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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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i didn't know until today that i have monday off
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
Because I Am Bad at This

Child woke up sick and apparently was very sick on the bathroom door, the floor, the sink, the toilet. When he came to tell me, it being three, I almost thought maybe I would get up? But no. I waved him into bed and told him to cover up the evidence. And also to brush his teeth.

(...the teeth totally make up for the entire I don't feel like cleaning at three AM, right? Right).

*thoughtful* Livejournal parenting communities always make me want to say I let him hunt for his food in the backyard while I obsessively surf ebay for the perfect china cat. It's like a disease, really. I really need to stop letting morbid curiosity get the better of me.

Right. Now onward.

Valentine's Day

svmadelyn's Valentine's Game is up and posted. And thank you to those who said such lovely things about me!

Recs

Actually, I've been bad at tracking this week, though I kept all the windows open. This is for two reasons: one, I read three really really bad fic and one offensively and objectively horrific fic (no one any of you probably know, unless you are chopchica, who is determined to see how much she can traumatize me before midnight every day) and I--have no idea what to do with that. This is a problem; I am trying to keep at least a 90% feedback, and there is no part of me that does not cringe. I mean, the first three, at least I enjoyed myself. The last one I wrote the beginning of a rant on misogyny and blame the victim and really, no one wants that.

But to the stuff I liked! Better!

Perpetual Anticipation, Torchwood, Jack/Ianto. Hot. And sweet. And hot.

Post-Nuptial by rageprufrock - part of the 14 Valentines project, Sheppard/McKay, and sprogs. Plural. Yeah. And a sling. No. Really.

The Unwritten Future by thepouncers - part of Yuletide and an AU of Terminator I. I just--I just melted for this. Beautifully, wonderfully written and a wonderful look at a different future.

Neutral Zone by tx_tart - season three post The Return 1. John and Rodney when they get back to earth.

Blame the Rain by mahoni - Sheppard/Ronon. Some rain, a bit of H, and some bittersweet C. I kind of hurt for them, and hope for them, and wonder if the rain can last forever.

Updates

I moved around some things on my webpage.

Added Feel You Breathe to SGA and put up all three A History of Violence. Also.

Moved Crimes Against Humanity along with A History of Violence to its own page.

Also Strangerverse to its own and Teacher's Pet on its own. I could say this is for some good reason, but really, I hated scrolling that much when I was updating. The link on the page for Teacher's Pet, I have just discovered, has an extra e. I will fix that when I get home.

Meta

Okay, this is because I was just checking a link and hit this by musesfool:

Like, I'm taking a total badfic premise and running with it, and I have a lot of shame about that, more than the fact that it's a SEKRIT INCEST BABY, which I just think is kind of HILARIOUS. I mean, it's genderswap AU incest - I'm not going to cavil at a baby at this point, you know? And it's an AU of an AU. It's like EVERY BAD FANFIC CLICHE all rolled into one. And I think that is what makes me twitchy, way more than the subject matter, which I admit is creepy and wrong, and yet I do love it.

So I guess the thing that makes me shamed isn't the incest or the baby or girl!Sam in and of themselves - it's how much I love those things (in fiction), how they totally hit buttons I didn't even know I had until now - but also, how I know these are the kinds of elements that generally get a story lumped in with badfic, regardless of actual technical or emotional merit.

This is in no way a moral problem for me in terms of content. It's an aesthetic one.


The rest of it is here. Hmm. I am thinking of the fine line between "This is badfic" and "This is fic I do not like" and "This is fic by an author I hate a lot/hurt my friend/eats puppies/didn't leave me feedback/killed puppies while leaving feedback to someone else/whatever" and "This is fic that makes me uncomfortable", but you know, before I had finished my first cup of coffee I found out I am going to writing a definitive story on dragon rape. I have no ground to stand on.

Seriously. What was in that coffee?


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Hmm... I don't even think it's that fine a line between "this is badfic" and "this is fic I don't like" - I can point to large numbers of decent-to-well written stories that just don't work for me, or where I can sort of see where the author is coming from characterization-wise, but it's just too far for me to tilt my head, etc. I don't think those are bad, I just don't like 'em, the way I know my sister makes this awesome broccoli dish that everyone loves but I hate broccoli so I don't like it.

The line between, "This makes me uncomfortable" and "I don't like this" is much harder to distinguish - do I not like it because it makes me uncomfortable? Do I not like what it says about characters I love? If it's well done, I can both dislike and be made uncomfortable and still acknowledge the possibility that the characters I love have the potential to do/be whatever it is in the story, right?

