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Whispers of the Muse


Jun. 11th, 2007 02:25 am Chapter 28 Posted!

Inspiration hit this evening, and the last two or three pages of chapter 28 ("Deification") more or less wrote themselves! The finished chapter is now posted for your perusal.

By the way, as an experiment (i.e., to see how well I do it and how many people actually come here), I'll take requests made in this post for TRD-verse drabbles. (Not more than one per person, and not more than twenty or so; so first come, first served.)

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Jun. 10th, 2007 04:04 pm Chapter 28 Progress (and P/C Drabbles)...

Sorry for the long wait for a progress post! 2922 words into (still untitled) Chapter 28, although still recovering from end-of-semester burnout. My Circadian rhythms right now are pretty much nocturnal and need straightening out, but I only have revisions to make on one last assignment and then I WILL BE FREE.

Right...back on topic. Goddess!Phoebe was actually easy to work with, surprisingly enough, but had some problems with Goddess!Piper, as I had to keep her singular focus on Leo (and Wyatt, albeit to a lesser extent) from changing her into the 18th century "angel of the house" archytype--i.e., the perfect wife/mother and nothing else. I think I have that resolved now, and am working on the initial confrontation with the Titans. Depending on length/what the story decides, I may break the "Goddess" arc into three chapters, particularly as Cole's power advancement may be better portrayed in his PoV than Phoebe's.

The end of that arc will also end S5--I still need to decide whether S6 should be a separate story or just continue on from where S5 leaves off. So far, I'm leaning toward the latter, if only because I like my entire hit/review count in one place.

Also: I wrote ten drabbles charting the canonical progression of the P/C relationship I'd like to share with you.

Read moreCollapse )

As ever, feedback is immeasurably appreciated.

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May. 17th, 2007 09:39 pm "Charmed and Dangerous", With Feeling...

Not a TRD update, unfortunately--give me another week or two on that--but I swear I'm working on it (even when I shouldn't necessarily be). In any case, I thought I'd post some of my Charmed miscellanea here--this time, a whimsical little filk I wrote awhile back (and the four-part harmonies were an absolute pain, by the way), portraying the preparations for battle against the Source, as seen in "Charmed and Dangerous." As the subject heading suggests, the original tune came from the BtVS musical, "Once More, With Feeling."

And just because I've had an absolutely hellish week (three all-nighters, three lengthy essays and a final), I'm really, really hoping to be cheered up with some feedback on this!

Stand in CombatCollapse )

NB: For those of you unfamiliar wth the original tune, you can watch/listen to it on YouTube at this URL:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZweNr-hMR4&mode=related&search=

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Apr. 25th, 2007 12:38 am Chapter 28 Progress and TRD Outtake (v. 1.0)...

Sorry for the long wait, but final projects (one including fieldwork, courtesy my education minor) have kept me busy for the past couple of weeks and probably won't let up until late May. I am working on TRD when possible--and am currently 2096 words in--but the chapter is still only about a third of the way done.

On the bright side, the weather has been gorgeous--sunny and warm--and everything is bursting into bloom, which does wonders to elevate my overall mood. Also, just to share another bit of personal happiness, the Department of Veterans' Affairs agreed yesterday (albeit after a decade and a lawsuit) to add the Wiccan pentacle to its list of approved symbols to engrave on veterans' headstones. I'm saying this, by the way, less as a practitioner and more from the perspective that the advancement of religious tolerance contributes to my faith in humanity. (Which may be naive, but I can wait a few years to grow out of my idealism.)

I've managed to find the time to write a short TRD outtake--1107 words--after hearing a number of you state in reviews that you're wondering why Chris isn't a bit more freaked out by Cole's presence. Short answer is that he's hiding his unease, but I found myself wanting to know what he thought (and get a bit more of an ear for his voice) and this ficlet was the result.



I haven't posted this on FF.N yet, as I may make changes after Chapter 28 is posted--feel free to leave a comment in any case (because I am just that shameless). By the way, would any of you be interested in seeing my Charmed miscellanea posted here? (It's mostly poetry, though there are some drabbles and ficlets lying around.)

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Mar. 29th, 2007 01:06 am Chapter 27 Posted!

Chapter 27 ("Ominous Omens"), marking the beginning of "Goddess" is now up and awaiting feedback (*hint, hint*) from those of you so inclined. In any case, I hit a record length of ten-and-two-thirds pages in Word, so I hope the length of the chapter makes up a bit for the length of the wait... A piece of TRD trivia, by the way: those of you who have read from the beginning have gotten through just over 188 pages total!

News on chapter 28 when it's available and I'm not supposed to be working on something else...and on a completely unrelated note, spring has finally hit over here. Just wanted to mention that, because I'm thrilled about it (and more than a little random when I'm sleepy).

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Mar. 11th, 2007 06:22 am Chapter 26 Revised...

I've gone back and added some additional content (about 2.5 pages or so) to Chapter 26, covering the dinner conversation up through Prue and Grams' departure and a very non-explicit fade-to-black moment with the couple upstairs. Any of you interested, please take a look; comments are of course welcome if you're so inclined.

Very tired; more news re. chapter 27 (still untitled) later.

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Mar. 4th, 2007 05:05 am Chapter 27 Progress...

I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed chapter 26--feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and really boosted my confidence in my ability to write romance without degenerating into sap. To all reviewers yet to come (for that or other chapters) my thanks in advance.

