Jan. 3rd, 2011 12:24 am
torachan: (Default)
Okay, I was excited when AO3 introduced the kudos feature (and even more excited when they put in notifications for it, so you actually knew people were leaving kudos), but I have to say, after having had it for a few weeks...I really, REALLY love it.

I love it as a reader because there are times when I don't have anything other to say than "I liked this" or similar, and I kind of feel awkward leaving comments like that (though it doesn't stop me from doing so) because I feel like I should say more, and also because I know the author will feel obligated to respond and there's not really anything you can say to that besides "thank you".

So for stories like that, I just hit the kudos button now. Which means, yes, I'm using it in place of a comment. But I'm not using it to replace comments that actually said anything. Clicking a "like" button is exactly the same as typing "I liked this", but it's less work and stress for everyone all around.

I also use it in addition to comments. Sometimes there are fics I really love so much and I want to tell the author in as many ways as possible. And even when I leave gushy feedback, I'm kind of crap at it. I'm not one of those people who leaves long, detailed, amazing comments because I just can't express myself well. So for something I really love, now I can not only leave a comment, but I can leave kudos in addition to the comment. (And I will also use the AO3 bookmarking feature to bookmark it, even though I don't reread and will not actually use the bookmark, because it leaves a heart for the author and that is yet another way I can show how much I loved the story.)

But what about as a writer? Do I feel like I'm being cheated out of something when someone "just" leaves kudos rather than commenting? Absolutely not! I love every comment I get on my fics (unless it's like, trolls or spam or something--nothing worse than getting excited over a new comment only to find it's spam), even ones that are nothing but "I liked this". So kudos functions just the same as an "I liked this" comment. It lets me know that someone enjoyed the fic, which is something I really like to know.

I have the hit counter, too, of course, but all that tells me is that someone clicked onto the page. It doesn't tell me whether or not they liked it, or indeed, whether they even read it or not. There are plenty of reasons why one might click onto a fic and not read it, and not just "bad" reasons like they clicked in, saw something they didn't like and left. Kudos tells me they actually read and liked it.

Of course a long, gushing comment and/or detailed concrit is always awesome, but let's be real. Most people don't leave comments like that. I don't leave comments like that most of the time, so how can I expect others to do so? Whether the kudos replaces an "I liked this" comment or is left by someone who wouldn't have commented at all otherwise, I don't think it is keeping people from leaving longer comments if that's what they are moved to do. I really don't think that someone who would have left a paragraph-long comment otherwise is going to see the kudos button and go "oh, I'll just hit this instead of commenting". And even if that did happen, so what? I'm not entitled to anything, and I'm grateful that someone takes the time to let me know in any way, whether by comments or kudos, that they liked what they read.

Also, I do feel stress in replying to comments sometimes (even though I am not someone who gets a lot), and so it's nice to have something like the kudos feature where there is no obligation to reply back.

Getting a notification of a comment in my inbox makes me happy. Getting a notification of kudos makes me just as happy. To me, there is no downside either as a reader or a writer.

Now if only DW would get a "like" feature...
torachan: (Default)
1. I did the remix meme for a couple people and totally gave myself plot bunnies! D: I...I really don't need any more?

Over at [personal profile] helens78's, I said:
I would love to see more of In the Middle of Nowhere. Not sure I have actual ideas for it, but perhaps Ewan's POV or just redone from Jude's POV to be somewhat different. (Or, and here's a shocker, to make someone trans.)

I also found this one, which I had totally forgotten about and it really great. Something from Jude's POV would be cool. I like the tangle of fucked-up-ness between those three.

And for [personal profile] temve:
Your Secret Diary has always been one of my favorite TPM fics and there's just so much that could be done with it. I mean, take it straight and remix it from Qui-Gon's POV, or do a sequel. Or turn up the creep factor and have Qui-Gon being some kind of pedophile & kidnapper and there really is no trip to outerspace, this is just the story Ben has told himself to make it okay. Also the part at the beginning where he's talking about his name made me think of Ben being a wee trans boy who is writing a story of who he wishes he were.

You should totally read the stories linked, too! I am especially drawn to the idea of creepy!Qui-Gon in Tem's, because creepy!Qui-Gon is extremely under-explored in TPM fic. ([personal profile] redtexta and [personal profile] torch had some great ones, though. And I wrote one myself.) I don't know why the idea of Qui-Gon as a creepy abuser is so appealing to me? But it is. (And rereading the one of mine I linked, I love it so much. Get your revenge, Obi-Wan!) I think it's a reaction to all those stories where he and Obi-Wan are like soulbonded when Obi-Wan is just a kid. Or where Qui-Gon has been in love with Obi-Wan since he was a kid. (Or since he was a baby even!)

2. Speaking of reading my old fics, I was on AO3 and just going through my fics and adding tags where I remembered stuff and thought it would be a good tag (I tend to forget how much sex I write is kinky, because it's not necessarily all long and detailed, but even if it's just a few lines, apparently chances are high it's not vanilla?) and I came across You Must Know That I'll Follow You, a James/Sirius fic which I have now tagged "Infidelity, Break Up, D/S, Orgasm Denial, Biting, Angry Sex, Bathroom Sex". XD And let me just say, it is awesome. I forgot how much.