I mean, I haven't actually *liked* any stories where Sam and Dean are actually the serial killers the FBI thinks they are (where they've bought into a delusion and none of it is actually real), but I certainly think that's a valid AU choice, and a good writer could totally move me with that premise, and make me buy it for the length of the story, even though it's a premise I dislike because I don't like to think of Sam and Dean as serial killers, I like them saving people and hunting things, you know? But I wouldn't necessarily say it's a bad story, just one that I don't ever want to read again.

In some ways, there *is*. Certain things--kinks, triggers, special weak spots--appeal to me at times enough to overcome what's essentially not great writing with fantasticaly workable premise. Squicks, etc, same thing in opposite. Now if we're speaking objectively, yes, there's probably a difference. But in fandom, at least, we're a lot more intensely, and openly, subjective in how we frame our feelings about fic. More than that, fandom is, or should be, farther from general literary standards on fiction; there are criteria we use to judge what fic we like that aren't acceptable anywhere else.

(Deleted comment)
*g* It was happy making.

Totally second the rec of "Neutral Zone"!
Love, max

I am thinking of the fine line between "This is badfic" and "This is fic I do not like" and "This is fic by an author I hate a lot/hurt my friend/eats puppies/didn't leave me feedback/killed puppies while leaving feedback to someone else/whatever" and "This is fic that makes me uncomfortable"

I do not like getting into semantic discussions because I tend to either get way, way too deeply involved and then there's blood pressure medications and valium being pushed my way, or I get so annoyed at the uselessness of it all that I throw up my hands and invariably hurt someone when I leave the conversation.

That said, this really, really is a semantic kind of thing. The terms 'badfic' and 'crackfic' are very problematic. Both have a tendency to be used synonymously, which is annoying as they aren't, and different people have slightly different versions of each which can lead to a lot of bad feeling and misinterpretation. Both terms can refer to a variety of different aspects of writing -- characterization, plotting, flat-out skill with words -- and without specifics and a common frame of reference, when someone says 'wow, that was awesome crackfic' what another person hears is 'man, your writing sucks and I just totally invalidated you and I think you eat babies, die, kthnx'.

And yes, I am speaking from wanky, wanky experience.

Does crackfic imply that a story is bad? No, because to me, anyway, crack!fic is when John is a rainbow and Rodney is a unicorn. It's when they turn into penguins and dolphins or Elizabeth suddenly decides that everybody needs to get married right now, yes, including you, I don't care if you're different species, you're marrying! All of those situations are... strange. Even within the confines of a world like Stargate, they're strange. However, they aren't necessarily bad because I have read all of those stories and adored them beyond belief. A good writer will make me forgive a lot of things, particularly if the writer acknowledges it and handwaves and I am so okay with that tactic, because a good writer will get the reader to believe the insanity is possible.

To me, that's crackfic. Badfic is the inability to make that, or even more normal plot lines, work. And even then, it doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy the story or that there was no worthwhile payoff for my time reading it, or the writer writing it.

It's all incredibly, incredibly subjective and I wish we had twenty or thirty different words. Because sometimes it's "omg, that was so badly written and nobody was recognizable but I love it and would like to have it's ficcish babies". And sometimes it's "wow, that was really badly written, but I see potential so I am going to be nice because hey, encouraging people makes me feel like I'm a nice person or something" And sometimes it's "I have no idea what crack you were smoking but share now" And sometimes it's "Okay, put down the pipe and please back away from the small furry mammals".

And sometimes it's probably all of that at once. But all we have to use is 'badfic' and 'crackfic' and neither of those truly encompass anything at all, except for unreliable standards of 'this isn't my standard'.

*cough* you're totally welcome to tell me to shut up at any time *passes over coffee surreptitiously*

Badfic is the inability to make that, or even more normal plot lines, work.

You mean like internal/external logic? I thought that was optional. *flashes back to something she read recently*

You mean like internal/external logic

Not sure what you mean by that? I try to avoid logic, at the best of times. It hates me :)

*G* Mostly just A and B happens and therefore characters X and Y decide to implement C.

As opposed to A and B happens and therefore characters X and Y decide to implement Potatoes. In other words actions and reactions make sense in the context of each other, the characters (which is subjective, but there's bending and then there's breaking), the environment, ACTUAL FACTS (ex: researching first aid) and the larger plot and universe.

You mean solutions to problems that don't necessarily require sex be the first answer? *amused*

Well I'm not ruling out sex as an answer (and really, a lot of this is fiction for fun, so I can handwave a lot in a lot of ways depending), but say-- someone has a broken arm-- and someone else decides that sex is totally the answer-- well no. See?

