So I had a moment of buh while looking at my posting stats in AO3.

Total Word Count: 3,192,064
Down to Agincourt series: 541,405 (and in progress)
Percent of Total: ~17%

Granted, there are several things I haven't posted there, but still.

I posted my first fanfic circa 1999, but roughly 17% of my total posted output was in the last nine months with three novels, and two of those are one and two on my longest novels list (A Thousand Lights in Space and It's the Stars that Lie, respectively). My five longest novels are those, Jus Ad Bellum (X-Men), Map of the World (book one of Agincourt), and War Games (Star Trek Reboot).

When I started this series--which was a freaking writing exercise, for fuck's sake--three years ago and it started growing, I made a joke about haha, this could reach 300,000 words. According to my last rough word count in my Agincourt workbook, because it needed one, the series will top 1.5 million words, and numbers immediately lose meaning for me just writing that.

...and I still can't tell you how this happened. My last clear memory was when I sat down and thought "I wonder what Cas and Lucifer's meeting after Dean's death in The End would be like". And in A Thousand Lights in Space (book three), I have the better part of a chapter devoted to the characters digging a giant hole for a new mess and observational relationship drama (and coffee).

Like, years ago, [personal profile] hradzka described John Ringo's later books as man gets women and builds things and how that was super attractive as genre. I got it then, but I really really get it now; it's very fighting to save the world plus home improvement (...militia camp improvement?) and negotiating important trade alliances while learning to cook (and farm) and build a do-it-yourself camp LAN. There is something unbelievably satisfying about how after killing demons everyone goes home and works on that new addition to the cabin and fixing potholes and learning leatherworking and scheduling patrols in Excel before checking the reports you are adding to a Oracle database that patrol turns in on jump drives. And you have just enough time to go pilfer rugs from somewhere because the ones in the living room are hideous before cleaning your personal arsenal that takes up an entire closet and talking about what all your knives are made out of (titanium versus ceramic versus hardened steel).

Last clear memory: writing a angsty confrontation between Cas and Lucifer over Dean's dead body.

Current part I edited recently (about two books ahead): a sincere discussion regarding the pros and cons of certain colors of weather-resistant paint for Chitaqua's cabins. It's getting kind of heated and everyone is way too armed.
I know there is a point when a relationship is unhealthy, and a point when a job is unhealthy, but I had no idea there could be a waterloo in which one's relationship with one's job is unhealthy. Because you know what, I love the job, and that's hard to admit, because I hate going to work and those two things do not go together. And yet, my life. *hands* I have an unhealthy relationship with my job.

In other news:

Things I have discovered; I cannot write after reading [livejournal.com profile] linzeestyle at all.

I'm extremely impressionable as a writer; my adventures in Due South were sharp reminder that no, you never really stop picking up things from other people, and I absorb like you would not believe and it takes time to write back into myself again. That's pretty much the only time I have to do hard line rewrites. It's not a better or worse thing--though yeah, she's better than I am, not bitter or anything, not the point--but the rhythm gets in my head and I don't think like that. So there's this really bad translation thing going on, which is problematic, because I'm working through her back catalogue and when I stop to write, horrifying things come out that are like some weird Frankenstein of ficness, and it's all very messy and sometimes obscure, and occasionally I can't even see myself on the page, which I will say now, freaks me out.

Okay, she's not the only one, she's just the one that's causing me cognitive issues atm. Other writers on this list are [livejournal.com profile] samdonne and [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza, and it's not like, even an issue of I don't like them--they're among my Top Ten Writers I Read Fandoms I Cannot Even Identify Who the Hell Those People Are (fucking Fallout Boy fic, just, I don't even know what the hell is up with that; manips helped, thanks!). It's just hard to write around them when I'm bopping along and then come out on the other side with an existential headache and a sense of violated fic identity.

It's not quite a style thing, I think--again, reference point, my freakout during heavy Due South reading, or only a style thing, or a tone thing, or even a subject thing. It's a combination of things I would not write combined with things I would, but in a direction I wouldn't have thought to go. It's unsettling. I write better when I'm reading, because I'm a fangirl and I work synergetically--I write better when someone will sit still online long enough for me to paste to them--I write better when I'm, you know, writing--I do not write well when I have to stop, go back, and think this is not my story.

Okay, see, when work is stressing me, I hyperexamine my process. It is not healthy, but I have four fics right now that are five pages, maybe, off being done, and every one of them is coming up against the same roadblock. Also, I think [livejournal.com profile] jamesinboots and [livejournal.com profile] shinetheway are getting tired of being the blunting force of my internal writing crisis and reading fic I refuse to finish or keep rewriting because it feels wrong and I can't explain why.

*lies down* My problems are seriously reaching a no-fly zone of being untenably weird. I need a universal type problem that is relatable. Like, I don't know, drugs. God, if only I had time for drugs. Does caffeine count?

(I also really want to abandon capital letters like you have no idea. Yeah, I know exactly where the blame for that belongs.)
I seriously, seriously loathe my period. I mean, it used to be academic? Like, I didn't really feel anything more than mild dislike, but apparently, I've never had my period when I'm in the middle of writing-farr--maybe it's never happened before, I don't know, I never put writing farr on the calendar before and matched up--and I keep losing my train of thought. And I'm at twenty pages a goddamn day right now and I'll lose my nerve and start wondering if I really want to use 'tortures cats' as a punchline for a joke.

...seriously, it is really funny, in context. I hope. God, what if it isn't? I could be basing an entire conversation on a punchline that doesn't work.

See what my uterus does? This is what it does. It makes cat jokes not funny. I hate everything. I'm really glad I shared this.
I had a Moment. It is not a particularly enlightening moment. I am never going to finish uploading fic to the archive. I will be doing this on my deathbed, poking keys and hating the universe.

I have also run into a problem with anything pre-Smallville; most my cowriters are not in fandom any longer, and that is a lot of fic, both at the series level and at the story level. I'm getting the impression we're not supposed to upload cowrites, which is a bitch, because some of the best work I did in those fandoms was done with Sare Liz and Bishclone. I uploaded a couple automatically, and now I'm staring at them blankly. I'm not sure what to do about this.

Also, what about a cowriter that's not speaking to you? How do you handle that, I ask? Which totally is not a problem I am having, of course, this is totes hypothetical and there might be two or perhaps three, and I'm really unsure about the etiquette of contacting them with a "Hey, so you are pissed at me and I totally take responsibility, now can I archive our cowrites in AOOO?" Or--something. Miss Manners did not cover the finer points of archive etiquette, and I have to say, I'm disappointed in her for that.

I'm enjoying uploading my bad fic a lot, in a weird way. It's comforting to realize I have gotten better. It feels like I have more authority to mock now when I can point and say "I did that. And it was bad."