But it is Sirius being angry and desperate after James gets with Lily and drops Sirius like a hot potato. And I just love that even though Sirius is angry and upset with James, he still can't make himself come without James' permission and he hates that even though James isn't even into it, he still has that power over him..

NSFW excerpt )

Ahhhh. So twisted.

3. Anyway, I could probably babble forever about how much I love that fic, but moving on! In tagging, I noticed something. While I tagged it orgasm denial, I really wanted something more like orgasm control. To me, denial implies that the fic is about drawing it out, whereas orgasm control might or might not be drawn out, but is about having to have permission to come. I see that orgasm denial/control is wrangled with orgasm denial, but I think orgasm control should be a separate tag. Y/N? Or is there some other way of phrasing that is already a canonical tag that I am just not thinking of? Because a lot of my fics have orgasm control, but not necessarily denial.

4. I was thinking earlier about drabbles and short fic, what with the McShep Match drabble tree going on (btw, you can totally participate even if you are not part of Match; it's for everyone, not just the teams).

I am really good at drabbles and short fic. The fic I linked to above is ~800 words. Earlier today I got a comment on a double drabble saying "this took my breath away". I really enjoy the economy of words involved in short fic. Drabbles especially, and various increments of a hundred words (the Bleach fic I wrote for the transfic fest is a series of four drabbles; the Big Bang Theory one is 800 words even), but any short fic, really, even 1500-2000 words.

I think it was [personal profile] musesfool whom I first saw compare drabbles/short fic to miniatures, and I have always thought that's a great comparison. Because a lot of people trash short fic and say it's lazy writing and not worthwhile, but would you say that about a beautifully-crafted miniature house? Would you say why didn't you spend your time building a real house instead of this junk? Or would you admire the fact that they were able to get so many details in something so small? That's what short fic is like, at least when it's done right. It's pared down and every word there means something. Long fic can be great. But it's not inherently better just because it's long. It can be bloated and padded with self-indulgent scenes that don't add to the plot.

I love working with short fic, crafting something small but amazing with only a few words.

Do I think every drabble or short fic (mine or others') is a masterpiece? Of course not. I've written stuff that is just okay. But I have also written stuff that I read back again and am really, really impressed by, and a lot of it is under 1000 words.

5. Also! I have been jotting down song lyrics that feel inspiring the past few days. I might try to use some of these for the drabble tree or just tuck them away for later (either to be used as inspiration or titles).

I may come back to this post and add more, but here's what I've got so far:

Watch me rise up and leave all the ashes you made out of me (Embrace - Ashes)

An ache in my heart and a thorn in my side (Alkaline Trio - Piss and Vinegar)

Couldn't change though I wanted to (Bush - Glycerine)

Your mistakes I keep in the back of my mind (No Doubt - Don't Let Me Down)

It's good to be in love, it really does suit you (Frou Frou - It's Good to Be in Love)

6. Also I'm thinking of doing a Skullcrusher Mountain AU for the drabble tree. "I'm so into you, but I'm way too smart for you" sounds like Rodney to me.
torachan: (Default)
First off, thank you to everyone who commented on that meme. There were a couple of anon comments I wanted to address, and I figured doing so in my journal meant people might actually see the answers.

Someone said they're sad I never comment on their posts and that I probably don't read their journal, and I just wanted to say that if I have you friended, either on LJ or DW, I read your journal 100% of the time. I never filter my reading list. I'm sorry if I haven't commented on your posts, but I don't comment on the majority of what I read on my flist. Doesn't mean I didn't read, just that I either had nothing to say or didn't have the energy to engage.

The other thing I wanted to address was a comment that said "while I appreciate your recs, I am often surprised how limited I find your attitude towards sexuality to be--particularly in cases of bisexuality in fics or historically accurate approaches to sexuality".

I think this is a really profound misunderstanding of what I find problematic in a lot of fic. I am totally pro-bisexuality and love to see it in fic. The thing is, I don't see it that often.

Say there's a story about John and Rodney and they both have only been attracted to women until they meet each other and fall in love. They are functionally bisexual in the story, because they have had have sex/feelings/relationships with both women and men (or a man, rather), but because most fics like this are romance, and romance tends to emphasise "true love", it comes off as this gay relationship simply being an exception to their heterosexuality. Often the attraction is expressed entirely as an attraction to the person's personality, with no accompanying physical attraction at all. Combined with the fact that they have never looked at another man before and never will again, thanks to this being OTP romance, it ends up feeling like a story about heterosexual people who happened to fall in love with someone of the same sex.

Literally, the minimum I am asking for is an acknowledgement that they are attracted to men, not just to each other. What I would love, of course, is if it were shown. Have John check Rodney out. Have him think Rodney is hot before he falls in love with him for his great personality. Give me a John with past experience with men as well as with women. If you want this to be his first ever relationship with a guy, how about falling in love with Rodney makes him realise that he has always been attracted to men, just suppressed those feelings?

And before you comment to tell me there are people who do fall in love with someone of the same sex* without ever having any attraction to anyone else of the same sex...I know! I am not saying this is a totally unrealistic situation. I am not saying it should never exist in fiction. All I am saying is that in a genre that is supposedly about same-sex relationships, there is a dearth of people who are actually attracted to people of the same sex and it hurts.

