanowrimo stands from National Novel Writing Month. It takes place in November of every year, and has for the past several years. It was founded by an insane man named Chris Baty, who gathered a few of his close friends near and said, “Hey, why don’t we write a novel? In a month? Doesn’t that sound like a great way to cut through the excuses that get in the way of writing novels?”

And so it began. And the next year, more came to study at the feet of Chris Baty, and the next year, they brought their friends, and it grew into such an event that we regularly crash the Nanowrimo homepage. Hundreds of thousands of writers flock to this website every year with one goal: 50,000 words in 30 days.


Three Sentences

So yesterday on Tumblr, I challenged people to fill my ask box with three-sentence fic prompts that I would write in reply. Here’s an archive of what happened.

(I also wrote some Avengers fic, and some Chuck fic for a writing group I joined.)

But without further ado...writing prompts!


Monday Updates #2

It’s Monday!

...that should probably never be said with excitement, huh? Well, even so, it is Monday, which means if you’re reading this, you’ve survived the weekend, or you’ve got really good wi-fi in whatever part of heaven or hell you ended up in. I guess if you’ve got eternity, that might be a good time to read my blog.


Bank Job 4 Sneak Peek

Title: Bank Job 4 - Assault and Battery
Rating: PG-13 for Violence, Language
Fandom: Chuck
Pairings: Carina & Sarah, Charah
Summary: Carina and Sarah are still robbing that bank. It’s probably going a little too well.
Complete: The chapter is at about 50% as of time of posting
Length: 506 words

ebook Friday: Sarah vs. the Switch

Today’s ebook of choice comes from somebody near and dear to the blog: that’s right, we’ve got another Wepdiggy ebook! I’ve converted his wonderful Sarah vs. the Switch over for your reading pleasure. You can grab it from this link here on the downloads page!

As always, if you liked it, please, please, please drop by and leave him a review to let him know. Fanfiction authors write for themselves and they write for reviews, you know.

Thanks, and enjoy!


Frea Interprets Vonnegut - Rule #8

Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Hey, look, I’m back and finishing this series! FINALLY! Part: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

We’re taught the value of the all-encompassing twist and the shocking blindside (in TV, that’s literal. Think of how many shows have relied on literal blindsides—there are two in the first season of Chuck alone. Hi, Nemesis and Intersect!). We’re taught that we must be cleverer than our audiences, that we must stun and dazzle and amaze at all costs. Keeping the suspense up to the last possible second is the most important thing about writing ever, according to today’s standards.

Vonnegut, here, is saying differently.


Talkin' About My Book and Nanowrimo

So for those of you who don’t follow on Tumblr/Twitter/all of the other insane places I hang out, Harper Collins is doing this thing where they’re accepting unagented manuscripts for two weeks for science fiction, urban fantasy, fantasy, and other genre type stories. You can read more about it here, but the gist of it is that they’re looking to expand their online catalogue by printing some exclusive ebook titles.

I have a few completed books under my belt that aren’t fanfiction, but only one that I felt would meet the criteria.  My idea was to not sleep for the past three weeks (when my friend brought this to my attention) and revamp my book with my 2012 writing style, a better villain, and a more ambiguous central relationship. Unfortunately, real life has a way of laughing hysterically at me and, having gotten only three chapters redone, I decided to hand in my 2008 version instead. I think I’m being pragmatic rather than pessimistic when I say there’s really not a chance in hell they’ll want to publish this book, but it was nice to finally sit down and write a query letter and a synopsis for it (though I’m sure I drove my friends nuts last night).

If they decide not to publish it, here’s the deal: I’m going to publish it myself. I’ve got some experience making ebooks, thanks to you lovely people, and the best beta reader on the planet. I don’t want to jinx myself with a definite release date, but I am hard at work on the revisions for it.

Here’s some details:

  • It’s a full-length novel, clocking in at about 80,000 words.
  • It’s in first person. Pretty much everything I’ve written that everybody has seen from me has been in third person, so here’s the hilarious part: I’m most comfortable writing in first person. 
  • It’s sci-fi/fantasy.
  • The main character is a smart-ass.
  • There’s romance, there’s action, there are people falling off of buildings, and other people that can fly.
  • The name is really long.
  • It’s the first in a trilogy.
  • Max already ships two characters that aren’t a canon ship and has promised to write the first fanfic.
  • You’ll see where I got Gwen’s name in Fates.
Hopefully in the coming weeks, I’ll be able to point you to this great new author you’ll have never heard of who’s somehow releasing snippets of a book that fit exactly everything I just listed, which’ll be weird because her name isn’t Frea O’Scanlin but it’ll be crazy how much she sounds like me, you know? ;)

In other news, it’s October, which means the panic for November begins now. Is anybody doing Nanowrimo? Is anybody interested in doing Nanowrimo, but is terrified about what it is, what it entails, and needs a pep talk? If you’re in St. Louis, I’ll be bopping along to all of the events because the ML is a friend of mine, and I’ve done Nanowrimo so many times, I can offer tips, advice, and support.

