I was cruising through the net, following the cold trail of one of the periodic “Is or is not Fanfic the Ultimate Literary Evil?” arguments that crop up regularly, and I’m now bursting to make a point that I never see made by fic defenders.
We’re all familiar with the normal defenses of fic: it’s done out of love, it’s training, it’s for fun. Those are all good and valid defenses!
But they miss something. They damn with faint praise. Because the thing is, when you commit this particular Ultimate Literary Evil you’ve now told a story. And stories are powerful. The fact that it wasn’t in an original world or with original characters doesn’t necessarily make it less powerful to any given reader.
I would never have made this argument a few years ago. A few years ago I hadn’t received messages from people who were deeply touched by something I wrote in fanfic. So what if it’s only two or three or four people, and I used someone else’s world and characters? For those two or three or four people, I wrote something fucking important. You cannot tell me that isn’t a valid use of my time and expect me to feel chastened. I don’t buy it. I won’t feel ashamed. I will laugh when you call something that touches other people ‘literary masturbation.’ Apparently you’re not too up on your sex terminology.
Someone could argue that if I’d managed the same thing with original characters in an original world, it could’ve touched more people. They might be right! On the other hand, it might never have been accepted for publication, or found a market if self published, and more importantly I would never have written it because I didn’t realize I could write. The story wouldn’t have happened. Instead, thanks to fanfic being a thing, it did. And for two or three or four people it mattered. When we talk about defending fanfic, can we occasionally talk about that?
I once had an active serviceman who told me that my FF7 and FF8 fic helped get him through the war. That’ll humble you. People have told me my fanfic helped get them through long nights, through grief, through hard times. It was a solace to people who needed solace. And because it was fanfic, it was easier to reach the people who needed it. They knew those people already. That world was dear to them already. They were being comforted by friends, not strangers.
Stories are like swords. Even if you’ve borrowed the sword, even if you didn’t forge it yourself from ore and fire, it’s still your body and your skill that makes use of it. It can still draw blood, it can strike down things that attack you, it can still defend something you hold dear. Don’t get me wrong, a sword you’ve made yourself is powerful. You know it down to its very molecules, are intimate with its heft and its reach. It is part of your own arm. But that can make you hesitate to use it sometimes, if you’re afraid that swinging it too recklessly will notch the blade. Is it strong enough, you think. Will it stand this? I worked so hard to make it. A blade you snatched up because you needed a weapon in your hand is not prey to such fears. You will use it to beat against your foes until it either saves you or it shatters.
But whether you made that sword yourself or picked it up from someone who fell on the field, the fight you fight with it is always yours.
Sometimes I stare at the computer screen when the words don’t want to come and I think, “Fuck, who am I kidding? This is terrible writing, and this story is shit, and no one cares, anyway.” And I close the window and go do something else.
But every now and then I get an amazing, heartfelt, beautiful comment from someone who loved something I wrote, and it reminds me that, at least for that one person, I did write something worthwhile. And so I open the window again and I write one sentence, and then another, and then I start to find my way again.
So on behalf of all fanfic writers everywhere, I want to say thank you, thank you so much, to all of the readers who take the time to leave a comment and tell us that something we wrote mattered to you, that it brightened your day or made you laugh or cry or get horny or whatever.
Please don’t think we’re ever bothered by your comment, or that we don’t want to hear it, or that what you have to say isn’t important enough. It means so, so much. And on some days, it’s what keeps us going.
I’ve sort of fallen off the fanfic-writing bus, lately, with stressful work project, moving, etc., but one of my major goals in the next few months is to turn back to the chaptered fics that I’ve not touched in literally years. Dreaming of Electric Sheep is first on tap. Morale Officer. Prima’s Blessing. Warrior Goddess. Dawningverse. There’s stuff there to be told, still. And many sparklings to talk about.
Not to mention I saw that latest trailer and went “….great, so it’s more of humans shitting all over the Cybertronians? Didn’t we do this already?” So, obviously, I need to write happy porn and fixit fic.
“There is a perception that speaking up for boundaries is somehow introducing conflict into a situation, or at very least, escalating it in an unkind way, like, everything was fine until you spoke up for your needs and now you made it weird. But not speaking up is not making the situation better, it’s just giving the other person more license to operate and communicating that you are okay with the behavior. There is no prize for being the world’s most stoic and accommodating person. A friendship that cannot survive a the momentary discomfort of you standing up for your needs is not actually a friendship worth holding onto.
Nobody loves being told that they are screwing up, obviously, but if you don’t have the ability to ever take any negative feedback along the lines of “Hey, could you not do that one thing anymore, thanks?” from a friend, YOU are the problem. When told that they are stepping on someone’s foot, good adult people will apologize and get off the foot and not perpetuate a FEELINGSDUMP about their need to really stand on feet sometimes. Communicating “Hey, that’s where my boundary is, thanks” IS KINDNESS. It is giving the other person the tools they need to be in a good relationship with you.”—Jennifer Peepas (via astheshadowslovethecastle)
I am a nurse. For 30 years of my career, I was a labor and delivery nurse. I took care of women through all stages of labor and through their delivery. Due to the many times that I have worked 16 hour shifts, I bonded with many women and helped them through long hours. Finally, through much work on the mom’s part with my guidance, she would be ready to deliver. In would sail the doctor, spend five minutes catching the baby, and then pose for all the pictures. I would hear from the families how wonderful he/she was.
Then why is my back killing me because I stood for two to three hours with a woman in a variety of positions including resting her foot on my shoulder while she pushed? Oh, and did I mention that she is also paralyzed from the waist down from the epidural, so I was also helping to hold her up while she squatted to push?
Why have I had to change my scrub clothes twice in a shift because someone either puked on me or amniotic fluid soaked everything?
Who is it that actually got that IV started while reassuring the poor mom?
Who is it that took the camera out of the daddy’s trembling hand and started taking family pictures because she knew that otherwise there would be no proof that he had even been in the room? And capturing the look of wonder on both parent’s faces at the same time.
Who is it that cleaned up every body fluid that can spew from a human, with a smile on her face and encouraging words for the mortified patient who has never been sick in front of a stranger in her life?
Who is it that tracked down the anesthesia people, chased them out of the lounge, and threatened them with their lives if they didn’t take care of her patient, NOW?
And when things didn’t go well, who was it that took that poor baby that didn’t make it, cleaned it up, dressed it, wrapped it in a soft blanket, and brought it to the broken-hearted parents to hold for the first and last time?
..I’ll never forget the first baby I caught as a student nurse because the doctor was out buying a magazine or something because the mom was “only 50 cents’ worth of dilated” and couldn’t possibly be ready to deliver for another three or four hours. Oh yeah.
Most doctors are wonderful. No question. But 90% of the people who take care of you in the hospital are the nurses.
Tainaron: Mail from Another City eBook: Leena Krohn, Matthew Cheney: Amazon.co.uk: Books
So I randomly remembered this book from my shelf. Look, donskoi it’s like it was written for you!
The classic novel by an iconic Finnish author, a finalist for the World Fantasy Award. Tainaron: a city like no other, populated by talking insects, as observed by the nameless narrator, who is far from home…
*bolts upright* Sentient insects, you say?
…oh my god, go read the sample. Very first thing is them coming upon a random citizen randomly pollinating some very large flowers as his weekend entertainment, and by pollinating I mean wriggling against them and getting drunk, and he tries to proposition them into a foursome with his flower, and it is HILARIOUS. I must purchase this book.
You know the one. He’s unprofessional, lazy, selfish and rude, and even makes frequent sexist and racist remarks against the people around him, but that’s OK, because he’s a genius. He’s the best doctor/detective/scientist around, so everyone will put up with his jerkitude. Respect for others is the foolish pastime of the less intelligent.
We’re clearly meant to admire these (exclusively male) characters, or at least be amused by their social ineptitude. Their dismissive attitude to others, and especially their sexist jokes to others, are aspirations. They’re geniuses, observant and intelligent. They are just telling it like it is!
Which is one of the reasons I really love Sherlock Holmes in new CBS drama, Elementary. Yes, he’s a genius, and yes, he’s kind of a jerk at times. But he isn’t allowed to get away with it. His rudeness, his laziness… these are clearly character flaws, and his (female!) partner isn’t afraid to call him on his nonsense. And in return, he says things he shouldn’t, but he also respects her, he listens to her, and he even apologizes for things that he does. He isn’t a genius running rampant in the city, above the concerns of all the other silly humans. He’s an intelligent, observant, but flawed human, and he has to follow the same laws of decency as the rest of us.
JFC YES. I blame House. He started it. I can never get it through my dad’s head that I don’t like watching these types of characters. ”Oh, but he makes the BEST asshole!” I don’t care! Why would I want to watch an asshole at all? There are enough of them in real life, why do we have to inject them into our entertainment? WHY THE FUCK TO PEOPLE FIND THEM ENTERTAINING? honestly I do not get this.
This morning I woke up and had 200 Followers! It’s hard to say exactly who hit it— there were a couple of spam follows in there that have since vanished, but of tumblrs giving the impression of having real live people behind them it was likely to be either mccleeoooo or ninjirate! Congrats and thank you! Kiriban technically come in increments of 1000, but it’s early days yet for that, and magical choirboy high fantasy queer romance is, I’m given to understand, something of a niche market. But two hundred people is two hundred people, so in spite of all that…
EVERYBODY WINS: * A Grayson and Willim love scene epilogue! * An 8tracks playlist of my favorite Valnon Songcalls! * FULL SCANNED PHOTOS of the Songbird Birthday Book from 2003, never before shared in their entirety! * And of course, my continued blogging of my unique blend of inspiration photos, worldbuilding tidbits, and me yelling at my characters. (You’re just so excited I know.)
Yay! All you have to wait on now is for me to get those things together. ^_^; I’ll try not to keep you all waiting more than a couple weeks or so, though. But the time will fly, because I’m also running a 200 FOLLOWER CELEBRATION PRIZE GIVEAWAY.
