bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
I had a great weekend at [livejournal.com profile] con_txt. It was so nice to see friends again, and to make some new acquaintances.

I was concerned about the programming because I haven't been feeling enthused about any particular canon on the docket in a communal-fannish way lately, and because mass squee can be scary; but there turned out to be plenty of meta panels and entertaining moderators to make the experience enjoyable.

I also appreciate how, while con.txt is a slash con by definition, those of us who do not exclusively enjoy slash are welcomed and able to have discussions about a variety of sexual identities and relationship types in fandom (and life), plus gen topics.

In case you are interested, I jotted down some notes. Nothing fancy or thorough. con-txt.net has panel descriptions and mod names.

Werewolf Torts and Undead Annuities )

Small Fandom Dating Game )

Fannish Pictionary )

Vid Show )

Monetizing Fandom )

Inverting Tropes )

D/s in Fandom )

Not My Fandom's OTP )

Awesome Robots )

Checking in on the Fannish Diaspora )

Small Fandom and Between-Fandom Support Group )

Dubcon F***ing: How Does It Work )

Rule 34 in a Magical Universe )

Bi-invisibility )

Also attended a panel about tagging and another about AUs.


Note to self: Action items:

- DS9 essential episodes list for [livejournal.com profile] corbae (post likely to follow)
- Riddick recs list for [livejournal.com profile] monkey_pie (ditto)
- Read [livejournal.com profile] bmouse's Garak/Bashir collection
- Check out stuff from Small Fandom Dating Game
- Figure out naming issue and start a new Twitter to keep in touch with fan friends?
- Grin and bear it open a Tumblr account???
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
I read a 100K Inception fic on Friday. It'd been months since I'd read any fic other than sporadic updates of snookiescookies' Pretty Woman AU Paper Things and toomuchplor's Steinway!verse, both also Inception, but for whatever reason, the desire struck me and there was this student/teacher high school AU I hadn't read among the fics ranked by most kudos on the AO3.

It was - well, on a sentence level it needed work (to paraphrase the opening of one section: 'He groaned, jaw dropping, the blood rushing both from and into his face as his brain tried to decide whether to blush or go pale in mortification'), all adverbs and redundant descriptions and a weird mix of italics and all-caps for emphasis, and there were some "that would never happen" moments as well as idiosyncrasies born of a British author depicting an American school year, etc., but it was paced well and the cresting and ebbing emotions resonated, and I was glad to have read it by the time I went to bed.

All that by way of mentioning two things:

One

I know fandom loves its tropes, but I'm tired of the conceit where the [ETA: neurotypical] character with the desperate crush refuses to see the signs that the object of said crush returns the attraction. I like the tension when it's uncertain whether the feelings are reciprocated, and the pining when it seems there aren't and won't be any indications of same (even if there ends up being a happy ending), and the shift from pining to joy when the one with the crush begins to hope or to understand that it might be mutual. But this thing where character A likes character B, and character B indicates in numerous ways that they like A as well, but A explains it all away, and then characters C and D tell A that A is being ridiculous and obtuse, but A also rationalizes their comments away, followed by a string of deliberate misunderstandings and a near blowup before the climactic epiphany and celebratory sex... not a favorite.

I mean, I get that someone liking a person can be more obvious to outsiders than to the person themselves, but so many stories take it too far (for me) and I wish writers would respect their characters and their readers enough to spend less time on the misunderstandings phase and more on the "can this really be true," "how do we make this work" parts OR drop fewer obvious hints and let the pining feel as acute to the reader as it does to the character instead of leaving us to facepalm because we see the signs of affection as clearly as their frustrated friends do. Well, no, it's maybe not a lack of respect so much as a love for the structure that you see so often in romantic comedies. A love that I share less with each passing year.

Maybe I'm just reading the wrong stories.

