for the slash panel
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what characteristics, if any, do you think are common to good slash fics? To bad fics? What are some mistakes you regularly see in not-so-great slash?
All comments gratefully appreciated ;)
Okay, I've been having this discussion with several people, both on AIM and through e-mail, and I've wandered around the topic in my own LJ, but I'm no closer to an answer.
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Jammies fic. Why?
I mean that literally. Why do people write jammies fic? I can understand that a lot of people want warm fuzzy fic but why jammies in particular? I suspect that a lot of it is to do with who championed the jammies fic (Biblio) and the kind of adulation she gets in the fandom, but why on earth has it taken off the way it has? It's almost become fetishised. It's no longer about Jack and Daniel - it's a threesome. Jack, Daniel and Daniel's jammies, shacked up in conubial bliss.
And I'm completely thrown by it. Yeah, okay, slightly cute at first, but what on earth is the attraction is churning out fic after fic after fic, sometimes by the same author, on the same subject? I did mention to someone that I thought it had become a lazy canon shortcut for 'cute' fic, wherein the author doesn't need to actually write scenes conveying caring and cuteness, she merely has to stick Daniel into jammies and that's it. I also, in a lot (but not all of these fics I hasten to add) get that whole 'infantalising Daniel' vibe, so that might be part of it too.
But why? ::wail:: Anyone have any other theories about it? If so, share please because I'm still none the wiser.
what is quality in writing? can you define it? outline it and describe it? can you teach it?
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or is quality subjective? if so, does that explain certain voting outcomes?
inquiring minds want to know
This quiz was posted to a list I'm on, and I wanted to share the love.
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Have fun evaluating your stories. As for me, I can see that if I want to say I write 'porn', I need to start working in the word 'crotchless' more often -- oh, wait, does that count if you're writing slash?
is writing a psychological purge?
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think about it...modern society is so isolating, so alienating, that some of the ways in which we once purged our minds of our worries and emotional woes is now denied us. We aren't taught to deal or cope...we're told to buck up, keep it in, talk to the hand. We drug our kids and ignore social problems until they turn into huge overwhelming problems which just kickstart the cycle again.
rambling, sorry. i was just thinking, in terms of my own work, how much of a release it is for me. is this why we say our 'heads will explode' if we don't write down? because its not muses or bunnies, but our own expanding neuroses which are banging at the doors of creativity? i don't know about other writers, but i know in my own work there are patterns -- when i'm feeling lonely, i write slash. when i'm feeling cold or frustrated, i write violence. and when i'm feeling like i do this week, i pick a character i like and send them on a nice little trip to a pretty mental hell, tailor made for each brat. the number of characters i've driven insane is on the up again. (remember kids, down not across). what i write, what i _can_ write, is almost always directly related to my dominant mood. and when i try to write against that grain, i write crap. its because i'm not purging, i'm just...faking it.
is this why so many of the truly great writers were absolute nutters? they had these neuroses on tap twenty-four seven?
I am now a citizen of the LiveJournal world with a username of my very own. It's Apocrypha_ (with the underline after it, sigh). Those of you who care can now add me to your friends lists. Those of you who don't care can ignore me. But I'll make faces at you behind your back. :P
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I'm heading out to surf for icon pics. If one of you has a pic of Witch!Willow (with the black eyes and long, straight S6 hair) let me know.
I had to muuuuuuuse a little on this topic - (which is like regular musing only you rub your chin and go 'hmmmm' a lot more) because I've been futzing with some first person narratives in a couple of fics I've been working on and wonder why this POV is so frequently and horribly abused.
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Because it works. Done well, first person narrative can be revelatory, powerful and deliciously angsty. Done badly it descends into a mass of tired fandom cliches which make you wonder what sedative the writer was on, and will it help you sleep as well as their fic does?
As soon as 'I' comes to town in a fic it's make or break time.
The introspective stream of consciousness fic has been ill-treated. The ones where "I sit and polish my P-90, check out Daniel's ass as he's bending over and think whoooaaa, where'd that thought come from. Am I gay - Christ, I'd like to fuck him." Even worse, the clear bold type of JACK or DANIEL at the start of every first person narrative just in case we, the fans, the ones who watch the show and know the characters, don't know who is 'talking'. Hrrmph.
As well as that, such fics rarely skim the surface and don't delve too deeply into the character - dealing mainly with a lot of mawkish 'I'm so sorry's' from both Jack and Daniel while they wonder what went wrong in S4. Which is a goddamn shame, because the pleasure of first person narrative is surely that the character is stripped naked (figuratively, and yes, often literally - since this IS slash) and their messed up psyches are there for the playing with by the writer.
