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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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continuing on a theme
children of dune - leto 1
In relation to Something's Lost in Translation....

I'm trying to work out if using fic examples would lead to chaos and horror. I went to my log tags and there are a few authors there I'm thinking of as transitional, or ones where I was confused, confused, confused, then oh! Yes! Maybe! Okay! And the thing is? I think all of them are SGA writers as well. As in, I used them to translate for me between what I knew and what I know now (though it's only now I'm getting why I read Eight Sessions by Ces fifteen times--I was home! I knew this style! Expectations were reached!)

No, really. I think it was fifteen times or something. I had it open at work for a few days so I could go back to something I knew and that flowed the way I expected it to flow.

Speaking of--I woke up about two hours ago and wow, smart people! Explaining! My life is better and less schizophrenic just knowing I wasn't having a breakdown.

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I think using specific examples probably would lead places you don't want to go. Even mildly negative discussion of specific fanfic is so frowned upon in fandom and therefore so very rarely done that I feel like people always grasp at the chance to do it when the guilt can be put on someone else's shoulders. I tend to think the feeling goes that if you weren't the first to mention the story you aren't being rude. I think people would be perfectly respectful, just maybe take the discussion places you are uncomfortable with and that's probably best avoided.

I'm not surprised to find you loved Eight Sessions. I do too--it's one of my favorites of hers. But it maybe deconstructs Frasers personality/heroism in ways that are pretty common in treatment of other fannish "heroes" but maybe not as common in DS? Maybe that's why it's more penetrable for you?

I didn't have too much trouble with DS, but then, I came to it in what might be considered a more linear fandom pattern. I came from the sentinel people and ML and usenet communities, not LJ. So it could be different. What I *did* notice is that sometimes authors got so far into Fraser or RayK's dialect (and in this case I'm using it as serious characterization because it went right down to how they spoke) so far that I could barely follow the story and it was so internalized that it was 7 paragraphs of rationalization before thought. And while Fraser's 'dialect' was clearer, sometimes, depending on the author, RayK's tended to sink into this abyss of broken euphamisms, as if overly emphasizing the way he spoke on the show or something. I think I found that MORE consistently in DS than SGA. But I also think I'm finding it more now than then? Maybe? Then again, I remember not being able to handle 8 sessions, possibly for entirely different reasons. For me that was a case of "I KNOW WHAT'S WRONG OMG DO NOT TAKE A BILLION WORDS TO DEAL WITH IT" or something. So it's possibly reading preference. Then again, I was a much younger reader. I haven't gone through Ces's DS page in a few years.

For me, intense character voices was a major draw of the fandom -- Vecchio, Fraser, and Kowalski (not to mention Franny and Turnbull) all had such distinctive voices that I absolutely *lived* for good character voice there, good first-person fiction -- oh, man, I was like a pig in mud, I tell you what.

It wasn't that though, because I enjoyed being able to tell whose POV you were in without being told, it's that sometimes, there was this-- like an author went too far, it became hard for me to understand, too far past the character maybe? And into this place that reveled so far into the possible dialect of the character that they missed the mark and went past it. This was often coupled with paragraphs of intense thought with little or no action. Instead of say, 3 paragraphs of headspace and then plot that moved the story forward.

So it was the combination that really sort of turned me off.

oh, that.

I hated that, too. Though 90% of the time, that was coupled with getting the character voice wrong -- at least, in my experience.

*nod* It didn't always go dense into headspace, but I found there started to be a type of story where the authors took RayK's and Fraser's headspace and just went--- SUPER over thataway and like extrapolated upon an extrapolation of voices and it becomes this-- thing I can barely read because (especially in RayK's voice because they relied heavily on some of his verbal affectations of breaking metaphors and the like) it was so heavily stylized.

He didn't even break metaphors that often -- that was more Frannie's thing, and one of the things that drove me just BAZOO in those kinds of stories.

He lost nouns. It's not the same, DS writers! Jeepers!



YES! I could not figure it out (at the time it was all tv watching so I couldn't easily go back and check) but I just felt like not only was this unreadable but like-- NOT RAY. I did not remember him being so-- dialect. (I am so abusing that word, I'm not using it with its usual definition here, I hope you are following.) Fraser also got so-- I always felt what we heard was so much more an act and people often took it into his headspace in a way that took stuff *I* saw as fucking with Ray (pick a ray any ray) and took it at face value. He became Teyla of the Contractionless! Complete with super strange alien thought processes.

