Friday, March 08, 2002

So, two or three e-mails, a couple nice reviews on, and most of it from Maayan. (thanks, M.) Which isn't tremendously surprising because I've just come from West Wing, which isn't a great fandom for feedbacking, and Sports Night, which has about four people in it total. and before that X-Files, which is the best fandom for feedback, better even than Trek, so I don't expect anything to compare.

Consuela says they're still digesting, still trying to figure out what to do with me. The people on the bboards probably aren't used to this sort of thing. possible. (or there's the option that it's Just Not That Good, but I'm not accepting that one today. *g*) And of course there's the fact that not everyone's seen the final four yet. but it does beg the question, can a piece of fanfiction actually affect a reader to the point that the reader would be unable to respond to it? (and not this piece of writing, per se, but in general.) I mean -- I know when something affects me, in a positive way, in a negative way, I'll generally comment on it. Anything that's evokative enough to produce an emotional response deserves some kind of recognition (leaving aside, for now, like, gratuitous rape fics or insane violence). then again, I don't tend to be evoked too often by fic. I mean, I don't get my wheels spun except by the very best, or very strangest, or very saddest or hardest stuff. [On Edit: some thoughts deleted] But there's another point after that, where you go, "this affected me, and not in a way I can quite put into words." not in a good way, not in a bad way, just in a mysterious way. Right? And I don't have that experience very often when reading.

But I mean. take Consuela's Thumbnail. Whether MJohn would really have been able to [spoiler deleted] without going insane at the end, whether TJohn really knew what he was giving up, and what he got, whether Rygel would really have [spoiler deleted], based on the way we see him with his friends now -- dunno. Plus, C sees the characters differently from the way I do. Duh. but these were indeed things that raised questions, things that evoked emotional responses across the fandom. I don't think John could have [spoiler deleted]. I don't think Rygel would have [spoiler deleted]. But in the context of the story, it did make me feel something.

Would be very cool if my story evoked something, out there. interesting, either way. Or I'm just being a huge egotist, and it was just another story through the pipeline. Which is perfectly fine, there's more out there and there's more in me. And it's just Friday, March 8th, or something.

But I wonder what's next. I wonder if Pene will kick some more ass on her Aeryn thing. I wonder why I'm out of water.

[on edit: this is a blog, of course. I mean, no one really expects me to make sense, right?]

Thursday, March 07, 2002

A new device is being tested and I suspect it's not going to make me any new friends. But I'm done, I'm done. and I'm happy. I know tomorrow I'm going to smack myself because I came up with that perfect line for Harvey to say that would have made everything make so. Much. More sense. But for now, I'll let him sleep, let Crichton sleep.

knock back a little more bourbon; I'm done.

Consuela, that must have killed you. this was only 58k and I feel like taking a long nap.

Instead. Something else. something about Crichton and Scorpius, about action and introspection, about Roseveare's Duality. Spoilers here for that story, and if you haven't read it, you should, since it's some masterful writing and some subject matter close to my heart...

I said: same reason that Crichton-and-Scorpy fic on was beautifully written but still not my style: too much plot, not enough story for my brains to wrap around. And the author e-mailed me to point out that it wasn't actually plot, just movement, regardless, Crichton and Grasshopper still stuck in a bottle, facing off. And you're right, Roseveare, and I didn't mean for my comments to come off like a value judgment, just a mini existential crisis because I'd gone down a path in my own story that ran the risk of becoming plot for plot's sake, and I'd left the characters behind. (since been deleted, we can all breathe a little easier. *g*) Which didn't happen in Duality at all, as it turns out, just a lot of evil twisty John and Scorpy moving through this desolate place.

So I guess the problem I had with it -- hell, I don't know the problem I had with it. *g* Could be as simple as I'm working on my own Crichton and Scorpy over here, and we see the characters quite differently. though that usually doesn't trouble me. And the writing was elegant, clever, perfect. So, hm.

I think I felt told, rather than shown how Crichton felt about Scorpius. told elegantly, but told nonetheless. Told what the planet looked like, told what was happening to them, while being sort of distanced from the characters at the same time. Which is a technique I find really useful in action-driven pieces (lay the framework, make it happen, then let the story tell itself) but in something like this, which was actually more of a character study of these arch nemeses, I think the arms-length storytelling made it difficult for me to empathize. Made me immediately assume it was an action story, a plot-driven piece, because that's my instinctive assumption with writing like that.

Because -- hm. I tend to view style (and use style) as an extention of the story being told, as a method of executing the story being told. you know, the difference between the stichomythiac banter of Sports Night fic and the introspective tug of an X-Files vignette and the crazy obsessive detail-oriented business I'm apparently addicted to, and the world-building vivid description that you might use to move a story along.

