I just heard there's a rage club, but I'm too late to be a founding member.

Jolly me out of my current state of rage, please. Rage is not a usual state for me-- not honest-to-goodness grand-gesture-level fury-- and I find it unpleasant. I'm against continuing in this state. Therefore, distraction! On the theory that if there's anything as comforting as self-absorption, it's contemplating the characters I love, I propose the following:

Ask me questions about fandom and fic and writing and stuff. I'll answer 'em, possibly by makin' stuff up.
  • Current Music: Rise : PiL : Compact Disc
Hurried ? to assuage rage.
umm, what does Giles wear that Buffy really likes in the Blackmail 'verse? I'm talking favourite clothes here.

You have VR.5?

Re: Hurried ? to assuage rage.
I have VR.5, yes. I have not yet watched with any attention, though it does hold out the promise of ASH in full snitty mode. Which is nice.

Blackmailverse Buffy has a thing about Giles's butt, and about hip-hugging non-baggy trousers that make other attributes clear. So she likes him in the tight jeans. He doesn't, so much, but will wear them because she wants it, and because it obviously pleases her. She likes black jeans. He likes traditional faded blue jeans, and has a secret hankering for the fashions of the early 70s, pre-punk post-hippie.

She also likes him in dark, strong colors. Anything but the beige-y tweeds he used to wear. Giles's clothes are primarily visual, with some emotional secondary-kinesthetic textures creeping in. Buffy pushes that and wants to get rid of the self-effacing bagginess.

I'll visit this topic directly very soon.
1. Fandom is a herd. That means there are bellwethers. This is a complex role that combines sensitivity to trends and emotions with a trend-starting instinct. There hasn't been a stampede over to IJ because the bellwethers haven't moved yet, just a few extra-bold sheep whom the rest of us are nervously watching to see if predators eat them. If the bellwethers do something, fandom as a whole does it as well. Eventually.

Let's push this metaphor to absurdity and note that there are different herds within fandom, only loosely connected to each other. The anime fandoms seem to be their own animal. The RPF fandoms overlap more with live-action tv/movie/book media fandoms, but are still separate. HP fandom might decide to start doing something, and it'll be ages before the anime fandoms notice, never mind before their bellwethers take action.
Writing longhand - always irritatingly slow, or sometimes the only way a story will come out? Discuss.

What does Core Four Giles read for brain candy?
Cannot write longhand. Cannot. Have tried, e.g., on planes and in the bath. I have lost the trick. This makes me weep, because I love neat pens and nifty notebooks, so I buy them and have no use for them. Part of it is that I've migrated toward an inside-out approach to writing stories. There'll be some seed scene from which the rest of the story-crystal grows, so I'll write by cycling around that scene. Which is hard to do in a paper notebook.

I can take story notes longhand, though. Maundering on about background seems to be something I can do without being able to edit the words as they come out.
Re writing: do you have a favourite word you've never gotten to use (yet!) in a fic?

A favorite word, hmm! There are lots of words I love, and usually I just use them when they come to mind. The younger Scoobies have voices that allow for one kind of pyrotechnics, and Giles's voice naturally has a larger vocabulary-- though he talks in direct, clear language in the show, so again, gotta watch it. Complicating this is the deliberately plain thing I try to do, with simple declarative sentences that I hope pile up to create more complicated effects. Fun words can stick out there.

My intrepid beta-reader once edited out Giles calling somebody "juggins", which I held onto for months. I finally found an excuse to use it again (he uses it on Riley, without heat), but maybe I shouldn't have. Oh, guilt.
All righty, skip, I've been thinking about this all morning. The other day, I was reading some lovely btvs prawn when suddenly I felt completely weirded-out by the fact that fandom is mostly women sitting around writing erotica for one another's pleasure. The more I've gotten to know the authors on a personal level, the stranger the whole scene's become to me. I've been trying to sort out my thoughts on this. How do you feel about it? Both as the purveyor and purveyee, I mean.

Ha. A hard one, with many tangled answers in the tangled mess of fandom sexuality. But I'm going to stay away from that, and talk about what it is that I do when I write fiction for others to read.

Everything I write, whether prawny or not, is an attempt to manipulate the emotional state of my readers. You are willing accomplices in this manipulation, because it is a well-established form of entertainment for you. (As plotting the form of the manipulation, laboring over its means, and then watching the results is a complex form of entertainment for me. It's how we pass the time before the arrival of our inevitable mortality.) I take you all on a little trip, show you some characters experiencing something, and you have an emotional response. If I succeed, that emotional response bears some relation to the one I hoped you'd have.

