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: Hope you like eels. It's EEL SEASON out there. (It's EEL SEASON.)
Do you ever have one of those days where you're up way too late and you're looking through all your incomplete fics and you come across one where you have no idea when you started it, where you were going with it, or why you thought it was a good idea? But it has a helpful summary at the top, something like

(That one where Sam goes missing for a while and comes back with no memory of where she's been, but with a few new nervous tics, a preoccupied air, and a strange compulsion to build an alien clock.)


?

I mean, this happens to you guys all the time, right? Just part of the package of being a distractable sort of being and also a fic writer? Y'all should share your stories with me here. Or something.

Other things I've found in my poking around because I'm all alone in the house/on the internet and for some reason not tired at all:

Jack's mission report for P2M-477 was subtitled Everything I Know About Foreign Policy I Learned From Watching You Idiots Screw It Up, but it was subtitled in very small, white text that didn't print out.


Several more. )

I feel like this is sorta the fanfiction equivalent of Texts From Last Night. Fanfictions From Previous Days? Yeah.
magibrain: This alt text intentionally left blank. (This icon intentionally left blank.)
Title: A Long Drawn-Out Breath and an Impossible Sky
Author: magistrate
Rating: T
Genre: ...slipstream. :|
Beta: 1 cuil: if you asked me for a beta and I gave you a raccoon.
Continuity: Nothing blatantly canon-defying, so far as I can tell. Some point in canon when they have naqahdah reactors. And Daniel.
Summary: I DON'T KNOW
Disclaimer: I am not Italo Calvino. The opinions expressed herein are the properties of the characters and sometimes of Ferdinand de Saussure. Caution: this machine starts automatically. You cannot swallow. Questions, comments and existential crises can be left in replies or directed to magistrata(at)gmail(dot)com. Thank you for... reading?




She was halfway up the mountain carrying most of Daniel's weight across her shoulders when a flicker of light caught her from the corner of her eye. She turned without thinking, saw some white insect disappear into the jumble of light and flora and scene, and then, in an instant, everything stepped back.

Read more... )
magibrain: A radiation symbol. It appears to be a little bit on fire. (Default)
Okay, so I posted that rundown of fics I wouldn't know how to start, and as it turns out, I still don't know how to start any of them. But I have bits of #4, which I'm still surprised any of you want to read. (Seriously, you people. You're weird. :P )

This is one of those bits. I'm posting it, but you need to know a few things about the world, first. And by "a few things", I mean "a small novel in exposition".

An introduction to Beyond The Rift, inasmuch as it's interpreted in these braintics, and Damaged People, inasmuch as it's interpreted in these braintics. )

Well. That was... some exposition.

TO SET THE SCENE: Jack Harkness is visiting the SGC and they've just wrapped up the debrief with Hammond. Sam's probably retreated to someone's lab to process things/get started on figuring out what's going on here. Daniel is sticking around, Harkness has been invited to stay the night, and O'Neill really just wants to go home, take more painkillers than normal people ever have to need, and put his head under a pillow for a good, long time. I think Daniel just offered to show Harkness to the VIP rooms. Harkness has other ideas.

In which putting Jack and Jack in a room is only a good idea insofar as it might keep the planet from blowing up later. )
magibrain: "Did they have morality majors at your school?" "No." (Don't ask me; I was not a morality major)
1) The one where the first time Sam uses the Goa'uld ribbon device it scrambles her neural pathways and leaves her without access to the linguistic portions of her brain for a few days, and the team has to find a way to bring her through it.

2) The one where something goes horribly wrong with Sha're's pregnancy, her body absorbs the Harcesis, and Amonet goes into a Goa'uld coma, leaving Sha're with the genetic memory of the Goa'uld and a position of power in Apophis' empire, and ends up becoming a fake System Lord/replacement main character for Absolute Power.

3) The one where Hammond comes in to the SGC one morning only to find that SG-1 has taken over the place and are playing some weird four-faction game of cat and mouse because one or more of them is under alien influence, but no one is sure who.

4) The one where Sam and Daniel fall through the Rift into S1-era [livejournal.com profile] beyondtherift and get dragged into Torchwood Chicago for three years before the Rift establishes a two-way connection back to the SGC, where only a few months have passed, and Jack O'Neill and Jack Harkness eye each other a lot and are quietly mistrustful because no one should get that close to/have that much power over their people without them knowing about it. (Okay, this one I have bits written out of in my braintics file, but come on. IT WOULD HAVE A READERSHIP OF ONE PERSON. ME.)

5) The one that comes before Scales.

[ETA] 6) The one where they discover a dialect of Goa'uld which exhibits rhyming slang and Daniel just doesn't want to explain.
magibrain: "Did they have morality majors at your school?" "No." (Don't ask me; I was not a morality major)
I wrote the hell out of myself over the last two weeks on an original project, and now my brain doesn't want to string words together any more. Fair 'nough. Time for more bits and bobs!

These are all from fics I either have plans for finishing or have dreams of being able to finish one day. Grand fun times!

.

1. The Mansions of the Dead (or) The Origin Story Of That Damn String Of Beads

Jack doesn't want to be back on P2X-338.  He doesn't want to be anywhere near the place, in preoccupation, policy, or physical reality, but the Pentagon is none too happy about the loss of one potentially very interesting piece of alien technology, and the Russians are none too happy about the loss of one potentially very interesting piece of alien technology and three quarters of the team they sent out to secretly get it, and sending SG-1 back in to see if they can at least pick up some energy readings that might convince the SGC to send an engineering team back out to excavate the Eye is the least the Air Force can do.

Really.  It's the least.  It's a token gesture and the Russians know it, the Pentagon knows it, Hammond knows it, Jack knows it, and even Carter, who's been staring at her scanner since they stepped through the wormhole, knows it.  Token.  Pointless political posturing.  There was only one thing on this planet of any interest or value, and they managed to blow it up the last time they were here.

...Jack just wishes someone'd made Daniel read the memo.

.

Bit. Bob. The occasional bullet. )
magibrain: "Did they have morality majors at your school?" "No." (Don't ask me; I was not a morality major)
...but before I try to wrangle my brain into giving a coherent explanation of the whole Ba'al|Sam|Anat saga, I'm going to do part 2 of the WIP meme. This one for bits of stuff I've written in my braintic file that I have no actual plans for fleshing out and writing, but have enough of a hook into or idea of context that I could work them into actual stories if I ever got the mind to.

Sam being, at the moment, my favorite character (having taken the title from Daniel some time ago), the magibrain likes to typecast itself as a Sam whump writer. This is why you don't want to be my favorite character: it only ever ends in pain. To be honest, one of the reasons I don't pursue writing a lot of these as eagerly as some of my other projects boils down to "There's only so many times you can write 'Something horrible happens to Sam, the boys go D: !!' before there's no drama left in it any more."

Anyway, these have braintic names. We're moving up in the world. One day there'll be a WIP meme with the fics that actually earn titles.

And then one day I might even post those fics. But that'd just be crazy.

=

. duat
SG-1 is consulting on some offworld project when a Goa'uld decides he Really Really Wants that planet and sends a bunch of ships down to claim it. The Tau'ri contingent finds its forces split, and the people nearest the Stargate are forced to retreat back through in hopes of bringing reinforcements to break through the Jaffa lines and get to the people stranded. Yeah, that doesn't happen. ...anyway, Sam is stuck on the planet behind enemy lines with one other Major, a Captain, and a bunch of Lieutenants, and ends up being the de-facto leader in trying to keep them all alive until the SGC can figure out how the hell to get them home. It's a grand fun romp through testing everyone's faith in the "no one gets left behind doctrine," as well as Sam's perfectionism turning a laser sight on both her command ability and her woodsmanship, but to be honest, half the appeal is Major Nathan Cwirko and his efforts to keep them all sane.

In which the two Majors have rather different styles. )

. mindtrap
Sam gets hit by some sort of experimental energy weapon and gets rushed back to the SGC for medical attention. She's delirious, muttering about things that make no sense – like needing a new set of dress blues. Then she lapses into a not-coma characterized by elevated brain activity and constant REM. And her condition is degrading.  Tok'ra intelligence reveals that this was a new weaponization of the sub-psychic interference that also fuels a Kara Kesh; it's locked Sam inside her own brain with a piece of unfinished mental/emotional business that has to be resolved in her mind before she can be brought out of it. (See also: Forever In A Day.) Osiris has recently demonstrated on Daniel that recall devices can be used to put a person into someone else's dreams, so after some discussion, Jack links up to see if he can bring her out, or can bring enough information out that he can go back in with a solution.  He finds himself re-living portions of the same two days with her: about six months before Daniel opened the Stargate, while Sam was still a Captain working at the Pentagon.  Unfortunately, this seems to mean her memories within the mind trap are also restricted to that time – she has no idea who Jack is, and soon becomes suspicious of this unknown Colonel following her around and taking an interest in her life...

