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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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you can tell it's my day off; i am overthinking everything
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
I am irritated by this fic I'm not writing.

It's--well, the thing is, it was one of those I started for ltlj just to see where it would go. Its basic premise was "John is injured" and then I went from there.

And it went--well, somewhere, but not anywhere with a coherent reason, if that makes sense. It feels like a cross between a scene from a longer fic and a fic that's set after something else--like a bad McShep breakup, maybe. Or something huge and strange that no one can talk about, like a spiritual experience or the end of Atlantis or a Wraith conquest or something. I know something happened there; reading it now, it's all over the characters. Something happened. Something huge. Something that maybe broke them and they're running on habit and desperation.

The thing is, when I wrote it, I don't remember that being there; I remember thinking how to get them back to Atlantis. But reading it, I don't feel Atlantis in them at all. And I don't know if this is after, if this is a different Atlantis, if the world changed when I didn't pay attention, but none of them are acting like explorers right now and I'm not sure what the hell that means.

It's actually creepy, to be honest. I've written things and didnt' realize what I was writing before, but usually someone tells me afterward. This is the first time I noticed my mind is apparently on a different track from my fingers and I don't know this story. I'm not sure I ever knew it.



I talk about the fics most often that I understand when I wrote them, but the ones I didn't are hard to discuss. Standing in the Common Spaces--the entire thing was a novella about grieving and coping and learning to live beyond it. I thought I was writing a Clark/Lex through Peter's eyes and I didn't write that at all.

I wrote how Peter had loved and lost and didn't know how to move on, and I didn't know Mary Jane was dead until Lex said it. I didn't even know Harry was dead for most of the story. I didn't realize Peter was not just a mirror, but a messenger as well. And I hate writing deathfic, so that stopped me for like, two days. I went back through the story and found all those messages Peter left (I thought Mary Jane was out modeling, for God's sake) and when he timed it, and I keep thinking I must have known, I must have, must have known it ended this way, that he came to Metropolis because it was so hard to pretend anymore in New York.

Eighteenish in SGA--deaging yay! And then I realized why and it surprised me. They were Ascended. Of course. But I didn't know what Rodney did until he climbed in that pod. Wider Than The Sky--not about John the president. It was John becoming the man who would, in another universe, lead a miltary base and fight the Wraith, someone who found the strength to be more than just a politician, and fight for something he believed in. Rodney became more than a manager for politicians, but a believer in something bigger than himself, in a *person*. And I can't even talk about the The Principle of Exclusion because then I get a headache, but that one still drives me nuts on a variety of levels, not least of which is that I disliked Rod, hated John, and still felt so bad for both of them trapped in what the world saw them as instead of trying to find out who they really were. apple_pi gave teh most awesome feedback when she said how horrifically uncomfortable it was to read--God, it *was*, and it was just as bad if not worse to write. It hits my embarrassment squick for both of them constantly and the only thing that really got me through it was that eleveninches told me to.

You totally think I am joking, but I'm so not. Which is part of the reason that I love And All the World Beneath as a story but it failed for me as a writer; I didn't learn anything particularly new while writing it. Well, I learned to write horror. It's--irritating.

So. To set my own worries about my mental state at rest; when this happens to you, when the story is something you didn't know you were writing, what do you do? And feel free to name the fic and how.

*****

Reminder: The elections for the lj advisor position are running this week and it's important that lj users vote for a candidate to represent us. For more information, read here bethbethbeth's summary of the election, the candidates, and the importance of fans participating. And don't forget to VOTE.


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I didn't know they'd just broken up before the memo in Lesser Wars. In fact the entire structure of the relationship had been envisioned completely differently. The original idea was that they both were totally and completely in love with each other and they knew it and there had probably been a single night of some heavy kissing but had agreed that it was too risky for a lot of reasons and had decided to be Friends.

Originally the scene where John tells Rodney about the memo and they drink was about freedom permission, but not because of the entire backstory that was actually written but because it was enough of a risk derailment that they wanted to take it. I think the story works better the way it came out, where they spend an entire lifetime in conflict with what they want, what they think they want and what they can have and what they think they can have.

I like the version you posted a lot better; it works thematically with DADT being repealed extremely well.

And you know, that's one of my favorite stories.

I like it better too. If you remember (because I was sending you bits as I was writing) it actually got written linearly, i.e. the order of the scenes as they are now is the order that I wrote them in, so right at the beginning I didn't know, I had a feeling as it went on (and John's little breakdown was probably my first clue, though I didn't realize it until later) by the time the first flashback sex scene was written the new theme was firmly in place. It does work a lot better and gives it a much nicer emotional resonance.