In any case, I've continued to write since that update and am now 2733 words into chapter 27 (as yet untitled), and feeling amazingly productive--although, considering how long I've been waiting to do this particular rework, I'm not entirely surprised it's moving quickly. Basic changes made early on are necessitating a few artful twists, but I'm clear on what I'm doing now and Chris is set to arrive within the next page or two...I've watched "Oh My Goddess" several times to get a feel for his voice, and I can 'hear' it now, so to speak, so writing him--even if I haven't done it before--shouldn't be too terribly difficult.

I've come to the conclusion that I need to lay as much groundwork, plot-wise, as possible before switching into Phoebe's PoV, as her initial Goddess of Love mentality wasn't terribly rational (it should be simultaneously amusing and challenging to write a being overwhelmed by such a concentration of hormones). This is one area in which I think Cole's presence will actually be more distraction than help, as the last thing Goddess!Phoebe needs is a "love object" in the immediate vicinity...

Really enjoying the research involved in this chapter, incidentally, although the purist in me can't help reflexive indignation over just how badly Charmed butchered the mythology behind the Titans...it boggles my mind that this show could actually track down and have a demonologist on its staff, and yet couldn't keep its myths straight. I understand the need to change things to fit the plot, but would it have killed them to enter 'Titans' into Wikipedia, spend half a minute there and give all three names that corresponded to those in the myths? 'Cronus' was one, but 'Meta' and 'Demetrius' were conspicuously absent. (Oh, and just as an interesting bit of trivia: one of the twelve original Titans was named 'Phoebe'.)

That's about it for now...more updates as they become available.

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Feb. 22nd, 2007 12:35 am Chapter 26 Posted!

Chapter 26 ("With this Cord") is posted and awaiting commentary (which I'm hoping fervently for, as the amount of research that went into writing that handfasting would have bordered on masochistic if research weren't one of my passions). As I mentioned in the AN corresponding to this chapter, sections of Phoebe and Cole's vows were adapted from Morgan Llywelyn's "Celtic Wedding Vow", which I've posted hereCollapse )

Sorry, by the way, for not giving Prue more page-time, but I wanted the focus of the chapter to be on Phoebe and Cole as a couple, as opposed to reunion of the four sisters. (Besides, considering Piper's wedding turned out to be "all about [Prue]" I wanted to be certain the same thing didn't happen with Phoebe's.) Not to worry--for those of you particularly fond of the character, she's likely to make at least one more cameo appearance in the S6 or S7 reworks.

Next chapter, as I said, will mark the beginning of "Oh My Goddess"...I'll update accordingly when I start on it.

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Jan. 21st, 2007 09:20 pm Chapter 25 Posted!

Chapter 25 ("Understanding") is up for your reading pleasure (and hopefully your comments!). I'm tired right now, so am going to keep this short and hopefully update in the next day or two with progress notes for Chapter 26 (tentatively titled "With this Cord"). In any case (for those of you who don't bother reading the ANs), I just wanted to reiterate my thanks to Shel, whose input re. preparations for the coming handfasting was invaluable.

More news to come soon!

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Jan. 10th, 2007 07:02 pm Chapter 25 Progress...

It's been awhile since I posted here...I had some minor oral surgery on the third, which hurt like insert-expletive-here post-op and left me in no mood to write for days. My energy level still isn't back to normal (ironically, I've gotten more sleep these past two weeks than I have in approximately fifteen years), but the pain's stopped and I no longer need regular doses of ibuprofen. In any case, I'm now back on schedule with TRD, although I lament losing most of my break to recuperative purposes.

I'm currently 969 words into chapter 25, covering efforts by Phoebe to master deflection, and am about to move into a conversation re. her latest baby-related concerns (see chapter 24). From there, I need handfasting preparations going on in the background, which will require some research on the prices of flowers and a wedding dress...considering that this is technically their third attempt to get married (I'm not counting the "A Paige From the Past" possession episode), it would probably be best to be as economical as possible, given that there're six people under the roof and only two incomes...

Anyway, I have the ceremony more or less finalized, albeit in screenplay format (which I've found works very well for rituals), so it shouldn't be much trouble to convert it into prose...I'm also toying with the idea of having Prue attend, as Patty did Piper's... I don't think it would be impossible to argue good behavior at the Wiccaning (i.e., following the rules by leaving without insisting on extended interaction) earned her the right to be there for an hour or two on her sister's special day... Besides, it's not like Piper and Phoebe haven't accepted her death, taken up the mantle of their destiny again and gone on with their lives, so the reasons Grams cited for her inability to visit no longer apply.

Once Phoebe and Cole are properly married, I'm going to move into "Oh My Goddess", which--though still in the planning stages--is shaping up be fairly different from the canon version. I'm not going to spoil it, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I also need to schedule an OB-GYN appointment for Phoebe, considering that her baby's not half-Whitelighter and so can have the benefit of prenatal care without the risk of exposing magic. I'm keeping a careful eye on the timeline here, so I'll know when Phoebe's due for mood swings and morning sickness (hopefully after the whole 'stop the Titans' thing, considering she was difficult enough to deal with in her Goddess of Love incarnation).

I'm going to close here and return to writing--hope you're all well!

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Jan. 2nd, 2007 12:23 am Chapter 24 Posted!

Chapter 24 ("Acceptance and Welcoming") posted early this morning, ringing in the New Year in a productive fashion and finally completing the Wiccaning that I'd struggled so long with...it's one thing working with just straight supernatural magic, but with something like a Wiccaning or a handfasting, I have a belief system to be true to (because I'm an absolute stickler for authenticity). In any case, it's finished at an unprecedented ten-and-a-half pages, a length I'm very proud of.