Two

Must have been the influx of ficciness after a drought, but I had this dream Friday night involving three men with (on reflection) Eames' body type as described in the story, hard bodies, heavily muscled, tattooed, naked, exuding sex and power in a way that defied what I'm usually attracted to. Have been trying to pin down what the main one looked like, slick black hair and olive skin; can only come up with something like Sukar from the TV show Defiance, except that's not quite it.

In the dream the three of them were recovering from some kind of energy blast like being hit with a phaser and one had taken it really hard, was groaning and shaking as though he were having a seizure, wrapped around a radiator to try to ease the aftershocks, only when the other two pried him away from it he had these huge gouges in his flesh that had been burned away from the heat, down to muscle and bone.

So.

Domestic day today, methinks, after a busy one yesterday at the Head of the Charles and out on a bike ride. There's a vid to poke at and pumpkin bread to be made.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
1.

Well, I have done my small part, quietly, once again: Ogi Ogas came calling on the alumni network of my grad program for the second time in two years, asking for help with his and Sai Gaddam's second book (A Billion Angry Brains), and I explained to my fellow alums why they should steer clear. Ugh. I am all for giving people a chance, but shoddy research methods + presenting only those results that support your (outdated, stereotyped) thesis + offensive language + requests for free labor = no thank you.

(For background on the fiasco, try here, here and here.)

2.

Oh, original Star Trek. I knew you were kinky, but my aversion to looking at you in a sexual way in the past has blinded me to the breadth of your kinkiness. Latest case in point: Last night my mom and I watched "Wink of an Eye" and "The Empath" because we didn't remember much about them. They turned out to include, respectively, collared, slightly effeminate man-mates, femdom voyeurs and threesome jealousies; and chain-hung, half-torn-shirted McCoy being tortured while his friends and the aliens watched. (More McCoy skin than I remember ever seeing. Ah, I had such a crush on him when I was little.)

Let's just not get into how the empath seemed to represent how women should be acutely empathetic, mute, self-sacrificing, nameless, imprinted upon, and accentuated with a single crystalline tear (TM).

3.

Previously mentioned Inception WIP is on hold because of RL developments that eerily echo the conversation I'd drafted to kick it off. DS9 vid is on hold for technical difficulties. John/Teyla // John/Larrin vid is on hold because… oh wait, because of nothing but my own inability to sit down and work on it. Maybe that will be my goal for what to post for my birthday next week.

4.

Haven't seen Harry Potter 7.2 yet because of vacation. (We marked the occasion by waving to Hogwallow and Dark Hollow Falls at the park, which sounded suitable for Harry's Wizarding England.) Plans are to go Saturday. I am both \o/ and :( about it. It looks good, but afterwards there won't be any more.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I like reading fics with virgins. Virgin sacrifice, sweet first-times, noncon hurt/comfort, amnesia stories, stories like Lacey McBain's Lost in Waiting that I can't categorize, anything where one or more of the people involved is experiencing something new about sex. This applies to a lot of the fic I adore. Gender swap, body swap, and slash stories where one or both of the guys hasn't been with another man before (or femslash where the girl hasn't been with another woman), are in essence about characters having sex for the first time. Trying new things. Being excited or hesitant. Being sensitive to the sensations. These things work for me. They make a tired act fresh. Same when experienced partners try a new kink or position, although that's somewhat tangential.

But it makes me sad when, in an otherwise lovely story, someone makes a comment about how they can't believe the other character is still a virgin at age such-and-such. Tonight I read two Star Trek XI fics, responding to the same prompt, where Kirk was 23 and 26 and hadn't slept with anyone, and McCoy was just flabbergasted. Unironically. Even aside from his surprise that came from learning this in the face of Kirk's reputation as a ladies' man. And in no replies to those stories did anyone bring this up. I don't know what the average age of initiation is these days, not to mention that whatever it is, statistically half the people will be above it, but it's a shame that not having had sex by—what, college?—invites jokes, shock, questions about what happened, or speculation about what's wrong with the person. (See also: The Thirty-Year-Old Virgins.) Even if the person is far above the magic age, it doesn't seem polite to react that way. And fandom seems like a place where both proud and de facto nonconformists congregate and celebrate diversity in innumerable ways, so this comments thing disappointed me. There have to be readers, of any age, who were put off, or who found it funny that these exclamations were taken at face value by the characters and commenters alike. Or is it just me? Is 23 or 26 remarkably late to bloom these days?

