Sunday, July 28, 2002

Lori and Liz Barr both did this - they got it from Alara. I'm *such* a follower.

1. You obviously have some desire for an audience or you wouldn't be posting your fics to the net. But if you were on a desert island with your computer and a generator to power it, and no one would ever likely read your fics again, would you still write?

Yes. Definitely. I was writing way before anyone wrote me to tell me that they were reading (hi, Liz!). Even now, without stats, I'm not always sure that people are reading on a regular basis. The FB is nice, because it tells me that people do stop by, do read it, and I love that some of the older stories on the site still generate FB.

If you would, would you write the same stuff you write now, or something different?

Good question. My guess is possibly more original stuff - it just depends where you are in canon and how into a show you are. For instance, I'm not going to start writing X-Files on a deserted island, even though I really enjoy reading it now - I just don't have the canon to back up what I'm doing or the necessary resources. It really depends how I'm hearing the "voices."
The minute the voices go strange, then it's time to stop writing that character, pairing, show, etc.

2. Have you ever written a fic featuring characters, a pairing, a fandom, or a genre that you don't usually write, just to get more feedback?

No, not really. I did anticipate more FB when I wrote my first VOY fic, but that was mostly because of the nature of the beast, in the sense that DS9 fic
rarely gets much FB compared to VOY. But did I go after it actively? No. Fic is only good to the extent that you can hear those "voices" in your head and if you're going after a pairing or a 'ship just because sometimes it backfires on you. The best fics are the ones that seem to come naturally to the writer, the ones without ulterior motives other than having a story to
tell. And if you write quality fic, the FB does come. It just takes time and a whole lot of effort. Too often, I get the feeling that some things
are written with the expectation of FB, but the effort you'd expect an author to put into a fic simply isn't there.

Ever done the above with characters, pairing, fandom or genre that you actively dislike?

Not for FB purposes, no. I have written pairings on challenges just because I can never resist a good challenge (nor can I resist giving them either ::waves
to Sara::). There's some pairings I'm not especially fond of but I have written them anyway. The only pairing I actively dislike is J/J, but that's more out of the ugliness and politics surrounding that pairing in the first place and
at this point, both W/D and J/J seem to be mostly dead anyway, so it's a moot point. Other than the fact that W/D is canon ::grin::

3. Same as question 2, but: have you ever done it to impress one person or one small group of people in particular?

Only if it was a challenge and in that case, quot;impress" wouldn't be the right word. It's more of a stepping up to the challenge and seeing if I
can meet expectations.

4. Have you ever written a fic just to flirt with someone?


5. Has someone ever flirted with you via fic?

No. Gee. I think I'm missing out.

6. Have you ever participated in a shared world or RR?

Yes. Round Robins in the W/D world - the mailing list came up with this very convulated, crazy story that's something like 2000K in size and still going - no one even remembers what the original plot is anymore, but it's pretty fun
to see what's coming around the corner.

7. Have you ever written a story in some other ficcer's universe or based on events in their story, when it was not intended to be a shared world or an RR?

Yes. I wrote "Red", which belongs to jenn's "Points of View" universe (a very strange, dark take on the aftermath of "Drive"),
but only after jenn challenged me to do so. It was an interesting write, because it was soo different from what I usually write and just out there, in terms of what I typically go after in terms of characterization. But it was fun to see if I could match style and tone to another writer who was so different from me.

There are also the stories in the "Glory Days" universe - which are based off the original "Glory Days" by Rocky. And when I got the draft in my inbox, the characterization and tone of the piece got me thinking and so then I asked Rocky if she minded if I took a shot at writing a follow-up. One thing led to another and now there are four stories there, two by Rocky, two by me, with more scheduled to come. This was interesting to write simply because we're extrapolating on what life for VOY looks like five years after their return - it's not the happy wine and roses endings that some readers were expecting, but more bittersweet. It's been fun to just think on what could be.