I've started work on chapter 25--less than a page into it, thus far, but the opening scene is coming along nicely, and I anticipate an interesting conversation between Phoebe and Cole in this chapter (you can probably guess what about) and also some work by Phoebe to master Cole's deflection, which I'd really rather she do before a significant threat is scheduled.

As a background, we should have the beginnings of handfasting preparations--finally; I've certainly talked about them enough!--as the family rushes to meet the one week deadline. Piper can handle dinner, and flowers and so forth shouldn't take too long to set up, right? (Any of you with experience in wedding preparation, feel free to comment.) I'm also toying with the idea of having Phoebe buy a new dress, or else wear Piper's...somehow I don't think she'd be thrilled to marry in the same one she wore for the Dark wedding.

Anyway, I have to get up early tomorrow, so I should try to get some sleep...happy New Year, and a belated happy holidays!

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Dec. 28th, 2006 09:57 am And More Chapter 24 Progress...

3072 words into chapter 24 (still untitled), and I think I finally have the Wiccaning more or less whipped into shape. It would probably be ambitious to expect a weekend post, but what the heck...I can at least hope. Please don't be disappointed, however, if I end up delayed into the middle of next week.

Once the Wiccaning is over, I have the pregnancy revelation scheduled, plus the resolution of the last of Phoebe's current baby-related worries, which should include a nice couple moment. Then a little bond-exploration, handfasting setup, handfasting, and then into "Oh My Goddess" to wrap up S5. (Also--note to self: must find time in a paragraph or two to establish Paige's breakup with her latest Mr. Wrong.)

S6 will open with the Valhalla plotline, but beyond that, I'm still in the planning stages as far as which episodes will be included, especially as I'll be dealing not only with the changes imposed on those episodes by Cole's presence, but also by Chris'. It remains to be seen exactly how the latter (in conjunction with Leo's all-but-absence) will affect the family dynamic.

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Dec. 25th, 2006 04:54 am More Chapter 24 Progress...

I haven't done much more actual writing since my last post, but I finally hit the breakthrough I needed to create an authentic (albeit sans deities) Wiccaning, and I now have the entire ritual scripted and ready to be converted into proper prose.

I was despairing at first--a little speech by Grams, formal acceptance of responsibility for Wyatt by parents and godmother...necessary and right to include, but not enough to make the proceedings feel complete. Then I happened to be rereading the matriarch-summoning spell, and realized something amiss in the final couplet, in which said matriarchs are asked "to gather now in this sacred place."

The attic isn't automatically sacred just because Grams calls it sacred. Sacred space is created by casting a circle before a ritual begins, and a Wiccaning is no exception. Ergo, I can include that process to create a nice, neat reconciliation of modern magical practice to the world of Charmed--which I want very much to do, especially as the writers never bothered.

And yes, I'm proud of myself right now. *grin*

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Dec. 22nd, 2006 03:38 am End of Hiatus; Chapter 24 Progress...

I'M FREE! I'M FREE! I'M FREE! *Takes deep breath, resists overwhelming urge to burst into song*

Sorry to shout, but I am just SO HAPPY right now...school is over until the 24th of January and my time is once again my own. My stress-induced psychosomatic symptoms are gone, I've gotten a good eight or so hours of sleep and am more or less rested for the first time in weeks, and somehow or other I managed to get through my small mountain of work. So, yes, I have every reason to be in a celebratory mood.

Okay...and now onto my progress with TRD, which I'm sure is what you're here to read. I'm 1918 words into (untitled) chapter 24, as my Muse has been in procrastination-induced overdrive since I posted chapter 23 on the 3rd. Currently, I'm trying to conquer Grams' misandristic issues and convince her to perform the Wiccaning. It hasn't been easy, since she doesn't seem to want to respond to rational argument and I'd really rather not degenerate into verbal sparring.

Speaking of the Wiccaning, I'm trying to go with my usual "as-true-to-the-belief-system-as-possible-while-excising-theology" approach, but apparently, once all references to the Goddess and God are removed, there isn't a very great deal left of the traditional ritual... I can include the usual acceptance of responsibility for the child by parents/godparents, but after that...?

I'm toying with the idea of adding a blessing ceremony of sorts--sometimes included within the Wiccaning--wherein each member of the family would present the baby with a gift symbolic of some wish or hope for his future. The problem (besides my having to come up with appropriate gifts; if any of you have ideas, feel free to comment) is that since neither Phoebe nor Cole was expecting the Wiccaning, they wouldn't be prepared for that... Well, I'll come up with something, anyway. Eventually.

After the Wiccaning is over, I'm going to reveal Phoebe's pregnancy to the rest of the family, and possibly begin some exploration between her and Cole of the limits/capabilities of their bond (not least, because it's fairly important that she masters his deflection before she's called upon to participate in active combat). After that, it should be about time for their handfasting, which I'm eagerly looking forward to writing... I'll probably end up cutting to the morning of the ceremony, so that all the tedious preparations will have been conducted off the page.

*Contented sigh* It's great to be back!

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Nov. 25th, 2006 06:04 am Temporary Hiatus

I'm very sorry, but there will be no more TRD updates until my January break starts, as I've managed to become backed up scholastically to an absolutely nightmarish extent. I can dig my way out of that, but only if I cut out all recreational activities and devote my waking hours entirely to schoolwork.

