~ Voyager Story Notes ~

Some miscellaneous notes about my stories.

The Grey
I struggled a lot with this, although rather than rewriting parts I tended to add more words to try and change the shape of the piece.  The only part I fully deleted from the original draft was the beginning of a scene on the planet with Janeway and Chakotay lying outside looking up at the stars.  I rather like the comfortable friendship between the two characters and wanted that to come across, but when I found myself writing some complete crap about Chakotay's memories of stargazing with his father and Kathryn stargazing with her boyfriend I knew it had to go.  
The main difficulty I had with The Grey was trying to stretch Kathryn to the limit emotionally while still keeping her in character, although that challenge was really one of the reasons I wrote the story in the first place.  Unfortunately I  thought that displaying her weaker side to Chakotay was the best way to portray her complete trust in him, so she may have come across as a bit too much of a flaming wuss at times.  Still, I was also conscious that she shouldn't exactly be taking it all in her stride, either - finding the right balance between 'cool cucumber' and 'frantic maniac' caused a lot of headaches ("WTF?  The woman's up the duff halfway across the galaxy and she's making eyes at her colleague?  What am I thinking?!"), and I'm still not quite sure that I hit the mark.
When I was reading some stories I'd written years ago I noticed that I relied so heavily on dialogue to push the narrative that it got to the extent that some passages almost seemed like notes to trigger the memory of the scene I'd envisaged in my head.  In The Grey I made a conscious effort to add as much commentary as possible, which is partly why it drags a bit.
In some feedback I was asked why Q did what he did.  I realise it's really not explained in the fic - I thought either that Q reconciled with the lady Q or else that he realised Janeway and Chakotay were becoming close and decided to be nice and let them have a chance together without being burdened with his child, but I sort of forgot to put it in the fic.  It's long enough as it is, anyway. 
While writing this fic my music of choice was an instrumental album - the Sailormoon Music Fantasy.  In particular I listened to tracks 5 (Sailor Moon - Rendezvous) and 7 (New Wave Heroines) to get into the right mindset for the fic.
The place Chakotay and Kathryn visit on the Holodeck is real - it's in the village where I grew up and not far from where I live now.  Since it's a)by the sea and b)in Britain, it gets bloody cold and very windy at some points in the year.
The dig at Chakotay's 'ancient legend' during Kathryn's dream is probably my favourite part.  I have somewhat mixed feelings about that part of Resolutions - once upon a time I used to think it was the bee's knees, but now (after numerous viewings) I sometimes think it's a bit cheesy.
To conclude, I'll say again that I really don't like the title for this piece.  For the life of me, I could not think of an appropriate title - well, any title.  I tried to think of a title based on the plot content and came up with The Beige, as at that point I didn't think the plot was going anywhere and I was having trouble tying everything up to the end.  From that I decided that The Grey would be even more vague, and then realized the connection to the episode title.  So, even though Kathryn apparently looks better in beige, The Grey it was.

...and now that I'm quoting lines from Resolutions, I shall stop.  


Not much to say about this one - I had an image in my head of Janeway and Chakotay arguing in pouring rain and also wanted to try something post-Endgame, mostly because I drew a blank whenever I tried to think of how I would approach the subject.  My main concern is with my (w)angsty!Janeway - initially I intended her to be a bit confused and angry with herself, but I didn't really stick to that idea when I wrote it.  I tend to think that having strong feelings for someone often brings out the worst in people, so maybe that's what I was thinking of. 
I looked to a poem I wrote when I was about sixteen for help, although I didn't really end up basing the fic around it at all:

~ memory ~

Vacant ripples grow and expand
In this azure mirror, over and over
I stir my fingertips in this fluid cobalt
Round and round...

Distortions float past
Old friends I lost, or never had
Swimming into the depths of my soul
The ripples expand...

Truths swell and tears well
Things I tried to forget
The hands of memories bubble up, break through to catch my own
Stirring round and round...

Raindrops on the surface
Shaken salt from dewy clouds
Pouring after the skies have emptied
The salts of my tears...

Dripping, floundering eyes
Sliding to vacate this stream
Wavering crests and troughs of emotions
The ripples expanded and dispersed.

PS. I wasn't an emo teenager.  Honestly.  I just occasionally used to write some piffle in my spare time.
I often like to listen to Ayumi Hamasaki's A BALLADS album while writing and I listened to the song RAINBOW to help me focus on the image of the rain for this fic.  It's not a songfic - I don't know Japanese and haven't read a translation of the lyrics (not recently, anyway) so I couldn't have based the fic around it even if I wanted to.


Most certainly not associated with the long-running gameshow of the same name.  For a mad five minutes I considered titling this piece 'Rundown' because I liked the way the different definitions of the word could fit (I should be on Dictionary Corner) - the story gives a short rundown of J/C's relationship as Janeway runs down through the ship to meet Chakotay, after which she feels, er, rundown...  Cheesier than a Cheddar factory. 
This story is mainly a result of doing a lot of literature analysis - spend a lot of time contemplating literary techniques and you'll get yourself a story eventually.  I liked writing Countdown, but still feel that it comes off a bit clumsy at times and there are some things that I intended to do and then sort of forgot about. 
Main ideas were time (obviously) - Kathryn's perception of time passing gets distorted between each portion; and contrasts - Kathryn and Chakotay mince about as friends for years and then get engaged within a month, Kathryn takes ages to get down to Sickbay and then is back to the Bridge quickly, etc etc.
I originally intended the lengths of the flashback and present portions to be in direct variation with each other, although that went a bit awry in the middle - the flashback parts gradually get smaller, but the present ones don't really gradually get bigger...

I started writing this after I heard about VAMB's Secret Santa and had scribbled down the first couple of paragraphs before I even signed up (while I was supposed to be supervising a class, admittedly...) - fortunately my match was very flexible and so I was able to continue it.  Initially after the mulled wine Janeway was going to wake up in Chakotay's quarters (on the sofa...) after having fallen asleep:
Kathryn woke up face-down and was about to settle back down to sleep when she realised that her head had been resting on a patterned cushion and not her pillow.  She sat up and gradually came to realise that she was sitting on the sofa in Chakotay's quarters. 
"Kathryn?  Are you awake?" Chakotay called from the next room.  Kathryn straightened up and ran a hand through her hair.
"Yes - come in," She called uncertainly, wondering why she was inviting him into his own living room.
"First of all, relax," He entered the room and handed her a cup of coffee, "After you came back here I turned around to ask you something and you had fallen asleep.  I didn't know exactly which coordinates to beam you to and didn't have the heart to wake you."
This was changed for a few reasons:
a) This situation is completely implausible (unless the reader is somewhere in the region of twelve years old)
b) Only a woman under the influence of a heavy sedative would fall asleep in the presence of Chakotay
c) Even though I left in the 'Klingon brew' invention, Janeway just isn't the type to get pissed out her tree and wake up in a strange place.  Not twice, anyway.  I mean, this was the woman who ordered a cup of tea in an Irish pub.
At first Chakotay was going to be the Santa on the Holodeck but that idea was scrapped relatively quickly. 
Did anyone notice Janeway's filename choice?  '9627' spells 'XMAS' on a phone keypad...yes, I need a life.

