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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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fic quotes everywhere
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
Backdated from diaryland.
Added: 5/1/2008

*****

There's this word that we use called bandwagon. Watch me jump onto it.

Jane St. Clair calls for fic quotes

Every story has one really good line if the author has anything resembling skill. It's pretty much a given, but I tend to really go into some strange form of ecstacy when an author gives me a line so good it ends up not only sitting in my memory, but literally inspiring me to write.

Here's one especially that's probably going to be in my head forever. The entire story is excellent. Min's a gifted writer with a true talent for drawing her characterizations very sharp and bright. The story drew me for about a dozen reason, but the reason I remember it best is pretty much the same reason I recommend it to anyone and everyone--the way to use sex as more than a really hot moment, but also to redraw what a character and a relationship actually is. The sex in this story is so utterly natural, such a part of the development, the plot, the characters themselves, that if I could use ONE example of sex for a good reason, this would be it.

Body Memory Minisinoo, Movieverse, Jean POV

I get dressed, set the bagels where he'll see them when he wakes, and write an invisible note on his bare chest with my finger. Two words. "Love you."

But he knows that. I wrote it already on every inch of his skin. I wrote it with my lips and my fingers, my legs and my cunt that held him enclosed. He'll remember when he wakes. He'll carry my love with him to his last test, his mind free to think because he has body memory. Sex isn't always about love. But sometimes, it is.

The last two lines pretty much sum up everything a stable sexual/romantic relationship should be. I don't recommend this just as excellent light reading--it's a wonderful drawing of the person of Scott Summers.

*****

Bishclone AKA Kat Hughes is possibly one of the single most talented writers I've ever had the privilege of knowing. Purely lyrical, a stylist in the least pure form of the word. She doesn't write for style, she writes to tell a story, and the style is almost accidental, almost organic, which is incredibly rare and so natural that you never feel like she's trying to manipulate with everything she writes. I'd pretty much say that anything Kat writes is pretty much a must read, whatever the fandom, but this is one of my absolute favorites for the imagery she cuts, the person she creates, the mood she invokes in only a few simple sentences.

The story in itself is amazing, hard, a rough look at a younger, near-insane Jean Grey and a far less than perfect Xavier.

Seventeen, Kat Hughes, Movieverse, Xavier POV

When she was drunk, which wasn't often, she would sing lullabies, mixing them with acid jazz acoustic tumbles, whiffs of electric guitar riffs.

She chewed gum. Pink elastic gum that wrapped itself around teeth and words. Fuck almost becoming saccharine blessing, cute a seeming curse.

She never wore black lipstick. Too bourgeois for the girl who shot up in the bathroom at the Hilton.

The high never lasted too long. One moment, you were friend and confidante, lover and sweetest, sacred child. The next, you were nothing, vacant space, or waste of air, a name once rolled over lazy tongue.

She fabricated childish tears like lies of loves, and loves of lies.

She smoked cigarettes like she gave blowjobs. All lips and cosmetics. All high-class and once-only.

Somedays, she wore a leather jacket with the words 'Welcome Death' on the back. The skull beneath would smile at you, amused by her forced vulgarity, empty slogan and Rolling Stone in her back pocket, folded, neatly, so as not to crease...

She wore 501s without holes.

Her hair was red. Wild. If this was sex then she was orgasm; leather wrapped in her porn-mag sensibilities.

She was a checkout clerk, junkie whore.

She wouldn't serve alcohol to kids. Said, back home, in some southern backwater, she had two of her own.

No one knew that she was seventeen.

I always loved her.


I've written several stories under her influence trying for something close to the sheer raw energy in Kat's writing and have never come close. EVERYTHING she writes is full of single, brilliant moments like this, when you get the entire sensory experience. Kat can now be found in Alias, so run stalk her.

*****

Darkstar, who I think has written for three fandoms now, is pretty much a prosaic poet. Well, she's a poet too, and its influence is spread almost effortlessly over every piece of prose. She doesn't just spit words on a page to create a story--every word, every sentence, is chosen for it's ability to carry on whatever amazing vision is lurking in her head. There are no wasted words, no filler, nothing but pure liquid feeling and she draws every emotion with skill and delicacy and true understanding of the power of words to be a hell of a lot more than just writing on a page.

This story in particular has always hurt me in the right way. I haven't been able to read more than a couple of times--it hurts, and the sense of inevitability that hangs over it from the first word to the near-destined ending is never going to leave you. But in a way, she never advertised falsely--you weren't surprised how it ended, you knew how much you were going to hurt, and you did it anyway. It's a test of her skill that she made me want to break my heart like that.

Yes, I cried. Sue me.

Save the Last Dance for Me, Darkstar, Movieverse, Rogue POV

In my head, there are violins and lights strung over water and glittering ballrooms with golden chandeliers. In my head, there is no blood and no guns and no end of the line. There is only him, and me, and the last dance of the evening before we go back to our fireplace and the bed that just might be big enough for two.

"I'm sorry." His whisper tiptoes through my ear to intrude upon my dreams.

"For what?"

"We were supposed to be free."

I rest my forehead against his chest, drinking in the strength of his heart. "We are free."

He presses a kiss onto the top of my head, and for one more long moment, we dance. Swirling, turning, touching. Living.

Then he moves his lips next to my ear and tells me how he wants to die.

And later....

"My name is Marie." I said, rising slowly to my feet, burning my eyes into theirs as my hand lifts the gun toward them. "And I remember."

And from her story Sayyadina (I will get damn link soon)....

She looks like the kind of girl who would smile just to see it land on someone else's face. He remembers his question of love, and then imagines that if he was going to risk it, it would only be for someone like her.

Someone who threw random smile across crowded rooms.

The jukebox winds down its song, slow, soft. He hasn't yet found the ability to break her gaze.

The music disappears, cut off into the next request, a heavy guitar number that grates on his nerves.

By this time, she has turned away, or he has turned away, or both of them at once. It's dark in the room, it's hard to tell.

He fishes his cigar out of his pocket, strikes the match on his jeans, walks out the door.

There is the passing notion that he has seen her somewhere before, that he remembers her from something insubstantial like a dream or a past life, if he believed in that sort of thing. Which he doesn't.

But I make sure he knows her name is Marie.


*****

She's good

Next author.

Molly always, always, always amazes me. Cool, razor-drawn prose, but what gets me every time is how clearly she sees the characters, probably more clearly than they can see themselves. There's a clarity to her writing like she's carefully placing us with then in the character's head. Molly's a good read for any and all fandoms, and here's an excellent example of why I really, REALLY can't forget her.

Sevening, Molly, Movieverse

She was a young twenty-five and had spent eternity in a hazy backwoods bar.

And in a little patch of mountains in British Columbia, where civilization wasn't so much a word as a rumor, she liked it against the bathroom sink. She liked it all halfway-- half-undressed, half-obscene, half-seated on the dingy discolored porcelain as he pressed one hand to the mirror where his face would have shown up and wrapped his other arm around her waist.


You really only need that line with the halfways--the physical, the spiritual, the emotional condition all neatly compressed into a single line. Powerful stuff, especially when you're done reading and remember that best of all. It's--GOOD.

And in Smallville....

Once and Again, Molly, Smallville, Clark POV

"Lex," you say suddenly. "What do you do when you screw up really bad?"

Lex pauses. He moves closer and is pressing just by brushing your shoulder. "I cover my tracks in a hurry," he tells you evenly. "It's the Luthor way, after all."

"It's not mine."

You don't move when he touches your arm, leans in. "Must be nice, to not need to."

"What do you mean?"

"You leave tracks that people are willing to ignore."


And isn't that last line probably the single best description of Clark out there? Wow.

*****

Te.

Okay, right, like you thought I'd skip out on this one, but Te doesn't have that single-line effect on me. Everything in her art is the force of entirety, everything in her fic drawing together, so it's pretty damn rare I find a single line that hits me very hard. Usually, the entire damn STORY hits me very hard and doesn't give me a lot of time to dissect it looking for any single thing.

But. Exceptions. Of course.