First person stories done really, really disgustingly, envy inducingly well in the fandom include Anna's 'Lost In Translation', Ellison Wonderland's 'Denying The Battle' and Widget's much nommed and delightfully weird 'Bluestoke'. Okay, yeah, I can't resist Widget's 'Jack' any more than I can resist Anna's. All three stories are examples of character voice captured and in Ellison's case, portrayed in a frightening altered state. Then there's Spring's 'Doors' - which while not technically a first person series delves into introspective asides which have the characters nailed. Daniel's little musings on the word 'inane' struck a cord with me as a great example of the kind of things that do float through a linguist's head.
You see? The 'I's DO have it. So why so much lousy writing constructed around this viewpoint?
I'm curious. This link has just been sent to one of the Stargate lists - www.geocities.com/sguniversity . It's an online 'university' for the study of Stargate, like the X-Files one that's been running for a while.
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What do people think about it? I really can't make my mind up.
On the one hand, it could be quite good fun, but if I'm reading the information the right way (and I'm sure I can't be), then you only need to send in one essay/piece of fanfic/songvid to qualify for a full degree? I must be reading it wrong, but still I'm curious what other people think of the idea in general, if anyone else would consider getting involved, etc.
Seeing as how this is a community for, of and about snarky slash writers, I thought some of you might find this interesting. This is a letter--and response--from the column Savage Love though it is talking about "porn" in the sense of videos and not smut writing.
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Thought I'd introduce myself with a mini rant of sorts *g*
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Ok, I know all about 'keeper' signatures, but erm...this one just about takes the biscuit.
'Acolyte of the Holy Order of St. Daniel of the Cerulean Eyes, #13, The Keeper of the Fine Lines around the Holy Orbs'...
Now tell me, cos it might just be me, but does that make anyone else here want to vomit? Cos I'm reaching for the bucket as we speak.
Apart from my own personal issues with the whole 'Saint Daniel' thing, I have just one thing to say to that.
(who's going to have to get used to not putting 'I hope no-one takes offense at this, but...' at the start of every fcol post.)
Wheee! There's two books coming out with my byline in `em!
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The first one that's already out is a collection of feminist-type essays called "Liberty for Women."
The second one's not out yet, and it's more on-topic for this list. *evil cackle* It's called "Mind & Body" and it's an antholoy of SF-informed smut stories. *leer* I link to `em from my story page. Check it out!
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Okay - fic hit the list this morning, and I've seen it, and other fics by the same author, before. And I'm always left with the same sick feeling in my stomach on reading them. This morning, I didn't bother once I'd realised what fic it was and the memories (and nausea) resurged but it brought that old question up in my head.
Why bother writing a slash fic with Jack and Daniel, when you obviously hate Daniel? I mean, I've seen stories where Daniel isn't Daniel at all - he's this cold, calculating individual who cheats on Jack with impunity, sometimes even to the extent of beating up Jack (hello?) and becoming nothing more than a monster. With no reason for it. No sarcophagus addiction to explain this sudden change in behaviour. No drugs, no Goa'uld, nothing. So, basically, Daniel - the same Daniel who was able to find it within himself to be compassionate to the host of the Goa'uld who raped his wife even though his face, that face that taunted him more than once, is the same - is unable to find any such compassion or respect for his lover. And Jack, strong, capable, sarcastic Jack, puts up with it! Why, fer crying out loud? Just gives up and... dies? So that Daniel can feel guilt and spend the rest of his life suffering for being a meanie?
It's not confined to Stargate slash either - I've seen it in other fandoms. There's one author in New Pros slash where I'm convinced she hates Sam given the way that she portrays him. Same symptoms - acting like a cold hearted bastard who treats his lover like shit, only to feel remorse when he almost loses the man he loves then spends the rest of the fic grovelling to make up for it.
For the love of God, why? ::pained wailing::
The only reason I can come up with is that either the writer has some huge issues in her personal life with being treated like shit, or really despises the other character but can't think of anyone else to slash their favourite character with. Or they're stuck with writing OTP if they want to have an audience. So the hated character has to suffer - they don't deserve their object of affection and, damn it, they're going to have to realise just how unworthy they are. Preferably while on their knees begging for another chance.
And the thing that gets me, really gets me about this is that they have no respect for their 'favourite character' either. How can they? They make the hated character act like a complete bastard and their 'favourite character' is reduced to this weak, ineffectual, sainted travesty from the strong minded, complex and intriguing character to compensate. As much of a bastardisation of their characteristics as the perversion that passes for their partner.
