August 4th, 2003

elijah

destina is a smart cookie

Read her entry on Fanfic writes and public critique. Admire her sensible shoes brain.

I have to admit that I am actually a thin-skinned kind of writer (insert GASP from audience, and cries of Nooooooo! that can be gradually recognized as sarcasm), and am generally glad not to receive negative criticism about my stories. I have enough trouble getting up in the morning. I over-identify. And yet, I've found in the past that I can blow off criticism I consider stupid. I was going to say more here, but I think I'll keep some of my other issues to myself.

Anyway, these really are *the* definitive guidelines of etiquette for the kind of writer we should all try to be. These should be, as someone else said, required reading. They should be rendered in cross-stitch and hung on the wall.

If I ever had to watch a story of mine being dissected to death on some list, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't insert myself defensively into the discussion--I just hope I wouldn't dissolve into a pulsing, smoking mass of scorched ego in private or here in my LJ.

::drifts off::
elijah

postscript

To that last thought. I think I actually do a better job at giving myself a bad rap most days than anyone else could. I'm offhand, sketch thoughts without really filling them in. The truth is, I'm not insanely sensitive about my stories in most situations. I tend to have healthy emotional distance from older stories, I love getting corrections of things I've gotten wrong--typos, word usage, any tiny factoids of canon or non-canon I've included in a story, etc--and most valid criticism I can usually find a way to live with.

It's just that on other days, whether or not I'm able to write at all depends on how well I can keep my blinders on, and I've had a few bad experiences where I was winging along, writing writing writing, then got a piece of criticism--quite minor--and suddenly staggered, threw a shoe, and went crashing off the track, derailed, stalled, etc. So I probably err on the side of caution and cultivate this principle of avoidance.

Must go. My thought is done. So is my toast.


elijah

(no subject)

So, I tried to read this S/X rec--I'm not going to say what--and I couldn't get through more than a few parts. It was one of those fanon-heavy stories that relies on cliches without stretching or personalizing them, rests on certain assumptions without trying to actually persuade readers of them. The thing is, some of them are cliches I could really like, but they're not done well. And then again, others are just bad.

It makes me think that we need a fannish course in cliches, The Cliche 101. If I thought I could sum up and impart the qualities that distinguish good use of cliches from bad, I'd step up and do this. But I admit it's subjective--I mean, my first rule would be: don't use X, Y, and Z--or oh, say, childer, bondmates, and consorts--because they're nearly impossible to make palatable. And yet plenty of people do like these things.

So, okay, if someone wanted to use these ideas, the first thing I'd say is to come at it from an entirely different angle. Like, take Spike: he's a self-made rebel, and he'd mock that stuff as pompous ritual for sure. So if you wanted Spike and Xander, or Spike and Buffy, to infiltrate a gang of vampires and play master-and-consort, you should ramp up slowly. Giles should consult his books and ramble a bit iffishly about the impenetrable mysteries of vampire culture, this bit of apocrypha and that bit of lore, the diaries of Jonathan Dekker, who in 1883 lived for a year among the vampire families of Paris, smuggling out his first-hand accounts until one day, blah blah. And he consults Spike, who rolls his eyes and scathingly dismisses all those toffee-nosed ponces, while everyone listens, several of them obvious doubting Spike's ability to provide reliable information. And this whole vampire lifestyle is treated as ridiculous, and Spike should be snarking sotto voce all the way, but some elements should come as a surprise even to him, because vampire experience does differ, and he frowns and then, during some magical ritual, he gets all glassy-eyed and growly and feral and Xander--or Buffy--is backing away from him in dismay while trying to look nonchalant, while hissing and desperately trying to snap Spike out of it, but it fails and Spike bites his betrothed (except you don't want to use that word) and makes him/her drink his own bemagicked blood, and all of a sudden Xander/Buffy is feeling swoony and wild and enthralled, and they live happily ever after.

Hey, Nip/Tuck is on.

Edited to add: No, Nip/Tuck is *not* on, because it's Monday not Tuesday. Sigh. I think it's time for me to go to bed.