Joy, grief, romantic love, anger, sympathy, relief, release, lots more-- all on the list of things I want you to feel. Sexual arousal isn't any different than the others in most ways. The only difference to you is that you know me as a person to some degree. I'm not reduced to a name on a book jacket and a brief bio. Do you get squeamish when a story makes you angry?

And yet, my core values shine through, and polite as it is to pretend the author is dead, it's difficult when the author is right here chatting with you about brands of tea.

There is a distinction between me and my work. Sometimes my characters say and believe things that are at direct odds with what I believe. But still, it's amazingly self-revealing, this business of writing fiction. At one time I let fear of self-revelation cripple me and stop me from writing. Some time recently I was able to move past it and say, well, okay, you can make deductions if you want; doesn't matter. The payoff from that incredibly complex form of entertainment I've chosen for myself is too valuable for me to forgo.

And hey, society spends enough time stomping on what women enjoy. It's cool we can entertain ourselves in the ways we really want to here. I want you and all the rest of my readers to have fun. I don't need to know the details; just knowing you're having fun is all I want.

Did that cover what you wanted to explore?
1. How old does Giles get in your various verses? No one seems to write Giles or any of the characters as old, have you/would you?

Am interested because I nearly ripped off Aspects of Love by David Genet for B/G purposes - there are no orginal thoughts in my head - but I didn't because I was unsure that people would read it.

2. Do you think that any of the Scoobs get their three score years and ten?

3. Is there a Buffy cross-over that you'd like to read/write but haven't?

Hope three question is okay, ignore 'em if you want.

Boo to rage, may it bugger off soon.
1. Some of my storylines project Giles out to old age-- in one case I pretty much say, "and then he and Xander spend the next 30 years of their lives together", the implication being that then he dies a happy man. I'd like to explicitly write this in the Cloud Animals verse.

ljs has written some further-future stories in which Giles is aging with Anya, and they encounter some of the consequences of retiring late from the demon-fighting business. Or try snowdrifted's "Remnants". I cry every time I read this, I warn you, but it's a good sort of crying.

And dude, I will read anything you write.

2. Buffy doesn't, but she lives far longer than she expected to at the age of sixteen, and she dies content when she meets her third and final fate. Willow doesn't, in most of the scenarios I see for her. Too curious, too driven, too reckless. Xander does, though.

Dawn lives forever. Bit of a surprising consequence, that.

3. I really really really want to find time to finish my Second Doctor crossover, with Giles and Ethan as schoolboys in the TARDIS. And the follow-up to that puts them in the universe of Fray, which isn't exactly a Buffy crossover so much as Whedon's own futurefic for it. Want to write both of those so much.
nemaihne asks via IM
nemaihne asks via IM:
Anyway, I've got no Giles questions for you. But you posted on POV. How do you feel about writing it? Do you have a preference? If it's based on characters, do you prefer writing characters/pairings who all *happen* to be in one POV or another? And have you ever sucessfully written anything in second person that doesn't sound contrived or childish?

Edited at 2008-04-04 08:31 pm (UTC)
Re: nemaihne asks via IM
POV: I do not rise to Henry-Jamesian levels of obsession with it. For one thing, he agrees with fandom that the first-person is an inherently immature point of view, which opinion I consider utter bullcrap, and counter with an overhanded copy of Huck Finn, library binding edition, aimed right at his forehead. But it's important, and control over it is one of those signals that tell me whether I'm reading a writer with serious chops or not.

I'm a modern reader, so I gravitate toward a tight third as a default starting point. Particular stories will push me toward the first person instead: If the narrator is important, or if I wish the reader to consider the means by which the tale is reaching them, or if the story is in a fandom that demands it. (Holmes stories must be first-person stories told by someone near him. It's just a rule. Which means that it can be violated, but you'd better offer something awesome when you do so.)

Some storylines are primarily one person's story, and so I stick with that point of view in them. In longer things, I want to stretch out more and write segments from somebody else's head. I deliberately swap from one to another at times. For instance, I've written only one tiny piece of Giles/Xander in Giles's point of view-- because the secret is, I identify with Xander most strongly of all the BtVS characters, so I love his point of view. But the upshot is, next time I write Giles/Xander, I have to do it from Giles's point of view, just to pop out of the rut.

I've never written a true omniscient point of view story. Closest I've come is HH: Sorrows End, with those present tense external-narrator segments. I'm looking for the right story to try it with.

Second person is mostly a gimmick. Even in Bright Lights, Big City, gimmick. Some writers have managed to pull off shorter pieces in which the choice serves a worthwhile purpose, but I remain suspicious. Unless we're talking interactive fiction, for which "You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building" is perfect, timeless, and genre-defining.

