magibrain: Peter Burke would like to know where you are at all times. (White Collar)


It's a peculiar feature of my writing style that I can get up to 20k on a project and not have the first chapter finished yet.

(The first chapter is not 20k words. The first chapter is only about 5.5k words, which still seems excessive to me, but whatever.)

This story, if I ever manage to finish it, is going to be stupidly long.

ETA for added fun... )
magibrain: A revolutionary new world awaits you bastards inside these school walls. (Upupu)
You know, the worst part of this White Collar/Dangan Ronpa crossover is how everyone is so goddamn cute at the beginning, what with organizing into teams to explore their Super High-Level Office Dormitory Building, and, like, there's Elizabeth with a freaking label maker so they can label all the buttons in the elevator and Mozzie is theorizing about nanobots and Hughes has taken control of the rolling whiteboard and June is holding court in the conference room and you just know that in a chapter it's just going to be murder, murder everywhere.
magibrain: There ARE no tunes. It's TALK RADIO, Torg! ALL TALKING! (Still just talking.)
I occasionally feel kinda odd about maintaining two blogs – this one and [personal profile] magistrate – because I post so infrequently that it occasionally feels like I don't have enough content to reliably keep one blog interesting, let alone two. But I do feel like separating my fannish content stream from my more real-life stream is a good pragmatic decision; in how I conceptualize my own life, they represent different spheres of interest.

(I toyed briefly with the idea of separating my original fiction/professional writing into a third stream, but then I noticed that I never posted in it at all, so to [personal profile] magistrate it went.)

Being someone who grew up as a writer in fannish spaces and is now also trying to get somewhere in the big, bad world of original fiction, I think a lot about how skills and paradigms do and don't translate. The different genre structures and conventions, the different skills each type of writing emphasizes or strengthens. (I notice that in my original writing, characterization is something people continually call out as one of my weakest skills. Which is still kind of a mindscrew for me, because in fanfic, a lot of people seem to enjoy my characterization. Then, with fanfic, I have something pre-existing to riff off; one of the consequences of growing into writing through fanfiction seems to be that I have less experience in how to establish and differentiate character in my own work.)

Anyway. Given the amount of time I spend musing about fannish vs. original spaces, I kinda have to raise an eyebrow at myself for needing to discover (and rediscover, and remind myself of, again and again) the fact that the criteria for success for fanfic and original stories are often wildly different.

I think it's something of the same way in which the criteria for success for a TED talk and an awesome discussion in a group of friends is different.

In original fiction, I have to spend a lot of time thinking about arcs and structure and pacing, and how the plot and the story inform each other, and how themes are deployed, and how to create a polished and technically competent work. And, I mean, don't get me wrong, those things are great to pay attention to in fanfiction, but I find that fanfic rises or falls on something more like, broadly oversimplified, its ability to be an efficient delivery mechanism for squee.

I think the fanfics I'm personally most proud of manage to hit both notes; they extend and expand beloved aspects of canon, but they also work as well-structured, polished and tuned-up technical works. But I also find myself, a lot of times, flailing over posting something because its pacing is a mess, the structure is lopsided, there's that one horribly awkward phrasing at the beginning that I can't think of a good way to get rid off, the theme is a contortionist, and the arc thinks about arcing and then veers sideways into a wall, and I have this horrible urge to apologize to everyone for punting it out into the world, and then no one seems to care. Which is reassuring, at times, and then at other times it's just a boatload of cognitive dissonance and the vague suspicion that everyone's just being nice because... some... nefarious purpose of their own? I think a lot of writers share this anxiety. I think this anxiety enjoys the fact that it doesn't have to make sense.

I used to produce a lot more fiction. I mean, that was something like a decade ago, when I was bouncing all around my million FFVIII fics, but I remember being significantly more prolific than I am right now. I think a major factor in my slowdown is the fact that I started turning my attention to craft, and really struggling a lot with the places where I could see something wrong but I didn't know how to fix it.

(Or where there wasn't a plausible way to fix it. If I go back through my braintics scraps collection, for example, there's a ton of stuff which flat-out does not work on a logical level, but which amused me enough to put scenes down. There's also stuff where the tone is too wildly self-indulgent for my sense of propriety, or where it's clearly just me working out my beef with a certain character, or where I looked at it and just went "Nope, not going to write that, because I'm not going to typecast myself as that author who only writes stories where horrible things happen to Sam Carter and the boys go D: and then the whole rest of the fic is only there to showcase how tough and embattled Sam is." (Yes, I have enough of those braintics to make it its own genre. I'm not proud. I also regret nothing.))