Anyway, that’s the news for today!



Fringe Benefits Incorporated, Episode 5.01

We're baaaaaaaaaaaaack. That's right, I've joined up with mxpw, Lou, and Jan (and guest stars), and we're recording our thoughts on Fringe once more. Here, have a listen.

What'd you think? Agree? Disagree? Please stop posting podcasts, Frea?


Rec: Once and Future

RecommendationOnce and Future
Author: malteaser
Rating: Teen and up
Fandom: Captain America/Doctor Who/The Avengers
Summary: Who doesn’t love a happy ending?
Pairing: Rory/Amy, Steve/Peggy

Why You Should Read It: So I’m not a Doctor Who fan. I just speak the language well enough to get along with other nerds. My friend Ayefah calls this fandom osmosis, and it fits. I like to know what happens without having to actually watch the episodes (I stopped watching after Amy’s baby turned into plastic goo or whatever), which means I know what happened in Saturday’s episode. This fic was recommended on an LJ I follow, and I knew enough DW stuff to follow along, which is marvelous because the fic is wonderful. Peggy Carter and Time Lords. You cannot go wrong with Peggy Carter and Time Lords. Plus, Natasha makes an appearance and we all know about my weakness for the Black Widow, and Peggy Carter.


Monday Stuff

First off, same address, new blog. If you missed it, I’ve made some changes around here and here’s why.

Secondly, and more importantly, College Years is back. That’s right, Wepdiggy is going through his archive and finishing out everything he’s left incomplete, which is a treat for me especially because I’ve always adored CY. He’s already recently completed his awesome fic where Sarah and Anna pull a Freaky Friday, so if you didn’t catch that, be sure to go read Sarah vs. the Switch right now. It’ll make your day.

And speaking of Chuck fanfiction, we’ve lured my pal Michael over to the dark side. WITH CARINA. Carina vs. the Bartowskis can be read here.

Seth MacFarlane is going to host the Oscars. Make of that what you will. Nervert and I are holding out for the Muppets.

Dexter premiered for its seventh season, now with extra awesomeness in the form that is Yvonne Strahovski. What’d everybody think of the premiere? I’m genuinely curious, and I’m also told that the lack of a wind machine on her entrances puzzled people.

If you like Avengers fic/Darcy Lewis, she blinded me with political science will have you laughing for about six hours. Warning: it’s a long read, so do not undertake lightly. That said, the author really writes an excellent Tony and an even better Darcy.

And this has been your Monday update. Fingers crossed that I'll remember to do exactly the same thing next Monday.

- Frea


The Dust Has Mostly Cleared

Here we go. I have made most of the major cosmetic changes (you’ll probably see some minor changes happening over the next few days if you keep a sharp eye on the blog) so we have a new theme that is very, um, bluey-green. But whatever. I like bluey-green.

One of the biggest changes is that I've cut down on the number of pages on the blog. That's right, I've shoveled Curtain Call, RaJ, and the Guide to Fates into the same page (with handy navigational links because holy mother of pearl, that's a LOT of text).  I'll work on making sure that's a full archive in the coming days.

Another major change is that I've sorted everything into labels, much easier to read.  Handy navigational tips:
  • The Chuckfic tag is any posted story on the blog, be it story preview, ficlet, chapter, or outtake.  If it's tagged with Chuckfic, there's actual fanfiction inside the post, as opposed to the fanfiction tag, which is the umbrella tag for anything to do with fanfiction.
  • I have a minions tag, which is where you'll find posts written by anybody not named mxpw or Frea.
  • I have a Columns tag, which is where you'll find all of the old columns like Chris's Why We Write, the short-lived MST3K column, my Roundup posts, and all of my Vonnegut posts
  • The writing tag is writing advice, pure and simple.
  • Fates has its own tag, but if you're looking for something on other Fatesverse stories, you'll have to go to the Fatesverse tag.
The pages at the top have been bumped up to actual tabs. FAQ and Home are fairly self-explanatory, but you also have Downloads, where you can find all of the ebooks I've made public. Feast and enjoy!

- Frea


Pardon Our Dust

I got bored with the layout.  We'll be seeing some changes going on over the next little while (the one I've chosen is temporary).  Right now, I've thrown up a Fauxlivia header because it's Friday and that means Fringe.  My plan is to update this blog in tandem with my Dreamwidth blog and my LJ blog (thank bob for clients that cross-post), which means this is definitely moving away from being a primarily Chuck fanblog.  Truth be told, I'm a little amazed that didn't happen sooner, as the proprietor of said blog isn't entirely a Chuck fan anymore.  But this is CI.  We don't let details get in our way!