It kind of drove home to me how difficult voice can be -- first, that the characters HAD such distinct voices (and you can see that CKR had a firm grasp on Ray K's voice early on, because even some episodes written for Ray V the voice has clearly been reworked by the actor to fit better with Ray K), which is less common in TV than I'd prefer, and second, that so few fanwriters could cope.

You've read SGA fic with Rodney? The distinctiveness can be as much a problem as not having a distinctive voice, because it's a *lot* easier to take it to parody (which is cool in humor, not so much otherwise). Unfortunately, in dS, Ray and Fraser both get hit with it *hard*.

True -- sometimes I can't decide whether I'd prefer that people not attempt the voice at all, when it goes all wrong.

*thoughtful* You're one of the ones I'm using as transitional, actually. The dS/Sentinel crossover? That one. Well, and the others, but that one was the second one I hit that I felt a click with and it was very like, oh. Thank God. Here. Got it.

Then again, I remember not being able to handle 8 sessions, possibly for entirely different reasons. For me that was a case of "I KNOW WHAT'S WRONG OMG DO NOT TAKE A BILLION WORDS TO DEAL WITH IT" or something. So it's possibly reading preference.

This is pretty interesting.

"Eight Sessions" was not only my intro to DS, it was my intro to slash. I almost emailed Ces a few pages in to tell her that one of her characters kept changing names! But the pacing pulled me in - who were these people? What were they hiding, at every level?

So I think I did the baby bird thing; DS slash became comprehensible, and when I hit SGA slash via Seperis's "Arizona" I again found a good entry point into a fandom (and there was Ces!)

OTOH, I find most TS slash in general, and Ces's TS slash in particular, pretty incomprehensible. Did she change between her TS and DS writing? Or am I just very invested in a particular view of the relationships in TS? I just don't know.

Hmm. I don't know if I can describe it other than I get really frustrated with stubborness, which is a huge generalization and not always true at all. It's a little like how sometimes you don't want to see comic book movies because they often spend like 50% of the movie becoming the Hero? Or the Villian? So I already KNOW the general storyline so unless it's pleasingly different or just not annoyingly the same, I'm good.

With 8 sessions it was a little, "been there, done that" and that could again be me, or the order in which I read things or POSSIBLY remnants of some TS shining through. There were some heavily heavily recced TS writers I could never read, but it was far more about what I said above about intense POV and paragraph after paragraph of headspace. With 8 sessions I remember just feeling frustrated and not in a good and happy way with Fraser because you KNEW what the ending was, at least to a large extent, you KNEW what the problems were to a large extent and still we have a bunch of words between the beginning and the end telling me about it. It's possible I wanted a different story at the time.

The interesting thing is that I pretty much was Live with canon and fandom at the time of season 3/4 Sentinel b/c Ces's TS fic (THEN, maybe not now) made lots of sense, but DURING live canon there's a lot of reaction, deep deep reaction to wanting to fix certain things and I remember there were several just-- plot elements that were kind of throwaway (with the exception of the finale) that fandom latched onto and needed fixing (as always) but when you lived through it, it's not so hard to access.

Hmmm... Maybe if you emailed the authors of the stories in question and talked it over with them first? Sort of... preempting the game of telephone "She said what?!?" that can lead to squabbles. Not that you *need* to or it would be wrong not to. Just that if you were really concerned, you could pick authors who are still in fandom and who are cool with it.

hmmm...this totally got my panties in a bunch*g*. I had to go and read your previous two posts so as to actually understand what was this all about....and I think I get it now*scratches her head while searching for the right words* you see...I also got into this fandom(through fanfic first!) couple of months ago and so I didn't have any kind of order by which I read dS fiction(I started with cesperanza's fics cause they were recommended to me as the best and I liked it insanely-8 sessions, omg*g*) so I noticed different styles of writing since I was reading it in random order, but I have to admit I thought nothing about it because I experienced this phenomenon in other fandoms so I have to ask;why is it bothering you so much??*is curious* I mean, it is very difficult to like all styles of writing/characterization;everyone has preferences,right?? I'm a newbie in LJ –related issues in general, but I'm really baffled. If you think my question is....umm,redundant, don't hesitate to say it*g* my mind often leads me to weird and silly places*headdesk* just....why were you so freaked out??if there's one thing I've learned is that everyone has their own vision;sth that is absolutely cannon and goes without saying for you is out of nowhere for somebody else who is reading the same thing..it comes down to preferences,y/y????

Because I am now wildly curious about what exactly you have been reading, I would love to see some examples. But on a non-personal level, I think it would be a whole can of chaos and horror-shaped worms to open.

