Reading a story where the characters give each other cutesy nicknames to show affection for each other when they don't do it in canon is like being dragged by the author into her own private drippy little peepshow. It's almost more porny than actual porn, you know? Suddenly you see the dark underbelly of what people really come to fandom for, this sad schmoopy need to have characters making love with candles and easy listening and calling each other soulmates as they bring each other to mutual fulfillment.I giggle. Only on the inside, I admit, but that's because I'm sitting in my cubicle surrounded by a vast silence broken only by finger clicks.
I was thinking the other day about how idiosyncratic it is, what things make us flinch and what don't. I feel the same way about non-canonical nicknames. I have a problem with "Xan" and "Wills" especially when peppered liberally throughout a story. Too much pepper! I sneeze. I have another personal flinch-trigger. I'm probably the only one in the fannish world who has it: transparent story research, which is when someone is writing a story and openly solicits help on Latin translations or British slang or whatever. It kind of freaks me out, like fingernail clipping in public, though I wouldn't mock or shun anyone for it. Unlike fingernail clipping, I know it's perfectly reasonable; a good practice. So I guess it's not like fingernail clipping. It's more like something I was talking about recently--about marketing your stories and yourself. It's cool that people can do that, feel confident enough about their stuff to put it out there, to *work* the fannish audience like you'd work a room, making sure their writing gets seen in as many places as possible, gets nominated for awards, whatever.
Whereas I want my writing process to be a black box, almost completely opaque to the audience--mysterious, oracular. I obviously have all these old-fashioned, ego-driven pieces of writer baggage stored in my head. I want to finish something and present it in a godlike way. An immaculate conception, aided by no man. So my stories suffer because I don't ask for Latin translations, but I feel like if I did, all these people would see and remember the fifty pleas for assistance I made while writing and then they'd read the completed story and all the research points would jump out at them and drag them from the story like little attack gnomes. I want my stories to be like TV episodes, where you're completely absorbed by the spectacle, forgetting--the creators hope--or never even *knowing* about actor conflicts and production limitations and how Joss really wanted a giant animatronic dragon and could only get a hand-puppet, or whatever.
Anyway. All of that stemmed from a thought I had when I read about the new LJ community for British slang, which is a really, really neat idea that I will probably never take advantage of because it would give me too much visibility into people's research--I'd see a post on the etymology of "argy-bargy" or "arse about" and the next week I'd see twelve stories that put the word in Spike's mouth and I'd cringe. I just don't want to know how people arrived there, and tend to think people feel the same way about my stuff. But I'm probably just projecting. I mean, I don't get the spoilerphilia either, or the thrill of following the lives of actors, but other people enjoy these things, so maybe some people also enjoy reading a story and having those moments of recognition: "A ha, *that's* why she was asking about the history of Mesopotamian cuneiform."
I'm of course not talking about post-story analysis. That's something else entirely. I think the DVD story commentary is a cool idea. I was pretty out of it, fannishly speaking, while the meme was going on, so I didn't read any, but maybe someday I'll stumble across a memory collection of them and dip in. I actually came up with the idea independently sometime last year and played around with it, writing comments on half a story before abandoning it, so it was freaky to see it become a meme. (I also invented the rotary phone and the Internet! No, really!)
Work crooks her finger at me like a poxy whore and I must follow.