While we're on the subject, sort of, since this is something I've seen again recently in friends' journals, it also makes me sad—no, actually, it makes me angry—when fans deride terrible sex scenes by talking about how the author clearly has never had sex. I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here, but doesn't it occur to them that plenty of people who've had sex can't write it believably for their lives, and plenty of people who haven't had sex are writing some of fandom's best steamy scenes? There's no need to insult those with less experience.

Oh, cultural assumptions. How people do grow confused and astonished when you're defied. *shakes head*
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Cut for semi-graphic question about a certain kind of intercourse as depicted in fanfiction. )

Uh, sorry if that was gross. I've just been wondering about it for a long time.

ETA: Now with bonus comment!fic by [livejournal.com profile] topaz_eyes!

POP QUIZ

Aug. 27th, 2008 09:24 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Or not. I was going to make this a poll with radio buttons—"Which of the following embarrassing sentences did [livejournal.com profile] bironic not write once upon a time"—but you know what? I had too much fun picking out passages. So: All of the following come from stories I wrote between the ages of about 13 and 18. Hope you enjoy.

Warning for indirect references to noncon. Also bad writing.

Vampire Chronicles, Star Trek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Stargate movie and original fic. Oh, my darling Mary Sues, angst and artsy run-on sentences. )

(I wish I had my other laptop with me. There's a lot more on there.)


The moral: Although it may happen on what feels like a geologic timescale, our writing does change and improve as the years go by.






Despite the above, I do want to say that I still read my old writing, that most of it is better than these excerpts suggest, and that every single story in those archives on my computer still has something I love—something that's true to me and/or to the characters, something that still moves me after all these years, after all the growing I've done. There's something much more personal in these stories than in a lot of my posted fanfiction, because they were written at a time when I didn't have an audience; they were for me (and very rarely for very close friends, with one big exception), and I wrote about what I wanted to, no matter how angsty or depraved or silly or clichéd or egotistical or anything. It didn't matter if the girl was an idealized stand-in for myself. Most of the time that was the point; or I realized what I'd done halfway through the writing process, or even years later. The situations were exploratory, reflective, deeply personal, sometimes scary, sometimes thrilling, always honest. It didn't matter if the story never got finished, once I'd written the part(s) I wanted to. It didn't matter if the story consisted of multiple disjointed scenes that contradicted one another. It didn't matter if I repeated themes from one story/universe to another.

There's a reason I reread these stories far more than I reread my posted fic, even though it's the latter that I'm more proud of.

Fanfic—or more accurately, posted fanfic, fanfic on LJ—is another sort of creature for me. These are complete stories, with a beginning and middle and end; Mary Sue-free; emotionally subdued or understated; mundane rather than melodramatic; short; written in the third person; very carefully constructed; often gen or slash rather than het (would any of you have guessed that the majority of what I used to write, and still sometimes write when I revive the desire to write something just for myself, is kinky Mary Sue het noncon?). These have to have a point to make about the characters. They have to be good. They're going to be seen by other people, and I'll be judged by them. If they're going to be about me and/or my desires, they have to be constructed in a way that perfectly suits the canon characters. Goes my thinking.

