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30 March 2003 @ 01:48 am
because I am awake...  
"Five by Five"--my *god*, that was a kick-ass episode. I am not watching S1 in order, but I feel now that I should, because I imagine this to pinpoint the moment when Wesley's darkening arc begins in earnest. I look at him in this ep, compared against, say, his utter dorkiness in "She," and am befuddled.

5x5 is a thing of beauty. Not a wasted moment, every single bit of it--especially the treats of Faith, Wes, Lilah, and Lindsey--perfect to a tee. And Angel. I'd forgotten that they interwove historical backstory in this particular ep. Wowza. That was so cool, especially how they didn't need to draw explicit parallels or drop anvils headward. They just put it out there, and let the viewer do the work. And the last few minutes of the ep killed me, put me in traction and tears.

And I say--not a wasted moment, okay, and yet in this ep, we have a gratuitous scene of about a minute or so where Angel breaks into W&H and is buttonholed by a lawyer who thinks he works there and gabs him to death in a beautifully comic pas de deux. Would you get a priceless little gift like that in S4? I honestly don't think so. Those are the things that have fallen by the wayside, and they're among the things I miss most.

More recs, anyone...please? I beg. I do.

I went back to, like, skip=330 on my friends list to collect posts on LMPTM, and pasted all the links into a file, trying to divide them into positive and negative reviews, but I wasn't sure about all of them. I read a few and all was well and then I read one thread and got stomach cramps of anger. It's not healthy to inflict that kind of thing on oneself--reading rants that trigger the desire to chuck shoes at people one usually loves, I mean. Now I'm not sure what to do with my list. Save it for a year from now, perhaps.

So now I wonder things like: does my critical Angel commentary engender the same degree of rage in devoted Angel fans as Spike-slapping does in me? It'd just be the big old karma wheel turning, I guess, if so.

Am rather pleased, I admit, that I got at least one story done this week.

It was totally off the cuff and unexpected, and I don't have a lot of deep investment in it, but I could still nearly cry with relief. I keep rereading "Closure" and feel critical about it in a way having purely to do with craftmanship--it's the best evidence I've had in a while for the difficulty of writing pronouns in slash. It was giving me more trouble than usual for some reason, and even after many revisions, there are strings of sentences where the sequential name-to-pronoun logic feels very arbitrary and ambiguous. If you're in one guy's POV, what's more normal--to call him Spike, say, and have the other guy be "he" or to let your POV character carry the pronouns and mark the other guy by name? Trouble is, really you can't do one or the other; the story often demands that you refer to each character by name, and when you're blending references to both, you've got trouble. Things that still bug me:
A smile curled the corner of Spike's mouth as Xander took a healthy sip, and when the human choked a bit before swallowing, he wordlessly pushed the sugar jar across the counter...

With abrupt movement, Xander lifted the drink off his chest and pushed himself up. He didn't even pause before taking the shot, didn't shudder after knocking it back. Spike admired a man who took his drinking serious. And in fact, the shared act of drinking made him far more affable...

"TV," Spike replied shortly, sliding his hand down and up again, a generous squeeze that left Xander red and swollen. As he began to pump forward erratically, a thundering wave of lust hit Spike and dashed him under...

It's funny, but nitty-gritty frustrations of craft like this are often more common to stories of mine where I am, on another level of writing, feeling shaky about bigger, more amorphous issues like characterization and plausibility.

This is a lazy story, I should note. It doesn't necessarily make it bad, but I have to own up to its being lazy. Lazy because I simply rambled it out, then stopped when I got tired. The clues are there: it's classic couch porn, it's two guys sitting around the house in front of the TV, it meanders randomly from story prop to prop--oh hey, drinking--oh hey, let's call Angel--wait, no, let's get to the sex--no, changed my mind again, ha ha, let's call Angel. And so on until all of a sudden, hey, they're having sex, and look, now Anna is skipping along, summarizing large chunks of action, and now, hey, she's abruptly ending the story!

This kind of thing can be cool as a writing style if it successfully mimics the randomness of real life, but not so hot if the writer's own zig-zagging incoherency and inability to handle plot shows through. It's a familiar characteristic of novice writing--unstructured narrative, no real action except for a couple of guys sitting around and talking themselves into unpremeditated and highly unlikely sex, based on nothing more than proximity and convenience. It's porn writing, really: guy invites the pizza delivery man in, they sit and watch TV, the host leans back, says, man, it's hot, takes off his shirt, puts his hand on his guest's knee, says you look hot too...you should take off your clothes, get comfortable and then it's wham, bam, let's rim each other on the coffee table.

Mmm. I'm not dissing what I've done--sometimes it's good to be lazy, to jazz around, to play and doodle and work the knots from one's mental fingers. I had fun and I amused others (or, er, made them cry), which is all that I wanted to achieve. Nothing wrong with a good PWP, by any means. In fact, I'd like to read some right now.