It wears me down to read fic after fic after fic and see the same thing. I understand why this story is popular. For some it may be because they don't want ick gay cooties on their favorite characters, but I think that is probably a much smaller group of people than it used to be. The main reason is that it's romantic. I get that.

But I do think it's problematic when that story is so common that it's hard to find stories about people who aren't "gay for you". And I refuse to believe that being disappointed with the preponderance of Gay For You stories is somehow anti-bisexual.

As for the second part of the statement, that I am against historically accurate portrayals of sexuality, I can only assume this is in reference to Holmes fic, as it's the only historical fandom I read. I am very much for historical accuracy. But historical accuracy does not mean erasing queer people. Of course they would not use 21st century terms, but that is not what I'm asking for. Again, I am simply asking for a Holmes and Watson who are attracted to men (either exclusively or in addition to women), not just to each other. It is not historically inaccurate for a man to know he prefers other men (or is attracted to both men and women), whether it is something he struggles with or accepts about himself. (And I highly recommend this book if you still insist that historical accuracy precludes that sort of self-knowledge. Or even if you don't. It's an awesome book.)

All I am asking when I complain about yet another Gay For You story is that there be a little more queer representation to balance it out. That or maybe people start warning for it. :p But it's so normalised that it's not something anyone even considers putting in the headers or tagging for. It's just how things are.

It's not that Gay For You is, taken on its own, a bad story. It's that too often it's the only story. And so even in slash, it's once again a hunt to find stories about queer people.

ETA: Maybe a better way to phrase it is that I'm looking for is stories where the character's sexuality is not directly linked to the person they're in love with.

*The concept of same/opposite sex is flawed, I know, but I'm not coming up with another word to express what I mean.
torachan: (gabby - shenanigans)
Okay, I clicked on this post from someone on my flist and I don't even remember who, but omg what???

The post starts out good, about how "female characters aren't allowed to embarrass themselves".

Male characters are allowed to fart, keep a filthy house and bad hygiene, bite off more than they can chew, trip over their shoes, do dumb things and get epically called out and publicly humiliated. And everyone laughs. Put a woman in the same situation, and with rare exceptions, she's hated. A bitchy man is the source of laughs, a bitchy woman is a bitch. A charmingly inept man is loved, a charmingly inept woman will set every woman's teeth on edge.

Okay, so far so good. I think she's definitely got a point about that. Certainly a woman having *gasp* bodily functions or being unkempt is seen as a moral failing rather than something expected or even charming the way it is with a guy.

She then has this line in bold text: "We'd rather punish that character with our hate than forgive them for not being perfect."

But...her solution? Is not how to change this, but rather to give tips on how to cater to it! Don't buck the trend and write women as realistic people. Instead, here's tips on what to do so female readers won't hate your female characters.

Women just don't want to fantasize about being immature, stupid, inept, unattractive or clueless. Too many already feel this way about themselves. We go to fiction to escape this feeling. We want to fantasize about being right and capable and strong and beautiful -- able to surmount anything that comes our way. We want our shyness to be mysterious and alluring rather than an antisocial and drab. We want to remove our glasses and suddenly be beautiful. We want to be unusual and trendsetting, not weird and unfashionable. We want to be smart, not ordinary.

Ew, ew, ew.

God forbid there be ordinary people in your fiction. No fatties. No disabled characters. No one old and wrinkled. And you know, people of color have it bad. So do queers. Maybe we should all just write about straight white people while we're at it.

I mean, this is the logic society tells us. Audiences won't go see that movie if it's about Asians! No one wants to watch movies about gays! For fuck's sake, did you know that I Love You Phillip Morris is not even going to be screened in the US?

And when [livejournal.com profile] herongale challenges her in comments, she responds with:

It's like the idea there was back oh, about 15 years ago that the reason boys play with boy toys and girls play with girl toys is because adults were teaching them which to prefer. The idea was that you give girls and boys the same toys and they will somehow desire to play with them equally. But that just doesn't work. Boys will tend to go to boy toys even if they are offered girl toys, and girls ditto, not because they are taught that, but because it is more innately appealing.

That's right. Don't ever try to change the status quo, because Men Are From Mars and Women are From Venus.

Someone further down in the comments even busts out with some evopsych bullshit about our hunter-gatherer ancestors and how this is totes hardwired into our brains now!

torachan: (Default)
I found this really awesome post about slut-shaming, monogamy, and non-monogamy in Star Trek fandom via this post asking for fics with open relationships.

Maybe because I spent five years where my primary writing was in an RPG set in a kinky sex club and if your characters weren't single or didn't have open relationships, it meant you weren't going get much chance to write with others, I don't think of open relationships as being that rare a thing in fic. Thinking about it, though, I guess they are in the wider world of fanfic. I think they tend to be a little more common in RPF as a way of dealing with canonical SOs, but the romance tropes of true love (which means never even looking at another person lustfully) are pretty strong in fandom so for a lot of people it's not something they want to read or write (even assuming they can separate consensual non-monogamy from cheating).

I'm actually more interested in exploring open relationships than the OT3+ stories which tend to be more common, so I should make an effort to write more scenarios like that rather than just having in the back of my mind that X or Y isn't monogamous.
torachan: (Default)
I mean, I know what it is according to Freud, but what is it when people talk about it in relation to fiction?

