Friday, July 19, 2002

Min commented on my thoughts re blogs/LJs, as did Lori and Sara.

So I'll respond here, as it's easier to have more space. Lori said:

Part of what you're saying is the reason I have considered giving up the blog entirely - the meta, the diary, all of this takes away from the 'creative pool' from which I draw. It must, because there's a definite slowing of production since my involvement in these things.

I agree. I don't seem to thrive on the blog world as other people do - in fact, I feel the need to run away sometimes because it *does* interfere with writing and other online activities - there's way too much to keep track of sometimes if you want to be a "good blogger."

Lori also said:
On the other hand - you cannot find beta readers without networking. I have had feedback, struck up conversations, gained a brainstorming helper, then lost them to RL several times. It's why the majority of what I've written was not beta read, why I've mostly despaired of finding any help at all -- finding the right people online is a total crapshoot. I answered a request for beta and was the only one of 15 people the person emailed to even reply to her email. Times are tough.

Indeed, but I'm not sure that we're exactly networking in our blogs, are we? I mean, in other fandoms, yes, it's obvious - the cross-pollination of ideas, the collaborative efforts between authors. Being in Trek, I'm not sure that blogging is the way to go for beta readers or FB or anything else that is network-related. I think it has to do with the idea that Trek is so established - a lot of what is going to be discussed has been discussed and there are cliques that have been around for years. Writers find each other and hang out - they're not necessarily looking to find other people by reading our blogs. That, I think is setting our expections too high because Trek just isn't like that. But when my life calms down, I'll beta for you - promise, but when things calm down (I'm already in hot water with Liz).

Sara says:
Who says you cant write a story about a pairing you dont like? I think it could be written from a different angle than someone who is writing it as their One True Pairing. Which is a Good Thing.

I agree, but I was reacting more to what I had read in jenn's blog about what she had written about a character in her blog and then writing a fic that apparently contradicted what she had written in the first place (which is what I understood the post to be about). It just got me thinking about the things I've said privately in email to people about how I feel about certain pairings or about characters - if I said that here, how would that affect your perception of a fic that I wrote that was completely contradictory to what I wrote here in the blog?

For instance, I'm eyeing a fic on my hard drive that features a pairing that I've gone on record more than once saying that I'm not fond of. Now, the vast majority of people out there don't know - but it makes me feel strange to look at that fic and know that I'm not a big fan, but I still wrote it. And of course, now I've got to think what my motivations for writing it in the first place were, but I'd prefer that people don't know publicly how I feel about a character or a pairing etc. (Though I'm quite open about J/J - nope, sorry, not at all). I didn't mean to say that you can't write a pairing you don't like - I think anyone should write anything that the angst bunny tells them to write (or whatever bunny so moves you), but at the same time, I think there's an additional note of self-hypocrisy that comes into play if you do contradict something you've said publicly.
And it really could be my overriding sense of guilt - and maybe no one pays attention to anything I say in the first place, in which case the whole excercise is moot. Does that make any sense?

Min wrote:
I do not post publicly anything unfinished. Maybe that's a holdover from professional work, but it's both an odd paranoia and also a strong resistance to anyone seeing a piece beyond a handful of readers and my editor until it's ready to be "published." That, too, is a function of my previous experience, I'm sure.

I feel this way too. I think I did the snippet thing a couple times and then quit. Part of it was the 'unfinished' nature of the snippets, not sure that I want anyone but my beta to see what I'm working on - I'm really proprietary that way as well. The snippets don't always say what I want them to say either and I don't want anyone to witness my incoherence. At the same time, snippets don't always get finished and I don't necessarily want to post something here that will never see the light of day. Yes, I'll post brief "writing reports", as you put it, but most of my discussion/brainstorming happens privately with no more than one or two people - any more than that and my head spins.

Min says:
I've felt no particular draw to write "Smallville" (for a variety of reasons) even though I know several of the authors, but if I did, I'm not sure I'd be put off by the fact I'm coming in "late." I suppose it's because if I did decide to write in it, I'd be doing so because I had a story to tell, and that would be independent of other opinion. Again, that may have something to do with my own peculiarities as a writer.