Upcoming Changes I'm hoping to make:

  • A set of regular graphics to denote what type of post each will be (aka, each post will be framed with icons similar to LJ and DW)
  • A better, more comprehensive tagging system
  • A unified theme throughout my blogs
  • More cowbell
  • A directory of junk I'm up to, which includes the free short story I will be releasing to celebrate Halloween next month, under my official pen name
  • More posts on writing, as that has really fallen to the wayside. Maybe I'll even finish that Vonnegut series.
  • An unprecedented show of unholy narcissism, aka more personal "What is Frea doing?" posts, including cross-linking to other stuff I'm doing on the web (*coughNiceGirlsTumblrMyOtherPenNamecough*
  • Fan Recs/Vid Fridays/Suggestions



Something I'm Working On

Title: Chaos, Control, and the Color Red
Rating: PG-13 for Violence, Language, Possible Sexual Situations
Fandom: The Avengers (Movie Verse), Chuck
Pairings: Carina & Natasha, Natasha/Clint
Summary: It's a partnership that shouldn't work and yet somehow does. Mostly. Sometimes. Okay, not usually, but it's so much fun that Carina Miller doesn't give a damn.
Complete: In progress.
Length:  2,060 words


Happy Birthday, mxpw!!!!

So it’s mxpw’s birthday once again.  Usually this means that I post some rambling fic where Sarah gets hurt or hit in the face in some way or other.  But this year...I switched things up.

That’s right. This year: I had a tumblr. And on that tumblr, I did a meme.  The challenge: Pick a pair.  Pick an AU. And I get three sentences to write a fic.

It was a lot of fun.  I know not everybody’ nuts about Tumblr, so I thought I’d archive all 30 (yes, there are 30) snippets over here on the blog to let mxpw know how much we all love and appreciate him.  You’re the BEST, Max!

So without further ado, here’s the story of 30 times Frea created an AU on Max’s birthday.


Set, Spike, Dive! Deleted Scene from Chapter 6

Catrogue wondered what the story behind Carina putting Devon in a headlock was. So...I wrote it. Enjoy!

Also, you can download the ebook version of the entire story here. Yay!


There's a New Story in Town

...and it's written by me.

Yes, that's right. I came back to Chuck. This idea hit me a week and a half ago and I've been working on it pretty furiously ever since (just ask any of the people I talk to on gchat). It meant doing a lot of research. Like, seriously, A LOT of research.  For a woman who can barely swim and ducks when she plays volleyball, writing a story where Sarah's the fandom equivalent of Misty May-Traenor and Chuck's diving off of the 10-m platform in no way qualifies under the rule "write what you know."

Erm, yeah, you read that right. Sarah does beach volleyball.  In the bikini and everything. If anybody's wondering if this story is my attempt to truly break mxpw, you're not far from the truth.

But so far, he's managing to hold it together while he betas one chapter after the next. Barely. It was touch and go for a little bit, but we only needed the defibrillator once, okay?  But I have not forgotten the ladies in the audience, either as Chuck is a diver. And you know what divers wear?

Yeah.  I hope you like the new story.  You can read it here on ff-net or here on AO3, and there's lots of adorables, Olympic antics, and Carina.  Like, lots of Carina. Way more Carina than Morgan.

Happy reading!


PS -- this is relevant.


Head's Up!

quistie64 has a blog!  You can read it here!  I've been scarce due to the fact that I went to Disneyland last week and took a true vacation with my family (yes, Space Mountain trumped my blog. Go figure), but I thought you should know that's where she is nowadays when she's not on Twitter.  You can catch updates from her story Chuck vs. the Sound of Music II there.




New Ebook for Yous

Hi, all, Frea here, reporting to you from the ether, as apparently this blog has proved that I've died. (I haven't, I think. I'm just usually on Tumblr or Twitter and forget that I have things like blogs and whatnot.

But yeah, anyway, I wanted to let you know that there's a new ebook for downloadin' on the newly renamed Downloads page (don't ask why it's renamed, that's a long story). That's right, I've finally gotten around to creating the ebook for Chuck vs. the Rogue Spy, written by our resident Frenchie, the one, the only, the crumbless Crumby! Be sure to pop over and download that here and then maybe drop by her ff-net profile to leave her a review if you haven't.

Anyway, time for me to vanish once more!



How Fates Might Have Gone

So I wrote Parts I-IV of Fates. Originally I planned to write Parts I-VIII of Fates, but…

Well, have you seen how long Parts I-IV actually are? It’s like 1.5 Robert Jordan novels. And I’ve had a lot of people try to take me to task for the “rushed” ending, or the fact that “Fates doesn’t have an end.” You may agree with them; you may not. I don’t really care much either way, honestly.