Life Lessons Learned From Fandom (and Fanfic), by jenn AND HER FLIST

1.) Subject/predicate agreement is apparently a luxury, not a right, when one is going through a particularly pretentious phase.

2.) Sentence subjects are totes optional if you do it for ~art~. Goddamn I was ~artistic~.

3.) First person pov with mixed verb tenses is not confusing and weird, it's a goddamn ~style choice~ and DIAF grammarwhore.

4.) Repeating a single line over and over is okay when it's about angst. In italics, even.

5.) Always claim drunk posting if you can. It's called plausible deniability.

6.) The healing cock is real and go to hell if you don't believe me.

7.) Agricultural terms as metaphors for sex are hot like burning, bitch.

more things learned from fanfic 8-17 )

more things learned from fanfic 18-27 )

more things learned from fanfic 28-37 )

more things learned from fanfic 38-44 )

Anyone have anything to add? This is, of course, 100% hypothetical and of course you didn't do any of this. So you know, go for it.
One day, this will be over, and I will not be nostalgic. Sometimes I totally am about writing; I have fond memories of [livejournal.com profile] thete1 in AIM encouraging me through Handful of Dust and happy thoughts about And All the World Beneath.

This is nothing like that.

this is my fic whining; let me show you it )

In other news--I have none, did you not see the above? So I'm curious--anyone go into scary research mode while writing? Ways which kind of worry you when your research page starts to resemble a thesis?
I am going to bed, I swear. This fic will not hold me hostage. Nor sharing glorious memories of my viewing experience of Alexander.

[Next time I am at a con, I am totally organizing a viewing party for those unfortunate enough to have missed the glory and the dream. This movie is not to be missed. It sets the standard for sheer WTFery. It has growling! And Haephastion's magically thickening eyeliner!]

Okay, I know this exists, because someone, somewhere, at some point, posted a link to this: does anyone rememeber seeing (and can give me a link to!) a site that is devoted to characters of color in Star Trek?

I remember seeing it and I remember thinking--as one does--I should save that link! And then something was shiny. I don't remember anything else about it, and I could swear I clicked on it at the time but that could be a dream sequence.

For reference, I got this link from [livejournal.com profile] liviapenn: The Women of TOS. In case anyone out there is like me and once saw a link and then lost it forever to the wilds of the internetz.

my writing angst, let me show you it )

Also, this, since if you read me complain, you deserve something nice to compensate.

war games snippet: chess night )
Last night, [livejournal.com profile] winterlive was kind enough to read a draft of a fic that weirdly enough, I ended up finishing, mostly because I ended up writing the main storyline first linear and am going back to write the non-linear bits in later. This showed me three things.

1.) I didn't need about three of the past scenes I'd thought I'd need--I'd covered those in the main text. This is a mixed blessing. They were really fun scenes and at least one was the reason I wanted to write the story. But they would have, in retrospect, added length without adding to what the entire thing is leading up to at the end.

2.) It's so much easier to finish something if I just don't bother getting up to eat and have a three day weekend. Bathrooms, however, are a requirement.

3.) At some point, I've translated my pov character into another part of the setting, with the same changes I make to setting to follow mood.

The third part of this was actually funny--she's still reading and I'm editing and she pastes me a bit of it and I look at it and frown, because every so often, there's something in the text that I have no idea why I put there, and that reminded me that I wanted to go look at about ten sentences on page twenty. No, really. Ten sentences.

For the life of me, I had no idea why that was there; it's a fairly pointless moment. However, it was something I'd been practicing randomly since Smallville, in using the external world to reflect the internal feelings of a character, and let me say, I'm not subtle about it. You may note the number of storms that pop up randomly whenever a character has a startlingly porntastic revelation on their feelings. Mostly, it's just fun to do. Weather == emotional state. Pretty much everyone uses setting to do it, so it's not like I was making magic.

One of my favorite examples of the universe conforming to a person's inner weather is Cartography by Touch by [livejournal.com profile] rageprufrock (and in a very different way, History of Maps), which was one of the most closely, damply claustrophobic stories I've ever read. I had to read it twice, because for a story where John's mentally stuck in a room of rising water, externally, it moves around a lot. That doesn't change the feeling of walking ankle deep and watching the water flowing in with no way out. It's also one of the ones that give me a vague aversion to the ocean for a while.

(this actually makes me wonder how many writers have this hard wired into them; after the color thing at VVC, I noted how much color work I do in writing that follows that pattern and didn't even know it. It has to be something about how we interpret visual media and translate to textual.)

I'm curious what fic anyone's read that had that feeling when you were reading. I remember [livejournal.com profile] rivkat's Clark/Lex always had a sense of background inevitability--no matter what anyone was doing, saying, or hell, just sitting there, the background noise was always roaring behind it, like every good decision was temporary and every bad one fated to last long after the decider was dead. Ruat Caelum can still make me twitch if I don't read straight through; I feel jittery for hours after. For both this and Pru's, it's not even just mood; setting combined with secondary characters acting as mood rings for the pov character is pretty damn cool. And I cannot get to my rec page right now and cannot cite more examples from memory, though dammit, I have several, especially in SV and SGA. Jesus, especially SV. I don't know any other fandom that really did shift the the universe on how Lex felt about his father on any given day.

ETA: And now I am re-reading Cartography by Touch. Again. *curls up* I really, really need a puppy.
Question due to grammar and spelling discussion going on in another comm.

Can you acquire certain misspellings by exposure to them constantly? See, I have several now that I know for a fact came up *really* recently, as in spellcheck didn't autocorrect me, which slowly but surely I'm getting my more common added in. Here are the two main ones I remember right now. I don't mean typs--I mean, just weird *habit*.

1.) lose/loose
2.) past/passed

Okay, I've only caught myself on the first one once, but the second, I've had to correct it *semi-regularly* not at random in my last four fic.

I know my grammar gets screwed by what I read. Not always to the wrong side, though that too, but to the awkward side in phrasing something Like this:

He had never seen such a large penis.

He never had seen such a large penis.

The second one bothers me, the first one doesn't. I am going to sit here and examine why the second bothers me, if you don't mind.

Wait, I'm not actually sure--is one of these grammatically incorrect? The second just sounds wrong, but I'm not sure it's technically or even loosely incorrect.

It's that I feel strongly that when putting 'never' in front of 'had', it should create an emphasis that the sentence isn't carrying through. Basically, it's teasing me. I also hate the word penis, but that's because I'm pretty sure it's supposed to refer to a toe and somewhere in our past, someone messed up.

But that's *irritating*. It also throws off rhythm badly, which is why I've held a finished fic for weeks because I couldn't track down where I lost the rhythm. Yes, this is probably only something I'd notice, too, but I do. There's a long story that everyone probably has heard me tell here about sentence rhythm and how sometimes I get it right the first time (better than drugs) and sometimes I spend a month rewriting ten words (please don't ask) and sometimes it doesn't matter, but sometimes, I can't get passed* past it.