As with the Xmas fic, I started writing this before I signed up for VAMB's Spring Fling 2007.  The weather was starting to get warmer and I had recently visited some botanical gardens, so I was very much in the right mindset for writing a fic about spring.  I was in the staff room at the school I was working at and had the idea to write a J/C fic where the relationship developed in a parallel with the image of a flower and gradually the premise for all the 'season' guff developed from that.  I rather liked the idea at first, although when I had written a decent-sized chunk of it I realised that I was basically writing a story about J and C being 'friends with benefits' and that it was actually quite a strange concept.  I decided to keep going with it and then encountered difficulties at the end, mostly concerning how to link the different parts together and still make it reasonably coherent.  I forced myself to finish it in time for the Spring Fling deadline and, as a result, hate just about everything about the story XD.  I'm glad that I did finish it because I proved to myself that I could, but other than that...hm.  Enough said. 
For a while the plant was nameless - I did do some research on spring-flowering bulbs (the RHS website was a great help, for the record), but couldn't really find anything that fit the bill.  Eventually I just went with a lily because that's my favourite flower, despite the fact that lilies bloom in summer  - let's just say that Chakotay grew an extremely rare, unheard-of specimen.  I also liked the irony of choosing a flower normally associated with death/loss to represent the birth/life of Kathryn and Chakotay's pact.  The very last line of the fic was written in the same sort of vein - "...after every other lily had withered..." could refer to funeral flowers, thus their love is so frigging amazing that it lasts on after death, blah blah let's all go and vomit.
The fic was always going to be called 'Blossom', but during the writing process I considered changing it to 'Seasons' because the four seasons are represented in the three flashbacks and finale to some extent.  The first flashback is Summer (obviously), the flashback to the second spring is Autumn (the forest is supposed to be in Autumn before Chakotay changes it to Spring; then the falling blossom petals were supposed to be reminiscent of falling leaves, but I forgot to mention that...), the third is Winter and the finale represents Spring with the 'new beginning', etc.
Initially the 'deja vu' part (the stuff about Chakotay and Janeway getting their clothes mixed up) was a bit longer - originally there was no deja vu and there was going to be a long spiel about Janeway wondering whether Chakotay was a friend or a lover and how she was so confused, etc. etc..  It all culminated in him smiling at her and her noticing that it wasn't the same smile as he had given her when they woke up together, therefore she lost her nerve and didn't tell him the flower had wilted, cue the angst.  Eventually I changed that to a pretty weak deja vu thing, mostly because it provided a simple link to the third flashback (I'd already written about the jacket) and I didn't have much time or inclination to write another angsty section for Janeway.  She's really quite angst-ridden enough elsewhere in the fic, so I don't think it was such a bad cut to make.
I also intended to write a bit more about the 'flower's life is short and full of pain' line in parallel with the relationship but, again, it was left out due to time constraints and my being sick to death of the whole story.  The idea of pain was touched upon slightly but I remember wanting to put in something about Kathryn considering that perhaps the affair was meant to be short, based on the lifespan of a flower.  On another note, I cannot remember where I first heard/read that piece of information.  I'm quite sure it wasn't in any sort of official biology text - I'm inclined to think that it was in a children's book or something.
Finally, I owe Chakotay's "every third word or so was 'love'" remark to my German teacher friend - one of our pupils kept bringing her letters from her sister's penpal to translate from English into German and after the third one my friend was a bit annoyed and commented "I don't know why it's so difficult for her to understand a letter where every second word is 'love'".  In the fic it appears as 'every third word' because "I love you" has three words. :-)

No idea where this came from.  I had wanted to write a piece around 'Counterpoint' for a while, as it's one of my favourite episodes (despite the distinct lack of J/C) and I wanted the challenge of 'fixing' it in a J/C way (is there any other?) that didn't conflict with the episode too much.  I'd also been toying with the idea of writing a piece based around Janeway's comment in 'Mortal Coil' when she mentioned that she got "a little light-headed" at the previous year's Prixin celebration.  I think the secondary idea of Janeway's mixed-up mindset reflected in her surroundings (the phrase 'messed-up life' taking on a literal meaning here) came from a mixture of things - my packing up after a stint abroad, piles of sorted rubbish (I hate recycling...) and all the mismatched junk lying around on my frequent trips up to the skip.  This piece is a bit on the dark side, which was probably a response both to the fact that I've been reading an awful lot of fluffy fics and that I've been working on some tame, fluffyish stuff myself recently (watch out for my dreaded upcoming brush with babyfic, it's really quite horrific). 
After the horrors of writing 'Blossom' I decided (for a short while) never to write fiction ever again, so it was quite a surprise that I didn't experience much difficulty writing this.  I was stumped with the very last paragraph, but other than that there wasn't much trouble beyond pondering over the right way to word something (in which case the thesaurus becomes a very dear friend).  As a result, I don't really hold any immediate opinions regarding this fic and I'd find it hard to judge whether I like it or not.  Well, except the closing paragraph, which I'm beginning to hate with a passion.    

Three Small Words
Prompted by the conversation in the ready room between Chakotay and Janeway after Seven makes her views known.  The content is more or less exactly the same as the first draft, but the dialogue was switched around quite a lot.  At first Chakotay tried to guess what she'd written before he read the padd but that means we find out that they're together much more quickly, which didn't correspond with my original idea.

