you are REQUIRED to pick a side...

Oh, Star Wars fandom. There's nothing quite so awful, is there? Yet again, there's ongoing drama with fangroups A through Z... which is why I'm reluctantly admitting to outlining a possible idea for post-The Rise of Skywalker fanfic. If I manage to coax it into existence, it will satisfy me and probably no one else.

Unfortunately, that fanfic idea is centered around Finn. I say </i>unfortunately</i> because that means it won't really fit the upcoming [community profile] halfamoon celebration, which focuses on female characters. I'm bringing up the topic because hey, [community profile] halfamoon is almost here! Here are this year's prompts. Yes, the prompts are available early.

Hm. Maybe I can coax something Gaby-related into existence before the end of February. I have a couple of long-unfinished fanworks about her...

Somewhat related to this: via [personal profile] goodbyebird, The Bodies of the Girls Who Made Me: Fanfic and the Modern World is Seanan McGuire's commentary on fanfiction and writing as a (white) woman in a world that focuses more on a (narrowly defined) male perspective.

FYI, I'm not going to cross-post entries at livejournal anymore. I'm not planning on deleting that account; I was co-moderator for multiple communities there. Everything on my own livejournal has now been mirrored here (comments too); there's no reason to keep adding to posts there.

Reminder to self: finish snagging those last few icons from LJ and upload 'em here.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.

you knew this wasn't over (Star Wars thoughts - minimal spoilers for IX)

One fannish dividing point I find interesting is how we perceive the role of Kylo Ren and his relationship with Rey in The Last Jedi. Specifically: was writer/director Rian Johnson creating the foundation for a romance between them? Or did he explore that potential as a way to show that Kylo Ren was, for worse, the result of his own choices? Is Johnson the king of reylo fandom, or is he exploring Rey's own dark side by making Kylo seem appealing only to pull that mask away and show us Kylo as angry and petulant? (A jerk with a heart of a jerk, I once read elsewhere.)

Whatever the reason for the confusion about intentions: while it felt like Johnson was flirting with the idea of Rey and Kylo forming some kind of relationship in episode 8, it also was obvious to me by the end of the film that this was one of his infamous subverted expectations. We're meant to see Kylo Ren as redeemable and "soft" (from Rey's point of view), only for it to be revealed that he isn't. The young woman he's drawn to--his equal in the Force, who has no familial ties to complicate things--asks him to stop the slaughter of her friends and he turns her down. He takes leadership of the whole First Order and confirms his own commitment to destroying anyone who opposes them.

It's one of the few basically the only clear arc to me within the film: Kylo has character growth as a villain because he makes choices to continue in villainy, even when given motivation and agency to change.

This is why it's so confusing for me to see reylo fans make comments about how Rian Johnson's hypothetical version of episode IX would have given them the reylo happy ending they wanted. I disagree; we'll never know what Johnson might have written (was he even given the chance to refuse that job?), but I think he would have written Kylo in full villain mode, with a more tragic ending than what Abrams and Terrio gave Ben Solo.

In other words, the reylo content made in IX was far more reylo-positive than what "Reylo King" Johnson would have given us. That's my two cents on the matter, anyway. Would Rian Johnson have written more interesting material for Kylo Ren than Abrams and Terrio did? Quite possibly. But that's a different question.

Edited to add: this tumblr post and reblog basically argue something similar. Collapse )

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make me talk in January - round 4

[personal profile] grimorie said: January 16 - What was your fandom at the start of the decade and the end of the decade, do you think your tastes have changed since then?

Oooh, down the rabbit hole! I looked at my livejournal / dreamwidth posts from 2010 - and early 2011, because I got a bit carried away. So let's see:
  • Battlestar Galactica ended in 2009, but I was still fairly active in that fandom in 2010. I was co-mod for the BSG fanfic remix for a third year.
  • I made this Dreamwidth account and started cross-posting in 2010.
  • I continued my mild flirtation with Doctor Who fandom; I loved Martha Jones and Mickey Smith. Watching the show months or years after the episodes aired shielded me from the worst fannish reactions.
  • I did a “thirty days” favorite female characters challenge meme over several months. In fact, the last posts are in 2011; here’s a round-up list that links to the original livejournal posts.
  • Lost had its sixth and final season in 2010. I wasn’t as fannish about it as BSG but it was a landmark show: the last big network show to have a weekly following. I used to go to watch parties with co-workers and we talked about it at lunch.
  • For the first time I participated in the big Yuletide fanfic exchange. It was exciting and scary. 
    • That also meant signing up for AO3, and posting fic there. At the time most of us were posting fanfic on livejournal--either on our own blogs or dedicated fannish comms. 

BSG was my first online fandom; since my focus in 2010 remained primarily on that show, this means that I was still in a fandom bubble. On livejournal I mostly interacted with other BSG fans (even if some had moved onto other shows), and in spite of some occasional drama, it was a fairly mellow experience. This is at least in part because I’m a white and able-bodied woman, so I was a) not as observant about problems as I might have been, and b) I wasn’t the target of fannish ire.

In the last decade that bubble burst. The way we watch television has dramatically changed. Our use of social media has moved from site to site. It’s not just that I was in a bubble; we’re also just having different experiences as a whole--as fannish consumers and creators. This includes how we interact with the content creators, which is--well, let’s just say it’s often messy. 

A decade later I would say that my tastes have changed. In 2012, after the first season of Person of Interest, I made a personal vow not to start watching new shows focusing on two white men. Around the same time (it might have been 2013?) I accepted a challenge to read books by people other than white men for a year.

My tastes broadened in many ways and got pickier in other ways. Also, I have a new appreciation for the size and pace of fandom on Dreamwidth. Yeah, we’re a tiny group here. But also, it’s not twitter or tumblr or instagram, or whatever else.

Current fannish likes: 

  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) continues as a source of inspiration. Mostly because Gaby Teller’s life experiences from birth to age 24 are almost a complete blank slate, other than historical information about Germany from 1938 to 1963. 
    • So... anyone else interested in doing a TMFU fanfic remix challenge? Because I could be persuaded to attempt organizing something. 
  • The Witcher (Netflix). I don’t know if this will go anywhere other than “Fun to watch! I love the women! They’re awesome and terrifying!”
  • The Expanse. I still have season four to watch. It’s available; I just haven’t taken the time yet. 
  • I’m looking forward to reading more books by Leigh Bardugo in the Grisha-verse. 
    • There’s gonna be a Netflix show. I’m not sure what I think of that. Guess I’ll find out in several months. 
  • Anticipatory woohoo for Wonder Woman 84 this summer. Woohoo!

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a link and a little bit of love

[personal profile] bookshop has a very detailed timeline of the ongoing battle at the Romance Writers of America. I haven't finished reading, but there are more details here (with documentation) than I've seen in mainstream reports, which gloss over the starting point(s).

I have now watched season one of The Witcher twice. It is a delight. This person's look at the genre gets it (I'm skipping the slightly spoilery bits):
What I’ve come to appreciate about The Witcher is just how gleefully committed it is to being Big Fantasy.

There’s more troubled monarchies in need of rescuing than you can toss a coin at. There’s people in complex face prosthetics, and there’s CGI landscapes mixed with beautiful locations. There’s costumes, swords, and magic magic magic. But that’s only the start–there’s also an internal, metatexual history being written in the story as decades pass and Geralt affects world events. And how is this expressed?

There’s something just deliciously fun about a live action fantasy series that embraces the drama, the absurdity, and the splendid zeal of the genre. If The Lord of the Rings made our hearts grow and Game of Thrones made our minds race… perhaps The Witcher, at last, can set us free to revel.

I've been thinking that there's something very like Buffy the Vampire Slayer in The Witcher: the commitment to the sheer silliness of its premise, the gleeful stripping of myths for their parts while still trying to honor why we loved those stories, the beating heart of humanity expressed through super-powered tortured leads who don't really believe in their own humanity anymore... IT IS FUN.

Now, what to do with current hyperfixation? Also, what about mini-fixation impulse to write Star Wars post-film fic? How to balance that with the desire to continue Gaby backstory fic for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ?

Also, there's work. I have work tomorrow. Yeah, time to turn off the computer and focus on that.

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make me talk in January - round 3

Question from [personal profile] aurumcalendula: Favorite book you've recently read?