The winner’s prize pack will include (but is not limited to): * A Signed copy of Evensong’s Heir, for you or a friend! * A pair of handmade Dove-tribute earrings (by me!) * A burned CD copy of selections from the aforementioned Valnon Playlist! * A $25 iTunes gift card (to buy more music by the artists on the playlists, of course!) * A mini-manicure set in Dovecolors (exact polish colors and embellishments TBD) * A woven bracelet in the Songbird colors of your choice, with charm! (Also by me!) * Whatever else I feel like sticking in the box. Perfume samples? Confectionary treats? Stickers? Who knows!
TO ENTER: * You must be following valnon.tumblr.com * Reblog once to enter (multiple reblogs are not multiple entries). * DO NOT reblog as a link! Reblog as text, please! * No contest or spam blogs. * You must have your askbox open for notification if you win (otherwise I will pick another winner) and be willing to tell me where you live, ofc. * Likes are nice but they don’t count as an entry! * Having a tremendous crush on at least one Songbirds of Valnon character is preferred, but not required.
“Samuel L. Jackson seriously wants to be in the new Star Wars movies. He doesn’t care how it happens, he doesn’t care how many arms he has or how dead he is, or if he has to somehow do this as Nick Fury instead of Mace Windu.”—
Is there anyone among us who doesn’t think Star Wars could use a little Nick Fury? (Source)
…it’s a universe with a well-established history of just cloning the shit out of people at the slightest excuse. Samuel L. Jackson could theoretically play every role in the next movie without it being that implausible, by Star Wars standards.
Holy shit I would pay twice the going rate for a movie ticket to see a film performed entirely by Samuel L. Jackson. I don’t even care what film. Star Wars, Pride & Prejudice, Sherlock Holmes, The Godfather…Any. Movie.
“The fucking recollection of what I said—of my fucking conduct, my fucking manners, my motherfucking expressions during it, is now, and has been many fucking months, goddamned painful to me. Your reproof, I shall never fucking forget: ‘had you behaved like less of a motherfucker.’ Those were your goddamned words. You know not, you can scarcely fucking conceive, how they have tortured me.”
“Really, Watson, you fucking excel yourself,” said Holmes, pushing back his chair and lighting a cigarette. “I am bound to say that in all the fucking accounts which you have been so good as to give of my own small achievements you have fucking habitually underrated your own motherfucking abilities. It may be that you are not yourself fucking luminous, but you are a motherfucking conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a fucking remarkable power of stimulating it. I confess, my dear fellow, that I am very much in your fucking debt.”
“About three goddamn things I was absolfuckinglutely postive. First, Edward was a motherfucking vampire. Second, there was a part of his sparkly blood drinking ass — and shit if I know how strong that part of the cold bastard might be — that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was fucking unconditionally, irrefuckinvocably, in motherfucking love with the pale ass blood drinking motherfucker. “
“One day, and that fuckin’ day may never come, I may call upon your bitch ass to do me a motherfuckin’ favor. But for now, consider this a fuckin’ piece of generosity on the day of my daughter’s fuckin’ wedding.”
Mr. Kane was a man who got everything he wanted and then lost it. Maybe Motherfucker was something he couldn’t get, or something he lost. Anyway, it wouldn’t have explained anything; I don’t think any word can explain a man’s life. No, I guess Motherfucker is just a… piece in a jigsaw puzzle… a missing piece.”
“Your ass shouldn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, motherfucker.”
“Lemme tell you a riddle. Your ass is waitin for a train, a train that will take your ass far away. You know where you hope this motherfuckin train will take you, but you don’t motherfuckin know for goddamn sure. But it doesn’t motherfuckin matter. How the fuck can it not matter to you where the fuck this train takes your ass?”
“Fuckers assume that time is a fucking strict progression of motherfucking cause to motherfucking effect. But actually from a goddamned non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it’s more like a big motherfucking ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey…goddamned stuff.”
Seven motherfucking minutes ago… we, your forefather motherfuckers, were brought forth upon a most motherfucking excellent adventure conceived by our new friends, Bill… and Ted. These two great motherfucking gentlemen are dedicated to a proposition which was true in my motherfucking time, just as it’s true today. Be motherfucking excellent to each other. And… MOTHERFUCKING PARTY ON, DUDES!
That motherfucker is like fucking fire and ice and shit. He’s like the motherfucking night and the storm and the heart of the goddamn sun. He’s ancient as shit and fucking forever. He fucking burns at the center of goddamn time and he can see the turn of the fucking universe. And that motherfucker is awesome as shit.
If you care about such things, Google Maps has compiled a list of all Kaiju attack locations (except for five), the locations of the shatterdomes, the location of the breach, which cities were attacked, etc etc etc, as well as several landmarks (for example, Oblivion Bay).
What is a reverse bang? It’s like a Big Bang, only the art is created first. Artists create a work, then authors claim a work as their inspiration and write a story based on it. At the end, art and fic are posted side by side.
What’s the schedule? Artist and author sign-ups open: 16 February Artist sign-ups close: 08 March Deadline for art submissions: 31 May Claiming post goes live: 01 June Claiming opens: 02 June Deadline for stories: 23 August Posting begins: 01 September
Draw a thing, get a fic / Pick a pic, write a fic!