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Talking Meme: Three in One
SSar's Beast
Featuring: Fictional Deaths I Will Not Get Over & Favourite Part of Fic Exchanges & Things I Want Written But Can't Write.

Lorata suggested that I start with fictional character deaths I will never be over. I thought about that for a while, and since I can hardly think of any, I suspect I blocked them all out.

There are several children's books whose everyone-forgets-everything endings need serious fix-its; to me, that kind of ending is a little death. It feels wrong to me that young characters - so much of whose journey often has to do with understanding and coming to grips with the world - should have that taken from them. It's their story, until it isn't. I feel that anyone reading this is likely to be able to think of an example; for the worst offender, Paul Gallico's Jennie still makes me cry even if I just flick through the last few pages. Great book. Wonderful book. Bring a box of tissues to that book.

There is one fantasy series where the death of a main character make me stop reading it. It was a multi-generational epic, and long before that character's death, there were themes of complex change and progress, events spiralling out of control, new factors calling for new moralities, etc, that made the death of the original protagonist appropriate. But - as the author partly intended me to be, I'm sure - I was on the original protagonist's side when it came to the changes sweeping his society. When he died, I put the book down. I may come back to it some day.

I tend to enjoy other fantasies in a similarly conservative way. I was all about Pern when it was just dragons; the introduction of AIVAS and the possible destruction of Thread were less interesting to me, even though those seeds were sown from the beginning. I enjoy world building - here's a factor, here's a trope, now what does it mean - but I do not find science fiction & fantasy stories in which the changes spread out into the unknowable distance to be comfort reads in the same way. Interesting; but I come out of the reading experience feeling anxious about how the world is changing around me and how I should be trying harder to work within that. I take fiction kind of personally. On the other hand, perhaps this is a useful and necessary tension that should be embraced, not avoided.


Elanya asked me about my favourite part of a fic exchange. Hands down, it is looking at someone's prompt, putting it together with what I know of the canon, revising the canon with that prompt in mind, and matching what I feel is the tone of the prompt, what that person would really enjoy, with what I can successfully write.

This is a little counter-productive: it partly ties my feeling of accomplishment to another person's reaction, but, well - nice gold star if I can get it. And it's also about that feeling of looking at the prompt and thinking - okay, can't do that trope, doing THAT plot would take too much time, ahah, I can work in the right level of angst by concentrating on THIS aspect, that'll work...

I could probably work harder (or more intensely/creepily) towards this if it were my only goal. If my recipient has a journal, I may go and see if they have fandom-related tags that give me hints about their preferences, but I'm not going to settle down and back-read their posts. I'm too lazy to read many bookmarked or recommended fics. I will probably read the recipient's own writing. But mostly, I just revise the canon with the prompt in mind.

I obviously can work without a prompt, but I'd prefer not to. In one exchange I took part in, the person gave prompts for several of their requests but not my one. That put me off. I still wrote a story I liked, but I had less motivation for it.

One piece of exchange advice is that you should go in with an existing idea for your canon in case you get no prompt. It's good advice, but I tend to ignore it. If the person doesn't give me any, I will just revise canon until I get an idea that way.


Lorata also asked if I had any fic I would love to see written, but really didn't want to write. I feel that goes with the above topic rather well. Answer: Sure! There are a lot of things I don't feel confident handling that it would be nice to get someone else to write for me.

Especially: unpleasant people. Most of my characters are nice. They don't behave badly or do interesting, weird, bad, human things. If I want to see characters having real arguments, with huge things at stake, arguments that end jaggedly and with people in pain - which I do, sometimes, because that's real - then I have to ask someone else to write that. Or people being unbearably awkward. Or giant failures. All useful and realistic in its place, but very hard for me to write.

Also porn. Every now and then I try and write porn, but it's not very good.

Similarly, I have not yet had the patience or dedication for a story that required real research.

As an example of a combination of these, there is a story I prompted on f_fa and youwantwhat for the 1997 Disney/ Rodgers and Hammerstein Cinderella. My prompt is:

I want the version of the movie story where Cinderella is a lifestyle sub and it's actually a happy poly BSDM family, and the "step-mother" and "step-sisters" ordering Cinderella around is all part of a role. And she does do most of the household tasks for them, but at the end of the evening when they go upstairs for bed, it's them pampering her.

(I don't really care if there is or isn't incest between the stepmother & stepsisters. Or if they're even related.)

And so the story is actually about it not working for Cinderella any more, in a it's-not-you-it's-me kind of way, and a messy poly breakup, and Cinderella falling in love with someone else (who may or may not be kinky, I again don't really care [anons on ffa pointed out that there's definitely a place for a shoe fetish here]) and the "stepmother" and "stepsisters" feeling hurt and jealous about how it didn't work out.

I just want the loving kinky stuff, plus a realistic messy breakup, and then people sorting themselves out. [And being adults. And maybe being friends later.]

Similar to the above, if anyone has recommendations for fic about poly negotiations, especially when the happy-ever-after is complex, or not the kind of happy-ever-after the characters expected - please send them over here!

This entry is also posted at http://morbane.dreamwidth.org/20055.html. There are comment count unavailable comments. Please comment either here or there.

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There are several children's books whose everyone-forgets-everything endings need serious fix-its; to me, that kind of ending is a little death. It feels wrong to me that young characters - so much of whose journey often has to do with understanding and coming to grips with the world - should have that taken from them. It's their story, until it isn't.

oooooooooomg yes, I hate it whenever I see it. It's so weird, I feel like adult portal fantasies don't do this? The grownup never comes back with no memory (at least not the ones I've read), so why do we take away these fundamental experiences from children? It's such a bizarre thing.

Funnily enough, another one of my friends has the same problem with not being good at characters being mean to each other. She now will message me saying "I need them to fight, how/why should they do it?" and I'll read the context and then tell her. XD

... okay that Cinderella thing is kind of fantastic. o_O

I'm glad you like my Cinderella thing! See, even THERE, I take an unhappy family with one viciously bullied younger member, and I apparently want it to be a veneer over actual happiness. You have issues with handling conflict, self. (I really want this story. But I do not want to request it anywhere formal at the moment, because that looks like a several-tens-of-thousands-of-words story in addition to its specificity.)

That is a useful service you provide! :D

I actually really want to read that fic now but no way do I have the relevant chops to write it!

A nice coalie and a couple of gentlefailers said much the same thing. :) Oh well, I guess that means that if someone ever does come along and write it for me - or if I screw up my nerve to write it myself - it will have an audience.

I understand holly_poly will be going live very soon. I didn't sign up for that, because I'm not a confident ship writer, but I'll check out the resulting stories.

:perks up at new words:

coalie? gentlefailer? what meaneth these lovely new words I've yet to meet?

:runs off to check out holly_poly after reminding self that no sign-ups due before the end of February:

Edited at 2015-01-07 08:08 pm (UTC)

Heh, sorry. I have a bad habit of assuming people are very familiar with two particular anon meme forums.

Coalie refers to someone on yuletide-coal.dreamwidth.org (it used to be on livejournal). Coal is a mainly a place where people say negative things about Yuletide they can't say with their names attached. It can be very nasty with trollish comments, spiteful gossip, etc; conversely, it can be friendly and helpful because of everyone's level of savvy and investment. It's pretty much dead for this season.

Gentlefailer: someone who goes to fail-fandomanon.dreamwidth.org, another anon meme which is about general fannish discussion all year round. I really like it there.

You're safe for holly-poly! Unless there are last minute pinch hits, I suppose. Fics will be revealed soon.

Ah! Thank you for the explanations.

There are pinch hits, but I refrained like a good girl. It's just a little easier for me to refrain on dreamwidth. Nevertheless, I too shall peek through the resulting fic.

I hear you on the Pern thing - the whole appeal of those books for me was the menace of the threads and the magnificence of the dragons. To this day, I refuse to read anything beyond the first couple of trilogies. I shall live in denial forever!

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