That makes sense - if you have a story to tell and you had to write it. But you sound like an established, confident writer who could switch over and do it beautifully. Me, I don't necessarily have that confidence and what I read in blogs overwhelms me - and part of it is probably because I don't know the people. I found most of the "Smallville" blogs through jenn, whom I knew through Voyager, and the intensity of the fandom would be daunting to a newcomer like me who doesn't know anyone over there.

But then I really didn't know anyone when I started in Trek - but the niche pairing I wrote was very small anyway, so it wasn't hard to meet people then. But I think the culture between the two fandoms is so very different - it's hard to explain well, but I really do feel that there is a cultural divide between fandoms - that there are certain personalities that form the overall 'feel' of a fandom.

In Trek, it is possible to feel like you're writing in a vaccuum, that you're in complete isolation (as Lori's above comment demonstrates) and that maybe you'll find a few people you can hang out with and discuss fic and the show with - but for the most part, you know you're in this fandom mostly on your own. IME, my perceptions and feelings for the characters and the stories I wanted to write were completely unaffected by interactions with others. I developed my own feelings, my own ideas, and then came into fandom since it was ::gulp:: long enough ago that mailing lists didn't exists and newsgroups were the place to get your fanfic fix.

I think the blog/LJ culture - which is more predominant in other fandoms ("Smallville" being the first to come to mind) - has taken down some of those barriers. You can find an author you like, read her blog, find out what she thinks, and either agree or disagree with her statements. It might put pressure on new writers to fall into line behind certain writers in order to get the praise and recs, or it might make a fandom more attractive, etc. At any rate, the blog/LJ culture has allowed readers and writers to communicate more instaneously and more honestly, more directly with each other - which depending on POV, could be a really good thing or a really bad thing.

To me, that's scary - really, truly scary - to see so many people responding, commenting and writing. But again, that's the culture that Trek fostered - there is no one here to welcome you into the writing fold and you've basically have to be strong enough to make your own way. I'm not sure that's the case in "blog/LJ strong" fandoms where there's a constant line of communication open between writers and readers. It could very well be what scares me away is attractive to someone else.

Min said:
Anyway, what I've found the blog/LJ phenomenon doing is no so much prejudicing my ideas of a story, but my ideas of the writer . As is always the case, I may enjoy the stories of a particular person without actually LIKING the person in question much. And I've found through blogs that people I like are not always people who write stories I want to read. I may, BECAUSE I like them, try their stories after all. But the reverse is unfortunately true as well. There are some folks who I've discovered, after reading their blogs, I don't really think much of, and it does somewhat sour my inclination to read their stories, even if I had read them previously.

I completely agree with this statement. Some people, I feel more drawn to and I want to read their fics, but other times, I read their blogs/LJs and I think, "I don't want to read anything this person has written," even if I've been told X is an excellent, talented writer. There is something about the instant commenting culture that makes it possible to say too much - I think we do on occasion reveal a little too much and lately, I've been seeing that phenomena everywhere. Not to mention, it's so easy to respond to things or to carry them over into other blogs - it's hard to see where the original meaning began and where it ends.

I don't think it's any different than having an experience in "meeting" someone over email. One of the first people I "met" in email flamed me years ago when I was a newbie - that experience tinges every interaction I have with this person now, but unless someone else has had a similar experience with this person, this particular character trait is something that exists just between the two of us. I just think blogging/LJ might exacerbate a personality - bring things more into focus and more publicly. So what might have been contained in a private email or two is now out there for other people to see and comment on. And I wonder if that makes a difference.

For instance, there are certain authors in Trek that everyone adores because they are so wonderful and sweet - generally, they've never said anything in public that remotely resembles a negative opinion of any kind at any time. They're also not bloggers so if they have said anything snarky, they've said it privately to people they trust.

I think the diaries etc give people a freedom to say anything, not to mention, allows people to talk back as freely as they care to - and that's fine - but I do think there's a perception that's formed about a person and her writing based on those comments, either positive or negative.

I'm still torn on whether blogging is a good thing for fandom or not - because I do see the positives and the negatives. I like the interaction with other people, I like hearing what other people are working on, I love it when ::dancing:: erupts in my blog - just to name a few. It's just hard to put my finger on exactly what concerns me.

Late now. I'm going to have to think about this again.

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