While you're here, if so inclined, tell me your favorite lines from fic. The ones that stick with you. I keep a very old copy of my favorites here (originally posted to diaryland). I swear in 2002-2003 I did another one of favorite lines. I may have to look that up.

*see what I mean? I know it's a time/space issue, but it just goes out and if I don't re-read after spellcheck, I do this. I feel like I should invest in sleep learning.
I've been thinking on whether to post this or not, but because I'm me, and because I ended up tagging for it, and because it exists, what the heck.

statistics in reading lists )

The thing that makes me vaguely uncertain is that my reading is highly slanted toward authors that I already know, and specifically, a group of authors I already know (and seriously, Ces makes like one eighth of my total reading; that's a hell of a curve). I read associatively and by rec page by the following priority: a.) people I know from SGA to b.) people I know from SV to c.) people who had fic I liked a lot in other fandoms to d.) rec lists to e.) things people throw at me in livejournal entries that involve kittens and help ease the pain of the loss of Handy, which I may never recover from.

House Style

You know, despite the fact I am not running a strange fannish social experiment (honestly, I am always and forever into this for the porn), I did want to share this.

I wrote a fic last week and haven't posted for dS when I was around one hundred something stories in. This was--hmm. Actually, closer to ten days ago. This weekend, however, I started writing something else, just for myself to work on voice, since pure dialogue entertains me. Ran into a problem I'm not sure I've ever run into before, and by that, I mean, not unless I've been deliberately working on something that's against what I usually write and need to adjust back.

This weekend, I couldn't remember how to write third person limited in a way that was actually readable.

It took me a couple of hours to figure out why my rhythm was off. And it was off, and not just off, but badfic level sentence structure nightmare off, weird loss of single point of view off. At a glance, it looked a mess. At not a glance and spending time trying to repair, I realized I was trying to write past tense first person instead and kept correcting myself to present while writing. I mean, that's the only explanation I can work out. The problem wasn't even the story--it was all in present with correction. But I wrote it like someone who wrote it in past tense first and then went through and changed the verbs and pronouns only, which to be honest, is pretty much what I was doing even if I wasn't aware of it. And I wasn't thinking in present at all; I was thinking in past. And there is, at least for me, a dramatically different way I visualize and construct a scene, much less write it, depending on tense.

Personally, I have no idea whether to find this hilarious or disturbing. I know as of this last week for the Doctor Who and the other dS fic, I was not doing that. But as of Sunday afternoon, I was and I'm still not entirely adjusted back.

I really want to call this fannish Stockholm Syndrome. Or Fangirl Borg? I have no idea. It's very cool in a very strange way. On one hand, I haven't changed my default style since SV and at least part of that change was deliberate (and when ClarkLex had that person come in to complain about present tense, I might have decided that God as my witness, I will never write past tense again or something). On the other, that change wasn't entirely conscious either; part of the reason I picked up third/present was that most of my reading was in that tense (aka [livejournal.com profile] thete1 et al) and it was, in some ways, easier to match what I was reading than it was to try to work against it.
I am irritated by this fic I'm not writing.

It's--well, the thing is, it was one of those I started for [livejournal.com profile] ltlj just to see where it would go. Its basic premise was "John is injured" and then I went from there.

And it went--well, somewhere, but not anywhere with a coherent reason, if that makes sense. It feels like a cross between a scene from a longer fic and a fic that's set after something else--like a bad McShep breakup, maybe. Or something huge and strange that no one can talk about, like a spiritual experience or the end of Atlantis or a Wraith conquest or something. I know something happened there; reading it now, it's all over the characters. Something happened. Something huge. Something that maybe broke them and they're running on habit and desperation.

The thing is, when I wrote it, I don't remember that being there; I remember thinking how to get them back to Atlantis. But reading it, I don't feel Atlantis in them at all. And I don't know if this is after, if this is a different Atlantis, if the world changed when I didn't pay attention, but none of them are acting like explorers right now and I'm not sure what the hell that means.

It's actually creepy, to be honest. I've written things and didnt' realize what I was writing before, but usually someone tells me afterward. This is the first time I noticed my mind is apparently on a different track from my fingers and I don't know this story. I'm not sure I ever knew it.

what you do when the story knows what you don't )
So I opened up my nanowrimo from November 2006, a month I remember best for being The First Time I Had Pneumonia, which means I didn't remember much about it since through at least one of those sections I was fairly high on steroids and a lack of oxygen. I didn't work on it again until October 2007, when I wanted to finish off a particular section and it was a slow, slow day at work.

Weird thing; I word counted it, I think for the first time since nanowrimo. I honestly didn't remember I'd gotten 38000 words in. Nor that I had actually worked out a plot. Or that it was interesting.

Call it insane; I like original fiction writing fine, but I rarely get the same high off of it. This is a twofold problem; someone once said that fanfic was more cheap methodone to original fiction heroin, but it's the opposite for me. As a writer, I'm more a practical engineer of writing--I like having limited tools and supplies and told to make something. I don't want all of Home Depot opened before me with unlimited credit. I want a card limit to set myself against and see what I can create, what limits can be stretched and changed and altered. There are reasons on reasons I love playing with leggos, building blocks, games with predefined rules. The built-in limitations are what make it attractive to me.

(Stupid Cheese Tricks, people. That right there is the sum of my personality and thought processes.)

Original is an unlimited bank account and a galaxy size outlet mall. Seriously. Bad idea. Anyone who shops with me knows I do my worst and least productive shopping with a credit card that's paid off. Hand me fifty dollars, however, and I can walk out of anywhere with two new outfits that I'll actually like still in six months. Maybe because it's a lot easier to prioritize with limitations on what you need and what you want.

Plus, I'm writing something I don't actually *read* all that often.

But two days ago, before I went to see Caspian, I was--sitting, something at work--and I suddenly thought of it (no clue why; I mean, it was so free-associative I could have been thinking about whale song or Mall Ninja. Actually, I think I was thinking about Mall Ninja) and I suddenly had my ending, and the ending was one I actually liked. I studied it from all sides, considered it carefully, then checked the minimum wordcount for a first novel and had a really awful realization. This is something I can actually finish. Second draft with add a minimum of twenty thousand words for a subplot I'd been kind of thinking on but didn't really feel like exploring before, and some expansion of a few sections for fun and to hit my personal kinks a bit. But finishable.

I have no idea how I feel about that.

you see, this bothers me )

My Oh John Ringo No! shirt, according to tracking, should arrive tomorrow. Pictures y/n? Provided I can a.) find my camera and b.) the batteries aren't dead.