It's all about familiarity. The default story-telling mode of English-language fiction is past tense, third or first person. Convention is effectively invisible and comfortable. Anything that varies from convention calls attention to itself and can distance the reader from the experience of the fiction. The reader becomes aware of the process of reading and doesn't sink quite as deep into the fictional dream. Sort of. Or so my theory goes. So for that reason, present-tense is distancing, second person is distancing, all meta-fictional tropes are distancing to some degree.

And lots of fun at times. I'm not against them at all. I'm just cautious with them, and unlikely to indulge in them myself. I'm chasing a more old-fashioned experience of story. Love reading other people doing cool things with them, though.

Because there are no real rules, and I love having my expectations delightfully overturned.
All righty, then. Two questions.

1: Do you have a guilty pleasure fic that you go back and read periodically (ie: something that isn't really good characterization, or isn't really good writing, but it's somehow comfortable and you keep going back to it)?

2: If one Buffy actor was going to read one of your stories, who would you want it to be, which one would you want him/her to read, and would you want to know what (s)he thought of it?
1. Every so often I rec one of these in giles_fic_recs, and what I want to say is, "I'd like to rewrite every single sentence in this story, but it doesn't matter. Read it anyway. Because inside this poorly-edited husk beats the heart of a real story. And it's harder to bring a story to life than it is to fix the sentences."

Manic, "Poof". I have an edition in a file on my Macbook where I've fixed the punctuation problems. Please don't kill me anybody, because really, I love it so.

And I re-read A Manley Haight's Autumnal Equinox" as scorching comfort fic even though (winces in anticipation of reactions again) I think her Giles voice is not Giles-y at all, and I often want to shake out her sentences and dust the purple off them. But everything else I love deeply.

2. OH GOD. Break the sacred wall, eh? But we know they do read it, every now and then. I'd like Tony Head to read "A Soft Place to Land (Free Fallin' Mix)", and tell me if I understood Giles's state of mind post-Chosen. It's safely gen, and puts Giles in a parental role, and can't offend. I hope.

(Edited to fix my own punctuation. Ha.)

Edited at 2008-04-04 08:49 pm (UTC)
Other than Buffy, do you have a favorite female character you like to write or would like to write?
Oh, Buffy, how I love you, even though I see your flaws. Though I understand them as well, oh Buffy. I wish I liked late-seasons Buffy better, because I saw how she got broken. Sigh.

Other female characters... man, the great thing about Buffy is that in the desert of manpain-obsessed American TV, there she is! With Willow! River Tam doesn't grab me the same way. I might be able to do something with Sarah Connor, of the eponymous Chronicles. She and Summer-Glau-as-robot also satisfy my kick-ass female character longing.

I'd like to write Hermione some day. There's a Harry/Hermione story lurking in me. Which is weird because 90% of my HP fandom reading has been Severus/Hermione.

I also admire Scully, but never got deeply enough into the X-Files (an ultimately unsatisfying show) to read fanfic for it. I have read fic for four fandoms in my life, you have to understand, and only one of them widely. And I've really only written fic for one.
a surprising distraction . . .
. . . okay, here's my distraction in the form of a question about Buffy.

Think back to the first time you watched season 6, more specifically to the first time you watched the second half of the season finale. When Giles and Buffy are in the back room talking about how everything has gone wrong, what was the first reaction you actually expected Giles to have:

Buffy: Dawn's a total klepto, Willow's gone off the magical deep end, Xander left Anya at the altar, and I've been sleeping with Spike . . .

At this point, Giles giggles, but did you expect him to? Or was there some other response you expected from the character?
Re: a surprising distraction . . .
No, I so did not expect that! Like Buffy, I stopped and cast a cautious look at Giles, who's standing there looking grim and powerful. I expected disapproval, disgust, disappointment, some kind of judgement for the terrible messes the three Scoobies have made of their lives in the time he's been gone... and he giggled. And then we see season 6 for the stupid, silly, improbable, can't-possibly-take-it-seriously melodrama it was.

Giles giggling means: wipe the slate clean, people. None of that shit that just happened matters. Though um, whoops, nope, can't, 'cause the improbable, melodramatic, Willow-off-the-deep-end shoe still hasn't finished dropping all the way to the floor.
I'm so in awe of how well you write and also how much you write.
That made me wonder, how much do you think the various wip-fics you write affect each other? Also, what do you think is your main source of inspiration when you write?

Did those questions make any sense? I'm highly caffeinated and can't seem to be able to think straight.

I often move the WIPs away from each other, if that makes sense. One story will make the opposite choices of another story, just so I can play the fanfic what-if game more intensely. "What if Giles hates this in story A, and likes it in story B?"

My main source of inspiration: I want things to read. The thrill of looking at something I've made and knowing that I made it. That keeps me going even when the work of writing seems miserably impossible.