I think I see what the problem is.

  • May. 14th, 2010 at 10:59 PM
pepper: Woman writing (Writing)
When I first started reading fanfic... no, let me start further back.

When I first started writing down the fanfic that had been uncurling in my head since I first liked a story, it was rubbish. I shamelessly ripped off LoTR with my epic saga of Arwen Evenstar rewritten as a Mary Sue, riding around Middle Earth on a pony. I was twelve or thirteen. Heck, thinking about it, that wasn't my first fanfic, but it was certainly my first finished one, and I was very proud. I wrote it out neatly and gave it to my English teacher, and she was mightily impressed. I did pretty well in English. Later on, for my A'levels, I was asked to write a diary from the point of view of Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. That was where I started to learn about writing in English-that-was-not-my-accent.

When I first started reading online fanfic, it was mostly pretty terrible (ASIDE: ah, alt.tv.x-files.creative, those were the days! My tall, Canadian internet boyfriend... yes, I lived the cliché). It was trial and error, and the good stories were precious, I saved them all on floppy discs. I got used to the idea of fanfic as a natural progression of my own interests in reading, watching, and writing.

When I got into X-Men, I knew enough to go searching for fanfic for my pairing of choice. Being more critical by then, I almost gave up in despair before I found the good stuff - but eventually I did find it, and boy was it good.

By the time I got into Stargate, I had some methods for finding good fanfic, the most reliable of which was to look for anyone writing fic of vaguely the kind I want, follow their recs, find someone who wasn't completely unreadable, follow their recs, find someone decent, follow their recs, find someone even better...

So, this is what I think I've learned: the problem with some of these writers is that they've never found the good stuff. Leaving aside the issues inherent in reading fanfic of one's own work, they're not interested in reading fanfic of other people's work*, in fanfic for its own sake. And that's fine - their choice. But because of that, the only fanfic they'll encounter is the most immediately accessible to someone not familiar with finding good fanfic.

Really, I feel quite sorry for them. I honestly do. I've read things that would make their hair curl. I've found stories that blow the professional works on the shelves of my local bookstore clear out of the water - out there, free, gratis, for anyone to read. But to find them, to read those jewels, the reader has to fight Sturgeon's Law, and unless and until they've done that, all they're likely to see is the crap.

The books we buy are often better than a random selection of fanfic, but that's comparing apples and oranges: people rarely buy books by poking a pin into the list of all books published that month. If that's how they're examining fanfic, no wonder they think it's the Pits.


There you go, my tl;dr. [personal profile] thefourthvine put it much more succinctly in this post: Because, okay, yes, most fan fiction is crap, but so is most published fiction. (Anyone who wants to refute that has to read ten books selected by me first.)

* Unless it's published, like The Wide Sargasso Sea, but famously brilliant works do not a representative sample make.

Some things about me.

  • Feb. 1st, 2010 at 12:01 PM
pepper: Woman writing (Writing)
This began as my take on the latest fannish wibble, but somehow turned into my fandom manifesto. Will crosspost to LJ when I get on, this evening.

1. I don't believe slash has access to a deep, underlying truth that het and gen are somehow missing, and that someday, if I'm a very good girl and eat all my greens, I'll understand.

2. I don't believe that het is always indisputably right and canonical. Heteronormative happens.

3. I don't believe that gen is the only proper and unbiased way to read a show (not that I've run across gen people who say that, but you know – for the sake of equality. *g*).

4. I think it's impossible to really know whether an actor was staring soulfully into his co-star's eyes and willing the audience to believe this was True Love, or if he was staring at a wig on a stick for the tenth take that morning, willing the director to yell "Cut!" so he could go grab some lunch.

5. I know that a (TV/movie) character is not created by just one person – so while I will be interested in one person (actor, director, writer, editor...)'s take on that character, and it may make me look at them differently, I won't necessarily take it as an Ultimate Truth.

(5b. That said, I think it's a bit different for characters in books, because there's usually just one driving force behind their creation. But I still feel free to apply my own interpretation in the privacy of my own head, and on my own blog. Put your hand down, Ms. McCaffrey. Yes, you will be marked down for handing it in late, Ms. Rowling.)

6. The show as it is broadcast is the finished product, in my opinion, and anything else – going to all the conventions, talking to the actors, watching the cut scenes, owning the action figures, an in-depth knowledge of a subject that the show touches on – is gravy: nice, but ultimately not essential.

7. I believe that being an expert in a TV show is about as serious as a study of The Da Vinci Code. Which is to say, not at all. It's fiction, and acknowledged as such by the creators. That means they have a license to make shit up if the facts don't fit the storyline. In turn, fans have the freedom to interpret that how they like. (Yes, even the new Doctor Who fans, no matter how much I want to tell them to get off my lawn.)

8. I don't have to like someone's interpretation, but I don't believe that gives me the right to tell them they're wrong. They're not wrong; they just have a different opinion.

9. I do, however, want to be challenged if someone finds my interpretation in some way hurtful or damaging or sexist or racist or homophobic or ageist or sizist or... I choose my words because of their connotations, so ideally I'd like to know if those connotations differ significantly for other people. I don't want to perpetuate oppressive beliefs.

10. I would like for the above, particularly the last two, to apply in reverse.

Some fannish things.

  • Apr. 1st, 2008 at 12:57 PM
pepper: Pepperpot (Yo-yo)
What do you think is the point of selling books on the Amazon marketplace for £0.01? Is it the £2.75 postage and packing? Or are they trying to clear space? Anyhow, I've ordered the first several Stargate books, because £2.76 is still very cheap. I've enjoyed all those I've read so far (A Matter Of Honor, The Cost Of Honor, Roswell, and especially Sacrifice Moon), although [profile] shutthef_uptells me I may have been lucky in my choices. What the hell - I read umpteen Star Trek novels when I was a kid, varying in quality, and the Stargate novels definitely live up to those. Incidentally, has anyone else read How Much For Just The Planet? It's one of my all-time favourites. "This is my Spock officer, Commander Science, and this is Doctor McKay, I mean McCoy." Did Kirk say McKay there, or am I remembering that wrong? I must dig it up and find out.

Meme, snurched from [personal profile] stargazercmc

Empire Magazine has revealed its list of the "50 Greatest TV Shows" ever. So, of course, LJ-ers leaped upon the opportunity and made it into a meme.

a. Bold the shows of which you've watched every episode.
b. Italic the shows of which you've seen at least one episode.
c. Post your answers.


Speaking of things being all about the hair - which we weren't - just what was Jack doing before this scene (from The Tok'ra pt. 1)? His hair looks like it's making an escape attempt. 



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