I don't know what makes me happier; having it, or the fact that anyone foolish enough to ask me what it means gets a link to [livejournal.com profile] hradzka's review. I should print cards for it to hand out.

Or I could say "Threesome BDSM" and observe what happens. I'm trying to decide which one would make the best livejournal entry. Oh please, like everyone doesn't weigh that up during RL interactions sometimes. And wish they had a voice recorder on hand at all times. Or maybe that's just me.

ETA: Reminder: if you want a shirt of your own to cheerfully explain to everyone you have ever met, go here. Artwork by [livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur.
I'm thinking about insomnia, mostly because, welcome to my life, I get it a lot. It's rarely physical, either, which is the part that sucks. I can be so tired I can't see straight, but my mind doesn't--quite--turn off. Which I suppose is what insomnia is. And it's rarely useful thinking, though it's loud. Well, except for a few times when I was writing And All the World Beneath and I jerked myself up and wrote out what I'd finally worked out. I mean, at least that's useful and makes it worth it to want to die all day at work.

my issues, let me show you them )
You know, the reason you will never see me arguing about fanfiction as a legitimate creative enterprise is because I can't conceptualize the idea of a hierarchy of creativity. It causes a communication breakdown from the first word; I stare blankly at the counterarguments that might as well be sanskrit for all the sense they make; how do you answer sanskrit? In sanskrit. You see the problem.

As much as I support the Organization of Transformative Works and all that comes with it, I can't quite get past the fact that with this movement comes this: as a fanfic writer I'm being asked, my culture is being asked, to prove why we should have the right to exist.

I resent it on behalf of myself, who luckily won't be asked to personally stand up and represent--I leave that to those who are involved in the OTW, to the scholars and the intellectuals, what I am not and what I will never be. But I resent my culture is being asked to do so; worse, I resent the fact we are being asked to represent fandom as a single culture in itself, asked to homogenize ourselves into something singular instead of plural, and asked, in essence, to explain why we want this.

I read about the transformative process, the history of literature, Homer and Shakespeare and Chaucer; modern reinterpretations of Cinderella and Jane Austen and the Illiad. Here's the thing; they aren't my ancestors, not in what I write.

My genealogy is a long one; my creative ancestors were poor bards and village elders and traders who wandered the world and brought stories back from wherever they went. Shakespeare doesn't legitimize what I write; it is legitimate because I wrote it. I'm following in the footsteps of those who did it as I did; not for money, for compensation, for a king's pleasure or a publisher's profit. I do it because I love to tell the story I heard and I want to share it with others.

Here's the thing:

I've always wanted to be able to create a perfect sentence; a sentence that encapsulates a concept, an idea, that can speak an absolute truth. I think all writers do; we spend a million words searching for it, read for it, hope for it, and sometimes, we're so close we hurt. I'm not even close right now; I don't know how to argue something I've always known.

I respect the arguments made for my hobby: yes, Shakespeare and Chaucer and Homer. I just don't think that they are our only models.

Mostly, I want to not be tempted to read these damn discussions. It's bad enough to read how your hobby is the equivalent of letting the terrorists win; it's worse when you realize that even as a practitioner, you don't have the necessary authority to defend it.
So I should be doing homework, but I've done homework every night (with the exception of the day that Ces's story came out, because seriously. That's a freaking extenuating circumstance if I ever heard one). Mostly, I want to do nothing.

The thing is--I totaly forgot how awesome loafing is when you have something else to do. It's like underaged drinking, except without the arrest possibility, alcohol poisoning, or peeling random males off one before stumbling to bed. But there's the furtive joy of doing something you know you shouldn't, vague guilt because you *know* what you should be doing, and then the sheer ecstacy of blowing it off.

It's kind of beautiful, really.

Things Accomplished

1.) Downloaded Visio for class. Eh.

2.) Downloaded C++ compiler. Very awesome. Have no idea how to use it, but I poked it for a while and did something and colors appeared, so I got scared and shut it down really fast.

3.) Tried to pick a focus for my CS electives, which may seem kind of early except for the fact that a.) I have *nothing but this major left* other than the base classes I'm taking now and b.) I keep steering toward things I know will bore me to tears in the long run.

Like--ooh, introduction to AI! Sounds awesome! And dramatic! Robots! (in junior high, which is next year, they start intro to robots and I swear, anyone tells Child I have this option, I will never hear the end of it). And yes, being a sci-fi fan, it's like catnip. But one, I hate theoretical work because it's a lot less active for the most part and b.) seriously. What the hell am I going to do with it? Granted, maybe I am in fact an undiscovered genius who will suddenly figure out how to create the first AI (and in my Nobel speech, I'd totally cite my flist as my inspiration, if I still remembered you and all), but you know? Guessing? I'm thinking no. *Pretty* sure that by this time, I'd be aware of my stratospheric IQ if it existed.

But still gah.

There's several other options, one of which focuses on the relationship between machine language and higher level languages, which sounds intriguing until I twitch to remember the reason I like this is I get to *make things*, and also, I want write a word-to-html program and archiving program that doesn't drive me nuts (seriously, so close to writing that on my Goals For This Major sheet)(also in this, [livejournal.com profile] svmadelyn mentions she has a set of things that, once I finish, I'm expected to write for her due to her Ceaseless Encouragement, Support, and General Goodness of Spirit (possibly I am quoting). I like being given a set of tools, a pile of things, and told to make something out of it (see Jenn Build Giant Rabbit Condo, Jenn Disassembles DVD player, Jenn Loves Putting Together Own Furniture). The more limited the tools and things, the greater the scope for fun and innovation.

Mostly I'm hoping there's at least one physical-side class somewhere. While I know in general what's in that computer or laptop, I'd like a nice sixteen weeks for someone to lovingly detail the motherboard and assorted peripherals in exacting detail. This is because my best freinds' brother just built his computer and it's like--God. I keep hearing just the specs and try not to consider seducing him in hopes he'll let me play with it in post-coital glow, because God. (And also, I know him; that would not work. Dammit.)

4.) This isn't done, but I keep thinking about it. I was chatting out an idea to [livejournal.com profile] amireal and [livejournal.com profile] eleveninches, but it won't *solidify*. It's like that freaking "John Accidentally Becomes a Deity and Wow, How Could This Go Wrong + Bonus Body Art!", which was so cool in concept and then I got stuck forty pages in because I couldn't figure out why I couldn't pace it.

Right. Solidify. I'm more attracted to individual scenes than the actual story itself.

below cut stuff )

Will continue to loaf and read the horror spawned by some of the most creatively horrific badfic smut lines in history. I mean, they threw down. And I will never be able to eat yougart again. Ever.
A. GIP! BUNNY!

Icon courtesy of the marvelous [livejournal.com profile] flambeau. The most. Adorable. Bunny. Icon. Ever.

