magibrain: A brain with eyes and an adorably innocent smile which you should not at all trust. (magibrain)
...I find myself vaguely wanting to write A/B/O fic, except less with sex and more with navigating tricky power dynamics and slews of body dysphoria, and with a heavily tweaked version of the whole A/B/O premise.

(Basically, the idea in my brain is that Alpha, Beta and Omega are just psychophysical modes people operate in, and while people tend to have "baseline" modes that they operate in for long stretches – sometimes even their entire lives – people can switch from mode to mode in response to various physical or psychological stimuli. Like, a baseline beta might find themselves going omega or alpha after a major trauma, for example. And there would be drugs and such which could affect what mode people operated in. Plus, while the modes would have specific physiological effects – people operating in alpha mode might have overactive adrenal glands and produce more testosterone, while people operating in omega mode would experience heat and all its attendant fun – it would only affect personality in as much as, say, gayness does. In that there would be a ton of stereotypes and there would be established cultures which people might or might not do any social commerce with, and aside from that, it's not really something you could tell by looking at someone.)

(...though you could probably tell it by scent. Because that seems to be a thing?)

(Also, people would be able to resist physical urges, with varying degrees of difficulty from "I am having this strong craving right now!" to "I am experiencing this with the intensity of an addiction." And there would probably be a lot of discussion on medical and political stages about that.)

I don't know. I've read a grand total of two A/B/O fics in my life – feels like the start of something and The toppiest girl in the school, and ironically neither of them is for a fandom I'm actually in – and I feel like this may just be a continuation of my picking at the assumed conventions of tropes I don't actually write or read (see also), which always makes me feel a little weird. But I feel like, given some of the discussion in the prompt thread for feels like the start of something, it might be a weird little space to explore which other people are also interested in seeing explored. And it does seem like there's a healthy movement in A/B/O writing areas to dissect the heck out of the trope, from what I've read.

Of course, it also doesn't help that I already have way too many other projects clamoring for my attention. Including the one where Neal is stuck on a magical Greyhound for five years.

This is one of the ways you can tell I'm ace. I find tropes that are deeply rooted in kinky sex and then expend considerable time and energy carefully plucking out the sexybits so I can nest in the kinky power dynamics. <_< One of these days I'll write and post my WC OT3 fic and it will be 80,000 words of neither sex nor romance, continuing my trend of OT3 fic which is neither sex nor romance, and everyone will be able to tell me that I'm doing it wrong. AND I WILL LAUGH FROM ATOP MY ASEXY THRONE, I SHALL EAT THE CAKE THAT IS MY BIRTHRIGHT, AND KNOW THAT I AM THE OVERMIND, THE ETERNAL WILL OF THE ACE COMMU – no, wait, that got away from me, sorry.
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: The gateway to the stars stands waiting. (Stargate)
Just finished reading S.M. Stirling's Island in the Sea of Time, which I had a few quibbles with, but which otherwise danced merrily on so many of my happy buttons that I would have forgiven it much more. (And one of the main characters is a badass Southern black lesbian who commands a Coast Guard vessel and later an army. (And our love.) I just want to draw hearts all around her, and I am very much not a heart-drawing person.)

I don't know if any of the Stargate folk on my list have read the book, but if you have, please tell me whether you also desperately desire a fic with Ian Arnstein, Doreen Rosenthal, Sam Carter, and Daniel Jackson all hanging out and being amazing. I'd write it myself, but I think the four of them combined may exceed my ability to write smart and informed people. At the very least, I'd have to gloss over half of what they said or spend a long, long time doing research.

On a slightly wider fandom note, I feel like the crossover potential of this book is high. (A quick synopsis: an unexplained Event occurs over the island of Nantucket, carrying the island and some of its surrounding waters – including a Coast Guard training vessel – into the Bronze Age. As you can imagine, this complicates life somewhat for the island residents.) The Event could be centered over Cheyenne Mountain or Manhattan! (Either only over those places, or over those places in addition to Nantucket, which could lead to some really interesting ham radio discussions and expeditions to re-forge connections through miles and miles of wilderness.)

Anyway, there are more books in the series and apparently a parallel series from the other side of the Event (where you have a densely-populated modern world in which suddenly no technology works; also likely to dance merrily on all of my buttons), so I suppose I know where a whole bunch of my money is going next time I have any to spend.
magibrain: A radiation symbol. It appears to be a little bit on fire. (Default)
Random question, but I need it for reasons research.

If you had to sell me on two characters – gen or ship – and you only had 500 words or a 30-second video clip to convince me that they were the best no seriously really... what clips or works or excerpts of works would you point me toward?

I am going to think on this and see what I can come up with... after I sleep for a while.

(Context is that I'm playing with a story-in-the-background-of-a-story in one of the things I'm working on, and I want to pick apart some mechanics of what makes for minimum effective doses of getting people engaged with characters.)
magibrain: Peter Burke would like to know where you are at all times. (White Collar)
You know, I need to get over this thing where every time I watch something, I end up wanting to cross it over with White Collar. Sure, some of them work really well, but I do not have time to write all of them.

But, consider:

The Finder. Willa pickpockets Neal! Neal is confused as to how this is possible. And then Walter shows up unannounced in Neal's apartment and starts doing his Walter thing and just casually excavating all the secrets that stand between him and whatever he's looking for, and Neal has what he feels are legitimate questions about the whole thing.

Alphas. Hey, it takes place in NYC already! And Peter could know or know of Bill already, considering Bill is an FBI guy. Probably not working white collar crime – 'cause, I mean, Bill – but, you know. And Nina could put the whammy on Neal, and Mozzie would feel so, so very vindicated when the Alphas thing went public. And then it would turn out that Keller was the only one among them who was an alpha, and everyone would feel as though this was incredibly unfair.

Bones. Continuing my fascination with cross-canon FBI friendships/rivalries/awkwardness. I feel like Peter would derive endless amusement from Booth's relationship with his squints, his extremely unconventional partner, and pretty much all of the weirdness that goes on in his life (and Booth's frequent discomfort with said weirdness). And then Peter and Booth would both go bang their heads into walls when Bones and Neal decided that flirting with each other was the natural next course of action. ...and it would all be worth it for the look on Neal's face when Bones first stuck her hand into something bug-riddled and rotting.

Orange is the new Black. I just want you to consider the possibilites of Kate serving a sentence parallel to Neal's. We know it's a federal prison. (And oh, the extent to which Kate would not put up with Piper's well-meaning but privileged and often ignorant crap.)

Primeval. If any of you can say that you don't want to see the team dealing with prehistoric megafauna, I am going to suspect you of lying. (Again, Mozzie would be so, so happy!) And Peter would get the added fun of realizing that not only does he have to worry about his CI running off to Venice or something, he may have to worry about his CI running off to Venice through time. (If you ditch your anklet in the late Cretaceous, who is ever going to be able to track you?)

The Avengers. Because I like aftermath stories, and you can just imagine the gang looking out at their poor, abused city and wondering how to put it back together again, now that all the flashy heroics are done with.

I'm starting to suspect that White Collar just goes well, crossed over with anything.

(Fortunately, I got no ideas for a crossover after watching the first episode of Twin Peaks. Mostly because I'm still not sure what I the hell I was watching. *g*)

And we will just alllll pretend that I don't already have a Scrivener project with a Puella Magi ☆ Madoka Magica crossover started in it, because on a sliding scale of one to ridiculous, that one clocks in at a solid stop now.
magibrain: The gateway to the stars stands waiting. (Stargate)
Randomly, I went off and found Meyers-Briggs types for all four members of Classic SG-1. At least, all four members of Classic SG-1 as my brain interprets them, and my brain occasionally contradicts canon in rather spectacular ways (frex, magibrain!Sam is largely asexual, and Chimera never happened), so for this to make any sense you're going to have to buy into my versions of the characters for a post or so.


A lot of neepery and a really cool pattern. )

It's like the time when I decided that SG-1 was a project by the Asgard to recreate the Four Great Races in miniature, and the parallels kept getting spookier. I think my brain is an alchemist.

(other potential post-cut closing teaser line: "And this is why SG-1 was tragically canceled at the end of the seventh season.")

[ETA]: I feel like Jonas is probably an ESTP, and I haven't watched nearly enough of S9 and S10 to guess on Cam and Vala.
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)
I spent most of yesterday beating fanfic into shape, which is something I haven't done in a good long time. But yesterday was something of a special occasion: just under a week ago, I finished Beneath a Beating Sun in draft, and on Sunday, I'd finished my preliminary polishing of the first 16 chapters. (The 18th – final – chapter still needs more work, but it's done in draft, and that gives me enough confidence to move ahead.) So Sunday was the day when I went twenty rounds hand-to-hand with trying to get BaBS updated and the new chapter posted. (Among other things, FFN no longer allows you to use things like single hyphens or asterisks to indicate scene breaks. To which I say verily, what the fuck.)

But as I was reformatting the BaBS chapters to retain their line breaks, I decided to go back and add line breaks back into some of my older works, like Antipodes and Scars. And looking back on those, Scars especially, was... humbling.

Because here's the thing. Scars was meant to be my farewell to the FF8 fandom. I'd been writing for FF8 since 1999 – it was my first fanfiction community, dating back to the days when the FFGurus Forums were still going strong, and my work there is honestly responsible for a huge amount of my writing skill. It was my alma mater, in a way. And Scars was, if not precisely a thesis, still a final exhibition. At the time I wrote it, revised it, and posted it, it represented the best of my writing ability.

That was back in 2005, and when I look at it now...

I won't say it's bad. It still has its charm, and I think it still gets its message across. But I look at it now, and I can see where it should be tightened, where the pathos should be toned back, where it should be punched up, where characterization needs to be tweaked and how the tension arc needs to be smoothed out, where the description falls down or fails to set the scene. There are layers upon layers of improvements. And it's wonderful, and a little terrifying, because when I wrote that, I did not know how it could be made better. And now I do.

And the stuff I'm writing now? Oftimes, I don't know how it can be made better. And sometimes I'm afraid that I'm not going to get any better, that because I don't see how I can improve, I'm not going to. And in a way, getting over that means having faith in the past; in that what was possible then is still possible now. The stuff I write that's the peak of my ability now may look like my first-draft stuff, years from now. And I can do this. I've done it before.
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.


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

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