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Dying on its arse

So, the storm has come and gone and I'm washed up on the beach, tired and battered but somewhat more content. I wish I could stop sleeping all the time, but I expect I shall soon revert to the usual six hours a night.

[note to self: avoided beached whale analogies, they will only make you unhappy *g*]

I wrote last night. Or rather I opened the file at 1am when I got in from work and:

(1) removed all the smelling pistakes that had somehow wandered in and which I had previously missed (WTF is that all about? I *know* C and I can both spell, and while we have US/Brit spelling issues, there were odd duplications of letters);
(2) removed the crap which I had written and which, I think, has made me so reluctant to surrender the file because I don't want to fuck this up and
(3) reread the file.

Which took an HOUR. Damn these 190K stories.

Then I looked at the diminutive instabeta Fi sent ages ago and set about trying to give the suggested extra wallop to the beautiful end-scene that C wrote. It's a thing of loveliness; delicate, wistful and shot through with this frail hope.

It was just like getting a piece to edit by Chris McGreal, where you have to cut 750 words to a 550 slot. With most correspondents, it's child's play because a lot of them are on lineage and overwrite dreadfully and a fair few of them are not particularly good writers. But with Chris, it's bloody impossible to cut because he writes these perfect stories, in which each paragraph threads to the next. If you get the right-length slot, they're almost no work, if you have to cut, they're a bugger.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that whatever does end up getting cut (and I fear much pruning is needed) it won't be from that end scene.

I added three sentences. That and the new scene is enough, I think

Now I wonder if any bugger will read the thing. XF fandom is disappointing at the mo' and I keep wondering if what Appelsini says will come to pass there too -- lots more ghost sites and no one writing anything ambitious any more.

* * *

Lots of ideas bubbling round in the brain, four of which I really want to get off my fat arse and write. One is the XF thing I've been talking about forever. For. Ever.

One is a Giles thing, which would have to be written before the BBC Ripper comes out but after he leaves BtVS, so it would not be jossed. It would be about a haunted house, in a very non-traditional sense, and his family and his relationship with his father. Both actual stories with plots (however lame) and thus long.

I really have no desire to write anyone else in the Buffyverse, though I don't mind reading it. However, I find the endless PWPs and focus on shagging in BtVS/AtS fic depressing and boring. I want plot or if there's no plot, I want insight and beautiful writing. Give me Yahtzee, Rheanna, JennyO...

If I want dull writing, nihilistic despair and existentialist pain without discernable form, I'll read fucking philosophy. Or Jacqueline Susann, whichever isn't out of the library at the time.

No idea where I'd post the last one of course, and who would read it, given that when one looks at ephemeral, the counts for long stories are pitifully low. Perhaps one should do as someone suggested on one list or other, and write some quick, hard fast smut hanging from the chandeliers for attention, then post your dark moody experimental fanfic War and Peace

[that last was a facetious comment, okay? *g*]

* * *

At the moment (well, not at the moment, at the moment I'm skiving off work because the world is quiet) I'm reading "Servants of the People" by Andrew Rawnsley, which is about the first term of this present Labour government.

No! Wake up! It's interesting, honestly!

Andrew Rawnsley works here and you occasionally see him and his whipped-ice cream hair disappearing off into the lifts, or hear his fruity chortle from a distance. But damn, the man can write well about politics.

The book leaves me only with increased contempt for Blair and his cohorts -- most of whom are egocentric in the extreme.

His entire first term was a cynical exercise in spin doctoring, in which policy was subservient to polish. Every single initiative was the political equivalent of larding marzipan and icing sugar onto a stale loaf of bread and calling it madeira cake.

They are venal, prone to panic and focused on retaining power to the detriment of principled policy-making. They often give the impression that they couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery without five sub-committees, a piss-up policy "tsar" and a swishy logo and advertising campaign along the lines of "Drool Britannia: Get Drunk As A Lord With Us"

And these are the good guys. I voted for them. Three times. If only I hated the opposition less.

Perhaps I'm being hard on them. They do have merits. Their economic stewardship means that Britain's economic crash may not be as disastrous as that in other countries. Blair has an uncanny knack for taking the nation's temperature.

However. However. This thing with the war has GOT TO STOP. Gazing down the barrel of a gun here, Tone, in terms of multicultural relations at home and abroad. No one is talking about September 11 -- which is the crime on which they should be focused -- they're all talking about the fact that thousands are going to die in Afghanistan this winter.

No matter what you think of the bombing, recognise that it's not working the way the military and political planners hoped. If we're not done by the start of Ramadan (which is November 16-17 this year) then there will be serious consequences.

Trouble is, Blair likes his self-appointed role as world leader who trots off to the places that Dubya is too chickenshit to go, trying to make nice with people who see right through the charade (step forward Mr B. al-Assad esq. of Damascus).