Again, I am sorry. I'm not abandoning the story for good, but I can't afford the time it takes up until I have more time to give. Wish me luck with my scholastic endeavors...I have an unpleasant feeling I'm going to need it.

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Nov. 12th, 2006 06:17 am Chapter 23 Progress...

2061 words into chapter 23 (as yet untitled) and covering the lead-in to Wyatt's Wiccaning--which I still need to rework so it's actually authentic--and have run into a bit of a hitch...I'd hoped to be able to keep them out of direct confrontation with the Necromancer, but really can't see any way to get Grams over her issues unless I let her go after him and drag the Charmed Ones with her...

So it looks like that confrontation is inevitable, although viewpoint constraints dictate that much of it (i.e., when Grams and the Necromancer are alone) will occur off the page. As it is, I'm still trying to keep her misandristic views more or less under wraps for a little while, since I'm juggling enough without having to deal with flaring tempers.

Oh, well..."best-laid plans"... Overall, I'm happy with the progress I'm making, however, and hope to be able to post next weekend (although of course, I make no promises).

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Nov. 3rd, 2006 03:55 am Chapter 22 Posted!

I really must stop posting at these obscenely late/early hours... Anyway, Chapter 22 ("Future Unfolding") is now posted! I'm satisfied with the way it turned out, and am hoping to receive feedback over the weekend (not that I'm not always hoping to receive feedback, but that's beside the point). I think you'll all enjoy it, at least...I know I did!

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Nov. 2nd, 2006 05:00 pm More Chapter 22 Progress...

I'm 3531 words into chapter 22 (currently untitled) now, and am--all things considered--quite satisfied with my progress. Scholastic pressure has let up a (very) little bit, but it's enough that I can write a bit more often than I otherwise could. So far, I've covered a Significant Revelation and its emotional fallout, and Phoebe and Cole are currently sharing a tender moment. It'll probably wrap itself up in a page or two, so I'm optimistic about posting over the weekend.

From there, I want to move into concrete handfasting plans--the timetable will have to move up a bit for reasons that'll become obvious in the chapter--and from there into the events of "Necromancing the Stone." Handfasting should occur slightly before Wyatt's Wiccaning, after which things will start gearing up to cover "Oh My Goddess", which I think will end up being fairly extensive.

Still not quite sure what I'm going to do about Leo...do I split him and Piper up via the "ascension to Elder" subplot? The show never really managed to justify (at least to me) why Leo couldn't do as an Elder essentially what he'd been doing as a Whitelighter (i.e., orb out as duty required). On the other hand, having Leo only sporadically in the picture for a while would give me the opportunity to put Cole in a quasi-paternal role as far as Wyatt is concerned (if only by virtue of being the only consistently present male figure) which would allow him some practice before his and Phoebe's daughter is born...

Other issue: Chris. Do I have him present his actual identity from the beginning to foster trust and simplify the overall plotline (i.e., none of that "almost prevented his own conception" nonsense), or do I play out the mystery more or less as the original did? I prefer the first option, and it's what I'll probably end up going with; on the other hand, then I have to replace the 'mystery of Chris' identity' subplot with something else.

As far as the vignette I mentioned in my previous entry, it's taken the backseat to chapter 22, but when it's finished (and I'm making no promises as far as the timeframe on that) I'll probably post it on FF.N, albeit with a spoiler warning.

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Oct. 26th, 2006 04:01 am Chapter 22 Progress...

School's still keeping me too busy for my taste, but I can steal a moment here and there to write. At this point, I'm 1764 words into chapter 22, which, thanks to a very useful consult with Shel (whose work I hold in the highest esteem and every Phoebe/Cole fan should read), is coming along nicely. Not quite writing itself, granted, but at least cooperating with my efforts. (And by the way, those of you who wanted to see the lovers having some alone time are going to be pleased.)

I've also started on a TRDverse vignette, set in approximately 2009 Charmed-time and featuring a fluffy Halloween in the lives of Phoebe, Cole and their eldest ladybug (age 7). I'm a little wary about posting it, though, since it'd reveal--and therefore spoil--future details, e.g. the names of children, power advancements and similar. In any case, regardless of what I do with it, it probably won't be longer than a standard chapter of TRD.

Currently hoping to be able to post at some point this weekend, though I expect to be fairly busy with schoolwork and preparations for Samhain on the thirty-first...

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Oct. 13th, 2006 04:06 am Chapter 21 Posted!

Chapter 21 ("What Lies Between") is up and awaiting your perusal (and--I hope--your feedback!). It's an unprecedented slightly-over-nine pages, which I hope makes up for the wait.

In any case, I should have been asleep at least four hours ago, so I'll close with that and make another entry at a more civilized hour.

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Oct. 5th, 2006 01:35 am More Chapter 21 Progress...

Duly recovered from all holidays (my own and my family's) by now, but am still extremely busy with school and am (sigh) only going to get busier. As of now, I'm hoping to squeeze a TRD update in between two five-page essays and preparatory work for a slightly less urgent seven-page essay. Depending on my energy levels and the cooperation of my Muse, I may or may not manage it.

In any case, the groundwork for S6 is down, and I've done some foreshadowing that should lead very nicely into chapter 22, so I just have to cover another scene or two of research re. Cole and Phoebe's connection and what it entails. After that, we should move into concrete plans for their handfasting, with Wyatt's Wiccaning and the events of "Oh My Goddess" (respectively) to follow afterwards.

All that said, I have a class at 9:25 way-too-damned-early A.M., so I'd better get some sleep if I intend to be quasi-lucid by then.