I stopped writing Fates because it was driving me insane. I picked a place that I thought was a decent ending for everything I had written so far, where the characters were together without any hindrances between them, where everybody was in a good place and ready to go out on the next adventure, which was to get the Intersect out of Chuck’s brain. Am I obligated to write everything I've ever thought about the story since I started it?

Personally, I don’t think so. Others disagree. Again, let them. Here’s what I had planned for Parts VI, VII, and VIII. These aren’t Fates-canon unless I actually sit down and write them, so disregard them or regard them as you see fit. 


The Non Downton Abbey Fan's Guide to The Abbey

So I've been writing in the Downton Abbey fandom for a few weeks now and I'm putting out a three chapter short in which all of the characters are spies, kind of in the same tone as Chuck. It's called The Abbey.  I know quite a few people get emails for stories and might be curious about this one, and I'm always willing to help out, so I've put together a guide to Downton Abbey and yet still want to read The Abbey, click the More button and prepare for some very, very pale, pretty people to flood your window. Let's do this thing! Oh, right, spoilers. Duh.


Rogue Spy – Chapter 12 Sneak Peek

Hey, guys!

It's been a little while since I've updated this story. Remember Chuck vs. the Rogue Spy? No? Well, to freshen up your memory, I'm previewing a brief excerpt from Chapter 12, before updating in a few days.

That's right, "The Buy More Campaign". I finally got to write the Morgan-centric chapter you all wanted! You're welcome.


Frea Interprets Vonnegut - Rule #7

Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

The alternate title of this rule: you can’t win them all.

Writing is psychological. With the advent of self-publishing overtaking traditional publishing, the idea seems to be that any random Joe off of the street can sit down at the computer and put out a book, and maybe they can. But what I’ve found is that writing can be the greatest thing ever and it can also be the worst feelings you will experience. You are literally baring your soul for the world to see, and a lot of those people just don't get that. Remember that narcissism I talked about earlier in this series? Probably not, as it was a couple months ago. But writing is narcissistic at its very core. You’re telling people that they should pay attention to you, that what you have to say is important. And because of that, it’s natural to want to be universally-liked. When somebody doesn’t like something you’ve written, it can feel like a punch to the gut. Some writers get defensive (I’m certainly guilty of this), others get depressed, and some will actually stop writing.

It’s actually hypocritical of me, somewhat, to tell you Don’t let them get to you because in truth, they’ve gotten to me a few times. But then, I’ve never claimed to be perfect—awesomely close, maybe, but that’s another blog post for another day—so I can say that:
Don’t let them get to you.
You will drive yourself crazy trying to please everyone. So: don’t. Pick your ideal audience and write for them. For me, I’m a Chuck fan that likes intelligent characters that aren’t humiliated for the sake of the plot or a silly joke. I enjoy a good romantic build-up, amusing one-liners, and a plot that won’t fall to shambles if poked hard enough . So I imagine my audience is the same and write for that audience. I keep that person—basically a mirror-me—in mind while I write, and I think: Am I explaining this correctly? Could this be clearer? Will they find this funny? Writing, normally a solitary activity, actually becomes something of a dialogue as I open it up to my imaginary audience.

… This is starting to sound a little like A Beautiful Mind, isn’t it? Rest assured, my imaginary audience isn’t sitting beside my computer desk, smoking an imaginary pipe. Though, honestly, I wouldn’t mind it so much if it was Paul Bettany…

So that’s what I think this rule is saying. Come up with the audience/person you want to impress and set out to impress them. If people don’t like your story, screw ’em.* At least you wrote the best, most honest story you could, then.

- Frea

Part: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

*If your story is universally hated, though, you might want to reevaluate your audience. Or possibly you’re a troll.


What Fates Impose Ebook!

The What Fates Impose ebook is shiny and ready for your reading pleasure on the downloads page. This isn't the annotated one I promised (that will take awhile), but it has all 68 chapters, hopefully with the proper quotes and everything.

- Frea


Fates Free-for-All!

Well, it's over.  And now, I imagine, there are questions.


A picture for Chapter 66 of Fates

This is my desktop background, and has been since I started pushing to finish Fates.  Staring at it helps me out quite nicely.  It's taken from near the a piè de má Wine Bar that Chuck and Sarah patronize during the chapter.  The sunset on my second day in the region.




Sound of Music II

I would like to apologize to the world for this.  That is all.


Warning: This post contains spoilers

...if you haven't read Fates 65 yet.  If you haven't, don't go beyond the "more" link.  If you have...

Come on in!

Also, before you click, once I post the final chapter of What Fates Impose, I'll post an open forum here on the blog and answer as many questions people have about Fates and the writing process involved. I may even share embarrassing stories about mxpw.


New Download Alert!

Another quick note:

I've expanded the Downloads page of the blog yet again to include an awesome story by JoelToTheD!  That's right, you can pick up Kill Jill for your reading pleasure.

Rating: A very elastic T, according to Nysa.
Description: Chuck and Sarah's vacation is cut short by the arrival of certain brunette from Chuck's past. Chuck freaks, Sarah sharpens her knives, and Casey sits back and smirks.

Rave reviews: "Love your writing and this chapter is no exception. Chuck needs a whack to the head, though." - AgentInWaiting

"omg! :') i love this chapter please update soon!" - yovis

See?  You need to pick up this book right now. Download it here.


PS - Spies and Nerds is on a temporary break while I finish up the last three chapters of Fates and quistie64 works on Sound of Music II.


Shakespeare's Birthday! Celebrating with Spoilers!

Today, it's Shakespeare's birthday, and I needed to celebrate somehow since, uh, if you google the famous Shakespeare quote about Fates and being imposing, my story is kind of the first hit.  I kind of feel bad about that since I kind of picked the story title on a whim over two years ago (for the first couple of weeks of its life, Fates was called "The Bunker Story" as all of my stories aren't ever called by their real names ("The Audrey Story," "Smoke," "Isotope")). But since I named Fates after an awesome Shakespeare quote, I've gone on to give at least five other stories either Shakespearean titles or Shakespearean pun titles (including, by the way, the unwritten story of Fates Casey, which would've been called That Men Must Needs Abide).
So...here's the first part of Chapter 63, for your reading pleasure.  This will probably hit the stands on Thursday, maybe.  If I'm feeling particularly magnanimous on Thursday, that is.  Who knows?  I never do.

Have a great Monday, and Happy Birthday, Willy Shakes.  You inspired an entire language in so many ways.  You've certainly inspired me, and for that, I'll be forever grateful. Now, if anybody needs me, I'll be rereading Puck's amazing monologue from A Midsummer Night's Dream.



A Few Things You May Not Know About Fates

  1. Fates was originally a one-shot
  2. Fates was concepted in a Fazoli’s, proof that there are indeed narcotics in the breadsticks
  3. The first scene written is actually from the second chapter, in which Chuck and Sarah play Go Fish. The first chapter was written to bridge a logic gap, and, oh yeah, explain the whole bunker thing.
  4. Jill had an additional storyline after the Lincoln Reveal where Chuck is forced to figure out if he got over her during his time at Project Lincoln or not. This has been cut because Sarah Walker is a badass mofo.
  5. Part V’s original title was actually a titan name (possibly Kronos), and a Greek god (Hephaestus) wasn’t supposed to be used until Part VIII. Since roughly 150k were cut off of Fates’s story, plans changed.
  6. Fates Sarah was viewed as cold and remote until I wrote To Resist Both Wind and Tide.
  7. To Resist Both Wind and Tide was written on a bet about the word-count for Chapter 18 (mxpw bet me I couldn’t finish it in less than 5k. I finished precisely on 5k to the word, making both of us losers. mxpw has yet to pay his part of the bet)
  8. I wrote To Resist Both Wind and Tide because it turns out being severely limited in perspective to a man who has self-image/slight depression issues doesn’t really invite the clear-eyed inspection required to see past the world’s most formidable poker mask. And yes, I was tired of people complaining about Sarah being remote. Of course, had I known that this would only lead to a deluge of MOAR SARAH, I may have changed my mind.
  9. Just kidding. I adore To Resist Both Wind and Tide.
  10. Of my stories: Fortune Favors Fools, Wasted on Us, Training, Lies, and the CIA, and To Sleep, Perchance to Scream were written as gifts, Not in the Stars, He'll Someday Call Her Bunny, and To Resist Both Wind and Tide were lost bets, and What Fates Impose seems to be the result of a waking nightmare.
  11. Oscar Wilde is the most quoted chapter quote person. Seriously. The dude has a quote for EVERYTHING.
  12. My favorite thing to do under my guise as Moonlight Pilot was to post a chapter of Walker’s Eleven on the same day I updated Fates. In unrelated news, I’ve recently been diagnosed with a severe case of masochism.
  13. Walker’s Eleven and Fates both feature absurdist stories about livestock, FBI agents named Virginia Grey, and cute cartoon frog thumb drives.
  14. I spelled the German word for rabbit wrong.
  15. Speaking of the rabbit thing, that evolved naturally, I swear. I have nothing against our lucky-pawed brethren.
  16. Since I’ve started writing Fates, I’ve done Google searches on semiautomatic weaponry, Molotov cocktails, how far can you fall into the water without dying and how, do bullets penetrate water, Speed, all varieties of RPGs, World of Warcraft, every Star Trek under the sun, the Santa Monica Pier, how long a Cessna can stay in the air without refueling, ferries in Greece, and the history of the CIA. To date, nobody has knocked on my door asking about my Internet search history, but I have to figure it’s only a matter of time.
  17. My original beta reader swore up and down readers would murder me for Chapter 6, which only mentioned Sarah Walker twice. I laughed, and then realized she was right when Sarah didn’t feature for three chapters in a row.
  18. Bryce wasn’t supposed to be in Part V. Then I figured there were a bunch of things I needed to wrap up.
  19. I really, really don't have any thing against rabbits.  I promise.