Hmmm. Honestly? No, that isn't what I mean by badfic. And this comes up against the whole thing where you are logical and rational and look for that, whereas I really don't. I wouldn't know it if it bit me in the ass :)

It's... less regimented than that, to me, maybe. Like, there are plenty of stories that I consider to be badfic not because A and B leading to potato -- that's crackfic, in my mind, because if you can make me believe that Potato is the answer then I will happily munch on potatos (mmm, starch) -- but that there isn't enough support even for A and B leading to C: the writing just isn't there, or the characterization is just so bad that I can't even apply faces to those words, or the sex is just funny it's so bad. It's not mechanics -- or at least, it's not just the mechanics. Sometimes it's the mechanics. And sometimes it's the emotional ennui you get from a story that hits all the mechanical high notes but you just can't bring yourself to even dislike.

Does that answer it? At all? In the realm of being even close?

because if you can make me believe that Potato is the answer then I will happily munch on potatos (mmm, starch)

I think we're talking about two different things, of course if I can convince you that potato is the answer then yes. HOWEVER I think my analogy didn't quite follow through for you. I was going for A, B, C being correct for whatever values of C you can choose, convincing the reader that C was the option that worked is another conversation entirely-- potato would be like the example I used with Jenn. Broken arm therefore Sex. (Now depending on the universe I could probably wank that out, but let's pretend we're on earth and there's no alien tech or magical answers, that kind of congitive dissonance..)

And I'm not really saying it's all mechanics, so much as saying the logic inside the story, why characters do something, the order in which they do something, SHOULD MAKE SENSE in some way. Remember that fic I pointed you to? That's the example I'm thinking of. Character A makes a decision completely ignoring law and logic and saying "we must show trust" even though Character B has been shown to be completely untrustworthy.

I think we're talking about two different things, of course if I can convince you that potato is the answer then yes. HOWEVER I think my analogy didn't quite follow through for you.

I kinda figured :) We tend to have this problem when we break things down, in that, I just flat out don't understand, sometimes, which is all my deal. You use math and my brain breaks :D

so much as saying the logic inside the story, why characters do something, the order in which they do something, SHOULD MAKE SENSE in some way.

Yes! okay, yes, definitely. That is exactly what I was trying to say, only with more vagueness. Make it make sense in the confines of your story, give me that authorial two-step to the right that supports it, and I'm fine with it. But when Inuyasha suddenly shows up at the end of a Stargate story with no story-based support for it -- yeah. No. Badfic, right there.

*grins* OH please, keep going. This kind of makes me wnat to meta when I get home. And I have a lot of tea.

And yes, I am speaking from wanky, wanky experience.

I think there are some terms that should not be used unless the author uses it first, at least-- to their face, though I really think it should apply to a larger area. I mean it depends on how you use it, svmadelyn's crackpipe rating isn't insulting because you see the company of the fic you're keeping.

Oh, definitely. But at the time, I was just baffled that my labeling had been taken so badly. It was only when I tried to fix it that I realized how very differently we used the words, and by then, the damage was done.

It was also one facet for the Monster Extreme Wank That Ate Fandom, but to me, it was the one I focused on the most because I dislike saying 'your kinks suck' when what i really mean is they are not mine, or that 'your writing sucks' when what it means is, i keep wanting to laugh pityingly at you, but you love what you're doing and other people respond, so who the hell am I to tell you not to? I thought, at the time, crackfic would be a bridge.

I was so, so wrong. Appalling wrong, oh my god.

Crackfic at it's most basic is when it really shouldn't work, but does anyway.

Sometimes, it's where it technically didn't work, but there were one or more bits of pure awesome that required the crack, so nobody really cares.

Yes, that is a definition I can accept as well. But it's not quite my definition, either, which is right back to where the problem lies. We each view it a little differently and much like we all (mostly) understand that 'good' is subjective, I don't think we do with 'crackfic'. Probably beacuse it's too loaded a term, as I learned to my serious dismay. Same with badfic. I love and adore a lot of flat-out badfic, but it contains the word bad. How else are you supposed to take it, if you don't have the contextual clues that mean "and I say this with love"? It just doesn't work.

I have to agree with you--the difference between crackfic and badfic, for me, is that if you take a hit of the crackpipe, if you just *accept* that okay, John is a rainbow and Rodney is a unicorn, or Everyone Has To Get Married, or No, Really, Suddenly Justin is a Puppy, then the story makes sense. It works. In the unlikely event that John was a rainbow, he would totally be a rainbow JUST LIKE THAT.

And badfic doesn't ever go there. Badfic may have a crack premise, and it may not, but accepting the premise doesn't make the story make sense, because even as a rainbow, John would not... whatever. I don't know.

Yeah, that is probably a much, much shorter way of phrasing what I see both of those as *g*

See, I like the crackpipe. I am very fond of it, as it gives me all kinds of crazy love to share.