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Sep. 21st, 2006 03:23 am Chapter 21 Progress...

Making a quick entry in spite of the ridiculously late (early?) hour...I've been inhumanely busy with school this week, and still have an assignment to finish tonight. Fortunately, I'll be home by quarter to two or so tomorrow, so I should be able to catch a short nap before my energy gives out altogether.

I'm 1698 words into chapter 21 (still untitled), but am not sure exactly when I'll have time to finish it...updating this weekend might prove slightly problematic, since I'll be observing Mabon today, and then have to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with the extended family on both Friday and Sunday, meaning that all scholastic work--joy--will end up squeezed into Saturday.

If I can fit finishing and posting chapter 21 in between all that, it'll be just short of miraculous, so try not to get your hopes up too terribly high. In any case, it's coming along nicely, all things considered--I'm slightly past the halfway point--and am laying some groundwork for S6 and its conflict arc. I might even introduce Magic School somewhat ahead of schedule...

Right. I'm really too tired to be coherent for much longer, so will close with best holiday wishes to all celebrating something around this time of year.

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Sep. 11th, 2006 05:56 pm More Q & A...

Okay...looking over my last entry, it occurred to me that some readers who have opted not to pose questions in reviews (for whatever reason) might nonetheless have questions, either about what's already been posted or about the story's future. Comment here and ask them (signed in or anonymously; it doesn't matter), and I'll answer if the answer doesn't include excessive spoilers.

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Sep. 11th, 2006 03:32 pm Chapter 21 and Q & A...

It looks like I'm going to be in for a busy week, and you can all imagine how thrilled I am about that. In any case, one of my classes was just canceled, so I'm taking advantage of the downtime to make a quick entry.

As far as chapter 21 of TRD (as yet untitled), I'm 620 words into it and moving along as smoothly as circumstances allow. An update is expected weekend after this, workload permitting.

Oh, and one more quick note: a number of reviewers have been asking me whether/when Cole is going to develop an active/offensive power. I've worked this out in my timeline--finally!--and it's slated to occur within the "Oh My Goddess" rework.

Another (though less) common question: will Chris feature in TRD? Yes--as excluding him would A) incense a number of readers and B) necessitate rebuilding more or less the entirety of the S6 conflict arc from scratch, he'll be showing up on schedule in "Oh My Goddess."

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Sep. 7th, 2006 01:02 am Chapter 20 Posted; New Update Schedule...

Okay, so Monday turned into Thursday--you all know the drill by now--but chapter 20 ("Making Connections") is finally up! Bit of a cliffhanger on this one, I'm afraid, but I'll try not to keep you waiting as long for the next chapter as I did for this one (and I mean that, because I'm really looking forward to writing it)! It should cover the exact nature of Phoebe and Cole's link, and exactly what it does for each of them in some detail.

Right. Anyway, as I said on FF.N (for those who don't read the Author's Notes), updates are expected bimonthly now, not weekly. It's more than I can do to produce a chapter every week with my schedule and scholastic responsibilities being what they currently are, and it's not fair to any of you to raise expectations that I can and fail to deliver on them.

That said, it's after one in the morning, and I still have an assignment to finish and a few hours of sleep to squeeze in before my 9:25 class.

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Aug. 31st, 2006 11:59 pm Scholastic Time Constraints and Chapter 20...

One week of school down (I'm fortunate enough to have Fridays off this semester, though not necessarily for recreational purposes, the way things are shaping up), and it's already clear that my work is going to be more time-consuming than I'd originally thought.

How time-consuming, you ask? Enough that today's is the first writing session I've had time for this all this week--and the writing I did today, I did on sheer willpower. I want very much to complete chapter 20 this weekend, and if my time is going to be so limited, the only recourse is to make productive use of what little time I have.

As far as my progress: the Crone's replacement accomplice has been written out--she has enough personality to stand alone, and really does work better that way (good help is so hard to find in the Underworld these days). I've completed the 'confrontation' stage of the scene, and am moving into its aftermath. From there...well, you'll see.

Bottom line? Probability of a Sunday (or possibly Monday) update is looking fairly high.

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Aug. 27th, 2006 09:58 pm Chapter 20 in Progress...

Sorry to have been out of touch for so long--Real Life (specifically back-to-school preparations) has been eating up far too much of my time lately. As far as my progress with TRD, I'm 1458 words into chapter 20 (tentatively titled "Making Connections"), and am really pleased with it.

By the way, writing from Deaf!Phoebe's PoV has been a really interesting experience...any of you who enjoy experimenting with writing, omit one of your viewpoint character's senses/physical capabilities and try to compensate. It's a bit challenging, but it's fun.

That's about it for now, since I'm extremely tired...in any case, I anticipate posting late this week (hopefully by the weekend) if my scholastic obligations permit. Once more, my apologies for the delay.

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Aug. 20th, 2006 11:49 pm Chapter 19 and Prologue Posted, Plus Foreshadowing...

Chapter 19 ("Struck Senseless") is posted, along with chapter 1's new prologue, and all chapters have been edited, polished, and received small additions. So if any of you feel like re-reading from the beginning, this is the ideal time! (And those who don't, please, at least read the prologue.)

Right. In any case, we're gearing up toward the active stage of our latest demonic plot with the next chapter--that and, I think, finally discovering the exact nature of the lingering connection between Cole and Phoebe (or its effects, to be more to the point). I have the urge to laugh evilly in anticipation of unveiling this one, but I'll restrain myself.