As another side note, this is a great example of how my inclinations as a writer differ from my preferences as a reader. I'm not sure there's anything in this story that really hits a kink of mine, which would mark it as special if someone else had written it and I were reading it. And honestly--I like happy stuff. I'm a happy-stuff girl. And when I'm writing I feel as if I'm *making* happy stuff; then I finish and people read it and say: angst! darkness! ouch! sniffle! And I go...ohhhh. Huh. Okay. ::grin:: I don't think of myself as dark. But I try for realism a lot of the time, and plausibility, and somehow this pings people's sensibilities as edgy. I guess. I mean, I'm just interpreting what I can from people's responses--not just to this story, but to many others I've written over the years.

It's funny.

I should be in bed. It's 2:30 in the morning. I definitely shouldn't drink any more, so I'm going to ignore my empty glass. I want to fantasize but I've tapped out my current fantasy and need a fresh vein, and one hasn't presented itself yet. I hate that. Actually, the vein analogy isn't too good--it's more like, I play one song over and over until I wear out the recording, give it ruts.

Maybe back to Spike/Riley. Hmmm.
Jimmy Petstore: peace rockssnoopypez on March 30th, 2003 03:19 am (UTC)
I hate doing the pronoun game. I feel like I should just be completely safe and use the character's name every time, but that's just.. well, tacky. It would be even more annoying. :P Dunno if it helps, but I never got confused with who you meant with your pronouns. :)

As for the lazy and other things, I'm afraid I have nothing of importance to say except usual fangirling and disbelieving 'Gah! It's GREAT and wonderful! Don't say things like that!' Which is nice to hear, but doesn't really help anything, does it? ;) I'm not the most credible of sources either. But.. yeah. For what it's worth, I enjoy every single sentence you write.

Lastly, you make me want to watch Angel. Damn. Didn't want to have to buy the DVDs. ;P
WesleysGirlwesleysgirl on March 30th, 2003 07:12 am (UTC)
So now I wonder things like: does my critical Angel commentary engender the same degree of rage in devoted Angel fans as Spike-slapping does in me?

My guess would be yes, sometimes. I'm pretty mellow about the character-love in general -- I like or love most of the characters, but don't get upset when people say bad things about them. I love Angel (the character) but it doesn't get my panties in a twist if someone says he's stupid (because admittedly, he can be, sometimes) or selfish (ditto) or whatever.

On the other hand -- *looks sideways at username and icon* -- I can't read the episode summaries at TWOP anymore because of the Wes-hatred. Guess everyone's got a button or two, hm?
Danielle Leigh: wesleydanielleleigh on March 30th, 2003 07:43 am (UTC)
:::gasp::: There are people out there who don't like Wes???

:::sniff, sniff::: I don't believe it! (crawls back into cave before she meets any of these folks!)

And, on a more serious note, I do occasionally get defensive but mostly it is from reactions by people I know *well*. If Fan A doesn't like "fill-in-the-blank" I'm usually okay with it, so long as they aren't rabid about hating them. If my friend snarks on...okay, what the hell, I'll use a real example, Chloe, I feel nervous and tense and very very protective. But last week's Buffy episode produced some very...ur. Divergent reactions to Spike, and honestly, if he was my favorite character I don't think I could have read all the nastiness towards his character that ensued.

I have a tougher time with people who write off an entire show of mine, because you know. I have many fannish loves, and I'll try not to stomp on yours if you don't stomp on mine.
still lavender from the block: Livingthedreamwickedprincess3 on March 30th, 2003 08:29 am (UTC)
:::sniff, sniff::: I don't believe it!
When he first joined the Ats cast there was a "Kill Wesley and bring back Doyle" campaign.
Loreleiloreleif on March 30th, 2003 07:47 am (UTC)
FWIW, I had no problems with those pronouns. -shrug- Reading them now, I can tell exactly who they are; IIRC, while reading the story, that first one was a very slight bump and the other two didn't even register.
she praised god for the creation of the heightsnaomichana on March 30th, 2003 07:59 am (UTC)
So now I wonder things like: does my critical Angel commentary engender the same degree of rage in devoted Angel fans as Spike-slapping does in me? It'd just be the big old karma wheel turning, I guess, if so.

I fail to experience rage at critical commentary of any stripe; character assassination is one thing (and is why I didn't like "LMPTM"), but I know too many smart people who stopped watching Angel for fundamentally good reasons around about S3, and even though I've finally come down on the side of continuing to watch, I'm not blind to the show's flaws. Perhaps there's a distinction between character love and show love? After all, you've been commenting on Angel more than Angel. (And I must not have reached the heights of character-love, since I can still read the TWOP recaps, even though I disagree with the anti-Wesleyism.)
a kate by any other namenotasalmon on March 30th, 2003 08:13 am (UTC)
Hmm, well, it's not a fanfic rec as such, but very interesting reading. It's the shooting script for the unfilmed second episode of Angel (pulled a few days before it went into production because the WB said that it was "too dark"), in which things are rather different, and rather more in the noir tradition.


*Sighs* I wish the show had gone in that direction. I do.
do you want orcs? because this is how you get orcs: Angel in suitkita0610 on March 30th, 2003 12:32 pm (UTC)
Seems to me you have issues with Angel the Series, not Angel the vampire.

So if you wanna insult this Angelwhore, you'll have to try harder. ;}

And yea, go read the transcript for the original ep posted above - I wish the show went there too.