A New Mass Effect Fic: The Precedent

Two years before Eden Prime, Saren enlists Nihlus’s help to get an old friend out of some serious trouble. But it’s only the tip of the iceberg. How far will he go to ensure the success and secrecy of his misguided quest?

This is the story I timidly announced some time ago. I’ve been brewing the concept for it since 2013, but only dared try my hand with it now. Writing it was surprisingly smooth and easy (though it did take three months of daily work). It seems I’ve forgotten, again, what a joy it is to write new stories, compared to the struggle of continuing and/or salvaging the old. Despite the dark themes, The Precedent was a breath of fresh air.

Read it here, or on AO3.

Image: I was wrong by PaleCaesar

Sentence Length Colorizer for Microsoft Word

In the image above is a famous quote from Gary Provost’s “100 Ways to Improve Your Writing”. One of them is to avoid stacking sentences of the same length one after another, since that makes for boring reading. Coloring the text based on sentence length is a useful visual tool to help an author or an editor identify such potentially boring passages and revise them. I found several web-based tools that do this (here’s an example) but I don’t much like the mechanics of pasting my text into a browser, possibly many times, as I revise. There might also be some commercial products that offer this service, but I didn’t research that.

Instead, I made my own sentence length colorizer for Microsoft Word, and if you’d like, you can use it too!

Continue reading Sentence Length Colorizer for Microsoft Word

Rename Retcon

One of my shortest and probably least well-known stories, Directed, features an original asari character named Olte, in the role of young Saren’s biotics instructor. She also appears in Sound of Silence, where, after the blowout in Unnerved and Unnerving and before the catharsis in The Candidate, Saren, now adult and already in service of Sovereign, seeks her company and council. Lastly, she is mentioned a couple times in my latest & greatest work, Thinker Traitor Soldier Spectre. It’s not much screentime, relative to the volume of my Saren/Nihlus verse, but she steps in the spotlight in a couple of important stories I’ve been nurturing in my mind for years, just haven’t written yet.

Well, one of those stories is getting written now, and in it, Olte will go by a new name: Elethea. I’ve already retconned all her past appearances to reflect the change.

Why do I want to rename her, you ask? Because, last year, my good friend Gladius, who is not a fan of asari, pointed out that Olte sounds a lot like the German word Alte, which means old. While Elethea is, in fact, quite old, at least by the standards of the humans, turians, and other short-lived sentients of the Mass Effect setting (well within the matron phase, which is upwards of 350 years of age), old is not the association I have for her, and I don’t want my readers, German or not, to have it either.

So I looked for something similar, but with a different sound, and different connotations, and found the word Elete (Greek: Ηλετη, meaning either “Grinding” (aletos), or “Prayer” (litê)). As most asari names end with an “a” (and because it’s easier to pronounce), this evolved into Elethea. I can still imagine a contraction that might sound like her old name—and that’s good enough for me.

What’s the new story about, you want to know? Shockingly—it’s about love and betrayal. Working title: The Precedent; current word-count: circa 8000; ETA: unknown.

The Suicide Mission

I always wanted to know what the other fire team was doing during the attack on the Collector Base at the end of Mass Effect 2. This is a nine-chapter retelling of the suicide mission, from Garrus’s point of view.

It was written so long ago that I remember almost nothing about the process or the circumstances. I know I wrote it quickly, with minimal fussing, and I was pleasantly surprised by how solid it is when I read it recently. Apart from one other story, which has only ever been posted on the Mass Effect Kink Meme, this is the last of my creations that has not been published here till now.

Read it here and enjoy!

Image: Scars by Shade-of-Stars

NaNo 2019 Musings

In the previous post, I announced that this year I would be doing a modified Nano thing, whereby I’d try to complete the rewrite of the Nano 2011 draft for my story Ghost in the Machine. Tl;dr: I did not “win” Nano and I did not finish Ghost. I did write almost every day of November and I did draft two new chapters. But I’m thoroughly uninspired to go on with it.

Continue reading NaNo 2019 Musings