Rogue Spy – Chapter 10 Sneak Peek

Hey, guys. It's Crumby again.

I've decided to enjoy my new power (it didn't take long, I know) and follow in last week footsteps, previewing Rogue Spy's next chapter (complete story: here).

It's mission time for Team B in this little snippet, and everything may not be as it seems...or is it? ;-)


Rogue Spy – Chapter 9 Sneak Peek

Hey, guys. Crumby, here.

Frea has granted me access to the blog, so I could post a sneak peek from the next chapter of Chuck vs. the Rogue Spy. Thank you, Frea.

I'm not sure when I'll post the chapter, but hopefully it will keep you interested in the meantime. ;-)



Frea Interprets Vonnegut — Rule #6

Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

Hm...I’m going to be honest for a minute here: I get the feeling that this might be the rule everybody has been waiting to see me interpret. “Yay! Finally! The sadist rule! The one Frea has completely taken to heart! If there’s anybody that knows how to be sadistic to characters, it’s Frea O’Scanlin!”

Which, okay, point. But seriously, I hate being mean to my characters.



Frea Interprets Vonnegut — Rule #4

Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.


Fates 59: The Lincoln Conspiracy

This is just the first scene, which isn't very long, but it's funny, so I thought I'd pep up some Saturdays with it.




Frea Interprets Vonnegut — Rule #3

Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.


Frea Interprets Vonnegut — Rule #2

Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

You know what turns me off of most fiction faster than anything else?
  • “Improper grammar!”
  • “Didn’t do the research!”
  • “Summary says ‘first story/wrote while drunk lolol!’”
...Okay, there are a lot of turn-offs for me. Improper grammar is probably my number one pet peeve (people: these are the reason beta readers exist. Seriously), but a major, major, major turn-off is unsympathetic characters. Especially unsympathetic main characters.


Frea Interprets Vonnegut — Rule #1

Hi, all. I got bored and started dissecting Kurt Vonnegut's 8 Rules. I've got them set up to post automatically throughout the week, so feel free to keep checking back and see "Frea's interpretations of a much better writer's words."

They should be...interesting. At the very least.


Something to Think About

Okay, so today I'm just posting Kurt Vonnegut's 8 rules of creative writing. I was given a handout with these on them in my senior creative writing class in college (yes, to nobody's surprise, I was a creative writing/screenwriting minor), and I randomly revisited them tonight. They're handy for every single writing situation (number 3 in particular), so I thought I'd share.



Stuff That's Happening

Chuck ended and I pretty much forgot I had a blog, it looks like. I'm sorry about that. I know this blog is around for more than Chuck stuff, and it's a bit unfair of me not to update now that the show is gone. I also know not everybody is on Twitter, so they may have missed some news lately.

Let's see, what's been going on?


Two Years!

Maximus here. Frea is still on her trip right now and doesn't know I'm doing this. What is this, you may ask? Well, this is the second year anniversary of Frea's neverending story: What Fates Impose. Can you believe it's really been two years since she started writing her wonderful story? I can hardly believe it myself, mainly because that means I've known Frea for almost two years and it just doesn't seem like that.

I'm just going to take a minute and say some quick thoughts about what this story has meant to me. I'm very grateful to have met Frea and Fates was what made that possible. As much as I enjoy the story and have a deep admiration for her talent, getting to know her personally is what I enjoy most about the whole Fates experience. I've learned a lot about being an editor since I started editing for her, as well as learned a lot about writing. She's a pretty good teacher, even if she might not realize it. Most importantly, I'm just glad to be able to call her friend. That's what I value most from the whole experience. And like I said, Fates made befriending Frea possible.

I don't regret it, even if she does let her status as the most(ly) benevolent overlord go to her head sometimes. :P


The Art of Ending

Endings are my weakest area of writing, not surprisingly. I have less experience with them than beginnings (which are the most fun for me) and middle-beginnings (where I find my footing and am still chugging along), and even middle-middles (where things falter as I lose my way). One of my endings actually made my mother come into my room and beat me over the head with the book. Another ending of mine still haunts me for reasons I'm still trying to determine.

Keep all of that in mind when I tell you this: endings are the second thing I come up with when I concept a story.

Wait, what?

Writing is very much a solitary activity. You can share it with everybody (which I do) and you can debate it with everybody, but at the end of the day, it's just going to be you and your notepad struggling over how to make the characters sound and feel on the page like they do in your head. You have to write your vision as you see it, not somebody else's.


Going on a trip

So I'm taking a trip this week, which means something like 20+ hours in a car (which I never mind; I love driving) and I'm a voracious reader while on road trips/really poor from this trip, so I've been chewing through ebooks lately to get my Kindle fully loaded.  I've uploaded the majority of the ebooks I've created to the Downloads page.  Among them, you can find:
Anyway, there will probably be more pouring in as the week draws nearer to Wednesday. I’ve had a request for some Golden Girl. Any others?




R&J: Engagement in Estonia

Found this in the archives (Romeo and Juliet - Not a Date.doc for those of you wondering).  It's nothing new. I figure it takes place about six months after Chuck and Sarah's first date at the movies in Romeo and Juliet but Without Teenagers or Death...Well, Okay, Some Death.  Just a short little scenelet.




Inane Chatter - 5.12-5.13 - Chuck vs. Sarah/Goodbye

Max here, letting you guys know I owe you and our minion Shoe an apology. I got this review from the lovely and talented Shoe days ago, but only now managed to get it up now. So my apologies for that. Also, this is unedited by me, so you guys are fortunate to get Shoe, raw and uncut. ;-)

Here, Shoe provides her thoughts and feelings about the controversial series finale of Chuck.* Click the link to see more.

*As Frea mentioned in her last post, we are still planning to post an mxpw vs. Frea review of the finale soon.


Where'd Frea Go Now

Hey, all,

Wanted to apologize for vanishing on the blog lately. Several people have hit me up on Twitter asking if there will be an mxpw vs. Frea going on about the final two episodes, and I'm happy to say that not only will there be one, there will be two.


In Which Frea Expresses a Bunch of Unpopular Opinions

I think I should write down my thoughts on the ending and everything right now. Warning, there's some profanity ahead.  This isn't replacing mxpw vs. Frea, either. These are just my thoughts.  After the break.


Top 10 20: CHARAH

And here it is, our final Top Ten post. That's right. We've wrapped up an entire week of happy, positive lists...and boy did that take a lot out of us. Thanks to everybody that tagged along for the ride and shared their thoughts. Today's list is special...but only because we couldn't keep it down to 10. Without further ado, we present, in descending order, our top twenty Charah moments!  See you on the other side, homies.


Top 10: Favorite Guest Characters

So Frea and I decided to list our favorite guest characters during the show's run. There will be no pictures accompaning this post. I'm doing this on my own, without the invaluable assitance of the MBO, and she told me I didn't have to tussle with Blogger's photo embedding software. So I will not. Still, I hope you guys enjoy our list and feel free to comment on what you think we got right, what we got wrong, and what we missed.

See the list after the jump!


Top Ten: Hi, Fellas!

All right, so after this morning’s apparently controversial interesting list of the best SWP from the show’s run, some of the concerned lady fans of CI got together. Since we’re all about equal opportunity and showing off pretty people here at Castle Inanity, I am proud to present to you the top ten list of "Hi, Fellas!" moments from five years of Chuck. For those of us wearing glasses, I gotta warn you, it’s about to get steamy in here.

Thanks to Cat for curating this list and making my day 108% less productive!

Top 10: SWP

Frea here. When I gave him this assignment, I do believe mxpw fell to his knees and thanked first the heavens above and then me in that order. Once he was whipped for not fetching me a Dr Pepper before doing so, he immediately set off in a quest to bring you only the purest, best SWP on the planet.

Little did he know that he was about to embark on his own version of Sophie's Choice. But three days later, I went over to his house and found him in the corner, bemoaning the various SWPs he had to leave off of the list. I managed to wrest the list from his hand and have transcribed it thusly. It was a little hard to read with all of the tear stains, but I think this is what Max has reported to be the BEST SWP* of the show.


*Any SWP is technically the best SWP


Top 10: HELL YEAH moments

So this week Max and I have decided to celebrate the show not in the cynical fashion most would expect, but by revisiting some of the things that made us fall in love with Chuck in the first place. Sure, those things may not be present today, but it’s fun to walk down memory lane and look at the good times (and some of the bad times). I’m kicking off the week with my best 10 "HELL YEAH" moments. What does that mean? These were just my top times on the show where I sat up and went, "HELL YEAH!" And yes, there’s even a moment in here from Season Three for all of you people who think I (rightfully) like Season One and Two more.

So click the link to read more. And remember, these are my opinions and mine alone.  Well, okay, mxpw submitted a few of them.


mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Bullet Train

Chuck vs. the Bullet Train
Season 5, Episode 11, original air-date 20 January, 2012

Sarah and Casey stow away in coffins in order to retrieve Chuck from Quinn on a bullet train in Japan. Things go horribly awry when the Intersect in Sarah's head turns out to be the glitchiest of All the Intersects.

Okay, if you don't follow mxpw or me on Twitter, you may not know that neither of us really likes the storyline going on. And I'll say that up front: we hate it. We hate it so hard that there is copious profanity in the review following, plus a lot of ranting, too. This wasn't an awful episode, and neither of us feel that, on its own, it was terrible, but...

Well, you'll have to click the link to see.

Also, the effects were nearly as bad as Masquerade. And keep in mind that Frea is coming into this episode VERY DISAPPOINTED that her little booger spy man that jumps through donuts and skateboards and jetpacks around WAS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.


mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. Bo

Chuck vs. Bo
Season 5, Episode 10, original air-date 13 January, 2012

When Morgan receives his old Douchersect cell phone and a message that he's hidden something that's in trouble, it's up to the gang to fly to Vail and gas Jeff and Lester a bunch of times with Bazin-Gas, the most convenient joke of all time.

Warning: this was a Newman episode. Expect rainbows. But not....those rainbows.  Yeah, right.  Anywhere, review's just beyond. Click to read.

Just for the time being

So Blogger, our platform for CI, is being a pain in the butt. They introduced threaded comments the other day, which is an idea I'm excited to see.  I love Wordpress's threaded comments option, as I feel it leads to more natural conversation.

However, here, Blogger has decided it's going to glitch pretty badly.  So until this problem is resolved, I'm switching from embedded comments to a popup. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

I stole the gif from Grace, also known as Miss Couch Potato on Tumblr. If you want some amusing graphics, check her out here.



Castle Review - 4.12 - Dial M for Mayor

Mayor Robert Weldon, Castle's longtime friend and the Mayor of New York City, used his political clout to allow Castle to partner up with Beckett. But now, when a woman is found dead in a car that traces back to the Mayor's motor pool, that partnership comes under fire as the scandal surrounding the investigation threatens to bring down Weldon's administration.

Click the link to see my thoughts for this episode.


Slightly Drunk And Hopped Up on Sugar

Went to Wal-Mart tonight meaning to buy ice cream.  80 bucks later, I had some Smirnoff and an excellent night in store.  Damn, I wish that hobo hadn't robbed me of 66 bucks in the pasta aisle, but you win some, you lose more.

Anyway, mostly I'm posting because I'm curious about everybody's reactions to the end of Chuck vs...Whatever Episode This Was that Played Tonight.

Seriously, what'd you guys think?  Feel free to give your true opinion, just don't bash other commenters!




Castle Review - 4.11 - 'Till Death do we Part

When a lothario is killed, Castle and Beckett suspect that the victim's mysterious double life holds the key to his murder. Their investigation leads to a shocking twist that threatens to disrupt Ryan's wedding with Jenny.

So what did I think of this episode? Click on the link to find out!


mxpw vs. Frea — Chuck vs. the Kept Man

Chuck vs. the Kept Man
Season 5, Episode 09, original air-date 6 January, 2012

Gertrude Verbanski is back! Casey chafes at having a well-connected and awesome lady-lover. Chuck's a moron. Sarah wins at everything even though everything is wrong.

Sorry for the graphic, everybody*. Frea got bored. Was she bored with this latest episode, or was the wonderful, wonderful Carrie Ann Moss and the even more delightful Gertrude Verbanski enough to make Frea's entire world feel like it was full of kittens, butterflies, and Dr Pepper?

Hint: that sentence probably answers its own question.

With that said, read on, good readers, read on!


Behind the Scenes Stuff

Just an administrative note to let you know I've updated the What Fates Impose ebook so that it includes all 55 chapters in one place.  You can download that here.

Also, a good friend of mine gave me an invite over to Archive of Our Own, and I've been archiving Fates over the past couple of weeks. I really like the AO3 interface, as it means I can sort the Fatesverse in order as a series...which I've done here.  I have a few one-shots to put up still and then I'll start archiving That Which is Greater in order.

Exciting things coming on Twitter, thanks to a reader/awesome person that shall remain nameless at the moment.  You know who you are, and you're awesome!!!

I've spoken with ninjaVanish, who is deep in HTML coding, prepping Sunken Treasure and Frontier to be made into ebooks so that I can host those here.  I've made covers for both of those already, so I'm excited to be able to add those to the collection.  In addition, I spoke to atlee, one of my favorite authors in the section, and I'll be adding some of those fantastic ebooks to the collection, naturally.

So...exciting things coming up!  Yay!



mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Baby

Chuck vs. the Baby
Season 5, Episode 08, original air-date 30 Dec 2011

When Sarah's old spy handler reappears, she goes off on her own to prevent a secret from her past from destroying her family.

Finally! Another LeJudkins episode! What did Max and Frea think?