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Strangers in Gilead

Posted on 2007.09.28 at 18:54
A period piece. Not typical with regards to structure, development, and vocabulary, so may not be everyone’s cup of whiskey, to be sure. I will claim it is ’avant guarde.’ Oh, and there is sex in it, but nothing that will make anyone *is ded*. And swearing.


And a long piece, upwards of forty thousand words. No, really. It was recommended to me that given the sheer volume of verbiage, I should mount the Story, the Epilogue and Afterward as PDF files. For those that love the feel of the printed page over the glowing screen, this should make for a more enjoyable and printable reading experience. In any event it should make for less clicking.

Many, many thanks to Simpatico, Mamajamallama, Anthrophile and Arcfire for many, many hours of discussion regarding the nature of writing fiction (pro, fan, porn, fiction, non), grammar, punctuation, concepts, cruel truths, Supernatural, and stuff. More said in the Afterward.

Strangers in Gilead

Strangers in Gilead - Epilogue

Strangers in Gilead - Afterward

An addition: For those not enamored of PDF, here is an HTML version:

Strangers in Gilead - HTML


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(Deleted comment)
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-10-01 01:52 (UTC) (Link)
Top five?>/i> Drat. Back to the drawing board, then.

Thanks for wading all the way through it!
(Anonymous) at 2007-09-30 12:09 (UTC) (Link)
I enjoy the time taken to settle the scene. Panoramic shot or 19th century descriptiveness, though the latter would have been longer, I think. I like how the characters are gradually introduced, one overlapping with the other, and how the story just seamlessly flows.
And I'm reading along. Delighted.
The supernatural cleverly surrounds the story without really coming into play, the action centering on the characters. Which is just as well.
At one point, it strikes me that the structure follows the classical theatrical structure of the three unities - unity of place, unity of time, unity of action. True that the end breaks the pattern, but if I take it as a first epilogue, the unities are there. The story is set in only one place (and told by one character). It unfolds within 24 hours. The action revolves around one main plot line (and one hero) - Sam who's come for Dean.
Well, anyways. Kudos.
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-10-01 01:59 (UTC) (Link)
Would you have liked more 19th Century descriptiveness? I can add more! (My editors were ruthless. Without ruth. I am verbose.)

I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and particularly interested at your take on the structure: one of the issues we dealt with was the jump from the action story to the intimate (so to speak), which was not particularly well transitioned. And there were two epilogues, really.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, also!
quellefromage at 2007-10-06 18:27 (UTC) (Link)
Honestly, I had things to do today, but now, pffffft.
I have been wanting, desiring, hoping and praying for a Cowboy Winchester story, and the fiction gods blessed me tenfold with this.

Love every single bit of this; it was clever, well researched, perfectly plotted, and gorgeously written.

Where have you been all my life?

BRAVO to you. Now off to rec this to EVERYONE.
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-10-06 23:43 (UTC) (Link)
Very kind of you to say so! I don't have a wide readership, so it's nice to get a new viewpoint. I was urged to post to the fiction communities, so hopefully it will be a good contribution.

I was worried that the plot was too obscure in flowery language. And I'm a word-a-day writer, thus my low output.
beluga at 2007-10-07 00:00 (UTC) (Link)
I'm stunned! I love western movies and I thought your fic read like one. It was so well written!!

If you don't already write pro. you should! You could easily make this fic an original piece and have it published. I'd totally buy it:-)
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-10-07 19:33 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks indeed! I do think it's a downhill climb, though working with the established Winchester characters that we all know well, and using the Western trope is also just takes referencing common elements. Most of the hard work is done, and the rest filled in by the reader. Glad you liked it!
katelennon at 2007-10-07 02:44 (UTC) (Link)

I am slayed.

I am sorry, but I am pimping this on my F-list. Fic this phenomenally good *must* be shared with others. I love, love, love this.
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-10-16 04:30 (UTC) (Link)

Re: I am slayed.

Kind words indeed! I hope your friends come by and read as well. Thanks!
janissa11 at 2007-10-07 13:53 (UTC) (Link)
That was truly beautifully done. Absolutely engrossing, with so many perfect details; I love the way it spun out, tantalizing questions eventually answered, and the outsider POV giving us a gorgeous view of the guys. Fascinating original characters, intriguing plot, and great brotherly interaction -- and I adore Westerns, which makes this all the more wonderful.

Fantastic work! Bravo!
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-10-16 04:29 (UTC) (Link)
I wasn't entirely sure it was 'western' enough, but I am glad to hear you found it so. The outsider POV was key, as you found. The people who never hear the full story, who meet the Winchesters, are affected by them, and then are left wondering.

hiyacynth at 2007-10-07 19:18 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, hell yes. That was amazing. Have just recc'd the heck out of it to my flist, many of whom often say what the world needs now is Winchesters in the Old West. God. SO GOOD. I loved the way you managed to get so much information and characterization across from the outsider perspective (let's hear it for peepholes, eh?), and how you let the slow reveal of what was going on, how they got there, etc. build. I anticipated losing interest because we weren't going to SEE a lot of the action take place, but I never did. The tension was tight throughout, and man alive, when the action did come home, you brought it. That fight--perfect for the Winchester reunion--was a thing of beauty. Um. As were all those lovely scenes in and around that bathtub. OMG and the glory of Sam buying his brother some company for the evening, and then trying to have a civilized conversation while Dean's getting it on, loudly, next door. Too precious, I tell you. And THANK YOU for that lovely set of scenes with Sam and Miss Rose. Sam girl that I am, I gotta say that I loved every single thing about it.

Okay. I really have to go do my homework now. Why I decided grad school was a good idea when there's fic to be read I can't say. But there it is. Thank you for a marvelous read.
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-11-29 23:03 (UTC) (Link)
I just glanced back over my comment lists and don't see a response to your comment. My apologies!

