magibrain: A dignified and stately way of shooting you in the face while slicing you open. (Final Fantasy VIII)
Final Fantasy VIII! Anything about Final Fantasy VIII!


Oh, FFVIII, my first great fandom love! This will contain spoilers, but if you haven't played the game, I'm going to guess it's not high on your priorities list.

I feel like addressing this one is going to delve into my early sexual confusion, the methods by which I could successfully interact with friends, the computer I had as a tiny magi, and the hilarity of an unexpected NORG.

Also, snipers using shotguns. SNIPERS USING SHOTGUNS. )

In writing this, I realized that I didn't have an FFVIII icon on this account, and I uploaded one. Then, as I was scrolling down my icons page, for an instant I thought my Sam Tyler icon had Balamb Garden in the background. I'd say I really need to write that fic now, except that I already did.

This post has been brought to you as a service of the December Posting Meme.
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.)
My editor-brain has gone to bed without taking my writer-brain with it, which is why I find myself contemplating a White Collar/Briarpatch crossover. (It'd be great. Neal has access to the Briarpatch, and the Light is in some way tied up with Kate, and Peter has no affinity for the Briarpatch at all but manages to find his way in there while searching for Neal and completely refuses to back down for a little thing like being inconceivably in over his head, and hijinks ensue. And Diana somehow ends up completely intimidating all the bears.)

I think this is symptomatic of some kind of weird reaction to writing in a fandom which isn't speculative fiction of any kind. I mean, the great bastions of my fandom work to date have been Final Fantasy VIII, Stargate SG-1, Torchwood/Doctor Who/Life On Mars as one giant amalgam, and a recurring theme of Silent Hill getting into everything. You know, the kind of fandoms where I can go all wacky with time loops and mind control and giant monsters and split threads of causality and stuff, without deviating that far from actual bounds of canon-established reality.

I think my brain just flat-out refuses to accept the real world as a template, and this is why my White Collar WIPs folder consists of a handful of short character studies, a complete re-write of half of Season 2 and all of Season 3, a fic in which Peter is a really atypical guardian angel, a fic that's three AUs that got in a car crash*, and a crossover with Puella Magi Madoka Magica, of all things. (Neal wanders into a Witch's Labyrinth. Hijinks... ensue? None of the main characters get to be magical girls. It's for the best, really.) And it's probably for the best that all the snippets with the White Collar guys having to deal with [community profile] damaged_people!Jack Harkness are remaining in the braintic purgatory of my Gmail where they belong.

*Back when I was learning about these things in highschool physics, a perfectly inelastic collision was described as one in which two objects collide, combine their momentum, and continue onward with a shared velocity. When the teacher asked for examples from the class, someone offered up "A guy getting impaled by a charging rhino?" I'm not sure why this popped into my head, other than the fact that the three-AU-pileup in that fic is pretty damn inelastic.

Anyway, I'm not sure why I'm writing this out to Dreamwidth, other than it being late and me not having gotten much sleep and everything seeming like a good idea right now. (But really, Neal-and-the-Briarpatch would just be fun to play with, even if it's not Tim Pratt's Briarpatch. And even if Neal as Br'er Rabbit kinda bucks the whole Neal-as-fox metaphor I have way too much fun poking at.)

Someone please tell me to quit the browser and go to sleep.



Current sleep-deprived typo correction count: 18
magibrain: This alt text intentionally left blank. (This icon intentionally left blank.)
Back in 2007, for reasons which I'm sure made sense at the time, I got the idea to write a fic with Jack Harkness of Torchwood and Sam Tyler of Life on Mars in a bar together, and then furthermore to email it to [personal profile] rionaleonhart without explanation to see what she would do. As it turned out, because Riona is Riona (and because the fic was probably her fault in one way or another to begin with), she calmly beta'd it and sent it back.

That, I think, may have been throwing down the gauntlet.

Because there's something you have to understand about me, and that's that 70%* of my fiction writing is spite-based. A friend believes that I can't write slash? Here is the Doctor having sex with the Master. And also the TARDIS. Riona says a Silent Hill 2/House MD crossover where Chase is James Sunderland is the most frightening idea ever and she should not write it? I write it. Stargate SG-1 decides to be completely simplistic with issues of character death, the nature of identity, and memory? Here is 140,000 words deconstructing that by implication. And then there was the Silent Hill crossover meme, which was basically a (lighthearted, mutually-respectful, and mutually-gleeful) pissing contest with [livejournal.com profile] jantalaimon over who could write the most, or weirdest, crossover drabblets with Silent Hill. (Among my proudest accomplishments: Winnie the Pooh, The Sims, and Tetris.)

*Completely arbitrary estimate

So I think there's a certain amount of archaeological evidence** to suggest that I started Damaged People purely to see what it would take to get Riona to go "What on earth are you doing, you crazy person?"

**Not in any way archaeological

Which is how I ended up writing what I call "A massively multifandom accidental epic following Sam Tyler (Life On Mars) and Jack Harkness (Doctor Who and Torchwood) on their misadventures, as they explore the galaxy, almost destroy some worlds, and barely save others."

How multifandom, and how epic?

Well, as of the time of this posting, I've written most of the first of a planned three arcs (1: Jack and Sam cavorting around the galaxy; 2: Series 1 of Torchwood, rewritten, expanded, and made more weird; 3: Sam Tyler saves the galaxy), and it's up to 100k words. And the thing's spawned a sequel. It's also up to 22 fandoms the last time I counted, and I keep shoving more in whenever I find a spare corner. (Lie To Me is on the waiting list, for example, and will be added as soon as a compatible plot comes up. Sherlock is in much the same position.) Among the fandoms I've managed to wedge in: Stargate: SG-1, Global Frequency, Pirates of the Caribbean, Google's April Fools jokes, Withnail and I, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Top Gear, and Cube 2: Hypercube.

The story is told mostly from Sam's perspective, with occasional dips into Jack's, so it's unintentionally organized so that if you're familiar with both series of Life on Mars and series one of Torchwood, you're generally only ever as confused as Sam is. Which, you know, can often be Rather Confused.

Anyway! I'm beginning the process of mirroring everything from its original home at [livejournal.com profile] damageverse to its parallel home at [community profile] damaged_people. If you're interested in my one grand voluntary foray into slash and multifandom crossovers, I invite you to take a look. It's wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey, occasionally extremely sketchy, ranges from pure gen to explicit with warnings and back again, and it will probably never be finished, but new stuff should keep appearing from time to time.

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