In which it seems they're on the cusp of a discovery. )

. pitfightverse
Cribbed shamelessly from the post on the magibrain, which was itself cribbed shamelessly from my braintic file: Everybody's got to have that one 'verse.  You know, that one where the team runs into a giant hall of mirror artifacts and Jack and Teal'c get sent through a malfunctioning one into a universe where Sam was never allowed to join the Stargate program and Kinsey probably took over and some other weird crap also happened, but the upshot of it all was that Earth got taken over by Mars or someone and the entire global and interstellar political arena has gone totally bizarre and crapsack?  Like, the main economy in this universe is a sort of panem et circensis industry where the slightly-nuked Earth is only half-controlled by any Goa'uld, but that doesn't matter because the only way to bring in money and goods to survive is to be amusing to them, as they've more or less given up on converting the population into slave labor, and anyway, the punchline is that Sam spent the last six or so years of her life making a name for herself by pitfighting Jaffa.

Everyone's got to have that 'verse.  Right?


In which Sam and Kotan (AU!Pitfighter!Sam) don't exactly get along at first. )

Three is a good number.
magibrain: A brain with eyes and an adorably innocent smile which you should not at all trust. (magibrain)
Old meme. "Post a bunch of excerpts from whatever you're currently working on." Except I'm going to post a bunch of random bits of scene jotted down in my braintic scrap file that showed up in my head and refuse to coalesce into anything fic-able.

All scenelets are SG-1 and free for the spinning-off-of.

.

1. The one where Jack has relaxed standards for winning, and is probably to blame for something.

"It's revenge," Jack says.

Daniel's eyebrows scrunch together. "For what?"

"For–" ...hm. He hadn't thought of that. Daniel hasn't actually been that difficult to deal with, lately. "That... thing. That you're going to do. Tomorrow."

By now, Daniel's cottoned on. He folds his arms across his chest, and his tone turns from somewhat confused and exasperated to the sort of too-patient, understanding voice people usually use with children. "And what am I going to do tomorrow, Jack?"

Jack gives him an annoyed wave of his hand. "I don't know. I'm sure we'll find out tomorrow, though, won't we?"

The next day Daniel manages to navigate rickety rope bridges, dilapidated pontoons, a session of swamp politics that has Carter quoting The Lion In Winter and a trade negotiation that has the SGC trading antibiotics for crops which could be hybridized with something to something something Jack has stopped paying attention at this point, and it looks like he's not going to give Jack a chance to seem prophetic until he accidentally knocks a giant alien pitcher plant over, covering Jack's boots in about three gallons of slime.

Carter and Teal'c can't figure out why it's Daniel who looks annoyed and Jack who looks smug, the entire way back to the 'gate.

.

Bit 2 through bob 7. )
magibrain: "Did they have morality majors at your school?" "No." (Don't ask me; I was not a morality major)
Every time I see a reference to that line from Emancipation where Jack is reminding Carter about "that time on P3X-595" where she "drank that stuff that made you take off…", I mentally fill in "YOUR HEAD." Because it's so obvious what the joke is going for, and I just really have to subvert it in some way.

So yeah. In my braincanon, early in their first year, some weird reality-warping (and/or mutual hallucination) crap went down on P3X-595 which resulted in Carter taking off her head and possibly walking around with it under her arm for a while. And it was creeptastic enough that once reality reasserted itself, she decided never to mention it again.
magibrain: The gateway to the stars stands waiting. (Stargate)
...which may say a lot about my headcanon and very little about anything else, but wahey.

The Sam Carter in my head just kinda... loves people, occasionally falls in love with people, without any expectation that things can, should or will come out of it. Love is this anomalous emotional stimulus with no ingrained response, for her. It's a concept that's completely distinct – almost isolated – from the concepts of things like starting a relationship or starting a family. Those are acts of social construction. Those are learned; they're activities with strategy and arbitrary cultural form, like navigating a conversation or the ins and outs of polite smalltalk.

I just... oh, kids.

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magibrain: A radiation symbol. It appears to be a little bit on fire. (Default)
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