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Discussing: OMY Ch. 17 - On Merry Yule

OMY Ch. 17 - On Merry Yule

On Merry Yule
Warnings: None, really, except dealing with fallout of acts in previous chapters.

In which Bilbo surveys the damage, remembers the past, conducts a deal, confronts a problem, and exchanges gifts.

This is my "Yule" chapter in a more conventional sense, with a feast and gift-exchange. For those interested in the back-story I am creating on Bilbo for my stories, there are some glimpses of it part way through the chapter as he gets ready for the Yule feast and talks about events of his own youth with Frodo.

I was intrigued by Meg's Wassail song in her Middle-earth Yule story, and then had chance to hear a recording of the original song. It is a traditional English carol, but not one widely known in the US. It was so perfect in tone, language and themes that I stuck it in as part of the Yule feast.



Re: OMY Ch. 17 - On Merry Yule

Hi Anglachel! I actually spent most of Christmas Eve reading this story and I wanted to let you know how fantastic it is. (I enjoyed "Legacy" as well; I'm sorry I never left you any feedback for it.)

I think my favorite aspect of the story are the interactions between all the characters. They feel three-dimensional; Tolkien gave us their names but not much in regards to how they acted, so that gives a writer a great place to play in. All the major characters in this story are so well done -- Gilda is definitely my favorite, but I like the way that you've done Bilbo as well.

What I also enjoyed about it was that even though the sexual descriptions were graphic, you did an excellent job of examining the psychological impact it had on the characters. This story is no PWP; there's real things going on here and that's what makes it so intriguing.

I'm really looking forward to the next chapter.




Re: OMY Ch. 17 - On Merry Yule

[Ang does little happy dance at getting a message from Arien]

The Bridge is my favorite Bilbo-Frodo in Valinor stories. I have not yet worked up the nerve to attempt that setting - someday!

Well, I am working on prepping the next chapter. I am going to try to get the rest posted by New Years as I have a very hectic January coming up.

I like dialogue, so I love making my characters interact. Given that Bilbo is such a thoughtful and chatty fellow, he draws out the best in those around him. Gilda is one of my favorites, too. She is a character who demanded to be written and was ready with her cane if I drew her the wrong way. Ouch - that little old lady is awfully quick with the stick!

Frodo was a great challenge to write. I find that most "Young Frodo" stories tend to infantilize him too much (as I unfortunately did myself to Merry in an earlier chapter) (Oh, detail from JRRT - Hobbit children are walking and talking when they are approximately three years of age). Of course, I find this a problem in Hobbit writing generally (as Ariel has made note of in several posts) that writers are uncomfortable with Hobbits and often infantilize them and/or make them merely comic. I was greatly relieved to see PJ treating Merry and Pippin more seriously in TTT.

He is an adolescent, but a very smart one, and with an upsetting early life. It was difficult to find a voice for him that was his own, but also had some wide swings as he moves from being a sullen tween, to an engaged almost-adult, to very young and insecure, needing parental comfort. It was also imperative for me to stay away from Victim!Frodo even as there are people victimizing him. The core that will become the person who bears the Ring to Mordor is present in his craftiness, his resilience, but also his ability to maintain an open and honest heart, and his keen seense of justice. There is a scene in a later chapter that presages something in the quest. Look for it.

Treating the sexuality graphically, but not eroticizing it, was also difficult. I've written smut (yes, even Hobbit smut, no, it will never see the light of day) and this is very different. It is blunt, and relatively graphic, but it is never there for its own sake. There is something more than an orgasm at stake in each encounter, and the way in which sexuality (vs. having sex) is part of socio-political relations is something that I like making apparent. At the same time, these are characters I love, and whose feelings matter to me, so I don't simply want to torment them, and I hate seeing them unhappy. Even so, I am not at all a romantic, and I am willing to leave people with broken hearts if the story demands it.

I keep thinking to write the early romance of Gilda and Bilbo, which would be an opportunity for a nice Mary-Sueish story, but don't think I'll have time for the Challenge. Celandine is threatening to brain me if I don't write up Denethor next. Also, Rum just popped up on the invention radar and screwed up some early story lines very badly, which has to be taken into account. He's not nearly as wicked as I believed him to be.

Sigh, my characters are a demanding lot.

Thank you again for your kind comments,




Re: OMY Ch. 17 - On Merry Yule

I second what Arien said. I tend to think of Bilbo, Frodo, and the other characters as of real live people I am going to meet, when I read the story. That happens to me only if the characterization in a fiction is very three-dimensional and very convincing.



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