When I start to write, the story usually comes first, and the style adapts itself to the narrative (although sometimes my tiny people get away from me, and angst turns into sexy fun, and then we're all fucked *g*) -- not sure. If it's intuition or just habit, if it's rhythm picked up from stuff I've written or read, or something more innate. Big questions for my little achy head.

Actually, I think I'll just listen to Alanis, drink some more bourbon from the bottle, and sit here a while. because my device is out there in the world, being tested, and that's a little freaky for a person like me.
I'm just saying, once I build this wormhole and insert some science, I'm done. well, gotta tame the ending a little bit. But this thing is coming out tonight, hezmana or high water or whatnot. and it's no surprise to me that we bottomed out, I believe, at 23 pages.

"...and blood-drenched Frisbees fly through the crisp, cool air for no reason at all..."
-- Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Hawkeye's tail on the windowsill looks like a whole other cat, watching me. And I think I'm doomed never to pass page 23 on this thing.

Problem I'm having isn't a new one -- in fact, we talked about it today in Consuela's blog. but I'm just -- spinning my wheels, stuck in a place with not enough action and too much plot. And these are all different elements we're talking about here, same reason that Crichton-and-Scorpy fic on was beautifully written but still not my style: too much plot, not enough story for my brains to wrap around. And still, the holy grail for me is a meditation on a roast beef sandwich. Or not a meditation, just a roast beef sandwich.

I mean, Kafka's Metamorphosis was about waking up a bug, but it's hardly supposed to be a study in entomology. then again, Kafka's better at this than I am.

The people at the cell phone store will break his twenty, but that would mean putting shoes on and he doesn't want to right now.

"You got a MetroCard?" he'd asked, six in the morning and the sun just peeking up behind Riker's Island. She shrugged. "Okay."

He opened the desk drawer, felt around for the ziploc bag and then upturned it on the blotter, stack of quarters and pennies in a heap. She scraped the change off with the side of her hand, pocketed it. He hadn't meant for her to take it all.

"You'll be okay, then?" he asked, and she smiled. His t-shirt still smelled like cigarettes and her shampoo, like college, before he'd moved to New York and she'd gone to Africa with Daniel, before the postcards.

"Yep," she said, rooting in her purse for her keys or a stick of gum or a gun, not looking at him. "I'll call you."

And now he's at the top of the stairs, arms full of sheets and his t-shirt and unmatched socks, and he can't move, because he's doesn't to go back inside but he can't do laundry because the cell phone store's the only place to make change and he doesn't want to put his shoes on right now.

and I'm in this unique place with Crichton, where I've got too much plot and not enough action, something very unfamiliar to me. Because I want to be able to tell a story through action, but that requires a covenant with the readership that I'm not bold enough to make right now. Familiarity where they say "this is laundry, but it's not just laundry" instead of "she's a hack and isn't good enough to describe what her character is feeling." A place I'm not at yet, though I want to get there, and it's why I'll keep writing and keep fucking up. Same problem I ran into with Not Dead, but to a greater degree because this thing's long and complex and has a story more relevant to the story than Aeryn's was, repairing the StarBurst chamber. More plot than anything I've written in a while, maybe ever. And I'm so used to using action to tell the interior story that I forget how it's used to move the plot along as well. There must be a way, people do it all the time (Hemingway, Camus, Tim O'Brien's my favorite example), but then, there's something else, being a published author, where people are less likely to suspect that you meant to include heaps of introspection and just left them out, accidental-like. Nobody reads The Plague and asks why we don't know Rieux better -- or, rather, I don't. Nobody asks for the specifics on the plague itself. It's not an action-adventure drama, it's introspection and character analysis told through action and simple sentences, the simple acts of human people.

and boy am I a jerk to think I can pull that off here. Makiko the bold, my ass. But it's still what I like to read, and what I'll try to write.

Because rich description is lovely, but not when you've got a character who wouldn't notice it. And introspection is nice, but not when you've got a Crichton who doesn't know his ass from his elbow right now. and nice is nice, but not when he'd rather just take a nap. And too often, for me, naps turn out to be Boring.

So I'd still rather write the story where Crichton cleans his gun -- for real, cleans it, reads the manual, takes it apart, scrapes at chemical buildup with the tip of a jacknife, spit-polishes the handle, really cares, this is his gun, he loves this thing, he needs this thing -- then a story where he broods about Aeryn and watches stars go by. But only if it's the same story. only if it's about loving, and holding on, and paying attention, and caring, and being afraid to let go. And if it's not -- I fucked up.

So I need to pare down my plot, make it less like "Outbreak" and more like "The Plague." or I really am doomed never go get past page 23. sigh.

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

I'm writing because I'm writing, and my eyes hurt. I had 23 pages on "Device" earlier today, then I had 17, now I'm coming up on 20 again. Paxil withdrawl makes me jumpy, but I'm on my way down.