Though I didn't know they had 'broken up' days before until very near the end. I wish I could claim I had the idea from much earlier, but it didn't gel till then and then I went back and smoothed it in a bit more.

Edited at 2008-05-26 08:03 pm (UTC)

This happened to me once before (and only once, thankfully, though there are details that keep sneaking in and stories that change genre entirely when you're not looking *coughs*), with An Excercise in Pointlessness. What I wanted to write was a strained or broken friendship because of a misunderstanding and an attempt at finding out if that friendship had stayed the same if they'd just went with the whole aliens-made-us-do-it thing.

Except. John reacted to the news of Rodney wanting to have sex with him with a startling amount of homophobia. And instead of having quit the team or lashing out from hurt feelings, three quarters to the story it turned out that Rodney was dead. And he wasn't supposed to be, except he'd never been in the this-is-now storyline and his death was, in hindsight, obvious in all of John's reactions.

So I just went with it. I almost always do when stories do a sudden jump to the left - they usually know better where they're headed than I do.

OOOH! Really? I remember that story!

I need to re-read it and see if I can trace the differences.

I think it's most obvious in the very first segment (uh, to me, that is), where John's still kind of enthusiastic about the possibilities of a time bubble. If I had known Rodney was dead, I probably would have written his reactions a lot bleaker.

Because it's not like I edited the beginning after I found out about the ending. Ahem.

(Deleted comment)
Oh wow. *winces* Yes, that has happened to me, the giving up part in disgust? Gah. It's *frustrating*.

That happened to me with the story I was writing for the sga_genficathon. I knew John died and ascended (sort of)--that's where I began--and was pretty gung-ho about the story, pounding out about 2,500 words in two days. And then I realized that John was being set up by the Ancients to be their hitman, more or less, and was so completely thrown for a loop that I dropped out of the ficathon. I simply could not write the story, and couldn't come up with another one in the amount of time I had left.

And then I posted what I had written and everyone said "ooh, I really like that one", so now I'm trying to finish it because I'm a sucker for feedback. Also, I'm done being shocked now, and can actually pay attention to the story again.

...and now I must go see that one very soon. Ascended hit man. That just--works for me.

Well, you can read the already-written bits here and here, but it's still got a ways to go before it's finished.

Sometimes stories go in different directions for me, too. I didn't think anyone was going to die in Seasons of Cloud and Shadow until I was nearing the end and realized that was what I was setting up the whole time.

I'm working on another fic right now that started simply as wanting to write a Kakashi fic with snow themes that I thought would be a very small flash fic. Then I thought it became about how he nearly died and came back, but everyone's reactions were really off and Kakashi was very . . . broken. And then I realized that not only had someone important to him died, but he'd killed him. I've only managed a couple more tiny scenes since then, but I think I know where I'm going and how it's going to end now that I've figured out the motivations of most of the people around him and what's actually going on.

*winces* That death thing can hit out of nowhere.

Kakashi? Anime?

Manga, but there's also an anime, though it's been paced to stay behind the manga. My year in Tokyo dragged me back into anime/manga fandom. I mean, DOUJINSHI. How was I supposed to resist?

Eeeep!

Kakashi killing someone important to him would be really hard to write.

Is it posted yet? Cause since it's hard to write, that just means I really want to read it!

LOL

And Yes, Jenn - It's Naruto - remember I sent you the picture when I was talking about pairing Kakashi and John Sheppard in a naruto/SGA crossover?

:-)

It was easier when I didn't realize what I was writing. I'm only about 3K into it, but it's still intended as a shorter piece, so there shouldn't be that much more (I hope). I'm also working on several other things at the same time, so I'm not sure when it's going to be finished, though.

Your talk of a Naruto/SGA crossover intrigues me. Is there fic for it? If so, might you have links? *hopeful*

There is no fic yet, but I am playing around with the idea very seriously and may make this a summer project.

I sent Jenn a fanart jpg showing Kakashi to excellent effect in order to illustrate that John/Kakashi would the ultimate-gravity-defying-hair pairing!

Hee!


I would highly encourage that and hope you don't mind that I've friended you in hopeful anticipation. Also, we seem to have at least two fandoms in common going by this exchange, and I don't think I know that many other people who are in both Naruto and SGA fandom.

Well - I haven't written anything in naruto fandom yet - but I'm hoping to this summer.

I've friended you back, so you can access my SGA fic if you like.

:-)

I don;t think that's ever happened for me - possibly because I structure and plan out my longer stories something chronic, and planning stages are sometimes akin to a giant jigsaw puzzle. Nano last year was 'well, if I put this bit here, and this bit here... oooo, that means I can do this!'

