[Contest] Writing the Correspondence!

[color=#ffffff]Writing the Correspondence; A Contest of Pen and Prose - Sponsored by Mssrs. D’Alterac and Winters.[/color]

A writing contest! It is a fairly simple premise, but humour me an explanation. One thing most greatly to be admired of Fallen London is the quality, depth, and dry, sarcastic wit of its writing, which ultimately forms the very backbone of not just the game, but of our own experiences within the Stolen City.

Of late, that writing has inspired me to take up my keyboard and word processor (metaphorically) and compose shorts of my own. When trying to find places to put these writings, however, my initial search came up somewhat short. Mr Pages Fabularities is, of course, one worthy home, but it is but one. Another home for prose based on Fallen London I was directed to was Archive of our Own, but even between these two, I notice a curious dearth of material. I am unsure why there is comparitively little fanficition based on Fallen London, when measured against other fandoms, and perhaps it is down to the stellar quality of the game’s own writing. Some would, understandably, find it off-putting to try and add their penny’s worth to such a bulk of delicious literary morsels!

However, I would like to encourage those authors hiding in the labyrinthine streets of our fair city, both budding and experienced, to put their pen to paper and tell the stories the Bazaar so longs to hear!

[color=#ffffff]But I Can’t Write! Not as Well as Some of These Other Fellows Seem to.[/color]

Pish-posh! Poppycock! Balderdash! I care not for your grammar or syntax (wonderful tools as they are), nor for your originality (for ‘there can be nothing new, nothing unthought, beneath the gaze of the Judgement’). Like the Bazaar, I care for your passion. A story told a thousand times with characters familiar to even the youngest children can still inspire!

[color=#ffffff]The Theme:[/color]

The theme myself and my co-host have decided upon is an open one: The Correspondence. Eligible entries must, in some way, contain a mention of, or revolve around, the Correspondence. It may be the driving force of your tale, or a token that sits in the background, unnoticed and unseen. You may wish to pen a tale of a lover who is inspired by a morning glance at the burning vanes of the Bazaar, or the drudgeries of a man from the Ministry of Public Decency as he burns yet another treatise on the script. Perhaps your lead is an actress, chosen to play the part of the Phoenix in the Seventh Letter. Maybe they are a zailor who saw something written on the waves that no amount of Bottled Oblivion will ever erase.

The details, of course, are your own.

[color=#ffffff]The Constraints:[/color]

All entrants will have thirty days from the time of this topic’s posting to complete their entries. That is: [color=#ffffff]the contest is open until 9/04/14.[/color]

If you wish to enter, [color=#ffffff]please post your entry below, in this topic, using the following format[/color]:

I debated whether or not there should be a word limit, but for the sake of a guideline I have decided to impose a [color=#ffffff]minimum length of 2,000 words, with no upper limit. Entries of under 2,000 words will still be accepted, but will not be considered for prizes.[/color]


Yes, prizes! You may (or may not) have seen this topic. There was method in my textile madness. You, yes, you, may well be the lucky (or perhaps unlucky, depending on how flammable your hair and/or furniture is) new owner of these fine items!

[color=#ffffff]1st Place[/color] - The 1st place entrant will receive my ‘Sampler of the Correspondence’, and a Box of a Hundred Wonders, sponsored by Mr. Winters.

[color=#ffffff]2nd Place[/color] - The 2nd place entrant will receive a ‘Correspondence &quotPlaque&quot’ of their own choice, sewn by me. They may choose to receive any one of the eight Correspondence Sigils that feature in the official Fallen London merchandise. They will also receive a Box of a Hundred Wonders, sponsored by Mr. Winters.

[color=#ffffff]3rd Place[/color] - The 3rd place entrant will also receive a ‘Correspondence &quotPlaque&quot’ with the same stipulations.

[color=#ffffff]My Mind is Aflame with the Possibilities! And Possibly the Script![/color]

That’s the spirit! This is the burning passion (or just plain burning) I wanted to see. Write! Write until you are forced to daub yourself with the Cessation of Hands![li]
edited by Armand D’Alterac on 3/10/2014

Only eighteen days left to enter!