From there, we should have handfasting plans (I've put together a lovely ceremony) and preparations for Wyatt's Wiccaning--which, by the way, involves rather more than either Charmed child's conveyed, but that'll be plain enough when you read the rework. May I just say I'm really looking forward to writing a chapter that includes Grams?

And Phoebe's pregnancy (or its revelation, at least) isn't too terribly far ahead...

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Aug. 18th, 2006 01:19 am Chapter 19 in Progress, a Prologue and Some Reworking...

Home again as of Tuesday and now 1971 words into chapter 19 (now definitively titled "Struck Senseless"). I've also written a prologue to TRD as a whole (in Light Magic's PoV, just for a change/stylistic experiment), which I plan to stick onto the chapter 1 file when I update with chapter 19. I'm thinking of replacing all the existing chapters with more polished versions, and may do that as well.

The chapter is coming along nicely--it's clearly outlined, but not in so much detail as to prove constricting to any changes the plot should feel it requires, and is following a steady course. I'm having a lot of fun with this rework--"Sense and Sense Ability" was one of the few S5 episodes I actually enjoyed--and look forward to posting it.

On that note, I should be able to update late this weekend--sorry for the delay, but Real Life (work especially) has been more than a little hectic. On the bright side, I have one more week off than I thought I did, so there might be time to get chapter twenty up before school starts, all conditions being ideal. (And yes, I know they seldom are...but a girl can hope, can't she?)

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Aug. 11th, 2006 11:29 pm Away this Weekend...

Just a quick notice to let you all know that there will, unfortunately, not be an update this weekend--I'll be visiting a relative in Maryland and won't be able to work on TRD. Chapter 19 should be posted by the end of next week, after which school starts again (damn), so I may have to settle into a new update schedule, depending on my workload.

In any case, I have to get to bed, or else I won't be awake in time to catch my train in the morning.

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Aug. 11th, 2006 12:13 am Chapter 19 in Progress...

As of today, I'm working in earnest on chapter 19 (tentatively titled "Struck Senseless"), and am now 983 words into it. As you can probably tell, I've elected to skip writing an introspective "acclimating to baby" chapter (we can acclimate to the baby a few paragraphs at a time over a series of chapters instead) and skipping several weeks of written time to move right into my "Sense and Sense Ability" rework.

Because lower-level demons are now barred from the house, the Crone is no longer working with the Kazi king, so I had to come up a suitable replacement with the ability to breach the ward. (By the way, have any other writers noticed how difficult it is to find a demon powerful enough to be a real threat that hasn't already been vanquished?) I found one, however, and am very pleased with it.

If any of you have been wondering when I'm going to bring up the ramifications of Phoebe and Cole's link, it should be within the next chapter or two, and I think you'll like the twist--I know I do! I'm also toying with the idea of advancing Cole's powers at some point in the not-so-distant future, but think that, in light of what I'm about to do (you'll all know when you see it) that that might be overkill...

*grin* Intrigued yet?

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Aug. 7th, 2006 05:01 pm Chapter 18 Posted; Chapter 19 Plans...

Posted chapter 18 ("Beautiful is the Child") at approximately 4:00 A.M. today, detailing the hours up to and including Wyatt's birth. I was exhausted all day--which work didn't help--but it was worth it! I'm satisfied with the way the chapter came out, especially as it was so long in coming. Still, all the research I did ultimately paid off: I achieved a medically accurate labor and birth (although, granted, I did skip over the delivery of the placenta).

I have tentative plans to start chapter 19 (as yet untitled) today, but they hinge on my ability to stay awake awhile longer, which I'm not sure is going to happen without far more caffeine than I currently have available. In any case, chapter 19 begins a short "acclimating to newborn in household" period, which should last for a chapter or two before I move into the previously mentioned "demons after the baby" conflict arc. There'll be more to it than that, of course, but I don't want to spoil anything for you...

I've refined my plans for the story's scope: TRD will go through S6, covering Phoebe's pregnancy and a short period after it, then cut to an epilogue taking place some years in the future. (This leaves the possibility of an S7-8 story open, depending on my Muse and my scholastic workload.) This seems, thus far, like the most logical way to handle things.

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Aug. 3rd, 2006 10:44 pm Mid-Chapter Troubleshooting and TRD's Scope...

I know I said I'd post Monday or Tuesday, and that it's nearly Friday now. My apologies--"best-laid plans" and all--but we're in the middle of a heat wave (the thermometer hit 104 F/40 C at one point yesterday), and all my energy's been going into staying at a semi-tolerable temperature. I have been working on the chapter, but given that my mood and energy level tends to affect my writing...

Well. Let's just say I really need to rework most of what I wrote today, as I didn't intend for Phoebe and Cole to have an angsty conversation during the 'birth' chapter--indeed, I wanted to put off that particular angsty conversation for at least a few more chapters, and in this case, at least, I think I'd better stick to my original plan. In any case, you can reasonably expect a weekend update, one way or another.

Once this chapter is done, I can start gearing up toward material I've been wanting to write since this story's conception--adaptations of "Sense and Sense Ability", "Necromancing the Stone" (Grams is such a fun character to work with) and some other significant Phoebe/Cole milestones. By the way, I finally decided what to do about the "Oh My Goddess" dilemma--it's going to be included, along with some reworked S6 episodes (S7-8 are still up in the air for now). I'm not sure whether I'm crazy or just masochistic, increasing the scale of what's already my largest project to date, but I know myself...one way or another, I'd end up doing it, so I may as well just commit.

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Jul. 30th, 2006 01:39 am Chapter 18 and Imbolc...