The term is thrown about in fandom (at least in the metafandom circles I tend to travel most) so often, but it's never been something I really get. I first heard the term in relation to fiction with the id vortex, and have even used the term "id fic" myself, to describe fic that seems particularly indulgent and uninterested in telling a story so much as getting the reader and writer off (literally or metaphorically).

But it's still not really a concept I fully grasp. It seems to come from a way of relating to fiction that is different to mine, but it's talked about as universal. Yet, of course, many things presented as universal are not at all so. But this is one I'm unsure of. Sometimes it's just that my brain works differently so I need different words to understand what it is people are getting at, because they're coming from a shared understanding that doesn't reflect my own experience.

Anyway, what prompted this particular instance of curiosity was [personal profile] cupidsbow's recent post (more discussion on Dreamwidth, as well). Not only does she talk about the id, but so do commenters, all with a seeming assumption that everyone else knows what they mean.

So my question here is, if you read and understand what she is talking about, what do you think it is? What does it mean to you? It seems to go beyond simple likes and dislikes, though that is the closest I can relate to it myself at the present.

(For this post, I am turning off comments at IJ and LJ and directing them to DW. The vast majority of my posts do and will have comments turned on everywhere, but for posts where I am especially wanting discussion, I would really prefer to have it all in one place.)
torachan: (Default)
Reading posts like this always makes me sort of go O_o. It's about having a second story open in another tab to cheer you up when you read a really sad fic. I mean, it's not that I see posts exactly like that all the time (I think it's the first), but the idea that reading a story can affect your mood is really foreign to me. I mean, some people have said in warnings debates that they need character death warnings because if they read a fic that sad, it will ruin their mood the whole day.

Even if that is the extreme, it seems to me from my years in fandom that it is common to at least be affected to some degree by a sad story. Or to read happy stories to cheer yourself up. So is it just me or is anyone else unaffected by what they read?

ETA: To clarify, it's not that I have no feelings about a story, but I'm not affected by whether the characters are happy or sad or what have you.

So yeah, I'm amused by badfic, or enraged by an author's opinions, or impressed by a well-written story, or excited by an interesting story, etc. But a story can't make me feel bad.
torachan: (Default)
So the whole fandom should be free from any differing opinions or any form of criticism thing is going around again in SGA fandom. Five millionth verse same as the first. The people complaining are not actually anyone I would have encountered otherwise, except that the OP commented on a post of mine specifically to tell me they were making a post in response. I guess so I could come over and be chastised or something. *eyeroll*

Here's the thing. I don't write reviews because I'm out to hurt people's feelings or to crush their spirit or make sure they never write in this town again. I'm not sure why I would want to do that. I'm not sure why that's the only reason people can imagine for wanting to talk about writing. The OP said I "enjoy writing scathing reviews", and well, no. I don't, actually. I enjoy writing reviews. Period. It's much more enjoyable writing 100% positive squeeful reviews, if for no other reason than there's no worry of wank or hurt feelings. But I also enjoy talking about what didn't work, whether on a technical level or on a personal level. I enjoy betaing, too, because editing is fun, and it makes for better stories. I don't enjoy betaing because I love to send back drafts covered in (metaphorical) red ink just to see the look on the writer's face when they see what needs to be changed.

The arguments I keep seeing about how fandom is fundamentally different than any other sort of writing just don't make sense to me. In this day and age of Google alerts, if I write a book review on my journal, much less on Amazon, there's a high chance that the author might actually find it and read it. And just because they're a professional doesn't mean they are any more equipped to handle criticism than someone in fandom. (Seriously. I have seen plenty of fans who are more professional than some professional writers.) And yeah, no one is paying for fanfic, but they're still investing time, which I don't think is inherently less valuable. (Not to mention, one doesn't need to spend money to read something professionally published. I can feel just as disappointed with a library book as one I've purchased. For me, it has little to do with the money spent. (Although the more expensive something is, the more I will feel disappointment for what I paid!))

And...I do feel like reviews are providing a useful service. If I were just talking to myself, maybe I'd decide it was too much trouble to write down my thoughts on everything, but people read them, even people who are not particularly interested in reading the fics themselves. (I know I do the same myself. I read recs and reviews of things (be they fanfic or novels/manga/movies/whatever) whether I have any intention of reading/watching the source, just because it's interesting to read people's opinions on things.)

So what it comes down to is two groups of people who have fundamentally incompatible ways of interacting with fandom. People on one side can't bear for any critical comments to exist and think it's rude and mean to say anything not positive, and people on the other believe that criticism has a place in fandom just as it does elsewhere. Of course I'm going to choose the group who agrees with me! There is no compromise. I'm doing my thing over here on my own space, and the "solution" is for me to stop doing things my way and do things their way.

Anyway! I really hadn't meant to ramble on quite that long, and my main point was going to be something that [livejournal.com profile] darkrosetiger brought up on my last post, which is that sometimes it may be confusing just from the rating I give a fic as to whether it's just not my thing or is rated down because of technical problems. I think this is mainly problematic for things rated a 2, because it's the rating where everything goes that I'm just not that excited about, so it is a pretty wide mix of things. But at the same time, all the rating represents is my own enjoyment of the fic (and I do detail what each rating means on my profile page).

