Thursday, January 31, 2002

The FB & Fanfic Survey is up. We'll post the results to zendom on March 19. If you've got a moment, please fill it out! Thanks!
You're Hoshi Sato. You're a likable person, but very skittish. High risk is not exactly good for your heart. Your best friend was a slug, but now that you left him on some planet back in the Whatsit system, you're trying to make friends with Mayweather.

Take the Enterprise Quiz!

Brought to you by redanubis.

More on FB

Jintian had some really positive comments about being a newbie in the Trek fandom and I loved seeing what she had to say - it's been so long for me, that I can barely remember what it was like being new to a fandom (I don't really count "Gladiator" as a 'new' fandom since it was such a brief and fleeting moment). My entry into the ASC-Trek world was not as smooth as it could have been, but it's definitely something I've always had at the back of my mind. Posting my first story, I got an irate note from someone about mislabeling my subject line (forgot the series code). Ah well, live and learn, right? The good thing about this experience is, to quote a friend, I got 'adopted' by a veteran writer who not only reposted my story for my correctly, but also answered the gazillion questions I had. Keep in mind that this was back in 1997 - I had no idea what was going on or what I was even doing writing fanfiction, but it helped to have a 'friendly face' guiding me through the process, teaching me the intricacies of how to post without everything running together (an unfortunate Deja trait) or how to get rid of smart quotes. Not to mention - FB. The writer is no longer active in Trek unfortunately, but I will always remember her as being someone sweet enough to come to the rescue when I was not altogether with it for a variety of reasons (and some people will argue that I'm still not 'with it', but that's another story entirely).

So yes, I am musing about my obligation to newbie writers - do I have one? Is it my job to make sure they stay around? I don't know. Do I know what it's like to be greeted with indifference? Yes. But I'm not sure that that means showering people with praise indiscriminately just to make sure that they stay around. It's definitely one of those gray areas, not sure what to do about it. But I can say, ASC has not been very alive as of late and the influx of new writers only helps, does not hinder. It makes more sense to offer support rather than indifference to those who have talent. We'll see. I don't really have an answer to this question, except for the fact that 'adoption' was probably the main reason I'm still a Trek writer.

And here's a brief response to Victoria which I wrote quite a while ago but never got around to posting:

Victoria says:

This is definitely true. As in the discussion about feedback, I've found that stories I thought were amazing [both my own and by others] don't always get the same amount of feedback as stories I thought were of lesser quality.

I agree whole-heartedly here. I've seen wonderful stories just fall by the wayside and I can't help but look at other stories and the amount of FB they get and wonder at it. But again, it's a matter of taste for the reader. What appeals to me (usually something soft, fluffy and angsty ;-)) doesn't necessarily appeal to someone else. Quality slash may not get much of a reaction from me compared to quality het. At any rate, it's a matter of taste and that's one of the reasons why I think it's so important to write what you want to write. What is popular in Trek, for example, may not appeal to me as a writer and I'm not even referring to quality in this particular case. I'm not an animal person so even though stories about animals are wildly popular, it would feel unnatural to me as a writer to put forth a story that has a dog as its main protogonist. And frankly, my attempt at it would probably be horrible, compared to someone who does indeed like dogs and wants to write about that. But is it obvious to me that stories with animals in it are the way to go in order to get that kind of FB? Maybe, but it wouldn't feel right to me. I'd rather leave that job to someone who knows what she is doing.

Victoria says:
I have to say, I do have a higher satisfaction rate with my work than some writers I've spoken with. Yes, there are some stories I'd like to disown

I can't think of a single story I regret writing. Yes, there are some I really think could use rewriting and that are obviously naiive in certain ways because I didn't know what the heck I was doing getting into this fanfic business, but in general, I'm satisfied. And unlike Victoria, I do have one or two that make me cringe ;-) but I leave them up only because it's a reminder of where I've been, where I've come, and still how far I have to go. And where I go, incidentally, is my own determination. As we've said on zendom before, "If a story is posted and no one FBs, does the story exist?" For the author, yes, for the audience perhaps not. Does it matter? I go back to author satisfaction - you write what makes you happy and that's really all that matters.

And to be honest, it's been a long time since I've gotten absolutely no FB on a story, but I do remember the days when I did post and then wondered if there were people uut there reading. Does that mean that every story I post will always be like that, that FB is guaranteed? It's not guaranteed, not at all, nor should it be a requirement to write. If that is the case, I'd think the path to BOFQ is a heck of a lot shorter and more linear.

Victoria says:
Seriously, though, if a story makes me happy, in the end, that's all I can ask for, and I have hope that eventually, other people will see what I see in my work and value it as well.

I completely agree. If you yourself can find the inherent value, then that's all that really matters. After all, we don't get paid to write fanfic (rather, we could have to pay ourselves if sued), we aren't guaranteed FB or recs or "required reading" status, so what does that really leave?

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Ficlet excerpt

A very, very rough draft - I'm still incorporating the beta comments, but everyone else is doing this... so I thought I'd give y'all a sneak peek at what I'm working on, especially since my usual timeline for getting fics out is several months after the first draft is completed. Or sometimes, never out...

Verita da Cuore

Chakotay and I talked a lot about Voyager - the conversation always seemed to drift in that direction. Poor Sweta - she couldn't join in these conversations, but she was always polite, always interested. I think she realized that Chakotay loved Voyager, more than any of us ever suspected. But I understand. Emotions aren't always easy for those of us still searching for our places. It's easier to shut down than to acknowledge feelings; it saves you from getting hurt. In the end though, Chakotay saw Voyager for what it was - a place where we belonged, a place where people cared.

The fact that people cared was no mistake, Admiral. You had a lot to do with that. You managed to come across as a confidant, a leader, a friend, a scientist, and a diplomat. I always admired the ease in which you juggled your various roles. And yes, I did see the way you clenched your jaw sometime, the way you'd sometimes stare at someone beneath half-hooded eyes when you were doing your best to restrain your anger. You managed to maintain that ironic sense of humor, that edge of steel in your voice, not to mention a certain amount of emotional restraint.

I'm not sure that you ever realized the effect you had on the crew - that one word from you could inspire us all. Or if you ever knew that your retreat into darkness, into a place where we couldn't follow, set us all on a downward spiraling? I'm wondering if you ever knew just how much we revered you.

It occurs to me now that we never told you.

And now that I think about it, I realize that so many times, I took your openness as an invitation for rebellion. I was brave enough to challenge your authority on a number of other subjects, but I could never, ever ask you, to your face, why you denied yourself those things that everyone else on your ship was privileged to have. I'm not just talking about friendship - but really, Admiral, when the Doctor himself noticed the distance you put between yourself and your crew, emotionally and socially? Isn't that telling in itself?

How to get FB. Everything Paula says here is sooo incredibly true and I have to rant here, so please bear with me ::steps on soapbox::

It's not possible to just post and get FB. Yes, it would be nice if that happened and that would definitely be the perfect world scenario. Those of us who have been around fandom for a while know that fandom is anything *but* perfect world. You've got to work very, very hard for every bit of FB and trust me, even after years on ASC, it's still not easy to get FB. Momentary adulation does not necessary mean anything for the future. Not at all.

I also love Paula's point on thanking the FBer - there are an amazing number of people who do not thank their FBers. In that case, you're never quite sure if your FB has disappeared into the great black hole or if your FB simply wasn't worth responding to. If the latter, you wonder why even bothering in the future? And voila, another source of FB gone, simply because the author can't take the time to thank the FBer.

I admit to posting FB today that I normally wouldn't have - simply because I'm concerned that ASC is more dead than alive these days in terms of FB. But I was also concerned that a newbie author would be upset by the silence greeting her fics, so I read them all and commented on one. On most days, I would have probably just moved on and not said a word. But like I said, it's important to encourage the newbies and keep them around.

I admit - I'm a discerning reader - a fic snob, if you will. I simply don't have time to read and comment on every single story and yes, I'm attracted to stories that have been FB'd by authors I respect or are written by authors I respect. The days of reading just about everything on ASC have long gone. And other people are just the same - they don't have the time either. As a result, fics disappear into the big black hole.

To prevent that big black hole from happening to you the majority of the times, Paula's suggestions are a good one. But I still think *expecting* FB without giving any yourself or building relationships with other people is probably a bit high on the scale of expectations. Does it happen? Yes. Will it happen often? Probably not.

I'm probably preaching to the choir. We've all been around for a while, some longer than others. I got my start back in '97, but even having been around that long, I don't think FB rolls in. Perhaps, I get more readers because people recognize my name from over the years. Or maybe it's because I try my best to be very generous with FB when time allows. There are other people on ASC like that as well, and their actions do not go unnoticed.

I don't think there is an easy formula to get FB, but I think the first place to start is to give FB yourself. Think first of the others before yourself.

::steps off soapbox to go read "Kerzoinky Blue"::

Other People's Blogs

Who Bent the Light? a short J/C fic by Jintian. Lovely. Go read and send her email and encourage to do something with this one :-)

Also, Victoria has some great comments today about fanfic and specifically, het versus slash fic. Enjoy.

Monday, January 28, 2002

Google just cut off my posting privileges. Apparently, I'm now a 'spammer'. For those curious, it looks like 10 posts is the most you can do at a single time before Google cuts you off.

So this is what spamming feels like.

Sunday, January 27, 2002

I'm thrilled, absolutely thrilled, to report that Part I of "Fugue in Blue Minor" is completed! I've been hovering at the same point for the last few months and I finally, finally got my act together and got those last few paragraphs out. Now, to get part II - ie the conclusion - out sometime before 2003.
Things that make you go huh?

On Friday, those of us who had presented at 8:30 headed over to the cafe to imbibe lots of bad coffee and just generally kill time while waiting for results. At any rate, around 10 we saw the USA Today truck pull up. Discussion ensued on how late the USA Today was this morning - not that any of us were missing it. And then we saw that DeliveryBoy had a can of something that looked suspiciously like Lysol.

DeliveryBoy then proceeded to Lysol the entire USA Today box and then drove off without putting any papers into it. Go figure. And of course, you just know that 8 MBA students have to discuss the efficiency of said action, from whether it was the most cost-effective method of cleaning or whether it ought to be out-sourced or perhaps (the winning option) why not clean the box at the same time the papers are delivered?
Oops - I almost forgot to mention it here. New article available at zendom. Christine talks about FB - the art of giving and the art of receiving it as well. Next up: Jemima talks about 'fic taxes.'

Saturday, January 26, 2002

Because Lori did it...

What's the meanest thing anyone has ever said to you in your whole life?

Hmmm... there a couple things, one of which I no longer remember, but only remember how bad it was and how I felt afterwards, and one which I do remember and try to forget, because unfortunately, the world is full of stupid people who say stupid things.

What's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?

Ohhh, now this is hard. Lots of people are unbelievably nice to me, and say really, really sweet things to me as well. I'm not quite sure why. A few weeks ago, I found out that my boss had bragged to Executive about me, that was really nice. A RL friend told me today that she could use "a little more Seema" in her life (she's in MA) and another friend said she'd put up with my singing silly songs any day of the week (now that's really nice).

What's the meanest thing you have ever said to another person?

Oh lots of things, unfortunately. I speak first before thinking way too many times and I can be very, very sarcastic and dry, but it's funny because I never intend things to come out the way they do. Luckily, those close to me know this and now it's really a source of humor. I can't think of anything mean that I said intentionally to someone's face.

What do you love most about your job/school?

Job - the people I work with. That's the best part. School would be... well, ask me when I haven't been sleep-deprived.

What do you hate most about your job/school?

Hmm... the excessive hand-holding I do at work, that's what I do not care for. As for school, sleep-deprivation.

Do you get parking karma [a space close by when you need it most]?

No. I like to walk, so I rarely look for a space close by.

Do you get shopping karma [your item[s] on sale when you need it/the most?

No. That's what credit cards are for.

Are you patient?

I try very hard to be. I'm not always successful, but I do make an attempt.

What tries your patience most?

People who purposefully try to toe the line and then occasionally step over it, despite my admonishments to them to do otherwise. What, I tell them not to do something for my health? No, not at all - telling adults 'no' is not an easy thing to do, let me tell you.

Are you polite?

Obnoxiously so.

Are you kind?

I'd like to think I am.

What makes it hard for you to stay sweet?

Adults. Yes, I know, but I teach adults, and unfortunately, when an adult misbehaves, you can't send him/her to a corner, but rather have to deal with them on a level that is very different. It's very hard to stay sweet in these kinds of situations.

Do you have a bad temper?

No temper at all, amazingly. Just momentary irkedness and then poof, I've forgotten that I was irked at all.

Do you respect your elders?


What's your favourite way to spend an afternoon off?

Preferably with a good book. I've got one that I've been working through since October that I really want to finish so I can move on to the Harry Potter book. Going to the gym would be nice once in a while. Spending time with friends, going to the movies. Oh lots of things.

What's the thing you'd rather be stuck working than doing?

Shopping. (Yes, I stole this one from Lori, but I detest shopping).

What's your favourite food?


What's your least favourite food?

Squash and pumpkin. Bleech.

What's your favourite childhood comfort food?

Rice and yogurt together.

What's your favorite now that you're an adult and can afford it favourite comfort food?

Rice and yogurt together.

If you're over 18, have you ever have ice cream and pizza for breakfast?

Yes, actually. But then I grew up in a family where ice-cream was acceptable for dinner and birthday cake was quite okay for breakfast.

How do you sleep [on your side, on your back, all sprawled out, fetal position, etc]?

On my side, starting out, then on my back.

Are you a blanket hogger?


What's the ideal time of day to wake up?

Sometime between 8 and 8:30.

What's the ideal time to go to bed?

Around 11 is good.

What time did you go to bed last night?

11 or so

What's your guilty pleasure [or pleasures]?

Fanfic, of course .

If someone offered you $10,000 to go without your computer for 60 days, would you accept the offer?

Hmmm... tempting, but probably not. And lest you say I'm an idiot, sometimes my computer is my only connection with people who are not involved in my crazy world right now and there are times when I just want to talk fanfic/Trek and not SWOT analysis or LP type deals.

If you could go back to an earlier point in your life, knowing then what you know now, when would it be and would you really choose to go back?

I don't think I'd go back. I mean, I can't pick a single moment, because every single one of them made me the person I am now and honestly, I don't think I'd want to go back - even knowing what I do know now.

If you could have any superpowers, which would they be?

Telekinesis. Move things around and generally make life slightly confusing for those who irk me.

Something Toyota... wait...

Where would you live if money was no object?

Probably Vancouver or Boston. Somewhere with an outdoorsy type life where you can actually do something without worrying about getting bit by a scorpion or a snake.

What was the worst day of your life?

The morning my mother called and said that my cousin had passed away and could I get to NJ quickly? The drive from Boston to NJ was the longest 5 hours of my life, not to mention the most miserable.

When you think of your wedding day, do you ever picture a specific groom?

No. Impossible to predict. I did think I knew, but I was wrong, and so it's easier not to think anymore, because it's a little on the depressing side.

What would you name your children?

I did like Mira for a girl, but my cousin and his wife just named their newborn Mira, so that's out for me. I really have no idea.

What are three nice things that have never happened to you, that you wish would?

Ooh hard question. I hate to sound really cheesy, but my life has really been composed of nice moments and I choose to forget the bad mostly, so this is really hard.

I'd love to meet Tom Cruise (I bet some of you could see that coming a mile away). That would be really fun.

I'd love a guest spot on a Trek show. I could even be one of those random people walking the corridors. But that would be really neat.

Get published. On paper. Found in Barnes & Noble. That would be just wow.

What are some song lyrics that describe you, as you are right now at this point in your life?

Here is Winter in July by Sarah Brightman:

Look around wonder why
we can live a life that's never satisfied
Lonely hearts troubled minds
looking for a way that we can never find
Many roads are ahead of us
with choices to be made
But life's just one of the
games we play
There is no special way
Make the best of what's given you
everything will come in time
why deny yourself
don't just let life pass you by
like winter in July

Future dreams can never last
when you find yourself still living in the past
Keep moving on to higher ground
looking for the way you thought could not be found
We may not know the reason why
we're born into this world
where a man only lives to die
his story left untold
Make the best of what's given you
everything will come in time
why deny yourself
don't just let life pass you by
like winter in July

Friday, January 25, 2002

Wow. It's so nice to be back in the land of the living - such as it is. We finished our case presentation at 9:10 this morning and got hammered by the judges, but I felt that I answered my questions sufficiently, especially on the question why Microsoft ought not license CE for free - that was a positive note to end the presentation on. However, we did not make it past the first round. Those two hours of waiting for results was a killer - you have 60 black-suited folks just congregating the hallways, nervously laughing. After all, $4000 was up for stake.

Though, we did say that if we all dropped out and split the price money, the expected value was $58 a person - a good deal for the 8 teams which did not make it past the first round as well as the team which would come in 4th place. Not a good deal for teams 1-3. Ah well. Results will be announced in about 20 minutes as to who actually walked away with the prize, but I left Wehner at 11:35, having spent way too much time there yesterday. Apparently, two of the teams which were still there when we left at 3 am, went home around 6:30 am to change into their suits and freshen up.

At any rate, I've slept for 2 hours - not enough, but I already feel better and not so cranky and grumpy. In fact, I had gone to work right after the competition only to realize that I had left my key at home and I swear, I thought I would cry on the spot. Really, I almost did, but the lady in the building office was really nice and tried to let me in, but she doesn't know me from Adam, so in the end, I thanked her and decided that sleep was more important than checking to see if my boss had missed me over the last 2 days.

And in other news, I found the missing glove (thanks, Katie, for offering to look for a pair for me!). Yeah! And yes, I do have an extensive collection of mittens and gloves and yes, you do wear them here. Every coat I own has at least one pair of gloves that go with them - it's the one style thing I did care about in New England and it's much fun that here I have such cute and varied styles still, compared to the leather driving gloves (which are not warm) that everyone wears here. And yes, I do have a pair of those as well :-)
Lost my one-half of my favorite pair of gloves somewhere between here and there. Not quite as bad as thinking I'd lost my car keys last night - that was very much a panic attack. Luckily, had the car keys, but discovered the missing glove as I headed towards my car. I'm rather bummed -actually very bummed - and hoping that the missing glove is either in my office or somewhere in the vast recesses of my car. It could also be in my apartment somewhere, but honestly, I don't think I would see anything at this point if it wasn't right at my nose with a neon sign pointing right down at it.

If anyone knows where to find the little stretchy gloves with multi-colored fingers, please let me know! Preferably black.
I've remedied the lack of Australian Open knowledge. Hingis v. Capriati, apparently. If Hingis feels like it, it's her tournament, but she hasn't felt like it it in years. So, I'm tipping the hat to Capriati at this point. Not that I'm biased or anything.
It just occurred to me that the Australian Open is happening and well, I have no idea what is happening. That's a first. Usually I try to predict winners. I don't even know who's left. Heck, I don't even know if it's still going on.

Thursday, January 24, 2002

Quotable Us

Some wit and wisdom from sleep-deprived MBAs working frantically to get ready for the dang case competition:

  • "Great, that's all we need: American cars running on Windows" (Seema)
  • "Nothing's fair in capitalism" (Chris)
  • "You're our vowel" (Rae to Oscar)
  • "This is more fun than watching paint dry" (Toby at 2:30 am as we wait for the color printer to spit out 7 copies of our presentation)
  • "We've got to stop meeting like this. Especially at this hour" (Joel to me)

Kids, it's 2:30 and tempers are flaring. I'm pretty sure someone is going to die soon. Probably the person singing "Smooth Operator."

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Just because I should be doing something else...


Somewhere near water. If I had to be specific, I think the Northwest would be lovely.


Dresses and/or skirts - preferably without stockings though.


Sarah Brightman's "Classics." The last CD I got was a gift from my mother - Andre Bocelli's "La Ciello di Toscana."


At home snuggled up in bed reading my book or just sleeping


Where I am now - the computer lab.


Strong in mind


Between 5:30-5:45 on TuTh and between 6-6:30 on MW. I usually don't sleep past 8:30 on the weekends, even when I want to!


Star Trek, ER, X-Files, West Wing - though I don't really watch any of these that often, with the exception of ER which I manage to catch without fail every Thursday.


What's the question again?


I'm easily amused - almost anything.


Hmm... I think bad drivers. I don't ever really get angry, but I can and do get irked.


Not counting the two I can play (violin and piano), I think I'd give the flute another try.


La Madeleine. It's pretentious and expensive and well, it's got atmosphere.


No. Reincarnation is more my thing.


The Little House on the Prairie series






Mind-reading. Or maybe telekinesis. It would be cool to move things around and freak people out.


A flower of some kind, in a circular pattern - preferably on the ankle.


"China" by Tori Amos


Cats, but preferably neither and that goes for most animals. All right, I'm ready - flame retardant gear on.


Jumper cables





Anyone else?

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

This test was so adorable, I couldn't resist; and with my luck, I came up with a three-way tie! And amazingly, they are mostly true - especially the Bedtime Bear!

See what Care Bear you are./a>

See what Care Bear you are.

See what Care Bear you are.

Monday, January 21, 2002

Victoria asked a great question in her blog:

Elmore Leonard said: "My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: when you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip."
And I think it's great advice. Except, which readers?
How do you decide for whom you're writing?
I write stories *I'd* like to read. Is that what other people do?

I never really thought about it that way, but yes, I write what I want to read and the results can be strange manifestations of my twisted imagination. I also write what i wanted to see on the screen, but didn't get to. And target audience? I really, really don't know. It used to be the W/D crowd for a long time but in general, I've not felt as home with any other pairing audience as I do with the W/D folks (who, even after all this time, are an incredibly fun group of people to hang out with). And since I can't say I'm writing for this crowd or that crowd, I have to write for myself or occasionally, for the errant muse who gets motivated at the drop of a hat (the guilty party knows who she is - I can see the non-commital nod now) ;-).

I think if you write for a particular audience, you're dooming yourself to a certain level of disappointment. I know that there was a time when I used to compare my stories to other people who wrote that same pairing and then eventually realized, no matter what I did or how hard I tried, I would never, ever measure up. Of course, that could vary depending on *who* you are within fandom. If you are among the 'worshipped' authors, then you're the one who set the bar and so I don't think the same level of disappointment would occur there. And before this sounds petty or even slightly BOFQ, I'm actually not. I really think the true joy in fanfic is writing the stories you want to see and read - you can't always anticipate what will move a reader and audiences out there are pretty ambigious. It's very possible that the same people who adore P/K will also love a P/T fic or someone who likes J/C can also wrap her mind around C/T. So I don't even think you can define an audience, so in the end, it's what I want to write.

And yes, some of my odder forays into fiction have been greeted with an glass-shattering silence. Be that as it may, I don't regret writing something that did not appeal to anyone. In the end, it only has to appeal to me, right? Or is that a self-centered view? Discuss.

Sunday, January 20, 2002

Note to self

While traipsing all over this here state, don't forget to pay your bills. Paying bills are a good thing. A very good thing. The companies don't care that you've never forgotten before. They don't care that until this very moment, you had exceptional credit - which is why you keep getting solicited for gold cards with no limit (which you don't want to go anywhere near, btw).

On a positive note, I did get to talk to someone and promptly began the conversation with, "Cheesy as this sounds, the check is in the mail." To his credit, nice man on the phone did not laugh and said he made a note in my file, but since cut-off was automatic (okay, Bjorn, you were right and I'm a doofus), there wasn't much he could do for me unless someone nice and sweet decided to go and check the file and see the note about "The check is in the mail."

Actually, I had to hunt down a postman at 12:30 pm yesterday to get the check in the mail - have you ever tried to find a postman on a Saturday before 1? But I was lucky and was able to flag down a mail truck. Since tomorrow is a holiday, I don't believe my mail will get there in time.

Consider this a lesson learned. I knew I was too irresponsible to be an adult. In honor of my bill paying fiascos, I hereby direct you to Rocky's Payments series to read about someone with bigger bill problems than me.
Wanted: One Blog Beta Reader
Must be able to discern author's intent when faced with a typo
Must be available on the spur of the moment
Must have a working spell checker
Must have a sense of humor
Will be compensated profusely with copious mentions in the author's notes of every fic I write.
Apply here.

PS - Experience in accounting would be helpful as well.
Folks, I'm officially the world's worst cook. I just burned rice in the microwave. How horrible is that? In the microwave! Rice! And in case you were wondering, no, you cannot put American cheese in the broiler and expect it to melt! No, instead it crackles pops and snaps and then promptly burns.

This is what I was trying to make (and I have, btw, made this successfully many times in the past - it's a great way to get rid of leftovers). At any rate, the result is a passable omlet and it smells good, though it will take weeks to air my apartment out from the multiple burnings.

Lori, I'm coming over there for dinner.
The Truth Is What You Make of It

For previous entries:Jemima's Annotated Guide to the Blog Wars


Mulder and Scully were imbibing in the Third Floor Cantina on a planet somewhere east of the Death Star.

"Let me get this straight, Mulder," Scully said. "You believe that there are five fanfic authors out there, an assortment of boy bands, 80 million screaming fans, and poolboys all careening around in a black minivan?"

"You forgot to mention the casts of several campy television shows," Mulder said. He grinned lopsidedly at his auburn-haired partner; she sighed in frustration. Sometimes, Mulder go really go off in tangents and all Dana Scully wanted to do right now was take a bubble bath - preferably with Mulder - but rather, they were out here in the middle of...

"Where are we, Mulder?" Scully asked. She glanced around. There were a curious assortment of folks - if you could call them 'folks' hanging out - including a particularly hairy individual who seemed to have a fond predilection for grunting.

"According to our map -" Mulder pointed - "That is Tatooine and that is Corsucant-"

"Which doesn't answer my question," Scully said. She sighed again. What in the world had she been thinking when she had agreed to give up a promising career in forensic pathology to go traisping after boogey men with Mulder? How many nights exactly had they spent in hotel rooms populated with cockroaches and decorated in varying shades of brown? And not to mention, some of the horrible food they had consumed - including that strange green goop up in Oregon. Scully's stomach lurched at the thought of eating whatever it was that the other folks in this place were eating. "I don't eat things that move, Mulder."

"I know. Dannon yogurt, fruit on the bottom," Mulder said. His eyes twinkled. "Here you go." He passed a brown paper bag over to Scully.

"So are you going to tell me what we're doing out here?" Scully queried. "Please don't tell me that this is the hot spot of the universe because if so, you owe me another vacation. Especially if this is the best you can do after we've been separated for a year."

"Even better." Mulder leaned forward. "We're going to get to the bottom of this fanfic stuff. The truth about it is out there, we just have to find it. I think that these authors know what they're up to, they just don't want to admit in public."

The waiter - an alien of indeterminate sex with blue skin and bulging eyes - placed a plate of squirming white stuff in front of Mulder and another in front of Scully. Scully winced.

"Eat it with yogurt," Mulder suggested.

"So you're saying -" Scully consulted her notepad - "That Lori, Seema, Jemima, Liz and Christine know the truth about 'fanfic'?"

"Yup." Mulder smacked his lips in relish. "Bite?"

Scully scowled. "No, but thanks for asking. You didn't explain why it was so important to explain this 'fanfic phenomena' in the first place."

"Scully, fanfic is an important trend in self-expression. It allows the author to surpass the boundaries set by the powers that be and fulfill not only their own desires, but that of others as well," Mulder said.

"Are you saying that fanfic is part of the conspiracy?"

Mulder leaned forward, a little white worm hanging slightly over his lower lip. "Scully, fanfic is the antidote to conspiracy. It takes the twists and turns in our lives and provides a rational framework which sums up our experiences in a logical manner. Plus -" Mulder's eyes twinkled devilishly at Scully - "those fanfic authors found out about us years ago."

Scully did not look convinced. "I do not like the idea. The examples I found on the Internet..."

"Trust me," Mulder said. His hand covered Scully's lightly. "It matters where you look and I think you'll be very surprised by the quality and care taken by these fanfic authors, not to mention the strength of their imaginations."

Scully shook her head. She would have to give in, she knew it. She always did. Damn Mulder and his irrationality; why couldn't he leave her alone with her corpses?

"So where do we find this black minivan?" Scully said finally. "And do they have a license to operate it in space?"

Mulder shrugged his shoulders elegantly. "In fanfic, anything is possible." He pushed his chair back. "Come on, Scully. Their last known location was somewhere near the Death Star."

Scully paused. "The Death Star?"

Mulder grinned. "It'll be fun."



"I've already been shot countless times, survived cancer, and been rendered barren because of this crazy quest of yours. Unless you tell me your sister is in that minivan-"

"I think she might be. Or, I think these authors might have a good idea of where she is if not in the minivan," Mulder said. "Scully, this could be it, this could be the clue we've been searching for all this time."

"Okay," she said finally. "But you better make it up to me later."

Mulder's lips turned up into a broad smile. "Don't worry. Thanks to fanfic, I have plenty of ideas of how to 'make it up to you.'"

Saturday, January 19, 2002

Opt-Out: I found this link to a variety of sites that will let you opt out of seeing their annoying ads. You can also try to filter pop-ups - I can tell you for sure that webwasher works, as I've been using it for about a year now and boy, it makes life beautiful.
Marketing yourself and your fanfic. Interesting topic. Interesting questions. How conscious are we when we do this? Is it a deliberate attempt to go attract readership or is it just a "if I write it they will come"? These days, I think it's harder to find readers than ever before - more fandoms, more writers, more lists etc. So I think the easy answer would be to yes, you have to market yourself somehow. But what really works, other than strength of repuation? And even that isn't always a guarantee for readership.

"Marketing" for some people is a dirty word - you get images of telemarketers and direct mail people, not to mention spammers. But marketing is a necessarily evil - if you want attention, you've got to do the things that attract attention. And call it what you will, but as a marketer and a MBA student in RL, I'm going to call a spade a spade.

Vera asked tons of good questions about it on zendom and it was the first time I really thought about why I post where I post and why I tell certain people about my fics and not other and why I publicize some, but not others. It's not like I have the marketing mix (Product, Price, Promotion and Place) right in front of me nor do I draw out a long convulated marketing plan either - but what we do to gain readership is all marketing, whether it be posting to a mailing list or to

And just like television commercials, we choose where we want to be associated. For instance, some archives fit our criteria, others do not. Some mailing lists are okay, others are not. Some BBS are okay to post announcements, and others you barely glance at. Some NGs you post to, others you don't. Sometimes you post to your site only, sometimes to your own mailing list. There are awards contests and then there are awards contest - you pick and choose which one you want to enter. You swap links with other people who match your criteria, you get rec'd - all of these things are important in creating your brand recognition.

And even if you do have brand recognition, you have to reposition yourself every so often. You have to put a new twist on your efforts - it's kind of like when Campbell's soups changed their package in an effort to update its image. As fanfic writers, it's impossible to rest on your laurels, only because there's always coming to be the next author, the latest "brand" so to speak. If you don't keep up, if you don't keep marketing, despite that brand recongition that you worked so hard to get in the first place, you could lose it very quickly. The marketplace, you see, is perfectly competitive and efficient - you let up for a second, and you find yourself at the bottom of the heap once again.

So you've got to find new mailing lists, new message boards, new types of stories, other authors who may be able to help you with betas and recs. It's a lot of work, but it's hard to stay in view of the reader when there's always something new every other minute - not just in the particular fandom you write in, but in all of fandom in general. Attention spans are short, so you've got to grab them in the first few paragraphs and you've got to promise something - style, substance, characterization - that will make them want to read, make them want to come back. You've got to change more often than you want to stay the same, unfortunately.

There are the lucky authors, few and far between, who will always get rec'd, even if they write three lines, and will always be remembered as "the best of the best." They're the ones with the fan clubs ;-). But more often, it doesn't work out that way for us. And honestly, much as I like to claim that I write for myself, to fill what I see as the blanks in TPTB's vision, I have to admit that I save every piece of FB and that I adore hearing from readers - whether positive or negative. And so it's so very necessary to do things that capture the "eyeballs" and keep them loyal.

Hence, marketing is necessary whether or not we like to think of ourselves as marketers of our fanfic, we *have* to be if we have any hope of getting readership at all.
I can't even begin to express how happy I am that I can sleep past 5:45 am tomorrow. Ah joy, it is truly the simple things in life which make me happy. Good night, wonderful people all over the world!

Friday, January 18, 2002

Weird - someone is actually assigning the Essays posted on my site as a homework assignment. Pretty heavy duty - glad I'm not the one who has to do this assignment.

Good luck on your certification test, Lori!

Thursday, January 17, 2002

What the Hey? Liberation Front. Yup, I'm definitely old, because I can't even conjure up an iota of enthusiasm for this. The forums (ex "the Bashing Forum") make the Trek BBS look like Romper Room.

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Author Worship

This topic has come up a lot lately - author worship in fandom, and this is yet another thing like RPS that I can't quite comprehend. I have only seen one fan club devoted to a fanfic author (mailing list & site) but I hear that these things exist in great numbers.

That got me thinking - who is responsible for generating author worship? The rec sites like Best of Trek/YMMV/Our Boys and others like them? Don't get me wrong, I adore these kinds of sites - especially YMMV and Our Boys which makes it easy to wade through a new fandom, but at the same time, someone out there has either a) decided someone is worthy of attention and recc'ing or b) agreed with everyone else that this is a good story/author.

Or is author worship the result of mailing list phenomenon?
Meaning, someone posts and then gets lots of FB, and voila, they are automatically elevated to a pedestal? Or is it a measure of "prolific = quality" and therefore, generating that "instant name recognition", and so all of a sudden this person is a "must-read" author because you simply cannot get away from the stories/poems etc?

I just find the idea of author worship clubs really intriguing. I mean, what would be your reaction if someone said, "Hey, can I start a fan club about you and your writing?" Personally, I'd feel way pressured and then just weirded out by the thought people were actually devoting large chunks of their time to talking about me or my stories.

I just made some comments to the Best of Trek site about what I thought the best fics of the year were. Now, admittedly, those are *my* judgement of what is quality and not necessarily anyone else's. Heck, might not even be Best of Trek's idea of good fic, but if you asked me what you should read in Trek, well, I would point you to my links page and of course, YMMV. But that's my point exactly - the authors whom I admire and rec may not be the same ones Trek fandom in general gives adulation to.

I certainly have not seen fan clubs devoted to Trek authors (well, with the exception of that one, but it doesn't count if you start your own and then don't even want to talk about yourself!!!;-)) and with the exception of the ASC/ASCEML awards and Best of Trek, I don't know that Trek authors get the same kind of recognition that they might get in other fandoms.

I'm rambling now and dinner calls... but feel free to discuss ;-) Yes, even you with the fan club ::eg::

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Out of the goodness of my heart, I've decided to allow freedom of speech.
Would the person who ordered the flowers pretty please reveal themselves? The suspense is killing me - the florist got lost, left a message, and is probably still wandering around aimlessly. I do have my suspicions and they are directed to an individual whose blog is listed on the left. Am I right? ;-)
Just to prove I've actually been working on "Fugue in Blue Minor", here's a short, short excerpt. I still have a little ways to go to finish part I, but it will happen! Not this month, I don't think though - as I've got to finish that darn categorization (which I just barely started) and the case competition is coming up in two weeks. But anyway, here's a little something:

Let me tell you about Harry Kim. He laughs. He makes jokes and plays Buster Kinkaide to Tom Paris' Captain Proton. He works in Engineering when B'Elanna needs him, Astronmetrics when Seven of Nine requests his assistance. He works Ops as best as he can and sometimes, he feels overwhelmed. He plays the clarinet, occasionally the saxophone, and he misses his family desperately. He doesn't think about Libby because even after all of that time, the pain of missing her is still very fresh and real. He wonders about what if, what if the tour of duty had only lasted six weeks? He wonders where he would be today. He knows he wouldn't be here, talking to you.

Harry Kim does his best to keep a stiff upper lip. He does his best to reach out when others need him. He offers hugs, good cheer and quick smiles generously. He listens when others need to be listened to and he offers advice only when it's asked for, because he hates to interfere.

If I repeat this enough times, maybe I can convince myself. Maybe I can convince myself that I'm the Harry Kim everyone wants me to be. I am the story I tell myself I am.

And another one joins the fray!

This just in from the Blog Wars: ChristineCGB has made a compelling statement, following up on Liz's Unnamed entry. Other Blog War entries can be found here. You really can't keep a good war down.

And in other thoughts - older. One year. Feels odd. Especially when you get excited over receiving new dinnerware as a gift. Old. Definitely old. But very nice - will finally open the boxes tonight - white dinnerware with blue stripes on the outside, courtesy of the parental units. Very nice and much better than my old bland cream-colored stoneware. And more classy than my funky neon-colored plasticware which doesn't go into the microwave (which is an issue when you cook with water).

One day, I will get to all those emails...

Sunday, January 13, 2002

File Under: "What was I thinking?" Here's a goofy picture of me belting out "My Boyfriend's Back" at the annual Company picnic. Circa 1999. The guy in the leather jacket is Brad - aka the "harassing" boyfriend. Carol's the one with the goofy glasses and Annette's in the back doing, well, something... My favorite part of this was the little pep talk my coworker Andrew (the Andrew who contributed much to the purple design of this site) gave me before I went onto the stage: "Be loud, enunciate, and for God's sake, don't forget to breathe!"
Okay, I wasn't going to look, but I looked. Michelle Kwan got her sixth national title! Yeah, Michelle! This is definitely looking up - Tracy and I were talking about how concerned we were for MK as she had dumped FC as her coach earlier in the year and Irina Slutskya looked really, really good in a competition I saw last week. I haven't seen Sasha Cohen skate, but apparently she managed to out-skate Sarah Hughes - which is no easy feat. Poor Angela Nikodinov - she has some glorious, wonderful moments on the ice, but this wasn't her moment.

Anyway, I'm psyched. I'm still taping it though (yes, I'm obsessed) as I'm running a copyright violation ring while Nationals runs on ABC. You can find complete results here. Definitely will see if our activities association can't swing something to get us discounted tickets for next year's competition.

As for the copyright violation - it all about those copyrights from Stanford and Harvard - and the fact that you buy a photocopied pack of paper for $80 that you have to also buy a binder for and then you throw it out at the end of the semester because what the heck are you going to do with a bunch of paper? I got caught in this trap last semester - paid $75 for such a packet that I know I'm going to throw out since I need the binder for this new packet. At any rate, about 8 of us will split the cost to buy the original packet and then we will each photocopy it at our own cost. Much better than $80.

And oh yes - new addition to my blog buddies to your left. Meet Bjorn, a RL friend with some interesting thoughts.

Now off to figure out how else I can keep from spending lots and lots of money on books.

Saturday, January 12, 2002

Can I just say how darn irritated I am that ABC pre-empted the National Figure Skating championships for a football game? Sure, they'll broadcast Nationals tomorrow afternoon after the results are out - after we know who took home the gold - Kwan, Cohen, Nikodinov or Hughes - what kind of sense does that make???? It's like broadcasting the Superbowl the day after rather than the day of.

Next year, Nationals are in that City to the North - and since my company sponsors the darn competition to begin with (to the point our name is right in the title of the championship), I'm hoping to get tickets and attend in person. That way, I'm not at the mercy of the broadcast companies. Humph.

Note to Lori: Your poolboy is mine ;-)

M * A * S * H

You will marry MAXIMUS (played by Russell Crowe) from Gladiator, live in a Coliseum in the middle of Rome, and spend your days moping about lost love and slicing and dicing other gladiators.

What's YOUR M * A * S * H future?

Hypocrisy at its best: Hindu Prayer in Congress Criticized.

Friday, January 11, 2002

Note: I apologize for the weirdness in the "Bye Bye Bye" post - below you find the corrected copy that is (hopefully) more readable.

Thursday, January 10, 2002

Bye Bye Bye

Previously on the Blog Wars (in reading order):
Jemima Ex Machina (Jemima, XOVER)
From the Swiss Department of War (Liz Barr, Harry Potter)
The Blogger Strikes Back (Lori, XOVER)
Jemima's Annotated Guide to the Blog Wars

Seema slumped in her seat. Great. Now they were in a minivan - a minivan! - in some strange galaxy where people were shooting at them. That was the bad news. On a hypocritically sorrowful note, JarJar Binks had been annihilated by Jemima - Seema had covered her eyes at the scene and silently hoped that JarJar Binks was enjoying the CGI afterworld. Other good news was that Robbie was now flying - driving? - the minivan through space so at least they were in good hands. And even more good news - the Buffy clan was finally gone; that blond chick was irksome to say least, especially since she insisted on karate-chopping everything in sight. Chakotay was visibly depressed now that Willow was gone - he kept insisting he had to go find her and tell her a story.

At least it was quiet - well, except for Jemima's laments about the fact Lori had made her poolboy disappear. Still Seema was grateful, especially now that she no longer had to hang upside down since the antibiotics were making her less nutty than they had been previously. Now she could get about the serious business of writing - oh wait, she was on a break, wasn't she? It then occurred to Seema that she needed a margarita and Robbie was occupied.

"I need a new poolboy," Seema said. Lori looked up from the book she was reading, evidently enjoying herself as Sean massaged her feet and Russell fed her chocolate covered strawberries.

"Every author should have at least two," Lori said. "Preferably one with an accent. Or rather two with an accent."

"I think I'll settle for someone who is close to my height," Seema said decisively. She snapped her fingers and suddenly, a handsome man in black leather and with piercing blue eyes appeared in front of her. "Hello, Tom. Long time no see. Ready to cruise?"

The man looked around. "Where am I?"

"It's a minivan. A mode of transportation common in the late twentieth century used to transport individuals from spot A to spot B. The average minivan consumed approximately one gallon of gasoline for every 18 miles driven," Seven of Nine began primly. "Contrast this with a Sport Utility Vehicle, which when driven across the flat plains of Texas served neither a sporting purpose nor provided anymore utility than a minivan except for-"

"Ack! Shut up!" Seema hurled her soapbox at Seven of Nine, promptly knocking the blond borg babe out. If Chakotay had looked crestfallen before, now he looked downright depressed. He got up and started to pester Robbie.

"How many miles to the Delta Quadrant again?" Chakotay asked.

"Light years! Not miles!" Robbie screeched. "And your branches are scratching me! Ow! And we're in some other weird galaxy. You've blown it, big guy! You should have waited for the Captain and now - Ack!"

The occupants of the van were thrown to and fro as Robbie expertly sverved to avoid crashing into a ship that looked curiously like a bowtie. Seema gulped. She had seen one of those things before. And it hadn't been a Good Thing (tm).

"You know, Lori, I don't like the sight of this," Seema said. She gestured at the window. "You know I hate conflict."

"Conflict is good for the soul," Jemima announced. "Get over it. Have an opinion once in a while - it will do you good."

"I'd rather have a margarita if you don't mind," Seema said. At that moment, Tom handed her a frozen strawberry margarita. "Wonderful."

Jemima frowned and muttered something about "selfish unnecessary indulgences and bad fanfic contests" before crouching on the floor to attend to Seven.

"I found a map!" Chakotay exclaimed. "It's not too late - if we take a left turn at the Rob Galaxy and head straight into the Reiner Cluster and dodge-"

"Shut up!" Everyone screamed. Chakotay sulked back into his chair, the leaves on his head fluttering as he shook in distress.

Lori sighed and turned to Seema. "I'm getting car sick. You ready to declare a truce and get on with the business of Real Life?"

"Yeah," Seema sighed. "It's been fun, but my Real Life officially restarts on Monday and as it is, I'm already way behind in email and I'm doing a great injustice to the feedback now movement. And oh yes, there is that matter of the categorization that I haven't started yet."

"True and the longer we stay here, eventually Jemima's going to get her way and the bodies are going to pile up," Lori said. "So, it's been fun, but it's getting crowded in the van and I'd really rather take apart a computer, install linux and court-martial Troi. Not in that order, of course."

Seema sighed in relief. Finally, she could surrender. The Blog Wars were good for creativity, but dear God, how much silliness could one author possibly conjure up over a long period of time? Apparently, quite a bit.

Lori extended a hand as the parrot chortled in the background.

At that moment, a fighter zoomed by and then there was a loud noise and a shimmer of light and there were six people standing there. Jemima, Lori and Seema stared. Robbie put the minivan into park.

All of the new arrivals were relatively young and were wearing very, very tight clothing. Their hair color obviously came out of a bottle and the men seemed to prefer some kind of metal apparatus glued to their heads. The lone female was wearing a leather outfit that was zipped open to her chest.

"Um," Seema said. "Don't tell me... you got sent over here from..." Her jaw dropped as 80 million teenagers from across the galaxy suddenly appeared in the minivan screaming incoherently, some of them falling over themselves as they tried to touch the five young men.

Lori grabbed her head. "Ack! Clorox! I need the Clorox!"

Jemima frowned. "You're from..." she got no further as the female extended her hand.

"They call me Britney," the woman said silkily. "I see I've done it again. Hit me one more time, baby."

"Gladly," one of the men - the one with the horrible blond hair dye job - said and he did hit her. Britney cackled. "I'm surprised we're here again. The last time we went bye bye bye, it didn't matter as long as you loved me-"

"Wrong band, JC! Or Nick! Or Tom! Or Harry! Whatever your name is!" one of the other guys screeched. "We're Nsync and you should have known that! Dang it!"

Seema shook her head. "I've got a headach. A big headache. And all I want is some peace and quiet-"

"Never fear, I'm here!" a thin young lady suddenly materialized, bringing along a group of young 'uns with her. It was starting to get quite crowded in the minivan. Seema started to reconsider her stance on SUVs but then decided that she would stick to her guns on those silly useless vehicles.

"Liz!" Jemima exclaimed. "You're the one I'm trying to be more like!"

"Admirable," Liz said. "I'm here representing the Swiss Department of War. I'm merely here to observe the bloodshed, or lack thereof, and make sure the Geneva Conventions are observed."

"Geneva Conventions?" Seema asked. She tried to remember if Geneva Conventions were taught in business school, but all she could remember was that asset specifity in terms of coal mines could be a bad thing. Not a concept relevant to this particular situation.

"And this is Harry, Ron, Hermione and Snape is around here somewhere," Liz continued. "We travel everywhere together."

"I knew we should have done an intervention," Jemima grumbled. Seema didn't answer since she saw Chakotay drooling over Britney.

In the background, the parrot said, "CONFUSED AM I! BUT LISTEN YOU MUST!"

At that moment, the minivan was jolted by a powerful blast of something - Seema's technobabble translomatic had short-circuited when it had tried to translate the language of the 80 million screaming teenagers and so had been rendered useless.

"Tom!" Seema screamed. Both men - the Cruisin' one and the Drivin' one turned to face her. Seema pointed. "You, eyes straight ahead, and you, find me my angst bunny!"

Robbie threw the minivan into drive and once again, the black minivan was off.
Beta Comments from Liz:

For those of you wondering what it's like to get a beta from the irrepressible Liz Logan (because in general, betas aren't laughing matters), here's a sample of her comments re "Verita da Cuore":

I go over the edge of angst; Liz calls me on it:

Seema, I know you've received napkins for being tacky, and now you're receiving a napkin for being cheesy.

I confuse Liz here:

I don't understand what you're talking about. I think if
one of the main crew members died then Janeway would be very upset. Except for Kim. If he died then they'd just get another one.


De-confuse the beta-reader please. It's
fun. We can make it a game.

Here Liz ponders the question we've all been wondering:

She moved on from getting tossed out into the Delta
Quadrant, from various deaths, from her own
death...technically anyhow, and from the multitude of deaths by Harry Kim. Why could she not move on from Seven? Seven wasn't even Janeway's wife. :::looks at that sentence and simply decides to leave it alone:::


Someone linked here from my high school alum page. I'm actually a little freaked by that. I don't know what I was thinking when I listed myself in those pages. Actually I do - I was on the prowl for certain people whom I desperately wanted to get into contact with. At this point, I've given up on ever hearing from them and have to assure myself that I did extend the olive branch and they chose not to accept it. Time to move on.
Theater Lobby Warnings

Take the What Should Your New Year's Resolution Be? Quiz

Now, well, that's interesting....
Finally got my new Corporate credit card. Now that my company has gone into financial services, the old one from Another Company (tm) just would not do and that card was cancelled on the first of the month - which was bad, as being out of sight, out of mind, I only knew I'd been getting a new card - not that my existing card would be cancelled. And add to that, my bank's ATM ate my ATM/debit card - which meant that when I was at the salon on Monday, I almost had a "Oops!" moment in terms of not having a credit/debit card that worked - luckily, they took a cheque. It would have been ungood otherwise. Luckily, I figured out what was going on before I made a huge purchase, such as textbooks, that I cannot cover on the spur of the moment.

Blog Wars update:

Previously on the Blog Wars:

Jemima Ex Machina
From the Swiss Department of War (Liz Barr, along with the Harry Potter gang, offers Swiss-style commentary on the current state of the Blog Wars)

Confused? Jemima's Annotated Guide to the Blog Wars (my version is acting slightly funky, but allegedly, the Guide should make perfect sense of what's going on).
Fic Rec: Jade's Drabble. Could it be? Jemima writing Trek? Writing J/C? (Or I could be missing the point entirely - I sure I am). But it's a fun, quick read anyway.

And oh, Jemima? It's only because of Blogger's woes that we've been delayed - I'm sure Lori has something left in the arsenal and I've got a second-wind, thanks to an email suggestion. So watch out!

Wednesday, January 09, 2002

Ellen Goodman on SUVs. I couldn't have said it better and admittedly, I am the driver of a small car who is perpetually afraid of being squished (and nearly been squished more times than I can count) and I'm not quite sure why people need SUVs to drive in the cities - especially when it's just one person in the car!

Tuesday, January 08, 2002

Zendom Update:

Jintian's article on Real Person Fic is up at zendom. Next up, on January 22, an article on that ever popular topic, feedback, by Christine.
Site update: What's New?
I got the beta for "Verita da Cuore" from Liz tonight. Suffice it to say, none of you will be seeing this fic anytime soon (at least not before my "vacation from writing" is over). Unfortunately, this fic was written in a Cheese Whiz mode, not to mention confusing your beta reader is never a good thing - especially one who understands you when you are being incredibly obtuse and incomprehensible.

Still, I have to give Liz props for once again slogging through a first draft and entertaining me so thoroughly with her comments.
Note to people to whom I owe emails: I was an idiot. Was in mid-email and closed my browser. I'm now sufficiently distressed and embarassed by said action that I think I'm going to go cook something creative (potatoes, mushrooms, peas - there's something to be done there). Anyway, if I feel sufficiently brave to attempt this email thing again tonight, you just may hear from me. Otherwise, manyana!
Happiness is...

Chris Carter... finally, finally, finally. Did not think it would be possible to have a 'shippy "X-Files" ep without DD himself, but finally... Trust No1. MSR perfection, really, and up until the last moment, I held out hope that yes, we would see the man... but alas. No matter. The questions I wanted answered were answered and I am absolutely completely totally satisfied. And to see this one shot from "FWID" made it all worthwhile. If only I didn't have to work, I'd go and see if I couldn't find some MSR based on this ep - heck, I'm even tempted to write it myself. Absolute contentment.

Monday, January 07, 2002

'Ships Happen

For previous installments click here.

Seema scrawled furiously in her notebook. It was a pink spiral-bound notebook, and inside were pages of various gibberish and unspeakable crimes inflicted on various fictional characters. She looked up only when her poolboy, Robbie, approached her with a margarita - strawberry and frozen, perfect.

"Had a hard time getting the Ferengi to deliver," Robbie said, "but then I grabbed him by his ears and he calmed right down. Come to think of it, he seemed really eager to be of service."

"Thank you." Seema surveyed the mess in front of her. There was still that group of people that Jemima had sent over and one - the blond chick - was especially loud and verbose. Something about being a real demon slayer and knowing karate better than anyone else. The two skinny chicks with the enormous chests seemed to be in distress; the one with the bad haircut had apparently exhaled too violently, causing her unitard to split a seam or two or three.

The young man with the southern accent had discovered the replicator codes and seemed to be fiddling with different variations of pecan pie. The man with the leaves in his hair kept insisting, "My people have a story... they do! Why won't anyone listen to the story my people have?"

Seema sighed. With all this noise, how could anyone expect a writer to work? This was serious stuff, this was war!

She noticed that Kira was sitting in the middle of the chaos, rocking back and forth, holding her head in her hands. Seema decided that it was time to take action; after all, once Jemima entered with her soapbox, things would never, ever quiet down again.

"Everyone, be quiet!" Seema bellowed. "Now, you're all upset for a variety of reasons and I don't blame you. If the writers did to me what they did to you, well, then I'd have ever reason to riot as well-"

"It's not just the powers that be," Buffy moaned. She was holding her stomach, obviously still in pain. "We don't get any respect from you either. You all insist on writing about us and making us do stuff!"

"Hey!" Crusher got to her feet. "In fanfic, that's the only place I get to do stuff!"

Riker scowled. "Actually, Dr. Beverly, I beg to differ-"

Crusher's eyes widened. "Dr. Beverly? Will, how dare you?"

"It is a term of endearment. Don't you recognize me, I'm Odan." Will held out his arms. "Don't you want me, Beverly? You can have me, warm, wonderful me. Jean-Luc is old, stuffy and he likes that archeologist chick." Riker's eyes twinkled and Crusher's cheeks flamed red. "Beverly, don't throw away our one chance at happiness. Please. Don't make a terrible mistake and turn me down."

"I can't listen to this dribble," Kira said. She waved her arms. "I think I'm going to be sick."

But her comment, like all the others, went unheard; Beverly had flung herself into Will's arms and was scratching at his beard. Meanwhile, the man with the leaves in his hair had attracted the attention of Willow and they were exchanging notes.

"You are Willow?" Chakotay asked with interest. "I think we have something in coffee, I mean, in common. I found a random name generator on the Internet-"

"A random name generator? What's that?" Willow asked in interest.

"It's a tool from the twentieth century for those who did not like their given name for some reason or preferred to be called by a name from a particular fictional universe, such as the Smurfs-"


"Smurfs," Chakotay nodded sagely, "little, blue, different. My Smurf name is simply smurfy - I'm Chesty."

"Ooh," Willow sighed in rapture. "So this random name generator, how does it work?"

"You type in your name and click 'submit' and you get a name back. My tree name is Sequoia."

"Oak," Willow whispered dreamily. She reached up to ruffle the leaves in Chakotay's hair. "It fits you. Strong, silent, serene, sincere, simple, stubborn, stately, stable, steady..."

At that moment, Chakotay magically produced a rose and handed it to Willow, whose eyes glazed over in joy. They kissed passionately, just as the blond Borg noticed them.

"It is not prudent to form a long-term attachment with someone from the past," Seven of Nine pronounced. "It is of no matter. The writers will forget this incident almost immediately. It is unfortunate that we also cannot forget the unforgettable."

T'Pol, her suit held together with little pins similar to the ones Elizabeth Hurley had used to hold together her credit card dress, tipped her head to the side in agreement.

"Humans are shortsighted and without vision. They are like unruly children who do not know what is best for them. They must be kept at heel," T'Pol said. "And kept away from random name generators and fanfiction writers."

At that moment, Tucker started chasing T'Pol around the room again with the pecan pie and surprisingly, T'Pol started to giggle.

Seema sighed and looked at Lori.

"Lori, I'm not sure we can write ourselves out of this one," Seema said mournfully. "It looks like everyone is pairing up for some reason or another. It's so... shippy."

Lori nodded. "You're right. It's going to take a lot to get us out of this. Who would have thought that-"

Lori cut off as the two fanfic writers watched in fascination as Kira hurled herself at none other than Chekov. Seema grabbed Lori's arm.

"Do you understand that the timeline has been disrupted?" Seema asked urgently. "We have gone completely AU! There's no recovering. We're going to have to summon Lucsly and Dulmur to fix this mess. Pretty soon, Sequoia and Willow will have little saplings of their own and Buffy-" Seema's eyes widened. "Buffy and Worf?"

"I can take you, Klingon!" Buffy roared as Worf picked her up and flung her over his shoulder as lightly as a sack of potatoes.

Hey! That's my man you're talking about!" Ezri roared, pulling herself to her full height of 3 feet. She lifted the stake and brandished it in her hand, until Xander swept her off her feet. Ezri went fluid in Xander's arms, falling victim to his tender kisses.

"If we go AU, you know there is only one thing that can happen now," Lori said. "I wanted to put this off as long as possible, but..."

And you know, there is another problem." Seema said softly. Lori looked, in a word, bummed. In the background, Earl carried on a one-sided conversation.


Seema sniffed the air and turned just in time to see Seven slinking towards McCoy.

"Another problem? What will be a problem is if these people-" Lori jabbed her thumb in the direction of Seven who was looking at McCoy with undisguised lust -"are going to procreate."

"That would be a problem as well," Seema admitted. "But you know what Jemima's cardinal rule of storytelling is, don't you?"

Lori looked dismayed. "That a story isn't a story without a wedding?"

Seema nodded and thankfully, Robbie was on hand for a much-needed massage.

"We're running out of options," Lori said. "We're going to have to go with the Omega Plan."

"Make it so," Seema said wearily. "I see no other choice at this point."

Sunday, January 06, 2002

Fic Rec: That Which Does Not Kill Us by Barbara Watson. The story of Caldik Prime done right. Very-well written episode addition to "Natural Law" and as always, Barb gets the voices just right. A very good read.
Site update: What's New?
Armabloggen IV

Jemima's Annotated Guide to the Blog Wars

Prelude: How an Ensign Became a Poolboy and The Poolboy Diaries (Seema, realpeople fic)
"I Blame Lori" (Seema)
The "Tobacco Company" Insult (Lori)
The "Enabler" Accusation (Seema)
Declaration of War (Lori)
Response to Declaration of War (Seema)
Blog Wars I (Lori, TOS)
Blog Wars II (Seema, VOY)
Blog Wars III (Lori, TNG)
Blog Wars IV (Seema, DS9)
Blog Wars V (Lori, ENT)
Blog Wars VI (Seema, ENT)
Declaration of Neutrality (Seema, Liz)
The War in Liz's Blogback and Jemima's Dare to Conscript Her (Liz's blogback)
The Son of Blog War! (Lori, ENT)
Eviction from Switzerland (Liz)
The Attack of William James (Seema, Jemima)
Armabloggen I (Jemima, BtVS)
Interludes (Seema, TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT)
Armabloggen II (Jemima, BtVS)
Armabloggen III (Lori, DS9, BtVS, TNG, tiny bit VOY & ENT)
Armabloggen IV (Seema, TNG, realpeople, etc.)
Armabloggen V (Jemima, BtVS, VOY, etc.)
Armabloggen VI (Lori, TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT/BtVS, realpeople)

Beverly Crusher stepped out of her shuttle. Finally here, she thought. Too long hanging out with Will Riker; he spent an obscene amount of time talking about himself. Actually, no, Beverly realized. It was more of a preening thing with Will - standing just so, stroking his beard this way and that, and trying out different voices and intonnations.

As Beverly turned the corner, she ran smack into a woman who looked a little too young to be wandering around DS9 by herself. Actually, Beverly speculated, everyone looked young to her these days; how long had it been since she first set out on the Enterprise? And all she'd gotten for her troubles was the occasional hike up the mountains with a phaser rifle, a love affair with a ghost and a unpleasant swim in a holodeck simulation. Her mood lightened though, when she realized that she had finally taught Data how to dance without tripping over his own feet; now that was the proudest achievement of her career if she said so herself.

"I'm sorry!" Beverly exclaimed. "I didn't see you coming." Beverly chided herself; she really should have been paying more attention.
Even if the Dominion War was long over, the chief of security on the station had recently declared that due to the problem with the vols, "We must be vigiliant." Apparently, the vols had recently gotten into the wiring and as a result, there were minor explosions all over the station casuing heart beats to skip at an abnormally high rate, causing Bashir to faint with overwork. As a result, security fanned out with the determination to capture these errant vols. The recent blog wars had not done much to ease the tension on DS9 either and Crusher hoped that that particular matter would be resolved soon.

"That's all right," the woman said. She looked anxious. "I'm looking for Colonel Kira. I think I might be running late for a meeting."

"Well, as luck would have it, I'm on my way there as well. Beverly Crusher."

The woman looked impressed. "As in Dr. Crusher from the Enterprise?"


"Seema." The woman extended a hand.

"Ah," Crusher said. "You're the reason why we're here. Really, young lady, you should be doing something more worthwhile with your time instead of starting blog wars. You've got half the quadrant at a loss for what to do. For instance, why not-"

At that moment, a handsome blond man who bore a startling resemblance to a cadet Wesley had once gone to school with - Thomas Locarno - approached, slightly out of breath, but holding out a PADD. Crusher gasped. Should this Locarno person be in the brig or something?

"Ah, Robbie, thank you," Seema said. She held out the PADD. "Instructions on how to get to the meeting. Well, frankly, I'm surprised that our case has attracted so much attention. You know, it was really a minor spat between Lori and myself. In fact, it's not even worth of comment as it was all completely tongue-in-cheek. Now it has grown into something else. I didn't even know the scope of the matter until I was summoned here by the Colonel."

Crusher and Seema continued down the hallway, Robbie following at a respectful distance.

"Captain Picard has taken a personal interest in your case. He dispatched me and Commander Riker to try and negotiate a truce between Lori and yourself."

"Lori and I are fine," Seema said, dismissing the comment airily. "We're just having fun. Besides, this has been an interesting experience and I've realized that people are more interested in my spur of the moment writings and thoughts than in the stories that I slave over for months at a time. Funny thing that, but yesterday, five times more people tuned in for the blog wars than to the fanfiction that I've worked on for months. I'm not sure how that makes me feel."

Crusher stopped. "So you and Lori are fine?"

"Sure," Seema shrugged. "It's everyone else who has been overreacting to the situation. Even Christine was worried about the lack of bloodshed, calling this a battle with no glory. But I do have to say, there has been a new and unexpected development. Jemima."

Crusher drew back, almost in fear. "Our Lady of the AU?"


"Fearless quoter of William James?"


"Recently made a pilgrimage to the land of the Slayer?"

"That's the one," Seema said. She continued down the halls of DS9. "She's added a whole new element to this thing. Now, it may get more serious. But Lori and I are confident we can take her on. It's just a question of creativity, verbosity and the ability to juggle fandoms. And in addition, we've got our poolboys."

Crusher frowned. "Poolboys?"

"Yup. Have I introduced you to Robbie?" Seema nodded at the blond man still following them. "He takes care of the administrivia while I'm writing. He even baited a troll out on ASC for me while I waited with bated breath. Don't know what I'd do without him. Really, Beverly, you should consider getting one for yourself."

"No, not for me, thanks," Beverly said. They stepped into the turbolift. "So why are you doing this bloggish business anyway if it's really all in good spirit?"

"It just happened one day," Seema said. The turbolift lurched and Beverly felt her heart leap into her throat. "How long can you outwrite someone else? Try it. You'll see that it's quite the excercise in creativity, not to mention, it's often difficult to keep coming up with something that's new and exciting. And funny. But that's the challenge and that's what Lori and I have really been at war for - inspiring the muse in strange new ways. Plus, we get to poke fun at little aspects of fandom and powers that be without having to devote entire stories to the thing. That, you see, is the glory Christine was talking about."

The turbolift doors opened and the three of them made their way across the Promenade and down a flight of stairs to a conference room. Crusher peeked inside. She saw Riker - dang it, she had been hoping he'd find a large mirror somewhere to amuse himself - along with Chakotay, that renegade Maquis leader who seemed to have leaves sprouting from his head, a blond Borg drone, and a group of people she did not recognize; one had an accent that reminded her curiously of Jean-Luc Picard.

Idily, Beverly wondered what Jean-Luc was up to. She was so glad he had allowed her to take this mission; it had been so long since she had been allowed to do anything worthwhile. Most of the time, she just sat in the meeting room and offered just one piece of advice: "If we don't do something, Captain, they will all die." And she usually said it just in time for some really loud music to come on. That was Jean-Luc's cue to make a move and for Will to strike a pose.

Beverly sighed; sometimes her colleagues could be so predictable. As Beverly scanned the room, she saw a woman of inderminate age standing with two men and a parrot. Beverly shook her head; so much for predictability. In addition, she noticed Worf passed out on the floor, his glass skull shattered by the baseball which rolled back and forth near his head; Beverly had wondered before anyone would have realized that the thick-skulled Worf was really a delicate china doll. Beverly also noticed a paper-thin woman with a perpetual scowl on her face - as if she'd eaten something rotten - being chased around the room with a man, holding a fork in one hand and plate of pecan pie in the other. Things were getting weirder by the minute and Beverly once again wondered what Jean-Luc was up to. She also wondered what Deanna Troi was up to.


"Ah, there's Earl. Some things never change," Seema said in satisfaction. "Excuse me, while Lori and I hammer out a game plan. Jemima will be here any minute and honestly, I've got a thing or two to say to her about calling me 'slander' and I know Lori will take exception with being nicknamed 'Libel.' Ha!" With that, Seema flounced off, leaving Crusher to exchange a confused gaze with the woman apparently heading up the meeting - the long suffering Kira Nerys.

Saturday, January 05, 2002

The rumors about Beltran are true! Check out the evidence

Note for Liz: Your Yahoo! email bounced - are you officially back to your old one? If so - I've got something for you. Smile.

I don't tend to make resolutions that often as I'm notorious about not keeping them. It's that discipline thing that gets me every time (Note to Liz: look how well I'm doing with my "I'm taking a break, really!" resolution ::g::) . But I did make a resolution this year and I've already shared it with the StoryExchange folks and also on the Write Now! message board. Now that it's public, I guess I have an added pressure to actually keep the resolutions.

Friday, January 04, 2002


Declaration of War
Response to Declaration of War
Blog Wars I
Blog Wars II
Blog Wars III
Blog Wars IV
Blog Wars V
Blog Wars VI
Declaration of Neutrality
The War in Liz's Blogback and Jemima's Dare to Conscript Her
The Son of Blog War!
Eviction from Switzerland
The Attack of William James

Janeway relaxed in her Ready Room. How long had it been since she had had a moment to herself? She sipped her coffee, savoring the deep brew. Finally, Seven was out of the way. That woman had been a thorn in her side since coming aboard Voyager four years ago. Always questioning authority and occasionally, acting like the daughter Janeway hoped she'd never have in the future.

Janeway's lips turned up slightly as she remembered Chakotay's look of despair when she had told him that Seven would be accompanying him to the negotiations on Deep Space Nine. And she knew, for sure, this was one blond Chakotay would not have a weakness for.

* ~ *

Colonel Kira added the privacy lock for an added dimension of security. These blog wars, she realized, were a serious matter, now that a third party had been introduced. Colonel Kira shook her head. She had fought the Cardassians, the Dominion, and had seen things she could not quite explain - yet, here she was completely preplexed by the ongoing situation. Fluidly, Kira slipped into her chair, relaxing just for a moment to ease the tension in her limbs. She would certainly need this time to recuperate before heading out to once again mediate the negotiations.

* ~ *

Picard rolled over in his bed. He was feeling uncommonly relaxed and warm. He lifted his head slightly to watch as Deanna Troi ran a silver-backed brush through her thick, dark curls. He thought about speaking but decided instead to remain quiet. Silence, he found, was often underrated, introspection especially so. And since Riker and Crusher had left for Deep Space Nine, Picard felt for the first time in years that he had some modicum of peace for a few days. No Riker striking a pose and making dramatic statements and no Crusher blabbering on about some colony where ninety percent of the population was stricken with a surely fatal disease. Picard smiled as he watched Deanna lift her hair off her neck; he admired the length of her neck. Yes, he was certainly enjoying himself.

* ~ *
Archer studied the PADD carefully. Somehow, T'Pol had managed to achieve the impossible and send a message through time and space. Her letter was curt, precise, to the point. He wondered how long she had laboured over this letter. How succinctly she had put the state of the Blog Wars and her anticipation of how they should be resolved. Good work, Archer thought, and he had to admit that he was glad T'Pol had gone with Tucker. Her sullen expression and questioning of all his decisions had started to get on his nerves. Perhaps, Archer thought hopefully, T'Pol would endear herself to those on DS9 and choose to stay there. At this thought, Archer smileld.

Kirk surveyed his assembled crew. He still had not made a decision whom to send to represent his interests - what interests? - in the Blog Wars. He knew this was a crucial choice and Spock was the obvious choice. But who to go with Spock? Kirk gazed at the assembled before his gaze settled on Uhura. Uhura had certainly been doing her job quite well as of late and she deserved a chance to expand her horizons. But Scotty and Sulu both looked so interested and Bones had specifically asked for assignment to this particular mission. The chance to travel into the future appealed to everyone, a true chance to go where no man had gone before. Kirk shook his head. This, he realized, would be one of the hardest decisions he would make.

These reviews are the reason why I can't give movie critics any credibility. Or maybe it's because they are afraid to say that Steven Spielberg made a bad, bad movie?
I was recently asked for my favorite five fics of 2001. That's written and posted - which is kind of shame, as my favorite story of this year has to be Michele Masterson's "Contrition" - in 2001. But anyway, thought I'd post my picks for 2001 here (and really, I wish I could have picked 10, but 5 it is). I had an especially hard time choosing an ENT fics, because in general I read quite a few that I thought were excellent. A lot of the fiction I read this year was VOY based off the general dismay after "Endgame" and the results there were a mixed bunch. So for better or for worse, since I can only pick 5 stories that were must-reads for 2001, I went with the ones that I still remember, long after they were posted. That, in itself, is the highest compliment I think I can give. So here are my recs in alphabetical order:

  • Another Bad Night by Djinn. A terrific "Endgame" round-up story - the characters were drawn beautifully and it it had a lovely introspective quality that drew me into the story and made me care about what was happening to the characters.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For by Barbara Watson. A "wow" effort from a new author. This novel is what canon season 7 VOY should have been. No detail was too small or intricate - every character got resolution of some kind, plus more. There were no questions left lingering after the last paragraph, only the desire for more.
  • enseignant l'ensign by Jintian. This is a fabulous character piece from an author new to Trek and I really got a sense of Hoshi Sato in the delicate and vivid prose. Definitely among the best ENT had to offer this year.
  • Mok'Tah by Penny Proctor. The B'Elanna characterization in this story carried it completely. A real sense of character, a strong plot, and motivations which were understandable. It's the type of story that is so fluidly written you don't even realize that you are holding your breath until you're finished.
  • Ragnorak by Rocky. It's rare that you get action stories in fanfic any more - and this one was a doozy. Riveting and exciting - not to mention a terrific Janeway - to the very end. Anyone looking for a great example of how to write heart-pounding, fast-moving plot should check this one out.