Why the hell would anyone want to do that?
Okay...this rant has been a brewing for some time and spleen venting is now required.
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What the fuck is up with The Boys In Pink?
You know the kind of fic. Regulations and homophobia cease to exist in the face of the sheer cuteness of Jack/Daniel, Paul/Daniel...whatever floats your boat. Yeah, okay - I did the reg dodging thing in Dr. Jackson's Diary but basically that was a really really stupid fic anyway.
What really pisses me off is the kind of fic where you have a military base, two guys and a shitload of uninhibited sex going on everywhere from the briefing room table to the locker rooms to fun with whipped cream in the commissary. And it's FINE! If another member of personnel wanders in on our frantically boffing heros they raise an eyebrow, mutter an amused; 'Tch...you GUYS...' and roam off thinking how sweet it is that they're in love. Meanwhile, screwing away in the showers, Jack and Daniel are oblivious to regs because the world is their oyster and they'll make mad passionate love wherever they choose because homophobia is wrong and duty can go jump because Daniel needs to be snuggled.
It's almost a kind of Mary-Sueism. The couple in question are so gosh-darned sweet and adorable and so RIGHT that the bad nasty evil military melts in the face of their everlasting wuv and decides that not only do they want to waive the regs just for them but nobody else NOT singled out for this treatment feels resentful because they're too busy trying to become best friends with the happy couple. Nobody can resist their cuteness.
Oh, and don't forget the Pride parades in the hallways and the gay wedding ceremonies in the gateroom. Okay - I say again, WHAT THE FUCK?
Is it simply weakness on the part of the writer? I'll admit - I love the minkboys. They make me squee. They're cute, filthy, obsessed with each other and I want them to live happily ever after - of course I do. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than seeing them shacked up in blissful sin, fighting, fucking, snuggling on the couch and squabbling over the TV remote controls, but really, how likely is that in the background setting of Cheyenne Mountain? If I ever write a straightfaced fic in which it's revealed to personnel that Dr. Jackson and Major Davis have been screwing like bonobos on benzedrine and everyone's initial reaction is 'Awww - don't they make a lovely couple? And when's the wedding?' just please tell me to call it a day.
Half the fun of the fandom IS the danger of discovery, that they can't be out. It's the biggest and best vein of angst there is. Fluffy pink cuddlefic which TOTALLY ignores that is surely missing the point? Why write in the fandom if you hate the background and setting so much that you have to paint it pink?
No, I will not be singing any Rod Stewart songs for you (yes, I heard that sigh of relief), just another of my testy misanthropic rants.
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Well, tonight is the night...
Daniel goes all fluffy cloud tonight here in the US.
I won't go into the many reasons I loathe this storyline, they are too numerous and wide ranging and I already touched upon them in my anti-Meridian-fixit rant, so 'nuff said. I'm just watching as the various memorials begin to crop up on the lists and the general weeping and wailing and rending of flesh and pulling of hair begin. MS' departure is not news to anyone around these parts and we've already gone through this whole process to an extent a few minths ago when the epi debuted in the UK and now, alas, here we go again.
The calls to the Dannykins memorial services have already begun. The declarations that come 10:45 people will be dutifully calling up Showtime to cancel their service. The announcement of a chatroom that will be open all weekend expressly so people can "grieve."
Now, I understand that fandom is all about community and that things like a beloved character leaving are hard on some people. I, for one, will miss MS. I love the character of Daniel. He is my favorite and he tends to be the center of all my fic and I *will* miss him, but I think that certain factions have lost a sense of proportion. Daniel isn't a real person, folks. He is a character and as such he will live on in our minds and our fics. the fact that he will not be present in S6--which amounts to about 16 hours of TV time all tolled--is not the end of the world.
I've watched the SDJ Campaign largely with amusement because I wonder what it is supposed to accomplish. I've seen their list of "demands." OK, they call it a wishlist, but still they have a clear list of things they want. The want Daniel back, they want the team dynamic restored, they want good story lines, they want Sam/Teal'c interaction, they want a team that genuinely loves and cares about one another, yadda.