This is, of course, not entirely a bad thing: it lets me continually improve my writing, even if I'm not aware of the improvements as they're happening. (But I can go back and look at works from a few years ago – works that represented the best I could do at those times – and see immediately how I could improve them, and that's a humbling and kinda nifty feeling.) But it is, I think, something I also need to become more aware of. Because the other great thing about fanfiction is that it provides a space for me to play around with ways of telling stories in this fantastically open and engaging and forgiving environment, and that's also a fantastic resource for growth. Letting my internal editor set up roadblocks there isn't actually helping me.

(Besides, you people don't mind if I completely shed my dignity now and again, right? Maybe I'll clean up the ridiculous angstcrack scene where Neal is vaguely suicidal circa As You Were and discovers that Peter has an invisible dragon living in his house. Or the wtfery of the braintic where Sam Carter's consciousness gets transposed across a universal boundary and put into a partially-uplifted mountain lion who's a working animal with the USAF. I once heard the Pern books described as "tapping into the 'I want a PONY!' instinct, except for people who liked fantasy." You can probably tell which kind of kid I was.)
magibrain: "Did they have morality majors at your school?" "No." (Don't ask me; I was not a morality major)
Can I just suggest that, the next time you find yourself planning a fic which covers Neal's entire life from circa age seven to the end of season 4 episode 02 in a series of vignettes as a prompt fill, that you rethink that impulse?

I'm just saying.


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magibrain: This alt text intentionally left blank. (This icon intentionally left blank.)
Title: The Sky Never Fights Back
Fandom: White Collar
Prompt: Bruises
Medium: Fic
Wordcount: ~3000
Rating: T
Warnings: Spoilers through 4x11 (Family Business) of White Collar.
Summary: Neal's taken a beating, physically and emotionally, over the last weeks.

You say the price we pay for love
is loss. I say the price we pay for love
is love. You say sometimes you've nothing
save your hand in the glove and the glove
against wind and you're jabbing at the sky now
in the match of your life but the sky
never fights back so you praise it.


– "Match", Brynn Saito


Read more... )
magibrain: A radiation symbol. It appears to be a little bit on fire. (Default)
My partner introduced me to the WTFery of Dark Silent Hill, Google Maps version. (Just... go forward.)

Now I want a fic where this happens to Peter and Neal. They're just driving along, off to talk to a witness or examine a crime scene or authenticate a statue or whatever, and then suddenly the entire world around their car is a terrifying melting Goya and Peter slams on the brakes and, you know, horror ensues.

...I'm not sure I want to write this fic, but I want it to happen.


I have no idea what the hell happened to that Google Maps car. But it cannot possibly have been anything good.
magibrain: Peter Burke would like to know where you are at all times. (White Collar)
Title: Rockets' Red Glare
Fandom: White Collar
Prompt: Explosion
Medium: Fic
Wordcount: ~6500.
Rating: T
Warnings: Explosions in public, crowded places.
Summary: An accident at the 4th of July fireworks show opens up old wounds.

Continuity: You know what? Don't even ask. It's sometime after 3.03 "Deadline" and sometime before 4.05 "Honor Among Thieves", and that is basically what I know.

Notes: For [personal profile] frith_in_thorns, who said "My generalised prompt: take practically any of those scenarios and put Neal and Diana in it together. Especially explosion or natural disaster."


Or: In which Neal is evasive, Christie is tipsy, and Diana is more prickly than cuddly, but it works out, sort of, in the end. )
magibrain: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
So, I'm not sure exactly why I decided that a story covering Neal Caffrey's entire adult life through the the resolution of Most Wanted was a good idea, but I did, and that, I feel, was a mistake. It's currently unfinished at 8,000 words, in four parts. None of these things were my intention.

In fairness, it totally fits one of the prompts, if you squint and tilt your head and take certain things very thematically. ...one of the prompts that isn't anywhere near the bingo I'm working on. But it fits into a series with two other prompts! ...one of which is on the bingo I'm working on.

Hush.

I feel like I could have had at least one of these fics finished by today, if I hadn't taken a weird left turn somewhere and found myself writing out 15,000 words of fiction where the US correctional system is a modern version of convict leasing, but on the plus side, I have 15,000 words of fiction where the US correctional system is a modern version of convict leasing!

Look, I never claimed to be good at this.


(I also feel a bit guilty about all those words, because I've totally been using fanfic as a way to hide from the stress of unemployment when I should probably be spending more of that time doing productive things. Hey, if anyone knows of a San Francisco Bay Area company that wants to hire a PHP/MySQL developer with a bunch of experience and an active interest in picking up new languages but no CS degree, point me their way, aight?)


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