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More housekeeping

For no good reason, I think I'm going to start friends-locking entries that discuss the premise of the story in any depth. Not even the [spoiler], just How My Story Is Different. Typical writer paranoia, what can I say. It's not even like locking does all that much good, but, you know: at least you can't say, "I wish I'd thought to do that." Thus, you should be able to go back and see the previous entry again; I'm pretty sure everyone on the comm is friended back. If that doesn't work, you can make sure you're joined up as well; I've removed entry-posting abilities, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Also, to make this entry have any point at all, I transcribed "The Yellow Ribbon" a while back for the wiki--eventually there'll be a rosehannah wiki, but not just yet. Anyway, it's on Cleoland for the moment, for people who remember that story from their childhoods but haven't come across it since. This is the first version I read as a kid; it doesn't really have anything to do with Black Ribbon other than "girl who wears a ribbon around her neck," but I chose the title so it'd ook people out who have read some version of the children's story.

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Ask a Stupid Question

Okay, I have persistently tried to avoid mentioning what the Black Ribbon series is actually about, because I was kind of curious to see whether I could keep people on the hook for the first two (three? I can't remember) chapters until it's revealed, and because [spoiler topic] is kind of polarizing--that is, a lot of people assume they know what it's all going to be about when they hear the word [spoiler], including my own mother ("Oh God, that again?"). And part of the problem is that, if I start talking about it openly, I'll never know if keeping it a secret would have made a difference, because it'll be too late. Which is a long winded way of saying: I'm doing a lot of [spoiler] research right now, particularly in terms of how it was actually viewed at the time in the 19th century, the information that was available then, and I'd like to post it here like all the other research topics. But... well. So my question is, to you few who are reading at the moment: Have you already read the chapters online, and therefore the question is moot? If you haven't, do you care if I talk about it now? Am I being entirely too precious about the whole thing?

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Victorian drugs and alcohol, part 2

So, part two of two: I was at Madame Talbot's looking at the Absinthe Devil poster again, and I came down with a sudden urge to look it up on Wikipedia, which had a really beautiful picture of a half-filled glass and spoon. I mean, the photo's pretty simple and modern, but it just really struck me. So I then decided to search "absinthe" on flickr. (Can one flickr something the way one can google something?) And browsing flickr led me to this, linked in text under someone's photo: the Wormwood Society. Trufax: Recent progress in distillation means that some brands of absinthe--which is not actually banned by name in the U.S.--meet the legal standards to be sold here. Also, "the terrifying hallucinations suffered by early absinthe abusers were most likely due to the withdrawal symptoms of acute alcoholism: alcoholic hallucinosis, or, the DTs. There are no psychedelic or psychotropic ingredients in authentic absinthe. Absinthe is not a drug." Ergo, someone who didn't already have an alcohol problem to produce alcoholic hallucinosis probably wouldn't start tripping in the first place. Much like the legend of Limehouse as A Den of Oriental Iniquity, absinthe seems to have gotten a bad cautionary rep as well. Which, again: more for me to have fun with, if the legend isn't the truth.

It's highly unlikely that thousands of people were tripping their brains out every dayCollapse )

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Victorian drugs and alcohol, part 1

More opium and apothecary research, this time courtesy of Madame Talbot's. She's a wonderful artist (I believe she's trademarked the phrase "Victorian Lowbrow") who produces posters, collages curios, sells vintage items, and designs web pages, all among other things. I've had her bookmarked for a while, and while there's a number of things there I'd like to link to in the context of this scrapbook/journal, they're kind of... spoilery. Which, I guess, goes to the heart of my dilemma as to whether I should go ahead and just say, "Yes, this is what the story is about. You find it out by the end of what is now chapter two. I wanted it to be a surprise, but you find it out soon enough." It puts the story into a genre that automatically turns some people off but turns a lot of people on, so I don't really know what to do, and I don't know how valuable it is as a surprise. At the same time, I think it could be really valuable to talk about dealing with and working within that genre. Thoughts?

Meanwhile, actual Victorian-era items Madame Talbot sells or has sold at her site. Read more...Collapse )

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On expanding the Stereotypically Cryptic Asian Wise Man

This week's research:

East London East London's 'yellow peril.'

Photographic evidence of Chinese dress in the 19th century, with an emphasis on the men's page.

Chinese herbology; Chinese patent medicine; 50 fundamental herbs.

London's opium dens--and this last link reveals (insofar as you can take internet resources as hard fact) that "the London press, along with popular British authors of the day, were fond of portraying London's Limehouse district as an opium-drenched pit of danger and mystery. In fact, London's Chinese population never exceeded the low hundreds, in large contrast to the tens of thousands of Chinese who settled in North American Chinatowns." Which is particularly exciting news for me, because it means I can do a fresh(er) take on a very storied location.

Obviously I'd like to do more in-depth research on this--you know, involving actual books--but in the interest of keeping my momentum going, internet crash-course it is.

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Wednesday evening, wondering what to tackle next

After some discussion, I decided that it might be a good idea to use this journal/comm as a kind of writer's scrapbook--things that inspired me, gave me ideas, or reflect (after the fact) an aspect of the Black Ribbon world. I mean, hey, if nothing else, it gives you something to look at while I work on the Summer 2007 Revisions Zomg. So I'll just post a link or an image now and then, partly to show you and partly to record for me.

From my primary journal the other day:
From juniper_75: A gallery of "Steam-Driven Dreams: The Wondrously Whimsical World of Steampunk," including modified desktop computers, a blog feed telegraph sounder, The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello, and A WEREWOLF RESEARCH KIT ZOMG. And, in that vein, from kosher_jenny, "The 20,000 Leagues-inspired office, complete with a couch built from cuddly tentacles."
If you've ever wondered what "steampunk" actually is, this is your chance to see it in action.

And then: the one picture I've found that looks exactly like the Rose Hannah in my head: Read more...Collapse )

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