All nice things, lovely things. OC, they failed to mention other things that they want. A magic wand to make S4-5 disappear. A time machine so we can go back in time and insure that the Candy Boys never get hired/never quite their day jobs/never get born. Because here is the fundamental problem. The departure of MS is only a symptom. MS left because he saw serious, deeply entrenched problems that TPTB showed no interest in altering. So he left. Fair enough. I respect his decision. The problem is, just bringing back Daniel won't change anything. Brad Wright is still there calling the shots, the Candy Boys are still rubbing their hands in glee as they create X-Gate ripoffs. The same stupid storylines are still floating around, the same wonderful secondary characters are still dead/gone/goulded/locked in a supply closet. when the plotline to "Abyss", the long awaited "return of MS" S6 storyline was announced people were horrified at what was being proposed. It sounded ghastly, with both Jack and Daniel acting in ways that seem completely out of character. A lot of people were outraged/annoyed/shocked. I wasn't surprised in the least. This is precisely why MS left in the first place. Did anyone think that just be walking back on to the set all the problems that had been plaguing the show for the past two seasons would go away?
People have been complaining about the show alot for the last two years: trite, hackneyed storylines, outrageous characterization, inane unconvincing ship. Moron!Jack, Insipid, Girly!Sam, Wallpaper!Daniel, Comic Relief!Teal'c. If S4-5 were bad, why then did anyone expect the same folks who brought us "Divide and Conquer", "Prodigy" and "Failsafe" to do something worthwhile with "Abyss?"
Do I have a point?
Not really. I'm just dreading the all out mourning that will be dominating the lists for the next several days/weeks and cringing at the thought of all the Meridian-fixit fics that will be spawned by weepy listsibs. I just wish we could let the character go quietly and with dignity and then we can all go back to just writing fic and treating the character the way he should have been treated for the last 2 seasons.
whooooopwhooooopwhooooop... red alert, cap'n... batten down the hatches, mates... SG-1 Meridian airs tonight in the US. My prediction: major frothing and flailing will probably be swamping most if not all SG-1-related mailing lists for at least the next week. Not that the frothing wasn't noticeable when it aired in the UK, you understand...
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UGH. I've now gone no-mail everywhere I could.
If I'm told one more time to call MGM or to go picket the networks because I happen to live in LA, I cannot be held responsible for my reactions. Grrr.
I don't even have cable or satellite. I'm probably going to spend my evening figuring out how to connect 1 VCR, 1 multiregion DVD player, 1 region 1 DVD player and 1 television together functionally. That way I can spend my weekend either mainlining SG-1 season 1, or mainlining QaF season 1, or both. Mmmm. Probably both.
If I get involved in frothing, I'll never get all my stories written, in either SG-1 or LoTR. It seems somehow both a cop-out and completely righteous to tune out frothing fandom during this festering time in the SG-1 fandom...
Thank you, fcol. I know I'm not alone. Ugh.
cos i'm sick of always having to defend myself?
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okay, finally dashed out a first draft, but i know i'm missing things, and i've got a bit repetitive. But i'd like to hear your comments
The Apologia of a Slash Fan (draft #1)
OK, I'm feeling bitchy again. Yeah, I know, so what else is knew, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone by 1) venting and 2) posing a question that has bugged me for some time.
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What the fuck is up with all these WIPs?
OK, perhaps phrased a tad indelicately, but this is fcol so such things are not only pardoned but generally condoned, so I beg the blog's indulgence here. The WIP is something that has, well, bugged me for some time for a lot of reasons. For one, they often lack structure. Since a lot of authors don't really chart their fics completely in advance or use outlines or such, WIPs often tend to, well ramble. They meander along, back and forth and (hopefully) reach their goal eventually. Of course, the route there tends to be circuitous and often not terribly entertaining.
The other problem, of course, is that so many of them remain WIP permanently. I, like so many others, start to read, get hooked and then....nothing. Maybe the author will finish, but then again maybe not. Its frustrating as hell. Granted, not on the level of " I just spent three works slaving on this project and my boss just handed it over to someone else," but annoying nonetheless.
The reason I bring this up is that when I opened my mail this morning I found parts of 3 different WIPs there, each by a different author, each of which seems to illustrate a different point og annoyance for me. I will be naming names, not to offend, but rather so if anyone has any observations or insights they can share, because more than just bitching I really want to understand if their is a *good* reason(s) for doing this.
Example no. one: Scribe, Mistaken Identity.
OK, Scribe tends to write pretty quickly, her WIP generally don't drag out for a long period of time. she has posted the first 3 parts of a 7 part fic over the course of 3 days. This would suggest that the fic is more or less done which then begs the question: why the WIP? If its effectively done, why not just post the whole thing? I can only assume that it is to avoid flooding inboxes, but its not a massively long fic. Is there anyone who would be unhappy to fine a nummy 7 part fic in their inbox? I wouldn't but maybe that's me.