Added another couple hundred words to chapter 18...I'm beginning to think I really should have begun when Piper was already in active labor, as opposed to lying in bed waiting for active labor to start (especially considering passive labor can take up to 20 hours in first-time mothers). As it is, though, she is where she is, and I really don't want to start over. I'll just skip a few hours of passive labor to avoid boring any of you (and myself).

I was initially at a bit of a loss as far as what the rest of the family was supposed to be doing while waiting for Piper's labor to start, but then I remembered that Wyatt was born on Imbolc, which I could have going on in the background.

I cut the religious elements out, of course--I don't want to offend, and Charmed always made a point of avoiding theology--but at its core, it's a celebration of growth and renewal as winter wraps up and spring begins. Ergo, I have them observing the sabbat by placing a lit candle on each windowsill (this is traditionally done on the evening of Feb. 1, and the candles are allowed to burn out) and doing some spring cleaning--another traditional activity, and conducive to some nice conversations between the characters, as sweeping, dusting and etc. don't require a lot of concentration.

I hope to wrap up in time to post tomorrow evening, but may be delayed until Monday or Tuesday. Overall, though, I'm satisfied with my progress, and looking forward to sharing the chapter with you.

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Jul. 25th, 2006 10:18 pm Chapter 18 and More Birth Plans...

I did some work on chapter 18 yesterday--just a few paragraphs' worth, but they were excellent paragraphs (I'm currently in the middle of a pre-birth conversation between Phoebe and Piper), so I consider it time well spent. Scenes involving the whole family can be a bit more difficult to work with, since there are more personalities in play and not all will interact peacefully (if that's the mood I want for the scene; in any other case, I'm happy to sit back and watch the fireworks). However, I don't have that problem here--the sisters are comfortable and in tune with one another, and it reads that way.

I also have a definite "birth plan" for Piper now, so I know what I'm doing as far as the amount of time spent in each phase of labor, the position of Piper's body during labor (for those of you who find miscellaneous facts interesting, lying flat on her back in a bed is just about the worst position a woman can labor in, as it robs her of the benefit of gravity in aiding the baby in its descent through the pelvis and birth canal), and what I'm giving her in terms of pain relief. I still need to look up a few things on the Apgar scale for post-birth, but know where to get that information, so I'll put it on tomorrow's agenda.

For now, though, my goal is to manage to get to bed before 3:00 A.M. I switched my day off from Wednesday to Friday this week (which I really hope wasn't a mistake) and fully expect work to be hectic, so I'll need to get up tomorrow with more energy than I currently have.

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Jul. 24th, 2006 02:45 am Thanks and Some Research Notes...

First off, my heartfelt thanks to all of chapter 17's reviewers--I saved your comments to read on my birthday and rode the resulting wave of euphoria all day long.

In any case, I spent most of today doing a few more hours' worth of research on the details of childbirth (which I won't bore you with here), and have started on chapter 18. I'm only about a page into it, but it's flowing well and shouldn't take more than two or three more productive afternoons to finish, depending on my energy level.

That's about it for now, as I'm going to be asleep on my feet at work tomorrow if I don't go to sleep now.

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Jul. 21st, 2006 01:25 am Chapter 17 Posted Early!

Chapter 17 is posted early! This should give everyone plenty of time to review, and--hopefully--make up a bit for the lateness of the previous chapter. (Once more, my sincere apologies for that.)

To reiterate from my last entry, I'm extremely pleased with this one--the amount of research that went into putting that ritual together would probably strike most people as slightly insane, but I enjoy research, and the detail it lets me infuse my writing with is (and I think you'll agree) well worth the time.

Next chapter should be the "birth" chapter--I know I said I wanted to be in Cole's PoV for that, but it's time Wyatt finally made an entrance, because he's going to be at the center of the primary conflict arc (a.k.a. 'demons are after the baby!') for the next few chapters. Besides, I found another way around the 'dislike of writing birth from midwife's viewpoint' issue...I'm not going to spoil it, but it works well.

I also have a subplot I've introduced with this latest chapter that should be around for two or three chapters (with more lasting repercussions). It's another brainstorm I'm really thrilled with, because in all the stories I've read, I haven't seen it done. Anyway, from there, we should start gearing up into handfasting plans, probably shortly after the events of "Sense and Sense Ability."

Still contemplating the "Oh My Goddess" issue--if I go that far, I'm probably going to end up segueing into season 6 (and possibly through the rest of the series). I didn't intend to do that when I was in TRD's planning stages, and I'm unsure whether I have the time to commit to a full three seasons of rewriting...on the other hand, I know there are a lot of episodes I'd have tons of fun with, so I'm not going to be completely satisfied, no matter what I do.

Decisions, decisions...

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Jul. 18th, 2006 03:21 am Chapter 17 (and its Subplot)...

I seem to be making up for nearly two months of writer's block and Real Life all at once--chapter 17 of TRD (definitively titled "Five Together Stand Entwined") is complete in rough form and ready for preliminary editing first thing in the morning, so there'll be no need to worry about another lengthy wait...I'll post as planned on Sunday (or perhaps on Friday, because my birthday's Saturday and I'd love a present in form of feedback--and yes, I know I'm shameless).

I love chapter 17 perhaps the most of any I've written yet, and I've woven a really nice subplot into it that I can hardly wait to see if you'll see coming--all I'll say is that it covers (among other things) the performance of chapter 16's ritual in its full form. Anything more than that and I'd spoil it too much...