But for all that, I also know people who absolutely believe that crackfic = badfic and calling an author/story that is the highest insult imaginable. And I know people who go around talking about their beloved badfic. The words are slang, at this point, and it's got more to do with the circles you run in than the technical definitions of the word and just. Gets so messy.

And it's worse when you're trying to explain, which was, hey, Jenn's actual point oops, the idea of "this is very good but I still don't like it" as something that doesn't mean negative. Because it shouldn't, but we're all most of us are such defensive creatures that it's how all many of us view it as. Even if we convince ourselves to handle it later, that is the first instinctive response, man, and it makes things even crazier. Because when you say "it doesn't work for me" what people often hear is "badfic" and then. yes. Messy quagmire of badness.

edited to be a little more general since there are people who don't react defensively, because they are clearly cooler than my defensively-motivated ass :)

Edited at 2008-02-15 06:13 pm (UTC)

Are you accusing me of having a point????

*shocked*

No. I am a proponent of reader-interpretation. You must interpret the point and if you think it is awesome, that is author-intention. I like being awesome.

Well, I think you are awesome for having a point, so yes. I do :)

I HAVE FOOLED YOU ALLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Um. I mean, yes, of course. Exactly.

I classify badfic as stories that are way, way over the top. The stories don't even have to be bad; if it goes beyond the realm of anything I can possibly ever imagine (and not a "LOL unicorns" way), and/or attempts to be utterly serious but just comes off as ridiculous, it's badfic. It doesn't mean the author is a bad writer, and it doesn't mean the storyline is bad, it just means the story did not work on a fundamental level. Sometimes it's because the authorial intent did not match the actual story. I've read bad stories by good writers that have been badfic, and I've read good stories by bad writers that have not. Like for example -- and I'm only picking on her because she's the biggest BNF in fandom, and most people would say her work is consistently quality -- Speranza's story where Rodney wants to watch John get a bj from a random Marine, to me, is badfic. It's not a bad story, but it was a fic where I was like, "Whoa! What? Whoa!"

To elaborate on the conversation I was having above.

Crackfic: A premise when stated outright, outside of the story, sounds like it SHOULD NOT WORK. "Today John is a rainbow and Rodney is a unicorn!" (To author of this fic: We use it as an example out of love and adoration! IT HAD SPARKLES!!!) Without any 'story context' that premise sounds absurd. HOWEVER once you read the story, the author does enough work to convince you that premise does indeed work for varying levels of work. I.E. we just accept that John is a rainbow, because somehow the author has managed to convey rainbow like qualities out of an inanimate object AND somehow get John like qualities to mesh with the rainbow like qualities.

The PROBLEM here, as with a lot of fic, is that once you reach this level of possible disbelief, you're going to have a lot of people just not hang in there with you. So to them, the story didn't work, but I don't think it's necessarily badfic. Just not their thing. The problem is getting both reader and writer alike to understand the difference between "I didn't like it" and "That was badly executed" and "Are you sure you didn't copy/paste those names in?"

Badfic is when, even if the basic premise (aliens try and kidnap Rodney) sounds pretty plausible (Rodney's got a lot of skills that so far, Pegasus seems to be lacking in) the execution lacks a fundamental internal logic. A then B, therefore C. Where C CAN be something pretty insane, as long as the author convinces me that C is a decent answer to the events A and B.

Ex w/out crackish ending: Rodney breaks his arm, John splints it in the field, therefore there are minor complications because before Rodney can get back to atlantis he has to run around and possibly fix and or shoot things.

Ex WITH crackish ending: Rodney breaks his arm, John splints it in the field using ancient debris, the ancient debris was really a leftover science project. Therefore Rodney sprouts wings.

Sure, I might have do a little footsie to make that work-- but you can see how it MIGHT.

Badfic would be:

Rodney breaks his arm, John refuses to splint it in the field because Rodney can't take anymore pain, instead he zaps him unconscious and throws him over his shoulder. (without splinting even after he's unconscious) See, no logical progression of thought AND a lack of basic emergency medicine research.

I try to leave feedback? But I always feel badly leaving bad feedback, no matter how well I am trained in diplomatic bad-news giving. So pretty much that person just misses me commenting.

I just hate the idea that anything I said might stop someone from writing. I mean, even if it's horrible and makes me want to scream, they must have enjoyed creating it, so you know, IDIC. So I try to confine myself to tropes that annoy me more than being more specific outside griping to people in chat. *g*

And there really is no way to say "Your fic was a travesty and made me wish for sweet, sweet death. But maybe you'll do better later? And I hope you enjoyed writing it!"

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