The only time I ever didn't have something go to plan was when I made two minor characters sleep together for a joke when they were drunk. And got drowned in feedback so I did it again later for a laugh, and it was funnier to keep them yelling 'we're not a couple!' even though they kept waking up naked. Was vaguely amused that it didn't affect the plot in any way, shape or form.

Yeah. My plotbunnies aren't allowed to sneak up on me.

*stares at you* I totally am not resenting you at all right now.

*sulks*

See, I get that too -- it's all been so well-played-out in my head by the time I actually go, A)"Ooh, that's a writeable story, there," and B) start actually trying to get it down into words, I already know where it's going and what it's doing. My rough drafts pretty much are the final versions.

And the flip side is that my productivity is almost nil, because the plots that reach the A stage tend to be something like 5% of what goes through my head, and nowadays I hardly ever reach the B stage.

This happens to me all the time, to one degree or another. I'm generally pretty happy about it, though, since it tends to make writing so much more fun, and occasionally saves my bacon. In any case, my best bet is usually just to give in, but sometimes I wind up putting the story down for long enough that I can read it with semi-fresh eyes, and maybe view it more as an audience than as a reader.

The two best examples I've got are this thing for SPN and this one for FoB. With Somatic, the entire character whose perspective it's from surprised the hell out of me. I thought I was writing about some low level gangster, banally mean and angry, right up until I really, really wasn't. The second one... I had no idea where Patrick was until he turned up, but there's foreshadowing in there that I definitely didn't add after the fact. Hell, as far as I can tell, the whole story only works with that ending in mind, so it had to be in there somewhere, but I'll be damned if I know where. *shrug*

Occasionally, I worry that there's not only a second personality lurking around all Fight Club-style in my head, but also that it is smarter than me. If I've got to have a crazy mind twin, why can't I be the clever one? *pouts*

Occasionally, I worry that there's not only a second personality lurking around all Fight Club-style in my head, but also that it is smarter than me. If I've got to have a crazy mind twin, why can't I be the clever one? *pouts*

Totally with you there. I have had that exact feeling.

Wow, I just reread Somatic yesterday. Or day before yesterday, whatever. That wasn't the original plan? Did you do much editing to the beginning after you realized it? Because it totally all hangs together so well.


And yeah, my stories often go crazy wild different on me. Reason #565893590 why I don't post WIPs.

Hi! Sorry I'm so behind in getting back to you; I've been traveling the last couple of weeks, and my internet access has been decidedly spotty.

Thanks so much for coming back to Somatic. People rereading stuff is my biggest tickled pink button ever. *g*

Did you do much editing to the beginning after you realized it?

Not really, actually. I had the basic idea in my head when I went in, but I don't really do outlines or the like, so the whole writing process works out as an adventure. I tend to write somewhat stream-of-conscious-y, and then clean it up afterward if necessary. With Somatic, I wrote the first few paragraphs without paying much attention, and then realized that the voice it was coming out in wasn't anything like what I expected. I got a little attached to James, after that, and by then there was no going back. *g*

Reason #565893590 why I don't post WIPs.

Oh, man. I have a twisted kind of admiration for people who can do that without fear. I'm convinced that if I ever tried it, I would totally jinx the hell out of myself and never be able to put two words together coherently again.

I'm writing an SPN / Underworld crossover-fusion-type-thing that I had no idea was a crossover until the very end of Part 1, when Dean opens his mouth and addresses the guy in the shadows by name.

I'm not even sure what it was supposed to be: I think I'm finding out as I go along, like my fingers know more than my brain does. Though that's par for the course.

hi! here from the sv_ledger, i hope you don't mind.

what you describe happens to me, as well, and it's a relief to hear that it happens to other people. i think usually this happens when i'm just writing with no story in mind, just sort of...flexing the fic muscle?

do you ever work with outlines or notes? and if so, do you think that cuts down on the surprising places a story goes? because i sometimes feel that having bones over which to stretch an idea limits the wandering. but otoh, i've had people pre-audience things and point out that character X is creepy or threatening, where i hadn't seen it, or symbol Y recurs at odd points that made the reader think something totally different was happening. things i'd not necessarily seen or intended... which is always fascinating, in its own way.

but yeah, stepping back from one's own story and seeing it go somewhere new and surprising? that's always the weirdest feeling. it's kind of cool, too.

I think half my fics are written like this, but I actually encourage it, since a lot of times I have a beginning or an end or a scene and that's it. I basically wait for the story to tell itself to me. For instance, I didn't know till the very end of Girl Next Door, how complicit Chloe was in everything.

Of course sometimes I know exactly what's going to happen from beginning to end, but I find if I don't write those really fast, I get bored with them, because I already know the story.



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