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From the Ground Up (157104 words) by Xparrot
Chapters: 32/32
Fandom: Welcome to Night Vale
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Carlos/Cecil Palmer
Characters: Carlos (Welcome to Night Vale), Dana (Welcome to Night Vale), Original Strex Characters, Kevin (Welcome to Night Vale), Cecil Palmer
Additional Tags: Drama, Angst, Drugs, Dystopia, Strexcorp, Present Tense, Memory Alteration, Canon Divergence

"The colloquial name is bloodstone," says the man from StrexCorp's Acquisitions division. "Heard of them?"

Carlos shakes his head. "No, but I'm not a minerologist. Are you certain this wasn't intended for the geology department?"


Carlos is a loyal company employee, who has never been to any place called Night Vale and never met anyone named Cecil…which doesn’t explain the mysterious woman appearing in his lab, or these dreams he’s started having…

Longest fic I've ever written; it beat the Loki fic by a good 10K words, and took twice as long to write. For the record, I hold [livejournal.com profile] gnine entirely responsible for this; she refused to read any of my WTNV fic (she liked the show fine but it was a bit too surreal for her to get into the fic) and thus I was deprived my primary plotting partner, which meant the plot spiraled to ridiculous bulk and I was constantly writing myself into corners. I don't know if I've ever rewritten any story as much as this one; I think it shows, though I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing? There were several scenes I made stronger, but then I would lose patience with the editing after I'd spent so much time on them. And without any beta'ing I fear my sentences ran on and on and on, as is their wont (curse the irresistible allure of the semicolon...)

On the other hand, I've gotten some amazing comments, some of the best I've gotten on AO3. The fandom's dwindled to lesser-medium by now, and even if most of the people who were reading the fic when I started posting, have drifted by now, WTNV's still got some dedicated fans. For all the tension on Tumblr, just about everyone I've seen on AO3 has been great. I'm pretty much out of the fandom myself now (...I haven't actually listened to a full episode in nearly a year...) but it's been one of my longer lasting, and I've had a lot of fun with it. The surreally fluid canon just allows for so much room to play. ...Actually, according to my stats, I've written more words for WTNV than any other fandom (the majority in this fic.) Wow, how'd that happen? (Don't kill me, [livejournal.com profile] gnine! *hides*)

Now it's time for the regular sit-here-and-compulsively-check-email-for-comments-as-I-stress-about-everybody-hating-the-ending! (I can't be the only one who finds posting final chapters stressful...)

--I got a comment! They liked it! \o/

Date: 2015-08-18 08:52 am (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
From: [personal profile] sholio
Congratulations! \o/

It's so funny how the things that grab us that way are so rarely the ones we saw coming, isn't it? Actually, I'm having trouble thinking of ANYTHING I've fanned on in the last decade that I actually did see coming.

If you are sliding out of a fandom, though, it's a great way to wrap it up. I am pretty sure I did that with the big Sam/Bucky WIP and mainstream Avengers fandom, which at this point I have noped out of SO HARD, but I'm glad I got to end on a high note rather than littering my wake with a trail of abandoned WIPs and/or bitterfic ... like I've done in certain fandoms I won't mention. >_>

Date: 2015-08-18 11:59 pm (UTC)
ext_3572: (Default)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
Yeah, I can often guess whether I'm going to like something, but whether it's going to grab me fannishly to the point of inspiring fic, I pretty much never know until it happens. My first WTNV fic I thought was going to be my last...but then I had another idea, and then another, and now it's been close to two years I've been writing it! Gnine is very glad it's (probably) over :P

I tend to flee fandoms before I really resent them, even if the parting is sad, I tend to prefer it in the long run. And with this one I'm just as soon happy to leave before canon can hurt me (which it might not, but I don't trust it; the writers are very good at a particular shtick, and not so much at things like character development... It's funny, in WTNV my main fanning outside of fic-writing has been an ongoing dialog with another fan who went in a similar route, getting bitter with certain parts of canon and fandom and their fic reflecting that. Debating with them actually put me in a happier place about it, though I fear it might have had the opposite effect on them ^^;)

ETA: and you're totally out of Avengers fandom now? awww...not that I'm really there myself, but I liked having at least an adjacent fandom! OTOH you've been doing all the original stuff, which is awesome *cheers you on*
Edited Date: 2015-08-19 12:00 am (UTC)

Date: 2015-08-19 06:48 am (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
From: [personal profile] sholio
and you're totally out of Avengers fandom now? awww...