Benediction, Te, Smallville

A moment of stillness in front of a curtained window. Indifferent dimness of winter day. It may or may not be dark outside. Lex could light a city.


Te does a LOT with perspective--she once said she writes third person POV so close it might as well be first. Which is probably one of the best descriptions of her style choices possible--all the power of third without the limitations, all the immediacy of first with the ability to move beyond the five senses of the character in question. It's not, contrary to popular belief, an easy way to write, though it sure as hell seems like it when you read someone like Te, who does it effortlessly.

How characters view things are important, and Te ruthlessly takes advantage of that, using it to build the other characters in truly amazing ways. We see Lex through Clark's POV as a mystery, but still perhaps comprehendible through him. She's heavy on physical, always tells us where the characters are, what they're doing.

Clark nodded, and the pacing started, or maybe it had been going on for a while. That sort of motionless pacing, pacing beneath the skin.

Lex's skin nothing but a thin pale layer over bundled and corded tension.


If anyone can find a better way to build the image of a tense person, I'd like to see it.

*****

Shallot. One of the few authors that I have this insane urge to just send random begging letters asking to just write ANYTHING, give me a damn paragraph or a sentence and I'd be happy. Crisp, almost coolly written, and her characters always seem so intensely real.

Waiting for Yes, shallot, Smallville

Clark didn't look at him. Looked back down at his hands instead, thought about how it would feel to put them around Lex's throat and squeeze, just for a second. Treason and murder in the first degree all wrapped up into one, cold as the dirt they'd put Lana into, and it would be over so, so quick. He hadn't done it for Lana. He wasn't sure if he could do it for Lois, for Jimmy, but he could try.


Pretty, pretty, pretty.

The entire story is chock full of little gems like that, from descriptions of Lex to that feeling of almost relieved surrender to inevitability. The hopelessness is art. You can't deny anyone anything who makes you want to stop hoping.


And when Lex slid home in him and pressed his thumbs hard into the hollows of Clark's hips, it was as perfect as if he'd never walked away in the first place, as if Lex had spent the last ten years mapping out his body every night. He'd never wanted anyone else like this, not even close, but he'd tried, he'd done the right thing, he had walked away. No one could blame him now, no one could blame him for moving, for pushing up to meet every thrust, for sobbing and twisting and jacking himself hard and fast, the way Lex had always loved to watch him do it, the way he hadn't done it in years because it made him remember too much.


Yes. Just like that. *nod*

*****

(I) Forget, Elizabeth, Smallville

The first time was in his office, that very night he asked me in his oblique way. So easy, the way he set it up. I looked like my mother, my adored mother. Didn't I want to take her place?

Of course that wasn't it. Not for him, not for me. She was gone, and had been for a long time. This was about him and me. I wanted him to love me. He didn't. He...doesn't. I thought he would. I thought--I thought that he wanted everything. I thought he wanted to own me, wanted to stamp me with himself everywhere.

Now I realize he was probably just bored.


Onlist or in blog or hell, I'm not sure where, someone pointed out that future-sociopath Lex's head must be a damn disturbing place to spend quality time. Lex is all about hiding things, not just from other people, but from himself as well. Elizabeth amazed me in X-Men movieverse in all of her stories--the L/Rs, the S/L, and I read everything she wrote in Roswell, even though I NEVER even watched more than five or so episodes of the show, only because she wrote it. This particular trek into Lex disturbed me most because it could be the closest to accurate in fanfic in that way that I've always hoped isn't accurate at all. Elizabeth uses style for a particular reason--the fragmentation of this story, the way the pieces don't fit quite right, the edges that don't always end up straight--this is a Lex that could be there, beneath the surface of the Lexes we all end up writing.

She tends to do this in everything she writes, though, so it shouldn't be a surprise--stripped down to touch at the really dark spots and make them depressingly real, vivid, and harsh. It's--dark in a way that doesn't follow the usual definition of dark at all.

Okay, see, I have pages of these things, but I like being able to get these down all at once. In L/R, I wrote three quote games for fanfic, and I'm beginning to wonder if I could do the same in Smallville. Huh.

But anyway. There you go. This isn't all of them or even most of them, but it's a start of the list.