*happy*

B. Right. My badfic.

Okay, an explanation. There are several fics of mine I dislike, and a few I'd burn if the internet's memory wasn't quite so long and I hadn't been all "yes, archive as you please!" during my formative years of fandom. Because some are copied like in five places, and in perhaps one or two other languages, and okay, must stop now.

Worst fic. Below cut. This is what we call "embarassment squick".

god )

We shall never speak of this again. I'm going to go try and drown myself in the rain. Because it is raining. Again. As a symbol of my angst. You see? Deep.

ETA 2: Huh. [livejournal.com profile] miss_porcupine is right. I just did Badfic DVD Commentary. Am I the first? Can I name it after myself? Please? Please? Please?

(also, will go through and fix my spelling on my commentary in a bit.)

I should totally imbed an audio file of Carnival in this sucker.
My deep curiosity must be assuaged.

What is the most cracked-out and/or worst thing you've written? Like, the thing that even now, x years later, you look back on and kind of want to cry? Or you perhaps changed names since then and pray every night that no one ever discovers your dark secret. What was it, what fandom, what was it about? Give me details.

In return, I'll give you my top three fics that if I could go back and knock myself out before I posted, I'd totally do so. I'll even mock one of them. At length. Because honestly, while it is fun to mock other people? It's so much *easier* to mock yourself.

(the only reason i have ever been tempted to do a podfic of my fic is specifically for this one story that would make me happy to do a dramatic reading of the bit where there is so. much. pain.)

But that is *after* I get an answer.

There will be no judgement. As one who had the horrified realization that since Voyager, my mental mindset on writing is less "how can I write this well" or "how can i write this believably" or even "omg must celebrate otp" but something along the lines of "heh. i wrote about cocks. And serial killing. and *branding*. and...oh. shiny."

(which are totally legitimate reasons. also legitimate reason--ooh, pretty.)
Does anyone remember the context of Slash Fiction Is Like a Banquet? I read it within a year of it being posted--probably around 2000, a bit before I started writing slash.

One of the first qualifiers I ever learned to use, and now use obsessively, is "I think". "To me". "From what I have seen". There are a lot of reasons for this--most notably when I was very new in fandom and I'd participate in discussions that I had zero context for but was interested in, but wanted to, you know, not get my ass flamed for saying something incredibly stupid. I mean, sure, I still got singed once in a while, but the habit's been set and I think how I interact with fandom in general now tends to be influenced by that. And a lot of the things I've had problems with over time has been the absolutism of some kinds of meta, whereas I like the open-ended question best. More--I like the fact there's no single right answer, that most of the time there isn't a right answer, and that most people tend to be comfortable aware that their own way of thinking or interacting with fandom is not necessarily the only one.

So Hummus, in and out of context.

I always read it as less a 'stop writing x' or even a 'you should be writing y', but instead as a kind of challenge to writers, and readers, to expand their reading and writing into places they usually wouldn't go.

variety is only sometimes the spice of life. sometimes it causes indigestion )
Found it!

And by it, I mean this essay. I keep not bookmarking it. For [livejournal.com profile] hetrez.

Slash Fiction Is Like a Banquet by Arduinna. Published in 1999, probably one of the most read fannish essays that I know of--not that I track it or anything, but it's possibly one of the best and most fun ways to make a particular point I've ever seen.

Now, lemon-garlic hummus is wonderful stuff. And there are times when it's exactly what you want. But it's hard to eat lemon-garlic hummus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and feel satisfied. You can feel full, but you probably won't feel satisfied. Especially at one bite a bowl -- and the very nature of this particular hummus made it go stale very quickly after that first bite. So people who were used to a varied banquet, with lots of different choices, started feeling unsatisfied with all the hummus, and said so. But people who were used to just being able to get at the hummus tried to hush them -- if you start complaining about hummus, people will stop bringing it! And then there will be nothing to eat! And because everyone was feeling full-but-slightly-unsatisfied, every time someone brought another bowl of hummus a great cheer went up -- maybe this would fill that final corner up, so the diners would be satisfied.

Read the entire thing. It's short, it's fascinating, it's couched in metaphor, and it's extremely, almost painfully accurate.

Re-reading--because let's all face it, the last thing I'm going to do at work is work--it's just as interesting the first time, especially at this point, when I can apply to both types of stories (novel, pwp, gen, pairing, name it) and also, more interestingly to me personally, certain types of fanon.

Hmm.

I always read it as an essay on the value of diversity in general in fandom--sometimes as a challenge to do something new that you (or the fandom) hasn't done before, sometimes for the reader to expand on what they already read to include something new, and sometimes to please in the name of God spellcheck your work before posting, depending on what mood I'm in. But it also can be a call to break from a mental lock on what you think a character is or could be and expand to think of all the other things he or she is. Fanon!Slut!John is intersting, but Military!John and Geek!John are fun, too. Psychotically!Obnoxious!Rodney is fun, but Scientist!Rodney's perfectionism in his work is cool as well. And on and on.

Most of me knows it comes back to personal preference--there are some pairings I won't read, some types of plotlines I won't read, some characterizations I can't buy, and some things I'm just not interested in no matter how good the author is. And there are things I won't write, mostly due to the above, but also my skill level--I'm not going to write rape because I just don't think I could do it justice. I rarely write threesomes because Jesus, pronouns and body parts. Slavery squicks me so unless I had a fairly large plotline attached to it that made up for it, I'm pretty sure I'd never write that.

I do wonder, though, if it can be expanded to include fandom choice in general. A fandom is a very personal thing to anyone, but I think it makes a good argument for being willing to write outside what you're used to, especially if you're in a fandom read-only for whatever reason. I wonder sometimes if part of a reason a fan, for whatever reason, chooses not to write in a fandom (separate from just not being interested in writing, which is fair) is even at the best of times, posting in a few fandom, no matter who you are, is freakishly stressful. To post into one where you have minimal interaction with the fandom itself and that has a lot of active writers already, or to a small one with a few very loyal writers, can be a little--er. Intimidating.

Or I could be totally reading way too much into that essay. But darn it, it's fun.

ETA: Random, but thought I had last week. I wonder if any of the above in individual readers is affected by how much time they spend in a particular fandom or how long they've been in fandom in general. There's no real way to poll that, but I've wondered.
Child felt poorly, so stayed home today. Weird side note: I am apparently most inspired to write apocalypse-fic while I'm at work.

That is funny. Admit it. That's *hilarious*. I'm sitting there in my cubicle writing stuff like this:

Dean hasn't seen a calendar in years; he knows the seasons by the movement of the sun, the feel of the earth shifting from warm to cold. The world tastes like September, and Dean remembers west Texas in flat land stretching in marker-thick strips of vivid brown and black, the yellow tops of maize waving in pre-autumn winds, threshers moving complacently through the fields with drowsy men in hats waving at the road. He remembers green and gold fields of cows placid under the sun, half-year calves running on the outskirts of the herds. He remembers these were what he saw between jobs, lives being lived that had nothing to do with creeping twilight and sleeping only behind salt circles and ritual wards.

*****

Words, words, words

One of the things I perenially repress and encourage is my sheer love of building pictures through words. I fight it off for periods of time I like to call phases of insanity, because going too deep that way ends you with stuff like Flight, which I leave up at my website as a constant reminder never to let my passion for overwriting overcome say, writing an actual story.

*eyes it* I swear, I'd use that sucker as a teaching exercise in everything you should never do in writing. Right up there with writing about sex without once ever letting the reader know anyone was having sex and not just a really intense acid flashback.

I was thinking about how I tend to categorize writers into fairly distinct camps. These camps--or you know, groups, what have you--have less to do with fandom, skill level, ability to punctuate properly, or even style. It's--hard to explain except by this idea that there are some writers, good or bad, who write from a place I can comprehend and some from a place I can't. It's a style thing, but it's also something else entirely. It's almost like the equivalent of realizing that your light spectrum isn't theirs. It's has nothing to do with intrpretation of canon, characters, pairing, or even tone of the story, because all of them have and did and will write my OTP at one time or another. It's something they bring into the fic that's more than I didn't see it before they wrote it; it's that before they wrote it, I never knew it was there. More than even that, there is no way as my mind is shaped that I could have seen it. I guess it may have a lot to do with style, but it's more than even that. They're seeing a world I don't, and I can't, not until they show me. And they see it in a way that I never could.

I'm trying to put together a short list of writers and fic that gave me this start of shock, but putting it in words is a lot like trying to describe a visceral reaction--I can't explain my claustrophobia, just tell you it's there, and it will make me go nuts in fairly short order. I can tell you they blew my mind writing the most mundane things in such a way that I saw a brand new world, but honestly, that sounds creepily like some kind of orgasmic-religious experience.

Okay, got one. Below the cut.

basingstoke, 3jane, kharessa, rachel sabotini )

When I think of Jane St. Clair's Tom Paris in Kiev, I sometimes think of John Sheppard in America. Seventeenish, after Rodney brought him back and brought him up and couldn't let him go. Awkwardly antisocial and still filled with memories he only finds in his dreams of alien skies and worlds his feet have never stepped foot on. Of people that are growing to be more memory than reality when Atlantis went silent one horrified day and Rodney broke down in his office when John came home from classes.

When they told Rodney that the gate wouldn't engage and Atlantis was lost to them.

I think John took it badly.
I--did this thing? Which we will discuss another day, when I'm far, far less ashamed of myself. But.

His name is--oh God, I can't believe I'm writing this--Mr. Waffles, he's a Lion-head, apricot, and he might eventually like me. He's also, compared to the rest of the Seperis Warren, huge.

Seriously. I'm just--not going there. But yes, where there were three rabbits there are now four. Pictures forthcoming--I have them on my computer, but I dont' have an editing program, so I'll look for one tomorrow and try to get decent cuts. He *sat in my lap*. I cant' say he liked me but he sat in my lap and I have no new scars! This is indeed celebration time.

[livejournal.com profile] musesfool's Meme

I have no idea where she got it, but it looked cool and so, there you have it.

Ten Things I've Learned About Writing (The Lazy Remix): A Completely Impractical Guide to How Jenn Functions

1.) There's no such thing as a stupid idea. Ever. We prove that *every day*.

2.) Love what you create. Love that you can create it at all. It's you, your word processing program and/or notebook, pen/keyboard, and a universe to explore. It can be great or it can suck. But it's yours and you *made* it.

3.) It's fun. Wallow in it. Revel in it. Take it for drinks and molest it if that's what it takes, but never forget that it's writing, and it's art, and it's the best high you will ever have.

4.) Take incredibly stupid chances. Style, pov, narrative voice, hell, *verb tense*, plot point, characterization, whatever. Go crazy. Say you'll write a story without the letter e. I dare you. You might fail a lot--hell, you *will* fail a lot. Don't give a shit. Do it anyway.

5.) Spellcheck will always be your best friend. So not kidding.

6.) Write once about a character you hate sympathetically. Then kill them in the next story to make up for it. We call that therapy. Helps. Or at least, it's really fun to try, don't you think?

7.) Ignore the thick skin thing on critique. Take it personally. Cry to your best friend online about it. Hate the critic for as long as it takes for your ego to unbruise. Apply chocolate and porn. Compose a scathing reply. Then DELETE IT and move on. Trust me. This works.

8.) You will never write the perfect story, no matter what you do. But sometimes, you'll get it *right*. That's better.

9.) Call them muses. Say you hear voices. Tell everyone about your conversational stuffed animals that tell you what to write. Talk about your process like a relgious experience. Because sometimes, it is. And it's a lot more fun that way, don't you think?

10.) There are people better than you, whatever. There are many who are *so much worse*. Seriously. Go read them when you get discouraged. It helps.

Now this set.

Here are the things I never forget.

When I'm online, I remember; two messageboards I wish I'd never seen, ten hate threads I'd give almost anything to forget, one nightmarish mailing list thread I will neve forgive, more pure negativity that I can count, every fucking *second* of my last three months in X-Men, and the chick who taught me how to hate someone so much that I would flame her off the internet if I had the chance. The friends I lost. The betas I lost. These are the things that taught me what my ethics had to be and how thick a skin I had to create.

I never stop hearing my worst critics. No one does. They are there with every word I write, every story I post, every time I open an email, every time I read feedback. I will never stop hearing these things: my tense choice sucks, my characterization sucks, my plotlines suck, my style sucks, my tone sucks, some English term I dont' even know what the hell it *means* sucks. I write badly, I can't write at all, I should stop, I should go terrorize another fandom, I should stop writing.

I haven't stopped. You won't, either. That is the only thing I've learned that's worth knowing.
Well. I'd normally at this point say, I'm sorry for not answering comments--feedback and the fantastic glimpses into everyone's writing process. That never, ever stops being utterly intriguing to me. And I will, and I know this sounds loser-like, because I'm still LJing and stuff, but I'm in a transitional place where I'm venting out frustration with basically endless Lj entries. I've done four in my head that will never see the light of day, and this one is picking up from my last entry, methodology. Or basically, The Exception That Proves the Rule. Of everything I've written, four were painstakingly planned out, and I'm going to briefly go over what made them different for me. Short answer is plotline. Long answer is, I fell in love.

This will pretty much be the *least* interesting discussion ever, but if you've read Jus Ad Bellum (X-Men), In the Space of Seven Days, or Somewhere I Have Never Traveled, well, I'll cover those.

on long fic, the not so classic novel, and multiple points of view )
You know, I think I lost my nerve.

It's in every section, when I stop to take a rest and re-read to see if I slipped into writing in tongues, or perhaps present tense, by mistake. I just stop, and it takes a physical effort to make myself go another five words. Or another section, even.

This is the first time writing has ever scared me. I mean, not putting down the words in something resembling readable grammatical form, but actual doubt I can shape it into a story.

blah blah blah blah and blah )
I finally finished preliminary edits on Stumble and Fall, via [livejournal.com profile] cjandre's brutal beta, and here's what I found out, just from counting. This segues with the beta [livejournal.com profile] rivkat just sent me of another story.

1.) I believe in combining three perfectly usable sentences into one, miles long one. And when I say miles, I mean, I have a sentence that extends for a very long paragraph. Or several paragraphs of those. What. The. Hell? How does it hurt me to use a period? Is the world running out of periods? Am I afraid if I use too many, someone else has to go without? Why am I afraid of periods? Did they do something to me in a former life that makes me suspicious of them?

2.) Related to that, comma abuse. This is unreal. I have commas in places that commas have never traveled in any respectable sentence structure. I am packing them up and sending them to a comma foster home, where hopefully they can find good writers that won't hurt them like I do.

3.) Adverbs. I don't even know where to start with this one. It's not that I just use them without pity; I turn things into adverbs that were never meant to be adverbs.

4.) The semi-colon and I are some kind of deadly enemies. You'd think I'd expect them to attack me en masse if I use too many. Which trust me, I don't. This relates to comma violence above, as many a self-respecting semi-colon could have been used to ease my abundance of sad little commas.

5.) 468 uses of words that have an ly at the end. That's 6.158 per page. I just checked this with find/replace and a calculator. That's a lot of adverbs. That doens't include the ones that don't have ly at the end.

6.) I have people looking a lot. 197 times, to be exact.

7.) I can't face counting the gerunds.

I need to start from scratch and rewrite, but I'm not sure I can face that right now.

Okay, now that *that's* out of the way.

I want to have one more pair of eyes run over this before I post it. Anyone willing? [livejournal.com profile] cjandre made a lot of comments on continuity and timelineliness, and at this stage, I honestly to God can't figure out how to do it, I've read and edited so many times. Would anyone be willing? Please? I'll make you a cookie icon. That's about the best I can do at this point. I'm doing another run-through just on grammar using her notes to figure out how many sentence fragments I can kill without too much messiness, but the story still feels fragmented. I don't think I did enough connection between some scenes, but I've lost anything resembling an editorial mindset.

*hopes* Post here or email, either one. It's at 32,599 words as of right now. jenn at thegateway dot net.
This is probably the wrong time in my development as a writer to realize that my addiction is adverbs, and it's terminal.

Yes, I'm finally getting around to reading Stephen King's On Writing.

But adverbs--it's kind of a hopeless love. I know they don't love me--I'd never be able to get away with my lurches into quadruple modifiers if they loved me like I loved them--but it's there, it's an addiction, like italics, present tense, and white chocolate fudge by the quarter pound.

Still, though. I'm about three quarters through the book--a *lot* of leaping around going on there, since I keep skipping around to see what else is in there--and still come out of it vaguely feeling off.

well-written is a bad phrase )
Nervousness doesn't agree with me. I can't write myself out of that. Also, Ethan is wearing on me. I don't want to be sympathetic and I still hate him, but if I'm going to write him, that's just not acceptable. It's too easy to see when someone hates a particular character in a fic and only really, *really* talented writers can pull that off without making me feel like I'm reading a PSA about How Character X Is Bad. Not that I don't enjoy those immensely. I just read them for entirely different reasons.

Anyway. Reminded of Voyager, I went to look at The Very First Slash Story I ever wrote, just to see if it was anything like I vaguely remember. Also, because I love to pick my stuff apart. It's like, this weird hobby, and I get such a kick out of finding tense mistakes and pov problems. I can also see why I changed so sharpy to single person out of multiple pov, though I can now vaguely remember a time that first person pov didn't scare me to death.

chocolate covered elephants )
That really *is* the dumbest subject title I could think of. Well, that or pink elephants attack.

I'm blaming [livejournal.com profile] julad for this one, too, since she's easy. And what the hell, [livejournal.com profile] harriet_spy, because dammit, she hasn't been blamed for anything in way too long and she just might feel neglected.

on the art of emotional reactions in fic )
I could spend my time doing something productive and useful, but I see no reason why I can't just loaf and stare vaguely at my friendslist and be so damned lazy that someone, somewhere, SHOULD be chastizing me.

But. Today I'm zoning in my pet obsession, writing, or How You, Too, Can Have Sixteen WiPs That Won't Do a Damn Thing! Act Fast! Limited Time Offer!

Or not. Really, it's not hard. Just get frustrated and throw it into the WiP folder and pretend it doesn't exist.

my sense of humor is off-line again )
I still have half a box of chocolates from Bethy. Mmm. Hazelnut cream chocolates. I so love her.

You know what I'm not doing?

I'm not reading the [livejournal.com profile] wednesday100. In fact, I am not even looking at it. I have REMOVED it from my primary reading list for the day, by God, after the blank shock of seeing sixteen--SIXTEEN--kick-me-in-the-heart drabbles and being unable NOT to read them.

Remember what I said that I'm getting MORE OTP as time goes on, instead of less? Yep. Remember all that mumbling I did about how by this time in fandom usually my fannish intensity usually dies down but apparently, Smallville's good for screwing with my patterns?

Can't do it. Just can't. Hundreds of one hundred word break-up drabbles? You're KIDDING me. No no no no no. Can't do it.

*grins merrily* Run along and destroy my OTP. I am here, in denial, mulling domestic bliss and trash day for my boys.

Okay, saying that with a straight face is funny.

[livejournal.com profile] martianhousecat last night held my hand through what is probably the second hardest story I've written. Long time ago, I said never again start writing without at least a vague idea of what I'm doing. Tabula rasa--no idea, no concept, just going with the words until they congeal like day old soup. It's freaksome. Here, I started with two things--one, Clark, two, Lucas, three, an alley. Everything else just developed.

Anyway. It's strange.

*****

Recs

[Unknown site tag] pleases us all yet again with another wonderful fic, Of Man's Desiring, a look at the complexities of Jonathan Kent. Wonderfully fair, beautifully written, and damned good. Highly recommended.

Cooking Considered As One of the Fine Arts by [livejournal.com profile] tstar78. Cookies! Wonderful Martha! Good characterizations all around, and watching Clark and Lex from Martha's point of view is wonderful.

*****

jenn rantingish

Not really so much that as this vague--confusion isn't the right word. It'd be more accurate to say bewilderment.

I do NOT get absolutes.