Well, mostly out. >_> I actually haven't had much time for fandom at all lately, and when I'm around, I've been hanging on the periphery of the TV parts of the fandom (Agent Carter and Daredevil, both very small and comparatively chill fandoms; Agents of SHIELD is a wall-to-wall wankfest). MCU fandom right now is in one of those downward misery-spirals where most of the fandom hates canon but they won't quit it.

Re: original fic - for some reason I decided to set the paranormal romance series I'm currently writing in Seattle, despite having spent maybe five days there in my entire life; do you mind if I occasionally ask you questions when I run into things Google can't tell me? ^^;;

Date: 2015-08-19 04:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sheron.livejournal.com
Agents of SHIELD is a wall-to-wall wankfest

Hahaha, this is so absolutely appropriate. It has outwanked every fandom I've ever been in so far. What an achievement.

Date: 2015-08-18 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sheron.livejournal.com
Congratulations! That thing is huge! I'm really impressed :-)

I've been thinking of trying this fandom as you know, and I have had fandoms where I've gotten into them through fanfic so guess what, this will be my guinea pig fic to read *g*

Date: 2015-08-19 12:03 am (UTC)
ext_3572: (Default)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
Hee, I'm kind of impressed/horrified myself! ^^;

And heeeh...I admit, I'm curious how the fic would play if you don't know the fandom. I play fast and loose with WTNV canon anyway (the show is surreal and silly enough that to make sensical fic you pretty much have to pick and choose what parts you use and what you discard) and a ton of this fic is completely my own invention...but there is enough set on the canon framework that I'm really not sure if it will make any sense on its own. All the more because it's amnesia!fic, so for a lot of it the POV character doesn't know what's going on, but the audience is intended to understand more...
Edited Date: 2015-08-19 12:05 am (UTC)

Date: 2015-08-19 04:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sheron.livejournal.com
It works...wow, does it ever work. I've checked. I don't know until what time I was checking last night but I couldn't put it down *laughs*

Here's what I knew about WTNV before I started reading:
Cecil is a radio host! Carlos is a scientist! They are impossibly cute together if fanart that occasionally crosses my dash is to be believed.

Before I dove into the fic I googled a WTNV wiki where I read who Dana and Kevin were, and what was Strex, to the extent that as I started to read I knew the following facts:
Dana is an intern and apparently awesome! Kevin looks like Cecil only he is evil? May have demonic black eyes! Strex tries to take over NV. That was it, I knew nothing else.

The fic reads so well if you're basically an amnesiac like Carlos!

See, he would be figuring things out and I was figuring them out with him. First, I went "Bloodstones? Why is he researching regular stones?" But I assumed there'd be a reason and by the time Dana showed up it was clear this was somehow connected to NV mythology. Then there was the acronym that puzzled Carlos so, "NVCR". I had no idea what it would stand for, I wasn't used enough to the acronym 'NV' to even notice that those were the two first letters, although the acronym was obviously important, but I figured it out right before Carlos did, haha. I was so proud!