Example no. two: Ravenschild, Sentient
OK, I got this one and it was a case of Who? What fic? Part 13? Did I see the previous 12 parts even? Did not ring any bells. I opened it and then a vaguely remembered it was some xover with a fandom I didn't recognize and she posts a new part once a month or so. So here is pet WIP peeve number two: the random poster. Someone who posts a chapter every now and then, usually after a long enough absence that the reader forgets everything that preceded the new part. How does the author expect to hold the readers attention and keep them engaged? The answer from where I sit is, she can't. This kind of WIP requires way too much effort on the part of the reader and pretty much requires him/her to keep rereading the last part to remember what's gone before. Unless it is a truly great fic, I don't have the energy. time or inclination to invest in *re-reading* when there is so much new fic I haven't seen, or great fic I want to savor again.
Example no. three: Dawn C, Suicidium
In many regards, this is the kind of WIP I hate the most. It appears regularly which is a plus, but always in little dribs and drabs of maybe 3 pages of text. There is no real structure as a result and there is a certain lack of cohesion to the fic. More annoying is that each part is set up as a cliffhanger. Now, this can work if used judiciously, but this fic is now on part 51 and frankly my patience was maxed out a long time ago. The secret to a good tease is knowing just how long you can draw it out, keeping your victim balanced on that razor's edge of pleasure and pain before the big payoff. The problem is here its gone on for so long that most of its effectiveness is now gone. It feels like the old "Perils of Pauline" serials in which each segment ended with the heroine in grave peril and awaiting the last minute rescue by her hero. He would arrive in the nick of time, of course, but then the scenario would repeat and once again she would be in mortal peril awaiting rescue. Its entertaining if you don't mind formula (which, frankly, is something way too many in the fandom want above all else: predictability, security, repetition). Me, I just find it boring.
I also find it annoying because it seems to be done for the express purpose of making the "fans" beg for more which, frankly I think is reprehensible and more than a little sleazy. It's manipulative and self-serving and frankly shows, in my mind, a fundamental lack of respect for your readers.
So, why exactly do people do it? Well, reason no. 1 would appear to be to garner as much priase, I mean *feedback* as possible. Why write the whole fic and get maybe a dozen LOC when you can have your ego stroked constantly throughout the process, right?
I suppose some people might argue its done to get feedback as you go. Nice try, except who really gives solid *unsolicited* feedback in this fandom? Very few people. As we all know, most FB consists of "Wow! Great story! Thanks." Nice to hear, OC, but it hardly offers great insights for improving one's writing. And if author X needs input, well, isn't that what betas are for? I know a lot of people who put out WIP say they plan to polish it up and repost it, but you know what? I'd prefer if they polished first and gave us the finished version they were happy with.
In my mind, the only justification I can come up with for the WIP is extreme length. I can understand, for example why Poss is WIPing her new fic. Part one was loooong. Good, provocative and rich. Same thing for Scratch. Hell what is that puppy up to now? 700K? That is simply too long for anyone's inbox. But its not just the length involved that sets fics like that apart. It is also the obvious craft. Each section feels fully developed and self contained. I have nothing against say a series if which the author creates a series of closely related but self-contained stories, like Spring's Downtime series for example. Each one had a beginning, middle and end and each could be enjoyed independently.
I guess in the end I'm frustrated because I feel these authors are manipulating me. They dangle a carrot in front of my nose, let me have a bite and then pull it away again. I get jerked around way too much in RL. I don't need it in my fic as well.
I think maybe it's time someone explains this concept to the writers out there. Not just SG writers, not just fanfic authors, but all writers of fiction, everywhere. We've all done it. Yes, even the best, most talented professional authors have fallen into that oh so tempting and easy trap. I'll just slip a chapter or two of exposition in here and save me the trouble of actually writing all those scenes.
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I've just begun to read a lengthy new SG fanfic, that was posted in multiple parts and much raved about by all who've read it. The story is by an author whom I've enjoyed in the past and look forward to seeing post. So I'm reading part one and I'm saying. Wait a minute. Stop telling me what happened and show me. If this stuff is oh so necessary to your story, then show me what happened. Show me and let me hear the characters say the words in their own voices. Let me see the action. Let me feel the heat of battle, or of passion. Don't tell me about it as if your point of view character is an old man sitting in his rocking chair at a retirement home telling his great grandchildren about the good old days. Show me the story dagnabit!