kindkit: Captain Kirk writing on a PADD, text: "And then they had sex. The end." (Star Trek TOS: Kirk writes fic)
[personal profile] kindkit
Some answers to the 40-questions writing meme. Feel free to ask me more if you want.

[personal profile] st_aurafina asked for 31. Do you take liberties with canon or are you very strict about your fic being canon compliant?

It depends on which parts of canon. I think I'm quite strict about characters keeping their canonical personalities and speech patterns; if they don't act and speak like themselves, it's not really fanfic to me. I also value the canonical situation and worldbuilding. I don't think I've ever written an AU that changed those fundamental things, and even as a reader I've pretty averse to coffeeshop AUs and that sort of thing. I'm especially wary of AUs that affect characterization by altering crucial facts of the characters' lives. To cite a common example, an Erik Lehnsherr who was not a Holocaust survivor would be an utterly diferent person.

On the other hand, I really like stories that explore either a canonical AU (one of my favorites of my own Buffy fiction is set in the apocalyptic world of the episode "The Wish") or what would have happened if an event in canon had turned out differently. And I love "untold stories" that happen within canon but make it look different--they're hard to write and I haven't created a lot of them, but I like them.

I'm not well suited to canons that are huge, contradictory, and full of retcons, because I get overwhelmed and frustrated trying to figure out what happened and make everything make sense. Multiverses help, as in Doctor Who, but not always enough: I'm still annoyed that TV-Who mentioned companions from the Eighth Doctor audios, making them TV-canon, but left my darling Fitz (from the novels, in which perhaps not coincidentally the Doctor is vastly less heterosexual than in the audios) out in the cold. Similarly, I prefer to write in closed canons so I know what I've got to work with and that it won't be jossed a month or ten years from now.

As for canonical sexualities, it depends. I would never write a canonically gay or lesbian character as straight and I don't like it when other people do it. But if it can be managed, I will gladly write presumed-straight characters as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. I don't think it's hypocrisy, because 1) queer characters are still drastically under-represented in fiction, 2) there's no pressure on real-life straight people to try to turn LGB, whereas there is pressure on queer people to try to be straight, and 3) most people who identify as LGB have thought hard about it, whereas because of cultural pressure a lot of people assume their own straightness and only realize later that they're not. And even though "everyone is gay" fanfic gets laughed at, I completely understand the appeal, if only to make up for all those movies/books/tv shows in which everyone is presumed straight.

[personal profile] lilliburlero asked for 14. What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever come across?

The worst writing advice that was personally directed to me came from my high school writing teacher, who said I should stop writing science fiction and fantasy and write (more worthy, it was heavily implied) realistic fiction. Since my grade was in her power I couldn't afford to ignore her, and anyway I did rather take it to heart. I was a working-class kid desperately striving to acquire cultural capital, and I didn't want people to think my writing was trash! So I tried to write realistic fiction. The result was that I lost interest in writing, and within a couple of years I stopped writing fiction altogether and didn't start up again until I discovered fandom and fanfic in my early 30s.

The worst general writing advice I've seen, and still holding the title almost ten years after I first encountered it, is this. I mean, there are moments when I could almost slightly agree with Lisle if she made her points in a more nuanced and less smugly moralistic way, but, alas. It doesn't help that the only one of her books I've ever read is among the worst books I've ever read.

[ profile] kiwisue asked for 29. If you could write the sequel (or prequel) to any fic out there not written by yourself, which would you choose?

I've thought about writing a companion piece, not technically a sequel or a prequel, to [ profile] halotolerant's At Shingle Street. While reading it I fell in love with a minor character, Captain Banks, and found myself wanting him to have a story of his own. Halo has given me permission, but I've been having trouble writing lately, and also I'm not sure I could live up to the original story. But I do keep thinking about it.

Date: 2015-03-09 08:02 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
Personally I love contradictory and messed-up canons but I still agree that there are things fundamental to particular characters, and without those fundamentals, it's not the character. And I love "everyone is gay (or at least everyone is bi and a substantial number are in same-sex relationships of some kind)" too.

I foolishly went to read that blog post with the bad advice and got as far as the writer characterising Jackson Pollock as "throwing paint on the canvas" and this being similar to Gertrude Stein and a bad and careless thing and I ran screaming. One of the formative experiences of my childhood was seeing a Jackson Pollock in real life and it was stunningly constructed. And Gertrude Stein may be deliberately boring and repetitive but she's more obsessive than careless. /rant

Date: 2015-03-09 06:38 pm (UTC)
lilliburlero: a picture of a pie with the words you deserve pie beneath it (pie)
From: [personal profile] lilliburlero
Thank you!

I'm sorry a teacher discouraged you: that's horrible.

The Holly Lisle blogpost, wow. It reads pretty much as a sustained attack on everything I like and admire. Come to think, it sounds very derivative, actually, as if she's read advice against a certain sort of uncommitted, blandly piss-elegant literary fiction (John Banville on autopilot; Irish authors write rather a lot of it) that I too dislike, but misunderstood it to mean MORALISE MORALISE MORALISE.

Date: 2015-03-13 10:50 am (UTC)
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
From: [personal profile] st_aurafina
I think it was [personal profile] lilacsigil who picked #31? (People say we sound the same on the phone, it's getting scary if we sound the same online!)

I never write a canonically gay or lesbian character as straight and I don't like it when other people do it.

AAAH I HATE THAT. Ugh, so much. Straight people already have 99.9% of the toys; why make a grab for ours?


kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)

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