That's easy enough: the Shadow and Bone trilogy (also known as the Grisha trilogy, I believe) by Leigh Bardugo. By far my favorite book (series) of 2019. But if you've been here a while, y'all have seen the evidence of my sudden starry-eyed love of it. Fortunately, I have at least one more book in the Grisha verse to read.

The Shadow and Bone trilogy reminds me of The Witcher (Netflix) in some ways! A story chock-full of the usual tropes from tales of magic, but executed in interesting ways that allow female characters to have plenty of space in the narrative. To be more accurate, though, in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, there's no doubt of who the lead is: Alina. Her POV is the only one within the novels, other than the intro and outro for each book, which is a 3rd person narrative fairy tale introduction or recap.

If I step back to 2018, then Justina Ireland's Dread Nation was a favorite novel. I already have book two on auto-buy for when it's available.

I've enjoyed recent books by Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London series) and Seanan McGuire (so many books!), just to name two other authors who are perpetual favorites and actively publishing. Also, I'm currently waiting for my next Ross Agency mystery from Delia Pitts; great for a bluesy, soulful look at life (and death) in New York City.

Thanks for the question! You can still ask a question for this month if you wish.

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The Witcher, season one: hearteyes

me: I mean, The Witcher does have its flaws.
co-worker who is also watching: *nods*
me: Like, they should have spent more time on Yennefer's backstory, when she was learning at evil Hogwarts.
co-worker: Yeah. But also...
me: ?
co-worker: I was promised shirtless Henry Cavill! His shirt hasn't been off nearly enough!
me: ...fair.

So, I’ve already mentioned this, but the strong and silent type really does work for me in fiction, huh. Collapse )

My favorite non-spoilery promo for the show: first of all, to watch the witcher you need to replace your expectation of “good” with “totally unhinged.”
the show is about henry cavill in extremely tight clothing, carrying around a broadsword, facing moral dilemmas, fighting monsters, and having sex. he takes a potion before every fight (which isn’t explained) and no one in the story ages (which also isn’t explained) so people’s parents and grandparents look the same age as their progeny.
(It goes on in that vein. I think it's more negative than I would be, even if I were being starkly realistic about the show's flaws. But... we do tend to color our favorite media with the positive glow of our appreciation, so you can read that as an antidote to my current love-fest.)


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make me talk in January - round 2

[personal profile] daybreak said January 4: Who is your favorite ship on The Good Place? (I'm nothing if not predictable!)

Hee! Who could have guessed that DB would ask a question about shipping?!

Um. In a not-surprising not-twist, my favorite ship is the main canon ship, Eleanor and Chidi. It's the pairing that I felt invested in first, and it's the pairing that helps drive a lot of the narrative--whether that's a platonic version or romantic.
  • Michael brings them together for the purpose of torturing them both.
  • It works... but also, Eleanor genuinely starts becoming a better person.
  • So does Chidi! They balance each other well. 
  • Michael himself starts to change as he begins to believe in the potential of humanity. 

I enjoy some of the other pairings on the show; Janet and Jason are hilarious, but I also like Tahani and Jason. But Eleanor and Chidi is definitely my focus... when I have a romantic focus.

(I absolutely adored it that the show went for "soulmates probably aren't real", and that Chidi just went with it. And chose Eleanor. As someone who almost always dislikes soulmates in fiction, it resonated. What can I say... it's way more romantic to me when someone chooses someone else.)

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some time-wasting fun

Hiiii, I am procrastinating putting away the Christmas decorations. In lieu of doing that, I stole these questions from... er, someone I follow here.

I have a total of 68 fics uploaded to AO3. That's not every fanfic I've ever written, but it's certainly a large majority of them.

What are your first and second most common work ratings?
Teen and Up (32)
General Audiences (22)

What’s your most common archive warning?
No Archive Warnings Apply (49)
Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings (10)

Perhaps the latter was a default setting when I imported some fanfics from Livejournal to AO3 because I'm not really sure why most of them would include that.

Do you consider yourself an adventurous writer?
I write for fun. I write when an idea won't leave me alone. It's not a master plan of "learn how to write X better", it's just "must be able to write X in order to finish this #!& fic".

Come to think of it, the novel-length fic I wrote back in 2012--that was an adventure for me. So I'll own the adjective for that fic.

Collapse )

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