He likes it better because he has little appetite for the detail-oriented, petty problem-fixing, difficult and complicated world of domestic politics. But it's these kinds of things that we elected him for and I want him to damned well try to fix them.

* * *

Some of you may have heard of the infamous memo by Jo Moore, the assistant to the transport secretary, Stephen Byers, who sent out a memo on September 11 saying that it "was probably a good day" for announcements because it would bury news they didn't want any media focus on. This kind of cynicism is typical but usually better hidden.

Anyway, she has been reprimanded and now they are searching for the civil servant who leaked the document, raising the absurd possibility that the woman who wrote the memo will escape punishment and the person who was so outraged that they leaked it will be sacked. *rolls eyes*

As it happens, I heard why she wasn't sacked from a reputable source.

The 1982 Defamation Act forbids me from writing it anywhere *g*



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 31st, 2001 03:23 pm (UTC)
Make me cry.
It's a thing of loveliness; delicate, wistful and shot through with this frail hope.

I am honored.

So. *wanders off to check inbox*
Oct. 31st, 2001 03:42 pm (UTC)
No idea where I'd post the last one of course, and who would read it,

*wistful* I would. Don't I count?


XF fandom's in a sad state, I think; though I'm hardly in an objective place to stand. Is it that the fanbase is shrinking, or simply that the makeup is changing? People are leaving, people are staying, new people are coming in. But from my skewed vantage point, it looks like there was a similar exodus round about S5. And new people coming in post-movie, some of them, I believe, going on to take too long writing brilliant postcol series. Some sites will become ghosts, I expect, and some won't. People are still writing ST:Original, are they not?

Nov. 1st, 2001 04:52 am (UTC)
Given how long I've been involved in this damn fandom (started reading early in S4), I guess this is my cue to pipe up.

I'll agree that the fanbase -- or, at least, the writers' portion -- is shrinking. Unlike in the past when we'd have these shifts, others haven't turned up to take up the slack. I think there's basically a two-year lifespan for each generation; like you said, quite a few new folks around S5... and after S6, etc.

Part of this has to do with how the show itself has changed. The writer working with S3 and prior characterization has a very different set of heroes to draw. M&S had a certain darkness back then, yes, but it was still nowhere near what we saw after the cancer arc; then, things even shifted further into darkness after CC/Emily, and once again after 2F/1S. And so on. These characterization shifts attracted new writers and required a different way of approaching the show. It's also why many of the stories (especially early MSR) almost feel like they're written about different people now. Even the non-MSR back then had a different quality to it; many of the "classic" fics by, say, Livengoo were based on the concept of tortured profiling wonderboy Mulder. Since then, that style of characterization has faded.

Now? All different again. I think many people were turned off by the baby, and I can understand why. In a more general sense, it's just damned harder to write fic now, unless you want to take a boldly revisionist bent. I started a "Field Trip" story two months ago, and now I think I'll never finish it. I'd love to write new stuff in the current universe, but the constraints are so specific (Mulder gone, Scully with baby) that it makes coming up with new conceits difficult.

Another issue could also be other fandoms. Fic in general has exploded across the board. When I first got involved in the community, I seldom heard people talking about fic for any other shows. These days, that's all I ever hear about ;). The explosion of the web has helped, I think. From the beginning of the web as an outlet, XF has been the granddaddy, in terms of volume and quality (yes, I know, other fandoms had great fic too, but XF had the most organized and prolific community, from my vantage point.) But just look at fanfiction.net: you can find dozens of shows with active communities. And some of those are rather alarming [g].

Anyway, my two cents, as one who celebrated the fourth anniversary of her first "real" fic last month ;).

(And ugh, probably no more after that. I'm branching out.)
Nov. 1st, 2001 05:02 am (UTC)
Re: Field Trip
But I love "Field Trip"! Write "Field Trip"!

I was going to say that people could always write fic set in earlier seasons, but you've made me realize that's just not true. Knowing how things are going to change alters your perception of earlier events, in ways that are real if difficult to define.

Nov. 1st, 2001 12:21 pm (UTC)
older season fic
Oops. That earlier respose was supposed to be a reply to Alanna's post. I'm sure you don't feel the need to be informed about my AIM status. ;)

I will say, though that I think people _can_ still write fic set in earlier seasons, though it's incredibly difficult. Like you said, "knowing how things are going to change alters your perception of earlier events, in ways that are real if difficult to define," but maybe that's part of the challenge. At least I hope so, since what I'm working on now is set during the season 2 abduction arc. *g*

It seems to me that it would be a great accomplishment to write something with convincing characterizations that make sense for early M&S or whoever, but which also takes into account later developments in character and plot. EPur does a good job in "Things Began."