This could be a sad lack in my standards or something--I have so very few. Absolutes annoy me. Okay, a LOT of things annoy me, but anytime anyone says 'this is the way and the only way blah blah blah' I'm tempted to take the opposite view, and scarily, this happens even if I agree with them.

Yes, I really AM that contrary.

I'm not a natural rebel. I am all status quo. I am, in fact, the very opposite of a rebel. So this little streak of contrariness--which by the way, I had no idea I possessed until I spent quality time in fandom--really makes me wonder. I don't like to say I'd argue against something simply because someone phrased their statement the wrong way, even if I agree--but I think that might be moe true than I'm comfortable with.

Okay, we all have this reaction. Someone we don't like says something that we agree with in some discussion. Agree completely with. They have phrased it so that it will go down in history as the best possible answer to the situation ever. Songs will be written based on that answer, it's set in stone for the masses to admire. And dammit, it almost hurts when we have to say, so and so is right. Because, argh. Argh argh argh.

Right, so.

On one of my lists, I always--and this is literal--always get insta!defensive when someone makes a proclamation, and I want to take the opposite tack, even in the case of full out agreement. And it's not like I dislike these people--I admire most, have read several in fictional situations, and all are intelligent, articulate, and interesting. Some I actively like, actually.

But then comes The Proclamation On The Subject.

'This is the way and this is how it's done'. Every time, my teeth start getting grindy-like and I stare at the email and ask, okay, is it her phrasing that's peeving me or is it the content of the message? It's an interesting distinction. Phrase it as an absolute, and I'm instantly looking for any and all exceptions to break it down, even if experience and common sense tell me that the statement is true or should be.

*sighs* I'm never going to be a good debater.

creativity, why to write, feedback, blah blah blah )

Mmm. Chocolate coffee.
Things I should not be allowed to do.

1.) Coffee after ten pm. People should monitor my abuse of caffeine.

2.) Talk about ANYTHING after eleven at night. Somehow, I always manage to confuse myself. But that's okay. It's my diary. I can espouse the adoption of pink squirrels if I want to. It's my fort. *g*

On Sex in Literature, Topics 1 and 2, if you're into hodgepodge.

Do I go weird places or what? And strangely, last night it actually seemed logical to combine them....

Victoria does it better. Go play with her.

fanfiction as literature, the LJ version )
I had an entry done for diaryland, I hit update and--it's GONE. Now diaryland has disappeared in a white haze and my pretty rant on squicks is gone.

It was a GOOD rant. It had examples and lots of metaphors and some really, really cool points made and it's--NOT THERE.

I would weep except I'm drinking some kick-ass mint tea, which always makes life bearable.

I've been reading the TWoP fracas (I got lucky and wandered over there when it first started, yet somehow managed to control myself and not jump in). I've been reading the blogs about it, the livejournals about it, the endless speeches about censorship and anti-censorship and incestfic and rapefic and these things as plot devices and if you remember, I wrote about incest yesterday in diaryland.

You know what's bothering me? It's not necessarily the subject matter. It's the quality of the people who write it. And I think that holds true for most of us.

Face it, some people couldn't write a recipe without making a mess of it, but for some reason feel qualified to write rapefic. That's like starting with a chocolate souflee the first time you're allowed into the kitchen. COME ON.

Some people can write pretty good but have all the intuition of dead goats when it comes to emotional reality. They should know their strengths. Just because your consensual PWP was hot does not mean you can manage to adequately express the realism and dirt of rapefic. There's a good chance this category of author also follows the romance novel idealization that rape is okay if you're in love. Or okay if the victim is a Bad Person. Or it's okay as long as the victim gets together with another character in the end

There's a REASON I don't read romance novels. At least, not anymore.

Some people are brilliant writers and CAN write. They CAN write rapefic, they can write it with all the dirt and all the psychological issues and all the pain, and unfortunately, they are always, ALWAYS classed with the worst of the badfics, and I. Don't. Get. It.

Are people that incapable of telling the difference between a well-written, well-thought-out, beautifully executed story and crapfic? I've never dismissed a category of fic out of hand just because of the subject matter. I dismiss it if the author handles it badly. There are NO and I repeat this many, many times and I'll bet everyone knows exactly where I'm going with this, NO BAD PLOTLINES. There is only incompetent handling. I lost the last of my illusions about what I would or would not read when I started reading Smallville slash and started writing it.

So yes, I'm frustrated, in a weird, laid-back sort of way. Most people say it better than I do, but the outright dismissal of an entire subgenre makes no sense to me. It's unfortunate that we can't make authors send in a writing sample before they are allowed to write on hot-spot topics (though God, wouldn't life be great if we could?). Incest, rape, explicit violence, torture, mutilation, everything that makes us squirm, I swear, you should have to be licensed to do it. Because badfic is one thing, that's just a bad author. Incompetence is something else entirely. And the scary part is, that incompetence is sometimes not even the result of a lack of knowledge either. The part that makes me grind my teeth is I think most of it is pure, unadulterated laziness. Get character A and B together Any Way Possible and the focus of the story is never about the trauma or the pain or the reality of the event--it's just about seeing A and B get together somehow.

I can forgive stupidity and insensitivity and even advanced idiocy, because at least the effort is somewhere in there and even in badfic, you can see the author was TRYING, which I give them full credit for doing, even if the results are crappy. But LAZINESS, which is very possibly the besetting sin of the fanfic world, is unforgiveable. I can't respect or like an author who abuses their talent, who treats it like it ISN'T amazing, like it ISN'T something incredible and fun and moving, doesn't GET that writing isn't spitting text on paper in perfect grammatical form. It's fanfic and it should be art, every damn time. You should look at what you wrote and you should know, somewhere, that it was the best you were capable of, it's made of the best that was in you. Anything less isn't even acceptable.

I think I'm quoting an email I sent to Victoria now. Hmm. I may need to look this up. Victoria, do you still have it?

I take writing seriously. That doesn't mean I don't get a massive fun kick out of it, love every second I do it, and enjoy immensely every damn word I write. Serious and fun are not mutually exclusive, and saying 'oh, this is just for fun' after someone tells you that your fic is just bad sends little goosebumps of horror up and down my arms. I played basketball for fun, too, but it was a skill as well and I enjoyed being GOOD at it. I love crochet and I also do it well. I cannot, ever, in my life, quite get the concept that if you're just having fun, it's okay for it to be less than your best possible work, it can be sloppy, lazy, or ridiculous. And this isn't anything regarding natural talent--some people have more than others. This is the effort you put into a story, which is a completely different kettle of fish.

Wow, I went off topic. Go figure. Diaryland's down and I'm antsy. One day I'll do my full, unadulterated rant on why I actually get nauseous when I see unapologetically lazy authors whine, but that's for another day. In diaryland, dammit.

jenn

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