This is the biggest thing I've written since the Statesmen series, the most exhausting if only for the constant deleting and rethinking and replotting. And being reminded about "baby" and "home" and the fact that Aeryn's prettier than Scorpius. This is also a big thing because Crichton's trying to figure out the meaning of life in twenty words or less, and they left us -- the lunatics -- at this very dubious crossroads at the end of 322 where really anything can happen.

When I asked why he loves her people responded "you mean why does he follow her?" and I'm not sure that's what I meant. Though maybe. But does he follow her? I mean, he's stuck (and we've got plots that work around it, note this thing, note TEH, note that John-and-Scorpy-on-a-planet thing Maayan sent me to read), but if he weren't? If Moya hadn't been sucked up, would they have caught her? And then what? The same fight again, except she's pregnant now? Would her response have been any different?

Which is why it's good Pene's here, working from the Aeryn side, reminding me. I haven't spent much time in Aeryn's head, I don't know the business in there.

heh, and I'm just putting it off, because I'm going to have to deal with her sooner or later, but I'll stall and write flashbacks to Gilina (thank you, PV) instead, relationships I understand. Relationships Crichton understands.

Oddly, that wasn't the question. wormhole. weapon.

Maayan says Jack's "displacement engine" (cf. IP) made the wormhole into a weapon. Without it, the simple power of a wormhole was enough to, say, suck a hostile planet out of existance -- with it, Jack and Crichton created a different kind of weapon to use against the Scarrans. A very specific one, it seems, different from this threat of "wormhole weapons" Crais died to prevent, right?

but to make a statement? To allow Crichton (and the viewer) to witness the horror of a wormhole weapon? Is that what it was for? To make it tangible? Blowing up a Scarran ship killed one John and shook the foundations of their moral being, while blowing up a PK command carrier didn't? where's the noble act? Where's the planetbuster? where's the butter battle?

And though John may have told John through the mask, Scorpius still doesn't know about the displacement engine. Leads one to wonder -- if all had gone well -- what Scorpius would have done.

I think that's what I want to know -- imagine a universe where the PKs do have wormhole technology. What does the war look like then?

and, pseudoscientifically, how do you build a wormhole?
So Makiko has a blog. first, because she's her own girl. Second, because it was time for a color change. Third, because I was exhausting Sabine's friends with talk of Farscape on the LJ. Fourth, because the hands-on-ness of blogger is right nice. fifth, I'm hungry. sixth, fuck the view (because that continues to be good advice, we say). Seventh, because this blog is for Farscape and the other one is for Sab.

So Makiko has things to say, waiting for the wheel to come around and for this Scorpius thing to be put to bed. (so to speak). Blogspot tells me knitting is better than Prozac, reminding me to call the shrink again.

here be spoilers. And rather than doing the font color thing, I'm just going to trust you to avert your eyes if you've wandered here against your will and haven't seen 319-322 yet. But since it's you, you're not strangers, I know you, I'm just going to trust that those of you that stick around are my buddies, spoiled aready. (is it time to thank SdS again? Always.)

I think I fell out of love with Aeryn. I being John, and not really, of course, because she's Aeryn and it's abiding. but enough time in John's head with Harvey, enough time being lost and left behind and left behind again, my John's looking for something else. Something a little more reliable, a little more constant. (in my world, today, that's Scorpius, but could be anything.)

Problem is, I want to be in love with Aeryn again. I need to remember the whys and wherefores -- Pene says it's best when they're working together, you-and-me-against-the-world, but we haven't seen that in a long time, not this John, not really. (because -- and this is another one, Aeryn's presumed "support" of John in 320/321 amounted to exactly nothing, housewifey around the edges but the only partnership she actually participated in was Crais' ["I kept Aeryn safe because I need her" vs. John's "maybe you should go back to Moya"], and John did whatever it was that he did, very much alone [except, of course, for Scorpius].)

so is it just me? or is it any wonder I see John partnered up (in that pene-style you-and-me-against-the-world) with Scorpius, these days? not Aeryn?

And I miss her. He does too. He loves her, knows he does, but it's a bit like habit now, we haven't seen it manifested in any of those glorious fighting ways. Or we have and I've missed it?

Anyway, a gold star to anyone who can help me feel the love again, help me understand why now (not why in general, why now, 320, 321, 322), why Crichton is looking for Aeryn as his touchstone in the UT. why not the wormholes? I'm asking. Why not Scorpius?

five, ten, fifty edits later, and my big post-322 thing is no closer to completion, though I have a plot now, and I'm watching the characters unravel (in my direction). Thanks in large part to Pene, Ernesto too.

And currently the title is "A new device is being tested." my first not-all-capped title. I feel like Torch.