I loved loved loved the idea of Cecil away on his radio show pining. I mean, I think that was even more effective for me than for a person who has actually listened to the podcasts because...well, I didn't miss Cecil next to Carlos. I just knew as I kept reading that there was a guy out there called Cecil who was probably missing poor amnesiac Carlos. So as hints of this grew, it was really obvious that Cecil was in a lot of pain but it also didn't overwhelm me with characterization because he wasn't around that much. I just knew him from his broadcasts in your fic, which was perfect. I could focus on Carlos and figuring out his reactions, and know that Cecil was probably angsting all over the place wherever he was. (At one point in the fic, during one of the dreams, I wondered if it was in character for Cecil to be crying, but the best part is I didn't know and it meant that yes, for me it was in character ^_^) I loved that emotional arc. I loved the way Carlos chose to sacrifice himself by nuking his nanobots. I admit it actually didn't occur to me what would happen to him, so in that instance I was like Cecil, shocked by the turn of events. So all the heartstrings were tugged, all of them! (Poor Cecil, though, seriously, that was rough when he thought he'd lose Carlos again! His "he woke up gtg" later on the phone was hilarious btw.)

I really liked the way Carlos comes to fall in love with Cecil. I am happy I knew that Kevin looked like Cecil before I dove in because his attraction to Kevin and his inability to understand why Kevin's voice bothered him actually made perfect sense. It was exactly the right amount of knowledge for me to have. (I admit I was puzzled by what happened to Kevin at the end. I don't know enough about him to know if you redeemed a bad guy, or if he is a complicated character on the show and what his relationship to the Smiling God was before this fic. It worked for me, what you did, but I don't know how AU that was to canon. ^^) I was thoroughly creeped out by Carlos with those drugs and Johnny, like, I'm not sure if that kind of dubcon happend in canon, but wow that was seriously disturbing (in a good way because I wanted Johnny to die a painful death pretty much from that point onward).


my comment exceeded 4500 words you know ^_^;

Date: 2015-08-19 04:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sheron.livejournal.com

I love the plot! It was revealed in just the right amount of information up front that I could follow it without feeling too lost. I admit I skipped some paragraphs here and there while Carlos is at Strex that didn't make sense to me (but I'm sure would to someone familiar with canon), but I didn't lose much I think. It felt like I was reading an original story, almost. I know I could probably go back to it after catching up on canon and get a lot more out of it, but that's just something to look forward to.(ETA: especially I didn't completely get what was up with those Angels, but since Carlos didn't know either it was fine.)

So, to sum up. I think the fact that it was an amnesiac fic was actually in my favour! The fact that it was slightly AU may have made you explain just enough of it within the story that I became comfortable with "facts" just as Carlos was, and I got hints enough from Dana to know when I should be paying attention to things that were falsehoods.

I don't know if canon is as good as this fic, but wow it was a fantastic read! ^_^
Edited Date: 2015-08-19 04:03 pm (UTC)

Re: my comment exceeded 4500 words you know ^_^;

Date: 2015-08-19 05:34 pm (UTC)
ext_3572: (Default)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
I'm typing this on my phone at an airport, so excuse the shortness. I'll manage a longer reply later. But for now, wow I can't believe you read the whole thing in one night! That's amazing :D and that it actually made sense is also amazing...i haven't actually read it in one go myself, so I'm just glad to know it remained coherent to the end.

Quick canon comments... Kevin is a complicated character, his arc here isn't canonical but might become so. Angels aren't real, so Cecil tells us repeatedly, but they were instrumental in defeating strex in canon. And most of strex's operation in the fic is my own invention, supplemented by fanon (the brainwashing is implied canon but the drugs are fanon... There's a lot of strex fanon, it's basically its own subfandom; I'm only passing familiar with most of it though. And inventing dystopias is way more fun than it really ought to be, I've learned...!)

Anyway, thanks so much for reading it and for the lovely long comments, it's made the annoyance of the airport so much more livable :D glad you liked it, and have fun with night vale, should you continue on with it!

Date: 2015-08-19 06:05 am (UTC)
naye: goku from saiyuki gaiden holding a pumpkin and smiling with the word "joy" (goku - joy)
From: [personal profile] naye
Oh YAY! That's awesome! I'm going to have to figure out where I left off so I can immerse myself in your wonderful words again. ❤

Date: 2015-08-19 06:06 am (UTC)
ext_3572: (Default)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
If you just want to read the Cecil/Carlos bits, there are a lot more of them in the second half <3

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