If you're unwilling to click the cut tag because of possible spoilers, what sort of information would you like to see outside of the cut? I am not talking about basic header info like warnings, MPAA rating, or pairing, because I figure if you really need to know that (and I do try to give a summary that makes the pairing clear), you can click the fic link and read the author's headers. But like, I know my cut tag blurbs can suck at times, because I just sort of put whatever there. :p

Would you like the cut tag to be more specific in terms of why it was rated the way it was (without being spoilery)? Nancy's suggestion was a separate rating for technical and one for subjective stuff, but I feel like if I did that I would feel compelled to go back through all the hundreds of fics I've read and re-rate them so they all match up. So I'm thinking maybe still keep the overall score, but just be clearer before the cut/in the cut tag.

I was thinking about doing this in poll form, but I'm actually more interested in hearing ideas of what you think would be more helpful in that regard.
torachan: (Default)
So, Supernatural.

The thing is, Dean has been sexist from day one. His entire persona is built on being not girly, because that's icky and stupid and bad. So he didn't sling insults around as much in seasons one and two. That didn't make him a better person and it certainly didn't make him not extremely sexist.

Now, I'm not saying don't be upset by him being an asshole, or don't write to the show complaining, or whatever. I'm not saying it's a good thing, or that it's just "boys being boys". (I think it's sad and it reminds me of my gross little nephew.) But...it's not OOC. His character has, from the beginning, been completely based on misogyny because that type of macho manliness cannot exist without it.

As for him ramping up the insults in season three, to me it actually fits in well with how angry and on edge he is. He reacts to everything with completely over-the-top anger so it's not surprising that the insults are coming out more often. (And considering how much he values "manliness" and scorns anything "girly" it is no suprise at all that his favorite insults are misogynistic and homophobic.) Whether this is how the writers intended it or not, I don't know, but it's certainly not a far reach for me from the Dean I saw in seasons one and two.
torachan: (Default)
Okay, the option with the most votes was remix, so here we go (I do plan to do the others in a timely manner, though, but we'll see how that goes). All my remixes can be found here, but to simplify things for today, I'm just going to talk about the four I wrote for Remix Redux (I also wrote one for the LotRiPS Remix and one for the Fandum Mashup challenge Ruth and I ran a couple years back).

Long! )
torachan: (Default)
Interesting post here on wanting more fic that is like a romance novel. One point that really struck me was this:

The thing is--[livejournal.com profile] minisinoo once said that a lot of fanfic fell under the genre, and I half agree, but the truth is, if we are, we suck at it very badly.

And I think it's that while a lot of fanfic is romance, it's not all "romance novel" romance, and part of that is because it's very hard to write romance novel romance and be IC, since the characters we're writing about are not romance novel heroines and heroes (especially the heroines part).

So people may write a romance between John and Rodney, say, but if they're trying to write about John and Rodney, and actually care about characterisation, of course it's not going to read like a romance novel, since that would mean they'd have to be slotted into those roles, automatically making it OOC. Of couse some people don't care about being in character, so they write it anyway, and obviously the OP and the people replying to the post don't care about it either (or don't always care about it), but it is something that many people see as important, so of course it's going to be seen as bad writing. I don't think romance novels in general are automatically bad writing, but they are dealing with original characters. As soon as you put John and Rodney in those roles, it automatically makes it bad, no matter how good the rest of the writing is.

So I think it's kind of ridiculous when people whine about how it shouldn't be seen as badfic. I don't think people should be ashamed to read and write it, but they need to suck it up and admit that it's ridiculously OOC and thus, yes, bad. (And if you're reading stuff with healing cocks, etc. then it's bad for more than just OOCness.) Love it because it's bad, love it despite its being bad, but don't complain that people call it bad!
torachan: (Default)
Today on Smart Bitches there was a post that really reminded me of fandom.

I've heard some authors talking about how, when it comes down to it, most people, when they read for entertainment, read for plot and not for writing style. However, I'd argue that much of the time, we're not even reading for plot--lots of wildly popular books feature inconsistent, silly or downright confusing plots. We're reading for scenarios. We're reading for the pay-off, the money shot (the boy gets the girl, or the boy solves the mystery, or the boy saves the world, or the boy gets an orgasm); we need only the barest outline from the author, and we supply much of the rest.

She goes on to say she most often does that for romance, fantasy, and porn (which is why she calls it "reading pornographically"), but it sounds to me like that must be what a lot of people do with fanfic, too. That would explain why so much stuff that's mediocre if not downright bad is still wildly popular
torachan: (Default)
Reading some more on [livejournal.com profile] elfwreck's post and was prompted to comment again. There's a lot of condescension going around there, and implications that if you don't agree, you either don't know your own motives, or if you write for different reasons, your writing sucks and is more illegal than her way of doing things. So...I think I'm going to try really hard to stay away from anything to do with her from now on. Best for my blood pressure. :p

Anyway, I wanted to c&p my response here and expand upon it, because it actually made me think about some interesting things.