I'm so glad you enjoyed the story. Particularly the Sam characterization, that's so important to get right. (And often neglected in the show, if you ask me.)

Hope school is going well!
trishabooms at 2007-10-08 01:08 (UTC) (Link)
I nearly didn't read this because I'm working on an RPF western using Jared, Jensen and Jeffrey Dean Morgan and I worried a little. Stupidly really because the only real similarity is the Western setting.

I adore westerns, and yours was excellent. I couldn't stop reading and enjoyed every word.

You write a wonderful Sam, I thought he was perfect.

I loved the attention to period detail. I thought you balanced it beautifully, never letting it detract from the actual story.

Oh and Dean singing the Firefly theme, that's going to be in my head for quite a while!!

Thank you so much for a truly enjoyable read.
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-11-29 22:59 (UTC) (Link)
I just glanced back over my comment lists and don't see a response to your comment. My apologies!

So glad you enjoyed it. Particularly the characterization of Sam, that's so important to get right. I think Dean would make a good Browncoat, don't you?
peeps wanna see peeps boink
musesfool at 2007-10-08 02:32 (UTC) (Link)
This was utterly fantastic - I loved the outsider POV, the image of Sam in his long black coat, and Dean in his altogether *g*, and their reunion, and their fight after the battle. And then Dean singing the Firefly theme! Hee! Awesome.
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-10-16 04:26 (UTC) (Link)
I was afraid the Firefly reference would be too obscure. But I rather imagine Dean is a Browncoat, don't you think?

(Deleted comment)
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-10-16 04:24 (UTC) (Link)

Re: this was a very good story

A real curse, attention to accuracy. I spent quite a while just looking for maps of Nebraska in 1871. Had to change a town name because it hadn't been established yet. I'm pleased it paid off for you! Thanks!
innie_darling at 2007-10-10 18:02 (UTC) (Link)
That was so impressive! To hang such a long and potentially confusing story on an outsider POV takes a great deal of skill, and you've apparently got it. I very much enjoyed how much of the boys I could see, despite the change of names and the change in time. What a beautiful story.
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-10-16 04:22 (UTC) (Link)
That was my original thought: what about the people who never heard the full story? They are affected by the Winchesters, who then ride off into the sunset. I'm glad that element worked for you. Thanks!
marchbear at 2007-10-16 03:09 (UTC) (Link)
I downloaded this last night to read offline - thanks for the PDF by the way. Just going to read a bit at a time while finishing the laundry, etc. Whoa! Four hours later I look up and it's 1 a.m. and I have to get up at 5. It was worth it. I can't tell you the last time a book or story has made me slow down and savor every line. It reads like The Virginian by Wister and it felt like I should be reading it out loud, like a Jane Austen novel. The TV and song references were fun and funny. Sam, you're so Adam, not Ben. But your descriptions of Sam and Dean - both behavioral and physical - were what kept me reading. That and the creeping horror of that town and the gathering storm. Sometimes wide open empty spaces are more terrifying than a dark room. Thank you. I'm going to be reading this one again and again - just not tonight. ;-)
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-10-16 04:20 (UTC) (Link)
As in 'I couldn't put it down?' There's something every writer hopes to hear. I'm so glad you like the elements I worked on especially (language, mood, characterization and nekkid). In that order, of course. Thanks!
(Anonymous) at 2007-10-18 00:44 (UTC) (Link)

Amazing Work

Karasu, you know I'm not usually a reader of fan fic, but when I wandered into that thread and saw that you had a new story posted I just had to read. I was not disappointed. In fact, I've just printed out the pdf's to re-read at leisure, and that's something I rarely do. The story was amazingly well-told, and I've been wishing for a Winchester western for ages (the only thing missing was Sam Elliott, and that's my own personal kink, soooo...). Fabulous touches all the way through, and the story was just so... lush. I could picture it in my mind so clearly (and might I say, woof!). You've outdone yourself. To what gods do I make the appropriate sacrifice so that this becomes an episode?? Never mind, scratch that, they could never put it to screen as written, and that would be a loss.

- Beansidhe
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-10-18 17:49 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Amazing Work

But... Who else did you think was cast as Buell? And the little blond surfer kid from "John from Cincinnati" plays Tully, and... Well, as you say, no sense casting this for television. Not without serious edits in some sections. Ahem.

Thanks indeed.
Nora Norwich
norwich36 at 2007-10-30 22:15 (UTC) (Link)
That was completely amazing. I enjoyed it so much I was actually rooting for Dean and Sam getting to stay in the past.
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-10-31 19:20 (UTC) (Link)
And don't you know that partway along I found myself smack up against the contrivance that forced them to return: exactly the kind of forced resolution that I scold the show writers for perpetrating.

I kept picturing how things would go if clever Sam figured out a way to beat the system, then realized I was creating an AU of an AU. Bizarre.

That's quite a compliment, then, if you could envision the ongoing future for them there.
katbaggins at 2007-10-30 23:47 (UTC) (Link)
Wow. What an incredible tale you've written! I don't really know what to say - I love your perfectly well-rounded characters and the world you put them, and I love the situations the brother's found themselves in. Beyond all that I loved seeing the world through your main character's eyes and hearing her internal dialogue. It really brought me into the story and kept me there. (I also love the phrase "more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs." I haven't heard that in ages!)

I'm so glad I found your fic - excellent work!
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2007-10-31 19:22 (UTC) (Link)
I'm so pleased you saw into the original conceit: the viewpoint of those people the brothers encounter. Never quite hearing the full story, their lives are touched then the boys move on.

Glad you liked it!
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