In any case, I've written enough for one night (or morning, technically). I'm off tomorrow, and so I'll see if chapter 18 also wants to be written in advance--but for now, I need to get a little sleep.

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Jul. 17th, 2006 02:35 am Chapter 16 Posted!

CHAPTER 16 IS POSTED! Pardon the capitals, but I'm just that happy about it--you would not believe how great I feel right now! (Of course, part of that could be hyperactivity due to sleep deprivation, as it's now nearly 3:00 A.M., but let's not go there.) I'm back on my regular writing schedule, inspiration has finally struck, and it should be clear sailing until school starts back up in late August.

There's a lot of ground to cover between now and then, of course: Wyatt's birth, the general adjustment of the entire household to the presence of a baby, handfasting plans, the actual handfasting ceremony, Phoebe's own pregnancy--not that we haven't all been anticipating these things since the onset--and of course my own adaptation of the demonic-attempts-on-Wyatt debacle. (I'm looking forward to reworking "Sense and Sense Ability" and "Necromancing the Stone"--I'm still undecided, however, on whether or not to go as far as "Oh My Goddess.")

Right now, though, I'm going to congratulate myself on a job well done and try to squeeze in four hours of sleep before I have to get up for work...I'm hoping to come home to lots of feedback!

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Jul. 16th, 2006 12:46 am Chapter 16 Breakthrough!

Yes, I know it's been awhile, but I have great news! I have hit a breakthrough with Chapter 16 (now definitively titled "Preparations Begin"), and it's about 70% complete! A few new plot points have popped up (who knew spontaneity was such a great thing?), and I've moved emphasis off protection during the magic-outage--which I've taken care of--and onto protection before and after it, even going so far as to design a lovely ritual for the purpose. (That'll almost definitely be included, but as with anything I post here, I reserve the right to change my mind.)

As for the delivery date itself, I think having a baby is enough stress for one day. Any demonic attacks that are going to occur aren't going to be on the day of the birth. The way I see it, demons would have to be stupid to attack while they're essentially powerless. Yes, they have the advantage of numbers, but if a horde of odd-looking men and women in black show up on Halliwell Manor's front lawn carrying weapons, someone is going to call the authorities, and they hardly want their cover blown. If they want to get to the baby...well, I explain this in the chapter, so I'm not going to spoil it.

Thanks to all of you again for your patience--if all goes well, I should be able to post sometime on Sunday.

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Jul. 5th, 2006 01:49 am Chapter 16 and Birth Plans...

I spent the 4th with the family, so didn't get a chance to work on TRD. Fortunately, I'm off from work today, so I can devote at least a few hours to wrapping up chapter 16, now tentatively titled "Preparations Begin."

By the way, I figured out what was making the chapter so difficult. Looking over my outline again, I saw that it was overly ambitious--I had at least two chapters' worth (probably three) of material crammed into just one, and was failing to compress it to my satisfaction. As of now, I've resigned myself to chapter breaks--one chapter devoted to preparing for the magic-outage, and another for the actual birth, possibly with one between them.

The only problem with that is that if I do break it up into three chapters, I'm going to end up back in Phoebe's PoV during the birth, and though I have (surprise!) done research and taken notes, I'd rather not have to write a realistic description of childbirth from the viewpoint of the midwife. Contrary to the impression conveyed by the three minutes devoted to Wyatt's birth in "The Day the Magic Died", we all know delivering a baby is a long and uncomfortable process.

The advantage of writing two chapters instead of three, then, is that the "birth" chapter will be in Cole's PoV--and by that, I mean that the birth will be written from outside the delivery room, and the narrative voice can be a little more detached about the whole process, so it'd be easy for me to skip the messy details of delivery and cut right to the obligatory "beatific mother holding newborn" scene.

You know...the more I contemplate that idea, the better I like it.

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Jul. 3rd, 2006 06:59 pm Chapter 16 and Handfasting Plans...

I'd say I'm about 40% of the way through chapter 16 of TRD (as yet untitled), and will continue to work on it this afternoon and tomorrow. I won't spoil it for you, but it's coming along very nicely...the characters are cooperating again, and though what I'm writing now is somewhat different than my outline dictates, I know better than to argue. If the story wants to drive itself for a while, I'll let it.

I spent most of yesterday evening laying plans for Phoebe and Cole's handfasting--a somewhat difficult scene, as I want to satisfy everyone who's reading for the romance without degenerating into oversentimentality. I have some experience with ritual design, but still must have gone over at least fifty different examples (yes, I enjoy research. How could you tell?).

In the end, I removed the religious elements--i.e., the invocation of the God and Goddess--from the proceedings, as Charmed went to great pains not to involve any theology. I did, however, include the invocation of the Elements, which I felt was a reasonable compromise. (Oh, and by the way, I'm extremely pleased with how their vows came out. They took some time, but the result, I feel, is well worth it.)

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Jul. 2nd, 2006 07:46 pm Introduction...

Okay. I created this journal to keep all my readers in the loop where "Two Roads Diverged" (hereafter TRD for convenience) is concerned, especially as I haven't updated in over a month. Am I ashamed of myself? Yes...and I probably should be.

So here's the latest: I have not abandoned the story, nor do I intend to. I have been working on it, but family and workplace commitments (a.k.a. Real Life) have unfortunately had to come first. I write when I can, but I obviously don't write quickly. (It doesn't help that this chapter is shaping up to be difficult to write in any case, but that's another matter.) When I manage to lure my Muse out of hiding, you'll all be informed.

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