This was what I was getting at the other week when I mentioned that my creativity has been stifled for a few years in part because of audience problems, whether real or imagined. What I meant was this: When I try to write fanfic for posting now, all the LJ fandom people and their stories and comments are in my head with me. This causes two problems: one, when I sit down to write a story, it's hard to tune out the background noise of other people's ideas and characterizations and find my own; and two, I'm thinking about what people's reactions to the writing might be when I finish and post, which makes me nervous about phrasing and originality and maturity and—just about everything, and can shut me down before I've gotten very far, or as I get near the end. It affects the kind of stories I write, too. PWPs tend to die ugly unfinished deaths, if they even reach birth. I've become self-conscious about posting stories whose main point is sex, as if I'll be respected less for it. (Which is stupid; I know this; I read plenty of PWPs and love them and their authors; but there it is.) And it has affected my stories-for-myself writing. People are still with me in my head when I open up those old files or a new document, and when I do manage to clear them away, it's still hard not to think things like, "Well, if I like this when it's done, maybe I can post it," which brings back the audience-reception nerves. I've never gone so long without writing my own stuff as I have since joining the LJ community. Overall, LJ has been an unquestionably positive influence—for one thing, my writing has improved in many ways, and I don't think anyone wants to write snippets of Mary Sue stories for their entire lives—but I've also lost what used to be my greatest outlet. One of the things I want to get back to this year, as school decimates my online time and pushes me back into myself while upping the stress levels that once led to writing, is the for-my-eyes-only stuff. Maybe relearning how to do that will rekindle the fic-to-be-posted "muse"; maybe it won't; but I would like to get back in touch with that part of myself that has lain dormant for so many years.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
"The Beautiful Hospital" by Sally Tisdale (Salon, April 4, 2007)

An article on hospitals and doctors in medical dramas (specifically, House, E.R., St. Elsewhere, Grey's Anatomy and Scrubs) as compared with the hospital in which the writer works as a nurse.
The real message of medical shows is that brilliance goes hand in hand with emotional retardation. While this may be a debatable point, it has little to do with medicine as it is usually practiced. Most of the physicians I know are easy to work with -- oncologists, by default, tend to be at ease with teamwork. They are collaborative and respectful and although a few are quite handsome, they fall short of model status. (Wilson, House's oncologist friend, is played by Robert Sean Leonard. If only.)
http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2007/04/04/tv_hospitals/index.html


"In Praise of Fanfic" by Cory Doctorow (Locus Magazine, May 16, 2007)

An article by a writer, directed at other writers, supporting the practice of writing fanfiction, which he depicts as a tribute to the original writer, an ages-old tradition and a natural product of active reading. One of the most considered, level-headed and comprehensive overviews of fanfiction-writing I've seen lately.

http://www.locusmag.com/Features/2007/05/cory-doctorow-in-praise-of-fanfic.html


And for a giggle:

"Continuing the Magic" by Lon Tweeten (Time, May 21, 2007)

Six Harry Potter real-life crossover/spoof book covers and summaries, including cameos by Simon Cowell and Michael Flatley. I dare someone to write one of them.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/pdf/20070521_essay.pdf
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (kretschmann thoughtful)
After a week's recess I finished the Bunker book -- anticlimactic after the mess of suicides, and more melodramatic than I remembered when I jumped back in, unless O'Donnell's tone changed when writing about the breakout. But it did boast a quote featuring, bizarrely, some sex advice from Hitler (e.g. "below the umbilicus, all men are goats or satyrs"), as well as a petty catfight between Hans Baur and Albert Speer. I don't mean that last bit to sound silly, though I did chuckle at it. Actually, I do mean it to sound silly, but I don't mean to make light of the men themselves. They and their actions shouldn't be reduced to a joke about bickering Reich officials, but at the same time they were men, people, humans, who had the same urges and flaws and strengths and stupid disagreements as anyone else.

About the dangers of dehumanizing the perpetrators. )

On the other end of the spectrum, I was sifting through LJseek results for "Thomas Kretschmann" and found not only actor slash (Kretschmann/Brody after "The Piano," for instance) but Nazi RPS. )

Thoughts, please?

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