Nov. 1st, 2001 12:23 pm (UTC)
Re: older season fic
Oh, I think it's still possible to write early season fic. I like it, in fact. JET's S2 snippet is lovely, for example. But it's not a helpful resource for people who are unhappy with later canonical developments, I think.
Nov. 1st, 2001 11:42 am (UTC)
Okay, I'm starting to get depressed again. Why am I always the one who starts having fun at the party 10 minutes before it ends?

BTW, I should be around on AIM tonight, assuming the cable doesn't go out. (I hate Roadrunner. They're always fucked up.)

Nov. 1st, 2001 01:11 pm (UTC)
Re: :(
1) M, you're not "the one" because I'm here too. Been standing outside the door of the party for years & finally decided to go in when it seems like most people are leaving. *shrug*

2) There's never a bad time for "Field Trip" fic. Write!

3) There's never a bad time for season 2 fic. Write!

4) Right now does seem to be a bad time for season 6 fic, but that could just be my wimpering muse whining in the corner.
Nov. 1st, 2001 01:48 pm (UTC)
Re: :(
Okay, I'm starting to get depressed again. Why am I always the one who starts having fun at the party 10 minutes before it ends?

Jesus, it's like listening to myself *g*

Actually, I think it is possible now to write early seasons fic which is richer and marbled with delicious ironies because of the knowledge of what is to come. It just takes more brainspace than yer average fox'n'dana'n'littlewillmakesthree shagfest/schmoopathon writer is prepared to devote to the cause. (and NO ONE here is one o' those)

I was thinking about this last night and I decided that I don't much care about readers as long as the few people whose opinion does matter to me read it. Cos most of the real enjoyment work is in beta. I just wish that other people shared this attitude and were writing delicious fic.

Unfortunately, fewer writers are participating in the XF fanfic thing these days and they're mostly writing stuff I don't like. I have little tolerance for fluff these days. But good recs sites will always pick up the good crack.

And I have a curious aversion to the BtVS/AtS fanfic although I *love* some of it. I agreed with the huge discussion on BetterBuffyFic about how dark does not equal deep.

Dunramblin' now.

K. (fanfic snob these days)
Nov. 1st, 2001 02:24 pm (UTC)
Re: :(
I have little tolerance for fluff these days. *Cough* I have an email from you, from September 1999, with the subject line "Is there ANYTHING worse than Babyfic?" You've never had much tolerance for fluff, although I do think you have a higher tolerance than I do. *shrug*

Three cheers for fanfic snobs.

But God help us if "Fimbulwinter" tanks. Heh. Serve us right, though. *grin*
Nov. 1st, 2001 02:28 pm (UTC)
an even bigger fanfic snob than you
It's hard for me to remember that there was a time when I wasn't a fanfic snob. But that time did, indeed, exist. There was a time when The X-Files was so important to me that I loved all fanfic. Not necessarily for the enjoyment I got from reading it, but because of what it stood for. I loved the fact that other people cared about these characters so much that they wanted to write about them, and I loved trying to analyze what *they* loved about the show.

I mean -- Schoolgirl!Scully, for crying out loud -- such a complete bastardization of the woman I loved on TV, yet so common in so many stories. But I didn't just yawn and roll my eyes and move on to the next story when I'd come across her. I'd read the story anyway, and be fascinated at how the author could possibly have come up with this ridiculous characterization, and be strangely touched by it. I felt such fondness for these 14 year-old authors who were clumsily trying to remake Scully in their own image, because they loved her in their own way.

Well, those days are gone. I can't read XF fic anymore, even brilliant stuff, because Mulder and Scully and Krycek have died to me -- I can't find any other way to express it. I'm certainly not saying that anyone else should feel this way about them; I'm just saying that in my heart they have a closure that I am loathe to disturb. And I don' t think I will ever love another show as passionately as I loved XF, so crappy fanfic in other fandoms evokes no fond tolerance from me.

I will read your Giles fic with glee. And zeal. And other words of delighted excitement. Poor Giles gets such dreadful treatment, by and large -- either marginalized or teen-ized. The only really good Giles bit that pops to mind right now is in that terribly grim RivkaT story, the name of which escapes me. Anyone perusing this journal have any good Giles recs?

And finally:
They are venal, prone to panic and focused on retaining power to the detriment of principled policy-making. They often give the impression that they couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery without five sub-committees, a piss-up policy "tsar" and a swishy logo and advertising campaign along the lines of "Drool Britannia: Get Drunk As A Lord With Us"

I am officially laughing my ass off. You need to write in your journal more often. I need more of this stuff!
Nov. 1st, 2001 02:46 pm (UTC)
Re: an even bigger fanfic snob than you
terribly grim RivkaT story, the name of which escapes me

"Allegiances," if it's the one where Riley turns Buffy over to the Initiative. Brilliant and disturbing, more so than any of the Conjoined Twins' other JossVerse stories.

And "what she said" about the Giles fic. Heck, go write it now while we do the beta-dance on FW.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )