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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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style and substance
waiting
seperis
Nervousness doesn't agree with me. I can't write myself out of that. Also, Ethan is wearing on me. I don't want to be sympathetic and I still hate him, but if I'm going to write him, that's just not acceptable. It's too easy to see when someone hates a particular character in a fic and only really, *really* talented writers can pull that off without making me feel like I'm reading a PSA about How Character X Is Bad. Not that I don't enjoy those immensely. I just read them for entirely different reasons.

Anyway. Reminded of Voyager, I went to look at The Very First Slash Story I ever wrote, just to see if it was anything like I vaguely remember. Also, because I love to pick my stuff apart. It's like, this weird hobby, and I get such a kick out of finding tense mistakes and pov problems. I can also see why I changed so sharpy to single person out of multiple pov, though I can now vaguely remember a time that first person pov didn't scare me to death.



It's the weirdest feeling, to see the writer I am in Smallville beginning in this story. There's something like eighty or ninety stories between Heels in Voyager and Relativity in Smallville, but as far back as then, I can see how it started. It's clumsier--and first person pov isn't suited to the kind of story it was at all, which kind of makes me want to rwrite it in third, but I like the direct bitterness of Chakotay here, even though the way I did it was completely inappropriate for the story as a whole.

But it was one of those good nights, when whatever demons haunted Tom's mind were quiet and the sarcasm was friendly and didn't strike to wound. And he was beautiful, smiling over his dinner, throwing semi-obnoxious comments at Neelix that had too much of good humor to be cruel. He sparkled, he laughed, and the blue eyes were lit up from within and he could have been all of seventeen at that moment, every jaded memory and bitter nightmare locked somewhere they couldn't get out.

Just watching him was pure pleasure. Unconscious grace and flawless coordination, all wrapped up in a golden-skinned package that tasted just as good as it looked.

I did see it, though. Saw it when Tom didn't even know he was doing it, because as low an opinion as I sometimes have of his morals, Tom hurts those who love him only by accident. It was never deliberate.


My tenses are all fucked up throughout--but the thing is, back then, I didn't *write* in present tense. I didn't even know people *did* that. But it fights its way out at random intervals, and that's kind of funny, that my first year in fandom--hell, I hadn't even been in fandom a year yet--I was already starting to do what I'd become exclusively, which in itself was a huge jump from Manipulation, my first posted fanfic. And pretty much unconsciously--I remember trying to edit this thing and mixing up my tenses badly, ending up reading out loud to figure out how it was supposed to sound.

Heh. I amuse myself immensely sometimes.

Anyway, chatted with a few people about it in a vague way, because okay, so no one is madly in love with their Very First Ever Fanfic, but how much of a change is there between then and now really? I mean, besides learning the ins and outs of a fannish audience, learning to format properly, learning list rules, written and unwritten, learning how to fight over really ridiculous points of canon, and learning the much despised art of marketing to your audience.

All these things that separate the writer of now and the writer you were at the beginning. Fandom changed me, for better or worse, and even looking at my early fic, I wince because I can see these really odd echoes of later, the bits I kept when I threw out the rest, adding other things and then discarding most of that. The conscious and unconscious decisions and changes I made deciding what kind of writer I'd be. Over the course of about thirty-two or so stories, from Manipulation in Voyager to In a Thousand Miles in X-Men, the sentence structure went from short and sharp to long (perhaps run on sentences, even), dialogue becoming less dominant, thoughts removed from being on their own into a part of the whole. More fluid, I kind of think, and a lot, a *lot* more flowing. I can feel the difference in how I chose to edit--how at first, it took rewrite after rewrite after freaking *rewrite* for me to feel like I captured the mood, and later, I can see the times I started getting it right the first time and editing for structure and word choice only.

It's not that they're horribly bad--though a couple are to me--but that they're so different that it's not easy to make the connection. It'd almost be better if I couldn't see the bits of Later that poke their way out once or twice in a story, where I wrote something Then that fits with Now. It wouldn't be quite so spooky.

I mean, I know nothing is static, nothing living can be, but there's a difference between theoretically knowing your writing has changed and then being faced with someone who wrote with your fingers and behind your eyes that you recognize just enough to freak you out a little.

Heh. Ignore me. I'm kind of enjoying the weirdness of reading what was me and not at all. And picking apart those tense issues. Stupid tenses.


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Tenses are tricky little buggers. I knew full well when I posted Mondrian Chaos that the tenses were wrong during the sex scene, but I just couldn't write present tense sex; it just came out past tense. I have since, a couple times, but it just wouldn't happen at the time.

My first fanfic was in XF and I was about 16. Maybe 15. It's not horrible, but it's not great either. It's very obvious how much more of a romantic I was then.
-Silverkyst

Stupid tenses.

*nods* Tenses are the bane of every writer's existance, especially after spending a few months in the present-tense utopia of SV. Mine are permanently screwed, although at least it's encouraged me to try other styles of writing.

I actually wasn't posting to whine about tenses. I just found the ideas interesting. That deepdown, we don't really change as writers, even though at the time, we think we are taking a leap into the unknown. It's odd just how much of it isn't new, so much as... refined. Like, you've taken the experience and the technique and used it to carve away the excess, the problems and mistakes, the waffle and the ramblings, and walked out as a concentrated, refined version of yourself. Same themes, same basic way of *looking* at the world, but a slightly clearer way of expressing it.

Although, looking at that last paragraph, I don't think I can argue for clarity of expression. *g*

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