In likely order of completion:
- rounds_of_kink prompt: Oz/Xander (omg world ending); due yesterday.
- Remix Story (ruling from the center of the ultraworld mix), April 12.
- Giles/Ethan New Years Eve ficlet, in the Antique Roman verse, no due date.
- Tagfic for seldomifever: finish the story with Giles + Buffy + bottle of Jack, in a motel, post-Chosen; no due date.
- spring_with_xan story: total mystery to me; May 11.
- summer_of_giles story: will probably be the one I call "the signet ring story"; signups not open yet, but I need to start early.
Today is communication day: catch up on answering fic feedback; catch up on leaving comments on your posts (since you all seem to be having lives at the moment, which is both good and bad); send email to people to say hi and apologize for my lack of existence the last couple of months. I also have a to-be-read list that's rapidly increasing out of control.
Context is everything: Officemate V just said, "Spinning pie slices it is, then!"
1. What was the first story you ever wrote? What inspired you to write it?
"Emergence", Giles/Buffy, adult. I wanted to write and finish a story, any story, and I thought a modest pre-season-4 thing would work. I hadn't finished a short story in over a decade, and I was worried that I couldn't do it. I wanted a confidence-booster.
2. Which of your stories received the best response? Why do you think that is?
"Breathing", all the way. Giles/Buffy, post-Grave h/c, though the h/c takes a surprising direction. I think this story resonates with Giles/Buffy readers because it's a season 6 fix-it, something that particular group longs for. It addresses the question of why the heck Giles left Buffy in such a bad state, and gives him a reason people can believe. The story also shows Buffy taking care of herself, and putting herself back together in an active way: Buffy comes off well. Also, it's a romance, and those are always popular with 'ship readers. It's all very newagey and positive. And probably reveals more than most stories do what a sap I am in real life.
3. Which of your stories received a less favorable response than you expected. Why do you think that it?
Friends, I have no complaints about how any of my stories are received. I believe you all are kinder readers than I deserve. That said, few people love "Gas-Ring Alchemy" as much as I do. It's a young-Giles-meets-Ethan story, and it isn't either glam!Ripper or bad-boy!Ripper. It's studious!Giles, who swears in schoolboy Latin as he runs to meet his tutor, and is taken by surprise by a new love.
4. Which character do you enjoy writing the most? Why?
Start with the "duh" answer: I love writing Giles. I also love writing Buffy, after an initial period of being scared of attempting her voice. Buffy-babble is fun, though, because you get to toss popcult and classic lit in the blender together. Out comes a deliberate mangling of proper names, intended by Buffy as a self-deprecating defense. Oh, Buffy. We know you have a brain.
Xander's also fun to write, in a different way. Writing Xander is the art of writing the Freudian slip.
5. Which character do you enjoy writing the least? Why?
Willow's voice intimidates the heck out of me. Some day I'm going to have to confront it head-on and write Willow. A non-soppy, non-cutesy, devastatingly intelligent yet insecure Willow.
6. You wrote it and you loved it. Quote your favourite opening line. Quote your favourite closing line. Your favourite title.
Opening line: "A Soft Place to Land (Free Fallin' mix)", "Sunnydale is a crater." Lots of rocketry language in that one.
Closing line: Tradition & Protocol, part 1, "He handed her the knife, laid across his palms. " Several payoffs lurk in that short, simple sentence.
Title: "Dust on his hands from the sky"
7. Do you identify with one pairing? If so do you tend to write mostly that pairing? When you don't- what inspires you to step off the beaten track.
Identifying with a pairing sounds like a route to misery to me. I have pairings I enjoy writing more than others because they satisfy my fictional urges better than others: mentor/student with Giles/Buffy, natural enemies in love with Giles/Ethan, the uptight man relaxed with Giles/Xander. I don't confuse these relationships with one I'd like to have in real life, however. (In real life, I'm married to somebody more like House than like Giles. Ha.) I've read and enjoyed lots of Giles pairings, including some I predicted I wouldn't enjoy. I love reading Spike/Tara, for instance, which is a stunner to me.