What I disagree with about her post is the idea that this is why it has to be fanfic. Almost nothing I write has to be fanfic (there are a few stories that are so completely tied to a canon plot point that they couldn't be rewritten as original fic, but those are few and far between; most of my stories deal with themes that are universal and not specific to one canon universe or character). If I decide to write it as fanfic, sure I make sure it's IC and works with canon, etc. etc. But I could also write it as original fiction. Or tell the same story in a different canon universe. And in each case I would make sure it worked for that scenario. But there is nothing that makes it have to be fanfic.

That's what I said, now to expand on it... )


Jan. 23rd, 2008 05:43 pm
torachan: (Default)
This would be an interesting essay if it were entitled "Why I write fanfic" instead of trying to force the author's movitvations on fandom as a whole. I wouldn't have thought the idea that people have different reasons for doing almost everything would be so hard to grasp, but apparently it really, really is. (I won't even get into the eye-twitch-inducing "zomg slash is so much better than gen" stuff going on there.)

I mean, I don't even have a single reason for writing fanfic for myself, how can there be a single reason for all of fandom all the time? My reasons vary depending on what I'm writing, though mostly they come down to either "I want to fill in this bit of the story" (that tends to be for Yuletide fandoms, the ones where I just have one story I want to write or see) or "I have an idea I want to write, and I will write is as fanfic because posting and getting feedback is more fun than trying to shop something around for a paltry sum and then never hearing from anyone who read it or even knowing if anyone did or not".

Argh. The more I think about it, the more stupid it is, especially her whole "slash is so much better than anything and automatically Meaningful because it's not dumb gen" thing. I mean, what about all the fic that is OOC and neither the author nor the readers care, they just want to read stories (or porn in many cases) featuring the guys they like? That is not an insignificant amount of fic. Or what about bulletproof kinks, something fandom likes to talk about an awful lot. People admit they read badfic because it features something they like. They're not reading it as some commentary on canon. What about the non-insignificant number of people who read or even write in fandoms they don't watch/read?


Sweet Charity is still going on. You can bid til Saturday.


Oh hey, I have some interview meme questions from [livejournal.com profile] angelacaduca.

1. Who are you?
Me! :D Haa...lame answer, but I don't know what else to say. I don't have any short answers there.

2. What's your favourite smell?
Hmm, I actually don't think about smells much. I might smell something and think it smells good, but I don't really remember it to think about when I'm not smelling it at that moment. It has been rainy the past few days, though, so I will say I like the smell of rain, especially before it actually starts raining, but when you can smell that it's going to.

3. Which CD would you take to a desert island? (Alternatively, which 14 songs on a mix CD?)
The Killers' Sam's Town. No way could I limit it to 14 songs on a mix, so better to just go with one album I really love.

4. If a genie offered you one wish, what would you ask for?
To be out of debt. Come on, genie, where are you when I need you!?

5. Is there something you wish people asked you more often?
Nnnnnnnnno? Not that I can think of.
torachan: (Default)
I just finished reading one of the books I got for Christmas, All the Fishes Come Home to Roost by Rachel Manija Brown. I first heard about it while reading her awesome posts about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, in which she used examples from her own life, and linked to her book. I was interested just from the stuff she mentioned, but it was the comparisons to Augusten Burroughs' Running with Scissors that was the clincher.

I started reading it a week or so ago, and found it really hard to put down. If I hadn't forced myself to do so in order to do other stuff, I probably would have read it all in one sitting. Basically it's a humorous account of her (pretty horrible) childhood. I highly recommend it (and Running with Scissors, if you've never read that, either).


Speaking of recommendations, Lurid Digs is one of my favorite blogs. Now, you may have noticed, but I love mockery blogs, such as Go Fug Yourself, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and the late, lamented Threadbared. It doesn't matter if they're mocking things I don't care about (in fact, those three are about celebrity fashion, romance novels, and patterns, none of which I'm interested in); I just love them.

Lurid Digs mocks photos posted on gay dating/hookup sites, which means it's more than a little not-safe-for-work (or family, or public places, or...). It doesn't mock the men in particular, though sometimes it does. What it's really all about is the settings of the photos. And you would not believe some of them. A lot look like they took the picture in their grandma's bedroom while she was out shopping. All of them put lie to the stereotype that being gay means having good taste in decorating (or indeed, any inclination towards not living in a pigsty). All in all, it's absolutely brilliant.

But today's post. Today's post may be the highlight. I don't know if they will ever find anything better than this. I really, really hope the text of this guy's ad said something along the lines of "looking for a man to be the Roadrunner to my Wile E. Coyote" (or vice versa). Since I have no way of ever knowing for sure, I have decided that yes, it did. And since yesterday was apparently More Joy Day (whatever that is), and this gives me much joy, I am sharing it with you.


So once again we're back to the idea that fanfiction is not "fiction based on someone else's universe or characters", but rather some nebulous aesthetic, and thus if it doesn't "feel" like fanfic to someone, it's not. [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink (from whom I got the link to the first post) sums up my thoughts pretty well here.

I'm also dubious of the claim that "if it's a m/m slash pairing, there is almost always fetishization of the sexually submissive half of the pair". If you're talking old-school slash, then probably yeah. But I don't think the same could be said now. Yes, it's still a common type of fic. But. I read a lot of slash, and even the stuff I dislike is rarely like that. Of course the reason for this is that for the most part I avoid reading stuff that looks like that in the first place, but the fact that there is plenty of other fic to choose from is a sign that it's not as ubiquitous as it once was. I mean, the very idea that one half of a pairing must be "sexually submissive" conjures up yaoi-esque uke/seme tropes, and thankfully that sort of stuff is not all there is.

