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Notes on Tolkien Sub-Creation

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Chapter 22 of A Secret Gate is up today. Given the length of time it took to get it there, it ought to be a creation of flawless beauty and depth. I’m sad to say it isn’t; it has its moments, though!
The chapter is divided into three sections, on each for Merry, Pippin and Jamy as they tend to the business of getting on with things in the last few days before the Wedding and the Great Farewell. Merry entrusts a few secrets of his heart to Estella and bids a personal farewell to Buckland; Pippin settles a rift in the family and considers paths of destiny; and Jamy discovers the Shire beyond the banks of the Brandywine, observes the eccentricities of Tooks, and finally gets to meet the famous Thain Peregrin.

SPOILER ALERT: You will probably want to read the chapter before you read the following long discussion of a particular plot thread. It is a discussion I have been having with myself for some time, and that I share here simply for purposes of clarifying my respectful intentions for anyone who might be alarmed at certain developments.

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I went the other day to look at something on my story website and nearly had a heart attack: it cannot possibly be more than SIX MONTHS since I last posted to A Secret Gate!!

Alas, it apparently has been. Life happens; sh*t also. And while I'm sure I've been written off in every quarter as a fly-by-night hack (not to mention that most specious of fan-fic writers, the WIP writer who doesn't keep up) I thought maybe I owed everybody who hasn't purged me from their f-list a reason for being such a deadbeat.

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Current Mood:
optimistic optimistic
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Hello! Chapter 21 of A Secret Gate is now up on my website (http://entropyhouse.com/elanor/secretgate.html), so I am once again journaling a few thoughts. (Also, I just noticed the other day that I have a few new Friends! How nice! Thank you, and I hope you don’t mind if I Friended you back. Please know your interest is much appreciated.)

Chapter 21: Pippin and Merry fill the waning Shire days left to them with last-minute tasks of significance. This is a gossipy, domestic sort of chapter, filled with parting gifts and lots of little tangential details about people and places in Merry and Pippin’s lives. I hope you find something to enjoy in it. Read more...Collapse )
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Chapter 20


It has been four months (!) since I last posted a chapter to A Secret Gate: my excuses are an amalgam of Real Life, unexpected rites of passage, physical setbacks, intersections with the children’s busy adult lives, holidays—and a surprising mutiny in that part of my brain that quietly, and mostly benignly, oversees the creation of this story, deferring graciously the better part of the time to Merry, or to Pippin, or to Jamy.

I never planned to write this chapter. It was nowhere on my radar. A very tiny part of it—very small indeed!—was intended to be seen as a vignette in another chapter like the last that progressed through a series of scenes showing different characters going about their businesses in different places, the whole of it designed to carry us onward to many poignant meetings and leave-takings. I never saw this coming. Read more...Collapse )
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Chapter 19 of A Secret Gate is posted today. You can find it listed here: http://entropyhouse.com/elanor/secretgate.html

Not a lot to say this time, but I'll answer questions if there are any. This chapter is a series of vignettes,back and forth between Buckland and Tuckborough, as Merry and Pippin prepare to leave the Shire, and their folk prepare to let them go. I hope you find something to like!

There are no illustrations as yet, though I know Rachel is working on them. I'll let you know when they arrive.

As always, thanks for reading!

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Chapter 18.2 is added to A Secret Gate today: Mat Bucket arrives at Brandy Hall where he encounters all manner of surprises and—at last—reunites with Jamy.

I feel I should explain that I wrote in a virtual vacuum for several years before I came to LJ, and while I endeavor to follow canon as slavishly as I can, sometimes my isolated beginnings show up in big ways. So it is with Stairs, the subject of my remarks this time out!

One of the first things I noticed when I started reading fan-fiction at LJ and SoA was that there was strict adherence to the canon-ordered hobbits’ distaste for stairs. Of course, I have written stairs into both Brandy Hall and Great Smials and may I say now I’m grateful to all of you who have been so kind (and tactful) as to not make a canon issue of these heretical constructions. Still, I thought the time had come to acknowledge my departure in this vein; to that end you will find a nod to the business of stairs in this chapter!

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As A Secret Gate progresses, it's getting a little hard to remember who's who in the extended families. A reader wrote me earlier today to ask if I had a set of family trees for my OC Took and Brandybuck families, and if I'd be willing to post it. As it happens, I do have a rather extensive one, and after a crash course in LJ formatting, I offer a simplified version here. I have not included the Gamgee Gardners per se here, I am only dealing at present with Goldilocks and Tom and their marriages and children are included here. (I will be updating as more OCs arrive!) Hope this helps anybody who's starting to lose track of people over time!

I think I have explained the meanings and/or the antecedents in most of the names in previous posts, with the exception of Berry Brandybuck's, which I've dropped in at the end here just because I had so much fun figuring it out in the first place!



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A Secret Gate continues…with Chapter 18.1.

This is another chapter, like “the 12s” that got too big for its britches and had to be broken in two. It’s a bit of a cliffhanger as a result, which I know is frustrating, but the good news is that a whole lot of 18.2 is already written! Read more...Collapse )

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At last! I give you Chapter Seventeen, in which we meet more of the Thain’s family and Pippin sets himself to tackle both his children and the Wide World with regard to his future. I have no reasonable excuses for the long delay in creating it; it just took forever to write! It’s here: http://entropyhouse.com/elanor/secretgate.html

Actually, part of it is the fault of the grandchildren, which, of course, is really my fault. If you are foolish enough to give someone four children, why then those children will have children, and before you know it, you’re up to your ears in little folk—and then you have to figure out what to do with them all! I assure you, they are all lovely little hobbits, but they’re a bit overwhelming when they’re all sitting around the dining room table, looking at you with bemused expressions, waiting for you to tell them who they are!

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Hooray! Rachel has summoned up pictures with a magic wand, it seems! They arrived barely a week after she got the text, and I hope you all will like them as much as I do. There are three, scattered through the text of Chapter 16.

The first is entitled “With Merry close at hand…” and is Pippin and Merry sitting and talking in the grass. I like it very much, especially Pippin’s long hair! When at long last I make a paper copy of this story, I think this picture will be the cover.

The second you will find tucked in among the paragraphs is one of Sam and Rosie called “Soothing and Mending.” Very sweet and so touching, a reflection of those moments when the long dark of the Quest came haunting later.

The third is called “The Best of Us,” and is a portrait of Pippin’s children as described toward the end of the chapter. How handsome they all are!

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