And it might not even help me to get what you meant because my own experience of them might be so far away from yours I still wouldn't get where your reaction came from!

I've got your analogy right here...

analogy, metaphor, descriptor...as RayK would say, whatever butters your muffin....

and you said it in your post today: Style.

as in, Fashion.

The stories you had problems with? You said they were well-written, by authors you trusted, but they still felt somehow "off". My thought is that it's all do to fashion. After all, the stories were written in a different fandom, at a different time. It's like that beautiful dress you wore in the 80s (shaddup you whipper-snappers, I was a grownup in the 80s. deal.). You haul it out of the closet, thinking, "that was a *gorgeous* dress! I could *totally* wear that to the party tonight." But, no. It's *still* a gorgeous dress. Except. Shoulder pads out to *there*. And that neckline that looked so good with Big Hair doesn't work with today's hairstyles. And...paisley?

But, paisley was *in*, was *fashionable* in the 80s, and lots of really gorgeous, beautiful clothes had some very nice paisley. and it was very tasteful then. Today? not so much.

But don't laugh too hard at the paisley and the big shoulders and the big hair. One day, your fic will have 80s hair too. It may still be beautiful, but it may be out of fashion....

(oh, and those fics that don't seem to be "off"? you've heard of timeless fashion. That little black dress from the 50s that you could wear today with the right accessories. It never tried to be fashionable, it transcends fashion. It just works.)

Re: I've got your analogy right here...

Entirely so: fanfiction styles go in and out of fashion. And, sad to say, what I would characterize as brilliant 15 years ago doesn't usually live up to today's standards when I re-read it.

And remember: writing fanfic while the show is still in production means you're writing from the standpoint of where the show is NOW. I think it's one of the reasons why DS fandom, especially, is so splintered. The RayV fans who were writing terrific scenarios to bring him together with Fraser just got shunted aside by canon at the casting change.

Re: I've got your analogy right here...

Very good point about open-cannon versus closed-canon fanfic. The term "Jossed" was coined just because of the vagaries of trying to write fic in open-cannon fandom, where, for all you know, your fic's main character can be killed off (or go to Vegas!)

what I would characterize as brilliant 15 years ago doesn't usually live up to today's standards when I re-read it.

yes, but are you implying that "today's standards" are somehow better? they're not. They're just more in tune with our current sensibilities. One day the fic written today will also be just as out-of-fashion as that 15-year-old fic. That old fic may still be brilliant, just not fashionable. OR, it may have been very fashionable for the time and that was why you liked it (IOW, it may not have been as brilliant as you thought at the time, it may just have been terribly fashionable.)

Re: I've got your analogy right here...

I think that's a terrific analogy -- the best one yet. Yesterday's "cool" and "edgy" and "awesome" is today's passé and boring.

I also hadn't really considered what a huge difference it makes to work in an open-canon show (as noted in the comment above mine), in terms of what it looks like from a later perspective. I was noodling around with that idea on the other post, because season one SGA fic is almost impossible for me to read now -- not fic that's set in season one, but fic that was written during season one. It's just too different; the character relationships feel entirely wrong for how I think of them now. In some ways, with some characters, the same is true of season two fic, also -- I'm thinking specifically of Ronon here, because there were some stories I read with just the first two seasons under my belt that struck me as perfect Ronon characterizations, and now they seem wildly inaccurate (including my own stories written at the time).

Re: I've got your analogy right here...

It's just too different; the character relationships feel entirely wrong for how I think of them now. In some ways, with some characters, the same is true of season two fic, also -- I'm thinking specifically of Ronon here, because there were some stories I read with just the first two seasons under my belt that struck me as perfect Ronon characterizations, and now they seem wildly inaccurate

because you got Jossed, yes? Canon gave us more information about the character(s), and we were forced to evaluate them in a different light. Definitely I would agree about Ronon. And, I think, Sheppard too, with pre- and post-Outcast information. The John Sheppard who grew up as a rich kid is a different guy with a different characterization than the John Sheppard who grew up as a military brat (which was the characterization I've seen most often in fanfic, and which fanfic authors have done brilliant things with) Also the divorced Sheppard of post-Sunday is a different guy from the pre-Sunday Sheppard, who didn't have a failed marriage in his background....

Re: I've got your analogy right here...

Well, I'd always though of Jossing as relating to specific plot events and details (writing a story that deals with Sheppard's parents, only to have it contradicted by canon) rather than the fuzzier details of characterization. But you're right, now that I think about it -- it's a very similar thing.

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