Maybe it's just me being too literal, but "almost always" suggests that anything other than that should be extremely hard to find.


And since everyone and their mother is posting about OTW, here are my thoughts.

1. I'm sick to death of hearing about it.
I realise that I am contributing by talking about it myself, but I don't care. :p

2. I don't really see the point in Yet Another Archive.
Maybe I'll change my mind, who knows. As a writer, I don't look forward to uploading several hundred works of fiction to yet another archive, especially when (at least at first) the audience is going to be primarily LJ users, thus feedback will probably be very low since it would be reaching the same audience as on LJ, not LJ plus another audience. As a reader...well, if you wanted to torture me, making me troll through an archive looking for fic would be a good way of doing it (although frankly, the same applies to LJ comms). It is just not enjoyable to me at all, and no matter how many new bells and whistles they add, that won't change because I don't read like that. Search and sort functions are useless because I don't read by pairing or kink or anything except whether or not the summary is interesting, which is just not something you can figure out aside from scrolling through and reading them all. I lose patience going through archives and comms after about one page.

So I don't see benefits to me either way. This doesn't mean that I don't think it should be made, just that I can't get excited about it and the excitement, in general, utterly baffles me.

3. Despite my ambivalence about OTW, the people who are flogging the Fan History Wiki annoy me even more than anyone associated with OTW.
[livejournal.com profile] partly_bouncy's whining about people not using her fugly-ass wiki is far and away the most annoying thing in all of this. Yes, it exists already. But it's ugly (yes, I am shallow and actually like the websites I use to look decent), and its policy is "misinformation is better than no information". Also it's run by someone who is a batshit grudgewanker. At least the OTW wiki won't be run by one person. (Mind, I personally have no use for a fandom wiki, either, as I can't see myself either reading or contributing, but the ugliness of Fan History Wiki and the annoyingness of [livejournal.com profile] partly_bouncy is more than enough to put me off hers.)
torachan: (Default)
Turning in a sloppy fic for a fest? RUDE.

I'm talking about purely technical stuff here. Some people are just always going to be bad or mediocre writers, but everyone can at least turn in a presentable story. One or two typoes is understandable, especially with a longer fic. But when something is riddled with typoes and misspellings and formatting errors, that is just not acceptable. If you want to write stuff like that on your own time and post it in your journal or on archives, whatever. I still think it shows an incredible lack of respect for your readers, but I wouldn't necessarily call it rude. But when you are writing a fic for someone, you need to put in the effort. If you know you have problems with the technical aspects of writing, get a beta. Sometimes it can be hard to find a beta, but if you are writing for a fest, you can always ask the mods or post in the comm or whatever. There is already a built-in community there to find you a beta, even at the last minute.

Not only do you need to be extra careful in writing for holiday fests because you are presenting it as a gift to someone else, but also because you can't easily make changes if you catch them afterwards; you have to bug the mods to change it for you or just let it go. So check it over first. Then check it over again. And again. Have a friend do it (and not the sort of friend who is unwilling to tell you you made a mistake); make sure you get a beta. Get the number of mistakes down to as close to zero as possible.

Sometimes typoes creep through anyway. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about stuff that has obviously not even been read over once after writing. And that? Is rude.


Dec. 18th, 2007 09:54 pm
torachan: (Default)
I was reading yet another discussion about including wives and girlfriends in RPS (specifically bandslash, here, but it's applicable most everywhere) and as usual some of the answers are from such a different mindset to mine I really can't even wrap my head around it.

But I really like the response I came up with this time, so I figured I'd post over here, too. It's short and to the point:

What it comes down to is that I am not interested in reading or writing stories that mimic these people's lives. I'm interested in stories starring these characters.

I don't need their personal details to be preserved, or their relationships to each other. I don't need age differences to be the same, and if I'm writing them at a different age, I don't need that to be taking place in the past or future that reflects their actual age. I don't need any significant others included. I don't need them to be actors or musicians or whatever. I just want these characters, their personalities, and I want them to be recognisably themselves, but the setting, this world of famous people and celebrity lives, is just so uninteresting to me.
torachan: (Default)
The nice thing about [livejournal.com profile] metafandom's del.icio.us is that if I'm bored and want something to read, I no longer have to wait til whenever they post the day's issue. So I've been poking about and found these two posts about criticising fics from anon fests. I don't really have anything to say on the main issue, but what kept kind of perplexing me in both posts and the comments to them was that one reason crit was unacceptable was that the author might be writing something they didn't want to write.

Now, maybe it's just me, but I thought the point of writing an exchange fic was to write something both you and the recipient were happy with. I can't imagine writing something I thought was bad writing, bad characterisation, or that I just didn't like. For one thing, most exchanges are pretty specific with the matchups. Yuletide is probably the broadest because there is just no way they can match up anything more than fandom and characters. So you might be a slasher who gets a het or gen request or the other way around.

