[identity profile] yawmin.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] catadamon

. o O o .

As I type this, I have set upon the journey of editing one of the longest stories I have ever written, and certainly the longest in such a short period of time (NaNo years not included ^^). This story has helped me get through a very difficult period in my life, and for that I am very thankful for its existence and am so happy to have it with me. I did not plan to make this story my Big Bang entry in the beginning. No, in fact I was going to bring out of my dusty files the NaNo attempt I tried last year, but just could not get launched, which was a story about Holmes' "death" and subsequent "rebirth". For now, that story will have to remain on the back-burner (or buried deep in the basement if I have anything to do with it). The story I ended up choosing instead, To Advance An Honest Mind, was a challenge on the [livejournal.com profile] shkinkmeme that I started but had to put on hold because of RL happenings. I had worked on it a little, but professional obligations in trying to get things moving on a different project with a publisher took over and this story was lost to the ether.

Then, in February of this year, I woke up one morning with a severe pain in my shoulder, which quickly spread to my neck. At first, my doctor thought it was a pulled muscle. I draw and paint a lot, so that was a certain possibility. But then the pain did not go away, and got worse. By March two specialists had been consulted, and were saying many scary things like "nerve damage" and "swelling against the spine", all the while, the pain got progressively worse until right after my birthday in mid-March when I was bedridden until the middle of April when I was cleared for physical therapy after painful spinal injections. When sign-ups started in March, I signed up thinking that I would be fine soon, as I was assured I would be after the injections. Clearly, I did not get better. Here it is mid-August and I am still in a lot of pain and on my third course of treatment. But at the time, I thought I would be fine, so I mentally prepped myself to try and start my NaNo idea over again and see if I could fix the problems I had been having.

On March 26th, Diana Wynne Jones, who was the author of Howl's Moving Castle amongst MANY other amazing books, died of complications from lung cancer. I was absolutely devastated. She was (and still is) my favorite author and had been ever since I read HMC the first time in 2005. I decided to change my big bang to this story, to write it in her memory. Still bed-ridden, I re-read HMC and its first sequel Castle in the Air and took A LOT of notes. Then I re-read each of the Holmes stories I intended to blend together, taking even more notes. Because I was still not able to sit up without a lot of pain, I wrote the story by hand while laying in bed, pacing myself to have at least five pages (front-to-back) written each day, which is easy enough when you are suffering cabin-fever as much as I was. The hand-written pages nearly took up an entire notebook before I was cleared to type at my computer again in short intervals, and then came the process of typing that all out. By the time I had typed everything, I had surpassed the Big Bang minimum by 5,000 words, and I was still on the first part of the story. This should have been an indication of how much this story would grow during my rehabilitation ^^ But this story kept me going. Even when it was a very painful day, I could use this story to distract myself.

Plot wise, the story is probably not what people were expecting when reading the summary. In retrospect, I could have approached this story a much easier way: Throwing Watson and Holmes into Howl's world of Ingary, having them take over Howl and Sophie's world and work from that. But I never do anything easy. I knew that HMC is not a widely known story in the SH fandom, so I wanted to make sure it was approachable, blending aspects of each without the logic systems of the two universes collapsing on one another. Because of that, I made the choice to make the story heavy on cannon!Holmes, and light on the magical aspect. But I also wanted to keep the die hard cannon fans guessing on what would happen next, so a lot of the plot lines we are familiar with get twisted around with HMC hintings. What became of my intentions, well, that is for you, fair readers, to judge.

I apologize to the HMC fans who were looking for a true crossover. In my mind, in Holmes' logical world, the magical aspect is an oddity, so I tried to play to that instead. It was a very difficult jump to have the characters make, Watson in particular, when we indeed find out that Holmes is heartless (not a spoiler, it's in the summary :D), so I tried to put it in the best scenario that I could that matched Holmes' world. As Watson says in HOUND, They are "men of science." I also apologize for the lack of IN YOUR FACE slashy-ness in this, for that was one element I remained firm that I would follow HMC's example: Subtly is the best course.

Now I think I ranted on long enough!

Thank you both Diana Wynne Jones and Arthur Conan Doyle for creating these massive universes with such imagination and breadth that it would be possible for someone like me to play in their worlds for a bit. And also thank you to the several people who beta-ed this and assured me I was not writing lunatic ravings, but would correct my insane typos: [livejournal.com profile] frenchcinephile, [livejournal.com profile] doctorkara, [livejournal.com profile] skull_bearer and [livejournal.com profile] ken_ichijouji. All of you are amaaaaazing. And thank you to my artist [livejournal.com profile] feyuca, who did some FANTASTIC art. I heart youuuuuu!

Now, please enjoy the strange adventure of the heartless Sherlock Holmes and his companion, the compassionate Dr. John Watson. It has been a joy to work on.

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