(I hope someone does. ._.)

Oh. OH. I want to do this, very much–travelling and frantically busy, so will do my best, but really, what a splendid idea.

Completely forgot about the deadline. Ergh. I’m definitely in.

Ahhh I didn’t see this before. Definitely consider me signed in for this. I’ll most likely have a story for this done within the week!

I’m not surprised there’s relatively little fic on the Archive of Our Own for FL; the canon is large and difficult to access, and the narrative voice is very distinct. The two of those together are fairly large barriers to entry when it comes to fic.

I wish I had the time. I have 4 billion projects already being juggled - were the deadline 2015, I’d totally be there …
edited by babelfishwars on 3/23/2014

I think I’ll be trying this. Inbetween many other commitments, its’ true, but I’ll definitely be trying it.

Hello, delicious friends and fellow writers.[li]
Here is my humble entry.

&quotStolen Correspondence&quot
by one Sam Powick
of 2145 words.

A small insight into spherical shortages, Summerset scholars, and the problems that occur when you mix the Correspondence with a deviless, the University, and Lenguals of dubious origin. Oh, and of course, no story is complete without a dark alleyway on a dark…night?

If anyone wishes to avail themselves of my attempt, your reasons are your own, as is the risk. You may do so here.
Warning: Contains no small number of in-game references.

EXCLAIMER: I have done a reasonable amount of research to ensure that my references and depictions are accurate as much as possible, however it is inevitable that I will have written something that conflicts with the game, or another person’s writing, simply because I haven’t completed the game yet, will have missed or forgotten storylets, and what I have covered is difficult to re-access. I tried :)

While writing this, it was extremely obvious to me why there has been so little fan-fiction written set in Fallen London. The writing is stellar, yes, and the plot still hasn’t been completed, it’s very hard to find things again once you have played them, and if, like me, you haven’t reached the game’s content boundary yet, it’s hard not to mutilate some character’s storyline. I tried to keep away from major characters for that reason.

Thank you!
A humble penman.

edited by Xamadot on 3/26/2014[/li][li]
edited by Xamadot on 3/26/2014

Oh goodness me, reading the previous entry makes me think I have misunderstood the… No matter. If we all wrote the same, it’d be a dull place, right? I present my entry (with hearty thanks to Sam Powick up there for making me not the first to do so, alleviating my nerves a little).

Penned by Lucinda Diaz
Count of 2123 words.

An illuminating window into studying the language of flames. Inspired by both the failure and success outcomes for Understanding the Correspondence through risky methods, a foolhardy scholar does some very unwise things while a disapproving observer of unknown origins (and a penchant for fire) comments on the folly.

NOTE FROM THE SO-CALLED AUTHOR: It’s… of shoddy quality, with far too many descriptors and commas, but my mind was alight with words reading the prompt, so I had to put it out here. It mostly wrote itself, and at least shouldn’t burn your eyes out through sheer terribleness. If aren’t the sort who likes reading about fire and people meeting, you might want to skip this one, and… maybe about eye stuff? I’m not too sure about content warnings, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’d edit it more, improve it and get a dedicated beta maybe, but I’m on the verge of consigning it to the flames itself if I try. Any critique, issues and conflicts with lore, or misplaced words would be highly appreciated via comment, though I will not edit further since it’s a contest and because I’d probably just delete the whole thing.

there is no happy ending for fools and ghosts.
Melena Tempest
Count of 3529 words.

“Mum told him to never ever ever look at the signs but she’s dead now.” Or how the Polysemous Painter loses his mother to the water and how he tries to cope, told in snippets of days and backwards time.