But if you're doing an H/D exchange, not only are you guaranteed the fandom, but even the pairing. If you're doing Smutmas, you're guaranteed to get slash. No het or gen allowed. You can specify the pairings you won't write, as well as any squicks you won't write. I think most fests I've been involved with allow you to specify things you won't write. Depending on how small the fest is or how organised the mod is, they might even try to match further than that, based on the things you say you'd like in your request. Furthermore, most requests for this sort of fest give a list (often long) of various things they like. If there's something in the list you don't think you can write a good story about? Leave it out. Pick something else. I have never seen a request that had only one thing, especially not something like the example of "Snape in pigtails" that was given in the above-linked posts.

So for me, that's the challenge. Here I have a list of things this person likes and dislikes. How can I write a story I like and am proud of that fits these criteria? Of course I am also trying to write something they will like, too. I try to write something the requester will like when I take fic requests in my journal, too, but again, I'm not going to sacrifice my standards to do so, and I don't see anything wrong with that. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that if I do my best to write something to please the recipient and they don't like it, in the end what really matters is whether or not the story is something I am happy with.

I see a lot of comparisons between fic exchanges and traditional gift-giving and I just don't think it's an apt comparison. If I'm giving someone a physical gift, it doesn't matter whether or not it's something I like or would want myself, but writing is different. It is never just for the recipient. Sorry. Especially not when it's posted in public. Then it also has to be something that I can be proud to have my name attached to once it's revealed. The fic does not belong to the recipient. It is not ultimately theirs. But I think even if I was writing the fic and emailing it to the person and no one else would ever see it, I would still want it to stand up to my own critical eye and to my own standards first.

Maybe the people I've written for in the past have ripped me a new one and bitched about the horrible fic they received in private. I have no way of knowing. All I know is that they said they liked it and were always enthusiastic, so I just have to trust they were telling the truth. It makes me happy to write something that the recipient will be pleased with, whether it's for an official fest or just taking requests off my journal. But the reason I like doing request fics is because of the challenge of coming up with something that both of us will be happy with.
torachan: (Default)
Spoilers up through S3. This may have been brought up elsewhere, but I've not read any SPN meta until now, so sorry if I'm retreading old ground that everyone already knows about. Also, I am not interested in spoilers, only speculation.

Earlier today I was thinking about... )

Also I really need a Bella icon. Maybe I'll go looking for screencaps later.
torachan: (Default)
Because, see, in the circles I travel in and even the wider fanfic fandom here on LJ, it's become very popular to write commentary on your fic or talk about it. We have memes where people can ask questions about the past or future in a fic universe you wrote, or ask questions of your characters. This sort of behaviour is encouraged. I read one rant where someone said most author commentary was boring, but even she wasn't suggesting it should never be done or that you were a horrible person for wanting to talk about your writing.

So why the double standard? Why is JKR such a horrible person for talking about her books, most of which is in the context of answering fans' questions?

I mean, seriously. If I see one more person say something like "JKR is harshing fandom's process!" in all seriousness, I'm...well, I don't know what I'm going to do, but it will involve hating fandom even more than I do already and frankly, that gets exhausting.

I have seen this, obviously, in relation to the most recent interview, but there's been a constant stream of this sort of bitching ever since book 7 came out. I don't remember if the stuff she said in interviews before then came under similar fire; I know she got bitched out a lot, but I can't remember if it was specifically for oppressing fandom by commenting on her work.

I admit that I am the sort of reader who does like author commentary. I love to know these details. I would love to know even more. I would love to have some sort of direct link to the brains of my favorite authors so I could access everything they know or have ever contemplated about the characters and universes they created. I love fanfic. I love the various possibilities it offers. But that's not the same as knowing the real story; I want both.

As an author, I like talking about my writing. I like talking about the process and the world and the characters. One of the reasons I like writing in fandom is that there's opportunity for such discussion. That doesn't mean I'm trying to force my views on anyone.

What I especially don't understand about the whole thing with JKR is that fandom ignores things they don't like all the time. I mean, I have been in fandoms that revolved around ignoring stuff! Most of The Phantom Menace fandom ignores Qui-Gon's death, to the point where some people get upset if you don't mention that you're actually following canon. In Vampire Chronicles fandom, most authors I knew tended to ignore any books after Tale of the Body Thief. Fans ignore canon on a smaller scale all the time. They ignore the fact that X and Y aren't together every time they write an X/Y fic. Fanfic readers and writers play fast and loose with canon in a variety of ways. It's what they do. (Yes, some fics could fit perfectly within canon, but those are in the minority.)

So why does an author talking about their writing oppress you? Why does it ruin your fun? Why not just ignore it like anything else you don't like? It's not, after all, actually canon.

And if you think JKR is an evil oppressor for talking about her writing and you ever mention yours? You are a hypocrite. It doesn't matter that she is a best-selling author and you're just talking about it on your LJ. You are still a hypocrite.

(This, by the way, isn't really about JKR. I don't care about her, nor am I trying to defend her. She is just the person I see get this kind of flack the most. I have also seen people complain to a lesser degree about TV show creators and actors who talk about their shows, etc. Though there does seem to be more leniency for film and TV than books, since most fans clamor to have the super special editions of DVDs with...commentary.)

ETA: Just to head anyone off at the pass, I'm not really interested in discussing anything about Dumbledore. The observances in this post are not really related to that revelation except in that I have seen people spout this nonsense this time round as well as countless times before.


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