8. Do you re-read your fic? Why or why not? Do you have a favourite fic to re-read?
There's a window of time during which I can re-read my stories. I can't read them at all for a couple of months after posting them. I wince and agonize, and see missed opportunities everywhere, things I meant to do or sharpen or downplay and just forgot to do. I have no idea why anybody reads my stories when I'm in that phase. Then I start to forget my ambitions and plans, and I can read the story and see what it is, and enjoy the good parts. Then, for some stories, I go back to them, read them, and see only the ways in which my craft has outpaced them. I read them as a cold reader might, and pick them apart. And sigh at myself.
I sometimes re-read "Breathing" to remind myself that I can write, and I'm not entirely hopeless.
9. Some writers find writing difficult. For others, it comes easily. Tell me about the experience of writing for you.
Some writers find writing easy? Tell me who these people are so I can shoot them.
- How do you write? When? Where?
I write almost exclusively in BBEdit on my Macbook Pro. I like to write with my feet up on a desk, or stretched out on a couch. I like to write software that way, too. Almost always I have music playing in headphones, usually music without lyrics so that I'm not distracted from my story. Often I'll make a playlist intended to support the mood of the current project. Listening to it is an aid in slipping down into the flow state of writing. I write whenever I have a free moment, which is most often on nights and weekends. This explains why friends haven't seen much of me in the last two years: I resent having to spend my weekends doing anything else. It's sort of a bind.
- Which of your stories was the easiest to write? Which was the hardest?
They're all hard in some way. Some of them flow better than others, or the idea is clearer. But that doesn't necessarily result in a better story; the ones I struggled with most and put the most time into came out pretty well. More solid in some ways than the sloppy flowed-fast ones. All the magic happens in revision. All the deeper meaning, the layers, the stuff that makes a story something a reader can dig into. The stuff that makes it stand up on re-reads. Revision is always plain work. But as a rule of thumb: longer is harder, shorter is easier, until one reaches the drabble threshold. I can't write drabbles for the same reason that I can't write poetry.
10. How has the delivery of fanfic changed since you first started in fandom? Where did you first start posting? Do you have a web site? Do you maintain it? Did you belong to lists? Do you now? How do you find new fic to read?
I first started reading fanfic in the age of paper zines, which one bought sight-unseen via mailorder or at cons. So, yes, the delivery has changed radically during my years of sporadic fannish activity. I first started posting in May 2006. I have a web site. It is meticulously maintained at the moment. I am on some mailing lists; they're mostly dead quiet these days. I find new fic to read by reading giles_watchers and other fandom newsletters. And through recommendations.
11. No shows = no inspiration. Let's face it, it's all been done, right? Or has it? How do you find inspiration in the Buffyverse? Do the comics help? Do you consider them canon?
I came to the Buffyverse long after the shows were over, so I do not grasp this attitude. A closed canon is a fine playground: I know where all the borders are, and I do not have to be worried about where the real property owners will be taking the plot.
The Buffy comics are, for all practical purposes, impossible to take as canon. Sure, Whedon is writing them, and sure he describes them as "canon". But as a matter of practicality for me as a fan writer, "canon" means "what I can assume my readers know". Most of my readers aren't also reading the comics. They didn't jump from the TV medium to the comics medium. (And honestly, I think they hear the lukewarm word of mouth, and aren't persuaded to jump.) So I can't treat comics events as something everybody will know. If I want to use them, I have to explain them. So I don't. I'll use them when it amuses me to do so... just like all the rest of Buffy canon. It's my personal trampoline, man!
The comics are, for me, kinda boring fanfic.
12. Feedback - how important is it to you? What sort of feedback do you like to receive? Do you leave feedback when you read?
I want to know that people are reading, and that they're entertained by what they read in some way. I want to know I'm helping them pass time pleasantly. That's all I really need. I do seek more detailed, critical feedback from a few readers I know have a sense of how fiction is constructed. I've had two utterly fabulous beta readers help me a great deal: shout-outs now to emmessann and theblackmare. My husband also reads critically and gives me helpful (if not always constructive) feedback.
I try to leave feedback when I read. I don't always. I do try at least to say, "Thanks, I had fun reading this." Which is almost always true. I'm far more relaxed about other people's writing than I am about my own.
13. How has fanfiction changed your life?
Hey, I'm writing again. I met a bunch of new people. I have a new way to spend my limited time on this mortal coil.
14. Do you write professionally? Did you before you started writing fanfic or did fanfic pave the way?
I have never written fiction professionally. I've been paid to write non-fiction (techwriting), however.