( Day -1461 )

You have no idea how happy I was to see that I misread it and saw there is no maximum word requirements for this. I hope people enjoy the work! I decided to make the Correspondence part of the story and not the story but plays an important part of the story still. I also decided to try and make this stand-alone as possible with some mentions of Fallen London flavour here and there since, as a lot of people have pointed out in the past and now, getting into the canon can be difficult so there was that to tackle. Hope this works out and is enjoyable to people who take the time to read it. Also to make it clear: The days that have negative numbers are when the main character is a child and the days with positive numbers are when he’s older but not any wiser.[li]
edited by ArtRulesAll on 3/30/2014

Oh dear. You’ve got me worried now. It was inevitable, after all. What did I do wrong?[/li][li]
edited by Xamadot on 3/27/2014

Just to allay any fears, there is no real “theme” to the contest, the only real stipulation is that your story must involve the Correspondence in some way (and as more than merely a passing reference).

Three entries so far! … Technically speaking that means you’re all currently guaranteed a prize!

I do hope this contest gets the dozens of entries it deserves. Actually, given how deadlines and writers work, there certainly will be at least a few during the very last days.

The Sermon and How it Raises from the Ashes
by HinterDemGlas
Words: 5383
The Misadventures of a gang of Orphans in Fallen London. There is fire involved, revenge, and, prominently, the Correspondence. Children die. Children live. A number of canon claymen makes their appearance. People are brained with bricks, repeatedly. There is at least one Spite mob happening in the streets. Drownies ahoy. Everybody involved learns a valuable lesson, except for the reader, and the author who may have forgotten several valuable lessons from the past. There are very few spoilers for the game involved, maybe none at all. There is a whole lot of adjectives involved, and a horde of presumably orphaned hyphens.

A link, again.

Author’s notes:

[spoiler]I hope nothing in here contradicts canon in a painful way. The Correspondence probably does… I know this story lacks a lot stuff, but writing in English is slow and hard and I have no desire to spend more time on it for now. Please report any grammatical errors so I can fix them. And any other glaring oversights, if you’re so inclined. Thank you![/quote]
edited by HinterDemGlas on 3/28/2014

Writing the unreadable, wonderful. I’m discovering this rather late but I will try to put something down, even if it be a poor and… oh, rot the authorial self-deprecation, I’ll stand out by saying MINE will be FANTASTIC.

Just over a week left! Eight days to be precise.

2652 words

Pressure on her skin, enough to leave a dent. Something takes shape, takes flame on her back.

Or: The Comtessa, and what happens after the story ends.

I feel like I should say something about this, but there’s really not much to say. I may have used up all my words in the fic. Although I doubt that there’ll ever be canon confirmation of this, I sincerely hope that what happens here isn’t true. There’s quite a bit of headcanon involved, and a lot of suffering (which leads to death, so do avoid if that’s not your cup of tea). It’s a Correspondence fic, that somehow manages to avoid mentioning it by name for the duration. To explain further would ruin the story. I tried to make it accessible to non-players while keeping FL’s sense of place, but I doubt how successful I was in that endeavor. Hopefully, it’s a good story anyway.

Also, watch for the moment of meta. May the hatkitty forgive me for that.

(And now, to finally read everyone else’s entries. It’s been very, very tempting to do so.)
edited by dismallyOriented on 4/2/2014

Curses, I’m not nearly finished and I will be busy with (real) archaeological endeavors until after the deadline. I look forward to reading the entries after my return & may post mine after the fact just for fun & feedback.

Noman’s Friend
Word Count: 3,131

You made something, beneath the Bazaar. It followed you home. It won’t last.

The Correspondence is not the subject of the story, but its relationship to lacre (which is) is important. I could say more, but the story should stand for itself, I guess. A blanket apology to canon, because I had to make stuff up, and also because this story doesn’t do nearly enough justice to the lore.

Any and all feedback is always appreciated. Edited to add: The summary is a quote from canon.
edited by Laburnum on 4/6/2014

A Smouldering Academic
2082 words

I don’t even care anymore. Here’s to screwing with canon and messing everything up because this was written late at night and with only a picture of Correspondence rocks for inspiration. I don’t even care if i got the prompt wrong. I am utterly unrepentant.