Written after watching 'Endgame' again.  I don't particularly like the fussy old hag that is Admiral Janeway and I began to wonder what Captain Janeway thought of her.  Sometimes when reading post-Endgame fics (of which I haven't read that many, I must admit) I think the issue of Admiral Janeway's sacrifice is skipped over a bit.  I also get the impression that there are more Endgame fics centred around their relationship from the Admiral's point of view rather than the Captain's, but maybe that's just me.
This is my second Endgame fixer (the first being Watercolour), but I don't know if it'll be my last.  I find it difficult to apply J/C to the episode (for obvious reasons) and it's hard to resolve C/7 in an interesting, plausible way without portraying someone (usually Chakotay or Seven) as a raving bitch. 
When I read this over again recently I noticed I had used a Scots word near the beginning - 'stour' (pronounced to rhyme with 'moor'), which is another word for dust.  Dictionary.com says it can also mean a storm/tumult, but I've never encountered that usage before...

Pieces Epilogue (Restoration)
I posted this separately because 'Pieces' ends exactly as I originally intended it to.  I can't really elaborate on that - for me that is the natural end of the fic, even though the storyline in my head was a little longer.  I put this extension into words mostly for any readers who wanted to have some sort of resolution.  I see it as the 'real' end to that particular story thread, but the story in the context of the fic ends in the office.

My match for VAMB's Secret Ficlet Exchange 2007 was Char, who gave me the opening line: "In spite of the innocence of the situation, the look that flashed across his face was anything but innocent".  She mentioned that she liked smut, so I tried to write something at least vaguely along those lines...
Part II was written on the day of the deadline after a bout of last-minute jitters, but I sent Part I in by itself in the end.  The stories sort of complement each other in that the main images contrast - Janeway's is supposed to be quick and dirty, whereas Chakotay's is supposed to be much slower and passionate, accompanied by a swelling orchestral score and the like.  Part I's soundtrack is Delta Goodrem's 'Miscommunication' with its porno-style intro; Part II's soundtrack is more like Faure's 'Pavane' (which doesn't really sound that sexy, granted, but that's the best I can come up with at half one in the morning...). 

I entered VAMB's Secret Santa 2007 and Mizvoy requested a story about Naomi and her memories of Kathryn.  At one point Naomi was going to see Kathryn be pushed up against the wall in the corridor by Chakotay, but I decided it wasn't a good idea for whatever reason.  Naomi was going to mistake teh hotness for Captain Janeway being attacked, but be confused by the fact that her beloved Captain seemed to be enjoying it.

I rather wanted this to be finished in time for the 2010 VAMB Secret Santa exchange, but my match specified that character death was a no-go and, even though it's not terribly prominent or unexpected in this story, I thought it better to be safe than sorry.  Anyway, I feel I should probably have spent longer editing this, but I was getting sort of sick of it in the end.  I like the general concept, but I do feel it's full of absolutes (eg. love vs hate) and I worry that it might be a little too black-and-white.  Anyway, this piece will be special to me even if it's not that good, because I haven't finished any fic writing for a while :(.  At the moment I am quite taken with charm bracelets, but knew that if I started on the different types of charms on the bracelet I'd probably never end and it would be terribly cheesy and girlish (and I am quite the grouchy Admiral Janeway type when it comes to that sort of thing in fics).  It's fun to think of which charms Kathryn would choose, though.

The story I actually finished for VAMB's Secret Santa 2010, which was sent to Kathryn J.  I'm rather fond of letter-writing and I wish I had elaborated on that a little more, so I might either edit this piece or rework it into another fic in future.  As is probably evident, I'm very keen on the image of couples lying head-to-head, especially in a platonic context (as in the screenshot I included from The Edge of Love).  I sort of regret the title as the wordplay is really clumsy and I had a bitch of a time sorting the perspective (the narrative makes a few erratic jumps from Janeway's POV to Chakotay's at times).  Since I was writing Charm at the same time and getting into that storyline more, I lost steam with this and found it difficult to complete.  I got it completed for the SS deadline, but I am somewhat disappointed that it ended up being sort of messy and contrived.