If so, did you do it because you liked the person, liked the story, hated the person, or hated the story? Or was there another reason?

In both cases, I liked both the person and the initial story that I wrote the follow-ups to. I don't think I could have written in either universe if that wasn't the case. There's a criteria of mutual respect necessary to work in someone else's universe, plus the ability to compromise on plot and characterization. When that's not there, I think it's next to impossible to put out a quality product. Of course, I would question then why someone would write in another universe if they didn't like the author or the story.

8. Have you ever written a story as a deliberate response to someone else's story? Not another story set in their universe or based on events in their fic, but something they had to say in their fic provoked a response in you that you wrote a story to express, rather than explaining your point of view in a review or feedback.

Only if you count the Poolboy fics and the blog wars, which are thinly disguised soapbox stances. But I don't think I've come out directly against a story publicly. Or maybe it could be my Julian Bashir characterizations - I did not care for early Bashir characterizations by other W/D writers, so I made a deliberate attempt to make my Bashir somewhat more three-dimensional, a real human being
with feelings and intelligence.

9. Have you written autobiographical fic?

Not in fanfic, no. At least not deliberately. I'm so scared of Mary Sue-ism that I try to stay far, far away from anything that might be remotely autobiographical.
But that's not to say I haven't used elements of my life as dressing on a fic, such as taking the name of a nearby town for "Southern Fried Paris" or adapting the French Riviera for Kira's vacation.

10. Have you written biographical fic (used other people's real lives in your fic?)

No, not really. Their names, maybe, but not their lives. I'm too scared of being found out. Oh, I take that back. Poolboy fic and blog wars. I did do those based on RL person.

If so, was the person a ficcer, an RL friend or family member who you met through non-ficcing avenues, or a famous person you don't really know personally?

All people involved in the Poolboy fics and the blog wars are either ficcers or famous!people. The ficcers in the Poolboy fics are Mod Squad members, so it was all done in good fun and they contributed to most of the in-jokes anyway. And no, the famous people don't know that they are poolboys ;-)

11. Have you deliberately put real people you know in fic? If so, was it to honor them, get revenge on them, or just because they seemed like a good character to use?

I haven't really done any of this other than the poolboy and blog war fics. And again, those had a lot to do with a lot of things that I wanted to say, that the others involved in the Blog Wars wanted to say - it's not deep literature, but it says a lot about what we may have been thinking or feeling about fandom or fic at any given moment in time. But really, it was just silliness.

12. Have you ever given up on a story because it was getting no feedback? What about a genre, character, pairing or fandom?

No. The story I've tried to finish (slowly) is the one I get the most FB for, for some reason. I give up on stories when I get bored, but not before that. I accept that some days there is FB, some days there isn't. When posting to ASC, it's a two-headed beast - you're adored one day, ignored the next. It's an interesting phenomena, but most of the writers there have accepted this fact and keep writing. It's really a matter of hanging in there and to me, that's what separates the good writers from the rest, simply because the good ones
understand that it's nothing personal, that they keep chugging at it and they know that if they turn out something with quality, they will get the recognition they deserve. And trust me, it doesn't come overnight (though for some rare cases, it does). At least in my experience, it took me five years of posting to ASC to get to where I am now (wherever that is) and even that
isn't a guarantee of how a story will be received. So yeah, that can be really hard and frustrating sometimes, but it's really important just to believe in the story you're writing and do the best possible job you can there. Giving up on a fic because of lack of FB demonstrates, mho, a general lack of enthusiasm in general about the story that was being written in the first place.

13. Have you ever given up on a fandom, or a subset of it (fans of a specific genre, character or pairing), because of the fan politics?

No. I'm never rabid enough about a subset of fandom to give up on it if others don't like it or whatever. But I've also found myself surrounded by people who write different pairings, have different ideas, and are generally accepting of other POVs or other 'ships. You need to have that acceptance in order to grow as a writer, I think, to venture into new territory or look at characters
from a different angle. In fandom though, too often you get the One True Pairing and the factions develop from there. One of my best online friends belonged to "The Other Side" when I first started writing fanfic, and it was an interesting relationship to develop, simply because we were polar opposites, yet somehow we managed to put that aside and become good friends. She joined the W/D list for me and I joined the J/J list. So sometimes, you've got to take the first step and accept that there isn't One True Pairing. I think
it's the blinders that start the politics more than anything else.

14. When you prioritize the fics you want to write, do you keep what will please the audience best in mind, or do you base it solely on your personal feelings about the material?

I think if you set out to please a specific audience, you're going to be disappointed. Again, what I said about feedback applies here. You've got to write what you
want to write. If you don't like what you're writing, it's almost a given that the readers won't like it. You can definitely feel the "writer bias" in a piece of work. You can tell when a writer is driven to write something and when she isn't. I don't anticipate that the "audience", whoever they are, are eagerly awaiting my next fic, so instead I go where the muse directs me. If there's a reaction, fine, terrific, thanks - I'm really appreciative and touched. If there isn't a reaction ("A Delicate Affair" got almost
no reaction at all), then there it is - there is no reaction from the "audience", but I've written something that I felt I needed to write and that's what's most important. I can't depend on the quot;audience" because the tastes change rapidly and I think I'd be doing a great disservice to my own fic if I was catering, rather than writing what I feel I should write - what I'm pushed to write.

15. Do you ever incorporate "fanon" (things many writers have said about characters, that were never established in the canon source) into
your work knowingly? (That is, you know canon doesn't back it up, but you decide to use it anyway.) If so, do you use it because you independently came to the
same conclusion, because it was such a cool idea, or because using it will make your work better liked? Or some other reason?

I don't usually write fanon. I'm like Lori in that sense, in that I try to avoid fanon, unless for some reason I really, really like it. For instance, I do not care for the fanon of Tom giving B'Elanna the nickname B'E. I abhor that nickname and refuse to use it and rarely read fics where it's used. It's fanon, not canon, and my view of the character is such that I can't see B'Elanna responding to a nickname. That's an extreme example and pretty much the only one that sticks out in my mind right now. Of course, there's the fanon of C/7 not living happily ever after either and depending on my mood, I can either accept it or not. I like canon. Really like canon, so C/7 to me is canon so I accept it as such. It doesn't mean I like it, but I figure TPTB put it there and the challenge, at least for me, is to mold this canon into something that's acceptable.

16. You get into a new fandom and you fall in love with a specific character. You go online and find out:

- there are no stories about this character. What do you do?

Depends on how motivated I am. I imagine I might write some.

- all the stories, practically speaking, are about this character. What do you do?

Analyze the stories, figure out what I like, don't like, and take it from there.

17. Do you have friends online? Do you feel you will lose them if you don't write fic? What if you write fic in a different fandom?

Yes, I have many friends online, some dating back to '97 when I first started writing actively on the web. I don't think I'll lose them if I don't write fic, at least I hope I don't lose them. Precedent says that most of my online friendships are stronger than the fic we write. Liz has long left Trek, but we're still here, goofing off on IM late at night. The Mod Squad is partially burned out, mostly out of Trek, but somehow, we've still managed to have an interesting group dynamic that doesn't necessarily confine itself to just Trek; Liz Barr has gone to HP, Christine has moved on to other things - it's all good, because I think when push comes to shove, we can depend on each other to get the job done, even if it's in another fandom completely. Other friends I talk
about things other than fanfic - we've gone past that, and a couple I've met in RL or talked to on the phone. So once you're at that point, it's really hard to walk away from someone who you've spent a good two or three years corresponding with, and in the cases of Liz and Tracy, it'll be close on five years now. And yes, it is possible to miss an epal who goes missing. There's
nothing more fun than that person resurfacing in your inbox.

No comments: